Thursday, October 11, 2012

NGOs from India and Nepal make an exposure visit to red light areas

VARANASI: Under the India-Nepal Human Liberty Initiative, the NGOs from India and Nepal made an exposure visit to the Shivdaspur red light areas to know the plight of sex workers on Wednesday.

Before the exposure visit, a two-day workshop was organized on October 8 and 9 by Geneva Global and sponsored by Legatum Foundation to control human trafficking and slavery.

The initiative started in 2010 to combat local and cross-border trafficking of human beings for sex trade, exploitation, and slavery brought together 18 NGOs from India and nine from Nepal. It focuses 13 districts in Nepal, and 23 districts in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh where communities lack the capacity to withstand trafficking and slavery.

Addressing the workshop, Gene White, Asia Director, Geneva Global said, "it was encouraging to see partner organization come together to share knowledge and experience on issues of trafficking, exploitation and slavery. The objective is to reduce the risks and incidences of trafficking, exploitation and slavery in the areas covered by the programme partners."

Ajeet Singh of Varanasi-based organization-Guria, one of the partners of Geneva Global, emphasized on the need for a strong step to prosecute the traffickers, slave owners, and brothel owners. Charimaya Tamang from Shakti Samuha, Geneva Global partners from Nepal shared the difficulties of repatriation of trafficked Nepalese victims from India.


Tailored for Nepal

OCT 09 -
In the last two decades, Nepal, and especially Kathmandu, has seen unprecedented urbanisation and industrialisation. As demands for power and energy grow proportionally to the rise in urbanisation , our resource and infrastructure strapped country has been forced to experiment with alternative energy, in the face of crippling power, petrol and fuel shortages. Among the various kinds of renewable energy wrestling for space in the Nepali market, biogas has managed to establish itself as an energy source tailored to our needs and resources.
Biogas as an alternative resource was introduced early in Nepal and its easy availability in all topographical regions, except for the upper mountains, along with abundant farming communities and relatively low construction and operation costs are cited as the reasons biogas has surpassed wind and solar energies in such a short period of time. Supplemented by government and stakeholder priorities, subsidies in construction and new income from carbon trading, biogas has managed to increasingly win over the public.
Since 1992, when SNV Netherlands first funded the development and promotion of biogas, over 270,000 households have built biogas plants to meet energy requirements. Around 20,000 households are making biogas plants on a yearly basis and feasibility studies show that biogas could be extended to 1.1 million households across the country.
Samir Thapa, Senior Energy Officer for Biogas Promotion from the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre, said that while biogas is popular among relatively well-off farming families, that it could be extended to another million households. “Stakeholders have failed to reach the poorer section of the community,” said Thapa.
Following the success of biogas in Nepal, SNV has spread the same model to 21 different countries including Vietnam, India and Bangladesh. Sanjib Chaudhary, communication officer of SNV Netherlands, claimed that biogas and improved stoves are one of their most successful programmes. “SNV has assisted the construction of around 200,000 biogas plants and gives priority to the poorer population,” said Chaudhary.  
Biogas as an alternative resource is more useful in rural areas, where livestock and farming are still largely practiced. Farmers can meet energy demands through cattle dung and the dung itself can be used later as manure. Even as a majority of Nepal’s population rely on firewood for energy, the use of biogas for cooking and electricity can ultimately lead to a sharp decline in deforestation. Over 70 percent of households that have biogas plants have attached their toilets to the plants, greatly improving their impacts on health, sanitation and hygiene. “On one hand, deforestation declines and on the other, kitchens, sanitation, health and hygiene in households are greatly improved,” said Thapa. Besides benefits on a local level, the government has also managed to cash in on the carbon-trade, earning $2.1 million for curtailing carbon emissions in the last four years alone.
However, much remains to be done. So far, biogas is mostly being utilised as a replacement for firewood. The focus should be on encouraging the creative and manifold application of biogas, including the use of biogas-powered electronic appliances. Public spaces like parks, schools, bus stops, health posts and hospitals should use waste materials for biogas as a self-sustaining form of energy. “Large-scale animal husbandry and poultry farming can produce the required energy themselves. We can tackle the current power crisis through such approaches,” said Thapa. Pilot projects are being carried out in three municipalities to gauge biogas production, said Thapa.
However, Bishnu Belbase, officiating executive director of the Nepal Biogas Promotion Association, claimed that they had failed to spread biogas proportionally to all parts of the country. “While biogas has seen overwhelming success in districts like Jhapa and Chitwan, stakeholders have failed to develop other districts with similarly great potential,” said Belbase.
Biogas plants have slowed recently due to the skyrocketing costs of raw materials, making it even more challenging for the poor population to gain access to biogas. Additional costs involved in transportation and manpower have increased the costs of constructing biogas plants. The forty percent subsidy that the government provides is not enough, especially in remote areas.

