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NEW YORK, N.Y. — Beginning the evening of April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, thousands of iconic landmarks, religious institutions, businesses, and communities in more than 130 countries on all seven continents will join Autism Speaks by shining blue lights as part of the sixth annual Light It Up Blue campaign to raise global awareness of autism. Autism currently affects 1 in 68 children in the United States and millions more worldwide.

Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization.Its Light It Up Blue campaign takes place each year on the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day and marks the official start of Autism Awareness Month in April. This year, more than 13,000 buildings have already joined the campaign in an effort to shine a light on autism for the 70 million people around the world who are affected by the disorder.

Participating landmarks include the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center and Rockefeller Center in New York City; Niagara Falls in Canada, the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, Taipei 101 in Taiwan, the Tokyo Tower in Japan, Trafalgar Square in London, and even the British Antarctic Survey’s Halley VI Station on Antarctica.

In addition to landmarks, religious institutions, businesses and communities around the world have joined the campaign in support of the global autism community. Africa’s largest mosque, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca will light up blue, as well as the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and Templo Libertad synagogue and Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires. In New York City, the Department of Sanitation will display Light It Up Blue posters on 2,600 of its trucks and brooms, while the small town of Westport, CT, will feature more than 100 stores, restaurants and businesses going blue. Light It Up Blue activities will also take place in 50 Chinese cities and at 100 locations throughout Poland, and autism awareness marches will take place in communities throughout Tanzania.

“The world is coming together with one strong voice through Light It Up Blue,” said Suzanne and Bob Wright, co-founders of Autism Speaks. “Together, we must spread a message of compassion, understanding and hope for the global autism community by supporting comprehensive strategies that address their needs throughout a lifetime. Only through collaboration can we make significant progress for our families, friends and neighbors who are affected by the disorder, not just in the United States, but around the world.”

In New York City, Autism Speaks’ will signal the start of Light It Up Blue during a ceremony at the Empire State Building, where Brooklyn Nets star and autism advocate Deron Williams will join the Wrights to “flip the switch” and light the building blue. Later that day, Autism Speaks will ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Other world autism organizations will ring either the opening or closing bell at NYSE Euronext markets in Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon and Paris. Dignitaries from around the world will also mark the occasion by gathering at the United Nations in New York City for an international panel discussion on autism hosted by Autism Speaks, the State of Qatar and People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

For ways to get involved in Light It Up Blue visit The website provides a number of creative ideas, including hosting blue-themed gatherings, wearing the Autism Speaks puzzle piece pin, purchasing blue Philips light bulbs sold exclusively at The Home Depot, and turning whole neighborhoods blue. The site also accepts donations to fund Autism Speaks’ awareness and research efforts.

A list of Light It Up Blue participants is available on the Light It Up Blue website.

Philanthropic Partners Offer Support

Throughout Autism Awareness Month in April, Autism Speaks’ sponsors will offer essential awareness and fundraising support. Partners include:

• Major League Baseball: All 30 MLB Clubs will raise awareness for the disorder during one home game in April, or on another date during the regular season.

• NBA: For the sixth consecutive year, the league and its teams will raise autism awareness through a variety of activities at arenas and games. In addition, the NBA partnered with Autism Speaks to host a gala in New York City honoring the Milwaukee Bucks ownership group and Brooklyn Nets star Deron Williams for their efforts to raise autism awareness.

• AMC Networks: Secured 42 networks to air a special Light It Up Blue PSA, including the five national AMC Networks channels, its IFC Films distribution label and the IFC Center theater. In addition, most channels will turn their on-air logo bugs blue for the day, host Light It Up Blue banners and a digital version of the PSA on their websites, and promote World Autism Awareness Day on their social media properties. Networks include: AMC, American Heroes Channel, Animal Planet, BBC AMERICA, BIO, Bravo, CI, Comedy Central, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery, Discovery En Espanol, Discovery Family, Discovery Familia, Discovery Life, E!, Esquire, Food Network, FX, FXX, FX Movie Channel, FYI, H2, IFC, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime Real Women, Military History, MSG, MSG+, OWN, Oxygen, Palladia, Science Channel, Spike, SundanceTV, TLC, TV Land, Velocity, VH1, VH1 Classic and WE tv.

• National Geographic Channel: Autism Speaks is featured in Nat Geo’s “Killing With Kindness” online campaign that spotlights organizations helping to spread kindness in the world.

