Colors: Blue Color

International Day for Biological Diversity was celebrated at Virtual University of Pakistan on May 22, 2017 for creating awareness among masses especially students on importance of biodiversity and its threats.

World Biological Diversity Day is celebrated all over the world to highlight the significance of Biodiversity conservation and importance of biodiversity in ecosystem. It provides an opportunity for all to join hands and talk about the existing and emerging problems caused by biodiversity loss and prospects of biodiversity conservation. VU Environmental Protection Society in collaboration with WWF-Pakistan organized a seminar on World Biological Diversity Day at Lawrence Road Office Lahore.

Dr. Masroor Elahi Babar, Dean Faculty of Science and Technology was the chief guest, whereas senior WWF official, Ms. Warda Javed and Dr. Fahad Rafiq were the guest speaker. Ms. Warda Javed briefed the participants about the required cooperation to halt and reverse the accelerating loss of biological and genetic resources of the planet earth. Dr. Fahad Rafiq highlighted the role of biodiversity and sustainable tourism in Pakistan. A large number of students and faculty members of Virtual University of Pakistan attended the seminar.

A nine-day festival encompassing the entire output of Thelonious Monk will take place in Birmingham between 12-20 June to celebrate the centenary of the master jazz musician.

Organised by Birmingham Conservatoire’s Jazz Department, Monkathon will see all 70 of Monk’s compositions performed at venues across the city by groups, soloists and internationally-renowned guest artists.  

Born in North Carolina in 1917, Thelonious Monk has made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire including ‘Blue Monk’, ‘Round Midnight’ and ‘Well, You Needn’t’. Despite writing a relatively small amount of pieces, Monk is the second most-recorded jazz composer of all time and is one of only five jazz musicians to have appeared on the cover of ‘Time’ magazine.

Dr Hans Koller, Senior Lecturer at Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, said:

“Thelonious Monk is one of the 20th century giants of music, not just of jazz. His art transcends boundaries of time, style and aesthetics. Monk at 100 is a wonderful excuse to celebrate his status as an iconic figure of inspiration to us all. 

The Birmingham Monkathon features students, alumni and staff at Birmingham City University, with leading international Monk-inspired performers including Steve Cardenas from New York, Liam Noble from the UK, and Professor François Théberge from Paris Conservatoire, as well as the eminent Monk biographer Professor Robin Kelley, for this grand celebration. In addition, we have international students, outreach programmes, and many gigs across the city.” 

Highlights include performances by Steve Cardenas with Martin Speake, Hans Koller, Calum Gourlay and James Maddren, ‘Jump Monk’ with the Arnie Somogyi Small Band, and the Birmingham Jazz Orchestra in original and re-worked compositions of Monk, plus brand new arrangements by special guest Trish Clowes. 

There’s also the chance to hear exciting arrangements of Monk’s early Blue Note recordings from senior students, adjudicated by Steve Cardenas, and a keynote speech by Monk biographer Professor Robin Kelley, Chair of the Department of African American Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles. 

Liam Noble’s small group’s gig also forms part of the Conservatoire’s two-day CODA marathon of new music, marking the very last events to be held in its Paradise Place buildings.

Italian conservatoire students from Verona, Milan, Bologna and Palermo will be visiting Birmingham to participate in Monkathon and four schools in Birmingham and the local area will be treated to outreach concerts featuring some of the small bands.

Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, is currently preparing to move to a new state-of-the-art £57 million home in September, which will include the city’s only permanent jazz space – Eastside Jazz Club. Earlier this year, Birmingham Conservatoire launched its big band Ellington Orchestra, who will be a regular fixture in the new club.

Tottenham will play a starring role in this year’s Chelsea Fringe, the alternative garden festival which runs until 4 June.

Running at the same time as the Chelsea Flower show, the Chelsea Fringe includes a host of horticultural events around London celebrating the excitement of gardens and gardening.  This year’s festival includes  ‘Discover Green Tottenham, Yes Tottenham!’, a free walking tour of some of Tottenham’s treasured gardens, parks and allotments with a chance to enjoy some tasty locally grown treats along the way.

