Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Bhutan - The top 10 schools are…

The Education Ministry has released a ranking of ten high performing schools for classes VI, X and XII.

The top 10 primary schools are Yaragla Community Primary school in Monggar, Dagor Community Primary School in Pemagtashel, Nobgang Community Primary School and Khuruthang Middle Secondary School in Punakha, Sunshine, Early Learning Centre, Phuensum Primary and Druk Schools in Thimphu, Nimshong Community Primary School in Trongsa, and Namchala Lower Secondary School in Dagana.

In the middle secondary standard, Kanglung Middle Secondary School, Trashigang Middle Secondary School, Rangjung and Jigme Sherubling Higher Secondary Schools (HSS) in Trashigang and Ugyen Academy in Punakha, Monggar HSS, Bayling HSS in Trashiyangtse, Yangchenphu in Thimphu, Nangkor HSS in Pemagatshel and Khangkhu MSS in Paro have been identified as the top 10 schools.

And in the Higher Secondary Schools category, the top 10 schools are Tashitse HSS in Trashigang, Yangchenphu and Motithang HSS in Thimphu , Drugyal HSS in Paro, Bayling HSS in Tashiyangtse, Bajo HSS in Wangdue, Phuentsholing HSS, Nangkor HSS in Pemagatshel, Monggar HSS and Gelephu HSS.

The Education Minister Lyonpo Thakur Singh Powdyel said the school ranking was adopted by the education ministry to see where different seats of learning stand.

The ranking was based on the academic scorecard with data compiled from 2009 examination results. From next year, the ranking will be based on three scorecards -the academic scorecard, practices scorecard and the GNH scorecard.

The ranking is expected to create healthy competition among schools.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Bhutan - His Majesty grants audience to the Crown Prince of Norway

His Majesty the King granted an audience to the Crown Prince of Norway, His Royal Highness Prince Haakon Magnus at the Lingkana Palace, today.

His Royal Highness is accompanied by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mette-Marit and the royal children. They are in Bhutan on a 10-day private visit.

His Majesty the King also hosted a luncheon at the Lingkana Palace.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Bhutan - Bus accident victims cremated

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Under the command and support of His Majesty the King, the Zhung Dratshang conducted the cremation for those who lost their life in the bus accident yesterday.

The cremation was presided over by the Yangbi Lopen from the central monastic body. A release from the Zhung Dratshnag says that, His Holiness the Je Khenpo gave Semso to all bereaved families and commanded all Dratshangs in 20 Dzongkhags to perform Moenlam and offer Karmi Tongchoed.

His Holiness will also perform Mithrup Tongchoed at Punakha Dzong.

Following the accident, the Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley visited the hospital and met all the injured passengers yesterday. The Prime Minister, who was accompanied by the cabinet ministers, also inspected the bodies of the accident victims and met the bereaved family members.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Bhutan : National Day celebrations

Thousands of people packed the Changlimithang stadium today to celebrate the National Day. It was on this day in 1907 that the people of Bhutan unanimously elected Trongsa Penlop Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck as the first hereditary monarch of Bhutan ushering in an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity. The celebration in Changlimithang was graced by His Majesty the King.

In his royal address on the National Day, His Majesty the King began by expressing his condolence for the families of the victims of the air crash in Nepal. His Majesty said he has been deeply saddened by the loss and asked the bereaved family members to remain strong.

His Majesty then spoke about the achievements over the last four years, the socio-economic development of the country, and the 10th Five Year Plan. His Majesty thanked His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, on behalf of the Bhutanese people, for the peace, happiness and prosperity we enjoy today.

The main emphasis of the royal address however was on the responsibilities we all shoulder in further strengthening our nation.

His Majesty said “there is a higher responsibility…” apart from our responsibilities based on our professions whether they be in the civil service, business or even as parents and teachers.

His Majesty stressed the importance of “upholding values such as integrity, justice and compassion and above all living by that unwritten but absolute code of right over wrong, no matter what it is we are trying to achieve as individuals or as a nation.”

His Majesty said “while the objectives are important, the manner in which we achieve these objectives is a far more important indicator of our strength as a nation. We must achieve everything as a united harmonious family. I truly believe that it would be a great service to the nation if, as individuals, we always treat each other with respect and dignity.”

