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: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has expressed concern over the action taken by Nepal to repatriate three Tibetan refugees in June earlier this year, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) has revealed. The move has violated the "Gentleman's Agreement" between Nepal and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which secured safe transit for refugees from Tibet as they travelled through to India. Established in 1989, when Nepal ceased to provide Tibetans with refugee status, this is the first violation of the pact since May 2003.
In early June Nepalese police detained two Tibetan monks, 20-year old Dawa and 21-year old Dorjee, and a 22-year old woman called Penpa, in Nepal's Helma district before they were taken back via helicopter to the Tibetan border at Hilsa. Here they were collected by Chinese security personnel, and whilst one of the monks was permitted to return to his monastery, the other two refugees have been imprisoned.
"The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is extremely concerned over the forcible repatriation of three Tibetan refugees," a UN official said yesterday, in response to the Nepalese contravention of international law. It was also announced that the UNHRC had written to the Nepalese Government regarding the violation.
The incident appears to be in response to increasing pressure from China, one of Nepal's major patrons, to rein in pro-Tibet activity within their territory.

Dhasa: Tashi Namgyal Khamshitsang, a Tibetan-American, has been appointed to the State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, by the Washington State Governor. The governmental department sees to the well-being of Asian Pacific Americans who currently reside in the state, by guaranteeing their access to involvement in government affairs, business and education, amongst other areas.
Khamshitsang, a resident of Seattle, migrated to the United States in 1999 before becoming President of the Tibetan Association of Washington State. Prior to this he worked in various positions for the Tibetan Government-in-exile for 26 years, including Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Nepal.
"We need people like you, who are willing to give of their time and abilities to our state", said the Governor, Christine O'Gregoire, in the appointment letter. His three-year term began on 1st July 2010 and will continue until 30th June 2013.

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.

Dhasa: The People's Daily, so called one of the popular Chinese newspaper also known as the organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, has accused US-based media of ‘hyping up' the increase of Han Chinese immigrants to Tibet, and the subsequent effects. A report in the New York Times (July 25th), which claims that the influx of Han workers, investors and merchants pouring into the region is deepening resentment amongst the Tibetan population, has been criticised for exemplifying the "prejudice" held by foreign news media towards Tibet-related policies.
According to the Chinese daily, the 3 billion US dollar investment by Chinese government into the region has secured prosperity for many Tibetans, for example 40% have been successfully re-housed as part of a welfare program. However, the US press agency has come under attack for suggesting that these ‘development programs' in fact seek to assimilate Tibetans, and eradicate their culture, as opposed to helping them with economic success.
Lian Xiangmin, a research fellow at the China Tibetology Research Center, has said that this bias of Western media is due to their failure to recognize Tibetans as Chinese citizens and for this reason they fail to understand Chinese policy. These apparent ‘misunderstandings' are also due in part to years of publicity in the Western world of the ‘Dalai Clique'.
It is clear that Chinese authorities continue to monitor and rectify any negative media coverage they encounter.

Dharamsala: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama continued his nine-day visit to the Nubra Valley, in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, this weekend. Last Friday saw his arrival at the remote Buddhist hamlet of the Yarma Gonbo Monastery, 65 km from Samtanling Monastery, where he inaugurated a newly built Phodrang (palace of His Holiness).

It was the first time he had ever visited this monastery, and in doing so he fulfilled the long-held dreams of over 7000 Buddhist devotees, to whom he orally transmitted the 'The Diamond Sutra' (dorje chotpa), a short and well-known Mah?y?na s?tra with emphasis on non-abidance (avoiding mental constructs during daily life).

The Dalai Lama continued on to attend a ceremony at Ladakh's oldest Dekyi Gonpa monastery, on Sunday, where he consecrated a newly established 100 foot high statue of Matreya.

The highly revered Buddhist teacher Thiksey Rinpoche spoke of the significance of the statue, which cost approximately Rs. 2 chores. He said that as well as being installed in order to spread the teachings of Buddha, it also functioned to ward off misfortune and ensure His Holiness a long life. The Dalai Lama praised those involved in erecting the statue and also used the opportunity to speak of the responsibility of environment preservation in the Himalayas.

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