Category Archives: Culture


Mumbai, India, January 24, 2016 — /EPR NON PROFIT NEWS/ — It’s time when our hearts are evoking patriotic feelings and are making us act like responsible citizens of the nation. But are we really being true to ourselves. Do we really care about the essence of Republic Day Celebrations? To so many people who revel at the thought of getting an extended weekend to hang out with family or just head for a long drive away from the city on Republic Day- Is this patriotism in the true sense? How many of us actually switch on the TV and revel viewing the Republic Day Parade or watch the live parade? At the most, we sport the tri-coloured flag as a badge or as a desk décor. Are we really doing something constructive for the betterment of the country on Republic Day? The answer is with most of us and it is mostly in the negative.

With this thought lingering in her mind, Vandana Sethhi, the Director of Water Communications woke up to do something constructive as a responsible citizen of India and do her bit towards adding value to the India’s growth story. She decided that on the occasion of Republic Day, to add another wing to our respected Prime Minister Modi’s Swachch Bharat campaign by initiating the Swachch Bhasha drive as part of her social initiative. Under this campaign, she wanted to reach out to the people of India and remind them about their responsibility towards their own language, the need for cleaning of one’s vocabulary filled with gaalis and cusp words and working towards using Swachch Bhasha in day to day life while they take care of keeping their surroundings clean as well.

She opines that gaalis have become a disease and is spreading like an epidemic amongst people of Gen-Next era who are so busy running after success that they just don’t know how to control their feelings. To them gaalis is the easiest way to vent out their anger, frustrations and to cope up with stress. She emphatically says “We are humans and we are bound to get frustrated at different times of our lives. But do we really need to depend on gaalis to feel in control just like a little piece of chocolate uplifts one’s mood temporarily by stimulating the endorphin? With over 1,282,390,303 people, India is the second largest nation in terms of population. It is equivalent to 17.5% of the total world population. An estimated 780 languages are spoken in the country. With an expected literacy rate to touch 80% by end of this year, India is a progressive nation beyond doubt … But are we really literate in the moral sense?”

People across the length and breadth of the nation use gaalis as if it is in vogue and that those who don’t use it are considered to be ‘unmanly’ or less gutsy. Gaalis are used so frequently irrespective of any language being spoken, that it has soon become one’s habit that has engulfed them completely and made them unawares of their true vocabulary. Gaalis have become our newly defined vocabulary which they are addicted to using it in their day to day conversations and are passing it down to their next generation without even realizing about its repercussions.

Vandana further opines strongly that people’s identity is not through their status quo or high birth, but through the language they use in their day to day life. Those who respect humanity never use ‘gaalis’ and those who use gaalis in any language are never fully literate in the real sense. Language that’s replete with curse/abusive words, demeaning meanings, demoralizing words and disrespectful diction is a drain on the nation’s rich cultural heritage. It is a blot on the nation’s deep rooted values.

Vandana is that voice that wants to be heard not just to make her presence felt but to enable each and every Indian re-look at their diction and see for themselves that they have become slaves to the gaalis they use- and they don’t even realize it. Vandana is very serious about raising her voice in support of a Gaali Free India- not just for the betterment of the youth but for posterity’s sake as well.

“Gaali is a modern disease and its cure is purely with us. Each and every one of us! Get cured before it’s too late. This Republic Day, let’s pledge to free our country of the gaalis and use slogans and quotes as our way of venting out feelings, constructively.” – Vandana Sethhi.

Contact-Details: Vandana Sethhi,
Contact number – 9004611196
Email Id –

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National Trust Heritage Gardens Benefit From Major New Plant Conservation Centre

Rare plants from National Trust gardens across the country will be propagated at a new Plant Conservation Centre that will improve the way one of the most important plant collections in the UK is cared for.

Opened by international plantsman Roy Lancaster, the new 2.5 acre facility at a secret East Devon location will bring together plant propagation facilities, plant collection management expertise and facilities for training National Trust staff on all aspects of caring for the important plants in the gardens they look after.

The opening of the new facilities comes at a time when the spread of new plant diseases in the UK, in particular ‘Phytophthora ramorum’ which causes Sudden Oak Death, have required an acceleration of emergency propagation to ensure the survival of threatened specimens and the supply of disease-free replacements.

The £700,000 Centre’s immediate focus will be to build on existing plant conservation work at Knightshayes Court, also in Devon, to help staff and volunteers record and identify the special plants that require priority propagation at National Trust gardens throughout the country.

Mike Calnan, Head of Gardens at the National Trust, said: “The National Trust’s portfolio of plants is of immense importance and is one of the most significant collections in the UK.

“The aesthetic, historic and botanical value of the plants is what makes the gardens we look after so special and give pleasure to more than 12 million visitors each year.

“This is the most important plant conservation initiative from the National Trust for more than 60 years and will have a legacy for decades to come.”

The charity cares for over 20 major collections of trees and shrubs including thirty National Plant Collections and hundreds of plants that were first raised or collected in the wild around the globe and planted in National Trust gardens over past centuries.

Roy Lancaster said: “The new Plant Conservation Centre is a hugely important development for the National Trust, creating for the first time a single facility dedicated to the vital work of conserving the important plants in its properties.”

In addition to the Centre’s work for the National Trust, a new bespoke propagation service for major private plant collection owners will be offered for the first time.

Propagation services are also available to Trust countryside properties wishing to save or bulk-up rare native species.

