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US: Hilo World Peace Fest set for 21 October
17 October 2017 - The 8th Annual Hilo World Peace Festival will be held on Saturday, 21 October, in Hilo, Hawaii. The festival celebrates cultural diversity and promotes the creation of a peaceful world. The Hilo World Peace Festival was created to promote the spirit of aloha-the universal language of love that encourages acts to honor and revere our elders; to love, nurture and protect our children; and to respect the harmony of our families, thus creating a healthy community and island lifestyle. (more)

Diwali festivals grow in US, from Disney to Times Square
26 September 2017 - The holiday of Diwali is starting to light up mainstream America. Diwali, a festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and others in India and other countries, has long been observed in immigrant communities around the U.S. But now public celebrations of the holiday are starting to pop up in places ranging from Disneyland and Times Square to parks and museums. (more)

South Africa: Designers transform grain silos into huge new African art museum
24 September 2017 - Contemporary African art has a new home at the southernmost tip of the continent. The Zeitz Museum of Modern Contemporary African Art, which has opened in Cape Town, South Africa is the world's largest museum solely dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. (more)

US: In Amish country, the future is calling
15 September 2017 - A young woman, wearing a traditional full-length Amish dress and white bonnet, stepped away from a farmer's market, opened her palm and revealed a smartphone. She began to scroll through screens, seemingly oblivious to the activity around her. Not far away, a man in his late 60s with a silvery beard, wide-brimmed straw hat and suspenders adjusted the settings on a computer-driven crosscut saw. He was soon cutting pieces for gazebos that are sold online and delivered around the country. The Amish have not given up on horse-drawn buggies. Their rigid abstinence from many kinds of technology has left parts of their lifestyle frozen since the 19th century ... But computers and cellphones are making their way into some Amish communities ... New technology has created fresh opportunities for prosperity among the Amish, just as it has for people in the rest of the world. (more)

New Zealand: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger
12 September 2017 - The Free Store is a nonprofit organization that redistributes surplus food from local businesses in New Zealand's capital city, Wellington, to those in need. It was inspired by a two-week art project in 2010 where artist Kim Paton filled a shop with surplus food items from bakeries and supermarkets. Anyone visiting the shop could take what they wanted free of charge. More than a solution just to curb waste, The Free Store has grown into a community food source. (more)

US: Irma evacuees find full hotels but a warm welcome in Georgia
9 September 2017 - As hundreds of thousands of Floridians flee Hurricane Irma, people in the state of Georgia have opened their homes to strangers who emerged from hours-long traffic jams to find hotels and campgrounds booked solid. The Airbnb website listed 85 homes in Georgia and Florida on Saturday evening that had been made available for free to Irma evacuees by the properties' owners, said Airbnb spokeswoman Crystal Davis. 'I can't believe how nice everyone is here,' said Cindy Voelz. (more)

Pope Francis inspires Iowa church to use solar energy
23 August 2017 - Church leaders in central Iowa are turning to solar power for their buildings in an effort to aid the environment and save money. The St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in Norwalk has more than 200 solar panels that the Rev. John Ludwig said saves them about $2,000 a year, The Des Moines Register reported. Church member Terry Dvorak founded Red Lion Renewables, a solar development firm, after seeing heavy pollution in China in 2010. Dvorak gathered investors who contributed about $200,000 to purchase the panels. (more)

US: Tribes hope for renewal in solar eclipse; Navajos will not watch
19 August 2017 - While much of America gawks at the solar eclipse, Bobbieann Baldwin will be inside with her children, shades drawn. In Navajo culture, the passing of the moon over the sun is an intimate moment in which the sun is reborn and tribal members take time out for themselves. No talking. No eating or drinking.... Many American Indian tribes revere the sun and moon as cultural deities, great sources of power and giver of life. U.S. Bureau of Indian Education spokeswoman Nedra Darling said the agency's schools, most of which are on the Navajo Nation, were given the option of closing Monday. Navajo Nation employees have Monday off, and other schools on and off the reservation that extends into Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah earlier decided to close in respect of the culture that teaches that looking at the sun during an eclipse can be harmful not only to one's eyesight but for overall well-being. (more)

Thailand's July tourist arrivals up 4.8 pct y/y - ministry
17 August 2017 - International tourist arrivals in Thailand rose 4.8 percent in July from a year earlier, led by visitors from China, Malaysia, Laos, Korea, and India, the Tourism and Sports Ministry said on Friday (18 August). The government expects about 35 million tourists this year. (more)

