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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Another deadly earthquake spreads fear and misery in Nepal

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) - A new earthquake killed dozens of people Tuesday and spread more fear and misery in Nepal, which is still struggling to recover from a devastating quake nearly three weeks ago that left more than 8,000 dead.
The magnitude-7.3 quake, centered midway between Kathmandu and Mount Everest, struck hardest in the foothills of the Himalayas, triggering some landslides, but it also shook the capital badly, sending thousands of terrified people into the streets.
Nepal's Parliament was in session when the quake hit, and frightened lawmakers ran for the exits as the building shook and the lights flickered out.
At least 37 people were killed in the quake and more than 1,100 were injured, according to the Home Ministry. But that toll was expected to rise as reports began reaching Kathmandu of people in isolated Himalayan towns and villages being buried under rubble, according to the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Tremors radiated across parts of Asia. In neighboring India, at least 16 people were confirmed dead after rooftops or walls collapsed onto them, according to India's Home Ministry. Chinese media reported one death in Tibet.
The magnitude-7.8 earthquake that hit April 25 killed more than 8,150 and flattened entire villages, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless in the country's worst-recorded quake since 1934. The U.S. Geological Survey said Tuesday's earthquake was the largest aftershock to date of that destructive quake.
Tuesday's temblor was deeper, however, coming from a depth of 18.5 kilometers (11.5 miles) versus the earlier one at 15 kilometers (9.3 miles). Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage.
At least three people were rescued Tuesday in Kathmandu, while another nine pulled to safety in the district of Dolkha, the government said.
Rescue helicopters were sent to mountain districts where landslides and collapsed buildings may have buried people, the government said. Home Ministry official Laxmi Dhakal said the Sindhupalchowk and Dolkha districts were the worst hit.
Search parties fanned out to look for survivors in the wreckage of collapsed buildings in Sindhupalchowk's town of Chautara, which had become a hub for humanitarian aid after last month's quake.
Impoverished Nepal appealed for billions of dollars in aid from foreign nations, as well as medical experts to treat the wounded and helicopters to ferry food and temporary shelters to hundreds of thousands left homeless amid unseasonal rains.
Tuesday's quake was followed closely by at least 10 strong aftershocks, according to the USGS.
Early reports indicated at least two buildings had collapsed in Kathmandu, though at least one had been unoccupied due to damage it sustained on April 25. Experts say the earlier quake caused extensive structural damage even in buildings that did not topple, and that many could be in danger of collapse.
Frightened residents in the capital, who had returned to their homes only a few days ago, once again set up tents Tuesday night with plans to sleep in empty fields, parking lots and on sidewalks.
"Everyone was saying the earthquakes are over. ... Now I don't want to believe anyone," said 40-year-old produce vendor Ram Hari Sah as he searched for a spot to pitch the orange tarpaulin to shelter his family. "We are all scared, we are terrified. I would rather deal with mosquitoes and the rain than sleep in the house."
Extra police were sent to patrol ad-hoc camping areas, while drinking water and extra tents were being provided, according to Kathmandu administrator Ek Narayan Aryal.
"I thought I was going to die this time," said Sulav Singh, who rushed with his daughter into a street in the suburban neighborhood of Thapathali. "Things were just getting back to normal, and we get this one."
Paul Dillon, a spokesman with the International Organization for Migration, said he saw a man in Kathmandu who had apparently run from the shower with shampoo covering his head. "He was sitting on the ground, crying," Dillon said.
Meanwhile, new landslides blocked mountain roads in the district of Gorkha, one of the regions hit hardest on April 25, while previously damaged buildings collapsed with the latest quake.
Residents of the small town of Namche Bazaar, about 50 kilometers (35 miles) from the epicenter of Tuesday's quake and a well-known spot for high-altitude trekkers, said a couple of buildings damaged earlier had collapsed there as well. However, there were no reports of deaths or injuries in the town.
The earth also shook strongly across the border in Tibet, unleashing a landslide that killed one person and injured three, according to China Central Television. Two houses also collapsed, the state broadcaster said, quoting disaster relief headquarters of the regional Tibetan government.
Source Credit: Associated Press