The National Trust gardeners who will be working at the Centre recently propagated and helped save over 300 old Cornish apple varieties now successfully established in the ‘Mother orchard’ at Cotehele in Cornwall.

Charlie Port, who worked for the National Trust at Knightshayes and is now one of the volunteers that will be working at the new Centre, said: “Working in the propagation unit is extremely rewarding.

“I’ve been involved with propagating plants for the Trust for 25 years now and during that time we’ve had thousands of successes.

“I get huge satisfaction from the idea that some of the plants I have handled will be around for hundreds of years to come.”

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National Trust Appoints 18 Feet & Rising As Lead Creative Agency

The National Trust is to work with agency 18 Feet & Rising as its lead creative partner, following a competitive pitch process.

The brief is to develop an overarching brand strategy that helps deliver the Trust’s core charitable purpose – looking after special places for ever, for everyone – whilst broadening the charity’s appeal.

The Trust has performed well through the economic downturn, seeing record visitor numbers of 19 million in 2011 and reaching four million members last autumn, but the charity knows the brand can extend its relevance and appeal to more people.

18 Feet & Rising will be at the forefront of evolving perceptions of the Trust, opening up conversations with new and existing audiences and facilitating experiences between people and the places that are special to them.

Clare Mullin, Director of Brand & Marketing at National Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working with 18 Feet & Rising as our lead creative agency.

“They clearly understand our strategic priorities and have shown that they can help make the Trust relevant today through their strategy and creative.

“They’ve really challenged us and we’re excited by the work we can do with them going forwards.”

Jonathan Trimble, Managing Partner at 18 Feet & Rising, said: “It’s fantastic to be working with such a special organisation. The Trust has a unique role in terms of the country’s relationships with special places.

“It gives us the chance to bring our creativity to bear in unique ways with unique people.”

First steps for 18 Feet & Rising will be to develop the brand strategy, working across the Trust’s 5,000 staff and the 62,000 people who assist with the Trust’s volunteer projects to express the brand in an authentic and joined-up way. They’ll also take on the challenge of developing the Trust’s 2013 national campaign.

Throughout the pitch, the National Trust has been supported by pitch consultancy Agency Insight.

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First Images Of WWII German Submarine Sunk 68 Years Ago In Brazil

The U-Boat was located by the Schurmann Family in July 2011. Almost one year after locating the submarine, the Schurmanns joined efforts with deep sea diving experts to collect images of the U-513. With specialized technology, using a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) the expedition made a 135 meters dive to film and take pictures of the wreck, for the first time in history.

“After years of research, finally we watched this historical moment. We first saw a shadow then gradually the images became very clear, the submarine is almost intact and whole as if she was placed there to sleep” said Vilfredo Schurmann leader of the expedition.

“The ROV (Remotely operated underwater vehicle) did several dives and with every new image we celebrated this great feat” says David Schurmann, the film director.

It all began in 2001 aboard their sailing yacht “Aysso”, when the Schurmanns a well-known sailing and expedition family in Brazil, was told of the story of a German submarine, sunk in 1943 during WWII in the waters of Southern Brazil.

Vilfredo and Heloisa Schurmann where hooked on the mysterious story and started researching the facts in the National Archives in Washington – USA, Berlin – Germany and in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil.

They were granted a license from the Brazilian Navy, and obtained the support of the Santa Catarina Government and UNIVALI University and were sponsored by TOTVS, CPE (Coastal Planning & Engineering) and FUGRO BRAZIL to further the search.

A team of 35 professionals (all volunteers) which included divers, oceanographers, retired officers from the Brazilian and USA Navy & Air Force, archaeologists, historians, filmmakers and the last surviving member of the USA airplane responsible for the U-boat sinking aided on the search.

After 2 years and 18 expeditions at sea, operating Side Scanning Sonars and Magnetometer, on July 17th 2011 on board their adapted sailing yacht “Aysso”, the Schurmanns located the exact position of the sunken submarine.

On March 8, 2012, aboard two ships, the expedition led by Vilfredo Schurmann and a crew of 20, filmed for the first time in history since her sinking 68 years ago, images of U-513. The U-boat is considered one of the WWII submarines sunk furthers away from Germany during battle.

The underwater footage of the U-513 was made with a ROV model Sea Eye Falcon Marine, capable of operating up to 300 meters deep, assigned and operated by FUGRO BRAZIL.

S/V “Aysso” and M/V “Thunder” anchored at the location, launched the ROV (Remotely operated underwater vehicle) and with sonar-aided navigation (similar to a ship’s radar – working under water) located the submarine.

The recordings were performed with the ROV camera itself. For best results, HD 3D cameras were also mounted in housings to captured images of the submarine.

Support: Santa Catarina Government and UNIVALI University

The U-513, under the command of the German captain Karl Friedrich Guggenberger, had the mission to sink any enemy vessel on the route between Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. She had already torpedoed three ships, including two Americans and a Brazilian.

The U-Boat-513 sank on July 19th, 1943. Lieutenant Roy S. Whitcomb was on a PBM-VP-74 flying-boat bomber on an antisubmarine sweep and spotted the surfaced U-boat. He ordered the attack. Captain Guggenberger on the deck of the submarine saw the approaching plane, he knew there was no time to submerge and began a counterattack. Whitcomb’s dropped six 225-pound bombs depth charges and the U-boat absorbed the full impact on her hull.

