China: 250,000 Tibetans relocated to new homes in anti-poverty fight

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

250,000 Tibetans relocated to new homes in anti-poverty fight

Xinhua

Nearly 250,000 people in Tibet have moved into 910 new settlements as part of poverty alleviation efforts by August, according to the region’s poverty-relief headquarters.

China has planned to invest 19.78 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion) in a relocation program to build 60,931 houses in around 970 settlements for 266,000 poverty-stricken citizens in the southwestern autonomous region of Tibet.

By the end of August, 93.6 percent of the investment fund had been used and 56,000 houses had been completed.

Tibet seeks to lift 266,000 residents out of poverty by relocating them from harsh living conditions and ecologically fragile areas, of whom 3,359 from 939 families originally lived at an altitude of over 4,800 meters.

Tibet has been using relocation as a means of poverty reduction. By offering job opportunities in industrial parks and cities, the relocated residents are ensured ways to make a better living.

The 5 Deepest Canyons in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Deepest Canyons in the World

If you are an outdoor enthusiast and a nature lover, you know how exciting visiting a canyon can be. Not only can you hike and climb, but the rivers below offer opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and floating. Canyons also provide unmatched vistas for photographers and those who simply want to take in incredible, panoramic views. Knowing the deep valleys and high cliffs of a canyon have taken thousands of years to form as a result of weathering incites the realization of the majesty of these natural landforms. Deep canyons offer the most drastic adventures and views, often including once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Below you will find the five deepest canyons in the worlds to help you plan your next adventure travel getaway.

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Grand Canyon, United States

Grand Canyon, United States

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As the deepest, and most famous, canyon in the United States and one of the deepest in the world, the Grand Canyon is a sight to behold. Its deepest point is 6,093 feet. It’s also a large canyon, which can fit the entire state of Rhode Island. Scientists estimate that the Colorado River began carving the canyon through modern day Arizona about six million years ago, but some studies estimate the process began almost 70 million years ago.

Visitors can view the canyon from its rims, or take a hike on one of the many trails within the canyon. Bright Angel remains one of the Grand Canyon’s most popular trails. With multiple switchbacks, hikers can explore the canyon and get amazing views of the large cliffs, if they don’t want to go white-water rafting in the Colorado River. Visitors who are more about the view than heading out on a trail can find great vantage points at the North Rim and the South Rim stations; however, a visit to the Grand Canyon isn’t complete with out viewing it from The Skywalk at Grand Canyon West, a horseshoe steel frame with a glass floor that extends about 70 feet from the rim of the canyon.

Urique Canyon, Mexico

Urique Canyon, Mexico

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Urique Canyon is one of the six canyons that make up the area referred to as Copper Canyon in Mexico‘s Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains in the state of Chihuahua. As the deepest (6,236 feet) and largest of the canyons, Urique draws visitors from all over the world, especially those who want to explore and view Copper Canyon by train. El Chepe, the train that traverses the canyon remains one of the most scenic rides in the world. El Chepe makes several stops along its journey from Chihuahua to Los Mochis, giving ample opportunities for those who want to explore the canyon up close.

Two favorite stops within the canyon are Posada Barrancas and Divisadero, only a few miles from each other. Divisadero doesn’t offer much for amenities, but it does have a hotel on the rim of the canyon. Most stop here to take in the spectacular view from one of the best lookout points along the trip through Urique Canyon. Additionally, the top attraction in the area is an adventure park, which gives visitors the chance to experience Copper Canyon in a different way.

Cotahuasi Canyon, Peru

Cotahuasi Canyon, Peru

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This remote canyon in the Andes Mountains is almost double the depth of the Grand Canyon at its deepest point of 11,595 feet. The largest city near Cotahuasi Canyon is Arequipa, Peru, located about 123 miles southeast of the canyon. The area is home to some smaller towns and villages whose residents farm the protected area of the canyon, which includes well over a million acres.

Those who venture into Cotahuasi are true adventure travelers at heart. The steep cliffs and remoteness of the location are only suitable for those who want to experience a truly rugged canyon adventure that includes trekking, climbing and kayaking. Those who visit don’t need a permit to enter the reserve, but they should be aware that the local flora and fauna are protected by law. Additionally, local farmers still practice traditional farming techniques to grow ancient crops such as quinoa, maize, chilpe, kiwicha, and other beans. Local farmers also raise llamas and sheep as they chew locally grown coca leaves for energy.

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Colca Canyon, Peru

Colca Canyon, Peru

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One reason Cotahuasi Canyon might not be as popular of a tourist destination is the fact that the world’s second deepest canyon, Colca Canyon, is also in Peru and is much more easily accessed from Arequipa, the country’s second largest city. Colca Canyon reaches depths of more than 13,600 feet, making it a truly wondrous site for those who visit and take in the picturesque views from its rim. The most popular vantage point in the valley is Chivay, also home to La Calera hot springs, a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Chivay offers travelers accommodations, dining, shopping, and tourist activities blended with local traditions. When you begin to explore the wonder of Colca Canyon, pay special attention to the majestic Andean condors flying throughout the canyon. One popular lookout point that offers breathtaking views is Cruz del Cóndor, located only a few short miles from Chivay.

Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, Tibet

Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, Tibet

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The deepest canyon in the world, Yarlung Tsangpo, reaches depths of more than 25,000 feet near the valley where Mount Namcha Barwa is located along the Yarlung Tsangpo River, which runs through Tibet. This highly remote, unspoiled region of the the globe has distinctive flora and fauna such as the takin, a goat-like mammal endemic to the region. The vast size of the river and the canyon also result in multiple different climate zones. On one part of the canyon you can be in sub-tropical temperatures, while near the highest peaks trekkers will experience arctic-like conditions. In fact, the Yarlung Tsangpo River is so daunting, it has earned the nickname “Everest of Rivers.” As of 2019, no one has successfully rafted or kayaked the entire river.

4 Strangest Greetings From Around the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Strangest Greetings From Around the World

How do you say hello? If you’re in the United States, this typically means saying “hello”. If you don’t know the person very well, you shake hands. And if you do, you probably hug. Of course, there are variations, as a cheek kiss is common among many subcultures within the American fabric, like Hispanic Americans and Southerners. But we know that depending on the country you call home, greetings can vary. You typically bow in countries like Japan, China or South Korea, or present praying hands in countries like Thailand, India, and Malaysia. But there are a few cultures that have a truly unique way of saying hello.

Sticking Your Tongue Out (Tibet)

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In the west, this isn’t the nicest way to greet someone. Typically, sticking your tongue out at someone is seen as an act of menace or something that children do to each other to show displeasure. But in Tibet, there’s a real reason why this greeting is considered positive. As the story goes, King Lang Darma ruled during the ninth century. However, he was a cruel leader and as if straight out of a storybook, had a black tongue to boot.

Because Tibet is a Buddhist nation, they believe strongly in the concept of reincarnation. So, as time passed, the people began the custom of briefly sticking out their tongue as a salutation. While it may seem odd to a westerner, this is meant to prove that the person you’re encountering is a friendly individual and not King Lang Darma reincarnated.

Hongi (New Zealand)

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While the Hongi is attributed to New Zealand, it’s important to clarify that this greeting isn’t performed by all Kiwis (New Zealanders). It has its origins in the indigenous Māori culture but has slowly been adopted by other Kiwis. The Hongi is a forehead press of sorts where you press your forehead down to your nose with another person. The greeting has mythological origins, stemming from the story of the creation of women. According to legend, after the Māori god Tāne-Nui-a-Rangi created the first woman (Hine-ahu-one) from the earth, he breathed life into her by pressing his forehead and nose to hers. Hence, the Hongi is often referred to as the breath of life.

Today, the Hongi can be performed for practically any occasion from a standard greeting on a regular day to an emotional one say, at a funeral or a wedding. And outside of Māori culture, the greeting is often seen at diplomatic events between New Zealand and friendly nations.

Adumu—The Jumping Dance (Masai)

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The Adumu is not a greeting in the traditional sense of the word. It is a traditional dance that is performed only by the Masai people of Kenya and Tanzania. And while they often perform the Adumu for traveling safari guests who are part of tour groups, it’s not a standard greeting for everyday occasions. In the Masai culture, the Adumu is a rite of passage dance that is meant to show that young men are now coming of age after completing 10 years of living apart from the rest of their community. So, in a sense, it is a greeting into adulthood.

The dance involves the new men showing off their prowess by performing a series of very athletic jumps with serious height—not just for the village elders, but for the eligible (and unmarried) women. And if they complete the dance they then re-enter the general Masai society as men and can marry and begin families of their own.

Kunik (Inuit)

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You’re probably more familiar with the Kunik greeting than you think. Most westerners know it by its lay name “Eskimo kisses”—but avoid using this term. The word “Eskimo” is considered disrespectful because it represents a time when European explorers labeled all of the indigenous people from Alaska, Canada, and Greenland under one name. Instead, call the indigenous people Inuit. The Kunik is more than just a nose rub though. It involves pressing your nose and upper lip onto another person’s forehead, nose or cheek and breathing in their scent.

However, the Kunik is an intimate greeting, so don’t expect to see perfect strangers performing it with each other. Instead, it’s usually reserved for family. Contrary to popular belief, the Kunik isn’t a replacement for “normal” kisses. And the weather isn’t so harsh up north that you can’t kiss someone on the mouth. Also, the Kunik isn’t meant to be romantic and is most often seen between a mother and her child.

6 of the Most Desolate Places on Earth

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

6 of the Most Desolate Places on Earth

From frozen tundras to alpine highlands, some of the most remote places in the world are also the most inhospitable. But from ancient cultures to scientific researchers, there are humans who live in these isolated and barren places. Between eating frozen horse blood and dodging snapping crocodiles, it takes a lot to survive in these harsh environments. Read on to discover six of the most desolate places on the planet.

Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

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Greenland’s most isolated town has a mere 453 residents, thanks, in part, to its remote location and harsh winters. Located between Northeast Greenland National Park and the glaciers and fjords of Scoresby Sound, the town is covered in ice and snow for at least nine months out of the year. Although the terrain is often frozen, the small settlement’s red, green and blue houses brighten the otherwise bleak landscape. Outside of human residents, the area is home to walruses, polar bears, narwhals and reindeer. Planning a trip to Ittoqqortoormiit? Visiting in spring is advised, as the bitter winter conditions are severe. To arrive, one must take three flights on small planes starting from Reykjavik, Iceland, before boarding a helicopter towards the final destination.

Utqiagvik, Alaska

Utqiagvik, Alaska

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The northernmost town in the United States, Utqiagvik is not connected by a road to the rest of Alaska. Instead, this isolated settlement is only accessible by plane or boat. Transportation within the town is also unique — many locals prefer to use dog sleds over snowmobiles, according to Business Insider, due to the difficulty of running a vehicle in the extreme winter temperatures. Perhaps the most unsettling part of life is Utqiagvik is the darkness. The town is so close to the Arctic Circle that residents must endure two months of darkness during the winter. This past year, the sun set on November 18, 2018, and did not rise again until January 23, 2019. Despite the bleak landscape and dark days, Utqiagvik has 4,428 residents who call the seaside city home.

Changtang Plateau, Tibet

Changtang Plateau, Tibet

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Nicknamed the “Roof of the World,” Changtang is a high altitude plateau that stretches nearly 1,000 miles, from Ladakh, India, to northwestern Tibet. The only known residents of these vast and empty highlands are the Changpa, a semi-nomadic pastoral tribe who rely on their herds of goats, sheep and yaks to survive. Life on the Changtang Plateau is harsh, with unpredictable storms during the warmer months and Arctic-like temperatures during the winter. Much of the plateau is protected by The Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary, an organization that endeavors to preserve the wild landscape and the species who call it home.

Kimberley Coast, Australia

Kimberley Coast, Australia

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The northernmost section of Western Australia is called Kimberley, a region known for its vast and rugged landscape. Largely uninhabited and treacherous to most humans, Kimberley’s coastline and the surrounding outback is as unforgiving as they come. In 1932, two German pilots crash landed on this barren landscape and would have perished had they not been discovered by the local Aboriginal people. In 2017, adventurer Mike Atkinson recreated the Germans’ plight, putting himself in harm’s way to follow to the same path as the stranded pilots. During his time in the Australian outback, Atkinson managed to survive the lack of food and water, in addition to navigating the dangerous, crocodile-ridden landscape. The last leg of the trip required hiking 40 miles through the bush, all while self-filming the harrowing trek. Luckily, Atkinson is a survival instructor and a wilderness expert — it’s clear that most humans would not be able to live in such a hostile landscape.

Oymyakon, Russia

Oymyakon, Russia

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Dubbed “the coldest village on Earth” by The Washington Post, Oymyakon, Russia, is a grim settlement in the Siberian tundra. With only 500 residents calling this frozen outpost home, wintertime in Oymyakon is bleak. The town’s average temperature in the colder months is -58 degrees Fahrenheit. In 1933, Oymyakon suffered from a cold snap that brought the temperature to a mind-numbing -89 degrees Fahrenheit, the coldest temperature recorded outside of Antarctica. For the locals, existing in this frigid land is no easy task. The ground is too cold for plumbing, so townspeople must brave the elements to use outhouses. An average meal likely consists of frozen fish, reindeer meat or cubes of iced horse blood, according to Wired. A mere 217 miles from the Arctic Circle, the darkest days of the year have three hours of sunlight, making this subzero landscape a very lonely place.

McMurdo Station, Antarctica

McMurdo Station, Antarctica

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The least populated continent on Earth, 98% of Antarctica is covered in ice. As a result, not many people are able to live in such an unforgiving climate. Antarctica’s human population belongs to scientists and researchers stationed throughout the continent. One such place is McMurdo Station, a U.S. Antarctic research facility located on Ross Island. While the station itself has a post office, a chapel, two bars and a golf course, the surrounding icy tundra is uninhabitable. And while the “White Continent” may have many visitors in the summer months, winter is cold, bleak and dark. Out of the 1,200 researchers who live at McMurdo Station in the summer, less than a quarter remain for the winter. With notable effects being depression and disorientation from the harsh and desolate landscape, wintering in Antarctica isn’t appealing in the least.

6 Most Remote Places That Aren’t Islands

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

6 Most Remote Places That Aren’t Islands

Have you ever wanted to get away from it all? Whether it’s a crazy workload or just the desire for some real peace and quiet, it’s only natural that occasionally you’ll want to escape. And sometimes you want to go somewhere remote where you aren’t likely to run into anyone you know. If you’re dying for an escape, these six places are so remote you’ll wonder how you even get there.

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Siwa Oasis, Egypt

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Giza and Cairo might get all the attention when you mention Egypt, but the country is home to one of the most remote places in the world—Siwa Oasis. The Siwa Oasis is located within the Great Sand Sea and is full of lush olive and palm trees, along with mud-baked structures. But before you get any ideas that this place is abandoned, it’s not. Siwa Oasis is a thriving small town that is one of the most eastern areas to encapsulate the North African Amazigh Berber culture. To reach Siwa Oasis, the best option is to catch an eight- to 10-hour bus ride from surrounding cities like Cairo or Alexandria.