His Majesty said “a family in which there is deep discord between parent and child or brother and sister is unlikely to achieve anything that leads to lasting happiness. As a nation, it is no different.”

His Majesty reminded the gathering of the promise he made in his coronation address in 2008 that, “throughout my reign I will never rule you as a King. I will protect you as a parent, care for you as a brother and serve you as a son. I shall give you everything and keep nothing; I shall live such a life as a good human being that you may find it worthy to serve as an example for your children; I have no personal goals other than to fulfill your hopes and aspirations. I shall always serve you, day and night, in the spirit of kindness, justice and equality.’

His Majesty said he has “always taken every decision and carried out every action with this promise in mind.”

As artisans and common people performed folk dance and sang to entertain the crowd, His Majesty mingled with the crowd, walking through the stadium, stopping every now and then to talk to people, enquiring about their life, picking up children or holding the hands of the elderly.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Bhutan - 18 Bhutanese pilgrims perish in Nepal plane crash tragedy

In one of the biggest tragedies, 18 Bhutanese pilgrims have perished in a plane crash in Nepal yesterday. They were returning to Kathmandu from Daphu Martika on-board Tara Air, a domestic airline.

The twin otter plane went missing shortly after take-off from the Lamidanda airport, 162 kilometres east of Kathmandu. It was scheduled to land in Kathmandu at 5pm yesterday. Rescue operations were launched immediately but had to be stopped due to bad weather and darkness.

The crash site was located at 6.30 this morning. There were no survivors. The plane was carrying 19 passengers, 18 were Bhutanese pilgrims. All the 18 bodies have been recovered and have been brought to Kathmandu. They will be brought to Paro at the earliest and possibly by Saturday morning.

On royal command, the Prime Minister, the home minister, government officials, and the office of the Gyalpoi Zimpoen are monitoring the situation. A disaster relief and information centre has also been established at the office of the Gyalpoi Zimpoen’s office.

The Prime Minister Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley is in constant touch with the Prime Minister of Nepal to ensure that all necessary and possible arrangements are being made to bring the bodies to Thimphu.

A team of nine members led by the Cabinet Secretary and two Zimpoen Wogmas left for Kathmandu today. A special flight to Nepal is also being arranged for the relatives.

The government of Nepal has also expressed condolence to His Majesty the King and assured that a thorough investigation will be carried out.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Bhutan - Kuwait Football Association to provide US$ 100,000 every year to BFF

The Kuwait Football Association will provide technical assistance and US$ 100,000 to the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) every year for promotion and development of the game in Bhutan.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed by the President of the Olympic Council of Asia on behalf of the President of the Kuwait Football Association and the President of the Bhutan Football Federation Ugen Tshechup Dorji in the presence of His Majesty’s representative and the President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck.

The MoU was signed in Kuwait. His Royal Highness is in Kuwait on the invitation of the Deputy Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait and President of the Olympic Council of Asia.

His Royal Highness left the country on Monday. On Tuesday, His Royal Highness met with the Deputy Prime Minister at Bayan Palace, in Kuwait.

His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck will also attend the Asian Beach Games 2010 in Muscat the capital city of Oman starting yesterday. Bhutan is represented by two weightlifters at the Asian Beach Games 2010.

His Royal Highness will return to Bhutan on Friday.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Bhutan - Reconstruction of Chamkhar progressing well

His Majesty’s Representative for People’s Welfare in Bumthang, Her Royal Highness Ashi Kezang Choden Wangchuck visited Chamkhar town where a major reconstruction work is underway.

Almost half of Chamkhar town was razed to the ground in a devastating fire in the small hours of October 26.

During the visit yesterday morning, Her Royal Highness expressed satisfaction with the progress of the reconstruction work. Some 300 Royal Bhutan Army personnel and volunteers are assisting the business people of Chamkhar town rebuild their homes.

Unlike in the past, the houses will not be constructed close to each other. To reduce the risk of fire, the houses are also being built mostly with mud bricks. A new vegetable market and meat shops will be built separately.

Construction materials including sand, mud bricks, CGI sheets and timber are being provided free of cost.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Bhutan - Black necked cranes sighted in Gelephu

A family of four black necked cranes has apparently decided to spend this winter season in Chuzergang in Gelephu. Residents who sighted the four spectacular birds prancing about merrily in the paddy fields are overjoyed.