Project aims to attract tourists to remote Albanian villages
14 August 2017 - An ambitious project is aiming to open up remote villages in the highlands of southern Albania to the outside world and to tourists wanting to discover the spectacular natural beauty and rural way of life of the more isolated parts of the Balkan country. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Successful self-reinvention: The award-winning Susan Daniels
13 October 2017 - At a time in life when many women are retiring, Susan Daniels is earning her PhD in creative writing. Mother, author, nurse, with previous degrees including BSN (nursing) and MFA in writing, she says, 'I can't think of an area of my life that hasn't been affected for the better by the Transcendental Meditation practice.' She learned TM in 1973, and later on as 'busy parents with a growing business . . . meditating twice a day was the one thing that made it work.' Susan describes the many rewards she found, following an illness, when she decided to train as a nurse. And while in nursing school she started writing. She recently won a book prize that includes a publishing contract with New Rivers Press, a highly regarded literary press at Minnesota State University. (more)

David Lynch Foundation to honour Jane Fonda, Lena Dunham at 'Wonder Women' benefit in Los Angeles
5 October 2017 - In Los Angeles on 5 November, the David Lynch Foundation (DLF) will be honouring four 'Wonder Women' - Jill Black, Lena Dunham, Jane Fonda, and New Village Girls Academy principal, Dr. Andrea Purcell. The event is a benefit to support the the Foundation's Los Angeles programmes to bring the healing and transformative effects of Transcendental Meditation to underserved schoolchildren and veterans suffering from post traumatic stress. 'Together, we can build resilient communities in Los Angeles and help our city continue to shine throughout the world,' said Lynn Kaplan, DLF director in Los Angeles. (more)

'Dancing With the Stars' host Tom Bergeron says Transcendental Meditation helps him keep his cool during a live show - ABC News
27 September 2017 - In a live show, anything can happen. But Tom Bergeron trusts he can handle it because he has been practising meditation for decades. The host of ABC TV's hit dancing competition show 'Dancing With the Stars', which kicked off its 25th season last week, said he has been practising Transcendental Meditation (TM) for over 35 years. Being a longtime meditator, he said, has been key in keeping his cool and 'respond[ing] appropriately' during a live show in front of a panel of judges, contestants and a studio audience. 'I trust that because of the practice, because of the investment of time and mental energy into being present, that I'm going . . . to somehow know how to roll with whatever happens,' Bergeron, 62, told ABC's Dan Harris during an interview for his podcast, '10% Happier.' (more)

Actor Hugh Jackman: 'Transcendental Meditation has helped me in every way, immeasurably.'
23 September 2017 - Eight months into practising Transcendental Meditation, actor Hugh Jackman had a very clear thought one day: 'Hang on! Meditation is the centre of it all, where all activities can spring from the deepest well possible. If I act or parent or be a husband or throw a baseball or wash up, if I do it after meditating, it's a whole different activity.' Since then Jackman has not made it a secret how much TM has impacted his life. 'I would say possibly equally to how marriage and kids did - I would put it right up there, in terms of things that have affected my life.' Describing how TM has helped him excel as an actor and deal with the high level of stress in his profession, he says: 'Your only tools you really have are being present, being clear, and listening. So, it helped me in every way, immeasurably.' (more)

The Beatles, Transcendental Meditation and India: Events in August 1967, fifty years ago, made a mark on western culture
25 August 2017 - In August 1967, a wildly popular rock band called the Beatles attended a lecture by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the London Hilton on Park Lane. They were given front row seats and invited to meet Maharishi after the lecture. During their private meeting, Maharishi invited the Beatles to be his guests at a training retreat in Wales. It was there that the band members, who were already exploring ways to expand their consciousness, were initiated into the basics of Transcendental Meditation. The world's ears were tuned to the Beatles, and with the band embracing all things Indian, Western hearts were being transformed by that mystical land's ancient wisdom. That interest continues to grow. In 2016, Forbes reported on the growing popularity of yoga in the U.S., and an increasing number of celebrities attest to practising Transcendental Meditation. (more)

Music DVD Review: Change Begins Within: A Benefit Concert for the David Lynch Foundation highlights Paul McCartney - Ringo Starr Beatles reunion
17 August 2017 - Yes! Finally, the 2009 Change Begins Within: A Benefit Concert for the David Lynch Foundation arrives on DVD via Eagle Rock Entertainment on 1 September 2017. The show was a benefit to provide Transcendental Meditation as an all-natural way to help at-risk kids. This 86-minute programme of highlights from the full concert features Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Cheryl Crow, Donovan, Eddie Vedder, Moby, Bettye LaVette, Jerry Seinfeld, and others. Paul and Ringo make up the lion's share of the running time. And they even perform together, the concert's highlight! (more)

