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Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain, towering to the north of Darjeeling
Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain, towering to the north of Darjeeling

Darjeeling is a town in India's East­ern Hima­layas, situated close to the borders with Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and China. In the mid-19th century, when much of India was under East India Company rule, Darjeeling was founded as a summer retreat. On the slopes below, tea plantations were laid out where Darjeeling tea is grown. Thousands of labourers from the surrounding regions built the town and worked in the tea plantations. Their descendants constitute the majority of Darjeeling's residents today and give the town a cosmopolitan ethnic mix. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, ascending 2,100 metres (7,000 ft), is a World Heritage Site and a popular tourist experience. The local economy is largely dependent on tourism and tea growing. Population growth has made unregulated construction, traffic congestion and water shortages common. Deforestation has damaged the environment, including the springs that supply the town's water. (Full article...)

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Salman Rushdie in 2018
Salman Rushdie

On this day

August 15: Independence Day in India (1947); National Liberation Day of Korea (1945)

Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
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Volker Schlöndorff, director of The Tin Drum
Volker Schlöndorff, director of The Tin Drum

Germany has submitted films for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film since the creation of the award in 1956. The Academy Award for Best International Feature Film is handed out annually by the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States that contains primarily non-English dialogue. Because of Germany's status as a divided country throughout much of the second half of the 20th century, West Germany and East Germany competed separately in the Best Foreign Language Film category until 1990. With eight nominations and one win, West Germany was far more successful than East Germany, whose only nomination was received in 1976 for Jacob the Liar, a film that the Moscow International Film Festival had refused to screen. West Germany received several nominations during the 1970s, culminating with The Tin Drum (director pictured) winning in 1979. Since reunification in 1990, Germany has secured two wins and ten nominations. The two German films that received the award since reunification are The Lives of Others (2006) by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and Nowhere in Africa (2001) by Caroline Link. (Full list...)

Today's featured picture

Bengal tiger

The Bengal tiger is a population of the tiger subspecies Panthera tigris tigris found in the Indian subcontinent. Ranking among the largest wild cats alive today, it is considered to be one of the world's charismatic megafauna. The tiger is estimated to have been present in the Indian subcontinent since the Late Pleistocene, for about 12,000 to 16,500 years. Today it is threatened by poaching, and habitat loss and fragmentation, and was estimated to comprise fewer than 2,500 wild individuals by 2011. The tiger is the national animal of India. This female Bengal tiger was photographed in Kanha Tiger Reserve, in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Photograph credit: Charles J. Sharp

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