– found in pool of blood with gunshot wound to headThe lifeless body of 59-nine-year-old businessman Parbhudyal “Cecil” Persaud, called ‘Konkie,’ was discovered by his wife lying in a pool of his own blood at the back of their home at 83 Collingwood Avenue, Nandy Park, East Bank Demerara at about 06:00h on Sunday, when she opened the door to begin the day’s activities.The devastated woman raised an alarm, and the police were summoned. There was evidence of a gunshot wound to the head, suspected to have been inflicted by the man placing the still cocked .32 Taurus pistol in his mouth and pulling the trigger. A spent shell of similar calibre was found near Persaud’s body, while 8 rounds of matching ammunition were found in the magazine and one was in the breach. The pistol was jointly registered in the names of the now dead man and his 29-year-old son.Police reports indicate that Persaud may have taken the decision to end his life between 12:00h on Saturday and 06:00h on Sunday. His body is presently at the Lyken Funeral Parlour, awaiting a post-mortem.Guyana Times understands that, at about 10:00h on Saturday, Persaud had requested that his wife leave the home and not return alone. The unsuspecting woman accordingly left to join her son at the family’s sawmill at Yarrowkabra on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway. When the duo returned home at about 19:00h, Persaud was nowhere to be seen. Thus, having unsuccessfully contacted relatives in hope of reaching the man, his wife and son duly retired to bed; only to make the ghastly discovery of his dead body the following morning.According to family members, Persaud had been embroiled in a financial crisis for over a year, and had gone into depression; even making known on numerous occasions his intention to end his life.“He has a sawmill up the (Linden/Soesdyke) Highway, and about a year-and-half-ago he encountered some financial problems and he was very depressed… He said before that he would have committed suicide; and when his wife discovered (his body) this morning, it looked like he (had) shot himself,” the relative related.Persaud had allegedly suffered a mental breakdown some three years ago, and had been a patient at the Fort Canje Hospital’s Psychiatric Clinic in Berbice. His next doctor’s appointment was scheduled for Wednesday.He leaves to mourn his wife, four children and six grandchildren, among other relatives and friends.
Arsenal and Tottenham flop Emmanuel Adebayor is wanted by Antalyaspor, according to reports in Turkey.The striker was released by Spurs earlier this month after falling out of favour with current boss Mauricio Pochettino.The Togo international is now a free agent but cannot join a new club until January, as he was registered as a Tottenham player before the end of the previous transfer window.Sides in the Middle East have already shown an interest in Adebayor but he has now received even more offers.According to several reports in Turkey, Antalyaspor have contacted the 31-year-old’s agent about a move in January.The Turkish club are said to be big fans of the former Manchester City man and are keen to bring him in. 1 Emmanuel Adebayor
Gardai are investigating ANOTHER spate of burglaries in Letterkenny overnight.Gardai are investigating another spate of break-ins in Letterkenny.Thieves broke into a number of homes in the Lisnennan Court area.At least two of the burglaries took place while the families involved were in their homes. It is understood the thieves broke into the homes by breaking the lock on the front door.A number of items was taken from one young couple’s home.The gang then broke into the house next door and stole a number of items.They then stole the owner’s car to make their getaway with the stolen goods. The raids come just days after Mayor of Letterkenny Pascal Blake appealed for more Garda manpower after a spate of break-ins in the Wolfetone Place area of the town.Gardai have confirmed they are investigating the latest break-ins. NOT AGAIN – GARDAI INVESTIGATE ANOTHER SPATE OF BREAK-INS OVERNIGHT was last modified: September 25th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:break-insGardailetterkennyLisnennan Court
(Click here, if you are unable to view this photo gallery or video on your mobile device.)SANTA CLARA — Nick Mullens was all set to win his encore as the 49ers starting quarterback. But, as was the case in the pre-Mullens era, the 49ers defense couldn’t hold a late lead.Eli Manning threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard with 53 seconds remaining to hand the 49ers a 27-23 defeat. “I’m extremely disappointed,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We put ourselves in position where …
