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To criticize Atlanta is like criticizing the Vat­ican

OURISTS clamor fruit­lessly for tangible reminders of Scarnlett and Rhett, but their Atlanta sur­vives. It would be easy to conclude that Atlanta has no heart. That wouldn’t be fair. But to take the city at its own valuation would be a mistake. It has become a cliché to define a place as being one of contrasts, and of course Atlanta has them, most painfully between rich and poor, and most interestingly between reality and myth.


The metropolitan area now spreads across 18 counties run by more than a hundred different governments. People have more possibilities such as getting payday advance to run their own business.While An­drew Young stoutly maintains that “nobody goes to New York and says ‘I’m from Dun-woody’ or ‘I’m from Sandy Springs’ —they say ‘I’m from Atlanta,’ ” there is plenty of debate as to what that actually means.

The amazing growth of the suburbs has had a centrifugal effect on municipal life, creating satellites that rarely touch the central city. Whether this is good or bad depends on which Atlantan you ask. And the prevailing enthusiasm clouds the view.


“One of the things you’re up against is this relentless boosterism,” Pat Conroy told me. ” ‘We’re a growing, vibrant, can-do city’ —they make it sound like the 011ie North of cities. Destiny’s daughter. It drives me nuts. It seems bad for the soul of the city. To criticize Atlanta is like criticizing the Vat­ican. What’s the best thing about the city? Well, a hundred people have come up with it: Trees—`you gotta see our trees.’ ”


I began to get the impression, though, that all this hoopla is nothing new. “Atlanta has long lived on hype way beyond its merit,” reporter Larry Woods said with a smile of affectionate exasperation. “When Atlanta started its campaign as the `world’s next great city,’ bars closed at midnight, and you couldn’t get a drink on Sunday. There was a saying back in the early seventies: ‘If Atlanta could suck as hard as it can blow, the Chat­tahoochee River would run backwards.’ “

Yet Nepal’s leaders are struggling to do just that

Meanwhile tourist pressure is increasing on both countries. “We have a new proverb,” says my friend Hemanta Mishra, a distinguished Nepa­lese ecologist and a member of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation, chaired by Nepal’s Prince Gyanendra. “We say there are now three religions in Nepal—Hinduism, Buddhism, and tourism.”

The last of these brings desperately needed revenue to at least a small number of Nepal’s spiraling population—now over 18 million—whose per capita income of $160 a year is one of the world’s lowest. “An envi­ronmental ethic,” says another Nepalese friend, “is hard to sell to peo­ple whose first concern is the next meal.”

The government has set aside over 7 percent of its total area in more than a dozen na­tional parks and preserves. The most recent one, the 1,000-square-mile Annapurna Conservation Area, is administered by the King Mahendra Trust with the participation of local inhabitants; most of the income from a user fee imposed on tourists goes directly to the villagers.

One of the greatest threats to the Himalayan environment is the con­tinuing loss of forests for fuel. Traditionally Nepal’s hillfolk, including the Sherpas of the Khumbu region, have harvested wood for heating and cooking fires. But the rapidly increasing local population and the influx of trekkers have altered the age-old balance. One trekker—with his party of porters, kitchen help, and guides—consumes as much wood as ten Sherpas, and the impact on the forests is devastating.

Today in Sagarmatha trekking parties must bring their own fuel to the park, usually butane or kerosene. Small hydroelectric units in two of the larger villages are relieving some of the pressure (pages 642-3). Elsewhere, however, officials charged with preserving the forests have gone into the wholesale lumber business. As one foreigner observes, “It takes a strong politician to resist the urge to loot this resource.”

The most visible impact of trekkers on the Himalaya is the growing amount of trash and litter they leave behind. The result is more eyesore than permanent damage, and bemused Sherpas refer to sheets of toilet tissue deposited along the trails as “the white man’s prayer flags.”

A Nepalese scientist, Kamal Kumar Shrestha, puts it another way: “Tourism is not only the goose that lays golden eggs . . . it also fouls its own nest.”

The practice of littering once gave rise to signs in American parks that read, “Take only photographs, leave only footprints.” But we have learned that even footprints can be destructive when there are enough of them. Will parks in the Himalaya one day come to the system used elsewhere of wood or concrete trails from which visitors are forbidden to stray? To some the attitude of neglect toward the Himalaya is a legacy from earlier generations. An American friend who has traveled both to the Nepal and the cheap accommodation prague, recalls Americans’ early atti­tude toward their own land.