Posted on: 2012-10-09 08:12 


Demonstrators clash with anti-riot police near the House of Parliament, central Athens, Greece, on Tuesday.

Photographer: Xinhua /Marios Lolos

Taiwan's National Day

A dancer adorned with flowers performs during Taiwan's National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei on Wednesday.

Photographer: REUTERS /Pichi Chuang

Why do we feel afraid to open our hearts? Probably because we don’t want to be hurt, or look foolish, or we feel that others would abuse our trust.

Opening the heart is to be able to have trust for yourself and also to understand that there is a higher being than myself looking after me so that I

can feel safe.

What does it mean to have an open heart?

To have an open heart is to feel contentment and happiness, to be free and peaceful — not hiding nor pretending. You are then open to experiences and can become really adventurous. If my connection is with Supreme, then it is easier to have good relationships with others. When you open your heart, you are able to communicate with others openly.

How do we begin to open our heart?

One way to open the heart is to develop

the nature of having good wishes for others. To become an easy person to be with is to create a space within ourselves to have good wishes.

It is important to start thinking differently about ourselves.

To create good wishes for others and for the self is the starting point of being able to create changes in the world around you.

We can create positive and empowering

atmosphere when we have a connection

with each other that is positive and meaningful. When we feed our mind with good

thoughts, then we begin to feel content

and happy.

Un cocktail d'Asie et de musique celte

Le chef d'orchestre singapouriel Darrell Ang, pendant une répétition de l'OSB le 20 septembre 2012 à Rennes (photo: AFP / Damien Meyer)

AFP / Damien Meyer

RENNES (France) - Des musiciens bretons qui se mettent aux œuvres chinoises. Une star russe du violon. Un chef d'orchestre singapourien qui découvre les sons folkloriques celtes: l'Orchestre symphonique de Bretagne (OSB) se plonge avec délice dans l'éclectisme, tout en cultivant ses racines.
Darrell Ang, directeur musical depuis moins d'un an, a prévu de mettre "une touche de Chine à Rennes" en février, à l'occasion du Nouvel an lunaire: il a invité des musiciens chinois et singapouriens à jouer de leurs instruments traditionnels aux côtés des interprètes locaux. "Le public est très réceptif à la nouveauté ici", assure le jeune chef singapourien (33 ans), qui a eu pour maîtres rien moins que Lorin Maazel et Sir Colin Davis et ne redoute pas la cohabitation entre musiciens de cultures différentes. Ceux de l'OSB "sont très adaptables", assure-t-il.
Darrell Ang ne parlait pas un mot de français quand il a remporté le concours des jeunes chefs d'orchestre à Besançon en 2007, mais se débrouille désormais fort bien. Il apprécie le son "léger" des musiciens hexagonaux. "En Allemagne ou aux Etats-Unis, les orchestres aiment à montrer leur puissance, alors que les musiciens français essayent de mettre du beau dans tout. C'est ça que j'apprécie", assure-t-il.
L'orchestre, qui se déplace dans toute la Bretagne, cultive aussi sa fibre celtique. "Un orchestre symphonique doit refléter sa ville, sa région. On est dans une région avec une culture très forte", observe Marc Feldman, l'Américain qui a pris les rênes de l'OSB l'an dernier et tisse des liens avec d'autres centres de culture celtique, de l'Espagne à l'Irlande.
Là, c'est plutôt le Singapourien qui va devoir s'adapter. "Je ne connais pas bien la musique celtique, mais c'est quelque chose que je suis prêt à explorer", assure-t-il.
Darrell Ang a mis à son programme de la saison 2012-13 des musiciens bretons comme Jean Cras (1879-1932) et Maurice Duhamel (1884-1940) autour du thème de la mer. "Je souhaite présenter davantage de compositeurs bretons que l'on a jamais joués ici à Rennes", explique-t-il.
La formation classique se rapproche de la musique folklorique et a prévu pour la fin de l'année une soirée "Bach en Breizh" qui rapprochera l'oratorio de Noël de Bach et des chants de Noël bretons interprétés par la soliste Marthe Vassallo. "A première vue, ce sont des choses qui n'ont rien de commun", observe la chanteuse, qui s'est spécialisée à la fois dans la musique classique et le chant folklorique et se réjouit du décloisonnement entre ces deux mondes qui s'ignoraient.