The specimen found at Malapa consisted of what looked like a piece of jawbone and parts of the skeleton. The researchers had to analyse the fox closely to distinguish it from any living or extinct form of fox, based on the proportions of its teeth and other aspects of its anatomy. (Image: Wits University) The Malapa cave is one of the richest archaeological sites on the continent, and is best known as the resting place of skeletons of a new species of human ancestor known as Australopithecus sediba, found here in 2008 by Prof Lee Berger. (Image: Institute for Human Evolution) MEDIA CONTACTS • Institute for Human Evolution Wits University +27 11 717 6695 RELATED ARTICLES • No bedbugs for early humans • Fossils tell the mammal story • A fun approach to science teaching • Maropeng top evotourism destinationWilma den HartighSouth Africa’s renowned Malapa cave at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site in Gauteng has yielded yet another discovery – a two-million-year old previously unknown fossil fox.The Malapa cave is one of the richest archaeological sites on the continent, and is best known as the resting place of skeletons of a new species of human ancestor known as Australopithecus sediba, found here in 2008.The Malapa fox is the second new species, after sediba, to be described from this site.Prof Lee Berger, a palaeoanthropologist from the Institute for Human Evolution (IHE) and School of GeoSciences at Wits University, says the discovery is important for South Africa, and the world.“Malapa continues to reveal this extraordinary record of past life,” Berger says.“Often everyone pays attention to the major hominin discoveries we make, but the discovery of a new species is a very rare thing,” says Berger, who made the discovery of A. sediba.“We find fossils all the time, many of animals that are extinct now but did live at one time. Prior to this discovery, the world didn’t know that this fox existed.”Researchers from Wits and Johannesburg universities and international scientists published the findings in an article in the Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa on 16 January 2013.The cool factorBerger says when the fossil was discovered, carnivore specialists realised it was something that they had never seen before in science.The specimen they found at Malapa consisted of what looked like a piece of jawbone and parts of the skeleton – but the only way to prove it is an entirely new fox was through intensive research.The researchers had to analyse the fox closely to distinguish it from any living or extinct form of fox, based on the proportions of its teeth and other aspects of its anatomy.They named the previously unknown species Vulpes skinneri, in honour of the late world renowned South African mammalogist and ecologist, Prof John Skinner of the University of Pretoria.Berger says the discovery can help scientists answer important evolutionary questions about modern African mammals, but it also reveals more unanswered questions about the origins of small carnivores such as foxes.“It can tell us more about the evolution of modern foxes and gives us insight into the ecology and world of our ancestors,” he says.“Now there is a whole new lineage of foxes out there that scientists can research,” he says.Small carnivores often had much smaller and more localised habitats than larger mammals, and this is very useful to scientists. Berger says it could potentially help researchers learn more about the environment at the time.Mystery surrounds the ancestry of foxesThe IHE’s Dr Brian Kuhn, head of carnivore studies at Malapa, says very little is known about the ancestry of foxes in comparison with other African carnivores such as larger dogs of the Canis group.“It’s wonderful to see a potential ancestral form of living foxes,” Kuhn says.Berger explains that so little is known about foxes because specialists studying small carnivores are very rare. “It is not a field of study often taken up by scientists,” he says.Researchers also tend to focus on the study of “prestige animals” such as large mammals.He says smaller animals are also poorly represented in fossil records because often predators consume them entirely, leaving very little to study.And this is why the world’s newest fox is such an extraordinary discovery – it will inspire scientists to work on lesser known species and discover similar animals.Berger expects that many scientists are going to re-examine their existing fossil collections. If they take a closer look at what they have, they could perhaps uncover another new animal species.“I think we are going to see an explosion of interest in these small and very important mammals,” he says.“Who knows what we will find next?”