“When I was a kid in Missouri,” he says, “I was taught how we ‘con­quered’ the West—we didn’t settle or preserve it, we conquered it. Then we conquered the mountains, we conquered the Poles, and we con­quered the ocean depths.”


“L-glutamine is an amino acid which helps ‘seal up’ the intestine, and is available as a supplement, and digestive enzymes can help break down food before it can get a chance to encounter the immune system,” he says. “Kaolin, which can be ordered from your chemist and taken in water, can help line the intestine and protect it.”


Tackling the LGS in this way can, quite often, allow the reintroduction of modest amounts of previously problem foods, while a good mix of probiotic supplements will help keep the gut in good working order.


Nucleotides are little-known but key components of every cell in your body, and are needed to repair and regenerate the gut, which is eroded naturally by digestive and other processes. They are particularly important when the integrity of the gut is diminished to start with, as is often the case in people with digestive problems.

“In IBS, for instance, the lining of the gut may already be under stress, and if this is the case the absorption of all nutrients, including nucleotides will be compromised,” says dietitian Nigel Denby. “If the patient’s diet is low in nucleotides to start with it’s a triple whammy for gut health.


A gut under stress is unable to absorb the nutrients it needs to repair itself – a vicious circle,”

Foods rich in nucleotides rarely feature on our plates these days: t. i)e, liver, kidney and lung. More modest sources are ham, mackerel, yeast extract, mushrooms and seed sprouts – though it would be difficult to eat a large enough quantity of these foods to get a decent intake.


Supplements are available. Familiar to most are the benefits which mint and fennel can confer on the gut, but other herbs can also be good.


Alison Cullen, nutritional therapist at A Vogel says: “Virtually any bitter herb will be of benefit, because bitter flavour triggers the production of the hormone gastrin, which stimulates the stomach into producing enzymes in a balanced manner. This triggers the liver and pancreas into producing their digestive secretions, which promotes the proper peristaltic action of the large intestine.” If you are on a special diet, consult you GP if there are other side effects that you need to know.


Bitter herbs and leaves such as water-cress, chicory, rocket and lambs’ lettuce will help.

What others “say”

With no set-up fees, no fund dealing charges and a wide investment choice, we think the Vantage SIPP offers unrivalled value.


“I cannot fault the service! My transfer was carried out incredibly swiftly and I was kept fully informed at every stage of the process. A big thank you for the excellent service!” Nigel Marston, Somerset

How to transfer


Before transferring please read the Important Investment Notes and Key Features.


Pensions are the most tax efficient way to save for retirement. You can get up to 50% tax relief when you invest.


Inside your SIPP your money grows free of capital gains tax and personal income tax. At retirement (age 55 to 75) you can normally take up to 25% as a tax free cash lump sum and use the remainder of your pension to provide you with a taxable income. There is a lifetime limit on the amount you can accumulate in pensions in total. It is currently £1.8 million.

The amount of tax relief you receive on your contributions depends on your earnings. Everyone automatically receives 20% tax relief you can claim back up to an extra 20% through your tax return. If you are a 50% taxpayer you can claim up to an extra 30%. Some higher rates of relief are restricted. Contrary, the new title loans online have very reasonable rates for everyone.


Why act now?


Higher rate tax relief on pension contribu­tions is under threat. Abolishing it was one of the Liberal Democrats’ key propositions before the election. Now they are part of the government, there is a possibility this could become reality. If you want to make a pen­sion contribution we would suggest you act as soon as possible, so as to benefit from the most favourable terms.

I should have done it years ago

Improving how you manage your investments is far easier than you might imagine.

The above comment was made by a client after transferring investments to Vantage. He had received our newsletters for some time, and felt our service was right for him, but he hadn’t transferred. Concerns that transferring could be complicated and costly had stopped him from acting, but once he started the process he realized how simple it was.

We understand that it can be difficult finding the time to return transfer forms, or check if the transfer is free. That’s why we have developed our service to make transferring as easy as possible.


1. I don’t have time

Once you have read our Key Features & Terms and Conditions, our simple transfer forms take less than 2 minutes to complete.


2. It sounds complicated

Once you have returned your completed form in the enclosed pre-paid envelope we do everything else to complete the transfer. We contact your previous provider, deal with all the administration and keep you up-to-date with the progress.


