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Dam plans delayed

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Laos' plans for a major dam on the Mekong River has received a cool response from Vietnam and Cambodia, forcing a delay. 

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Laos has been quietly making preparations for the building of the giant Xayaburi dam. Here, a road is being built which leads to the proposed dam site.

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Mekong panel stalls dam plan

AFP News agency

PHNOM PENH: Energy-starved Laos failed to win approval from Southeast Asian neighbours on Thursday for a proposed hydropower dam on the Mekong River that faces fierce opposition from conservationists.

Ministers from Thailand, Cambodia Vietnam and Laos postponed a decision on the $3.8 billion Xayaburi dam after meeting in the Cambodian city of Siem Reap, saying more research was needed into the likely effects of such projects.

"There is a need for further study on the sustainable development and management of the Mekong River including impact from mainstream hydropower development projects," they said in a statement.

The decision was welcomed by activists who warn that the vast 1,260 megawatt dam in Laos, the first of 11 planned for the mainstream lower Mekong, could spell disaster for the roughly 60 million people who depend on the waterway.

The four member states of the intergovernmental Mekong River Commission (MRC) have an agreement to cooperate on the sustainable development of the waterway.

Their announcement, which is not legally binding, added that the ministers agreed in principle to approach Japan and other development partners to support such studies.

Laos is one of the poorest nations in the world and sees hydropower as vital to its potential future as the "battery of Southeast Asia", selling electricity to its more industrialised neighbours Vietnam and Thailand.

Thailand, which has agreed to purchase some 95 per cent of the electricity generated by the dam, had already indicated that it would not oppose the project at Thursday's meeting.

But Vietnam and Cambodia, wary of the dam's impact on their farming and fishing industries, expressed strong concern ahead of the talks and called for further studies to be carried out before it is allowed to go ahead.

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preparation – things that you do to get ready for something or make something ready การตระเตรียม
proposed – suggested as an idea for a group to consider ถูกเสนอ
panel – a group of people who make decisions or judgments คณะกรรมการ
stall – to delay ทำให้ล่าช้า
starved – not having enough of something ขาด
approval – agreement to do or accept something ความเห็นชอบด้วย
neighbour – someone (or towns, cities, countries) who lives or is located near you  เพื่อนบ้าน
hydropower – power generated by running water พลังน้ำ
fierce – very strong รุนแรง, ดุเดือด
opposition – strong disagreement with a plan or policy ความขัดแย้ง
conservationist – a person who takes an active part in the protection of the environment นักอนุรักษ์ธรรมชาติ
postpone – to delay; to decide that something will be done at a later time เลื่อนออกไป
research – a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it การวิจัย
sustainable – able to be successfully continued for a long time ยั่งยืน, ถาวร
impact – an effect or influence  ผลกระทบ
mainstream – the main part of a river, i.e., not the smaller rivers that flow into or out of it
activist – someone who takes part in activities that are intended to achieve political or social change, especially someone who is a member of an organisation นักกิจกรรม
vast – extremely large in area, size, amount, etc.  กว้างใหญ่, มหาศาล
spell – to have something, usually something bad, as a result; to mean something, usually something bad นำมา
disaster – an extremely bad situation ความโชคร้าย
roughly – approximately but not exactly  โดยประมาณ, อย่างคร่าวๆ
intergovernmental – concerning the governments of two or more countries ระหว่างรัฐบาลอย่างน้อยสองประเทศ
commission – an official group of people who have been given responsibility to control something, or to find out about something, usually for the government  คณะกรรมการ, คณะกรรมาธิการ
cooperate – to work with other people to achieve a result that is good for everyone involved ร่วมมือกัน
legally binding – required by law; having the force of law
in principle – in general terms without knowing the details or whether something is really possible โดยหลัก
approach – to start to speak or write to someone when you are asking for something or making an offer เข้าหา
vital – extremely important; necessary for the success or continued existence of something จำเป็นสำหรับชีวิต; สำคัญมาก
potential – qualities that exist and can be developed ศักยภาพที่จะพัฒนาได้
battery – a device that is placed inside a car engine, clock, radio, etc. and that produces the electricity that makes it work แบตเตอรี่, ที่กำเนิดไฟฟ้า
industrialised – having a lot of industry there เป็นอุตสาหกรร
generate – to produce ผลิต, ก่อให้เกิด
indicate – to express or explain something ชี้ชัด, ระบุชัด, ชี้บอก
oppose – to disagree with or not approve of a plan or policy คัดค้าน
express – to tell someone about a feeling, opinion, or aim by speaking or writing about it แสดงออก (ทางความคิดหรือความรู้สึก) โดยใช้คำพูดหรือการเขียน, พูดออกมา
concern – a worry ความกังวล

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