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Chushi Gangdrug Begins 21st National Conference in Delhi

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:39
The 3-day gathering of Dhokham Chushi Gangdrug's 21st National Conference and 47th General Body Meeting was inaugurated by Tulku Urgyen Topgyal at the Samyeling Tibetan Colony, Majnu ka Tilla in Delhi on June 22, 2017. Delegates from 25 chapters and around 13 members of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile belonging to the traditional Kham province of Tibet are participating in the conference and general body meeting. Chushi Gangdrug (Four Rivers, Six Ranges Defender of the Faith Volunteer Army) was formed in 1958 to stop the invasion of Tibet by the People's Republic of China. Currently, the organization is mainly a social welfare society with 45 chapters in different parts of the world.

Decades After Fleeing Tibet, Refugees Still Have Limits on Rights in India

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 09:46
Event organizer Lobsang Wangyal has to travel overseas often, but as a Tibetan refugee born in India, he did not have a passport and sometimes had to wait days to get the mandatory permits every time he went abroad. So Wangyal, whose parents fled Tibet as teenagers, went to court to demand his right to an Indian passport. In response to his petition, the Delhi High Court said authorities must abide by an earlier ruling that all Tibetans born in India between January 1950 and July 1987 are Indian citizens by birth, and can be issued passports. The order came into effect in March, and Wangyal got his Indian passport shortly thereafter, using it to go to Thailand. For the first time, he was spared the additional scrutiny that his documents always got from immigration officials. "I feel like a real person now, having obtained a passport," said Wangyal, 47, who was born in a Tibetan settlement in eastern Odisha state and now lives in the hill town Dharamsala. "Tibetans are seen as refugees and as stateless in India. Being seen that way after having been born and lived our whole lives in India is unfair and impractical," he said. 'Emotional turmoil' Tibetans have been seeking asylum in India since the Dalai Lama fled Lhasa in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese occupation. The Tibetan spiritual leader has since lived mostly in Dharamsala in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, where his supporters run a small government in exile and advocate for autonomy for Tibet by peaceful means. More than 100,000 Tibetans live in 39 formal settlements and dozens of informal communities across India. They generally arrive via Nepal, after a perilous trek across the Himalayas. The Indian government has funded schools to provide free education for Tibetans, and reserved seats in medical and engineering colleges. Those eligible can get voter identification cards. But Tibetans do not have citizenship rights, which limits their access to government jobs and freedom of movement within and outside India. They cannot own land or property. In some states, they cannot get driving licenses or bank loans. Those without identity documents are at risk of harassment, arrests and deportation to China. "The status of statelessness is demoralizing and frustrating. There's a lot of emotional turmoil," said Tenzin Tselha, an activist with Students for a Free Tibet, whose father served in the Indian army. "Sometimes I eat rice and daal [lentils] more than thukpa [Tibetan noodle soup], but I never feel Indian; I am Tibetan. It drains my energy, this struggle to always prove who I am and where I am from," she said. Foreigners by law India is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, which spells out refugee rights and state responsibilities to protect them. Nor does it have a domestic law to protect the more than 200,000 refugees it currently hosts, including Tibetans, Sri Lankans, Afghans, Bangladeshis and Rohingyas from Myanmar. They are all considered foreigners by law. Tibetan refugees get "enough rights and benefits," and not everyone wants citizenship, said Sonam Norbu Dagpo, a spokesman for the Central Tibetan Administration, the government in exile. "Even those Tibetan refugees who qualify for Indian citizenship do not apply for citizenship," he said. While the number of refugees across the world has risen in recent years, the number of Tibetans arriving in India has fallen significantly since 2008, following a crackdown by China, which considers Tibet a renegade province. Only 87 Tibetans registered in Dharamsala in 2015, compared with about 2,500 each year before 2008. "India's policy towards refugees has always been dictated by geopolitical compulsions," said Saurabh Bhattacharjee, a professor at the National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata. But beyond ensuring basic protections and civic amenities for all refugees, India must consider the status of Tibetan refugees more carefully, he said. "Will they always remain refugees," he said, "or should they be given some sort of permanent resident status, as they have been here for so long and have little chance of being repatriated?" More rights Recent court orders and the Tibetan Rehabilitation Policy of 2014 promise more rights and benefits. The policy proposes, for the first time, to give refugees welfare benefits on par with Indians, subsidies for some college courses, more job options and greater ease in getting documents. It does not address property ownership, getting government jobs, or traveling freely within and outside India. But the issue of rights and citizenship is also an emotional one that divides the community. "I don't think it's important to have citizenship rights or to have an Indian passport," said Dorjee Tsering, 28, who works in a store in Dharamsala selling Free Tibet T-shirts and sweatshirts. "We may face some problems, but we should sacrifice a little to preserve our heritage and identity." But for Wangyal, who fought for a passport, more rights are necessary. "I would like the right to own property. A little house and a small business would be good to live a decent life," he said. "Tibetans will fight on for Free Tibet, but at the same time we have to live our lives now."

