Flat Earth

King Jigme enters the TV age

"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?

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor