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Lao People's Democratic Republic

Location: Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam

Area: 236,800 sq km

Climate: tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)

Terrain: mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus

Population: 5,407,453 (July 1999 est.)

Religions: Buddhist 60%, animist and other 40%

Languages: Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages

Capital: Vientiane

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