Changtang, Tibet

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Some regions just sound remote by default, and Tibet is the perfect example. In addition to being remote, the Changtang Plateau is home to the world’s second largest nature preserve. The preserve protects snow leopards, brown bears and black necked cranes along with other wildlife species. The locale is known as “The Roof of the World” because it is two and a half miles above sea level. The inhabitants of this region are nomadic and known as Changpa. According to a 1989 census, roughly half a million Changpa live in this area. However, if you’re thinking of braving the elements to get here, come prepared. Changtang is extremely remote and you’ll have to bring everything you need.

Supai Village, Arizona

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You don’t have to go abroad if you’re looking for a remote escape. Just head to the Grand Canyon. This might seem counterintuitive because of the park’s popularity, but the Havasupai Reservation is located within the canyon and includes the Supai Village. Supai Village can be reached if you’re up to the challenge of an 8-mile hike below the Grand Canyon rim. Note that while the village and the reservation are located within the Grand Canyon, they are not controlled by the National Park system, but rather by their tribal government.

To plan a trip to Supai Village, book a reservation through their tribal website. You can opt for a campground or lodge reservation. The campground allows you to camp anywhere along designated camping areas while the lodge is for those who don’t like “roughing it.” You can’t drive to Supai Village. Even the mail is delivered via pack mule. To access this remote town, either hike, take a helicopter to Hualapai Hilltop, or rent a pack horse or mule.

Longyearbyen, Norway

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Did you know that the world’s northernmost city is in Norway? If you’re up for the challenge, the isolated town of Longyearbyen is the perfect vacation spot. The town was founded by an American, John Longyear, in 1906 as a mining encampment. Between October 25 and March 8, the town experiences perpetual darkness because of its northern location.

You might be surprised to find that this Norwegian town is quite diverse. Longyearbyen is a popular haven for nature enthusiasts and scientists from around the world. Unlike other places in Norway—or even on this list—Longyearbyen “residents” are transient. People stay to complete work projects for a few years or even just months before returning to their permanent homes. To reach Longyearbyen, you can catch a flight from other locations directly to their local airport.

La Rinconada, Peru

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Longyearbyen isn’t the only remote mining town. La Rinconada is one of the highest elevation cities in the world, sitting 16,728 feet above sea level. This city of 50,000 people saw a massive population boom in the last decade because of gold prospecting. But its population growth exploded beyond their infrastructure means, so inhabitants often don’t have access to running water, paved roads or electricity. Of all of the locales on this list, La Rinconada is one of the hardest to reach. Because it’s high in the Andes, visitors risk altitude sickness to reach La Rinconada. And since there’s no consistent transit access, tourists must reach the town on their own.

Oymyakon, Russia

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Do you like cold weather? Have you ever wanted to visit a place so cold it makes your eyelashes freeze? If you’re thinking “sign me up!” then Oymyakon is the perfect place to plant your flag. We’re really not kidding when we say it gets cold: Temperatures can drop to as low as 88 degrees below Fahrenheit. The cold is such a concern that residents often leave their cars running to prevent the batteries from dying.

Oymyakon is a small settlement of 500 people located in the Yakutia region of Russia. This freezing town does get at least three hours of daylight in the winter. Still, if you’re planning on visiting this inhospitable land, dress warmly as frostbite is a serious concern here. Traveling to Oymyakon is a test of your patience. After a seven-hour flight from Moscow, you must somehow find a connecting ride on your own to reach the remote town.

5 Great Places That Are Now Off Limits Because Of Tourism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5

Places That Are Now Off Limits Thanks to Tourists

Over tourism is a problem in a lot of places around the globe. Natural places, especially, are susceptible as they can easily see negative human impacts. Some places simply aren’t built to handle so many people, and can be effectively ruined by our simple presence. Of course, littering is another big reason certain places are heavily impacted. Here are five places that are now off limits thanks to tourists.

Mt. Everest Base Camp, Tibet

Mt. Everest Base Camp, Tibet

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The Chinese base camp is accessible by car, and has been closed to tourists without hiking permits because of the increased amount of waste left by visitors. The Nepalese base camp is only accessible by a two-week hike, making it difficult to reach for a typical tourist. That’s why so many head to Tibet. Or that’s why they did, at least. Only 300 permits will be issued each year, and with the recent deaths of 11 climbers, it’s not unreasonable to think that number could be chopped down.

Boracay Island, Philippines

Boracay Island, Philippines

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While this island in the Philippines has reopened, it’s still undergoing restoration and is under the threat of closing once again. It closed in 2018 to visitors for about six months to recover from heavy tourism and utility issues like sewage running into the ocean from nearby hotels. It was used as a party island, essentially, since the 1980s, and saw 1.7 million visitors in a 10-month span in recent years, many of them from cruise ships passing through. It has strict new rules like “don’t vomit in public.” There are also bans on pets, grilling meat, fireworks after 9 p.m., casinos and single-use plastics.