3. I’m worried about the costs

You can transfer free of charge from over 40 fund managers; terms and further details can be found to the right. If you can’t find your provider listed, or there is a charge to transfer, simply contact our Transfer Helpdesk on 0117 980 9988 as we might be able to cover or pay towards your fees.

4. I’m happy with my holdings

Transfer them as they are and you could save money every year with our loyalty bonuses.


5. I’m not sure about my holdings

Transfer them as they are and then make any changes later on. Dealing in Vantage is easy, there are no charges to buy and sell funds and you will benefit from initial savings of up to 5.5%. You can also buy and sell shares online from £5.95 per deal. Remember, investments can fall in value as well as rise so you could get back less than you invest. Get a payday loan online if you need to invest immediately.

Advice? Only when you need it

Advice? Only when you need it


A free consultation to help you get the most from our services.

Experience tells us that for most day-to-day matters, once pointed in the right direction, many investors can make their own investment decisions. Imagine the savings this could bring. Our clients saved over £200 million in charges last year, in part because they didn’t pay for financial advice they didn’t need.


To help you get started we launched HL Insight to show you personally how our Vantage Service works, and how you can use it to make your own decisions and maximise savings on your investments.



You will receive personal help – over the telephone or in person – from one of our expert financial practitioners, who will demonstrate how simple it can be to consolidate your investments, take control and make good decisions yourself by using our investment research and analysis. If they don’t think Vantage is for you, they will tell you.


Advice if and when you need it

In some circumstances, you might require further advice. This might be for a more complex issue or you might simply prefer us to recommend a portfolio of funds to get you up and running. If you are not yet ready to make your own decisions, we can explain what work is required and why, together with a clear statement of our fee.


For example, if you would like investment advice there is a market-beating one-off tariff of 1%. You can still benefit from the usual Vantage initial and ongoing savings with the net result that in many cases, our high initial savings leave you paying less than you would elsewhere for investing without advice. Once up and running you will also benefit from our ongoing research, investment information and any annual loyalty bonuses which apply. The resources of our Helpdesks are freely available, and there is no obligation to pay for further advice or reviews unless you specifically ask for them. You can use midwest title loans to pay for your bill.


Full portfolio management

Another solution is our Portfolio Management Service, which provides ongoing investment management accompanied by regular reviews with a financial practitioner. This remains popular with clients who simply want to hand over the management of their pensions or investments to professionals.


To find out more please call us today on 0117 317 1690. Alternatively complete the reply slip to the left.



This year one of our clients will win whatever they subscribe to a Vantage ISA, Junior ISA and SIPP, in last tax year and this — up to 120,000. The more you invest, the more you could win.

No purchase necessary for the Prize Draw. For an application form and competition rules please send a SAE. Last date of entry is 30 April 2012. The draw will be made, and the winner notified, in May 2012 and they will receive a cheque for the sum they subscribe (not including transfers or switches) to their Vantage ISA, Junior ISA and SIPP between 6 April 2011 and 30 April 2012. If the winner is a Junior ISA investor the prize will be paid to the registered contact on the account at the time the draw is made. The minimum value of the prize is MO, the maximum value is £20,000. We reserve the right to publish the winner’s details. The FSA does not regulate the Prize Draw.


New Economic Mechanism

In the 1950s Hungary utilized a classic so­cialist economic system, one patterned on that of the Soviet Union in the 1930s and ’40s. This was successful in turning an agri­cultural country into an industrial nation. But by the beginning of the 1960s, results di­minished. “We realized,” one economist said, “that if we wanted to continue the eco­nomic development of our country, we had to change our methods.”


So in 1968 the state introduced the New Economic Mechanism, a set of rules that to a degree decentralized planning and control, reinstated the profit motive, allowed the functioning of supply and demand, investment and per­mitted accumulation of individual wealth. For more information visit

“I think our system is unique,” the econo­mist said. “And the reason is that our posi­tion in the socialist bloc is unique. Almost 50 percent of our national income is based on foreign trade. So we are obliged to have a very elastic, very flexible system.”

POOR in natural resources, save for its good earth and bauxite, Hungary must import (petroleum, natural gas, automobiles). To pay for those im­ports, it must export (pharmaceuticals, bus­es, axles, salami, wheat, alumina). About half the trade is with nonsocialist nations.