Friday, April 10, 2015

Dalai Lama calls China's leadership ‘realistic,’ says open to renewed talks

GIFU--Even though he is forced to live in exile, the Dalai Lama had words of praise for China’s current leadership and its aggressive attempts at reform, and said he is willing to continue dialogue with Beijing on autonomy.
“Today’s China, compared with (that of) a few years ago, (has) changed much under the leadership of Xi Jinping,” the 14th Dalai Lama told The Asahi Shimbun in an interview here on April 8. “They are seriously struggling (to tackle) corruption.”
The Tibetan spiritual leader, who began his visit to Japan on April 2, described the Xi administration as being “more realistic” than past Chinese governments, and said he would keep a close watch on Beijing’s reaction to his offer to resume talks.
The Dalai Lama is scheduled to lecture on Buddhist teachings in Tokyo on April 12 and 13, which will be aired live at movie theaters across Japan.
While official dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama’s envoys ground to a halt in 2010, the Tibetan leader said Tibet will not seek independence. He said he is prepared to reopen talks at any time with the Chinese government.
“Contact (with Beijing) is still there,” the Dalai Lama said. “We will see, for our part, no change. (We are) still fully committed to the ‘middle way’ approach.”
“Hard-liners still accuse (us) of being separatists, (though we are) actually not. The whole world knows we are not seeking independence,” he said. “Some moderate leaders are quite keen to find some mutually good solution.”
With regard to the selection of his successor, the Dalai Lama stressed the decision should be left “up to the Tibetan people.”
He added that he discussed the issue with Tibet’s Buddhist leaders several years ago.
“My physical condition is quite good. Some even say--I (will be) 80 (in July)--I may live another 20 years,” he said. “We (will) discuss the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama (further), then finalize it when my age reaches around 90.”
His remarks were in response to concerns among some Tibetans that a failure to select his successor may deal a blow to the campaign for autonomy.
Source Credit: The Asahi Shimbun

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

China raises hopes of deal to end Dalai Lama’s exile from Tibet

THE ice may be thawing on the “roof of the world”, as signs show China is inching closer towards an agreement with the Dalai Lama that could allow him to ­return to Tibet after more than half a century in exile.
A Chinese official has said talks are in progress, while Beijing censors have permitted the publication of an article describing the outlines of a deal between the ­Tibetan spiritual leader and President Xi Jinping.
A deal on Tibet would be a huge prize for Mr Xi and ease tensions between China and India, whose troops have just ended a dangerous stand-off in the Tibetan border region. The talks envisage a pilgrimage by the Dalai Lama to a Buddhist shrine in China, meetings with Chinese leaders and an eventual return.
The first clue of a thaw came last month when Wu Yingjie, deputy secretary of the Communist Party in Tibet, disclosed that talks were under way with an envoy of the Dalai Lama and were “going smoothly”. Mr Wu also said, however, that the Dalai Lama must accept Tibet was part of China and stop “separatist activ­ities”.
The message seemed to get through. On August 27, the Dalai Lama, at a conference in Germany on “finding common ground”, said he no longer used the term “government in exile”.
Asked about visiting China, he said: “I’ve always wanted to visit Wu Tai Shan” — a sacred Budd­hist mountain in northern China.
He said contacts “were increasing” and quoted Mr Xi as saying Buddhism had an important role to play in reviving Chin­ese culture. Days later, he said he was “very optimistic” about returning, and last Thursday he called Mr Xi “more realistic, more open-minded” than others.
The Dalai Lama, now 79, stayed in Lhasa after the Chinese invasion in 1950 and negotiated with many Communist leaders, including Mr Xi’s father, Xi Zhongcun, who the Dalai Lama said was “very friendly”.
However, he fled to India in 1959 after a Tibetan uprising was crushed. Since then he has been a symbol of peaceful reconciliation and a hate figure in Chinese propaganda — he is called “a devil, a liar and a splittist”.
So it was a surprise when, on September 17, Chinese censors let an article on the talks appear for a day on, a popular website. Quoting “informed sources”, it said the Dalai Lama “may return as a pilgrim visiting Wu Tai Shan” and would be met by senior figures from Beijing.
Such a deal, it said, would “instantly destroy” the radical Tibetan administration in exile and rob the West of “a pretext to attack China”, adding: “This would be a chance for Secretary Xi to rack up many victories with one move.”

Source Credit: The Sunday Times via The Australian

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

China's new rail line lures tourists, workers to Tibet

BEIJING — Travelers in the Himalayas can now bypass some of Tibet's hazardous roads by using a new railway line that has renewed fears about Tibet's cultural identity and deepened concerns about China's ambitions in the strategic, high-altitude region.
Passenger services started Saturday on the railroad's just opened $2 billion extension line from Lhasa, Tibet's capital, to Shigatse, Tibet's second -largest city, and a major pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists.
The new rail line, which follows the completion of the Beijing-Lhasa line in 2006, connects the two cities in just two hours, compared with a five-to-seven-hour road trip on National Highway 318, "which is said to have many safety hazards," the state-runChina Daily newspaper said.

Indeed, on Monday, at least three passengers on a tour bus were killed and another 15 were missing after their bus plunged into a river southeast of Tibet, Chinese state media reported. The accident followed a similar tragedy nine days earlier, when 44 Chinese tourists died after their bus crashed off a cliff in southern Tibet. Monday's accident occurred on Highway 318, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
Source Credit: USA Today

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay Launches Middle Way Approach Campaign