Although not traditionally recognised for its green credentials, Tottenham is actually home to Lee Valley Park, London’s largest green and open space, as well as a number of award winning parks and open spaces. The tour will include visits to an urban tropical garden and a thriving community allotment, a stop-off at the Tottenham Green Market, as well as a tour of the award winning Lee Valley Estates urban garden  in Hale Village.

The tour starts at Seven Sisters Tube station (exit 1) at 11am on Sunday 28 May

With 1 in 3 of dogs suffering from skin complaints across the UK, YuMEGA, the UK’s No.1 veterinary skin supplement by Lintbells have launched a campaign to encourage dog owners to “Quit That Itch”. The month long campaign will raise awareness of the importance of healthy skin for dogs, whilst highlighting how dog owners can help support healthy skin and coat for their four legged friends.

To help dog owners throughout the month of June YuMEGA have put together a healthy skin guide detailing the tell-tale signs of skin complaints and top tips on how to treat them. They will also be running a number of competitions giving people the chance to win the YuMEGA Itchy Dog supplement, as well as sharing lots of tips and advice on their social media channels. Lintbells can be found on Facebook (@Lintbells.Pet.Health) and Twitter (@LintbellsPet).

John Davies, co-founder of Lintbells the creators of YuMEGA, said: “We are thrilled to be launching our first ‘Quit That Itch’ Itchy Skin Awareness campaign. The importance of a dog’s skin health is not highlighted enough nowadays and we are aiming to change this, by raising awareness among dog owners and beyond. The health and wellbeing of dogs is at the heart of everything we do and we believe that ‘Quit That Itch’ campaign proves that”

For Arsene Wenger, it’s a chance to soften the blow and saving something from what has been the worst season in his 21-year tenure. Chelsea are Premier League champions with a record 30 victories from a 38-game season and a win will complete a remarkable first season for the amiable Antonio Conte, with a League and Cup double an impressive highlight on his Premier League debut season.

A record seventh FA Cup win for the Frenchman would hold no little appeal to his remaining acolytes, the type of romantic folk who consider millennials obsessing over UEFA Champions League qualification as being as uncouth as presenting a loved one with flowers plucked from a garage forecourt.

Conte's men go into this afternoon’s FA Cup final showdown having won eight of their past 11 competitive games against Arsenal. A record of six wins from their past seven games against teams in the top half is similarly impressive.

If Gooners chief, Wenger, can engineer a victor at Wembley he will become the standalone most successful manager in FA Cup history, with seven wins to his name. Victory for the boys from the King’s Road will be an almost immaculate debut season in English football for the infectiously likable Italian.

With football being nothing if not bittersweet - so it would turn out for one part of the nation’s capital, though probably more so in the north than west.

Dads can indulge their hunter gatherer instincts in the Yorkshire Dales by enjoying a special Father's Day (Sunday 18 June) 'Catch and Cook' fishing trip.

It's hard to beat the taste of freshly-caught fish and Kilnsey Park near Skipton is ideally placed to offer a lake-to-plate experience for dads and their families.

After landing a rainbow trout from one of the scenic fishing ponds, the chef at Kilnsey's Café by the Lake will prepare and cook it before serving the park's twist on fish and chips with homemade mushy peas to the proud fishermen.

The Father's Day Catch & Cook day costs £22.50 per person which includes the fishing experience, rod, and the landing of one fish that is then served as a lunchtime meal with a drink in the café.

Kilnsey Park, in the heart of the spectacularly scenic Upper Wharfedale, runs a fly fishery which includes fishing ponds specifically for those new to fly fishing.

Jamie Roberts, managing partner of Kilnsey Park explains: “Whether it's the thrill of catching that first fish or enjoying friendly competition between other members of the family, the Catch & Cook day will be a great opportunity for dads to relax and spend time doing something a bit different from the norm.”

The NEC Group has been announced as Large Company Management Team of the Year (Midlands) at the 2017 British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA) Management Team Awards in Birmingham.

The awards, now in their ninth year, are an annual celebration of UK companies, recognising and rewarding brilliant businesses that have been backed by UK private equity and venture capital investors.

