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Bhutan's Daily Newspaper
Updated: 1 hour 52 min ago

Thimphu City FC leads 2022 Bhutan Premier League  

Mon, 10/10/2022 - 11:58

Thinley Namgay  

Thimphu City FC is on the top of 2022 BoB Bhutan Premier League (BPL) having won eight of the nine games in the first league.

The City has 25 points.

In the highly contested derby yesterday at the Changlimithang Stadium, City added three crucial points defeating Transport United FC 2-1.

Transport has 13 points from nine games so far.

City conceded an own goal in the 46th minute.  However, City equalised in the 52nd minute through unmarked Nima Tshering with a long-range goal.

Ten minutes later, Nima Tshering rose to the occasion again near the post following a long pass from a teammate. Nima crossed the ball towards the goalie but the ball slated from the goalie’s foot into the net.

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Thimphu City FC is followed by defending champion Paro FC with 19 points and Druk Lhayul FC with 15 points from seven games each.

The only game City drew 1-1 was against Paro FC on August 26.

Paro wait to match City as they still have two games in hand before wrapping up the first round.

The recent game Paro FC played was against BFF Academy at their home ground at Woochu Sports Arena on October 8.  The host outplayed the visitor 6-0.

Paro’s next two games are against RTC FC and Ugyen Academy FC on October 17 and October 22, respectively.

The 2022 BPL began on August 13 among 10 professional clubs in the country.

Paro Rinpung FC and FC Takin will face tomorrow at Woochu Sports Arena at 3pm.The winning club will break the point deadlock as both teams are yet to secure a point.

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Bhutanese Sports Festival in Australia concludes

Mon, 10/10/2022 - 11:57

Thinley Namgay  

The two-day Bhutanese Sports Festival in Perth, Australia brought together seven football teams and six basketball teams and hundreds of spectators ended yesterday.  

Considering the significance of youths’ contributions to a vibrant Bhutanese community across the world and within Bhutan, the festival was dedicated to His Royal Highness Prince Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck and named Gyalsey Cup.    

The sports festival was organised by the football and basketball communities of Bhutanese in Australia with support from the Association of Bhutanese in Perth, Western Australia. 

All the games were played in a league format.   

Team Yoena Mena from Sydney won the basketball tournament winning all five games.  Team Magics from Perth came second.

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Bhucan FC from Canberra won the football tournament. Of the six games, Bhucan FC won five. Rising Stars from Perth stood second.   

Besides working and studying, Bhutanese communities in Australia also attach importance to sporting activities.  

One of the organisers, Tshering Penjor from Perth said that the other major goal of the festival was to promote harmony in the Bhutanese communities and unite them through sports.     

Among seven football teams, two were from Brisbane, one from Canberra, and four were from Perth. Four basketball teams were from Perth, and the other two were from Sydney and Canberra. 

Tshering Penjor said the organisers expect to conduct the festival as an annual event around various cities in Australia.  

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He said the festival became more encouraging as many Bhutanese in Perth witnessed the games.

Millions lost in JDWNRH’s failed radiation therapy

Mon, 10/10/2022 - 11:56

… Audit findings show lapses in contract award and implementation 

Dechen Dolkar  

JDWNRH awarded the contract for the installation and operation of radiation therapy to Care Australia, Kolkata and signed the service agreement for 12 years on June 17, 2016.

However, four years into operation, in August 2021, the national referral hospital in Thimphu suspended the radiotherapy services after the treatment reportedly did not benefit any of the patients who had received the services.

As per the agreement, JDWNRH has to pay INR 1.3M as a composite fee per month, a fixed rental charge of INR 1M a month for the installation and operation of a linear accelerator and INR 125,000 per month for the service of a Surgical Oncologist who would be deputed to JDWNRH for one week every month.

The agreement also mentions that the fees payable are subject to increase after the expiry of every year by 3 percent of the last month’s composite fee.

In more than five years, the hospital paid Nu 117.9M to Care Australia as service charges for radiation therapy services.

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Kuensel learnt that a review of MoU, board meetings and other related documents for the establishment of radiation therapy service revealed that detailed need analysis and proper feasibility studies were not conducted.   

As per the minutes of the 3rd board meeting held on July 30, 2015, the board had asked the management to study the pros and cons and detailed cost-benefit analysis for taking appropriate and informed decisions. Despite no such studies being conducted, the 4th board meeting held on May 18, 2016, approved the establishment of radiation service in JDWNRH.

Section 8.4 of the National Health Policy 2011 states that no new health technology should be allowed until assessment and evaluation for its safety, efficacy, quality, indication, and cost-effectiveness are conducted by the health technology assessment panel.

It was also observed that due process for executing any memorandum of understanding or agreement with external agencies in line with the Rule of Treaty Making Procedure 2016 was not followed.

It was learnt that the board and JDWNRH management had directly awarded the Service contract to Care Australia for the installation and operation of radiation therapy service without following procurement norms in deviation from Clause, chapter IV of the Procurement Rules and Regulations 2009.

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The audit findings pointed out that forgoing important aspects of need analysis and pre-feasibility studies and other due diligence requirements had contributed to taking injudicious decisions by the board, resulting in the loss of huge government resources.