Komodo Island, Indonesia

Komodo Island, Indonesia

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With the island’s famous inhabitants, the Komodo dragons, being stolen and sold on the black market in recent years, Indonesia’s Komodo Island has been closed to tourists through at least January 2020. Millions of visitors to an island that can’t handle that impact has also been an issue. Other islands that are part of Komodo National Park remain open.

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Maya Bay, Thailand

Maya Bay, Thailand

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Famous for being in Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach (2000), Thailand’s Maya Bay saw a massive increase in visitors after the film. Before, it only had some 100 people on its shores every day. By 2018, it was 5,000 a day. In June 2018, the country’s department of national parks, wildlife and plant conservation announced they would be closing the beach temporarily — maybe a couple of months. However, the damage was so severe that it’s still closed today, having been indefinitely off limits to visitors since October 2018. Authorities may not have a set reopen date but are working to determine the true capacity of the beach, which will make human impact more minimal.

Fjadrárgljúfur Canyon, Iceland

Fjadrárgljúfur Canyon, Iceland

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The most recent victim of overtourism is Iceland’s stunning Fjadrárgljúfur Canyon. Blame Justin Bieber. More than 1 million people visited the area since the pop star released a music video filmed there in 2015. The country itself has also received a massive uptick in visitors — up to 2.3 million in 2018 from 600,000 just eight years ago. With that in mind, Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson, the Minister of the Enviroment, said it is “a bit too simplistic to blame the entire situation on Justin Bieber.” But we’re going to anyway, because he added: “Rash behavior by one famous person can dramatically impact an entire area if the mass follows.” And it did. The canyon also requires only a half-mile or so of hiking to reach the panoramic views. Fences, signs and park rangers are in place to keep people out, but the number of people who try to go is still overwhelming.

Nepal: Truth Knowledge And History Of This Asian Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Nepal

Introduction In 1951, the Nepalese monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. A Maoist insurgency, launched in 1996, gained traction and threatened to bring down the regime, especially after a negotiated cease-fire between the Maoists and government forces broke down in August 2003. In 2001, the crown prince massacred ten members of the royal family, including the king and queen, and then took his own life. In October 2002, the new king dismissed the prime minister and his cabinet for “incompetence” after they dissolved the parliament and were subsequently unable to hold elections because of the ongoing insurgency. While stopping short of reestablishing parliament, the king in June 2004 reinstated the most recently elected prime minister who formed a four-party coalition government. Citing dissatisfaction with the government’s lack of progress in addressing the Maoist insurgency and corruption, the king in February 2005 dissolved the government, declared a state of emergency, imprisoned party leaders, and assumed power. The king’s government subsequently released party leaders and officially ended the state of emergency in May 2005, but the monarch retained absolute power until April 2006. After nearly three weeks of mass protests organized by the seven-party opposition and the Maoists, the king allowed parliament to reconvene in April 2006. Following a November 2006 peace accord between the government and the Maoists, an interim constitution was promulgated and the Maoists were allowed to enter parliament in January 2007. The peace accord calls for the creation of a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution. The Constituent Assembly elections, already twice delayed, are set for April 2008.
History Prehistory

Neolithic tools found in the Kathmandu Valley indicate that people have been living in the Himalayan region for at least 9,000 years. It appears that people who were probably of Kirant ethnicity lived in Nepal 2,500 years ago.

Ancient

Nepal is mentioned in Hindu scriptures such as the Narayana Puja[17] and the Atharva Siras (800-600 BC).[18]Around 1000 BC, small kingdoms and confederations of clans arose in the region. From one of these, the Shakya confederation, arose a prince named Siddharta Gautama (563–483 BC), who later renounced his royalty to lead an ascetic life and came to be known as the Buddha (“the enlightened one”). By 250 BCE, the region came under the influence of the Mauryan empire of northern India, and later became a vassal state under the Gupta Dynasty in the fourth century CE. From the late fifth century CE, rulers called the Licchavis governed the area. There is a good and quite detailed description of the kingdom of Nepal in the account of the renowned Chinese Buddhist pilgrim monk, Xuanzang, dating from c. 645 CE.[19][20]

The Licchavi dynasty went into decline in the late eighth century and was followed by a Newari era, from 879, although the extent of their control over the entire country is uncertain. By the late 11th century, southern Nepal came under the influence of the Chalukaya Empire of southern India. Under the Chalukayas, Nepal’s religious establishment changed as the kings patronised Hinduism instead of the prevailing Buddhism.

Medieval

By the early 12th century, leaders were emerging whose names ended with the Sanskrit suffix malla (“wrestler”). Initially their reign was marked by upheaval, but the kings consolidated their power and ruled over the next 200 years; by the late 14th century, much of the country began to come under a unified rule. This unity was short-lived; in 1482 the region was carved into three kingdoms: Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhadgaon.