The U-513, 76 meters in length sunk immediately with its 46 crew. 7 men who were on deck where the only survivors, among them the captain Guggenberger.

The Schurmann Family is the first Brazilian family to circumnavigate the world on a sailboat and the only Brazilian family to have done it twice. A household name in Brazil, the Schurmann Family has been active around the world through their online school program, as well as their films and TV programs.

In 1984 Vilfredo, Heloisa and their children left their home, their work and school and set off from Florianópolis, the capital city of the State of Santa Catarina, in southern Brazil, to pursue their dream: circumnavigate the world on a sailing yacht.

Their children, Pierre, David and Wilhelm, were 15, 10 and 7 years old. On this first adventure, the Schurmann Family spent 10 years at sea.

In 1997 the Schurmann Family began their second great adventure Magellan Global Adventure. The goal was to retrace the route sailed by Ferdinand Magellan’s fleet, the first complete circumnavigation of the planet. For this adventure, apart from the parents only their son David Schurmann and Kat, their 5-year-old daughter went along. Magellan Global Adventure was followed by more than 1,5 million people, from 44 countries. Every month the adventure’s filmed reports, broadcast internationally, had an average of 40 million television viewers in Brazil and many more around the world. After 30 months, the Schurmann’s yacht returned to Brazil.

The Family members are: Vilfredo, Heloisa, Pierre, David, Wilhelm and Kat Schurmann (d. 2006).
They have released 4 best sellers in Brazil and one box office hit documentary film: Books
• Em Busca do Sonho (2006) Portuguese
• Momentos De uma Aventura (2001) Portuguese/English
• Um Mundo de Aventuras (2002) Portuguese
• 10 Anos No Mar (1995) Portuguese

Films & TV
• O Mundo em Duas Voltas (The World in Two Round Trips) 2007 (Film)
• Em Busca do Sonho (Film)
• Magellan Global Adventure (TV Series)
• Schurmann Family 20 years (TV Series)

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National Trust’s Director-General to step down

The National Trust has announced that Fiona Reynolds has decided to leave the charity after more than 11 years as Director-General.

Fiona is to take up her duties as Master of Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, in the autumn of 2013 – the first woman to be elected Master in the College’s history.

She said: “As a graduate of Cambridge I am thrilled to be going back to head one of its finest colleges.

“I have loved every minute leading the National Trust and working with our passionate and dedicated staff, volunteers and supporters.

“I am incredibly proud of all that we have achieved in the last 11 years.

“There is no organisation like it and I will miss it terribly. But it is time to allow someone else an opportunity to make their mark.”

Fiona has overseen a period of transformational change at the National Trust, reconnecting the organisation with its original founding purpose, and infusing it with warmth and liveliness.

Membership hit four million last year from 2.7 million in 2001, and visitor numbers to the Trust’s 300 properties reached 19 million from 10 million a decade ago. Volunteer numbers have also doubled, with 62,000 people involved last year.

From her earliest days at the Trust Fiona pioneered an ‘arms open’ approach to conservation, bringing expert work out from behind closed doors to take place in front of visitors, now an integral part of the Trust’s programme to bring places to life.

Property acquisitions have included the vast Victorian Gothic Tyntesfield and its estate near Bristol, Vanbrugh’s Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland, the ‘back-to-back’ terraced houses in Birmingham, John Lennon’s boyhood home in Liverpool and the quirky home of Kenyan-born poet Khadambi Asalache in Wandsworth.

These acquisitions have been part of a concerted focus on social and community relevance for the Trust, recently underlined by the long-term lease taken out on Tredegar House in South East Wales.

As a geographer and walker with a passionate interest in landscape, she has systematically added to the 617,000 acres of countryside under the Trust’s care.

During this time she has championed the importance of access to the outdoors and nature for people’s wellbeing and promoted local and seasonal food with a drive to create 1,000 new allotments on National Trust land.

Most recently, this included the acquisition of the 617-acre Llyndy Isaf estate near Snowdon after a public appeal raised £1 million in seven months from 20,000 donors.

She has overseen a restructure of the governance of the charity, from a 52-member Council to a 12-member Board of Trustees, as well as two major internal restructures which have strengthened and localised the organisation.

While maintaining the Trust’s strict party-political neutrality, Fiona has championed its conservation principles, most recently leading the charge against proposed changes to the planning framework which, she warned, would bias planning towards excessive building in the countryside.

Fiona, 53, will continue in her post at the National Trust until her successor is in place. She plans to use the interval between leaving and moving to Cambridge in September 2013 to write a book about her years at the Trust.

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The Co-operative Approach Raises Ethical Bar Yet Again

As the United Nations celebrates the International Year of Co-operatives, the UK’s biggest mutually owned business yesterday (16 February) demonstrated how its longer term approach has enabled it to raise the ethical bar yet again.

The Co-operative Group’s latest ethical plan, first launched 12 months ago as the most radical sustainability programme in UK corporate history, shows how many of the original targets, particularly in relation to environmental issues, have been achieved well ahead of schedule.