NEC Group CEO Paul Thandi said: “Our driver for external investment was to realise our business plan and beyond.  Deliverability and pace are essential for us in responding to market opportunities, and bringing on board an external investor with the experience and breadth of LDC has brought a renewed energy and confidence to our teams and business, which has been essential in our progress.

“We have a clear strategy focused on data, customer experience and optimisation. Our key initiatives are helping us to push out the right messages, at the right time, to the right audience. We’re transforming our regional and national offer through a focused business and leisure destination strategy to give our visitors more compelling reasons to visit, and we’re extending our footprint through consultancy, management and operational expertise internationally.

“LDC have backed our management team since day one. Together we have changed the way we work and operate, and that speed of focus and speed of decision making has been fantastic for us; it’s injected huge energy into our company. We know we can grow our business exponentially over the next few years and LDC have been the catalyst for that, giving us a real singularity of focus.”

The Judges said: “Backed by LDC in 2015, Paul Thandi and his team impressed the judges by the way in which they are developing the commercial potential of this venue, notably the launch of Resorts World. Their management of the day-to-day business was also impressive, including their investment in people and in data capture technology.”

As regional winners, the NEC Group will now represent the Midlands in the national final at the BVCA Gala Dinner in London on 30 November.

Work will start early this summer to demolish an eyesore building as part of City of Wolverhampton Interchange’s development plans.

The former Mill Street Garage sits on land next to the old Sack Works off Corn Hill in the city centre – beside the railway line and facing the canal.

Once the derelict garage is razed it will enable the removal of the dilapidated roof structure on the Sack Works and the stabilising of its walls and gables for its future development.

Ion Development is leading on the works on behalf of the Interchange Partnership.

They are expected to take around a month and will pave the way for the whole Sack Works site to be marketed for commercial use.

City of Wolverhampton Council Head of City Development, Paul Lakin, said: “This is another important step forward for the wider Interchange project.

“The old Sack Works site sits in a prominent location within the Interchange area and this is the start of bringing it back to life after decades of lying empty.

“It presents an excellent commercial opportunity and we will ensure any development is also sensitive to the history of the building and the surrounding area.”

Steve Parry, Managing Director, Ion Development said: “The demolition of the former Mill Street Garage is the pre-curser to a development which will become mixed use leisure and office.

“The old Sack Works site is in a perfect setting, next to the canal, to offer an excellent environment for both leisure and business use.”

The works form part of the Interchange masterplan and follows the announcement in March of the i9 development – designed by Glenn Howells Architects.

This eye-catching modern office development is to be built on Railway Drive, and emerged as a scheme following the success of the award-winning i10 building opposite.

It is hoped i9, which will provide 50,000 sq ft of Grade A office space and will become a national or regional headquarters for a major business.

Other land earmarked for development beside the railway and canal as part of the Interchange project includes the Banana Yard and Boat Yard at Broad Street Wharf.

The charity Remembering Srebrenica is looking to sign up young players for their biggest ever memorial football tournament in July.

The 8-3-7-2 tournament is named in honour of the 8,372 men and boys who were killed due to their Muslim faith in the genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995. Thousands of boys and girls across the UK have taken part in this tournament in memory of the victims over the past two years and this year the charity wants to reach even more people.

Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, Chairman of Remembering Srebrenica, says:

“What more powerful way is there than football to unite our young people and inspire them to help kick racism, hatred and intolerance out of our society?

“The schools who sign up to play in this tournament on July 12 stand united with us in remembering Srebrenica through football and learning the lessons from the past to create a better, safer future.”

The tournament is supported by the FA, English schools FA and Kick it Out, as well as a number of high-profile footballers, including Chelsea and Bosnia goalkeeper, Asmir Begović and former England Women’s football captain Casey Stoney MBE, who explains why she supports the tournament:

“We don’t just play football, we are ambassadors and we have the power to make change. I think we should celebrate difference. We should celebrate the fact that we’re all very individual and that should never be something to be held against you. Srebrenica teaches us that it is really important that those issues are raised, we are aware of them and don’t ever forget them.”

