NEPAL (BBC) A plane heading for the region of Mount Everest crashed just outside of the capital, killing all 19 aboard. The crash happened shortly after take-off from Katmandu. The plane, which was operated by Sita Air, crashed into a river bank and caught fire. Sixteen passengers, including seven Britons, five Chinese citizens, along with Nepalese citizens were onboard the twin-engine propeller plane. The official cause of the crash is not yet known, though the general manager of Tribhuvan International Airport, Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, said the pilot had reported to air traffic control that the plane had hit a vulture. The plane was attempting to return to the airport when it crashed. The plane was heading to Lukla, the hub for trekking in the Everest region. Now that trekking season has begun, thousands of climbers, including many Westerners will be heading out to scale the Himalayan peaks. According to British mountaineer Alan Hinkes, the journey from Katmandu to Lukla is a dangerous one, but necessary if you want to reach the Everest region. Many airplane crashes have taken place over the years in Nepal. In May, 15 people were killed when a plane crashed trying to land at an airport in the north of the country. Aviation in the mountainous country has been sharply criticized over the last few years with critics citing poor regulations and faulty aircrafts as the reason for many crashes.
TIBET (BBC) Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, is hoping for a change in Chinese policy towards Tibet with an expected change in government leadership expected in the next month. The Tibetan exile movement meets at its headquarters in the Indian town of Dharamsala to discuss strategy and ways to increase global support. There is growing concern about the number of Tibetans performing self-immolations or setting themselves on fire. It has been reported that 51 Tibetans have performed self-immolation since 2009. The Tibetan government-in-exile is facing increasing pressure from both China and it’s own followers on how to handle dealings with the Chinese government. Some want a more assertive approach to dealing with China, including open backing of those who participate in self-immolation, while other argue that the practice is at odds with Buddhist teachings. The Dalai Lama for his part stated in an interview with the BBC that the immolations were a symptom of the repressive Chinese regime and has called for a change with the expected new leadership. China has always stated that Tibet is an integral part of China and the Dalai Lama and other activist are only trying to annex the Himalayan region from China. There have been increasing tensions between ethnic Tibetans and the Han Chinese who have been encouraged to move to the region, making it harder to reach a compromise.
SRI LANKA (BBC) Sri Lankan Tamils say they were left in the jungle with no way to rebuild their homes after they left a huge displacement camp this week. The remaining 1,160 residents of the Menik Farm camp left on Monday, but 110 families from one village say they have been prevented from going home and were relocated to a patch of cleared jungle. Hundreds of thousands of Tamil people were displaced in the final months of the 26-year civil war between Sri Lanka’s army and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. A spokesperson for the Sri Lankan army denies the allegations and said most people were happy with what they got. Demining has enabled most to return to their home villages but many of their homes are ruined. Some families are unable to return to their villages due to military overtaking the land or their homes are now located in government high security areas. The 110 families from the village of Keppapalivu say the Menik Farm was dismantled, alledgedly to make room for an army camp, and they had no place to go. Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, a Tamil politician from the small and radical party, the Tamil National People’s Front, also said the government was in a hurry to dismantle the camp ahead of a UN human rights review of the Sri Lankan government.
INDIA (BBC) Starbucks is set to open its first coffee shop in India by the end of October. With their partners, Tata Global Beverages, the coffee giant will open a store in South Mumbai in Horniman Circle. The store is first of many planned in the country. Working with Tata, the US based company plans to use locally sourced coffee beans. “Being able to use the highest quality espresso, sourced and roasted in India, is an important part of delivering a locally relevant experience to our customers in the market,” John Culver, president of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, said. Starbucks currently operates 17,000 stores, 5,000 of those outside the US.