The new plan shows that in the past 12 months The Co-operative has seen:
• Operational greenhouse gas emissions reduce by a massive 35%, and water consumption is down by 20%
• Lending of £700 million has been progressed to green energy projects
• Pressure groups have ranked The Co-operative as leader in areas such as pesticides, palm oil, sustainable fish and forest stewardship
• A million new customer members have joined
• Support for a new community initiative in the UK every hour of every day
• 700 co-operative enterprises have been helped to grow and prosper
• 70% of developing world products that can be Fairtrade will be Fairtrade by end March

This year’s Plan contains 53 commitments and, in order to ensure that The Co-operative continues to be the UK’s most socially responsible business, includes the following:
• Operational greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 50% by 2020, and water consumption will be reduced by 30% by 2014
• £17m will be invested in support of co-operative development
• The number of schools active in our Green schools Revolution will be doubled to 6,000
• To improve the safety of Britain’s roads, young drivers will be rewarded with premium discounts worth £20m
• A new campaign will be launched with Oxfam to champion small-holder farmers and co-operatives, and the role they can play in feeding the world sustainably
• 30,000 loans to entrepreneurs in the developing world will be facilitated by the year end Group Chief Executive Peter Marks said: “Despite the economic downturn we have remained true to our pledge to show the way on corporate responsibility.

“The one million new members we now have bears testimony to the continued support we have had from our customers. It also helps that the savings that result from our environmental efficiency initiatives, nearly £40m a year, are being ploughed back into the business to reduce costs.

“Our work in the communities in and around our stores is going from strength to strength. Amazingly, the average person in the UK is now only a mile away from a community project that has received our support.

“Abroad, we have continued to lead the way on tackling global poverty. Our new partnership with Oxfam is particularly timely given it’s the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives. Smallholder farmers and co-operatives already help feed a third of the world, with a little more help they can help us rise to the challenge of how to feed sustainably the extra two billion that will be on the planet by 2050.”

Jonathon Porritt , Founder Director of Forum for the Future, said: “The UK’s energy economy has been profoundly weakened by an over-dependence on the big energy companies and inconsistencies in both policy and regulation.

“Despite all that, community energy schemes are at last coming into their own, and the very substantial support now promised to community energy by The Co-operative has the potential to transform this hugely exciting sector. If you want to see what the ‘green economy’ looks like in practice, look no further.”

Oxfam Chief Executive, Barbara Stocking said: “Oxfam and The Co-operative’s new campaigning partnership will shine a spotlight on the crucial role that small farmers and co-operatives play in global food production. It’s morally indefensible that 1 billion people currently go hungry every day; increased international investment in co-operatives and small farmers, especially women, who produce the majority of the world’s food, would help to tackle this injustice and ensure a future where everyone always has enough to eat.”

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1,127 Buddhism Tudongha Monks in Thailand

These eye-opening pictures have been happening for 12 consecutive days in Thailand. The starting date was on Jan 2, 2012 and it has been going on until today, Jan 13.  It will continue on until Jan 25, 2012 which is the last day of this special activity. Normally, Tudongha in Buddhism involves the discipline of detaching from materials as they are in order to free the mind from defilements.

Although the monks are walking from province to province instead of walking in the forest, they still have to practice their mind. This is the first time in history of Buddhism that 1,127 Theravada monks are doing Tudongha in unison for the distance of 365 km.  It will take them 24 days to walk on the path strewn with rose petals and with local people waiting along the path saying “Sadhu” to express their joy in seeing the monks doing this Tudongha on the entire route. What inspires a large number of people to carry out this activity continuously for a long time in strong heat of the afternoon sun?  These people never give up their intention even though they have to wait on the rugged roads and lack various means of comfort. They never neglect their participation even for a short time.

This is because of the peaceful temperament of the monks who have practiced their mind very well.  This enables the Buddhists to touch the real core of Buddhism by watching the monks doing their Tudongha. The monks and the people intend to walk the various routes that cover 6 provinces in order to pay homage to the 6 significant places that their Great Master used to stay.

As of today, the 1,127 Tudongha monks have walked through 2 places which are in Song Pi-Nong District, Suphanburi Province. These places are: 1. Phra Mongkolthepmuni Memorial which is the place where The Great Master was born, and 2. Song Pi-Nong Temple where The Great Master ordained.Today, all 1,127 Tudongha monks are coming to the third important place which is Boadbon Temple, Bangkuvieng, Nonthaburi Province where The Great Master attained Dhammakaya.

The monks have walked 150 km. already and they have to walk the remaining of 215 km. in 12 more days and that will be the end of this Tudongha.  We can say that this had never happened before in history.  What will happen next?  Let us continue in the next episode. For more information

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National Trust Welcomes Four Millionth Member Family To AGM

National Trust members gathered in Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall for the Annual General Meeting. Cliodhna Giltinan and Frank Allais, along with their daughters Bo (aged six) and Eve (aged eight), were welcomed by Director-General Fiona Reynolds and Chairman Simon Jenkins and received life membership, in celebration of becoming the four millionth family member.

Cliodhna is a teacher from Dublin and Frank is a photographer, originally from France. They live with their children in Hackney, East London. Looking to find out more about the UK and British history, they joined the National Trust. The also use their membership to enjoy great days out as a family. On discovering they were the charity’s 4 millionth member, Cliodhna revealed that they were very surprised, saying: “When we received the phone call from the Trust’s membership department saying we were the four-millionth members we couldn’t quite believe it.

Cliodhna said it was her family’s visit to Knole that inspired them to join the National Trust. She remarked that the price of a family membership felt like money well-spent since they would only need to visit a few places per year in order for it to be worthwhile.

This presentation by the Director General and the Trust’s Chairman marks the start of the day when official National Trust business is undertaken, with up to 1,000 National Trust members gathered together.

