Saturday, April 25th, 2015 - 4:56 PM
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Belated Earth Hour: Exactly 48 hours after Thimphu residents observed a halfhearted Earth Hour on Saturday, the city was blacked out for more than 30 minutes last evening. The blackout was a result of maintenance work at the Chukha hydroelectric plant.


Udzorong cashes in on chips


The gewog has appreciated that processed potatoes fetch far more than the raw deal

Agriculture: Villagers of Dotphu in Udzorong depend on potatoes for a living.

While they previously used to take their potatoes all the way to the Samdrupjongkhar auction yard, however, life has become easier for the people of Udzorong.  They have started manufacturing potato chips.  Almost 70 percent of the total potato yield goes into making chips.

The villagers approached the agriculture extension office with a proposal to form a cooperative to make and marketing potato chips.


Japan grants Nu 978M to reconstruct bridges

IMG_5442Ambassadors Takeshi Yagi and General Vestop Namgyel

The three bridges have expired their lifespan

AID: To reconstruct the Chuzomsa and Nikachu bridge in Wangduephodrang and Zalam Chu bridge between Trongsa and Wangduephodrang, the Japanese government has committed Nu 978 million (1 billion and 956 million Japanese Yen).

The exchange of notes for the project – “Project for Reconstruction of bridges on primary national highway 1” was signed yesterday in New Delhi between ambassador of Japan to Bhutan, Takeshi Yagi and Bhutan’s ambassador to Japan, General Vestop Namgyel.


Ginger – A struggling cooperative’s long shot

Agriculture: Almost two years after it was launched, Pemathang gewog’s vegetable cooperative, Tshesey Gongphel Dhetshen, is failing.

The cooperative has so far been able to save only Nu 600.

The 10-member cooperative is now planning on growing ginger on a six-acre land that the cooperative acquired from the government.

The members expect to earn more from ginger.


Shedra upgrade to college begins

IMG_2163Gyaltshab offers his prayers at the groundbreaking ceremony

Construction launched with groundbreaking ceremony graced by the Gyaltshab

Drametse: Construction work to build a Nyingma Peling college has begun in Thegchhog Namdrol Ugyen Chholing monastery in Drametse, Mongar, with HRH Gyaltshab Jigme Dorji Wangchuck gracing the Salang Tendrel (groundbreaking ceremony) on March 29.

On the command of His Majesty the King, the construction is being done to upgrade the existing shedra at Thegchhog Namdrol Ugyen Chholing to a Buddhist college.

With an approved budget of Nu 107M (million) from the government, the construction includes a library, classrooms, dormitory, conference hall, administrative office, kitchen and dining hall.


His Majesty attends funeral service of Lee Kuan Yew

20150329-2C4A6709A thousand butter lamps were lit at Tashichhodzong in remembrance of the late Singaporean leader whose funeral was held yesterday

Funeral: His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Gyaltsuen joined world leaders and the people of Singapore in bidding farewell to the island nation’s founding Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew at the funeral service held in Singapore yesterday.

The Prime Minister who ruled Singapore for 31 years died on March 23 aged 91.

In an interview with Asia News Channel, Singapore’s English news channel, His Majesty said that the Bhutanese people equally felt the loss. His Majesty, who is an admirer of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, and fondly referred to him as LKY during the interview, said: “When I look at LKY’s journey, his physical manifestation has ended, but his legacy will live on forever through Singaporeans and the success of Singapore.”


External debt exceeds size of economy by 12 percent

However, not counting hydropower loans, debt is at a decent 37 percent or so of GDP

Economy: Bhutan’s total outstanding external debt has exceeded the size of economy by 12 percent as of December last year.

The country’s debt to GDP ratio, as measured by the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) in its bulletin stood at 112 percent.

This means that the country’s debt increased to about USD 1.84B (billion), which is equivalent to around Nu 114B at today’s exchange rate, against the GDP of USD 1.7B or Nu 104B.


Possible areas of collaboration discussed with Google, Facebook

Other companies were also visited during the US visit

Tech: While the Prime Minister’s recent visit to the USA was primarily to raise funds for the Bhutan for Life project, the Bhutanese delegation also met with a few big name technology companies to discuss possible areas of cooperation.

The possibility of Google investing in data centres to be located in Bhutan was discussed during Lyonchoen’s visit to the company’s headquarters in California.


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Her Majesty Gyalyum Tshering Pem Wangchuck and Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay inaugurate the restoration and adaptive reuse of Wangduechhoeling Palace yesterday in Bumthang.


Giving – the Badum way

DSC_3921HRH Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck with the Badum guardians

A charitable initiative meant to inspire children to save for a good cause

YDF/BoB: To encourage children to develop a habit of saving and inculcate the practice of altruism, the Bhutan Youth Development Fund (YDF) and the Bank of Bhutan (BoB) launched the Badum Giving Day at the YDF Simply Bhutan museum on March 28.

Badum is a piggy bank made out of clay that encourages children to save money and return to YDF once it’s filled, so that the money can be used for YDF’s various donation programmes, like scholarships and drug rehabilitation.