• Alpha Xi Delta: Partnering with Autism Speaks’ college program, Autism Speaks U, the sorority secured more than 2,088 buildings and events for Light It Up Blue.

• TJ Maxx: All TJ Maxx stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico will support autism research and awareness by asking for at-register donations between April 12 and May 2, benefiting Autism Speaks.

• Dollar General: Dollar General stores will run an in-store donation campaign throughout April as well as employee contests for the best store results.

• Joe’s Crab Shack: During April, guests who donate $1, $5 or $10 will receive discounts off their next visit. Plus, 10 percent of proceeds from the signature tie-dye ‘Claws for the Cause’ T-shirt will go to Autism Speaks.

•White Castle: All White Castles will run an in-store $1, $3, and $5 donation campaign March 29 -May 2, along with $3 donated to Autism Speaks for each Crave Case purchased online.

• The Home Depot: $1 per blue Philips light bulbs sold between March 1 and April 30 will benefit Autism Speaks.

• Lindt Chocolates: One hundred percent of proceeds from the celebrity-signed Lindt GOLD BUNNY figures benefited Autism Speaks from March 10 to 20. In addition, 10 cents of every Lindt GOLD BUNNY purchased in the U.S. between February 15 and April 12 will be donated to Autism Speaks.

• NEST Fragrances: One hundred percent of proceeds from purchases of NEST’s Blue Garden Candle will be donated to Autism Speaks during April.

• Village Super Markets, Inc. and ShopRite Supermarkets, Inc.: Select ShopRites throughout New York and New Jersey will ask customers to support Autism Speaks in-store with special discounts on blue-themed products and at-register donations between March 29 and April 18.

• Coinstar: Autism Speaks will be featured on all kiosks throughout April.

• Modell’s Sporting Goods: Modell’s stores will run an in-store dollar donation campaign benefiting Autism Speaks throughout April. The chain will also engage local sports teams in support of Autism Speaks and Autism Awareness Month.

• Sprouts Markets: All Sprouts markets will run an in store $1, $5, or $10 campaign April 22 – April 29.

• Zales: Eight Autism Speaks beads will be sold including three new beads introduced on April 1. $10 of every sale will be donated to Autism Speaks.

•Learning Express Toys: All stores will run a point of sale puzzle piece campaign throughout April.

• Blue Man Group: New York, Boston and Chicago venues will conduct autism awareness shows on April 2 and fundraise throughout the remainder of the month.

• Winston Flowers: Autism Speaks is its featured “Charity in Bloom” partner for the month of April. Twenty percent of each custom Autism Speaks arrangement purchased in the U.S. will be donated to Autism Speaks.

• Gyft cards: One hundred percent of the profits from Gyft cards sold on April 2 will be donated to Autism Speaks.

• Trident Case: Ten percent discount on Autism Speaks-branded iPad cases throughout April. Twenty percent of proceeds from all Autism Speaks-branded cases sold in April will be donated to Autism Speaks.

• Bob’s Discount Furniture: One hundred percent of proceeds from in-store “Café Collections” between April and June will be donated to Autism Speaks.

• HHM: More than 100 hotel properties under the HHM management across the U.S. will be lighting up blue throughout April. Additionally, HHM will be running a donation fundraiser in its hotels allowing guests to donate at the check-in desk throughout their stay.

• TCP: In partnership with Walmart, TCP has created an Autism Speaks themed blue light bulb to be sold in more than 3,000 Walmart stores across the United States.

• French’s Mustard: Limited edition blue bottles of the iconic yellow mustard will be placed in thousands of restaurants across the United States. Bottles will be visible in restaurants from March to May.

About Autism

Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by communication difficulties, social and behavioral challenges, and repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 68 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum.

World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), celebrated on April 2 annually, was adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to shine a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. WAAD activities increase and develop world knowledge of the autism crisis and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism and is a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the globe.