South Africa has the potential to have a positive influence globally, through its access to the United Nations, the G8 countries and BRICS. Critical to this impact is the country’s international reputation.South Africa Incorporated is a research project designed to interrogate the country’s exposure to, reputation in, and strategic relations with African anchor states. It examines South Africa’s footprint in African markets, taking a range of sectors and realms of cultural interaction into consideration.The South Africa Incorporated series aims to create a platform through which Brand South Africa can relate the story of South Africa’s involvement in, exposure to, and opportunities open for intensified intra-African trade and cultural exchange.For more information, contact:Dr Petrus de Kock, General Manager: Research, Brand South AfricaEmail: email@example.comTel: +27 (0)11 712 5000Research note: the global reputation and competitiveness of South African cities This research note looks at how South Africa’s cities match up to its global counterparts. The research is based on the 2015 City brands Index and the MasterCard African Cities Growth Index.2016 | 8 March | VIEW DOCUMENT Report: SA Inc Fieldwork Research – Angola and the Need for Cultural CompetenceHistorically, South Africa and Angola have a complex relationship. The former was complicit in the protracted Angolan civil war; the latter served as a base for anti-apartheid liberation forces. This unique history means South African individuals and companies must be sensitive to race and history when doing business in Angola.2015 | 19 November | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT Presentation: SA Inc Fieldwork Research – Perspectives on South Africa’s reputation on the African continentThis presentation explores South Africa’s reputation on the African continent, the country’s performance on the 2015 Nation Brand Index, and indices on our global competitiveness. It also presents Brand South Africa fieldwork research, as part of the SA Inc series.2015 | 17 November | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENTPresentation: Brand South Africa Research & Nation Brand PerformanceThis presentation gives an overview of the Brand South Africa mandate and strategy, our nation brand performance, brand reputation, and Brand South Africa research and fieldwork.2015 | 29 September | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENTResearch Report: The development of a South Africa Incorporated Strategy for the Nation BrandIn June 2015, Brand South Africa hosted a Research Seminar on the theme: The development of a South Africa Incorporated Strategy for the Nation Brand. The theme draws on a Brand SA research project initiated during 2014/2015 – the SA Inc Project – to develop a more holistic understanding of South Africa’s involvement on the African continent.2015 | 28 July | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENTResearch Note: African Market entry strategy – learning to listen & listening to learnBrand South Africa researched the profile of the nation brand in Africa, how South Africa and South Africans are perceived on the continent, and identified opportunities and challenges South Africans, South African brands, and generally speaking the nation brand faces when investing in, trading with, interfacing or interacting with peer African markets.2014 | 12 December | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENTSouth Africa In(c) Series Research Report #1Researching the Nation Brand – background to the concept, and initial findings from fieldwork in Kenya and Nigeria. The first SA Inc report aims to introduce the project, and profile some of the initial, and somewhat surprising findings, from fieldwork conducted in Kenya in July 2014 and Nigeria in August 2014. The report also contextualises the Africa-focused research by briefly interrogating the concept, and theoretical trends in the field of nation brand research.2014 | 18 September | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENTResearch Note: A lesson for Brand South Africa from NigeriaBe bold, keep it real, and make it quick – a conversation on the art of Nollywood success.Since its birth in the early 1990s, Nollywood has grown to become a multimillion-dollar industry. Its success on the global stage is well recognised. Today Nollywood producers, directors, and actors have become Nigeria’s true brand ambassadors.2014 | 23 August | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENTSouth Africa Nation Brand Country Reputation Reports – an orientationThis research note serves as an orientation to a series of Country Reputation Reports developed by Brand South Africa. The purpose of the reports is to bring together a divergent set of reputation, investor perception, and competitiveness indicators that can assist Brand South Africa’s government, business, and civil-society stakeholders when engaging