Tibetans and Devotees Welcome Dalai Lama in Minneapolis

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 18:48
Tibetans and supporters of all ages from various parts of Minnesota warmly welcomed the Dalai Lama on his arrival in Minneapolis after completing his high profile visit to the United State’s west coast cities. The President of the Tibetan Association of Minnesota tells VOA that around 400 Tibetans attended the welcome ceremony organized by the Tibetan community for Dalai Lama.  The Dalai Lama’s Representative to North America, Mr. Penpa Tsering says that the Tibetan spiritual leader has no scheduled program on June 21st and from June 22, he will be participating in a humanitarian panel discussion organized by the Starky Foundation along with Starky's owner, Bill Austin. The Nobel Laureate will also be addressing the foundation's two thousand employees.

Tibetan Animation and Pictorial Dictionary Launched in Dharamsala

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:00
The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) based in Dharamsala, North India launched four animations in Tibetan to preserve the Tibetan language among the younger generation under its Department of Education. Mr. Tsering Samdup, Education Incharge of CTA said that the purpose of the animations were to fill the void of not having adequate animations in Tibetan and to provide assistance to Tibetans in the animation profession. Out of the four animations launched today, two were made from books published earlier by the Education Department and the rest was dubbed from Hindi language on the life of Buddha.  

Interview with Thupten Yarphel: Shepherd, Political Prisoner, History Scholar

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 06:30
Presently a monk at Namgyal monastery, Dharamsala, Kusho Thupten Yarphel tells the riveting story of how he grew up as a shepherd in Tsang, and his role as one of the four monks and four nuns who protested in the Barkhor in 1989 and ignited the largest Lhasa demonstration since 1959. Kusho Yarphel has worked on nearly 200 books and authored nine of them himself. This is an inspiring story of an ordinary boy from Shigatse who pushed himself beyond all limits to become one of the foremost writers and scholars on ancient Tibetan history and culture in exile.  

Dalai Lama Arrives in Minnesota's Rochester City

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 13:22
Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama arrived in Rochester, Minnesota to a warm welcome from the local Tibetan community and supporters on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The Dalai Lama is scheduled for his routine annual medical check-up at the Mayo Clinic, after which the Nobel Laureate will head to San Diego, California. The Dalai Lama will speak at US San Diego on Friday, June 16, followed by a public talk and the keynote commencement address on June 17, 2017.  