Hindu temples in Patan, capital of one of the three medieval Newar kingdoms

After centuries of petty rivalry between the three kingdoms, in the mid-18th century Prithvi Narayan Shah, a Gorkha King set out to unify the kingdoms. Seeking arms and aid from India, and buying the neutrality of bordering Indian kingdoms, he embarked on his mission in 1765. After several bloody battles and sieges, he managed to unify Kathmandu Valley three years later in 1768. However, an actual battle never took place to conquer the Kathmandu valley; it was taken over by Prithvi Narayan and his troops without any effort, during Indra Jatra, a festival of Newars, when all the valley’s citizens were celebrating the festival. This event marked the birth of the modern nation of Nepal.

Modern

There is historical evidence that, at one time, the boundary of Greater Nepal extended from Tista River on the East to Kangara, across Sutlej River, in the west. A dispute and subsequently war with Tibet over the control of mountain passes forced the Nepalese to retreat and pay heavy reparations. Rivalry between Nepal and the British East India Company over the annexation of minor states bordering Nepal eventually led to the Anglo-Nepalese War (1815–16). The valor displayed by the Nepalese during the war astounded their enemies and earned them their image of fierce and ruthless “Gurkhas”. The war ended with a treaty, the Treaty of Sugauli. This treaty ceded Sikkim and lands in Terai to the Company.

Factionalism inside the royal family had led to a period of instability. In 1846 a plot was discovered, revealing that the reigning queen had planned to overthrow Jung Bahadur Rana, a fast-rising military leader. This led to the Kot Massacre; armed clashes between military personnel and administrators loyal to the queen led to the execution of several hundred princes and chieftains around the country. Jung Bahadur Rana emerged victorious and founded the Rana lineage. The king was made a titular figure, and the post of Prime Minister was made powerful and hereditary. The Ranas were staunchly pro-British, and assisted them during the Indian Sepoy Rebellion in 1857 (and later in both World Wars). The decision to help British East India Company was taken by the Rana Regime, then led by Jang Bahadur Rana. Some parts of Terai Region were given back to Nepal by the British as a friendly gesture, because of her military help to sustain British control in India during the Sepoy Rebellion. In 1923, the United Kingdom and Nepal formally signed an agreement of friendship, in which Nepal’s independence was recognized by the UK.

Slavery was abolished in Nepal in 1924.

In the late 1940s, newly emerging pro-democracy movements and political parties in Nepal were critical of the Rana autocracy. Meanwhile, with the annexation of Tibet by the Chinese in 1950, India viewed the possibility of her big Northern neighbour’s further military expansion in Nepal and took preemptive steps to addressed her security concerns: India sponsored both King Tribhuvan as Nepal’s new ruler in 1951, and a new government, mostly comprising the Nepali Congress Party, thus terminating Rana hegemony in the kingdom. After years of power wrangling between the king and the government, the monarch scrapped the democratic experiment in 1959, and a “partyless” panchayat system was made to govern Nepal until 1989, when the “Jan Andolan” (People’s Movement) forced the monarchy to accept constitutional reforms and to establish a multiparty parliament that took seat in May 1991.

In 1996, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) started a bid to replace the royal parliamentary system with a people’s socialist republic. This led to the long Nepal Civil War and more than 12,000 deaths. On June 1, 2001, there was a massacre in the royal palace; it left the King, the Queen and the Heir Apparent Crown Prince Dipendra among the dead. Prince Dipendra was accused of patricide and of committing suicide thereafter, alleged to be a violent response to his parents’ refusal to accept his choice of wife. However, there are lots of speculations and doubts among Nepalese citizens about the person(s) responsible for the Royal Massacre. Following the carnage, the throne was inherited by King Birendra’s brother Gyanendra. On February 1, 2005, Gyanendra dismissed the entire government and assumed full executive powers to quash the violent Maoist movement. In September 2005, the Maoists declared a three-month unilateral ceasefire to negotiate their demands.

In response to the 2006 democracy movement, the king agreed to relinquish the sovereign power back to the people and reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives on April 24, 2006. Using its newly acquired sovereign authority, on May 18, 2006, the newly resumed House of Representatives unanimously passed a motion to curtail the power of the king and declared Nepal a secular state, abolishing its time honoured official status as a Hindu Kingdom. On December 28, 2007, a bill was passed in parliament, to amend Article 159 of the constitution – replacing “Provisions regarding the King” by “Provisions of the Head of the State” – declaring Nepal a federal republic, and thereby abolishing the monarchy. The bill, however, is slated to come into force after the elections of April 2008.

Present political status

The country is presently in the middle of a major political transition. The Maoists have won the Constituent Assembly election held on 10 April 2008. This raises the prospect of the current king, Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev giving up the title and throne, making him the last ruling monarch. Nepal would then be a federal democratic state with an elected head of state. The Assembly will also decide the format of the next elected government

Geography Location: Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates: 28 00 N, 84 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 147,181 sq km
land: 143,181 sq km
water: 4,000 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly larger than Arkansas
Land boundaries: total: 2,926 km
border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
Terrain: Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m
Natural resources: quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
Land use: arable land: 16.07%
permanent crops: 0.85%
other: 83.08% (2005)
Irrigated land: 11,700 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 210.2 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 10.18 cu km/yr (3%/1%/96%)
per capita: 375 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons
Environment – current issues: deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography – note: landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world’s 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga – the world’s tallest and third tallest – on the borders with China and India respectively
Politics Nepal has seen rapid political changes during the last two decades. Until 1990, Nepal was an absolute monarchy running under the executive control of the king. Faced with a people’s movement against the absolute monarchy, King Birendra, in 1990, agreed to large-scale political reforms by creating a parliamentary monarchy with the king as the head of state and a prime minister as the head of the government.

