Mekong effort fails after years of lavish foreign funding

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BANGKOK - When Western governments began pouring money into the Mekong River Commission, they hoped it would help four Southeast Asian countries co-operate in responsibly managing one of the world's great rivers.

Two decades later, they have a surfeit of disregarded reports to show for the $320 million they spent, and a cascade of hydro power developments that benefit the narrow interests of dam builders but are ravaging the river basin, a crucial source of rice, fish and livelihoods for 60 million people.

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