US Congressman Calls for New US Policy on Tibet

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 11:12
Congressman Jim McGovern is calling for a new U.S. policy on Tibet, saying “the status quo isn’t working” and urging U.S. businesses to raise the issue of human rights in Tibet with Chinese business partners. “It’s important that the U.S. have a policy toward Tibet because the status quo isn’t working,” McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts, told VOA Mandarin. “The Chinese government is just getting worse on a whole range of issues — jailing more and more Tibetans in Tibet and in the Tibetan region, so I think we need to re-assess. ... We need to start walking the walk.” Watch: US Congressman Calls for New US Policy on Tibet China says the Himalayan region has been part of its realm for more than seven centuries and considers the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, to be a dangerous separatist. Many Tibetans insist they were essentially independent for most of that time and have protested what they regard as China’s heavy-handed rule since Chinese army units crossed the Yangtze River into eastern Tibet in 1950. Congressional visit Last month, McGovern traveled to Nepal and the north Indian hill town of Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama has been in exile from Tibet for almost 60 years. The eight-person House delegation led by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, wanted to make China aware that they would not stand down in their campaign for human rights in Tibet. Watch: US Congressman Calls for China to Show Flexibility on Tibet The delegation, including a lone Republican, Wisconsin’s Jim Sensenbrenner, met with the Dalai Lama. “His Holiness is not a separatist … but he wants to go home and so do his people,” McGovern said. “China is one of the great powers of the world, they’re doing great things on climate change,” he said, adding he’s always puzzled that China “is paranoid over this monk, and paranoid over his message.” McGovern is the sponsor of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2017. He introduced the bipartisan bill in the House in April with Congressman Randy Hultgren, a Republican from Illinois. Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, and Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, introduced a companion bill in the Senate. Watch: US Congressman Poses Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act ​Travel in US McGovern described his bill as saying “we will treat you like you treat us” in that it calls for restricting where Chinese can visit in the United States in the same way China restricts United States officials, journalists and other citizens in Tibetan areas of the People’s Republic of China. “If China wants its citizens and officials to travel freely in the U.S., Americans must be able to travel freely in China, including Tibet,” McGovern echoes on his website. He also wants the U.S. to “publicly call on the Chinese government to restart the direct dialog that used to exist between the Chinese government and the Tibetan people. That needs to be restarted.” McGovern said he wants the United States to appoint a special coordinator on Tibet as soon as possible to help elevate these issues. “We’ve also talked about working with other countries and establishing what we call A Group of Friends on Tibet who would meet regularly and publicly to assess the situation in Tibet, and whether there’s been progress or not,” he added. Watch: US Congressman: US Firms Can Raise Issue of Tibet With Chinese Counterparts McGovern, who is co-chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, told VOA that while U.S. and Chinese companies profit from trading with each other, if U.S. companies “know what’s happening and you don’t say anything [about human rights in Tibet], then you’re complicit. China wants to do business with you. You want to do business with China but that doesn’t mean you can’t raise the issue of human rights.” In the interview with VOA Mandarin, McGovern, who has been arrested three times protesting human rights violations in Sudan, said he is also concerned about human rights in Hong Kong, and China’s treatment of the ethnic minority group, the Uighurs. ‘We’re not perfect’ Listing hate crimes and attacks against members of the Muslim community, threats against Jewish community centers and hate crimes against the LGBTQ community, McGovern said he also worries about human rights in the United States, “so we’re not perfect.” None of that, however, should lessen the attention paid to Tibet, McGovern said. “I think the Chinese government thinks this issue will just go away. The Dalai Lama is in his 80s, and they think at some point he won’t be around and everybody will forget,” McGovern said. But, he stressed, “we’re not going away, and this issue is not going away, and we’re going to keep on bringing it up over, and over, and over again until there’s some change.” This story originated with VOA Mandarin.

