AROUND THE WORLD
Happiest place on earth
Vanuathu has been found to be the ‘most deservedly happy place on our
planet’. Most readers may not even know where Vanuathu is. And that’s
because its earlier name was the New Hebrides. It changed to Vanuathu
after the British and the French who jointly were in possession of this
group of islands withdrew from their colonial possession.
Vanuathu, population 200,000 is in the South Pacific, east of New
Guinea and North East of Australia. It has been found to be a happy
place by two organisations, the New Economic Foundation and the Friends
of the Earth.
They measure the happiness of a country on three counts. 1. Its life
expectancy 2. Its human well-being and 3. The damage done by a country’s
The last is the harm a country has done to the environment. According
to this index Vanuathu is right on top of the world. If you like to see
where the countries we regard as the most developed in the world are,
here is where they are on these counts.
Out of the 178 countries surveyed, Russia is placed 172, the US in
150 Australia in 139 and Britain 108. And surprisingly, countries where
civil strife has been very prominent in recent times like Guatemala, El
Salvador, Honduras and Colombia, they are placed well within the first
ten because they achieve high levels of life satisfaction and do the
least environmental harm.
Vanuathu’s success is due to the fact, as an editor of the Online
Vanuathu says, “The people are generally happy here because they are
very satisfied with very little.” Vanuathu is now a country converted to
Christianity but its philosophy is very close to what Buddhism says.
Cricket and renewable energy
India’s former Cricket Captain Kapil Dev is now playing even a bigger
role in lighting up the darkness that prevails in many villages in
India. He is now advocating businesses and non-governmental
organisations to participate in bringing renewable sources of energy
like solar and wind power to lighten the burdens of Indian village life.
Already around 500 residents of a Rajasthan village now have lighting
from solar power thanks to an initiative by international renewable
energy major Conergy, in partnership with the Masonic Trust in India.
All 98 homes, two temples and a school in a village in Rajasthan now
have solar powered lighting, a total of 940 watts.
The task before India in providing solar energy to nearly 600,000
villages is formidable. The initiative’s advocate, former India Cricket
Captain Kapil Dev, said: “Businesses and non-governmental organisations
can play a key role in sustainable development.
This act of commitment, dedication and compassion is both inspiring
and also a role model for environmental leadership. We need to do more
and I ask more organisations and businesses to follow this example.”
Even some technologically advanced countries in the West are looking for
ways to reduce their fuel costs.
According to Calcutta’s leading paper The Statesman, Germany and
Spain are two countries which are now able to meet about 5 per cent of
their energy requirement from wind power. Germany has 38 per cent of the
global capacity in wind energy. It has set an ambitious target of
obtaining 25 per cent of its electricity from wind by 2025.
Some years back Sri Lanka too tried out some experiments in tapping
renewable energy sources. However, we don’t seem to have taken up this
quest too seriously. In a land where in every direction we look, there
are water falls or streams that can be tapped to perform mini hydro
electric schemes, we don’t seem to have done any serious thinking of
using this resource to benefit our remotely placed villages.
Prince William likes to be tattooed
Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, has been
admiring the large tatoo of an angel on the back of the British football
player David Beckham and has said that he would like to have one like
that done on his back. Recently, he spent two months with the British
navy hunting drug smugglers.
He told of his desire to a sailor on board who told The Sun that, “We
didn’t think he was serious, but he seemed keen to have one like
What is preventing him going ahead with it is his fear that his girl
friend Kate may object to it thinking it ‘chawy.’ Tattoing has had a
Royal precedent once before in 1862 when King Edward VII had got a Cross
of Jerusalem done when he was in the Middle East. Football now being the
King of Sport in Britain, it is unlikely that the British subjects are
likely to disapprove or protest a tattoo on the Prince.
- Roving Eye