Beach Boys' Mike Love on tour: 'Transcendental Meditation is the one thing I take with me everywhere'
8 August 2017 - Since the band's founding in 1961, the Beach Boys have taken their unique sound around the world, including this year's nationally televised 4 July celebration on the steps of the US Capitol in Washington, DC. In a recent interview, original band member Mike Love was asked, 'Is there anything that you always make sure to have with you that makes life easier when you're on the road?' He replied, 'Well, the one thing I do that keeps me energized and positive is that I meditate. I do Transcendental Meditation, which I learned from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in December of 1967. . . . meditation is great because it has no negative side effects. So that's the one thing I take with me everywhere - it's portable!' (more)

Transcendental Meditation and fame: Five famous practitioners
4 August 2017 - 'I believe that there is a reason why so many celebrities practise Transcendental Meditation,' writes renowned psychiatrist, researcher, and author Norman Rosenthal, M.D. 'They are highly successful and ambitious people, who want to function at their best as much as possible.' Dr Rosenthal is the author of Super Mind: How to Boost Performance and Live a Richer and Happier Life Through Transcendental Meditation. 'To illustrate how TM not only reduces stress, but also expands a person's mental abilities', Dr Rosenthal draws from his interviews with 'five famous TM practitioners - classical guitarist Sharon Isbin, radio host Howard Stern, principal ballet dancer Megan Fairchild, legendary hedge fund founder Ray Dalio, and actor Hugh Jackman - to explore the role TM plays in their lives and the many gifts they feel they've derived from the practice. (more)

Mother Nature's emissaries
12 July 2017 - 'Intuition, patience, wisdom, love - all the blessed qualities associated with motherhood and caregiving - often are obliterated when we are exhausted and not aligned with our own internal voice and source of nourishment,' writes Susan Linden, a mother, psychologist, and certified teacher of the Transcendental Meditation programme. 'During TM practice, our mind effortlessly settles to quieter, softer levels of thinking, transcending the pressures, worries and agitation of our active mind. This easily accessed experience of inner silence restores our energy, happiness, and ability to extend our selves to others in a relaxed, compassionate, vibrant way. . . . We are the kind of mother, caregiver, sister and friend we want to be. We are sustained by the silent fullness within us.' (more)

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr set for David Lynch charity concert DVD: Rolling Stone reports
30 June 2017 - A concert DVD documenting the 2009 'Change Begins Within' charity concert benefiting the David Lynch Foundation will be released 1 September. The concert notably featured a Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunion, as well as performances from Eddie Vedder, Sheryl Crow, Donovan, Bettye LaVette and more. The show took place 4 April 2009 at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Filmmaker David Lynch launched his foundation in 2005 with the aim of promoting efforts to eradicate trauma and stress among at-risk populations through Transcendental Meditation. (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


For Chinese millennials, despondency has a brand name
4 September 2017 - Chinese millennials with a dim view of their career and marriage prospects can wallow in despair with a range of teas such as 'achieved-absolutely-nothing black tea', and 'my-ex's-life-is-better-than-mine fruit tea'. While the drink names at the Sung chain of tea stalls are tongue-in-cheek, the sentiment they reflect is serious: a significant number of young Chinese with high expectations have become discouraged and embrace an attitude known on social media as 'sang', after a Chinese character associated with the word 'funeral' that describes being dispirited. It's a reaction to cut-throat competition for good jobs in an economy that isn't as robust as it was a few years ago and when home-ownership -- long seen as a near-requirement for marriage in China -- is increasingly unattainable in major cities as apartment prices have soared. While 'sang' can be a pose or affectation, despondency among a segment of educated young people is a genuine concern for President Xi Jinping and his government, which prizes stability. ... The average starting salary for college graduates dropped by 16 percent this year to 4,014 yuan ($608) per month amid intensifying competition for jobs as a record 8 million graduate from Chinese universities -- nearly ten times the number in 1997. (more)

Key radical Islamist groups in Bangladesh
3 July 2016 - The hostage crisis at a restaurant in Bangladesh's capital that left 28 dead, including 20 hostages and six militants, has focused attention on the radical Islamist attacks occurring in the moderate, mostly Muslim country in the past few years. Most have been claimed by the Islamic State group or by al-Qaida's local branch, but the government vehemently denies these transnational jihadi groups have any presence in the country. Instead, the government blames domestic militants and its political opponents of trying to destabilize the country. Authorities have cracked down on extremist groups by banning them from operating and arresting many of their members. The opposition parties deny the allegation that they're involved. A look at some of the main Islamic political parties and radical groups in the country: (more)