Flight Attendant Wins Miss Tibet Pageant

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 11:12
“There she is, walking on air she is, fairest of fair she is” … Miss Tibet. Tenzin Paldon, 21, emerged from the largest ever field of contestants - nine - to take the title of Miss Tibet at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) in Dharamshala, the city that is home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile. “My feet aren’t touching the ground at the moment,” Paldon told VOA Tibetan in comments that echoed the lyrics to the song “There She Is, Miss America” soon after she was crowned. “I hope to inspire people and … be a good role model for younger Tibetans.” Tenzin Khechoe, 22, a nursing student from Bangalore, India, who wants to become a doctor, was the first runner-up. Tenzin Nordron Zalutsang, 21, a second-year history student, was the second runner-up in the event, which included a swimsuit competition on June 2, "talk and talent" competition on June 3, and the finale with the women, who were interviewed, competing in evening gowns and traditional Tibetan costumes. Paldon, who has a degree in aviation management, is a cabin crew member with SpiceJet Airlines and a model. Paldon also took the Miss Photogenic title, which was decided by online voting. Out of 14,285 votes, Paldon received 5,161 or 36 percent of the total. Beyond the honor, the winners received travel and cash prizes. WATCH VIDEO: Diaspora contestants Paldon, like the other contestants, belongs to the Tibetan diaspora. She is from Kollegal, a Tibetan agricultural settlement in south India. Although most of the contestants live in India, nursing student Migmar Dolma, 22, arrived from New York City, and Saldon, 19, who goes by one name, came to the event from Vienna, Austria. All the women participated in a swimsuit contest, which caused waves, or as one headline proclaimed, “Beauty queens' raunchy poses shock ENTIRE country” after the women displayed some flesh. This year, the contestants ranged in age from 19 to 25. Lobsang Wangyal, the entrepreneurial impresario behind the Miss Tibet and the Miss Himalaya pageants, described all nine women as “beautiful, intelligent and ambitious" to The Tibet Post. He described the Miss Tibet contest, which was the subject of a 2015 documentary, as a traditional pageant with a higher calling. “There is a tendency for Tibetans to be only seen as a people that are in struggle against the Chinese, as a culture that is predominantly made up of Buddhist monks and nuns, as nomads who herd yaks,” according to the event’s website. “Or as people who are on pilgrimage to sacred sites or who live in caves in the mountains of Tibet. “To have international support for the plight of the Tibetan people, it is important to have many different venues to create awareness,” it continues, pointing out that the Miss Tibet winners may attend international beauty competitions. "To have representation in events like these will create awareness about the Tibetan cause for a population that may not generally know about Tibet, yet which is composed of millions of men and women who could potentially be Tibet supporters,” the website says. Lobsang announced the 2017 Miss Tibet pageant would be his last. This report originated with VOA Tibetan.

ENVISION Holds Workshop on Delhi University Admission 2017 for Tibetans

Wed, 06/07/2017 - 11:24
Empowering the Vision Project (ENVISION), a trust based in New Delhi, in collaboration with four other Tibetan student organizations in Delhi organized a career and admission guidance workshop under the theme "Mission Admission 2017" for Tibetan students wanting to join Delhi University at Samyeling Tibetan Colony, Majnu ka Tilla, Delhi for two days from June 6 - 7, 2017. All the resource persons were members belonging to different Tibetan student organizations in Delhi. The online registration process of Delhi University 2017 admission started on May 22, 2017 and will close on June 12, 2017. The notification of first admission list will be released on June 20, 2017. Delhi University will commence classes for various courses on July 20, 2017. Around 200 Tibetan students have already applied for admission in various courses at Delhi university.

Congressman Jim McGovern Calls for New US Policy on Tibet

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 13:53
            James Patrick McGovern, a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Massachusetts's 2nd congressional district spoke to VOA Mandarin reporter Peggy Chang on his 2015 trip to Tibet, his call for a new US policy on Tibet, and HR 4851, The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which he recently introduced in the US House of Representatives.