According to Fiona Reynolds, 2011 is a very special year. She said she was delighted to meet Cliodhna and Frank and that she is proud that four million people are members of the National Trust. She explained: I’m proud because it shows the strength of feeling behind our cause. Our mission to look after special places, forever, for everyone is as relevant now as it was 116 years ago when we were founded.

“The support of our members really matters, so I want to say a huge thank you. It’s only through their support that we can look after the places in our care for millions more to enjoy. Seventeen million people visited our houses last year and 75 million our coast and countryside.

“People join us for many reasons – a love of their local place, a passion for beauty, for heritage and art, for surfing and cycling, or simply the joy of family time together. What all our members have in common is a love for beautiful and historic places.”

National Trust Chairman, Simon Jenkins, shared in the pride of reaching the milestone, but said there’s still much more for the charity to do: “Growing from 2.8million members a decade ago to this 4million landmark is amazing – but we know we cannot stand still. We have set ourselves an ambitious target of reaching 5million members by 2020. So, we strive to make the experience our visitors have of our places better and better. And we’re constantly seeking new ways to connect people with place – whether through food, or technology, or through becoming more open and involving.”

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The National Trust Opens Its Doors To The Uks Best-Loved Cartoon Characters

The National Trust has, for the first time, given fictional characters keys to all of its 300 homes and access to the 617,500 acres of land it cares for. ‘The Beano’ team of illustrators and comic whizzes have had full creative control as characters from Dennis the Menace to Billy Whizz conquer castles and race ponies across grand estates.

The Beano characters have invaded to help the National Trust bring its many places to visit to life and prove that its doors (and copious amounts of fresh air) are open to all, breaking down preconceptions of the organisation.

Dennis the Menace and Gnasher kick off the chaos as they conquer Powis Castle in Wales, fooling National Trust staff with dozens of “hedge menaces” disguising the real rascal and his companion and becoming King for the day.

The Numskulls, who live inside Edd’s nostrils, are sneezed out at Edwardian Surrey estate Polesden Lacey into a game of croquet – and a planned bug hunt – to enjoy the buzz of bumblebee racing, while Minnie The Minx takes her dad on a manic trip to Northern Ireland to discover the iconic Giant’s Causeway and find the giant Finn McCool himself.

The Bash Street Kids days out in Devon, visiting the family manor Arlington Court and enjoying the great outdoors, while fellow mischief-maker Billy Whizz – the fastest boy in ‘The Beano’ – explores the country in less than a day. Fooled by Attingham Park’s false doors, to completing Cragside’s 8 foot high rhododendron maze in seconds and experiencing life as an Anglo Saxon at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, Billy Whizz has a fast-paced day topped off by a good night’s sleep in Lyme Park’s Edwardian Nursery.

Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust, commented: “We are delighted to open our doors to ‘The Beano’ and all of its mischievous characters. The National Trust and ‘The Beano’ are both British institutions and we are hoping the news that we have opened our doors to them all will encourage families to take a leaf out of Dennis’ book and organise a trip to one of our places. As our black and red stripy friend says; ‘a menace always has a plan’ and this summer should be no exception.

“Wherever we can we have tried to take away ropes and show the fun side of our places with everything from mazes to talking portraits. We are certain that real-life Dennises will find that it is not all ‘please don’t touch’ anymore; in some places you can even have a go on the snooker table.”

John-Paul Murphy, Head of Brand Marketing of ‘The Beano’ publishers, D.C. Thomson, added: “We couldn’t think of a better way to prove what fun kids can have at ‘Gnashional Trust’ properties by letting the world’s most famous menace and his friends from ‘Beanotown’ loose on them. Dennis hasn’t let his own 60th anniversary affect his ability to cause his own brand of havoc and it is a fitting birthday treat for him to become ‘King of the Castle’ at Powis. We’re sure ‘Beano’ readers will have just as much fun as the characters have when they visit the venues featured in our comic this summer.”

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The National Trust Asks Community To Help Shape Future Of North East Farmland

The National Trust is asking the local community surrounding its Gibside Estate in Tyne & Wear to help decide the future of 150 acres of farmland it has purchased adjoining the 600 acre property.

The charity has invested over half a million pounds to save the pasture and arable land from open cast mining.

The acquisition came on the back of a ground swell of opposition to the mining proposal in the local community where a mine would have been visible for miles around, created noise pollution, vibrations from explosions and high levels of dust.

A mine would also have unpredictable impacts on wildlife, the water table and drainage systems downhill in the historic Gibside landscape park.

Following hard on the heels of the launch of the charity’s mass on-line public experiment in farming, MyFarm – where 10,000 people will help make all the decisions on a working 1,200 acre organic farm at Wimpole near Cambridge – the Trust, in a similar vein, wants local people to help it make choices about the land around Gibside Estate.

A community supported agriculture* scheme is already being set up on eight acres of the land after unprecedented interest from local residents. Other suggestions include new walking routes, a farm visitor attraction and various eco projects.

All ideas will be debated as the Trust enters a consultation process with the local community to see how the farm can best serve everyone’s needs. An online survey at offers the chance to contribute ideas. There will also be consultation events for Gibside’s 120,000 visitors, schools and community groups.

Mick Wilkes, property manager at Gibside said: “Acquiring this farmland enables us to safeguard the future beauty and tranquillity of this special corner of the Derwent Valley. The shadow of centuries of heavy industry and pollution hangs over the area and many local people don’t want to return to that. More than this, we’re creating an opportunity to do some exciting projects involving people on our doorstep.

