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from FaithWorld:

Buddhist Bhutan warns felling trees a threat to happiness

Photo

prayer-flags

Bhutan has warned its citizens over cutting down thousands of young trees every year to make prayer flags, a threat to the tiny kingdom's lush scenery and the government's duty to bring "Gross National Happiness".

Himalayan Buddhists put up prayer flags for good luck or to help the dead find the right path to their next life. The more flag poles put up for the departed the better, and Buddhist monks say fresh poles must be used each time.

Having failed to convince its citizens to switch from wood to steel for prayer flags, the government of the Himalayas' last Buddhist kingdom is growing bamboo, which it hopes will be an attractive alternative.

Read the whole story here. (Photo: Prayer flags in Thimphu, 23 Aug 2003/Kamal Kishore)

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from Changing China:

Is ‘Lost Boy’ Lomong the right choice to carry U.S. flag?

Lomong celebratesWhen militiamen swept into their villages on horseback in the early 1990s, shooting, burning and raping as they went, tens of thousands of young Sudanese boys were forced to flee for their lives.

They walked for hundreds of miles, many dying on the way of starvation and illness. Others were eaten by lions. But many survived, ending up in refugee camps in the near-desert plains of northern Kenya.

from Changing China:

You can carry the flag, Dirk — just don’t wave it around

Nowitzki trainsDirk Nowitzki was picked to carry the German flag into the Olympic Stadium's Opening Ceremonies on Friday but, in a country where carrying the national flag had long fallen out of favour, the NBA all-star basketball player was given a few unsolicited pointers by German Olympic officials on how to do the job.

"They gave me the tip that it's not going to be like at Carnival and so I shouldn't wave the flag around too wildly," said Nowitzki, who added he was deeply honoured to be the country's flag-bearer. "But I think I'll still be able to have some fun with the whole thing."

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