Karmapa Says He Had Left a Message When He Escaped Tibet

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 13:19
Karmapa Rinpoche, the head of Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, who is often regarded by international media as the third highest Tibetan lama, said he will return to Tibet and "share the happiness and misery” with Tibetans when situation allows him to be of benefit to the Tibetan people. After spending 17 years in exile, Karmapa has said for the first time in public that he had left a written message behind when he escaped for India in 1999. “In it, I wrote ‘I have made many failed efforts to be able to go abroad. Now having no other option, I am doing this way as a final solution. However, in the future if I could be beneficial to Tibet, the Land of Snow, I will return soon,’ that’s what I wrote,” he said, speaking in Tibetan to about 4,000 Tibetans and devotees in Toronto, Canada on Sunday, June 4. He had previously said that the Chinese authorities had turned down his multiple requests to travel to India before his escape. When Karmapa, then 14 year-old, met with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, North India for the first time on January 5, 2000, he reportedly told Tibet's spiritual leader that he came to India because he could not serve the Tibetan people in Tibet under the current circumstances. Karmapa secretly left his monastery in Tibet on December 28, 1999 after announcing that he was going to follow a strict retreat at his monastery near Lhasa. When the young Karmapa suddenly arrived in Dharamsala on January 5 2000, it shocked the world and humiliated Beijing. After a period of awkward silence, the Chinese authorities announced that Karmapa had left a message, in which he had said that he was going to India to obtain a sacred hat that belonged to his predecessor, the 16th Karmapa, who had left it in Rumtek Monastery in India. However, Karmapa dismissed that statement in 2001, according to the Guardian. “Why would I want to bring the hat back from India? All that accomplish would be to place the hat to Jiang Zemin’s head,” he reportedly said. Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje is the 17th Karmapa recognized by both the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government in 1992. However, a Tibetan lama in India named Shamer Rinpoche recognized another Tibetan boy in 1994 named Tinley Thaye Dorje as the 17th Karmapa. Since then, there has been a dispute among the followers of Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. The followers of Shamer Rinpoche, who is also a high lama in Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism recognize Tinley Thaye Dorje, who has recently declared he was no longer going to be a monk, as the 17th Karmapa. Although Karmapa is the head of only Karma Kagyu lineage, one of the Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the 17th Karmapa Ugyen Trinley Dorje has received great respect and hope from across Tibetan communities. Often described in international media as the third highest lama of Tibet, Karmapa also draws worldwide popularity. Karmapa was met by Prince Charles in London as he stopped by the United Kingdom for the first time, and upon his arrival in Canada, the Tibetan lama was welcomed by some members of the Canadian parliament.

Central Tibetan Administration Sends Birthday Wishes to Ailing George Fernandes

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 11:34
The Former Union Defense Minister and prominent supporter of Tibetan cause, Shri George Fernandes' 87th birthday was held at his residence on June 3, 2017. The secretary of Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi, Tsewang Gyalpo Arya delivered the birthday greetings from the President of the Central Tibetan Administration, Dr. Lobsang Sangay, and the Deputy Speaker of Tibetan Parliament in Exile, Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok. Dr. Lobsang Sangay's message reads: "On behalf of my colleagues in the Kashag and the Tibetans in and outside Tibet, I wish you all the life's blessings and positive karma.... Your steadfast contributions will be etched in the memory of Tibetans and the history of Tibet." The message from the Deputy Speaker reads: "You have always considered the issue of Tibet as global concern and we, the Tibetan people would like to thank you for the motivation and inspiration that really encourages us to carry forward our just cause." Mr. Lekyi Dorje, head of the Tibetan community in Delhi presented a Buddha statue to thank his unwavering support for the Tibetan cause. The health of former Defense Minister George Fernandes who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease is deteriorating day by day, and has been away from politics and public limelight since 2010. In 1998 as a defense minister, he said that for India, "China is the potential threat No. 1." He founded the Samata Party in 1994, which later merged with Janta Dal United. The party currently holds power in India's Bihar state.

TYC Organizes Symposium on 'Tibet's Environment Asia's Security' in Delhi

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 11:20
The Tibetan Youth Congress based in Dharamsala, North India organized a symposium titled, "Tibet's Environment Asia's Security" at the India International Center in New Delhi on June 4, 2017. The main speaker at the symposium was the former minister of Indian government Shri Manishankar Iyer, who expressed concerns regarding the United States' recent decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord under the administration of President Donald Trump. "This has made China the greatest supporter of climate change accord. However, China is destroying Tibet's environment at the same time. This has become a serious matter of concern for all of us," said Mr. Iyer. Professor Maharaj Pandit of Delhi University; Mr. Tempa Gyaltsen of Tibetan Policy Research Center in Dharamsala; and Ms. Lobsang Yangtso, PhD research scholar from Jawaharlal Nehru University were among the other speakers. 