with the markets covered in the reports.2014 | 4 June | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENTThe country reputation reports bring together indicators derived from the following studies:• The Nation Brand Index• The City Brand Index• Brand South Africa’s International Investor Perceptions Research• World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report South Africa’s overall reputation indicators2014 | April | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT South Africa’s reputation in China2014 | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT South Africa’s reputation in Brazil2014 | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT South Africa’s reputation in Russia2014 | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT South Africa’s reputation in India2014 | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT South Africa’s reputation in the USA2014 | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT South Africa’s reputation in the UK2014 | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT South Africa’s reputation in Germany2014 | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT South Africa’s reputation in France2014 | DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT
Bada, Samsung’s own mobile operating system, on track to power around 5 million phones by year-end, has just updated its software development kit (SDK) to version 1.2.1. The update reportedly includes an important new feature: in-app advertising capabilities. The feature, which will allow bada developers to monetize their apps, will go live beginning January 1st, 2011. At least, that’s the news coming out of Samsung Hub, an unofficial source that typically publishes reliable content and scoops.This news has not been officially published anywhere as far as we can tell, not on Samsung’s blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages or in its news rooms. But the updated SDK is available for download now. Samsung Hub, as noted above, is an unofficial, but often accurate, source for Samsung-related information, so we’re betting on this news being credible while awaiting official confirmation.According to the blog post, developers implementing in-app advertising capabilities into their apps will retain all the revenue generated – they will not have to split that revenue with Samsung.In looking through the release notes for the Samsung bada 1.2.1 SDK, we don’t see any mention of “advertising,” “ads,” “revenue,” or anything else that hints at this new feature, though. (Let us know if you spot it, maybe we just missed it.) Tags:#marketing#mobile#news Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces It makes sense that Samsung would launch this capability, though – bada-powered phones are selling well…very well, in fact. Considering that the first bada phone, the Samsung Wave, didn’t ship until June, and the Wave was the only bada phone available until October, the platform is off to a decent start. Samsung has also noted that it has seen over 50 million downloads of apps from its own app store, too, mostly thanks to bada’s popularity.In addition, with the upcoming bada 2.0 OS, Samsung will add more features to the platform, including a better user interface, Near Field Communication (NFC), a smarter homescreen, SDK support for Linux and Mac, SNS integration and more.Although bada’s numbers are promising, analysts recommend developers consider their options carefully before jumping on board this train. Samsung has not fully committed to the OS, Strategy Analytics analyst Alex Spektor reminded us recently – it also supports Android and Windows Phone 7, for example. However, Samsung is ending support for Symbian as of January 1st, it should be noted, giving the company more time to focus on bada going forward into the new year. Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … sarah perez The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology
Healthy Childhood Sexual DevelopmentWondering what’s next in our MFLN 2014 Webinar series? Here are the details!Date: Thursday, November 13, 2014Time: 11am-1pm EasternLocation: Sexualized Behavior in ChildrenShelly Martin, M.D., Lt Col, USAF, MC, and Child Abuse Pediatrician will be presenting on normal sexualized behavior in children as well as when children display sexualized behaviors that are concerning and problematic. The webinar will highlight various factors associated with children’s sexualized behaviors and assist clinicians in understanding appropriate assessment and disclosure processes involved when problematic symptoms are present.We offer 2.0 National Association of Social Worker CE credits for each of our webinars, click here to learn more. For more information on future presentations in the 2014 Family Development webinar series, please visit our professional development website or connect with us via social media for announcements: Facebook & Twitter.
