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"Maintain the Gross National Happiness", vows 28-year old Oxford graduate newly crowned the fifth King of Bhutan

Bhutan's fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck crowns his son Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck as the fifth King

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The United States was not the only country to name a new leader last week. In Bhutan, an insular nation of about 600,000 people located high in the Himalayas, a new king was crowned. 28-year-old Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, an Oxford-educated bachelor, was crowned as Bhutan's fifth king - now the world's youngest reigning monarch. Bhutan also has the distinction of being the world's youngest democracy - having held parliamentary elections last March for the first time ever. The young ruler vows to maintain a stance of protection against the worst aspects of globalization, maintaining the "Gross National Happiness", a measurement of national progress that places a high value on spiritual development. Gross National Happiness is a term invented by, and proudly embraced by Bhutanese since 1972.

Above: Bhutan's fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck (right) crowns his son Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck as the fifth King of Bhutan, in the Throne room of the Tashichhodzong Palace during the coronation ceremony in Thimphu, Bhutan on November 6, 2008. With medieval tradition and Buddhist spirituality, a 28-year-old with an Oxford education assumed the Raven Crown of Bhutan on Thursday, to guide the world's newest democracy as it emerges into the modern world.

His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck  read more »

Oldest WWI survivors join commemorations on Remembrance Day, pay tribute to fallen millions in 1st, 2nd World Wars

World War I Veterans Bill Stone, 108, Harry Patch, 110, and Henry Allingham, 112

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This year’s Armistice Day anniversary, com- memorating the millions of lives lost in the so-called War to End All Wars, comes 90 years after the guns fell silent in 1918. Anyone who was a part of it would have to be at least 108 by now. Astonishingly, there are still three men who fit the bill, three survivors who were in uniform 90 years ago as the First World War drew to a close. Yesterday, this trio marked Remembrance Sunday to the best of their abilities.

The Queen lays her wreath on Remembrance Day

The men - all well into their 100s - will attend a service at the Cenotaph in central London. Harry Patch, 110, a veteran of the horrors of Passchendaele, is the only survivor of the trenches. He ignored the rain and attended a parade at Wells, near his Somerset home. Allingham, Britain's oldest man at the age of 112, was an aircraft mechanic who saw action at sea, in the Battle of Jutland, and ashore on the Western Front. Bill Stone, a young pup of 108, ended up fighting two World Wars for the Royal Navy. Today, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, all three men will be on parade in London at the Cenotaph to mark the exact moment when the guns fell silent. Of the five million men and women who served in Britain's armed forces in the war, only four are still alive. The other surviving veteran, Claude Choules, 107, lives in Australia and will mark the 90th anniversary at local events there.  read more »

3rd party candidates - 1860: Lincoln elected; 1992 last heard: Ross Perot; 2008: Bob Barr & Ralph Nader excluded

Abraham Lincoln, Ross Pert, Bob Barr, and Ralph Nader

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In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected as a 3rd party US presidential candidate.
When Abraham Lincoln ran for office, the two major parties were the Whigs and the Democrats. As a Republican, Lincoln was elected as a third party candidate - even after being left off the ballot in the 11 states that seceded from the Union.

In 1992, for the last time a 3rd party candidate, Ross Perot, was heard in presidential debates.

In 2008, 3rd party’s voices of Bob Barr & Ralph Nader were excluded from debates though
- 55% of likely voters, both Democrat and Republican, said that they would want to see Bob Barr featured in the debates alongside Obama and McCain.
- 59% of independent voters stated that they want to see the debate commission allow Nader into the debates.
- A very important fact is that younger voters were more likely to favor the inclusion of the two independent candidates into the debates, demonstrating a sort of changing of the guard as younger voters are not as content with the status quo two candidate system.  read more »

Diwali, the Festival of Lights - signifying victory of good over evil and celebrating unity in diversity

Diwali is marked by the lighting of lamps like these being prepared by a laborer in Amritsar

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Diwali/Deepavali is a Sanskrit word which means path or array of lights and signifies the victory of good (light) over evil (darkness). members of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) light earthen lamps assembled to form the word peace on the eve of Diwali in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, Oct. 27, 2008 Many legends are associated with Diwali. Today it is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs across the globe as the "Festival of Lights," where people light deyas (small clay pots filled with coconut oil and a cotton like string(wick)is inserted) to signify victory of good over the evil within an individual. Officially, it fell on Oct. 28 this year.

