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BUSINESS
January 2, 2012 | By John Boudreau
When Yon Meakchan isn't converting publications into electronic form for customers such as Stanford University, he pedals his bicycle 10 miles south from his office to the rural edges of this city of 2 million people to help his family, pulling weeds in rice paddies, tending to banana trees and wading into a murky river to bathe oxen. "Poor people work very hard," said Yon, the eldest of eight children who grew up in a bamboo and thatched-roof house. "If they want to buy nice clothes or a motorbike, they can't.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 25, 2011 | By Nick Owchar, Los Angeles Times
The novel "The Night Circus" (Doubleday: 387 pp., $26.95) is receiving a good deal of attention, and it's rightly deserved - even though some comparisons of Erin Morgenstern's fable to other popular books seem sky-high and unfair (to her). Does anyone's book, for instance, really deserve the pressure of being called the next Harry Potter? Can anyone live up to that? In the vaguest of terms, there's a similarity to Rowling's saga. Morgenstern's novel also centers on two dueling magicians, one of whom is difficult to pin down by name.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 5, 2011 | By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
They promised a funeral fit for a king. There were to be dignitaries; a long red carpet; thousands of pigs, cows, chickens and ducks to be sacrificed for feasting. It had to be a funeral that crossed cultures and time, peace and war. For this was both goodbye to one man and to the founding era of a people. So thousands of mourners ? including the exiled prince of Laos, widows of Hmong soldiers who died in a "secret" war and families who battled an East Coast blizzard to make it in time ?
NEWS
January 5, 2011 | By Susan James, Special to the Los Angeles Times
When French photographer Henri Huet died at age 43 in a helicopter crash over Laos in 1971, he left behind a collection of images showing not only the horrors of the Vietnam War but also the compassion and humanity shared by its combatants.  On Feb. 9 La Maison Europeenne de la Photographie , a center for contemporary photographic art in Paris, will open a major exhibition of Huet’s work, which was featured in news reports around the world through Associated Press. The show, marking the 40th anniversary of the photographer's death, runs through April 3. Son of a French engineer and Vietnamese mother, Huet was born in Vietnam , raised in France and trained as an artist.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 1, 2011 | By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
The five young men, friends since high school, are here to meet girls. So they carry tennis balls. In the age of Facebook, the ancient Hmong courtship ritual of pov pob ? looking for true love by tossing balls with potential mates at Hmong New Year ? is making a comeback. The tradition had been losing ground to the likes of friending and picking a match off a computer screen. Indeed, a standard question year after year for contestants in the Miss Hmong International Contest, roughly translated from Hmong, was, "Why would young people abandon the blessings of the New Year and their traditions for Internet dating?
NATIONAL
September 21, 2010 | By Jordan Steffen, Tribune Washington Bureau
During a secret mission in Laos 42 years ago, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. Etchberger repeatedly braved hostile fire as he helped three wounded airmen onto a helicopter after their radar station was surrounded by North Vietnamese soldiers. Etchberger was the last to climb into the helicopter, but he was killed by ground fire as it took off. Etchberger's heroic acts were kept secret until details about the Vietnam-era secret mission were released more than two decades later.
FOOD
February 11, 2010
  Lao Yi's boiled beef and leek dumpling filling Total Time: 15 minutes Servings: Makes enough filling for 3 dozen dumplings, about 6 servings Note: Recipe adapted from Wang Ming Jun. Ground pork may be substituted for the beef in this recipe. Fatty ground meat makes for juicier dumplings. Chinese rice wine is available at Chinese and most Asian markets. 6 ounces fatty ground beef (about 20% fat) 2 1/4 teaspoons soy sauce 4 1/2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry 3/8 teaspoon sugar Small pinch salt 1/4 cup water or cold broth 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil 3/4 cup finely chopped Asian leek (also called Japanese leeks or negi;)
TRAVEL
December 20, 2009
If you go KOTO, 59 Van Mieu St. (opposite the Temple of Literature), Dong Da District, Hanoi, Vietnam; www.koto.com.au. It serves western and Vietnamese fare. Entrees are about $5. Friends the Restaurant, No. 215 Street 13, Phnom Penh, Cambodia; www.mithsamlanh.org . It serves tapas-style international and Asian-western fusion cuisine. Tapas are $3 to $5. Romdeng Restaurant , No. 74 Street 174, Phnom Penh, Cambodia; www.mithsamlanh.org. Romdeng specializes in provincial Cambodian cuisine.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 19, 2009 | Eric Bailey and My-Thuan Tran
Federal prosecutors dropped charges Friday against Vang Pao, the exiled Hmong general accused two years ago of plotting with a band of aging Central Valley expatriates to overthrow the communist regime in their homeland of Laos. Vang Pao, 79, had been singled out as the alleged ringleader of the bizarre scheme to launch a coup -- reputedly with mercenaries armed with AK-47 assault rifles and Stinger missiles -- in the summer of 2007. Although prosecutors filed motions abandoning charges against the general, one of America's staunchest allies during the Vietnam War, they maintained the counts against a dozen of his alleged comrades and added new ones.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 12, 2009 | MARK SWED, MUSIC CRITIC
Please bear with me; this can get confusing. Los Angeles Opera has two Marta Domingo productions of Verdi's "La Traviata," an updated one and a traditional one that feels like it's been around forever. The newer "Traviata" premiered at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in 2006, with Elizabeth Futral as the 19th century Parisian courtesan turned into a '20s flapper. But a few months later, the old one was taken out of mothballs for a flapper-averse Renee Fleming, when L.A.
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