Last May, as a 30th-anniversary gift to ourselves, my husband, Stuart, and I went on a tour of Nepal and Bhutan. Post-child-rearing but before (fingers crossed) grandchildren, we wanted something big, something different, something outside our comfort zone that would not actually be uncomfortable. Which meant hiring someone else to do the planning for us, in this case, a Massachusetts-based tour company called Odysseys Unlimited.Squeezed between the northeastern tip of India, where it loops around Bangladesh, and the southernmost curve of Tibet, Nepal has a population that is mostly Hindu. Bhutan, in the same neighborhood, is largely Buddhist. Bhutan is also the last of the Himalayan kingdoms to remain a kingdom, with a hereditary monarchy and a culture largely untouched by the ravages of Hollywood’s fashion and pop dominance on the one hand, and that of environmental degradation on the other.Until 1974, Bhutan did not let foreigners in. Since then, it has been reinventing itself, casting itself as the world’s happiest nation and measuring its overall welfare not in terms of GNP but by “gross national happiness,” as set forth in 2008 in the Constitution of Bhutan. For tourists, this means a $250-a-day tariff (typically folded into other costs, including the required guide).A country that, for many of the most ambitious mountaineers,all but invented trekking, plus a pristine sliver of the Himalayas that celebrates both happiness and Buddhism? We signed on.The Punakha Dzong is situated on the Mo Chu River, in Punakha, Bhutan, July 9, 2018. A couple hoping to experience “something big, something different” visited Nepal and Bhutan through a tour company. Poras Chaudhary/The New York TimesBut we had some concerns, mainly having to do with our preconceived ideas of organized tours. My husband and I are youngsters in our pre-60s. What if the others on the trip turned out to be downright old? And what if the guides spent too much time on stuff we were not interested in? Could you even get off the bus if you wanted to? We had never been on an organized tour.Yet what did we know about stupas? Maybe we needed the kind of tour provided by professionals after all.Speaking of stupas, I had never seen oneuntil the morning after we arrived in Kathmandu. Delirious from lack of sleep, we met our fellow tourists in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency, boarded the first of the buses that would take us to and fro for the duration of the trip, and set off for Swayambhunath, a temple complex built atop a hill reached by hundreds of steps. At the very top is the stupa itself, white, with a 13-tiered golden spire.Stupas are hemispherical structures, focal points for worship and meditation. As our excellent tour guide, Sanjay Nepal, explained, they are typically painted with four sets of eyes pointing in four directions to symbolize the Buddha’s all-seeingness. My own set of eyes did not know what to look at first: the prayer flags fluttering in the sky, the prayer wheels being spun by the devout, the monks on their cellphones or the monks at their devotions?And then there were the monkeys. Monkeys, monkeys, everywhere — in the trees, on the sleeping Buddha statue, climbing the enormous stupa.By the end of the day, I would learn that the downside of being on a tour was not, in our case, our fellow tourgoers (who, though mostly older than we were by an average of 12 years, were an energetic, friendly bunch). Rather, it was exactly what the upside of the tour was supposed to be: the schedule, which included meal times and number of sites visited per day.You went where and when the tour took you, even if you would have preferred a good, long après-lunch nap.Pashupatinath Temple complex, a sacred Hindu shrine on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, July 9, 2018. A couple hoping to experience “something big, something different” visited Nepal and Bhutan through a tour company. Photo: Poras Chaudhary/The New York TimesInstead, Day 1 included not just Swayambhunath, but also Durbar Square, the historic city center. Still, despite my jet lag, every one of my sense organs woke up as we climbed off the bus and into a place unlike anything I had seen except in movies.It was here — specifically, to “Freak Street” — that the hippies who “discovered” Nepal in the 1960s flocked. They were attracted to the astonishing jumble of temples, alleys, courtyards, shrines, statuary, pagodas, friezes, vegetable-and-spice sellers, fishmongers, palaces and hashish shops.The hashish shops are long since closed. But still, I felt as if I was in an altered state when I saw the little girl, known as the Kumari, who is worshiped as the incarnation of the Hindu goddess Taleju. She lives in the 18th-century brick