“It’s really important to us to have the chance to talk to local people to find out what their hopes and aspirations are, and to work out what we can achieve by working collaboratively with the community.”

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The National Trust Announces Partnership with Garmin

The National Trust is offering visitors an exciting new way to explore its great outdoor places by partnering with GPS experts Garmin this summer.

Geocaching, a family friendly ‘digital’ treasure hunt, will be taking place at over 40 National Trust places across the country*. Visitors will be able to borrow a Garmin handheld GPS device to guide them to treasure ‘caches’ hidden in the countryside and coastland of National Trust sites.

These modern-day treasure-hunts are a fun way for visitors to get out and really experience the outdoors with the National Trust.

Andrew Silver, senior product manager for fitness and outdoor at Garmin said: “Geocaching is a great way for families and people of all ages to get outdoors and discover hidden places using a Garmin GPS and At National Trust places this summer, you can have fun and get rewards, but also learn useful techniques such as how to read maps and co-ordinates. Garmin is really pleased to be able to offer this new activity to people who love to experience beautiful National Trust places.”

The partnership between the National Trust and Garmin is part of the Trust’s vision to encourage more people to enjoy the outdoors.

Over the forthcoming months, Garmin will be hosting taster sessions at National Trust places, so visitors from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland can become 21st century treasure hunters.

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The National Trust Announces Return Of Famous Beetle Wing Dress

The National Trust has announced that a Victorian dress decorated with 1,000 real beetle wings is set to go back on display following 1,300 hours of painstaking conservation.

A stage costume worn by Ellen Terry, one of the most celebrated and glamorous actresses of the Victorian age, has returned to her home, Smallhythe Place in Kent, cared for by the National Trust.

The emerald and sea green gown, covered with the iridescent wings of the jewel beetle (which the beetles shed naturally) was worn by Ellen when she wowed audiences with her portrayal of Lady Macbeth at London’s Lyceum Theatre in 1888.

It was one of the most iconic and celebrated theatre costumes of the time, immortalised by the John Singer Sargent portrait now on display at the Tate Gallery.

Known as the Queen of the Theatre, Ellen was mobbed by fans wherever she went. She played opposite Sir Henry Irving at the Lyceum Theatre for over 20 years and was famed for her portrayal of Shakespearean heroines.

As one of the most important items in the National Trust’s collections, the Beetle Wing dress was on the priority list to be conserved.

At over 120 years old, the dress had seen many years of wear and tear and was subject to much alteration. It was structurally very weak and a shadow of its original self. Two years ago the intricate process of conserving it began. A successful fundraising campaign raised £50,000 for the work to be completed.

Paul Meredith, house manager at Smallhythe Place, said: “We had collected the beetle wings that had fallen off over the years so that the conservator was able to re-attach many of the originals, plus others that had been donated to us – 1,000 in total.

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The National Trust Scoops Award For Best Use Of Social Media

The National Trust’s recruitment team had started searching for a new addition to their digital media team but their approach was not achieving the desired results. The team, along with their advertising partner ThirtyThree, hit on the idea of using a microsite dedicated to this vacancy.

The National Trust used this platform to share all the information that is usually seen in a traditional job advert. However, this was just one element as there were lots of added extras including information on the National Trust’s commitment to digital investment, online access to its digital testing labs and a short film portraying the uniqueness of the National Trust’s state-of-the-art office. The site,, was then pushed out to the digital community.

Jenny Rettie, National Trust Recruitment Manager, said: “We’re so proud of this innovative recruitment campaign and think it shows that the National Trust is changing and we’re starting to shift perceptions of what it’s really like to work here.

“It’s all part of our move to engage with people in a variety of new and exciting ways. Latest research shows that 76 per cent of leaders hadn’t ever thought of us as an employer, so getting our name out there as an employer by winning awards and competing with other large employer brands is great.”

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The World Music And Food Festival, Atlanta 2010

GIVE A HAND FOUNDATION INC has arranged to host the largest World Music and Food Festival ever produced in the South! The FREE Festival will run from October 22-24, 2010 at Piedmont Park in downtown Atlanta, Georgia.

“Good music is a language understood all over the world,” says Edi Okri, president of Give a Hand Foundation. “With this festival, our aim is to bring together diverse cultures and tastes for a fun, rich experience!”

The event will feature more than 100 local, national and international live artists, cultural dancers and comedians for all three days — it will be a time of celebration and cultural extravaganza. The Festival, which will not charge an admission fee to the public, will feature three performing stages. There will also be about 3,000 vendor displays, featuring products and services from around the world!

“The Office of the Mayor, as well as the Department of Parks & Recreation, has approved our use of Piedmont Park for the entire weekend,” says Okri. “The event is completely free, and we’re generating good publicity right now, so we’re preparing to receive a large crowd. We, however, still have some vendor spaces available.”

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77’7″ Kerrville Cross Raised on IH-10, Ending 9 Year Epic Struggle

Tuesday, July 27th a two-million-dollar, 70-ton, 77’7″ red-brown contemporary sculpture named The Empty Cross™ was erected by The Coming King Foundation (TCKF) overlooking Interstate 10, half-way between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, on the transcontinental highway that connects California and Florida. The purpose, according to TCKF Vice President Jim McKnight, is to “draw people to God and to bless all those who visit the 23 acre Sculpture Prayer Garden in Kerrville, which will be free to the public.”

