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LUANG PRABANG, Laos (AP) — Landlocked Laos doesn't have the famous beaches of its neighbors to attract tourists, but instead relies on the pristine beauty of its mountains and rivers and historical sites to bring in visitors.

The crown jewel is Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where legend has it that Buddha once rested during his travels. It brings all the elements together, with its mix of historic Laotian and French colonial architecture on a peninsula at the confluence of the Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers.

In August 2023, millions of Ecuadorians made history. The country became the first to keep fossil fuels in the ground by popular vote, with an overwhelming 60% choosing to keep over 700 million barrels of crude permanently in the ground underneath Yasuní National Park. It was a major victory for Indigenous peoples, biodiversity, and the climate in a country that is the largest producer of Amazon crude and which has seen decades of contamination and rights abuses at the hands of the oil industry. 

But now, the government seeks to upend the will of voters and continue drilling in Yasuní under the pretense of funding the country’s escalating conflict with organized crime. 

A new report from The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) explains light pollution, why it matters and how to reduce it.

While centred on nature protection, it also addresses the importance of abating light pollution for cultural and traditional heritage conservation, wilderness enjoyment, security, energy conservation, human health, astronomy and the enjoyment of a natural night sky, from seeing galaxies and stars to planets, comets, meteors and aurorae.

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