In the scramble for foreign earnings Hun­gary vigorously seeks joint enterprises with Western companies and searches for new markets. The French and Italians like very much the taste of white rabbits? Well, send them 40 million dollars’ worth a year. Send them also doves, pigeons, goose liver.


Does the world seek new novelties? Send it a rather curious toy, the Rubik’s Cube.

I caught up with Ern6 Rubik at the Acad­emy of Applied Arts in Buda, where he is a professor. I had read somewhere that he had created the cube as a tool to help his students; I expected an old, kindly, pos­sibly distracted gentleman. Instead I found a 38-year-old father of two, of moderate height, with a finely wrought face, quick eyes, clad in brown slacks and sweater and open-necked shirt. In the cabin of a jetliner, where he is often found nowadays, you might mistake him for a French entrepre­neur, bound to or from a ski holiday.


I asked if indeed he had developed his cube as a teaching aid. “Everything a teach­er does is related to the teaching process.” But a teacher is human like everyone else, and he creates for himself as well as for oth­ers. “I could say the reason I started to be ac­tive in this field is simply my own character. You could say it grew out of my profession. I am an architect and an interior designer.”


Of his earnings (more than 30 million cubes have thus far been produced) he would only say: “In my case, which would characterize the situation of other inventors also, I get a certain share of the sales. Of course, in the case of the cube, which is so popular, the profit is quite large.”

Yes, he has other ideas, new ones, and is pursuing them. Among them a book.


Though only two of the 12 riders completed the five-day, 150-mile ride, all teamed up again to ride at the Royal Show on July 10—very proud of the £7,500 they’d raised for Riding for the Disabled.

One of the two who finished was Mrs Irene Benjamin (pictured right with Banjo), vice-president of the Ladies’ Side-Saddle Association, who organised the event. Irene herself is disabled after a riding accident three years ago. Told she’d never walk again, she decided to conduct her own therapy, riding a little each day until in 1979 “I baffled my doctors by walking again.”

She still suffers much pain, but nonetheless pursues an active life, riding six days a week. It was her own experience that made her realise the immense help a horse can be. “Disabled people need extra interests, attention and love—and this is what countless children and adults are getting from Riding for the Disabled groups around the country. It’s entirely supported by volunteers who lend ponies and give their time,- says Irene. For more information, write to: Riding for the Disabled, British Equestrian Centre, Stoneleigh, Kenilworth, Warwickshire.




Stopping the car on the roadside in the wilds of Scotland, my husband and I, with our six-year­old son, got out to have a short walk, but our son soon appeared nervous and ill at ease. “Is it safe to walk here?” he asked, looking round anxiously. “Of course it is,” we reassured him. “Why shouldn’t it be?” “What about the killer sheep?” he asked—and pointed out a roadside notice that read: “Danger. Beware of killing sheep”.—Mrs M P,



This dashing-looking character is “Mr Sheen” and, despite his racy appear­ance, he’s been designed to help make children aware of road safety—through a board game produced by the makers of Mr Sheen polish, Reckitt Household Products, in association with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Players have to get their Mr Sheen safely “home” from “school”, avoiding hazards and earning bonuses for good safety conduct or penalties for bad habits. With each game comes a chance to enter a Mr Sheen painting competition, with Premium Bond prizes. And it’s all free—for two product labels sent to Reckitt.



What has happened to all those beautiful warm woollen skirts that we used to be able to buy ? They were so thick that you could happily go out in one with a jacket or three-quarter length coat and not feel as if the north wind were blowing through you. It seems to me that over the past 10 years the quality has gone down: the material in skirts has got steadily thinner and the price higher. Come on, manufacturers and fashion buyers—bring back our warm skirts!

—Mrs M 13 L, Weston-Super-Mare

warm woollen skirt



When a charming young Canadian bride came to live here and attend our church, we all liked her accent. It only once led to misunder­standing. Just before a service she came quickly down the aisle and whispered to the verger: “Someone’s caught an adder in our pew.” Not one to shirk his duty, the brave man squared his shoulders and marched to the attack—only to find that the bell-ringer had left his “coat and hat” in their pew!

—Mrs J L, Clifionville, Kent


Star letters

“Are we giving our children a poorer education by letting them drop subjects too early?” asks Mrs J Hyde of Stockport, Cheshire. “As the mother of two teenage children I am worried about the accounts of falling aca­demic standards. I wonder if our children are not getting education in basic subjects for long enough.