Le Russe Mikhaïl Simonyan répète à Rennes, le 20 septembre 2012 (photo: AFP / Damien Meyer)

AFP / Damien Meyer

Pour ouvrir la saison, l'OSB a invité Mikhaïl Simonyan, prodige du violon qui s'est produit à l'âge de 13 ans au prestigieux Carnegie Hall de New York. Le jeune Russe a choisi Rennes pour sa première prestation en France avec un orchestre, en l'occurrence le concerto pour violon d'Aram Katchatourian (1903-78). "Il le joue de façon folklorique, pas classique", note Marc Feldman. Aujourd'hui âgé de 27 ans, Simonyan a été acclamé à tout rompre lors de son passage pour deux soirs à l'opéra de Rennes, improvisant un dernier rappel pour le plus grand plaisir du public.
"C'est ça qui est magique avec la musique", s'enthousiasme ce magicien de l'archet, qui se décrit comme "un nomade". "La nationalité et la langue n'existent pas. C'est comme moi: je suis né en Russie, mais je suis à moitié Arménien, j'ai grandi aux Etats-Unis... La seule chose qui compte c'est la musique".
Ses années de formation aux Etats-Unis, Mikhaïl Simonyan s'en souvient comme d'une galère. Pour survivre, il a dû se transformer en chauffeur de limousines la nuit avant de rejoindre au matin le banc des répétitions. Quant à son violon, il lui a été offert à New York par le luthier français Christophe Landon. "Il est l'un des plus doués que j'ai jamais vus", assure le violoniste, qui préfère jouer avec un instrument neuf d'une valeur de 80.000 dollars qu'avec un stradivarius qui en coûte au bas mot le centuple.
Séduit par son expérience bretonne, le jeune Russe espère partir en tournée autour du monde avec l'orchestre de Rennes. "Je les adore, c'est un très bon groupe, ils sont désireux d'apprendre de nouvelles choses", commente le violoniste.
"Normalement on commence par Paris...", reconnaît-il à propos de sa carrière française. Paris, Mikhaïl Simonyan s'y produira en janvier à l'auditorium du Louvre pour un récital de musique de chambre. Auparavant, il retournera en Afghanistan où sa fondation "Beethoven, not bullets" (Beethoven, pas les balles) aide à former de jeunes musiciens après l'ère des talibans, lorsque la musique était interdite.

Trip to Lumbini

On April 7, 2012, I got an opportunity to visit Lumbini. It is the place where I had always wanted to go. Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha, is situated about 22 km from Bhairahawa. It is about 300 km west of Kathmandu and is situated in Lumbini zone where other districts like Kapilvastu, Rupandehi and Nawalparasi are also located.

I was going to this tour along with my mother and some of my relatives. We woke up early and started the most memorable trip. We reached to Narayanghat, stopped there for sometime and visited a bihar. Then we went straight to Lumbini and reached there are 6:00 pm. Then we went for an evening walk around Lumbini where there was a mela going on.

The next day, we visited the Lumbini garden. We also visited monasteries built by different countries such as Germany, USA, China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, et cetera. Each monastery had some unique featured buildings. The best one was the German style. Then we went to the Shanti Deep (International Peace Lamp) which is situated in front of the lake. Then we walked to the amazing Mayadevi temple but sadly the terrace was closed. Then we went to Kapilvastu and Tilaurakot where Gautam Buddha lived as a child where we saw the remains of the place. After all this travelling, we went to stay in a guest house .