palace of Kumari Ghar; visitors may enter the courtyard and take snapshots of the richly carved reliefs, but may not photograph the goddess herself, should she appear — as she did — at the window of her royal cage, her little-girl eyes huge with ritual makeup.Kathmandu is home to some 4 1/2 million residents, if you include the towns that it has gobbled up. The city is all but choked, not only by motor vehicles, but also with garbage, pollution, pedestrians, cattle, oxen and stray dogs; and it is still rebuilding, in great plumes of grit and dust, from the 2015 earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people and injured an additional 22,000.The city is also home to many religious traditions that have long rubbed up against one another, resulting not just in the parade of stupas that we would see, but also in an almost overwhelming profusion of gods, spirits, demons, carvings, masks, mendicants, monks, music, prayer, ritual and meditative practices.I would need a lifetime of study to understand the various manifestations of Hinduism, Buddhism, animism, tantric tradition and their offshoots. I can say, in extreme oversimplification, that most Hindu practice revolves around individual deity worship. Buddhism, which came out of the same ancient Indian religious culture as Hinduism, centers on its four Noble Truths, which articulate, among other things, that all suffering comes from craving.Men at the Punakha Dzong, situated on the Mo Chu River in Punakha, Bhutan, on July 9, 2018. Dzongs are majestic and usually whitewashed fortress-monasteries that are now home to both monks and government officials. Photo: Poras Chaudhary/The New York TimesIs one path more peaceful than the other? I would not know. I do know that in Nepal, they are often all mixed up, or coexist, with one another, or share the neighborhood, as they do in Patan Durbar Square — a different Durbar Square from the one we’d already visited, this one in the Kathmandu Valley city of Lalitpur, the ancient seat of the Malla dynasty. Though now subsumed by the greater Kathmandu sprawl, Patan’s Durbar Square is cleaner and more hippie-free than its counterpart to the north.Up a hill and over and around stood many temples devoted to numerous expressions of numerous deities. By now it was late afternoon on Day 1 of the tour, and my brain was exploding — or, rather, imploding. It was a lot to take in, particularly since it was well past bedtime in New Jersey. Not to mention that, because I enjoy low blood pressure, I tend to keel over when I am tired or hungry. At an elevation of 4,593 feet, Kathmandu would have been challenging for me even without the overstimulation. As if he could see into my soul, Sanjay sent us back to the bus via rickshaw.As the tour continued and I wandered through temple complexes, past statues of deities and among robed monks, I began to have a new appreciation of how being rooted in spiritual tradition might be a key to something akin to serenity, to life fully lived.But nothing quite excited my own lifelong quest for being in proximity to the divine like the Pashupatinath Temple complex, Nepal’s holiest Hindu shrine, where I witnessed my first cremation. My first seven or eight cremations, actually. Because here, along the banks of the Bagmati River — turgid and brown before the onset of the monsoons — is where the devout send their dead to the next world in accordance with the teachings of the Vedas.Outside the Pashupatinath Temple complex, a sacred Hindu shrine on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, July 9, 2018. A couple hoping to experience “something big, something different” visited Nepal and Bhutan through a tour company. Photo: Poras Chaudhary/The New York TimesThe Pashupatinath Temple is a pagoda-style building with copper and gold roofs, dating to the 15th century and surrounded by theadditional temples, ashrams and shrines that make up the complex. The whole of it is populated by priests, caretakers, scholars, mendicants, seekers, tourists, knick-knack-and-jewelry sellers, and children, beggars and others so impoverished that you feel guilty about your entire, cushy life.Still, even surrounded by poverty, I had a hard time dealing with the dearth — at least in public places — of modern, clean toilets. Hotels were fine. Open-air temple complexes, not so much.Speaking of plumbing, Bhaktapur, a small city some 8 miles east of Kathmandu and the center of a third of the once-independent city-states in the Kathmandu Valley, was until a few years ago something of an open-air toilet, or so Sanjay said.Now it is so pristine that you feel as if you have wandered onto a movie set. For the past 2,000 years or so, it has been home to the Newars, master craftsmen who in the medieval