Villagers can earn money on the farms, but must leave after two or three years due to poor health.
Authorities say air conditioning uses more power in the warmer months, resulting in higher bills, however.
Residents of Bokeo province's Nam Fa village bathe in their river when water levels fall, but emerge with rashes and swelling.
Three Chinese and two Lao men are killed, and another man seriously hurt, when they are trapped by rocks brought down by the explosion.
Experts worry about environmental and social fallout and say low demand for power makes the dam unnecessary.
Quarantine centers housing Lao migrants returning from Thailand run out of food.
Those sent home will continue to be monitored by local officials for signs of ill health, though, provincial officials say.
Christian villagers are often harassed and refused official help, with some told they worship 'America's god.'
China's border with Laos meanwhile remains closed to others amid fears the coronavirus may spread to Laos from its more-infected neighbor.
Meanwhile, Facebook users risk arrest for posting criticisms of the Lao government online.
Illegal miners not charged with any crime in exchange for a cash payment to soldiers.
Residents still in the centers say they must endure heat, overflowing sewage and lack of water, with no end in sight.
The landlocked communist country has had 19 confirmed coronavirus cases since March 24, with no fatalities.
No explanation has been given by Chinese employers who returned home in early 2020 amid coronavirus fears.
Family members have no contact with Sithon Thiphavong, but are allowed to send him food via the authorities every day.
Desperate rural villagers risk life and limb to get rich but end up arrested and fined instead.
They say the firm did not pay their March wages and ignored government orders to close the factory for coronavirus prevention.
Entertainment venues close and streets stand empty as many remain at home, fearing infection, sources say.