Dhasa: The position of Chris Carter, a member of the ruling New Zealand Labour Party, has come under scrutiny after he kept a trip to China and Tibet a secret from party leaders. Carter claims the trip was financed entirely by the Chinese government, as opposed to taxpayer dollars, and therefore he did not see it as necessary to seek authorization for the vacation.
Mr Carter's controversial absence is another in a succession of rule-breaking issues that have put his parliamentary future in jeopardy. Phil Goff, the party leader, has expressed concern over his colleague's capabilities, suggesting that Carter's irrational behaviour may be due to mental health issues.
Revelation of the clandestine visit to China, as well as attempts to undermine Goff, prompted his ejection via a unanimous vote from a caucus (party meeting) on Thursday (July 29), almost guaranteeing his permanent expulsion from the party council on August 7.
According to the New Zealand parliamentary candidate, the trip was offered to him by China four months ago, to coincide with a conference on poverty alleviation. Carter said that during the trip he spent six days in China and one day in Tibet. He argued that the uproar about the trip was an attempt to conceal concern over Goff's leadership.

Dhasa: Richard Gere, a prominent Hollywood actor and dedicated advocate of human rights in Tibet, has chosen outdoor locations in Dharamshala and Ladakh for his new movie, after permission to film in the so-called Tibetan Autonomous Region was denied by Chinese authorities. Mr Gere has been planning the film for the last five years and has confirmed filming will begin next month.
Lobsang Wangyal, director of the Miss Tibet Pageant and close friend of the film-star, has said the movie is based on Tibet and Buddhism. The finer details, however, are unknown. The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts has reportedly been contacted by Mr Gere to feature in the film.
Mr Gere, who is chairman of the board of directors of the International Campaign for Tibet, has sponsored many programmes for Tibetans living in exile since his first visit to Dharamshala in the late 1980s. As a result of his strong support for the Tibetan cause, the actor is permanently prohibited form entering the People's Republic of China.

Toronto: The Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre in south Etobicoke, Toronto, is undergoing a $6.6 million revamp - aiming for the October 23rd deadline when His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit for the grand opening.
According to Lhakpa Tsering, the centre's administrative manager, there is much to complete, including renovation of the front entrance, gymnasium, assembly hall and ‘multi-purpose' room. Several unforeseen problems meant that work did not commence until early July and has encountered some interruptions.
The centre has around 5,000 to 6,000 members and it is hoped it will accommodate not only the Tibetan community but also wider public gatherings and educational programmes.

Dhasa: After an eight-day visit to Buddhist monasteries and schools in Nubra Valley, Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has returned to his home in Dharamshala. Boarding his plane at Thoise Airbase yesterday morning (July 28), His Holiness spoke highly of his trip, saying, "I am very happy that my programme here went on successfully and hope to visit again in future".
During the final day of his visit, His Holiness gave a lecture on Tsongkhapa's Lamtso Namsu to a 15,000-strong crowd at Disket Monastery, before giving a separate audience to 500 foreigners to whom he expounded the promotion of positive human values and inter-faith harmony. Later in the day, His Holiness inaugurated an eco-friendly building at Lamdon Model Primary School, where the room temperature during winter and summer is adapted using solar energy.
Finally, His Holiness attended a public talk by five Buddhist scholars, organised by the Nalanda and Atisha Buddhist associations. The former seeks to introduce Buddhism to young people, while the latter aims to teach essential Buddhist texts in local dialect.

Dhasa: US Congressman Frank Wolf, urged the Obama administration to ‘find its voice' on human rights issues and prioritise the issue of Tibet during a speech at the House of Representatives on Friday (23rd July). As co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, Wolf posited a detailed assessment of the US government's role in the protection and promotion of human rights in countries such as Sudan, China and Iraq, placing particular emphasis on the struggles of Tibetan Buddhists, among other religious groups.
His speech highlighted the responsibility of Congress to defend these oppressed groups. "America must stand up for the ideals upon which our own experiment in self-governance was founded. America must strike out against injustice, whatever form it takes. America must believe that even the mightiest walls of oppression can tumble and work toward that end," he stated.
Wolf used the opportunity to flag up insufficient staffing at the Special Coordinator for Tibetans office , as well as delays in the submission of the "congressionally mandated Report on Tibet Negotiations", which is due to Congress annually on March 31st.
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