Next day, early in the morning, we went to Ramgram, the stupa which contains Lord Buddha’s asti (relics). And then, after a long ride singing and making jokes on the way, we journey out way back to Kathmandu. Thus, ended my most memorable journey to Lumbini.

— Bhumika Shree


Class IX, St Mary’s High School

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Turkey briefly detains Syrian plane as tension heightens

Turkey briefly detains Syrian plane as tension heightens

ISTANBUL: Turkey scrambled fighters and briefly detained a Syrian passenger plane on Wednesday, suspecting it of carrying military equipment from Moscow, while Turkey's military chief warned of a more forceful response if shelling continued to spill over the border.

Military jets escorted the Damascus-bound Airbus A-320, carrying around 30 passengers, into the airport in Ankara hours after Turkey's chief of staff said his troops would respond with greater force if bombardments from Syria kept hitting Turkish territory, Turkish state-run television said.

"We are determined to control weapons transfers to a regime that carries out such brutal massacres against civilians. It is unacceptable that such a transfer is made using our airspace," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

"Today we received information this plane was carrying cargo of a nature that could not possibly be in compliance with the rules of civil aviation," he said in Athens during an official visit, in comments broadcast live on Turkish television.

The Turkish authorities had seized some of the cargo, Davutoglu told reporters later in televised remarks. He said Turkey was within its rights to investigate planes suspected of carrying military materials but declined to say what was in the seized cargo.

The plane and its passengers later left the Turkish capital.

Turkey would continue to investigate Syrian civilian aircraft using its airspace, Davutoglu said.

He also said Syrian airspace was no longer safe and that Turkish passenger planes should not fly there. A Reuters witness at the border saw at least one passenger plane turn around as it approached Syria and head back into Turkey on Wednesday.

More than 18 months into the battle for Syria, an estimated 30,000 people are dead and the country is disintegrating.

Rebels are outgunned by the government but can still strike at will, and President Bashar al-Assad has assumed personal command of his forces, convinced he can prevail militarily.

Meanwhile, the conflict threatens to spill over Syria's borders and ignite a wider Middle Eastern war, drawing in neighboring states and pitting Sunni Muslim states against Syria's rulers and their allies including Shi'ite Iran.

Russia, from where the Syrian plane took off, is one of Assad's closest remaining allies and has blocked tougher U.N. resolutions against Damascus.

"Once a week a Syrian Airlines airplane flies from Moscow bound for Damascus," Interfax reported Vnukovo Airport spokeswoman Yelena Krylova as saying. "The plane took off normally, there were no incidents."

Interfax cited her as saying 25 people were on board the chartered plane and it left 20 minutes after its scheduled afternoon departure time.

Turkey's armed forces have bolstered their presence along the 900-km (560-mile) border and have been firing back over the past week in response to gunfire and shelling coming across from northern Syria, where Assad's forces have been battling rebels who control swathes of territory.

Several mortar bombs landed outside the Syrian border town of Azmarin and heavy machinegun fire could be heard as clashes between the Syrian army and rebels intensified.

Plumes of smoke rose into the sky and cries of "God is Greatest" rang out between the bursts of gunfire.

"We responded but if it continues we will respond with greater force," state television TRT quoted Turkey's Chief of Staff, General Necdet Ozel, as saying.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Tuesday the military alliance had plans in place to defend Turkey.


It is not clear whether the shells that have hit Turkish territory were aimed to strike there or were due to Syrian troops overshooting as they attacked rebel positions. Turkey has provided sanctuary for rebel officers and fighters.

General Ozel visited the family of five civilians killed last week by a Syrian mortar strike in the town of Akcakale, before flying to a military base further east.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, once an ally of Assad but now one of his harshest critics, said in Istanbul that Turkey's objective was to secure peace and stability in the region, not to interfere in Syria's domestic politics.

"We warned Assad. We reminded him of the reforms he should introduce ... unfortunately the Assad regime didn't keep its promises to the world and its own people," Erdogan said.

