Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Bhutan - Royal couple arrive in Thailand

His Majesty the King, who is on his way back home after a week-long visit to Japan, granted an audience to the Thai Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, yesterday.

Her Majesty the Queen was also present during the audience.

His Majesty expressed condolence for those affected by the unprecedented floods and his solidarity with the people of Thailand.

His Majesty offered his prayers for the well-being of His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej and the people of Thailand.

His Majesty had earlier sent a letter of solidarity to His Majesty King of Thailand.

The royal couple arrived in Bangkok day before yesterday en-route to Bhutan from Japan.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Bhutan - Their Majesties receive warm welcome

His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen who are in Japan on a state visit were received with a grand welcome ceremony at the Tokyo Imperial palace yesterday morning.

Their Majesties were received by the Crown Prince Naruhito at the palace entrance.

His Majesty was then presented a guard of honour.

Hundreds of Japanese students greeted Their Majesties waving the national flags of the two nations.

After the ceremony, His Majesty granted an audience to the Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito in the empress palace. Later at the Akasaka palace, His Majesty met with Empress Michiko.

The president of the house of councilors and the speaker of the house of representative co-hosted a lunch for their Majesties the King and the Queen.

Senior members of the Japan Bhutan Parliamentary Friendship Association were also present at the lunch.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Bhutan - Their Majesties to visit Japan

State visit Their Majesties the King and Queen will be visiting Japan from November 15-19 on the invitation of the Japanese emperor.

During the state visit, the first by a Bhutanese monarch to Japan, His Majesty will reaffirm the goodwill and friendship of the Bhutanese people towards the people of Japan, and express solidarity with the victims of the earthquake of March 11, 2011.

While in Japan, His Majesty will meet the Emperor and the Japanese prime minister. On November 17, His Majesty will address the National Diet, ­ the Parliament of Japan. The Keio University will confer on His Majesty an honorary doctorate in economics, where His Majesty will deliver an acceptance lecture to the students and faculty.

The venerable Dorji Lopon Kinley and two monks of the zhung dratshang (central monk body) will conduct moenlam (special prayers) at a site destroyed by the earthquake in Fukushima, during the royal visit.

Information & communications minister, Nandalal Rai and labour minister, Dorji Wangdi, will accompany Their Majesties on the visit.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Bhutan - HRH launches her book “Raven Tells a Story

Coinciding with the celebration of the 56th birth anniversary of the fourth Druk Gyalpo and Children’s Day today, November 11, Her Royal Highness Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck launched her book The Raven Tells a Story at the Folk Heritage Museum in Kawajangsa, Thimphu.

This is Her Royal Highness’s first published work dedicated to the Father of Bhutan’s Constitution, the fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck.

The Raven Tells a Story is set in a small, bucolic village in Bhutan resonating the life found throughout the country. The story follows the protagonist, Singye, on a quest for answers about a ‘curious book’. His journey towards ‘constitutional’ enlightenment is populated with often transient and ethereal interactions with his close-knit family, his friend Wangyal, schoolteachers and classmates, and the mythic Raven, which is much alike (and in deference to) the historical significance of a Raven that guided the great Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel to Bhutan in the early 17th century.

The book articulates that the constitution of Bhutan is a collection of the finest values and ideas to create a system of government that would ensure the best chance for Bhutan’s progress and stability. It is a statement of [our] faith in a great leader’s vision and hopes for Bhutan’s future as a nation.

The 65-page medium richly illustrates the milieu in which is set the fundamental principles and basic tenets of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan. The ideas of sovereignty, justice, harmony, unity, equality, and good governance are but a few examples of the pillars of a democratic society that are highlighted by this book in a simple yet colourful manner.

The Raven Tells a Story is primarily written for a school-going audience. Nevertheless, both young and old alike will enjoy it for its rich and authentic symbolism and thought-provoking themes of education, participation, empowerment, and public service.

The book serves as a powerful medium, particularly for the Bhutanese youth, for illustrating the broader development realities and challenges that Bhutan faces as a small landlocked nation in an era of rapid globalization. The book also provides, through common incidences of everyday lives in Bhutan, valuable insights into the unique and fundamental values, customs, traditions and the importance of a harmonious balance between the individual, family and community.

The Raven Tells a Story is an extension of Her Royal Highness’s efforts and association with the Bhutan National Legal Institute as its first president. The institute was established in July 2011 to serve as a provider of legal training and education to strengthen the capacity of Bhutan’s judicial personnel and legal professionals; as a forum and resource bank for discourse and research; and, as a key establishment of the Judiciary in conducting legal dissemination and awareness programmes.

Copies of The Raven Tells a Story will be distributed to all schools in Bhutan. The book is published with the financial assistance from the UNICEF.

The Raven Tells a Story is illustrated by Bhutan Observer’s artist, Chimi R Namgyel, and designed by Sonam Phuntsho.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Bhutan - Early next year start for first data centre

Thimphu Tech Park Bhutan’s first commercial data centre should be operational by the first quarter of next year at the IT Park inaugurated this week.

The data centre, which will be run by a joint venture company between a local IT firm, New Edge Technology and the UK firm, Burland Technology Solutions, is hoping to eventually service clients as far as the US, UK and Europe.

Burland CEO, Richard A Vass, said that the first stage would be to establish the centre, Data Centre Services (DCS), in Bhutan and service local clients. The second stage would be to look to regional businesses, like in India and Bangladesh.

“We’ve such good fibre connectivity in this country, there’s absolutely no reason we can’t go to the US, the UK and European countries to host data centres here,” he said.

Vass explained that a data centre is a “very carefully engineered and controlled environment, where IT services, such as hosting websites or software, can be housed.”

He pointed out that IT services require very stable environments, in terms of power provision, temperature control and physical security.

“When IT services aren’t hosted in stable environments, it can lead to poor reliability in the provision of services,” he said.

He said, at Thimphu Tech Park, this stable environment was assured, by having two main utility power supplies from different sources, ensuring power supply redundancy.

To further assure power supply reliability, UPS or battery power supply is also provided to handle any breaks or dips in the supply. This will be further backed by diesel generators.

“So for as long as the servers are concerned, they’ll never see any difference in their supply,” he said.

To maintain cooling of equipment, Vass said that an “innovative, efficient and low cost cooling system” is being adopted.

Explaining a need for constant supply into the data centre, he said, cooling was required, since the heat generated by computer chips, as they work, could destroy the chip itself.

Vass pointed out that an attractive feature for international IT firms would be Bhutan’s temperate climate. He said that Bhutan’s cooler air could be used for “free cooling” of its equipment, which would lead to even lower cost of operations.

He said low cost and hydro energy, which is considered green energy, would be reasons that could attract international companies to set up data centres in Bhutan.

New Edge Technology CEO, Tashi Tsering, said the idea is to establish a world-class data centre.

He said that DCS is aiming at commencing operations by the first quarter of next year, but admitted it was a “difficult, complicated, and expensive” affair to set up a data centre.

He pointed out that the main challenge is in developing the internal capacity or Bhutanese manpower to run and manage a data centre.

“Right now, we don’t have this capacity, so we have to get people from outside,” he said, adding, a challenge remained in learning from outside, and that technology transfer took place till manpower here was ready.

He said another challenge was that many companies have heard of Bhutan, but were cautious and waiting for other companies to take the first step. “They want to see proof of concept before they come in and get their feet wet,” he said.

Tashi Tsering said he expected DCS to employ about 12 people at full operations. He said that, initially, DCS would have to rely more on its experienced partner for expertise, while its bhutanese staff underwent training in India.

DCS did not reveal how much it has invested, or how much rent it will pay to the park. Tashi Tsering said that a data centre required “quite a bit of investment.”

By Gyalsten K Dorji

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Bhutan - Royal Couple in Singapore

His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen are in Singapore on a four-day visit. The Royal Couple arrived in Singapore on Monday.

Yesterday, they met the President of the Republic of Singapore and other ministers.