Rinchen Lhato, a resident, said “the birds have been here for a week or so now.”

They are hopeful that this is not a stray incident and that the birds, which are seen as good omen, have decided to make Chuzergang their home.

This is the first time that the endangered birds were sighted roosting in Chuzergang in Gelephu or anywhere in southern Bhutan. Their main roosting areas in Bhutan are Phobjikha in Wangdue and Bumdeling in Trashiyangtse.

“I have asked many people here and nobody has seen them before in this region. When we talked to an expert we found that the cranes may have lost their way to their actual habitat,” said Sonam Wangdi, a forest ranger.

The cranes were first spotted in Chuzergang on November 14.

Officials from the Royal Society for Protection of Nature also visited the areas. According to them it is not unusual to see the cranes in lower altitudes.

Tag : bhutan,bhutan travel,bhutan king,druk air

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Bhutan - Citrus Greening devastates orange orchards

Orange growers in Phuentsholing are bracing themselves for bad news. It has not been confirmed but their orange trees may have been infected by a disease known as citrus greening.

Citrus greening is a bacterial disease and it is causing extensive damage to orange trees across the country.

There seems to be only one solution- uproot all the trees in the orchard and burn them.

According to Gyem Tshering, an Agriculture Extension Officer in Phuenstholing Geog, “there is no cure for citrus greening disease. Uprooting and destroying the trees is the only way to eradicate citrus greening.”

And it is not only the infected trees which will have to be uprooted and burnt. “Even if a single tree is infected, all the other trees in the orchard will also have to be burnt,” says Gyem Tshering.

This is going to be a painful decision for the orange growers. Orange is an important cash crop and for many families, it is their only source of income.

In Chhukha, one of the main orange growing districts, the disease has already been detected in some areas like Baikuenza. The trees have been uprooted and burnt. The exercise is already underway in Dorjansey under Darla Geog. It will soon move to Phuentsholing Geog, if the trees are found to have been infected.

Farmers in Phuenstholing Geog are hoping against hope that it will not come to this. But the indications are that it most probably will.

Ran Maya, a farmer in Ramitey in Phuentsholing, says “the yield has been dropping year after year. The trees are shedding their leaves for no rhyme or reason. Only about four years ago, the harvest was bountiful.”

Ran Maya and her family are busy. It is harvest season, usually a happy occasion. This time, their mood has already been dampened by what is happening in nearby areas.

Ran Maya’s orchard is huge by Bhutanese standards, measuring about three acres with more than 250 fruit bearing trees.

The leaves from the infected trees will be sent to the National Plant Protection Centre in Simtokha, Thimphu. And if they show that the trees have been infected, Ran Maya and her neighbours will lose their orchards. For now all they can do is pray.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Bhutan - Thai Education Fair draws hundreds of Bhutanese students

Thailand has not just become a close trading partner for Bhutan, but also an education destination for the Bhutanese. There is a growing interest among Bhutanese students to study in Thailand.

It is therefore not surprising that a large number of students are visiting the Thai education fair in Thimphu.

Prospective Bhutanese wanting to study in Thailand are taking advantage of the Thai Education Fair which is underway here in the capital.

Professors and academicians from 11 universities in Thailand are gathered under one roof displaying and opening the treasures of knowledge, sharing with the Bhutanese youth the opportunities to study in Thailand.

The Fair was opened formally by the Education Minister Lyonpo Thakur Singh Powdyel yesterday evening.

The colleges and Universities are offering various courses for undergraduate and masters degree.

Some of the Universities like the Mae Fah Luang, Mahidol and Shinawatra Universities are also offering full scholarships to the Bhutanese students.

Today there are about 500 Bhutanese students studying in Thailand.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women observed

November 25 is observed as International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women. Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck joined the people of Paro to mark the day.

“Commit, Act and Demand: We can stop violence against women”, is the theme for this year’s International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women. The theme reiterates the need for all stakeholders to work together and end all forms of violence against women in the country.

At the function in Drugyal Higher Secondary School, Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck said at least one out of every three women suffer some form of mental, physical or sexual abuse. This global scenario Her Majesty said is alarming and gives added reason to use the occasion to remind oneself of the renewed commitments to the cause of women in Bhutan.

