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July-Aug. 1998 Issue

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Vientiane:
One of Asia's Hidden Treasures

Buddhist images are prevalent throughout Laos.

It is the dead of winter in Vientiane. The smoke of fires lit for warmth permeates the air. Babies are bundled and motorcyclists wear ski masks, their passengers huddled together against the cold. It's 7 a.m. and it's 81 degrees Fahrenheit.

The cold weather--and people in Vientiane do think 81 degrees is cold--doesn't alter the city's yin and yang. Monks in saffron-colored robes proceed past the People's Revolutionary Party headquarters, and while commerce doesn't exactly hum, it squeaks along as Laos searches for its place among its fellow Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

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Helping Put Dar Back on Track

A lot has been said about the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in East Africa last Aug. 7. Most of the media coverage so far has, appropriately, focused on the traumatic loss of life, serious injuries and extensive property damage. Little, however, has been said about the remarkable rebuilding efforts that started within hours of the bombings.

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Office of the Chief of Protocol

Orchestrating the high-level visit to Washington, D.C., of a chief of state or head of government; accrediting newly designated ambassadors; providing local police with information on diplomatic immunity; and organizing functions hosted by the Secretary of State. These are just a few of the activities in the Office of the Chief of Protocol, a lively and exciting section of the Secretary's offices established 70 years ago, where no two days are alike.

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1999 State Magazine, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Personnel

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