Asmir Begović was forced to leave Bosnia as a child and adds:

“I'm proud to support Remembering Srebrenica's 8-3-7-2 Tournament which brings young people together through football to remember the victims and survivors. It's a really powerful way to help the next generation to learn about the importance of tackling hatred and intolerance and help us to build a stronger society."

One of Britain’s best loved value home and garden retailers, Wilko is looking for green fingered locals to enter the 2017 ‘Wilko Amateur Gardener Of The Year’ competition.

Research suggests the UK is a secret haven of garden enthusiasts – with 88%* of UK residents rating having a nice garden as important, according to a national survey.

Six lucky entrants from across the UK will be picked as category winners, shortlisted by an experienced garden judging panel, including Dominic Cole, President of The Gardens Trust and award-winning garden designer, Andrew Fisher Tomlin, before being selected by a public vote on the Wilko social media channels.

The categories to enter are:

Best Allotment

Best Garden Design

Best Hanging Basket/ Container

Best Junior Gardener

Best Wildlife Garden

Best Upcycled Garden

The competition is open until  30 June 2017 and the winners of each category will receive a £100 Wilko gift card and trophy. One of the six finalists will be crowned overall Wilko Amateur Gardener Of The Year 2017 and receive an additional £250 Wilko gift card.

To be considered, simply email an image of your garden to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. including name, email address, telephone number and the category you wish to be considered for.

Full competition details and terms and conditions can be found at: www.wilko.com/show-by-departmet/garden/icat/wilkogarden

Finalists will be informed on 21 July 2017 if they have been shortlisted for the categories.

Lloyd Taylor, Head of Garden Category, from Wilko said:

“We know that UK residents are garden lovers and we want to celebrate those skilled amateur gardeners who might not otherwise be recognised for their talents. We’re spreading the word to encourage entries and look forward to seeing the work of garden enthusiasts from up and down the country.”

So if you think you have the expertise to be the next Wilko Amateur Gardener Of The Year 2017 - enter now.

Spot Liverpool landmarks as award-winning artists The Singh Twins exhibit their latest works at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

The Lichfield Street gallery is now showing The Singh Twins; Mersey Miniatures, which feature famous Liverpool landmarks set in colourful Eastern motifs.

Running until Sunday, July 23, the exhibition is an absorbing look at cross-cultural themes where east meets west and tradition runs alongside modernity.

Marguerite Nugent, manager of arts and culture at the gallery, said: “These might be miniatures but they pack a lot in and are really captivating in both their use of colour and subject matter. Anyone who knows Liverpool well will spot many mini landmarks.”

The Singh Twins are contemporary British artists of international standing whose award-winning paintings have been acknowledged as constituting a unique genre in British Art.

They have brought about the revival of the Indian miniature tradition in a modern art practice, which in 2011, was officially recognised when they both received an MBE for Services to the Indian Miniature Tradition of Painting in Contemporary Art.

In 2015 they were awarded Honorary Doctorates from the University of Chester for their outstanding contribution to British Art.

The Mersey Miniatures series features ten mixed-media original artworks.

A Coventry mother has partnered with Bliss, the premature and sick baby charity, in order to promote the benefits of skin-to-skin contact for all babies after her son was brought back from the brink of death.

In 2008, Leigh Dumighan’s son Warwick was born 11 weeks early and fighting for his life. The doctors told the family that Warwick would not make it and Leigh and her son were discharged from the hospital so that he could pass away peacefully at home.

Warwick was given palliative care but he began to respond to the skin-to-skin contact – known as “kangaroo care” and fought on. He is now a happy and loving older brother to four-year-old Wade.

Leigh has gone on to run Kangaroo Care UK, a social enterprise business to educate parents and health care professionals about the benefits of prolonged skin to skin contact.

The company also retails specialist wraps made by Vija Designs that help parents hold babies comfortably for long periods of time. Vija Designs already donate £1 to Bliss for every product they sell on their website.

In order to celebrate Kangaroo Care Awareness Day earlier this month, Vija Designs are also donating 50 per cent of profits made to Bliss on specially designed t-shirts that share the message of the importance of skin-to-skin contact.