Nepal’s legislature was bicameral, consisting of a House of Representatives called the Pratinidhi Sabha and a National Council called the Rastriya Sabha. The House of Representatives consisted of 205 members directly elected by the people. The National Council had sixty members: ten nominated by the king, thirty-five elected by the House of Representatives and the remaining fifteen elected by an electoral college made up of chairs of villages and towns. The legislature had a five-year term, but was dissolvable by the king before its term could end. All Nepali citizens 18 years and older became eligible to vote.

The executive comprised the King and the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet). The leader of the coalition or party securing the maximum seats in an election was appointed as the Prime Minister. The Cabinet was appointed by the king on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Governments in Nepal have tended to be highly unstable, falling either through internal collapse or parliamentary dissolution by the monarch, on the recommendation of prime minister, according to the constitution; no government has survived for more than two years since 1991.

The movement in April, 2006, brought about a change in the nation’s governance: an interim constitution was promulgated, with the King giving up power, and an interim House of Representatives was formed with Maoist members after the new government held peace talks with the Maoist rebels. The number of parliamentary seats was also increased to 330. In April, 2007, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) joined the interim government of Nepal.

On December 28, 2007, the interim parliament passed a bill that would make Nepal a federal republic, with the Prime Minister becoming head of state. The bill is yet to be passed by the Constituent Assembly.[4]

On April 10, 2008, there was the first election in Nepal for the constitution assembly. The Maoist party led the poll results, but failed to gain a simple majority in the parliament.

People Population: 29,519,114 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 38% (male 5,792,042/female 5,427,370)
15-64 years: 58.2% (male 8,832,488/female 8,345,724)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 542,192/female 579,298) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 20.7 years
male: 20.5 years
female: 20.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.095% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 29.92 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 8.97 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 62 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 60.18 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 63.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 60.94 years
male: 61.12 years
female: 60.75 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 3.91 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Tibetan Medical Technology Ancient And Current Genius

(This article is courtesy of the Shanghai Daily News)

Technology boosts medical practice in Tibetan hospitals

SEED germinators and western medical equipment are no longer novelties in Tibetan hospitals, as researchers and doctors become increasingly technologically adept.

Tashi Tsering with the Biological Research Institute of Tibetan Medicine at Lhasa’s Men-Tsee-Khang — a traditional Tibetan hospital founded in 1916 — has been growing meconopsis aculeata under controlled conditions for six years.

A rare member of the poppy family, the flowering plant grows only at high altitude and is used in 257 traditional remedies, principally for liver complaints.

As global warming pushes the snow line upward, the plant’s habitat has shifted from 3,000-4,000 meters above sea level to 5,000. This, coupled with a growing demand, has resulted in even greater scarcity, Tsering said.

He and his team surveyed 37 counties in Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Tibet and Yunnan before their first attempt to cultivate the plant.

“We scored zero on our first try,” he said. No seeds sprouted in 2011 at the test site in Lhasa, despite the light, temperature, moisture and soil having been meticulously controlled to simulate the natural habitat.

In the second year, the germination rate rose to 17 percent. In 2015, the team harvested their own seeds for the first time and this year almost 90 percent of them sprouted. Despite the achievement, it is too early to begin celebrations until technical assessment and lab tests confirm the reliability of the home-grown product.

Traditionally, Tibetan medical practitioners spent years learning to gather herbs, with instructions so sophisticated that they had to memorize which part of each herb to pick under which weather and seasonal conditions and at which time.

The institute has grown 27 endangered herbs in artificial conditions over the past decade and a new laboratory now houses a variety of equipment including germinators, climate incubators, soil testers and imaging systems.

“To meet the rising demand for Tibetan medicine, artificial cultivation of medicinal herbs is a must,” Tsering said.

Tibetan medicine’s influence is expanding beyond the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

For example, An’erning granules, a remedy for the common cold in children and approved by the State Food and Drug Administration, is a leading pediatric patent medicine nationwide.

Considered incurable

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, considered incurable in western medicine, is claimed to be 94 percent successful in the Arura Hospital in Xining where Tibetan doctors use a holistic approach including medicated bathing, special diets and psychology.

Konchok Gyaltsen, honorary president of the hospital, believes it is the combination of philosophy and herbalism that creates and maintains a healthy mind and body.

Dorje, director of the Qinghai Provincial Tibetan Medicine Research Institute, argues that Tibetan medicine was advanced even in ancient times, with Tibetan physicians performing brain and cataract surgery 1,000 years before their western counterparts. At the Qinghai Tibetan Culture Museum in Xining, dozens of surgical instruments used 1,300 years ago are on display.

