Saturday, March 28th, 2015 - 11:12 AM
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Prime Minister leaves for USA today

Visit: Prime minister Tshering Tobgay leaves the country today for a nine-day visit to the United States of America (USA).

Lyonchoen will be in the USA to raise awareness for the Bhutan for Life initiative.

The initiative is a funding approach created by the agriculture ministry and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to ensure that Bhutan remains economically and environmentally sustainable.

Funding generated through Bhutan for Life will be used to maintain, manage and conserve the country’s parks and wildlife corridors. It will also be used to enhance sustainable economic opportunities and the livelihoods for communities residing in the parks through eco-tourism and organic farming.


Data literacy for better planning

Its absence has caused unrealistic targets to be set for the annual performance agreement

NSB: Lack of evidence-based data, its storage and ad hoc usage for planning developmental activities has muddled planning in setting targets for the annual performance agreement.

This issue was raised in most of the mid-year reviews of performance agreements of the five dzongkhags and their interaction with the National Statistical Bureau (NSB), yesterday in Paro.

NSB director general, Kuenga Tshering, also agreed that most planning earlier was dependent on intuition, which could have resulted in wrong decisions.


New MoU fails to clear muddied waters

Students are no less confused by fresh agreement between college and consultancy

Education: Confusion among the 195 Bhutanese students studying at the Indo Asian Academy is yet to be resolved.

In an attempt to clear the confusion, a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) was drawn between Careerinfo Bhutan, a consultancy based in Thimphu, and the students on March 12 and March 13.

More than half the students signed the MoU under compulsion from the college.  Some students refused to sign the MoU and left the college.

The new MoU states that, if any of the students under the financial aid programme fails in a semester examination from the second semester, even after the evaluation results are declared, the consultancy is responsible to arrange only the tuition fees for the students.


The chopper and much else

The much talked about helicopter service in the country is soon going to be a reality.

By the end of the next fiscal year, the country will boast two choppers and 40 helipads.

This would fulfil the promise of the government, whose inability to start the service, was even mocked in some quarters, whenever a chopper hovers around the city.  Given our rugged terrain and scattered settlement, a helicopter would come handy for search and rescue operations, a requirement stressed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.


132 years sentence for real estate developer

However, a fine of Nu 5.973 million in lieu of the imprisonment term was allowed

Fraud: The Thimphu district court’s bench V yesterday convicted and sentenced a 40-year old real estate developer to 132 years and nine months in prison for committing various offenses, including tax evasion, fraudulent insolvency, forgery and breach of contract.

The proprietor of Sambhav Real Estate, Dechen Tshering, was found guilty in all three cases filed against him in connection with the transaction of flats with 12 buyers, and defaulting a loan with Bhutan National Bank (BNB).


Sipsu gewogs chip in for outpatient department

DSC_0555Sipsu hospital

GDG: Five gewogs of Sipsu dungkhag in Samtse contributed a total of Nu 1.5M (million) from their gewog development grant (GDG) for the construction of an outpatient department in the dungkhag.

The building that will have seven rooms is expected to ease the shortage of patient beds at the hospital in Sipsu, which has a history of recording a huge inflow of patients in summer.

The hospital has accommodated 10 beds in the corridors of its ground and top floors.

In 2014, the hospital had to admit 1,219 patients.  The hospital received a total of 148 patients in July, and 57 patients in December, last year.


Home ministry could ban sale of knives to youth

IMG_20150212_142525Police display weapons seized from youth in a press conference last month

But it will depend on a strong link being found between possession and use in violent crime

Law and Order: The home ministry is leaning towards banning sale of knives for youth under 18, as proposed by the police.

But on imposing a time curfew that would restrict youth from being on the streets after a certain hour, the ministry says the law already addresses the issue.

Both measures were proposed by the police, given rising incidents of youth crime involving weapons.

However, the home minister, Damcho Dorji, said that a ban on sale of knives would also depend on strong evidence linking them to violence. “There’s no reason why the state shouldn’t impose a ban on the sale of knives to children below the age of 18 if there’s overwhelming evidence that minors are putting themselves and the general public in harm’s way by arming themselves with dangerous weapons,” he said.


The labyrinth of copyright litigation

ap-boktoAp Bokto Picture courtesy: Athang Animation Studio

All too often, the burden of evidence falls on the victim of the intellectual property theft

Crime: Producer of animation film Ap Bokto, Karma Dhendup, is hunting for evidence to register a case with the police after the film, popular with children, was leaked about a month ago.

It is getting late for the producer. “The damage is already done, as the movie was made available on USB drive four months after its release,” he said.  But without concrete evidence of infringing copyright, he couldn’t register the case last week.

While the source of the leakage is suspected to be from his office, the producer suspects the film had gone viral after it was loaded in the servers of two organisations in Thimphu.  He refused to name the organisations.


Lapon denies embezzlement, admits tampering with witnesses

LHAKHANG KARPO: Of the two charges the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) framed against the site supervisor (lapon) of the Lhakhang Karpo conservation project, Lhab Dorji denied embezzling Nu 126,305 for 19 labourers.

Rebutting the charges, lapon Lhab Dorji submitted at the Haa district court that he issued receipts for the money collected and accounted for the same. “It’s not fair that someone, who hasn’t committed any offence, is charged for embezzlement,” Lhab Dorji said.


Nu 508 million remitted in 2014

Remittence: There was a small but increasing flow of remittances to Bhutan from Bhutanese working abroad, particularly in the US and Australia.

Non-resident Bhutanese remitted various currencies worth Nu 508 million (M) from January to December, 2014, according to the Royal Monetary Authority’s monthly bulletin of February. This was an increase of Nu 164M from Nu 344.6M in the previous year during the same period.

In other words, remittances increased by 47 percent last year. This also means that the number of Bhutanese citizens working abroad has increased significantly over recent years.