About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Mr. Wright is the former vice chairman of General Electric and chief executive officer of NBC and NBC Universal. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has committed more than $525 million to its mission, the majority in science and medical research. Each year, Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 100 cities across North America. On the global front, Autism Speaks has established partnerships in more than 60 countries on five continents to foster international research, services and awareness. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit

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Post updated: 01/04/2015

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Panaji, Apr 1: The state government today informed the Assembly that two Goa ministers and four BJP legislators have toured at least 20 countries in the last two years costing the state exchequer Rs 6.20 crore. According to the information tabled by the state government during the Goa Legislative Assembly session, the state Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar along with Industries Minister Mahadev Naik have travelled different countries to participate in tourism events. (READ: Goa legislators bow down to pressure, pay up for Brazil tour)

Deputy Speaker Anant Shet, Goa Tourism Development Corporation Chairman Nilesh Cabral and BJP legislators – Ganesh Gaonkar and Subhash Faldesai – were named for travelling at state cost, they said. Out of the entire amount, half of it (around Rs 3.36 crore) was spent on Parulekar alone for his trip to countries like Dubai, Edinburgh, Leeds, UK, Los Angeles, New York, Istanbul and Turkey, the report said. “The travel agent is yet to submit the Minister’s travel bills for Chicago, USA, Amsterdam and Netherland,” read the reply.

The recently concluded Budget session saw Opposition benches launching a scathing attack on tourism?minister for incurring huge expenditure on foreign and domestic tourism jaunts, without having pre-audit of the expenses. The Tourism Department has spent Rs 22 crore on international and Rs 20 crore on domestic tours since 2012, the government informed. Independent legislator Vijay Sardesai, who had raised the issue, told the House that during the last two months the Ministry has spent Rs 8.5 crore on promotion of state tourism.

The government clarified that prior approval from the Centre was sought on all foreign tours and travels. The Goa government had said that it has organised series of international and domestic events in order to improve the tourist?inflow in the state, which has gone up by almost 30 per cent since 2012.

Modified Date: April 01, 2015 12:57 PM

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Het Graafs Museum opent op zondag 25 januari het jaar met een nieuwe tentoonstelling, getiteld ‘Grave 1674 – een beleg dat beroemd werd’. In dat jaar werd de complete vestingstad Grave aan flarden geschoten tijdens een beleg dat vier maanden in beslag nam. Slechts twee huizen kwamen ongeschonden uit deze strijd. Ook het Kasteel van Grave, ooit geboorteplaats van Anna van Buren – de eerste vrouw van Willem van Oranje – ontkwam niet aan de verwoestende beschietingen. 1674 betekent het einde van het Kasteel van Grave, dat vervolgens jarenlang als ‘steengroeve’ dienst deed.
In het Rampjaar 1672 wordt de Republiek der Nederlanden aan alle kanten aangevallen. Omdat ‘s-Hertogenbosch door de Staten Generaal belangrijker wordt gevonden, verplaatst Willem III een deel van het garnizoen uit Grave naar die stad. Het Franse leger onder maarschalk Turenne krijgt de vesting Grave in handen zonder dat er een schot is gelost en daarmee is Grave weer katholiek.
Lang duurt het allemaal niet. In 1674 slaan de troepen van de Republiek onder generaal Rabenhaupt het beleg voor de stad. Het beleg zal vier maanden duren. Aan de Franse kant heeft generaal Noël Bouton markies de Chamilly de leiding. Hij verweert zich dapper en de stad is tot barstens toe met munitie en proviand gevuld, waaronder honderden levende koeien. Pas na de komst van versterkingen onder Willem III keren de kansen en moet Chamilly de vestingstad Grave opgeven. Chamilly capituleert op 27 oktober 1674, de 28ste trekt Willem III de stad binnen. De 28ste oktober wordt in Grave tot ver in de achttiende eeuw als feestdag gevierd.
Historisch beleg in Frankrijk en Nederland
Dit beleg van Grave heeft zowel in Frankrijk als in Nederland geschiedenis gemaakt. In Frankrijk werd gejuicht over de dapperheid van het Franse garnizoen, in Nederland werd gejuicht over de dapperheid van de aanvalstroepen onder Willem III. Vooral in Nederland waren er tal van kunstenaars die het roemrijk beleg vereeuwigden.
Het Graafs Museum biedt een nagenoeg compleet overzicht van deze prenten over het beleg van 1674. Dat overzicht wordt aangevuld met prachtige tekeningen waarin de kunstenaars Joshua de Grave en Valentijn Klotz kort na het beleg van 1674 vastgelegden hoezeer de stad had geleden onder dat beleg. Zij waren als ingenieur verbonden aan het Staatse leger en reisden mee met de veldtochten van het leger van de Republiek tegen de Fransen.
Stille getuigen
Ter aanvulling en completering toont de Graafse amateur-archeoloog Martien Koolen archeologische vondsten in Grave van voorwerpen uit de tijd van het beleg. Zijn vondsten zijn de stille getuigen van een tijd die voor de Gravenaren zeer heftig moet zijn geweest.
Het Graafs Museum is gelegen aan de St. Elisabethstraat 10a in Grave. De deuren zijn van woensdag tot en met zondag tussen 13 en 17 uur geopend. Entree is voor kinderen en museumkaarthouders gratis, volwassenen betalen 3 euro. De nieuwe expositie loopt tot en met 12 april. Kijk voor meer informatie op