The week-long process to erect the cross began on Monday morning, July 26th. Eagle Bronze of Lander, WY supervised the raising of the massive cross sculpture with the help of local welders, steel erectors, and crane companies. This historic event caps a 9-year epic struggle to raise the cross which included several financial“miracles”, threats and attacks by atheists and others opposed to the cross, numerous letters to the media and city government, and a lawsuit filed by neighboring landowners, which was settled.

The spiritual park, located at the main entrance of Kerrville, looks like the “Holy Land” and happens to be at the same latitude as Israel. The “Hill Country” town of Kerrville is home to about 23,000 people. It is known for its beautiful Guadalupe River, scenic views, and abundant wildlife. The area is a favorite of tourists, campers and hunters from across the USA. Only 60 miles northwest of San Antonio’s main tourist attractions, the Alamo and River Walk, over a thousand people a day are expected to visit the free “Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden” when it is completed.

Sudie Burditt, Director of the Kerrville Convention & Visitors Bureau, said: “Thanks to TCKF for making our world aware of Kerrville, Texas. The national publicity it has received for the Sculpture Prayer Garden is enormous, and the publicity and awareness of the City of Kerrville is great for our economy. As the Garden is developed and the beautiful art is put in place, the rocky, cedar-covered hillside will become a place of beauty and serenity that will attract visitors for generations to come. These visitors will eat, sleep and shop in Kerrville, making a positive growth impact on our hospitality industry.”

The non-denominational Christian Garden and the seven-story hollow cross sculpture are the “vision” of artist/evangelist Max Greiner, Jr., a 1974 architecture design graduate of Texas A&M University. The spiritually symbolic, Cor-tin steel cross is the largest sculpture featured in the Garden park and the largest sculpture ever created by the artist and his foundry, Eagle Bronze, of Lander, WY, one of the largest art bronze foundries in the USA.

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National Trust Opens Wild Child Competition

The National Trust has opened a competition that will see the winner go on a money-can’t-buy experience with a National Trust Ranger.

To enter the competition, contestants simply need to send in details of their experiences of going wild outdoors at one of the National Trust’s summer events.

Competition judges are looking for great photos taken in nature, poetical musings on bugs and beasties, stories about wildlife adventures, doodles inspired by the great outdoors. In short, anything that shows the entrant is a wild child. Entries received will be put into an online gallery which will allow visitors to vote on popular entries.

Entries can be e-mailed or sent in the post to the National Trust. Anything mailed will be scanned and, like e-mail entries, uploaded to the gallery after moderation.

Winners will go on a fantastic day out with one of the National Trust nature conservation experts, getting up close and personal with creepy crawlies, shy creatures and wild landscapes. Winners can bring a friend or parent/guardian with them to join in the behind-the-scenes adventure. The competition winner will have a choice of National Trust sites to explore, including sandy beaches, open moorland and garden visits.

There are thousands of Wild Child events across England, Wales and Northern Ireland this summer, from safaris and bug hunts to pond dipping and bat watching, there’s plenty of ways to get close to nature.

The competition closes 1 November 2010 at midnight and winners will be notified by post within 28 days of this date. Entrants under 16 years of age should ask a parent or guardian before giving contact details.

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MATT Board Member Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of San Antonio Appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, member of the Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together (MATT) board of directors since 2006,was recently appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles.

MATT Board Member Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of San Antonio Appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles

“Archbishop Gomez has been an invaluable asset to our organization, offering wisdom, vision and leadership. We are honored that he will continue to serve and be actively involved on our board as MATT continues to develop and grow,” stated MATT Chairman of the Board Alonso Ancira.

MATT, a bi-national, non-profit organization committed to improving the quality of life of both Mexicans and Americans living in Mexico and the United States, has as one of its top priorities the integration of immigrants into American society. As a result, MATT launched an English immersion program dedicated to teach functional English to Spanish-speaking individuals utilizing practical case scenarios such as renting an apartment, opening a bank account, and applying for a job. The lessons are transmitted on the Guadalupe Radio Network and the workbooks are distributed free through parishes and schools. Archbishop Gomez was instrumental in spearheading the MATT Maestro en Casa pilot program, currently implemented in Texas.“Archbishop Gomez had the vision of helping those who lack the communication skills crucial for a healthy and prosperous integration. Without his guidance, Maestro en Casa would not have been as successful as it is today. With Archbishop Gomez involvement, we were able to launch MATT MEC successfully in Texas and are able to expand its presence effectively in other communities, including Los Angeles,” confirms Aracely Garcia-Granados, executive director of MATT.

The MATT family is proud to have had the opportunity to know Archbishop Gomez well and his dedication to the community. MATT is confidant that Archbishop Gomez will be an invaluable asset to all Catholics, primarily those in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. As a native of Monterrey, Mexico, Archbishop Gomez possesses a keen understanding of the hardship, struggles, and needs of migrant communities.“Pope Benedict XVI could not have made a more appropriate appointment at the most timely of moments in our history,” commented Ancira. “He has been a tremendous force in our community and we are confident that this is just the beginning of a most enlightening future for Archbishop Gomez.”

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Immigration An Issue That Affects All Americans Texas Diversity Conference Outcome

The 6th Annual Texas Diversity & Leadership Conference hosted the Hispanic/Latino Summit last Wednesday, April 7 in Rockwall, Texas. The Who’s Who on immigration, health care and other key issues gathered to discuss thei outlook on legislative actions taken by Congress and the White House.

