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BHUTAN-CHANGE/
RTX4DVSB
January 18, 2018
For decades Bhutan had no television, no traffic lights and a culture that had barely changed in centuries....
Thimphu, Bhutan
The Wider Image: Dance bars and mobile phones: changing face of Bhutan
For decades Bhutan had no television, no traffic lights and a culture that had barely changed in centuries. Today, bars dot the capital, Thimphu, set in mist-covered mountains, teenagers crowd internet cafes to play violent video games, and men smoke and gamble in snooker halls. There are still no traffic lights after residents protested against the installation of one, but otherwise the once-isolated Buddhist country tucked between India and China is changing, and bringing the modern world's problems in its wake. Bhutan measures its national wealth by a Gross National Happiness index aiming to build a contented, fulfilled society. Signs of change are everywhere, pulling the country of snow-capped, jagged mountains, forests, rivers and clean air into the modern world. Smoke billows from construction sites across the country and a giant bronze-and-gold Buddha statue that commands the entry to the Thimphu valley now shares space with modern telecom towers. On the streets and even in the countryside, jeans have become as commonplace as the traditional Bhutanese knee-length gho robes for men and the ankle-length kira dresses that women wear. Bhutan's $2.2 billion economy remains predominantly agricultural, but mobile phones and TV sets are everywhere, even in the Phobjikha Valley, a tourist haven about seven hours drive from Thimphu. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton SEARCH "BHUTAN" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. Matching text: BHUTAN-CHANGE/
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