When Bhutan’s modernization began in the 1970s, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo began to make public pronouncements about happiness, contentment, and wellbeing. By 1979, His Majesty began speaking about Gross National Happiness, not only to Bhutanese but journalists as well. While His Majesty spoke briefly about GNH to a few journalists, it is with John Elliot, a former Financial Times of London journalist, to whom His Majesty spoke at length on the subject in 1987. On the first day of the international GNH conference taking place in Paro, yesterday, the former journalist revealed that he had found the notebook used for the interview. He shared his notes with the audience. 

The first giraffe calf in 28 years has been born at the Singapore Zoo, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) announced on Thursday (Nov 12). Born on Aug 31 and measuring 1.9 metres tall at birth, the WRS touted him as the tallest SG50 baby. He now stands at 2.3 metres. The calf is also the first offspring of both mom Roni and dad Growie, both of which arrived in Singapore in 2005, from Israel and the Netherlands, respectively. 

Bhutan has come up with a new way to pave its roads: waste plastic. As part of efforts to curb the use of fossil fuels and deal with growing amounts of plastic waste, the country plans to mix used plastic bottles and other waste plastic with bitumen to blacktop its roads. The Green Road public-private project is expected to reduce the amount of bitumen imported from India by 40 percent, and cut the amount of plastic waste going into landfills by 30-40 percent, said plastic road entrepreneur Rikesh Gurung. 

Annemarie Weegenaar lives in Tam Dao national park, a humble home about 65km northwest of Hanoi that she shares with 148 bears, and counting. As bear and vet team director of the Tam Dao rescue centre run by Animals Asia in the Red River Delta, she has devoted her life's work to freeing critically endangered bears from their captors. In many parts of Vietnam, bear bile continues to be extracted in painful and illegal procedures, then marketed and sold as traditional medicine. "I co-ordinate the rescues with the bear and vet team," Weegenaar said. "And although much of my time is indoors these days, I make sure I get to see the bears every day – visiting our new arrivals and seeing their progress, or watching a bear take its first steps outside on the grass." 

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