DHARAMSALA, INDIA, JUNE 5, 2014: THE Central Tibetan Administration’s leader, or Sikyong, today unveiled the administration’s most concerted effort to date to bring about basic freedom for Tibetan people.
Four years after talks reached a stalemate in 2010 and following the self-immolation of 130 Tibetans since 2009, Dr. Lobsang Sangay said the Middle Way Approach Campaign would help people across the globe understand exactly what the Tibetan people were calling for – genuine autonomy.
“The Middle Way Approach information materials – including an interactive website, short documentary video, Social Media campaign, timeline of the Tibetan struggle and FAQs – many of them available in 7 languages including Chinese – will make it very easy for people around the world to understand exactly what the Tibetan administration is proposing in terms of genuine autonomy within China,” Dr. Sangay said.
“With the Middle Way Approach Campaign, we are trying to engage the international community – young people, diplomats, media, people from all walks of life across different nations — to counter the Chinese Government’s misinformation campaign about the policy.
“By visiting our website ( OR they will learn the exact nature and intent of the policy, and then by clicking on through to such forums as our UMAYLAM page on Facebook and making a ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ they can show their support for the Middle Way.”
The Middle Way Approach is already supported by international leaders including US President Barack Obama and many Chinese intellectuals, such as imprisoned Nobel Peace Laureate, Liu Xiaobo. The name, the Middle Way, refers to ‘the middle way’ between repression and separation. 
Dr. Sangay said the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) had spent the past year creating a set of documents and multimedia materials that would make it clear how long His Holiness and the Tibetan administration had stuck firm to this policy, about its impact to date and its intentions for the future.
During an auspicious inauguration ceremony today, the Sikyong presented His Holiness the Dalai Lama – who has devolved his political responsibilities to the elected leader – with the information package.
He said that His Holiness and the then-Tibetan administration formulated the “Middle Away Approach” policy in 1974 as a realistic option to solve the issue of Tibet.  This foresight of His Holiness was affirmed in 1979 when Chinese paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, stated that, “apart from independence, all issues can be discussed” and offered talks with His Holiness.
His Holiness presented the Middle Way Approach to the Chinese leader, and a long period of contact and discussions between Dharamsala and Beijing resulted.
“Since this time, there have been 9 Rounds of Talks, four fact-finding delegations to Tibet and regular visits by Tibetans to the Tibetan regions,” Dr. Sangay said
“We are calling on the people of the world – young and old – to join the UMAYLAM: Middle Way Approach Campaign and help secure the future of the Tibetan people.”
There are 6 million Tibetans in Tibet, and another 150,000 around the world.
Credit Source:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Dalai Lama offers answers to universal questions

It can seem overwhelming to seek answers to universal questions. Sometimes the answers we find seem too complex to digest. Sometimes it’s too simplistic of a solution. Other times the questions are too philosophical to even be answered.

If a reassuring, quick read is what you’re looking for, “Questions for the Dalai Lama: Answers on Love, Success, Happiness & The Meaning of Life” is a good starting point. The book is assembled from quotes, articles, speeches and written works attributed to the Dalai Lama.
Broken up into five sections, “Questions” delves into the following topics: Love, compassion, success, life’s challenges and happiness. The format is easy to follow and read in full or in sections.
Each chapter starts with several quotes, followed by questions and answers. Questions range from “how can we each make the biggest difference in the world?” to “how do I deal with difficult people?” and “is love a natural need in humans?”
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” — The XIV Dalai Lama said about love.
The bulk of the Dalai Lama’s answers aren’t religion specific. This may seem out of place considering he is the world’s foremost Buddhist leader. Yet it matches the principles he’s taught for decades about peace and compassion regardless of what religion is practiced.
“Freedom is the real source of human happiness and creativity. Irrespective of whether you are a believer or nonbeliever, whether Buddhist, Christian, or Jew, the important thing is to be a good human being.” — The XIV Dalai Lama
And it’s these type of messages that are universal.
Source Credit: The Sentinel

Friday, February 21, 2014

Obama to meet Dalai Lama on Friday as U.S. urges talks with China

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama will meet exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the White House on Friday in a show of concern about China's human rights practices.
Obama's midmorning session with the Dalai Lama may well draw a reprimand from China, which views him as a violent separatist because he seeks more autonomy for Tibet.
In what appeared to be a small concession to the Chinese, Obama will see the Dalai Lama in the White House Map Room, a historically important room but of less significance than the Oval Office, the president's inner sanctum.
But the fact the meeting is taking place at all reflects U.S. concerns about a wide range of Chinese activities from human rights practices to territorial tensions in the East China Sea. Obama's U.S. strategic pivot, or rebalancing, toward Asia is seen as a reaction to the growing clout of China.
The White House views the Dalai Lama as "an internationally respected religious and cultural leader" and noted Obama had met with him twice before, in February 2010 and July 2011.
A senior Chinese official vowed this week to ignore foreign pressure on human rights, and said foreign leaders who meet with the Dalai Lama should "pay a price" for it.
The United States recognizes Tibet as part of China and does not support Tibetan independence, but supports the Dalai Lama's approach for more autonomy, said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.
"We are concerned about continuing tensions and the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas of China," Hayden said.
"We will continue to urge the Chinese government to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, as a means to reduce tensions," Hayden said in a statement announcing the 10 a.m.(1500 GMT) meeting.
The United States has also been concerned about a territorial dispute between China and Japan over a remote chain of islands in the East China Sea. Washington has vowed to ignore an air defense zone declared over the area by Beijing.
The White House is expected to issue a statement about the meeting after it takes place.

The Dalai Lama was in Washington on Thursday meeting with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative organization.
Source Credit: The Reuters