Hostage crisis leaves 28 dead in Bangladesh diplomatic zone
2 July 2016 - The dramatic, 10-hour hostage crisis that gripped Bangladesh's diplomatic zone ended Saturday morning with at least 28 dead, including six of the attackers, as commandos raided the popular restaurant where heavily armed attackers were holding dozens of foreigners and Bangladeshis prisoner while hurling bombs and engaging in a gunbattle with security forces. The victims included 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, and two Bangladeshi police officers. The attack marks an escalation in militant violence that has hit the traditionally moderate Muslim-majority nation with increasing frequency in recent months, with the extremists demanding the secular government set up Islamic rule. (more)

U.S. families struggling with teens' phone addiction: report
3 May 2016 - Half of teenagers in the United States feel addicted to their mobile phones, with most checking the devices at least every hour and feeling pressured to respond immediately to messages, a survey released on Tuesday found. The majority of parents concurred. The findings from the nonprofit group Common Sense Media, which focuses on the effects of media and technology on children, highlighted the tension such close ties to devices can cause, with it disrupting driving, homework, and other time together. 'It is causing daily conflict in homes,' Common Sense Media's founder and CEO James Steyer said in a statement. (more)

Retaking Syria's Palmyra reveals more shattered antiquities
28 March 2016 - The recapture of Syria's ancient city of Palmyra from the Islamic State group has brought new revelations of the destruction wreaked by the extremists, who decapitated priceless statues and smashed or looted artifacts in the city's museum. Experts say they need time to assess the full extent of damage in Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site which once attracted tens of thousands of tourists every year. The Sunni extremist group, which has imposed a violent interpretation of Islamic law across the territory it controls in Syria and Iraq, claims ancient relics promote idolatry. But it is also believed to have profited from looted antiquities. (more)

'Here we go again' -- Americans' lament after Oregon shooting
2 October 2015 - The news from Oregon was grim enough in isolation -- nine people shot dead at a community college. For many Americans it was all the sadder as a reminder of how frequent, how depressingly routine, mass shootings have become -- in malls, at churches, and so often at schools and colleges. (more)

Horrific stampede at hajj in Saudi Arabia kills 717 pilgrims
24 September 2015 - A horrific stampede killed at least 717 pilgrims and injured hundreds more Thursday on the outskirts of the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the deadliest tragedy to strike the annual hajj pilgrimage in more than two decades. At least 863 pilgrims were injured in the crush, said the Saudi civil defense directorate, which provided the death toll. The tragedy struck as Muslims around the world marked the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday. It was the second major disaster during this year's hajj season. Two survivors interviewed by The Associated Press said the disaster began when one wave of pilgrims found themselves heading into a mass of people going in another direction. (more)

Unsupervised teens more likely to use tobacco, pot, and alcohol
18 September 2015 - A small U.S. study appears to confirm adult fears that teens who spend more than the average amount of unsupervised time 'hanging out' with peers have higher odds of smoking cigarettes and marijuana and drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, greater than average involvement in structured school and after-school activities did not seem to offer a protective effect. Organized time, such as arts classes at school, religious activities outside school, or community volunteer work had a very modest protective effect. (more)

Islamic State magazine blasts Muslims fleeing to Europe as sinners
10 September 2015 - Hundreds of thousands of people have fled wars in the Middle East this year, often from areas seized or threatened by Islamic State militants. They have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe on flimsy boats that have sometimes capsized, killing hundreds, in one of the biggest waves of migration since World War Two. Most of the refugees come from Syria, Iraq, and Libya -- states ravaged by conflict frequently involving Islamic State. But the magazine of Islamic State, which controls territory in Iraq and Syria where some 10 million people live, said those who leave its domain were committing a 'major sin'. (more)

UN: Satellite images show Temple of Bel in Syria 'destroyed'
31 August 2015 - A satellite image on Monday shows that the main building of the ancient Temple of Bel in the Syrian city of Palmyra has been destroyed, a United Nations agency said. The image was taken a day after a massive explosion was set off near the 2,000-year-old temple in the city occupied by Islamic State militants. It stood out among the ruins not far from the colonnades of Palmyra, which is affectionately known by Syrians as the 'Bride of the Desert.' Palmyra was an important caravan city of the Roman Empire, linking it to India, China, and Persia. Before the outbreak of Syria's conflict in March 2011, the UNESCO site was one of the top tourist attractions in the Middle East. (more)

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