Oregon financial aid

Paying for college with today's higher prices

Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 9:00-9:30pm

Call with your financial aid questions at 1-800-793-1935 between 9-10pm on January 28, 2010 or submit your questions online between January 1-28, and it may be chosen as a topic of discussion during the program.
For parents, teachers, and the college-bound, OPB presents a half-hour-long special. Topics examined on the broadcast include: loan and grant information, and advice on the application process.
The two experts interviewed on the broadcast are:
Kathy Goff, Senior Financial Aid Coordinator for Portland State University
Dan Preston, Dean of Enrollment Management at Linfield College
A cooperative project of the Oregon Student Assistance Commission, the Oregon Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, ECMC and Oregon Public Broadcasting.
If you would like to purchase a DVD of this program, contact OPB Distribution at 503-977-7792.


Terrible earthquake in Haiti, may they recover soon. Is Nepal next?

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The Big One
Saturday, January 16th, 2010
An earthquake in the Kathmandu Valley will be our doomsday. Most of us try not to think about it too much. Those, whose job it is to, say it’s not a question of “if” but “when”.

The last major earthquake shook the nation on 16 January 1934, a jolt of magnitude 8.3 along the Nepal-Bihar fault. The next time the epicenter could be in Rasuwa or southern Lalitpur where there are other fault lines. It could be in western Nepal, where a 300-year old seismic gap–no big earthquake to release the tectonic strain building up in the crust– is waiting to rumble.

There is an escarpment ridge on the Siwalik range, East of Hetauda, that looks as if the entire mountain has tilted on its side. A geologist once told me the 1934 earthquake pushed this entire ridge up by 3 metres, lifting it up and northwards along a 4km long outcrop.

The hard igneous rock of the Indian continent that broke loose from Gondwananland is still pushing into and under the softer Eurasian continent. There is a tremendous amount of energy stored in the elasticity of the folding rocks. The subterranean strata snap periodically under the strain and that is when the mountains are pushed up in sudden jerky movements.

What has changed since the last earthquake is that Nepal has become the most densely populated mountain region on earth. Rapid urbanisation has tripled Kathmandu Valley’s population over the past 20 years. Cities like Pokhara have dramatically expanded in size.

Looking at the devastation in Haiti this week–the absence of government and relief, the social anarchy–it is not difficult to imagine Kathmandu’s fate. Like Haiti, we have no disaster preparedness plan. Nepal and Haiti are both the poorest countries in their regions. Both have unplanned and haphazard urban growth. Port-au-Prince’s advantage is that even if the airport is destroyed, relief can come from the sea.

Our only advantage is the knowledge that the next ‘Big One’ can happen any day. The Kathmandu Valley lies on a seismic zone that has historically had 8 magnitude quakes every 75 years. We can’t say we weren’t warned. There is no excuse not to be prepared. Here are some worst-case scenarios I ferreted out of some disaster experts. It scared the living daylights out of me:

Magnitude 8.3 on a winter evening with brisk westerly wind: Eighty percent of Kathmandu’s buildings collapse at a time when most people are at home preparing dinner. Gas cyclinders explode and kitchen fires spread. Fanned by the wind, the city is engulfed in a firestorm. There is no escape because Kathmandu has almost no open spaces left. Almost as many people are burnt alive as are crushed by falling buildings.

Severe earthquake at 1AM: Most people are sleeping at home. Maximum casualties result from crushed buildings. Those rushing to the streets are buried by falling cantilever balconies. There is no light or excavating equipments. Streets are blocked by debris. Most hospitals are damaged. The city wakes up to the horrific sight of complete devastation. When people get no food, medical care or help to rescue trapped relatives, there is looting and riots.

Magnitude 8 at 11AM on a monsoon morning after days of heavy rain: Kathmandu’s topsoil liquefies (like Mexico City in 1985), buildings collapse and the ruins “float” on ground that has turned into paste. The heaviest casualties are in collapsed government buildings, offices and schools. Airport runway is swallowed up by liquefaction and is unusable. Landslides wipe out all highways. International relief is dropped by parachute, but arrives days later.

The bad news is that even the best-case scenario points towards casualties in the tens of thousands and major damage to infrastructure. The government has drafted a disaster preparedness and relief plan, but the legislation is sitting on some desk in Singha Darbar.

With help from NGOs like National Society for Earthquake Technology and municipalities, some wards of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur have started to stock up on digging equipments, and drawn up emergency plans for evacuation, shelter, medical treatment and relief. But most wards have no plans at all. The reality is we are not prepared for the Big One, and it is going to be individuals and communities who have to look after their own.


Brailee Without Borders

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Dear reader,
Welcome to the website of Braille Without Borders.

Per WHO statistics, 161 million persons live with a disabling visual impairment, of whom 37 million are blind and 124 million are persons with low vision. Every 5 seconds someone becomes blind, every minute somewhere a child goes blind. About 90% of them live in developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Regions. 9 out of 10 blind children in developing countries have no access to education.