“At my children’s school, pupils are allowed to drop almost any subject they want, from the age of 14. I do realise that it is necessary for pupils to decide on their examination options, but surely this is too early an age for them to give up, say, history or biology. I know many teenagers who are studying complex subjects such as computer studies instead of literature or geography, and while I believe that these subjects may be useful in the future, I also feel they should have an all-round knowledge of basic things.


“And there are certain ironies. My 15-year-old daughter has to play netball (which she hates), yet she may give up any academic subject apart from mathe­matics or English language. Is anyone else disturbed by this, or am I just being old-fashioned ?”


Cookery is always popular at our local playgroup and consequently there were lots of squabbles amongst the children as to whose turn it was to take part, until the playgroup leader thought up a good idea to stop this.

She started a kitchen band for the children not taking part in the cookery activity. Kitchen implements are hung onto a strong line and the children beat these with wooden spoons. In the background the egg-beater whirrs and the timer pings. Now the kids are happy to wait until their turn comes to cook.

—Mrs K R, Birmingham



It’s probably one of the most famous villages in Britain, and to millions of people it’s both familiar and well-loved, even though they’ve never been there. It is, of course, Ambridge, home of “The Archers” of BBC Radio 4 fame; and as regular listeners will know, Jennifer Aldridge and John Tregorran have been writing a book about it You may have thought that the book was just part of the story in the radio serial—but you’d have been wrong. Everything you’d want to know is contained within its well-researched pages. a description of the county, Borsetshire; lots of pictures; and a complete history of Ambridge from Roman times to the present day. Did we hear someone say that Ambridge does not exist, nor the Archers? It matters not. Here is a world as vividly created as any, and for those who love and feel part of it, here is the English village of everyone’s imagination.

village Ambridge


When Princess Alexandra visited a festival for the disabled earlier this year, it was a Royal occasion—and a proud day for Mrs Betty Simpson (at the bottom right in our picture, above). Betty, 54, who is both blind and disabled, had organised a trip for the blind club of which she is a member, to the festival at Carver Barracks, near Saffron Walden, Essex. Guests were entertained by the 13/18 Royal Hussars, and the highlight of their day was when Princess Alexandra stopped to have a joke and a laugh with them.

Betty, too, is always laughing, despite her handicaps, and always active. As well as her involvement with the blind club, she’s a member of the Essex Physically Handicapped Association, does basketwork and knitting, and is still kept busy with her husband, three sons and four grandchildren. Says Betty, “I love organising things.” And long may she continue!



When I was three years old, / went to stay with my grandmother while my mother went into hospital to have what was to be my baby brother.

I don’t remember this incident myself, but I’m told that I was in the room when my mother telephoned with news of the birth. She told my grandmother to keep it a secret, so it would be a surprise to me when I first saw my brother. “Keep your voice down,” my grandmother told her. “There’s a little pig with big ears here.”

After the phone call she turned to me. “Well, we’ve got a surprise coming for you in a few days’ time,” she said.

“I already know what it is,” I replied. “It’s a little pig with

big ears !”            —Ms J E L, Hundon, Suffolk



Having just pulled myself up from the second bout of depression and exhaustion I’ve had in my long life, I’d like to pass on my encouragement and “cure” for anyone else suffering as I did. It often isn’t easy to recognise depression. You don’t necessarily even feel “down” ; it’s just that your “get up and go” has got up and gone, and you can be in a very low state mentally and physically. This can be caused by any number of things—and pills are not the answer (although they may help).

The thing is to fix a target, however small, and try to cap it each day. It may be a tremendous effort even to wash up a cup the first day, but next day it could be two, plus another little task. Eat regularly, little but often. Make a deliberate effort to turn thoughts outwards; people wrapped up in themselves make small parcels. Try to do something for someone else each day (and we can all do something, even if only pray). In this way I’ve progressed from when I could only sit around and doze, to “my finest hour” when I not only got down on hands and knees and gave a grubby carpet a massive “summer clean”, but managed to pull in the laundry I’d done (by hand) two days earlier. It wasn’t easy but, by golly, I fell into bed tired out and very happy and thankful. I hope others take heart from my experience.

—Miss E C, Nottingham