era built a splendid city of warm brickwork, back alleys, temples and squares, including the Nyatapola Temple, with five pagoda stories at the top of a steep flight of stairs flanked by statues of elephants, lions and griffins.A few days later, a short flight took us over Mount Everest and into another world, starting with our approach to the airport, set in a valley surrounded by hills that practically touched the wings of the airplane as we made our descent. By now I was feeling friendly enough with my fellow tour members to make jokes about being “stupa-fied.” I was also punch-drunk from a combination of nonstop touring and high altitude.An almost untouched swath of forest, mountains, waterways and fertile agricultural lowlands, with a population of fewer than 1 million residents who are governed by a constitutional monarchy, Bhutan is Edenic, and possibly even the world’s happiest country, as it claims to be. But I also wondered if it was not also somewhat, well, rigid.The famous Tiger’s Nest monastery in Paro, Bhutan, on July 10, 2018. Tiger’s Nest is built into a cliff 3,000 feet above Paro and is more than 10,000 feet above sea level. Photo: Poras Chaudhary/The New York TimesTake Bhutan’s “national dress” — colorful robes or skirts that certain classes of artisans and professionals must wear to work. Or the ubiquitous billboard-size photographs of the photogenic royal family. Or road signs urging hard work and sobriety.I did not observe a single person yelling, cursing, road-raging or even frowning. Except me, especially when, during our first night in the capital city of Thimphu, a passel of dogs had a howling contest under my window.Perhaps they were trying to communicate with the nearby and recently completed Great Buddha Dordenma. At 169 feet tall, it is massive, and as shiny as real gold — because it is real gold, or rather, gold plate. Inside its base, there are some 125,000 additional, much smaller gilded Buddha statues.The recently completed Great Buddha Dordenma at Buddha Point in the capital city of Thimphu, Bhutan, on July 10, 2018. The massive statue is 169 feet tall and covered in gold plate. Photo: Poras Chaudhary/The New York TimesNo one seemed bothered by the apparent contradiction of a golden statue in a poorly educated and developing country. But herein is the strange wonder of Bhutan: Being there, even with a guide whose job it is to show you an idealized version of the place, is like being immersed in a fairy tale. You want to believe it, too, even while knowing that gross national happiness was introduced as a government goal as recently as 2008.And why not? Until the 1960s, the country did not have cities (even now the largest city, Thimphu, has fewer than 100,000 people), but was made up of villages, forested uplands and rural, sometimes seminomadic, settlements.What the country did have were dzongs. These majestic and usually whitewashed fortress-monasteries, typically built along rivers, today are home to both monks and government officials, and are considered to be the physical manifestation of Buddhist principles.The most beautiful one we saw was in Punakha, where, on a spit of land between the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers, the looming 17th-century dzong was surrounded by blooming jacaranda trees. Constructed of compacted earth, stone and timber with fanciful trimming, the building gives way to courtyards, doors, a large stupa and fanciful statuary, painting and friezes.We also walked through farming villages and flooded fields to Chimi Lhakhang, a temple and monastery devoted to Drukpa Kunley, the “divine madman” said to have introduced Buddhism to Bhutan in 1499, and famous for the mystical powers of his penis. Thus, as we ascended to the divine madman’s temple, we were surrounded by shops selling phallus curios of varying sizes, including standing statues.The Nyatapola Temple overlooking Taumadhi Square in Bhaktapur, Nepal, July 8, 2018. A couple hoping to experience “something big, something different” visited Nepal and Bhutan through a tour company. Photo: Poras Chaudhary/The New York TimesI regret that I did not buy a single penis key fob. But I do not regret that, on our last day in Bhutan, I woke up in the gorgeous Zhiwa Ling Hotel in Paro, took my altitude-sickness pills, and, despite being worried about fainting, hiked the steep, winding trail to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery.Tiger’s Nest is built into a cliff 3,000 feet above Paro and is more than 10,000 feet above sea level. And there before my eyes was every single member of our group of seniors, all of whom had arrived at the much-photographed wonder considerably before me.I was happy to arrive with all my parts, including my brain, in functioning