Bhutan, India celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations – KuenselOnline
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The minister said that given the significance of the age old friendship, His Majesty The King was pleased to command the formation of a national organising committee under the chairmanship of the former Chief Justice Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye to ensure the success of a meaningful and befitting golden jubilee anniversary celebration for the government and people of two countries.
A joint committee for celebrations comprising senior officials from the government and the Embassy of India in Thimphu, and Ministry of External Affairs and the Royal Bhutanese embassy in New Delhi have been enduring to deliver on the aspirations of two governments.
The launch of the logo kicks off a year full of festivities in both the countries.
The two countries have been working on number of activities to be organised throughout the year. To celebrate the special, close and exemplary relationship in a befitting manner, apart from commemorating events such as cultural and sporting activities, the planned activities include inauguration of a number of infrastructure projects, new initiatives and numerous exchanges that is expected to take the relationship to next level.
A plan for the yearlong celebration is divided into three broad themes: A string of cultural events, shows, exhibitions, business seminars, commemorative events and inauguration of large infrastructure projects in Bhutan have been planned to commemorate the historic occasion in a befitting manner.
Perched on the edge of a steep valley in the remote mountains of western Sichuan province stands an extraordinary wooden building — part European gothic cathedral and part traditional Chinese courtyard complex.
In fact, the first recorded example of panda diplomacy dates back much further to AD, when Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang dynasty presented a pair of live bears to neighbouring Japan.
In the late s, the sons of the first President Roosevelt, Kermit and Teddy Jr, led an expedition to Sichuan to shoot a panda, which they skinned and sent to the Chicago Field Museum. Then, inUS adventurer Ruth Harkness sparked a wave of panda-mania after she smuggled a live baby panda disguised as a puppy to the US.
In the first modern example of the panda as an explicit political gift, the wife of Chinese leader Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek presented a pair of the animals — named Pan-Dee and Pan-Dah — to the Bronx Zoo in to thank the US for war-time aid in fighting the occupying Japanese. And after the communists came to power inChairman Mao Zedong resurrected the practice of gifting pandas to favoured allies — in his case North Korea and the Soviet Union.
This marked the first of roughly five phases of panda diplomacy that have closely mirrored the momentous changes China itself has undergone. These can be broadly categorised as the communist, rapprochement, capitalist, conservation and soft-power phases.
The capitalist phase began in the early s, echoing the get-rich-quick market reforms transforming China at the time. This era involved highly lucrative short-term loans in which western zoos, primarily in the US, rented pandas to attract crowds and make money.
Eventually, the US Fish and Wildlife Service banned the short-term import of pandas and the purely commercial era of panda diplomacy gradually ended. This pioneering arrangement satisfied China, which no longer wanted to give away the animals in perpetuity, while mollifying conservationists, who complained the bears were being exploited for profit in violation of several US laws. The agreement launched the conservation phase of panda diplomacy and became the model for all future panda loans.
It is hard to pinpoint when panda diplomacy became such an explicit vehicle for soft power, but in the past few years the emphasis has clearly shifted away from conservation and back towards the political symbolism of the panda.
Today, there are 70 pandas in 20 countries outside China and several more loans have been agreed or are under negotiation.
In just the past few months, China has sent — or promised to send — pandas to Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark and Indonesia. Xi personally signs off on every panda loan to a foreign country, according to several people with knowledge of the process. But before he decides whether to grant a country pandas or not, China requires the foreign head of state — the queen of Denmark, Angela Merkel herself — to ask for the bears in person. People involved say the convoluted negotiations and personal involvement of a foreign leader remind them of ancient rituals in which Chinese emperors would receive barbarian supplicants.
There is also a more practical and mercenary aspect to all this. For example, Australia, France and Canada all received pandas after agreeing to sell nuclear technology and uranium to China. Scotland accepted a pair of pandas in as part of an agreement to share offshore drilling technology and supply salmon to China, while the Dutch loan this year came as the Netherlands agreed to supply advanced healthcare services.
Pandas can also be used to punish countries that stray from this unspoken agreement. This punishment was possible because a clause in all panda-loan agreements stipulates that any cub born while abroad remains the property of China, as does any biological material from the animals such as blood, fur and semen.
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A recent study by 11 Chinese and international scientists found that despite decades of conservation efforts, their total area of current habitat is 5 per cent smaller than it was in the mids, and there are three times as many roads as there were then.
The FT was able to obtain the exact co-ordinates of the Fengtongzhai reserve, which revealed a disjointed patchwork of supposedly protected zones drawn apparently intentionally to exclude most economic activity. On a recent visit, I drove for hours along a riverbed pockmarked with large shingle quarries and punctuated by hydro-electric dams, cement plants, new tourist villages and even an enormous marble quarry.
Although overall panda habitat did increase very slightly from tofragmentation caused by roads, railways, dams, mining and other activity means the remaining pandas are isolated in more than 30 separate groups, most of which have fewer than 10 individual bears.Ocean's 8
Patricia Zanini Graca, who dreams of one day working at the UN, traveled from Brazil to South Orange for an opportunity to share her plan for strengthening global cooperation as a way of achieving sustainable development. Another finalist, Sofia Calvo Castillo, zeroed in on the problem of air pollution that affects environmentally-conscious Costa Rica.
Castillo, who lives in Summit, New Jersey, proposed developing hydrogen fuels cells to power vehicles and help reduce pollution. After finishing her presentation, a panelist asked how hydro-powered vehicles would get into the market.
She acknowledged that weaning drivers off fossil fuels is difficult: They listened intently to lively presentations delivered, through the magic of Skype, from classrooms and coffee shops a world away. They asked probing follow-up questions about implementation, evaluations and costs involved. And, by the end of the day, they had 4 winners selected.
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Ann Lee, of Sammamish, Washington, captured 1st place for her earth-friendly initiative. Lee, a high school junior, remembered learning as a child about how warming temperatures were shrinking the habitat for polar bears. Moved by the plight of these "cute and cuddly animals," she dedicated herself to making a difference. We have a moral obligation to do something. Presenting her proposal via Skype from Lexington, Kentucky, where she was also attending a robotics competition, Lee demonstrated how her project incentivized the use public transportation, bikes and car pools by students at her school.