"Nobody should or can expect us to remain silent in the face of the violent oppression of people's rightful demands."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 70 people had been killed across Syria on Wednesday, including six rebels in the strategic town of Maarat al-Nuaman, on the north-south highway linking Aleppo to the capital Damascus.

Activists and rebels had said on Tuesday that the insurgents seized control of the town after a 48-hour battle but clashes continued in and around Maarat al-Nuaman on Wednesday.


Scores of Syrian civilians, many of them women with screaming children clinging to their necks, crossed a narrow river marking the border with Turkey as they fled the fighting in Azmarin and surrounding villages.

Residents from the Turkish village of Hacipasa helped pull them across in small metal boats.

"The firing started getting intense last night. Some people have been killed, some are lying wounded on the road," said a 55-year-old woman, Mune, who fled Azmarin and sat with several adults and about 20 children outside a house in Hacipasa.

"People want to escape but they can't. Many have settled in a field outside the town and are trying to come," she said, describing how she had helped ferry the children over another point in the river in a metal bowl used for wheat.

Doctors and volunteers set up makeshift first-aid points on both sides of the frontier. A Turkish ambulance and several minibuses and cars waited to take the more seriously wounded to the main city of Antakya or district hospitals.

"Don't take me across, take me back. I want to return and fight," said one man being carried on a stretcher, his T-shirt stained with blood.

A sharp rise in casualties in Syria in the past month indicates the growing intensity of the conflict, which spiraled from peaceful protests against Assad's rule in March 2011 into a full-scale civil war.

The Syrian government said on Wednesday that an appeal by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for a ceasefire was only acceptable if the rebel forces agreed to abide by it too.

"We requested the Secretary General to send delegates to the relevant countries, specifically Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, because those are the countries that finance, shelter, train and arm these armed groups, so that they can show their commitment to stopping these acts," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

The Swiss government on Wednesday toughened up rules to prevent weapons sold to one country being re-exported to areas of conflict after Swiss-made grenades turned up in Syria.

The move comes after an investigation found that the United Arab Emirates had given Jordan grenades sold by Switzerland in 2003 and 2004 which later were channeled to Syria.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday U.S. military planners were in Jordan to help the government grapple with Syrian refugees, bolster its military capabilities and prepare for any trouble with Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles.

Buddhist religious tourism

Infrastructure development for Buddhist religious tourism

Added At:  2012-10-10 7:03 PM
   Last Updated At: 2012-10-10 7:05 PM

LALITPUR: Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO) has underscored the need of developing infrastructure for the promotion of international Buddhist religious tourism in Nepal.

Organising a press conference in the capital on Wednesday, the NATO said there was huge potential for the promotion of Buddhist tourism in Nepal and once the tourism entrepreneurs and private sectors were united for this, it would help boost national economy.

In order to make the Lumbini Visit Year successful, the NATO has plans to operate a Buddhist circuit in Nepal.

On the occasion, NATO Chairman Bikram Pandey said the government needs to create atmosphere conducive to bringing in maximum number of tourists by promoting Buddhist religious tourism.

The new Buddhist circuit in Lumbini could help increase the number of the Buddhist tourists visiting Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha.

Professor Ram Joshi said more destinations could be charted for the promotion of tourism in Nepal.

Radisson Hotel at kathmandu

Radisson Hotel in Kathmandu is the one of the best Hotels in Kathmandu in Nepal. Radisson Hotel is conveniently located close of Thamel at Lazimpat in Kathmandu city.
This hotel catgory is five star hotel and new building in Kathmandu valley. Luxury type category, the Radisson Hotel Kathmandu has all the comforts such as : Restaurant, Room Service, Bar, Non Smoking Rooms, Business Center, Laundry services, Television, Air conditioning, Satellite Television.High speed internet is available in this hotel.Relax yourself in the hotel's sauna.This hotel offers a unique service : slippers. You can reach Tribhuvan in 10 minutes by car (the airport is 3 miles from the hotel).Other useful information: This hotel has a valet parking.
Hotel have facilities as
    * Minibar
    * Bathtub
    * Television
    * Balcony
    * Satellite Television
    * Tourist information
    * Conference Facilities
    * Ironing board
    * Elevator
    * Shops in Hotel