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As Price Of Copper Soars, Thieves Swipe Church Bells



GROSS RIDSENOW - The recent theft of a 600-kilogram, 500-year-old chapel bell (estimated value 20,000 euros) from a cemetery in Gross Ridsenow in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is one of an increasing number of bell thefts in Germany.

What attracts thieves to the bells is quick money, according to the Suddeutsche Zeitung. A bronze bell such as the one in Gross Ridsenow consists mainly of copper – and the value of that metal has gone up significantly. Ten years ago, a kilo of copper cost $1.65; now it costs almost five times as much – $8.10. Thieves have been stealing copper wherever they find it, from railroad or roof fixtures to copper wiring on construction sites, and they have now moved on to bells in chapels and churches.

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( Church of Reconciliation in Berlin - Thunderchild5)

In view of the trend, in Gross Ridsenow plans had been made to protect the 15th century bell but it was stolen before steps could be taken. Not long afterwards, pieces of the bell started appearing – the thieves had sold it for 1,600 euros to a scrap metal dealer who smashed it beyond repair into hundreds of pieces.

When the dealer heard about the stolen Gross Ridsenow bell, he contacted the police. His transaction with the four alleged thieves had been filmed by his security cameras – police are now searching for the men.

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How WeChat Is Helping Bhutan's Disappearing Languages Find A New Voice

Phd candidate Tashi Dema, from the University of New England, discusses how social media apps, particularly WeChat, are helping to preserve local Bhutanese languages without a written alphabet. Dema argues that preservation of these languages has far-reaching benefits for the small Himalayan country's rich culture and tradition.

A monk in red performing while a sillouhet of a monk is being illuminated by their phone.

Monk performing while a sillouheted monk is on their phone

Source: Caterina Sanders/Unsplash
Tashi Dema

THIMPHU — Dechen, 40, grew up in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Her native language was Mangdip, also known as Nyenkha, as her parents are originally from central Bhutan. She went to schools in the city, where the curriculum was predominantly taught in Dzongkha, the national language, and English.

In Dechen’s house, everyone spoke Dzongkha. She only spoke her mother tongue when she had guests from her village, who could not understand Dzongkha and during her occasional visits to her village nestled in the mountains. Her mother tongue knowledge was limited.

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However, things have now changed.

With 90% of Bhutanese people using social media and social media penetrating all remotes areas in Bhutan, Dechen’s relatives in remote villages are connected on WeChat.

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