Her Majesty the Queen Mother also said that the youth should understand this subject and its negative impact on the society.

The Resident Coordinator of the UN systems in Bhutan, Claire Van der Vaeren said violence against women and girls cut across all boundaries of age, race, culture, wealth and geography. She added, globally up to six out of every 10 women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

The Resident Coordinator also said that the UN will continue to assist Bhutan and the civil society organizations to support programmes aimed at curbing gender-based violence.

As part of the occasion, RENEW (Respect, Educate, Nurture and Empower Women) members from Paro Dzongkhag also demonstrated short skits and programmes on gender related issues.

Following the official function, Her Majesty the Queen Mother also met with the students of Drugyal Higher Secondary School. Interacting with those gathered for the occasion, Her Majesty the Queen Mother spoke on the need to stop violence against women.

During the celebration, dzongkhag dancers and students of Drugyal Higher Secondary School presented various cultural programme.

Later, Her Majesty the Queen Mother interacted with the gathered women and served Tokha.

Monday, 22 November 2010

His Holiness presides over the Moenlam Chhenmo in Tsirang

His Holiness the Je Khenpo is presiding over the fifth Moenlam Chhenmo, Great Prayer Ceremony in Tsirang. It is being attended by over thousand devotees including people from neighbouring dzongkhags, lams and monks from the Tsirang Dratshang.

The week long Moenlam Chhenmo began today. It is being conducted for the well-being of the King, the Country and the People.

The prayer ceremony will end on Saturday.

Monday, 15 November 2010

His Majesty grants audience to Prince of Saudi Arabia

His Majesty the King granted an audience to His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Alsaud of Saudi Arabia at the Ugyen Pelri Palace in Paro. Prince Alwaleed was in the country on a day long visit today.

Shortly after his arrival, His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz was granted an audience by His Majesty the King at the Ugyel Pelri Palace.

His Royal Highness was accompanied by His Royal Consort Her Highness Princess Amirah Alotaibi. Prince Alwaleed is the nephew of Saudi King Abdullah and the grandson of King Abdul Aziz – the founder of Saudi Arabia. He is considered one of the richest man in Saudi Arabia and the world’s 19th richest man by Forbes Magazine.

His Royal Highness was received and later seen off at the Paro International Airport by the Gyalpoi Dronyer Dasho Agay Ugyen Dorji.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Free check up for a healthy life

Open Health Stall 13 November, 2010 - More than 200 people got checked for hypertension, non-communicable diseases and body mass index at an open health stall put up at the clock tower square on November 11.

Organised by the royal institute of health sciences (RIHS) to celebrate the birthday of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, the free service was targeted to create awareness on healthy living.

The 50 trainee students and staff invited people at the square to measure their height, weight and blood pressure; and those, who were in need of improvement, were advised on diets, living style and habits.

RIHS director, Dr Chencho Dorjee, said such health awareness is conducted fortnightly in places of public gathering like chorten, banks and centenary farmers market areas. “After checking blood pressure, height, weight and calculating body mass index, we can identify whether the person is healthy or not.”

“The unhealthy person is referred to the referral hospital and encouraged to eat healthy, exercise and live healthy, before he or she suffers from major health diseases,” he said, adding that the health awareness program can act as a preventive measure and raise awareness on health.

Unhealthy lifestyles, RIHS officials said, were the main risk factors for the development of heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes and strokes.

Along with the awareness programme, donation boxes were also put in place to raise funds for the Bumthang fire victims. Chencho Dorjee said such community service is the third core function of an institute after academics and research.

By Kuenga Tendar

Saturday, 6 November 2010

His Majesty marks the 2nd Coronation anniversary

November 1: His Majesty the King marked the 2nd Coronation anniversary with the affected families and members of the relief team in Bumthang today.

Granting Tokha in purely traditional Bumthap style like Puta and Milk, His Majesty sat with them informally to boost the morale and hopes of the affected families.

His Majesty comforted them that He will personally oversee the relief works, which is currently underway.

Speaking to the soldiers and students of the Chumey Institute of Civil Engineering, His Majesty said that they had come together before to help the people when the unexpected natural disasters struck and they must come together in future also.

His Majesty said that he is proud and happy that they have kept alive the Bhutanese tradition of helping each other in times of need.

