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." 

Bangkok, with its tweeting police whistles, roar of traffic and the cry of street vendors, is not for the faint-hearted. Yet the City of Angels, or Krungthep, as it is called, has earned itself a deserved place - up there with the best - as a shopping mecca, with deals on wheels and glitzy shopping malls rubbing shoulders with alley wares and weekend markets. The variety is mind-boggling and local Thai designers are producing some inspired stuff that will have your bags groaning in delight. Shopping in Bangkok is for the intrepid but, with a stout heart, a good map and a stouter bag, you'll be bulk ordering bags, belts, jeans and blouses like the pros in no time. Stand your ground and bargain hard.

In a historic development for Bhutan’s aviation industry, the first helicopter sporting the national flag touched down at Paro International Airport yesterday. The Airbus H130 helicopter, assembled in Singapore, stopped over in Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh, and upon entering Bhutanese airspace landed at Gelephu Domestic Airport to refuel before heading to Paro Airport. The helicopter can accommodate up to seven passengers, excluding the pilot. The government plans to use helicopters for search and rescue, air medical evacuations, fire fighting, moving cargo, transport of VIPs and government officials, and possibly even for tourism, with services scheduled to launch on November 5..  

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