In India, a land of festivals,Diwali is celebrated with fervor and gaiety. The festival is celebrated by young and old, rich and poor, throughout the country to dispel darkness and light up their lives.

women light lamps in Ahmedabad, Western India, on the eve of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights  read more »

Obama, Biden win historical US election; both Obama and McCain call for unity to face the myriad challenges ahead

Barack Obama, President-elect of the United States

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"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer," President-elect Barack Obama said after his victory. The first black president-elect cast his election as a defining moment in the country's 232-year history and a rebuke to cynicism, fear and doubt. "Even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime — two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century," he said. "There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and, for us to lead, alliances to repair."

both Obama and McCain’s speeches call for unity

Obama’s victory speech was delivered before a multiracial crowd that city officials estimated at 240,000 people. He said he had received an "extraordinarily gracious" call from his Republican rival John McCain, who he said had "fought long and hard" for this campaign and for his country. "We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader," he said of the former Vietnam prisoner of war, "and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the month's ahead."  read more »

Paperless - the future of newspapers? Century-old Christian Science Monitor ends daily print edition to focus online

Mary Baker Eddy was the founder of the Christian Science movement - she advocated Christian Science as a spiritual practical solution to health and moral issues

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The century-old Christian Science Monitor announced Tuesday that it will become the first nationally distributed newspaper to stop publishing a daily print edition, and focus on publishing online, succumbing to the financial pressure squeezing its industry harder than ever. The Boston-based paper is not forsaking print altogether - it will offer a weekly print version in addition to daily e-mail editions - but editors acknowledged shifting the focus to CSMonitor.com will save millions in addition to widening its audience.

The Boston-based general-interest paper, winner of seven Pulitzer Prizes, has long since established an extraordinary reputation for high-quality journalism. It was founded a century ago in 1908 by a religious visionary, Mary Baker Eddy, who "discovered" Christian Science and founded the paper in response to critical coverage of her in the New York World. She declared in the first edition that the role of the paper would be to "injure no man, but bless all mankind."

entrance to the Christian Science Monitor building in Boston. A century after it began publication, the paper is giving up its daily print edition to focus on posting news online  read more »

Comfort food - 14th Chocolate Show opens in Paris with 400 exhibitors & 140 chocolatiers from around the world

Former Miss France 2007 Rachel Legrain-Trapani presents a creation by Jean Doucet and Ghraoui Chocolatier at the 14th Salon du Chocolat (Paris Chocolate Show) in Paris October 28, 2008

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The 14th edition of the Chocolate Fair has opened in Paris featuring 400 exhibitors and 140 chocolatiers from around the world, featuring displays and mountains of chocolate, top pastry chefs and sculptures. Visitors will be able to sample treats, creamy truffles and steaming cups of hot chocolate.

"It may be doom and gloom for everybody else, but for us all is well," said Gilles Marchal of luxury French chocolate-maker La Maison du Chocolat, speaking as the annual Paris chocolate show opened Wednesday. "Chocolate is a comfort-food," he added. "There has been no drop in sales."

in these troubled times, chocolate-makers are walking on the wild side with weird flavours such as cauliflower

The French have had a long-standing love affair with chocolate since its introduction to the country by Anne of Austria in 1615. It was presented as a wedding gift upon her marriage to Louis XIII. Anne of Austria only married him on condition that she could bring her own chocolate supplies from Spain. By the mid-1600s, the chocolate drink had gained widespread popularity in France.  read more »

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