Leigh Dumighan said:

“Our teeny weenie is our miracle man as he stayed with us. He's now eight years old and the power of skin to skin is a life saver. He didn't 'suit' the incubator.  He wanted real love and touch. He craved Mommy's warmth, safety and smell and he felt content when he had it. It felt normal for him and he felt better when he was on me. He loved it so much that our kangaroo care cuddles made him strong enough to fight to stay with us.

"We designed t-shirts for mums and dads that share the message 'skin to skin, heart to heart' the position where babies are placed during Kangaroo Care, which is where Warwick found the strength to keep going.  We are donating 50% of the profits from these t-shirts to Bliss with the aim of raising £1,000 for the charity's work supporting parents of premature and sick babies."

Caroline Lee-Davey, CEO of Bliss said:

“We are really pleased that Vija Design is supporting Bliss. We know the huge difference that Kangaroo care and skin to skin contact can make - boosting babies’ development, protecting and enhancing their growth and overall health, and supporting bonding with mum and dad. In the long term it also helps parents to feel closer to their babies and more confident in caring for them.”

After the devastating attack on concert goers at the MEN Arena in Manchester on Monday evening, that left 22 dead and 59 injured, there were vocal outpourings of support for the people of Manchester, with many taking to social media to voice their outrage at the attack and the perpetrator, and to lend a helping hand to the people of Manchester through whatever means they could. The Prime Minister issued a statement condemning the attack, whilst Her Majesty the Queen and various other royals across Europe offered their condolences and deepest sympathies to the people of Manchester.

In Manchester, the response to the attack was swift. The police and emergency services responded at once as one single unit to help those in need, to treat the injured, to help the lost reunite their friends and families, and to find out the reasoning behind the attack. Local taxi companies provided free lifts to those affected by the attack to get home, whilst others ensured that those at the MEN arena could contact loved ones and to have a place of safety to stay as they waited for their loved ones to come and get them.

Across the UK, people have been helping the people of Manchester through sharing posts of those still missing or in need of help through social media, as well as raising money for those in desperate need of assistance following the attack.  A series of vigils in town and city squares were arranged across the nation for six in the evening on Tuesday 23rd May, including one in Birmingham.

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With representatives from all major political parties in the city in attendance, as well as most faith groups in the region, there was a good turnout in Victoria Square in front of the Council House.

Speaking at the vigil, the Bishop of Birmingham the Right Reverend David Urquhart said, "When we come together like this as we have tragically from time to time in this city, we do so in solidarity with those who are passionate for peace."

"Do Birmingham proud on behalf of Manchester by making this a place where we are world famous for getting on together."

Ahmed Kazi, from the President Saddam Hussein mosque on Birchfield Road, condemned the attacks stating, "These people who call themselves Muslims are not following the true path of Islam. Islam teaches unity, and they have gone against the teachings of our Prophet. We today are showing the world that our communities are standing together."

Amrick Singh Ubhi from the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha Sikh Gurdwara on Soho Road and Chair of the Council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Birmingham softly encouraged the crowd,  "This is not in the name of religion, I would go as far as saying that this isn't in the name of humanity. If we are not feeling the pain of Westminster, of Manchester, and the world over, we are not human. Join up, unite and stand together, and do not let terror rule or win the day."

Recently elected Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street added, "There is so much in common between our two cities, the histories, the aspirations we now have, and the welcome that our cities have offered so many people. Our heart goes out to all Mancunians tonight. There is a very important message for us to send today, and that is quite simply that terrorism will never win."

Despite the tragedy that was inflicted on the people of Manchester by a senseless attack, they have rallied, and have the full support of the people of the entire United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

A brilliant group of nurses, housekeepers, sisters, health care assistants and domestic staff are grouping together to climb the highest mountain in England and Wales, Mount Snowdon, to raise as much money as possible for patients at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

The kind hearted staff will undertake the physical challenge to support elderly patients at the hospital, using the hard-earned sponsorship money to buy specialist equipment for their patients.

Judith Thornton, an auxiliary nurse on ward 518, said: “We will use the money we raise to buy an extra Sara Steady for the ward. This is a specialist piece of equipment that helps patients who are unsteady on their feet to get to the bathroom more easily.