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Post updated: 31/03/2015

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A World War II German railroad car at an undisclosedA World War II German railroad car at an undisclosedA World War II German railroad car at an undisclosedA World War II German railroad car at an undisclosedLeah Powell, community resources and diversity managerThis Macedonian World War II-era rail car belongs toMarkings such as these on the side are among the waysMultiple layers of paint cover the Macedonian WorldMarkings such as these maintenance schedules are among

An effort to bring Arizona’s first Holocaust museum to a location in Chandler has regained momentum, with exhibits already on display and more to be unveiled in coming weeks, long before an actual building is completed.

The East Valley Jewish Community Center, along with a host of partners and volunteers, has been working on the project since about 2010, driven in large part by the success the center experienced with an Anne Frank exhibit it brought to Chandler in 2008.

The project was bolstered in 2012, when the Jewish community center acquired a German rail car used during World War II. The car, which will be a centerpiece of the museum, has been displayed periodically since the acquisition and will be presented for public viewing again in April.

Museum planning and fundraising suffered a setback in December 2012 when a small fire damaged the community center’s offices, at Alma School and Ray roads in Chandler, said Steve Tepper, EVJCC’s executive director. The agency was focused on repairing damage, but the museum planning never stopped, he said.

“We view this (museum) not as a building. We view this as a community engagement,” Tepper said. “How can we, as a community, make this a better place?”

The community group is preparing to present a traveling exhibit that will feature the large banners that will hang inside the permanent museum. The exhibit depicts episodes of hate, genocide and discrimination in various parts of the world since the early 20th century.

Remembering the Holocaust

Once built, the attraction will focus not just on the Holocaust, but on other episodes of oppression (and triumph) such as the U.S. civil-rights movement and the treatment of Blacks in Europe in the 1930s.

The museum, to be named the Center for Holocaust Education Human Dignity, is being developed with help from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Seeds at the Anne Frank exhibit

The museum effort might not have started if not for the public’s reaction to a national Anne Frank exhibit the Jewish community center presented in Chandler in 2008.

The idea was to teach students from around the East Valley about Frank. The group realized that, to be successful, it had to partner with others, Tepper said, so it worked with the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and the city of Chandler on the project, held at the center.

“Our hope was we’d see 5,000 to 7,000 people,” he said. “It turned out, in 19 days, we saw 23,000 people come through the exhibit.”

The agency was surprised that many of the visitors were not there as part of a class field trip. With that much interest from the general public, officials knew they were on to something.

“It opened our eyes to the power of using the Holocaust as a teaching tool. We viewed the Holocaust as having lots of power and lots of relevance. The community let us know that we had underestimated, not overestimated, how much there was.”

Chandler entered into a development agreement with the center for a future museum, on 4.6 acres of vacant land on the south side of the group’s offices.

The center began raising money to hire consultants and begin museum planning.

The partnership has helped the city advance a city goal as well, said Leah Powell, community resources and diversity manager for Chandler.

“The charge of the Human Relations Commission is to promote mutual respect and inclusion in Chandler. This has provided an opportunity for us to do that.”

More than bricks and mortar

Tepper declined to say how much money has been raised to date and what the estimated cost of the building may be, hinting that the latter still is being worked out. There is no timetable yet for construction.

Still, about 100 volunteers are helping to prepare and present traveling exhibits that will be part of the permanent museum.

The showcase item was built in Yugoslavia in the early 20th century. The center has verified that it was used in Germany during World War II but has not been able to verify that it transported people to labor and death camps.

The car has proven a popular — and for many, highly emotional — attraction wherever it is displayed. In November 2013, the rail car was brought to Nevada, where it was displayed in Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City. About 5,000 people took the tours, which included video displays with testimony from Holocaust survivors. At one point, two survivors led personal tours.

