January 5th, 2012
11:20 AM GMT
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Thimphu, Bhutan (CNN) – Bhutan, the last of the Himalayan kingdoms, has largely been closed to foreigners and foreign business. But while its government measures progress by "gross national happiness," it is now looking to develop economically, and is looking to its neighbours for help.

Bhutan’s culture has remained intact for centuries and its landscape, as well as the government's mandate to keep its people happy, has a mystical quality. But it is also a developing nation struggling to find prosperity for its people.

Bhutan’s Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley told CNN’s Sara Sidner: "The truth is, Bhutan is a poor developing country that is still significantly dependent on the support and the goodwill of the international community. We are in other words an aid-dependent country."

For centuries, Bhutan cut itself off from the outside world. There were no roads until the 1960s, no foreign tourists allowed until the 70s and no television until 1999. But there is a significant shift going on here in the 21st century.

Bhutan is now opening up to business beyond its borders. But the leadership refuses to do business at the expense of its unique environment and demands that businesses inside and outside the country are in line with its unique policy of “gross national happiness.”


January 5th, 2012
09:37 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) - Fears that China could soon be facing its own Lehman-style banking meltdown are being fueled by a National Audit Office report which found 531 billion yuan (US$84 billion) worth of irregularities in local government debt.

According to the Chinese government website (www.gov.cn), the audit found 10.7 trillion yuan of local government debt at the end of 2010, a result of easy loans made possible by the government’s 2008-2009 stimulus injection.

Most of the money, say analysts, has found its way into the construction industry, creating entire cities, complete with apartments and offices that remain empty and unsold.

Many companies also have unpaid inventories, according to the government audit, and have little or no oversight of accounts.


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