“This is going to be a huge challenge for all of us, particularly as we haven’t done anything like this before! We’re all really excited to raise as much money as we can for our patients. Any donations, big or small, would be hugely appreciated and would really help to give us a boost for the big day.”

Sophie Carroll, Fundraising Officer at QEHB Charity, said: “We are thrilled to be able to welcome this brilliant group of staff to the Snowdon team, and would like to thank them for choosing to fundraise for QEHB Charity.

“It’s wonderful that staff are getting stuck into our events and we can’t wait to welcome them to what promises to be an exciting adventure!”

To support Judith, Linda, Louise, Amy, Kelly, Donna, Kirby, Jade, Natalie, Emily, Clare, Sarah, Chris, Alisha, Lisa and Abbey, please visit their Just Giving page by clicking here. www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Judith-Thornton2

Theresa May visited Nishkam Primary School Birmingham today, where she praised pupils, staff and the community who are closely involved with the pioneering free school.

The Prime Minister spent time in the classroom with eight-year-old pupils who demonstrated their knowledge of an artist, Henri Rousseau, and discussed JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books with her.

Talking to Dr. Brinder Singh Mahon, Chief Executive of Nishkam School Trust, the multi-academy trust operating the school, the Prime Minister commented that she was inspired by the strong values education upon which the school is based and by the warm, family-like atmosphere within the school.

Bhai Sahib, Bhai (Dr.) Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, who is the patron and visionary behind Nishkam School Trust said, “We are living in new global contexts, with new global challenges. These require a mind-set centred on values and virtues, along with a keen sense of shared responsibility. Our vision at Nishkam School Trust is to help nurture such a mind-set, enabling our future society to advance and flourish for the benefit of all.”

Mr. Terry Green, Chair of Directors of Nishkam School Trust commented, “On behalf of pupils, parents, staff and the entire community behind Nishkam School Trust, may I thank the Prime Minister for recognising the contribution our multi-faith Sikh ethos school is making to the educational and spiritual life of pupils in this part of Birmingham.”

Ms. Ruby Kundi, Headteacher, added, “We are very grateful for government policy which has allowed the Department for Education to give us this opportunity and responsibility to make a difference to each and every pupil in all of our schools.”

Nishkam Primary School Birmingham (NPSB) is located in Handsworth, an inner-city area of northwest Birmingham. It opened in September 2011 as part of the country’s first wave of free schools. The school is part of a cluster of developments serving to regenerate the local area by combining social innovation with heritage conservation.

Nishkam Primary School Birmingham is currently judged to be ‘Outstanding’ in all categories by OFSTED, an accolade shared by three of the four schools in the Nishkam School Trust.

Hot on the heels of the Hippodrome Theatre’s B-Side Festival of dance battles, graffiti and street arts, rap, live music and workshop, the genre continues to get its ‘props’ with another weekend of major celebration – in yet another internationally renowned arts venue.

Marked as ‘The UK’s Biggest Festival of Hip Hop Dance,’ Breakin’ Convention ‘17 will be bringing jaw-dropping performances from around the world and around the corner to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre with live performances from international crews including Soweto Skeleton Movers (South Africa), Just Dance (South Korea) and Tentacle Tribe (Canada). In addition local crews, DJs, graffiti art and freestyle jams will transform The REP’s foyer making it an experience rather than just a show.

Now in its 14th year, it’s firmly established itself as one of the major highlights on the British dance calendar and one of the world’s greatest celebrations of hip hop culture, hosted and curated by the founder and Artistic Director of Jonzi D Projects and Breakin’ Convention Jonzi D who said: “This city’s hip hop scene is one of the best in the UK and whenever we’ve brought Breakin’ Convention there in the past, it’s always been hype!”

The festival line-up also includes Rhythm Junkiez Dance Company from Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham based companies Jigsaw Collective, Broken Silence, Marshon Cadets, 2014 UDO world street dance champions Street Dance Academy and Nuvo Origin.

The two day event - on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 June - is suitable for all ages.