Birthday celebrations for the Dalai Lama subdued in northern India

The Tibetan government-in-exile canceled all celebrations marking the Dalai Lama's birthday Sunday because of the ongoing suffering of the people of Tibet, an official said. The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader turned 73. "Tibetans all over the world will be praying today for the long life of the Dalai Lama. But as the situation in Tibet continues to be bad, we have decided to not hold any cultural song and dance event to mark the event," said Thupten Samphel, spokesman of the exiled government in the northern Indian city of Dharmsala. While some 2,000 exiles gathered at the Tsuglakhang temple in the city to pray and listen to speeches by officials of the government-in-exile on Sunday, the celebrations of previous years were absent. Violent anti-China protests that started in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, on March 10 resulted in a clampdown by Chinese authorities, resulting in many deaths and arrests in the region, Tibetan activists and officials allege.