order, and couldn’t wait to return to our hotel so I could brag about my achievement on Facebook. So what if a bunch of oldsters and little kids had passed me, not to mention the locals who practically danced up the trail, some wearing little more on their feet than flip-flops? Even in flip-flops — or, in the case of some of the women, high heels — they seemed happy.Whether Bhutan really is the world’s happiest nation is impossible for me to discern, despite my overall impression of a populace that at the very least smiles a lot. Evidence of happiness? Who knows?All I knew was that I, a woman of a certain age who has had her share of trials and challenges, was standing at the doorway to Tiger’s Nest with a dizzying view of cliff, forest, valley and sky before me, and my true love of 30 years by my side. Related Items
MOST READ John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding AFP official booed out of forum San Antonio Spurs guards Tony Parker (9) and Patty Mills (8) high-five after a scoring run forcd the Phoenix Suns to take a timeout during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)PHOENIX — The San Antonio Spurs opened their long, annual “rodeo road trip” with one of the biggest routs in the team’s history.LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points in 28 minutes and the San Antonio Spurs demolished Phoenix 129-81 on Wednesday night.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Big shot: LeBron’s jumper at buzzer lifts Cavs past Wolves Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH “We are, I think, obviously undermanned and they just walked all over us,” Phoenix interim coach Jay Triano said. “They’re a veteran team, they play well and we had no answer.”The Spurs never trailed against a Suns team that has lost four straight and nine of 10. Phoenix’s 38 losses are the most in the NBA.San Antonio dominated from the opening tip and led 69-31 at the half. The 38-point margin was the largest halftime lead for the Spurs against a team in their history. Phoenix never got any closer than 36 points in the second half and trailed by as many as 53 in the fourth quarter.The Suns averted a 50-point loss with Danuel House’s dunk on a fastbreak lob pass with six seconds to play.“Guys made shots, the ball moved and guys competed on defense,” Aldridge said, “so hopefully it will carry over.”The level of competition will go up in a hurry. The Spurs play at Golden State Saturday night.TIP-INSSpurs: The “rodeo road trip” occurs when the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo takes over the AT&T Center. … San Antonio swept the season series with Phoenix 4-0 and has won 13 of the last 14 meetings. … Spurs won’t play at home again until Feb. 28 (against New Orleans). … The center Bertans got his fifth start of the season, replacing Pao Gasol. … San Antonio will travel 6,546 miles on their annual “rodeo trip.” Spurs have been taking the trip every year since 2003.Suns: In the 49 seasons before this one, the Suns’ biggest loss was by 44 points. … Phoenix started a lineup with the ages 24, 21, 20, 21 and 22. … Suns are 3-9 without Booker this season. … With Booker and Ulis hurt, Josh Gray — called up last week from the G-League’s Northern Arizona Suns — was the team’s’ lone healthy point guard.UP NEXTSpurs: at Golden State Warriors Saturday night.Suns: host Denver Nuggets Saturday night. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Alex Len scored 14 for the Suns, who shot 34 percent from the field and were 3-of-32 on 3-pointers.“I think it was an embarrassment for all of us out here tonight,” veteran Jared Dudley said. “I think the fans definitely earned an apology for the display. It’s definitely unexcusable.”But Popovich thought the Suns did have some mitigating factors.“Suns’ didn’t have all their bodies,” he said. “You got to have your bodies at this level or it is tough. To have the guys that they have out really hurts.”Phoenix was without leading scorer Devin Booker for the second game in a row due to a hip pointer. Center Tyson Chandler missed the game with a sore neck and Tyler Ulis left with back spasms in the first half.ADVERTISEMENT The 48-point blowout matched the most one-sided loss in Suns history — set against Portland in this season’s opener — and was the third-largest margin of victory for San Antonio.Only a 51-point Spurs win at Philadelphia on Dec. 7, 2015, and a 49-point blowout of Vancouver on Nov. 5, 1995 were bigger.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“We made shots,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “You make shots, things get easy.”Patty Mills added 18 points and Danny Green 17 for the Spurs. Dejounte Murray scored 14 before leaving with a sprained ankle in the second quarter.