Tenzin Paldon Crowned Miss Tibet 2017

Sun, 06/04/2017 - 11:52
Tenzin Paldon, 21, from Kollegal, India was crowned the 2017 Miss Tibet at the fifteenth annual pageant held in Dharamsala, North India on June 4, 2017. Paldon graduated from the Frankfinn Institute with a degree in aviation management and is currently working as an air hostess/cabin crew with the Spice Jet airlines.  The winner was announced following a three day competition among the nine contestants including the swimsuit round on June 2nd, talk and talent round on the 3rd, and the grand finale was held on June 4th with introduction, gown, traditional costume, and interview rounds. The organizer of the pageant, Lobsang Wangyal, also announced that this will be his production company's last Miss Tibet, but that the pageant can continue if someone buys the franchise.    

Imprisoned Tibetan Writer Shokjang Serves Term in Men Yuan County Prison

Fri, 06/02/2017 - 08:52
Shokjang, a prominent Tibetan writer and blogger who was sentenced to a three year prison term by the People’s Intermediate Court in Rebgong, Malho (Huangnan) Prefecture, Qinghai Province on February 15 of last year is currently serving his sentence at the Men-Yuan county prison located in China’s Qinghai Province. Shokjung is the pen name of Druklo, a prolific young writer from Gengya, a township within the Labrang district in Amdo, who has not only written heartfelt prose and poetry that looks at life in Tibet today, but also comment on the use and misuse of law and security from a common man’s perspective. Shokjang was first detained in 2010 while still attending the Lanzhou Minority University. He and fellow student Teurang were arrested for writing about the Tibetan protests of 2008 and the harsh responses from government forces. At that time, Shokjung was eventually released after a short period but Teurang was given and served a four year sentence. On March 19, 2015, Chinese security police in Rebkong arrested the young Tibetan blogger Shokjung and his brother in law. While his fellow detainee has been released since then, Shokjung remains under detention without any charges filed against him. According to sources, family members and friends are strictly restricted from visiting the imprisoned dissident. Individuals with necessary documents including an ID card and approval letter from their local police office are allowed a five minute visitation if they spoke in Tibetan, and an increased thirty minute visitation time if the conversation took place in Chinese instead. Unlike other inmates, political prisoners and their conversations are closely monitored by the prison guards.

Karmapa Visits Ontario Legislative Assembly and Meets with Canadian Politicians

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 14:04
In his first ever visit to Canada, the 17th Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu, the largest sub-school of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism paid a visit to the Ontario Legislative Assembly and attended the fifth anniversary of Tibet Day at the invitation of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, Canada at the provincial parliament on May 30, 2017. Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje also met with five members of the legislative assembly and thanked them for their support for Tibet and Tibetans settled in Ontario area, and urged the officials to continue their support towards Tibetans in Canada. Mr. Sonam Langkar, the President of the Toronto Tibetan Association, along with members of the local Tibetan community attended the event. Karmapa and his entourage toured the legislative assembly building following the gathering, and as part of the Tibet Day celebration, the organizers with the help from local Tibetans prepared traditional Tibetan cuisine. 

Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts Turns 58

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 11:29
The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) based in Dharamsala, North India turned 58. Listen to VOA's Dharamsala reporter Tenzin Sangmo's interview with Gen Samten, opera teacher at TIPA, the oldest exile establishment about the status of the organization and ways to effectively conserve Tibetan culture.   

Dalai Lama Releases Book Titled "Two Saints" by Arun Shourie

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 13:50
The Dalai Lama released a book titled, "Two Saints - Speculations Around and About Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharshi" by veteran author Arun Shourie at the India International Center, New Delhi.  "As far as deeper experience of ancient Indian knowledge is concerned, I think, I am more Indian than you Indians," said Tibet's spiritual leader while addressing the audience about his commitment to revive ancient Indian knowledge. The event was witnessed by dignitaries including former Deputy Prime Minister of India Shri L.K. Advani, and bureaucrats and media personalities, accompanied by conversations between the author and noted personalities: Fali Sam Nariman, an Indian jurist and Shyam Saran a former foreign secretary to Government of India. The author, Arun Shourie, is a former editor and minister, and is one the most prominent voices in Indian public life. The book is published by HarperCollins India.