Meanwhile, on the Royal Command, the Motion Pictures Association of Bhutan has mobilised popular Bhutanese singers and comedians to entertain the people. His Majesty hopes that the singers and artistes will bring some smiles on the faces of these people who have lost everything in the fire.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

His Majesty graces the 19th National Judiciary Conference

June 11: The 19th National Judiciary Conference ended today. The occasion was graced by His Majesty the King.

In His Majesty's address, His Majesty reiterated the importance of a strong and sound judicial system.

His Majesty was received by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye and the Drangpons.

His Majesty said a lot has been achieved but a lot remains to be done.

His Majesty said it is important to further strengthen awareness among the people.

His Majesty said now that the Supreme Court has been established, the justices of the court have the duty of establishing its presence as the guardian of the constitution and the apex of an independent arm of the government.

His Majesty also urged the justices to set the right precedent and to ensure that in Bhutan, the people's faith in the judiciary shall be complete and unquestioning.

The 11 daylong conferences saw discussions on issues ranging from matrimony and appeal system to land and court management.

The conference closed amid prayers and a group photograph session

Sunday, 6 June 2010

PM arrives in Trento, Italy

5 June, 2010 - Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Y Thinley participated in the opening ceremony of the Festival of Economics shortly after arriving in Trento province, a three-hour drive from the Italian city of Milan, on June 3.

After the inaugural, he attended a talk by Prof Robert D Putnam on the challenges and potential of immigration and ethnicity – the social capital – based on a survey conducted in the United States in 2000.

On June 4, the prime minister met the mayor of Trento, Dr Alessandro Andreatta at the town hall, and visited the university of Trento, a co-host of the festival. This was followed by a press conference at the palace of the province of Trento, and a preparatory meeting with the interpreters for the debate on GNH, scheduled to be held today.

The prime minister and his entourage return to Bhutan on June 8.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Bhutan : His Majesty grants audience to ARSP delegates

June 4: His Majesty the King granted an audience to a five-member delegation from Antra Rashtriya Sahyog Parishad (ARSP) in India at the Tashichhodzong yesterday.

They are in the country for a weeklong goodwill visit.

The delegation is led by JC Sharma, former Secretary of Policy and Planning, Ministry of External Affairs of India and Vijay Jolly, a senior BJP leader.

Officials from the ARSP have been visiting Bhutan annually since 1990 to further strengthen people-to people contact.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Tournament marred by ‘incidents’

12th Coronation Silver Jubilee Trophy 1 June, 2010 - That archery is not a gentleman’s game and that sometimes excitement can overshadow reasoning was proven on May 27 when a Paro Utd archer flashed his undergarments in full view during the 12th coronation silver jubilee trophy tournament at Changlimithang and used abusive words while playing against Karma TMT.

Officials of the Bhutan archery federation (BAF) described the match between Paro United team and Karma TMT as the most embarrassing and unfriendly game in recent years.

Another archer from the same team, while playing against Destroyer on May 19, burned chilis at the ground, which, according to BAF, is prohibited. BAF rules prohibits archers from burning anything that emits smoke. Archers from Destroyer reported the matter to the tournament director, after which the culprit was warned. Officials said that the chili burner was also seen showing abusive signs with his fingers in the last round of the game against spectators, who were in favour of Karma TMT. “Spectators were infuriated with his behaviour,” said an official from BAF, adding that he was lucky that it was the last round of the game.

Assistant secretary general of BAF, Jurmin Wangdi, said that most of the players were half intoxicated, which resulted in the misconduct. The federation has not penalised the archers however. “We didn’t take any action, but warned them, because such kind of incident happens very occasionally,” said Jurmin Wangdi, adding that archery is a very tense and challenging game, and it was in the tradition to try and distract the opponent from hitting the target without touching him.

The assistant secretary general did not blame only alcohol for the bad behaviour and said that archery is a physical as well as mental game, where both teams try to pull each others’ legs. However, Jurmin Wangdi said that, if archers got physical, they would be suspended from the tournament for three years. He said that a meeting would be organised with the team leaders for feedback on formulating new rules.

BAF tournament director Pema Tshering said that generally the players were professional and followed the rules accordingly. “It was only a handful of them that did not comply with the rules,” he said.

By Kuenga Tendar