It was also learnt that the agreements were not delivered as per service agreements like fellowship training in radiation Oncology in India (tuition fee for the course was supposed to be paid by the service provider) was not provided and no surgical oncologist was deputed to the JDWNRH on surgical duties for one week every month as required by the service agreement.

It was also pointed out that the laxity on the part of management to enforce contractual terms to deliver agreed services from the service provider. However, the management continued to pay huge monthly charges to Care Australia without receiving the agreed deliverables as per the service agreement.

Clause 1.2 of Article 1 of the service agreement states that the contract will enter into effect from the date the first patient is treated and will remain in effect until the expiry of the term (12 years) from the said effective date unless terminated earlier in accordance with the provision of the contract.

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However, in deviation from the agreed service terms, the JDWNRH paid Nu 11.6M to Care Australia before it started treating the patients using the radiation service. The treatment of the patient using the radiation service commenced in January 2018.

Bhutan adds its voice to transform the region’s agriculture and food systems

Sun, 10/09/2022 - 16:43

Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor took centre stage during a high-level conference in Bangkok, Thailand on October 5 to highlight Bhutan’s experiences in moving forward on a vital agrifood systems transformation, one the region and the world have committed to, to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The Asia-Pacific Symposium on Agrifood Systems Transformation, convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) brought together government ministers from across the region, private sector, academia and other stakeholders to map out a massive acceleration to transform the agrifood systems, or risk worsening malnutrition and further environmental degradation in the world’s hungriest and most populous region. 

Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor said, “Borrowing the words of FAO, the twin shocks of the Pandemic and the 5F crisis- food, feed, fuel, fertilizer, and finance weakened the already existing weak agrifood system in the region. The symposium is an opportune moment to reflect on challenges and opportunities for better food system and for better world.”

He said, “In Bhutan, agriculture is the mainstay of livelihood for more than half of the Bhutanese population and an important sector contributing to the country’s gross domestic product. The Royal Government of Bhutan has been stressing building a resilient and productive agricultural system. But the rugged terrain with less fertile soil makes agriculture very challenging. To make it worse, we face myriad issues such as climate change impacts, inadequate digitalization, lack of technologies for mechanization, rampant human-wildlife conflicts, increasing land fragmentation and so forth. Nevertheless, as we embark on building forward stronger after the pandemic, the food system is at the central of our efforts. We aspire to have high-performance food systems by 2030. It should be resilient to shocks and climate change; effectively provide affordable, safe and nutritious food for all, provides gainful employment, empower women and vulnerable and ultimately advance towards the fulfilment of SDGs.” 

Rising food prices, floods, drought, water scarcity, increasing climate-related disasters, the global pandemic and conflicts near and far, are driving food insecurity across the Asia-Pacific region. These challenges directly impact the most vulnerable people of this region, including smallholder farmers and others who depend on the land for their livelihoods, a press release from the FAo stated. “Urban poor are also directly affected.”

The FAO stated that climate change has worsened conditions for smallholders. Rainfall patterns, essential for agriculture in the monsoon region, have changed and so have the frequencies and timings of pest and disease outbreaks, thus lowering yields. 

The region already experiences 60 percent of global fatalities and 40 percent of economic losses due to multiple hazards and risks, according to FAO. “In summary, the region’s complex agrifood systems are under enormous strain.” 

Last year, caught in the grip of a global pandemic, world leaders pledged to transform their agrifood systems to make them more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.  

Speaking at the beginning of a three-day Asia-Pacific symposium, the world’s first since the UNFSS, which aims to fast-track agrifood systems transformation in this vast region, FAO’s Director-General, QU Dongyu, said the region’s transformation needs to focus on outcomes that result in better production, better nutrition, better environment, and a better life for all – ensuring no one is left behind.

According to one recent UN report, Asia and the Pacific are so off course, it would need until 2065 to achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals – a delay of 35 years. 

The reason for some of the more recent setbacks is clear. Droughts and floods, the highest food prices in decades, armed conflicts and the fallout and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted supply chains, lives and livelihoods. Together, these have resulted in the present crisis of five ‘Fs’ – lack of food, feed, fuel, fertilizer and finance, and a prediction that there could be reductions in cereal output next year due to fertilizer shortages in some countries in the region.

However, the backsliding predates the pandemic, as successive annual reports of FAO’s publication, the State of Food Security and Nutrition, were warning the fight against hunger and malnutrition was failing in this region. In 2021, more than 400 million people in Asia-Pacific were malnourished, most of them in South Asia, with 40 percent of all inhabitants unable to afford a healthy diet. 

More than 80 percent of the world’s smallholders and family farmers live off the land in this Asia-Pacific region, and their interests and livelihoods must be safeguarded, the Symposium was told. Social safety nets and reskilling programmes to improve employment prospects should form an important part of this transformation. 

“It’s time that all stakeholders in this region made bold moves toward this transformation of our food and agriculture systems,” said Jong-Jin Kim, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific. “Governments must act through leadership. Asia-Pacific’s private sector must broaden its customer base to provide affordable solutions to the region’s smallholders.” 

He said that civil society must work more proactively with policymakers and the private sector. “Academia must accelerate its research, while resource partners must make this transformation their top priority. FAO is here to help our Members and all partners achieve this.”