Dalai Lama Releases Book Titled "Two Saints" by Arun Shourie

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 13:50
The Dalai Lama released a book titled, "Two Saints - Speculations Around and About Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Ramana Maharshi" by veteran author Arun Shourie at the India International Center, New Delhi.  "As far as deeper experience of ancient Indian knowledge is concerned, I think, I am more Indian than you Indians," said Tibet's spiritual leader while addressing the audience about his commitment to revive ancient Indian knowledge. The event was witnessed by dignitaries including former Deputy Prime Minister of India Shri L.K. Advani, and bureaucrats and media personalities, accompanied by conversations between the author and noted personalities: Fali Sam Nariman, an Indian jurist and Shyam Saran a former foreign secretary to Government of India. The author, Arun Shourie, is a former editor and minister, and is one the most prominent voices in Indian public life. The book is published by HarperCollins India.

Exhibit Illustrates Extreme Adaptations of Mammals Over Millennia

Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:53
A giant rhinoceros the size of three African elephants once grazed on treetops in Tibet, but succumbed to climate change more than 20 million years ago. The high treetops disappeared, along with its food source, says Xiaoming Wang of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Wang has done field research on the long-legged rhino, more formally called the Indricotherium, one of the stars of a new exhibit that shows how radical adaptations that aid survival in one setting can spell disaster in another. Through fossils and reconstructions, the exhibit tells the story of Mother Nature’s radical gambits to keep organisms alive in changing conditions. The show was built around an earlier exhibit from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, which also included ice age remains from the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. Mammals that have adapted in the extreme include an ancient whale that walked on land and more recent pygmy mammoths on California’s Channel Islands, whose small size is illustrated with side-by-side jaw bones of a Columbian mammoth and its pygmy relative, which shrunk to cope with limited food resources on the islands. Many species challenged Climatic variations over the ages and the more recent incursion of humans have challenged many species, said Emily Lindsey of the La Brea Tar Pits, a site rich with fossils from the mammoths and giant cats that once roamed California, but died out more than 10,000 years ago. Seen in the exhibit are the extinct American lion, “which along with the cave lion in Europe was the biggest cat that ever lived,” Lindsey said. There are fossils from a scimitar cat, also extinct, and a long-gone subspecies of jaguar. “And then we have the mountain lion, which is the only one of those five big cats that’s still alive today,” she notes. Also known as the cougar, panther or puma, the species is represented with a photo of a celebrated cat that continues to roam through the hills above Los Angeles. “People thought he would just spend a couple of days there, then continue to move on or attempt to move on,” said Miguel Ordenana, who coordinates the amateur citizens scientists who make wildlife observations to help scientists better understand the region. Mountain lions, he said, typically do not survive crossing busy freeways, but this intrepid mountain lion is a survivor, as is his species. Arctic island was once like Florida Other mammals in the exhibit include the Batodonoides, a long-extinct shrewlike mammal from 50 million years ago so tiny that it could have perched on a pencil. The South American Macrauchenia, with a camellike body and giraffelike neck, had a flexible trunk, like an elephant. It went extinct a mere 10,000 years ago, but is represented here in a reconstruction. Earth’s extreme changes can be seen in a diorama of Ellesmere Island in the Arctic. Just 1,000 kilometers from the North Pole, it was home to warm swamps 50 million years ago and a host of animals adapted to a Floridalike climate. Those intense changes served many species well, but presented extreme problems. Especially as environmental conditions caused the Arctic freeze over, leaving Ellesmere Island one of the coldest and driest locations on Earth. An earlier version of this report had Xiaoming Wang's name misspelled. VOA regrets the error.

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