The group hopes to bring the rail car to New Mexico, as neighboring states are seen as eventual markets to tap for the museum as a Southwest regional attraction, Tepper said.

The rail car next is scheduled to be displayed Wednesday, April 1, at Chandler-Gilbert Community College and then again on April 13 at Scottsdale Community College as part of the school’s Genocide Awareness Week.

The car is kept in an undisclosed location for security reasons.

Building exhibits

Museum organizers have taken trips to Holocaust museums around the country to learn from them. At the national museum in Washington, D.C., officials gave the Chandler group a behind-the-scenes look at how they operate, Tepper said, adding they continue to provide help.

Several local high school teachers have worked on exhibits, he added.

Two sets of 11 banners, each 41/2-by-6-feet in size, have been created depicting a timeline of 20th-century events. The exhibit, already on display, is titled “Then They Came for Us …”

One of the banners presents a list of global genocides and the numbers killed.

“Our theory was there’s no gold medal for suffering. There’s not, ‘My people had it worse than your people and your people had it worse than both of us,’” he said. “The idea is any lives lost are important lives and with anyone’s story there is something you can learn from.”

A final banner depicts the Earth with the words “#bethechange.” It will be accompanied by John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and people will be invited to stand in front of it and take a selfie.

An ongoing project is building a video library of first-person testimony from Holocaust survivors while they are still alive to tell their stories, he said. These will be a key part of the museum.

“The bricks and mortar, those will come,” he said. “The people who are volunteering, the stories we have to tell, and the ways we have to tell them, we believe, are the blueprint for success.”

For some, it’s personal

Among those who have worked on the project is Hadassah Baldinger, the assistant director at the East Valley Jewish Community Center.

She helped conceive of the banner idea.

Baldinger came to the United States 40 years ago from her native Israel, where her parents ended up after World War II. For her, the project is more than a community effort.

“My family members, a lot of them perished in the Holocaust,” she said.

Baldinger declined to provide more specifics, saying the subject was too painful to talk about.

The museum effort, she said, will help assure that future generations in Arizona are educated about the atrocities.

Baldinger said it was apparent in 2008 that many visitors were not aware of Anne Frank, the young girl who hid from the Nazis with her family for two years in a building in Amsterdam and famously recorded her experiences in a diary.

“When I watched the students taking the tours with the docents I would be amazed at how little they know about what happened,” she said. “We need to know our history to know the future.”

Traveling museum exhibits

Here is a list of upcoming exhibits that will be presented by the East Valley Jewish Community Center as part of its traveling museum. The exhibits eventually will become part of a permanent museum in Chandler dedicated to the Holocaust and other historic events of oppression and genocide.

— Through April 3, Chandler-Gilbert Community College library, 2626 E. Pecos Road — “Then they came for us …”

April 1, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — German rail car.

— April 13, Scottsdale Community College, 9000 E Chaparral Road, Scottsdale,1 p.m. to 6 p.m. — German rail car.

April 17-May 6 ,Chandler Library, 22 S. Delaware St. — “Then They Came for Us…”

June, Chandler Fashion Center, 3111 W Chandler Blvd., Loop 101 and Chandler Boulevard — “Then They Came for Us …”

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Ari Folman, the Israeli director who directed Waltz With Bashir, has revealed the first few test images from his animated feature film based on the life of Anne Frank. Mako’s Cinemascope blog posted some shots that illustrate the unique hybrid of traditional hand-drawn and stop-motion animation that will bring Anne’s story to the screen.

Folman, who negotiated worldwide rights to Anne Frank’s story from the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, is working with puppet maker Andy Gent (Fantastic Mr. Fox) and his Waltz With Bashir artistic collaborator David Polansky to create the film’s surreal world. Some scenes feature both animated elements, with hand-drawn animated characters moving in stop-motion model scenery—a practical technique that keeps costs down. (The production is still seeking financial backing, and the test shots are part of that effort.) 

Folman’s script focuses primarily on Kitty, Anne’s imaginary pen pal who uses the diary to reimagine events in Anne’s life. 

In the photo below, Anne’s family listens to the radio’s news that the Germans have invaded Holland. Note the hand-drawn characters sitting in a stop-motion background.

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Anne and Peter explore inside the family radio, where the horrible news unfolds on a movie screen.

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Anne’s imagination of the invasion is transformed into a “circus hallucination.”

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Anne suddenly finds herself on the battlefield.

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Andy Gent with the train set he designed.

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