Sunday 25 April 1999
"Ours will be a public service television channel that will complement the radio, the print media and the Internet by providing information, education and entertainment and by being a catalyst in the task of nation- building," says the Bhutan Broadcasting Service about the launch of a television channel in the national language, Dzongkha, and English.
Lofty ideals indeed for a nation with an absolute monarchy, one newspaper, only 20,000 radios and fewer than 200 televisions (the population is only 700,000 or so). There are fewer than 4,000 telephones in domestic use and virtually no computers.
The autocratic monarch of this isolated Himalayan kingdom is renowned for wanting to keep it that way. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck - despite being educated in the West - has gone to great lengths to preserve the culture and purity of the land and its people. In the 27 years of his reign he has decreed that traditional Bhutanese costume, the Gho for men and the Kira for women, is compulsory. Those who wear anything else face a pounds 2 fine, which amounts to three days' wages.
With the arrival of this new "catalyst in the task of nation-building", perhaps he will go on to allow his subjects to wear what they please. Maybe even jeans, which are considered to be the height of decadence and are banned.
Another bad week for Lenin
Last week we told you about a statue of Lenin outside a restaurant in Las Vegas which was decapitated to keep the patrons happy. Someone went further in the town of Berezovsky in the Ural Mountains: last Thursday, the anniversary of the old despot's birth in 1870, his statue was blown up. The local chief of police, Mikhail Onuchin, says an investigation is under way, but "many fantasies could be associated with this explosion". What he means, or what these "fantasies" might be, is a mystery.
After the air war: low-flying yogis
The Natural Law Party has what it considers to be the solution to the current Balkans conflict. In a letter to Nato, it is offering training in transcendental meditation for 10,000 troops.
Natural Law Party leaders from eight European Union states sent the open letter to Nato and the EU explaining that meditation and yogic flying - a type of cross-legged levitation - would "create an atmosphere in which a stable solution will naturally emerge". Daily training in the techniques would apparently enable troops to re-establish harmony in the region "not by talking or bombing but by radiating peace".
The party has appealed for practitioners of yogic flying to converge urgently at the Croatian resort of Dubrovnik to generate an atmosphere of peace throughout the region. What are you waiting for?
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
Dennis Rodman will coach the North Korea basketball team - and is preparing a special birthday treat for 'friend for life' Kim Jong-un
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Jennifer Lawrence: 'It should be illegal to call someone fat on TV'
Ian Watkins: Police probed over earlier allegations as paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
DNA from a 50,000 year old toe shows Neanderthals were highly inbred
Devyani Khobragade: India-US row escalates over arrest of diplomat in New York
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 4 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >
£500 - £550 per day: Cornwallis Elt : Business Analyst Target Operating Mod...
£10 - £12 per hour: Pro-Recruitment Group: An opportunity has arisen within th...
Flexible, Competitive, Weekly.: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobRandstad ...
£9600 - £14400 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education are...