Braille Without Borders wants to empower blind people from these countries so they themselves can set up projects and schools for other blind people. In this way the concept can be spread across the globe so more blind and visually impaired people have access to education and a better future.

To realize these plans we need your support.

Thank you very much!

Sabriye Tenberken
Paul Kronenberg



Before the opening of the Project, blind children in the Tibet Autonomous Region did not have access to education. They led a life on the margin of society with few chances of integration. According to official statistics 30.000 of the 2.5 million inhabitants of the T.A.R. are blind or highly visually impaired. Compared to most areas in the world this is well above the average ratio. The causes of visual impairment or blindness are both climatic and hygienic: dust, wind, high ultra-violet light radiation, soot in houses caused by heating with coal and/or yak dung, and lack of vitamin A at an early age. Inadequate medical care also plays a role. Cataracts are widespread. Indeed governmental and private organizations have set up eye-camps where medical surgery is being performed and local doctors are taught to do the procedure. However, there is a large group of blind people that can't be helped this way. For this group of people the rehabilitation and training centre for the blind, has been established.

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Back to some natural healthcare, in Mustang, Nepal

Striking a balance
Brave effort to revive traditional Tibetan medicine in Upper Mustang

FROM ISSUE #484 (08 JAN 2010 - 14 JAN 2010) | TABLE OF CONTENTS

HAPPY GRADUATE: Rinzin Wangmo says it isn't just about the certificate. "I want to serve the local people as much as possible, as the other amchis do," she says.
"Medicine is passed down like a religious lineage, from father to son. It is also like a dance and a game. People offer what they know, sometimes adding new ideas from what they have seen and done. In our tradition, we learn to take from our teacher's ideas and our books to create new ideas, which come into full bloom like a lotus flower when combined with the soil of experience."

Gyatso Bista, Co-founder of Lo Kunphen Medical School, Upper Mustang

For brothers Gyatso and Tenzin Bista, Rinzin Wangmo could well be a lotus flower coming into bloom. She is the first government-recognised Community Amchi Assistant (CAA) of Himalayan Traditional Medicine (HMT) in Nepal. Teaching her juniors in Lo Kunphen Medical School and treating locals in the surrounding communities, she is carrying on an ancient tradition that might have been lost in Nepal if not for the efforts of the Bistas.

There was a time when there were about 30 traditional amchis (practitioners of traditional Tibetan medicine) in Mustang, approximately one for every village. Now there are only seven, the inevitable result of out-migration and a shift towards a cash-based economy that undervalues indigenous knowledge provided for free through masters and apprentices.

Expert amchi practitioners and hereditary physician astrologers to the Mustangi King in Lo-Manthang, Gyatso and Tenzin Bista, picked the threat to this millennia-old tradition early.

They then founded Lo Kunphen Medical School in 2000 and designed a two-year CAA curriculum for Class Eight graduates. Now they are looking to upgrade the HMT course to a Certificate in Amchi Medicine for CAA or SLC graduates.

HMT is based on the herbal and natural products of Tibet and the Himalaya, and is a rigorous discipline that has been practiced for thousands of years. Practitioners develop a close relationship with their patients, and attend to chronic conditions such as hepatitis and diabetes, incorporating diagnosis by pulse and urine analysis and holistic treatment combining physical and spiritual wellness.

In the age of modern medicine, some aspects of HMT - particularly its focus on Buddhist philosophy - may seem a little antiquated. But it is sometimes the only treatment available to locals in remote areas such as Dolpo, Upper Mustang and Mugu. What's more, the services are provided for free by practitioners, old and new, mirroring the ideal of the Bodhisattva who sacrifices personal benefit for that of the community.

Lo Kunphen's ultimate aim may be to produce HMT graduates to safeguard indigenous knowledge. But the Bista brothers appear to have grasped why HMT was under threat in the first place, and have sought to integrate traditional medicine's aims with modern requirements. With the help of the Japan Foundation, WWF-Nepal and US-based Drokpa, Lo Kunphen Medical School and the Himalayan Amchi Association also support the cultivation and conservation of medicinal plants.

It's widely acknowledged that Nepal has among the richest diversity of medicinal plants in the world. A strong, government-accredited community of amchis - linked with practitioners in Tibet, Ladakh, Bhutan and Mongolia - could prove essential to promoting sustainable utilisation of our ecological resources. This in turn could tie into a strategy for regional and international marketing of HMT that could provide the financial resources for its continued development, and that of the traditional communities that constitute its heartland.

Yoji Kamata


Free healtcare in Boud Gaya, Jan 3rd to 10th.


Environment protection is another scope of service in which SJHCC has made commendable contributions for the Monastic community. The maintenance of cleanliness, proper and systematic disposal of waste from the monastic community is undertaken by SJHCC. We have employed six green workers to clean the surroundings of the monastic community, collect and dispose the wastes.

Due to lack of scientific method to dispose the wastes, the present system of waste disposal causes health and environmental hazards. The committee has earmarked a project to improve the facility and dispose the wastes scientifically to minimize the hazards in the long run.