Serving on the panel were Dr Alfredo Jimenez, Claudia Torrescano of Univision Radio and Margaret Pullés, government relations and communications advisor for Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together (MATT).

“The issue of immigration must be seen as an issue that affects all Americans and not as a Latino issue,” stated Pullés in her presentation on the Outlook of Immigration Reform. Immigration reform was presented from an economic, global competitiveness and homeland security perspective. “The time to act is now so we have a system that works for business and labor, ensures safe borders with a functional entry and exit system and incentivizes legal entry into the United States. Our current system fails on all levels.” Pulles spoke on the urgency to act now due to the economic “upswing” that is in the horizon and the need to have a comprehensive system in place before the United States becomes a giant magnet for migrant workers.

The Diversity Conference concluded that immigration reform is an issue that affects all Americans. Texas Diversity Panel Director and MATT Vice-President of Community Affairs Rebecca Viagran stressed that “The Texas Diversity Conference is integral in carrying the message forward and integrating it into all sectors of business and organizations that participate.”

The Latino Summit leaders are meeting with MATT in the coming weeks to develop a strategic plan to promote the impact immigration has on all sectors, targeting what Pullés defined as “HIR” meaning Hispanics, Independents and Republicans. “It is essential that we move the argument to the center if we expect any real and tangible results,” concluded Pullés.

The Texas Diversity Council has partnered with MATT over the past 3 years to secure the dialogue on immigration reform. “We are pleased with the outcome of this year’s Summit and we look forward to our continued partnership as we all seek the same goal: The betterment of our community and equal opportunity to all.” said Ángeles Valenciano VP of Corporate Development with TXDC.

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I-10 Sculpture Garden Gets 3 Million in Art

Three million dollars worth of monumental sculptures have been donated to The Coming King Foundation for display at a 23 acre Sculpture Prayer Garden on Interstate 10 in Kerrville, TX. The non-profit Christian arts foundation announced this week that Dallas, TX sculptor, David Broussard ( will be joining two other professional American sculptors, Beverly Paddleford ( of Lander, WY and Max Greiner, Jr. ( of Kerrville, TX by donating his work to the sculpture park, located in the Texas Hill Country.

Broussard uses carbon steel and heat from his blow torch to construct colorful, contemporary sculptures, while Paddleford and Greiner carve their realistic originals out of clay or wax, which is later cast into bronze. Together, the three artists are giving more than a dozen monumental sculptures to the Christ-honoring garden. In addition to the art, two million dollars in donations have already been spent on the world-class garden park. However, two to three million dollars are still needed to complete the entire Sculpture Prayer Garden, which is being built without debt from the donations of Christians across America.

In December of 2008, construction on the spiritual Garden was halted for 15 months due to a lawsuit filed by neighbors, who sought to stop the largest sculpture, a 77í7î contemporary cross, from being erected. However, on March 1, 2010 Judge Keith Williams of the 216th District Court in Texas approved a Settlement Agreement, which allowed the Christian arts ministry to raise ìThe Empty Crossî, a two million dollar, 70 ton, Cor-tin steel, sculpture.

The seven story, symbolic cross sculpture, when erected on a 1,930í hill, is destined to become a national landmark. It will be seen by travelers on the transcontinental interstate highway, which links Florida and California. The sculpture park is located approximately halfway between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Texas garden is also at the same latitude as Israel and looks like the Holy Land. ìPilgrimsî from across the USA and world are expected to visit the free spiritual garden when finished. According to Greiner, the organizationís founder and current President: ìThis garden will be a great spiritual blessing to all, and a financial blessing to the local area. We expect it will become one of the top free tourist attractions in Texas when opened to the public.î

The Kerrville Sculpture Prayer Garden is the ìprototypeî for other evangelical Christian gardens that will be built across the USA and world for the glory of God. The Christ-honoring artwork in the garden will be diverse, as more Christian artists are invited to donate their sculptures. The second garden is being built now at Christian Family Church in Owatonna, MN on Interstate 35, just south of Minneapolis.

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MATT Partners With MALDEF To Teach Basics About U.S. Census Through English Radio Program

MATT Maestro en Casa English Learning Lessons on the US Census Airs March 9 Washington, DC – Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together, a bi-national non-for-profit organization headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, joined forces with MALDEF to inform non-English speakers about the U.S. Census. The MATT Maestro en Casa, a radio transmitted English learning program, which has practical and simple lessons on Finance, Health Care, and the Workplace, has added a new theme on the U.S. Census as a vital way to educate the public on the process and to help dispel any myths or misinformation that may encourage non-participation by the Spanish-speaking community.

The 2010 US Census lessons begin to air March 9 on the Guadalupe Radio Network. To supplement the lessons, MATT will publish workbooks, which are free and distributed by non-profits, faith-based organizations, and MATT.

The MATT Maestro en Casa English learning program launched last fall and airs on Guadalupe Radio Network stations KJON 850 AM Dallas-Ft-Worth, KWMF 1380 AM San Antonio, and KVDG 90.9 FM Midland. Lessons can also be accessed on the organization’s website,

For more information on how to bring MATT Maestro en Casa to your community contact MATT at 1.866.980.MATT or visit

Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together (MATT), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas and with presence in Washington, DC and Mexico City, was established to serve as the voice of reason influencing policy to improve U.S./Mexico relations.

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