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Twins' First Steps Make International Headlines

Once-conjoined sisters Nima and Dawa return to Bhutan after separation surgery in Australia

(Newser) - Two formerly conjoined twin girls arrived home in Bhutan Thursday after being separated in an operation in Australia, sparking joy when their family saw them walking independently. Twenty-month-old Nima and Dawa returned to Bhutan after a 22-hour flight from Melbourne with their mother, four months after their operation, per the...

2 Nations With Nukes in Armed Standoff Over Mountain Road

China and India fought over the same area in 1962

(Newser) - China and India are in the midst of a potentially volatile border dispute centering on just 34 square miles and an unpaved road. Last month, Indian troops confronted Chinese workers trying to extend a road in a contested area known as the Doklam Plateau at the point where China, India,...

In Bhutan, Basketball Is the Sport of Kings

Shooting hoops is a royal activity in the tiny Kingdom

(Newser) - In the Kingdom of Bhutan, basketball isn't a street sport—it's a royal sport. The New York Times goes balling with the country's 23-year-old queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck, who plays every day and boasts an average of 34 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. Bhutan's fourth...

What Makes This the World's Scariest Airport

Paro Airport in Bhutan is in a treacherous location, to say the least

(Newser) - If you're a squeamish flier, you may want to stop reading right now. The Daily Mail reports on what is said to be the world's most dangerous airport—at the very least, Bhutan's Paro Airport seems to handily capture the title of most dangerous place to land....

In Bhutan, a Lavish Royal Wedding

Thousands of villagers attend extravagant reception

(Newser) - The wedding of King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, Bhutan’s fifth Dragon King, was an extravagant affair outside a sacred 17th century monastery fortress, featuring dancers performing traditional routines, singers chanting celebratory songs, and a procession of monks and flag bearers leading the soon-to-be-queen inside. Even so, there were no...

Bhutan Monk Faces Prison —for Having Tobacco

He runs afoul of strict anti-smoking law

(Newser) - Bhutan is apparently not messing around with its strict new anti-smoking rules . Cops busted a 24-year-old monk and charged him with illegally possessing tobacco, a felony that could land him in jail for 5 years. Bhutan, which aims to become the world's first smoke-free nation, bans cigarette sales in the...

Smoking in Bhutan? Cops Can Raid Your Home

New law is quite unpopular

(Newser) - It’s not a good time to be a smoker in Bhutan: In an effort to become the world’s first smoke-free nation, the Buddhist country will now allow police to raid homes in an effort to smoke out illegal smokers. Bhutan banned sales of tobacco in 2005, but it's...

Bhutan Crowns 28-Year-Old King

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck heads newly democratic Himalayan nation

(Newser) - Bhutan, the world’s youngest democracy, has its youngest monarch today, with 28-year-old Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck crowned king, the Telegraph reports. Reformist King Jigme Singye passed on the title on the heels of this year’s first-ever parliamentary elections. “What is important to me are the hopes and...

Laptop Ban Cuts Into Bhutan MPs' Computer Gaming

Speaker: "I have seen many of our lawmakers playing computer games when others are debating serious issues"

(Newser) - Bhutan's parliament has banned members from bringing laptops to work in an attempt to keep lawmakers focused on government business, the BBC reports. "I have seen many of our lawmakers playing computer games when others are debating serious issues," said the speaker of the new democracy's National Assembly....

World's Diciest Landing Strips
 World's Diciest Landing Strips 

World's Diciest Landing Strips

From the US to Bhutan, a tour of white-knuckle airports

(Newser) - The scenery is spectacular, but lofty mountaintops, stiff trade winds, and abbreviated tarmacs make for teeth-clenching landings at the world’s most harrowing runways, per Travel and Leisure:
  • Paro Airport, Bhutan: Surrounded by 16,000-foot-high Himalayan peaks, what could possibly go wrong?
  • Barra Airport, Scotland: Hold on tight. The roughness

Democracy Comes to Bhutan
 Democracy Comes to Bhutan 

Democracy Comes to Bhutan

Tiny kingdom peacefully shifts to constitutional monarchy

(Newser) - The people of Bhutan went to the polls for the first time today, ending a century of absolute monarchy. Some voters were uneasy about the transition, AFP reports. “We are very happy,” said one. But “sometimes we worry because it’s a new system.” In an...

Bhutan to Measure Happiness
 Bhutan to Measure Happiness 

Bhutan to Measure Happiness

Tiny nation calculates its Gross National Happiness

(Newser) - The king of Bhutan decided 20 years ago to start measuring his people's well-being—dubbed Gross National Happiness—but he never quite figured out how to quantify the national mood. With the Bhutan's first democratic election on Monday, and modernization transforming the long-isolated country, a commission has been charged with...

'Grump' Finds Happiest Places
'Grump' Finds Happiest Places

'Grump' Finds Happiest Places

Author places Bhutan, Iceland at the top of his most joyous locales

(Newser) - When self-described grouch Eric Weiner packed his bags and set off to find personal bliss, one might've expected him to head for tropical weather or lavish settings. Au contraire, CNN reports: Weiner’s favorite countries were frigid Iceland and underdeveloped Bhutan. He found the most content people were those who...

Bhutan Test-Drives Democracy
Bhutan Test-Drives Democracy

Bhutan Test-Drives Democracy

Himalayan kingdom not sold on the ride or the mileage

(Newser) - The tiny Buddhist nation of Bhutan held a mock election Saturday in preparation for the transition from monarchy to democracy set for next year. The yellow thunder dragon defeated its blue, green, and red counterparts in the vote, a test run for the latest reform advocated by modernization-minded King Jigme...

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