China’s Leadership Will Never Tolerate Anyone Being Truthful

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWSPAPER ‘SHINE’)

(CHINA’S COMMUNIST PARTY LEADERSHIP WILL NEVER TOLERATE ANYONE WHO DARES SPEAK ‘THE TRUTH’)(trs) 

China probes foreign companies labeling China’s territories as independent countries

Reuters

China’s aviation authority on Friday demanded an apology from Delta Air Lines for listing Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website, while another government agency took aim at Inditex-owned fashion brand Zara and medical device maker Medtronic Plc for similar issues.

The moves follow a regulator’s decision on Thursday to suspend Marriott International Inc’s Chinese website for a week to punish the world’s biggest hotel chain for listing Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries in a customer questionnaire.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China asked Delta to investigate the listing of Taiwan and Tibet as countries on its website, and called for an “immediate and public” apology.

The aviation authority also said it would require all foreign airlines operating routes to China to conduct comprehensive investigations of their websites, apps and customer-related information and “strictly comply with China’s laws and regulations to prevent a similar thing from happening.”

In a statement, Delta apologized for making “an inadvertent error with no business or political intention,” saying it recognized the seriousness of the issue and had taken steps to resolve it.

Separately, the same regulator that penalized Marriott – the Shanghai branch of the state cyberspace administration – accused Zara of placing Taiwan in a pull-down list of countries on its Chinese website.

Medtronic had also put “Republic of China (Taiwan)” on one of its websites, the office said in a WeChat post.

Medtronic issued an apology via social media, saying it had updated the website. An executive who answered the phone at Zara’s Shanghai office was not able to immediately comment.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing on Friday that Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Tibet were all part of China.

“The companies that come to China should respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by China’s laws, and respect the feelings of the Chinese people. This is the minimum requirement of any company going to another country to carry out business and investment,” he said.

China’s Fickle Government Whines About Neighbors Democracy: Constantly

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS AGENCY)

((oped) THE PEOPLE OF TIBET AND PRADESH DO NOT RECOGNIZE CHINA AS THEIR SOVEREIGN SO IT IS THEY WHO NEED TO QUIT WHINING, AND SHUT UP THEMSELVES!) (trs)

China objects to Pres Kovind’s Arunachal trip, says bilateral ties at ‘crucial’ juncture

China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of south Tibet and routinely criticises India if its leaders visit the state.

INDIA Updated: Nov 20, 2017 23:22 IST

Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Beijing, Hindustan Times
President Ram Nath Kovind at the valedictory function of 40 years of celebrations of Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, at Indira Gandhi Park in Itanagar on Sunday.
President Ram Nath Kovind at the valedictory function of 40 years of celebrations of Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, at Indira Gandhi Park in Itanagar on Sunday. (PTI)

China on Monday strongly criticised President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, saying Sino-India relations were at a “crucial moment” and that New Delhi should not complicate the dispute.

“China firmly opposes the Indian leader’s relevant activities in the relevant region,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a regular briefing.

“The Chinese government (has) never acknowledged the so-called Arunachal Pradesh,” Lu said, responding to a question from the Chinese state media on Kovind’s visit to the northeastern state.

China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of south Tibet and routinely criticises India if its leaders visit the state.

Read more

Barely two weeks ago, Beijing had criticised defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to the state.

The official Xinhua news agency went on to describe Arunachal Pradesh as being “illegally” established in areas of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Kovind had said on Sunday that if the northeast is the crown of the country, Arunachal Pradesh is the “jewel in the crown”. The President was on a four-day tour of the northeast.

On Monday, Lu continued the tirade.

“China and India and are in the process of settling this issue (border dispute) through negotiation and consultation, and seek to reach a fair and reasonable solution acceptable to all. Pending final settlement all parties should work for peace and tranquillity,” Lu said.

“China firmly opposes the Indian leader’s relevant activities in the relevant region,” he said, adding: “China and India’s relations are at a crucial moment and we hope India could work in the same direction and maintain general picture of bilateral ties and refrain from complicating border issue.”

Lu also said India should “work to create favourable conditions for border negotiations and for the sound and stable development of bilateral ties”.

Read more

The Xinhua report said, “The so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’ was established largely on three areas of China’s Tibet – Monyul, Loyul and Lower Tsayul – which are currently under India’s illegal occupation.”

It added, “In 1914, British colonialists secretly instigated the illegal ‘McMahon Line’ in an attempt to incorporate into India the above-mentioned three areas of Chinese territory. None of the successive Chinese governments have ever recognised this line.”

Meanwhile, an official statement from China on last week’s border dialogue between officials of the two countries said it was in the “fundamental interest of both countries to maintain the healthy and stable development” of bilateral relations and this is the “common expectation of both the region and the international community”.

Diplomats from the two countries met in Beijing on Friday for the 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), initiated in 2012 with a focus on maintaining peace along the frontier.

It added that in the next phase, the two sides will continue to implement the important consensus reached by leaders of the two sides.

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