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US: How Father's Day started 107 years ago
16 June 2017 - Sunday is the 107th Father's Day celebrated in the U.S. since Sonora Smart Dodd created the holiday in 1910. It's a tradition Dodd decided to start as she sat in a Spokane, Washington, church on Mother's Day 1909, listening to a sermon about -- what else? -- Mother's Day. 'And it bugged her,' Dodd's ... great-granddaughter recalled with a laugh ... 'She thought, 'Well, why isn't there a Father's Day?' Dodd spent the next 62 years lobbying everyone from Presidents to retailers for support. Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon declared the third Sunday of June a federal holiday honoring dads. Dodd, who died at age 96 in 1978, had lived to see her dream come true. (more)

Refugee Food Festival expands to 13 European cities in six countries
15 June 2017 - After last year's successes in Paris and Strasbourg, the 2017 Refugee Food Festival is going international, with events in 13 European cities in six countries between 15 and 30 June. The 2017 festival will take place . . . as part of the events marking World Refugee Day on June 20. In June last year, more than 1,000 people enjoyed food prepared by refugee chefs from India, Iran, Ivory Coast, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Syria in 11 Paris restaurants, which opened their kitchens and changed their menus for the occasion. (more)

Cambodia sees tourist arrivals rise 5 percent in 2016 - Prime Minister
12 June 2017 - The number of foreign tourists visiting Cambodia in 2016 rose 5 percent to five million, bringing in about $3 billion in revenue, the Prime Minister said on Monday, 12 June. Cambodia has been become a favorite with backpackers and budget travelers over the past decade or so and has more recently begun to establish itself as a luxury destination. Chinese tourists accounted for the biggest group of visitors in the first quarter, data showed. (more)

US: Women's voices ring clear in world of philanthropy
11 June 2017 - Women of all ages and stages of life are more generous than their male counterparts. At nearly every income level, women donate almost twice as much as men. Baby-boomer and older women give 89 percent more to charity than men their age. Women in the top 25 percent of permanent income give 156 percent more than men in that same category. Women are nearly twice as likely as men to say that giving to charity is 'the most satisfying aspect of having wealth.' (more)

Enter the dragon boats to the beat of the drums at annual Taiwan races
30 May 2017 - There was cheering, drumming and a disciplined display of coordinated strength at the annual dragon boat races on Tuesday [30 May] in the Taiwan capital. Spectators chanted and cheered on the racers and spoke of the vibrant atmosphere and team spirit at the yearly affair. (more)

London's Chelsea Flower Show in full bloom
26 May 2017 - Britain's most prestigious flower show is taking place this week with hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of floral delights from Alium to Zantedeschia. The highlight of Britain's horticultural calendar, the annual Chelsea Flower Show in London's sprawling Royal Hospital complex features a host of elaborate gardens designed by experts and is famous for its unusual installations. (more)

Japanese interactive art exhibition dazzles Beijing, China
24 May 2017 - A new digital interactive exhibition in Beijing allows visitors to create their own art and see it immediately reflected in the work being displayed around them. The project, 'Living Digital Forest and Future Park', is the first to be opened in China by the Japanese art collective teamLab. The Beijing exhibition includes a digital garden of floating flowers and forest animals, and a crystal universe of light sculptures. (more)

Afghan women break ground with TV station launch
19 May 2017 - A new TV channel dedicated to women is set to begin broadcasting in Afghanistan, the first of its kind in a country whose media industry, like many areas of society, remains dominated by men. Zan TV ('Women's TV') launches on Sunday with a staff of all female presenters and producers, following a high-profile marketing campaign on billboards in Kabul and on social media. (more)

India: The ancient game that saved a village
18 May 2017 - Fifty years ago, Marottichal was a very different place. Like many villages in northern Kerala, alcoholism and illicit gambling were rife among its small population. Having developed a zeal for chess while living in the nearby town of Kallur, Unnikrishnan moved back to his afflicted hometown and opened his teashop, where he began teaching customers to play chess as a healthier way to pass the time. Miraculously, the game's popularity flourished while drinking and gambling declined. The village's enthusiasm for the ancient pastime, which is believed to have originated in India in the 6th Century . . . 'Chess improves concentration, builds character and creates community,' he [Baby John] said. The village has also lured visitors from as far away as Germany and the US keen to learn the game or hone their skills. (more)

Is this world's oldest YouTube star?
16 May 2017 - A great-grandmother from India is winning hearts with her cooking videos. Mastanamma doesn't have a birth certificate to prove her 106 years but has millions of followers who can't have enough of her recipes and #GrannyWisdom. (more)

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

Katy Perry on Transcendental Meditation: 'When I meditate, I get to the real well of creativity'
10 June 2017 - 'Life can get a little crazy, and I am always juggling a thousand balls at once,' said Katy Perry in a recent E! News interview. The 32-year-old pop superstar credited Transcendental Meditation as the 'biggest help in my life' when it comes to disconnecting from the chaos. She explained that she learned TM while in India for her wedding to comedian Russell Brand, who is an avid meditator. 'When I meditate, I get to the real well of creativity. It stirs up all of these creative juices and I get my best ideas,' she added. (more)

Busy moms share tips for balancing their TM practice with work/family life
9 June 2017 - A new series explores how working mothers look to their practice of Transcendental Meditation as both a respite and a source of renewal in their very full lives. They share their stories and tips about the joys of being a meditating mom. 'We started TM because we wanted to begin filtering out some of the unnecessary ''noise'' in our lives,' says Andrea Jayavelu, a business analyst. 'Modern lives are full of stressors, distractions, and negativity. TM is a great way to manage ''knee-jerk reactions'' and instead channel that energy into increasing focus, creativity, and peace!' As a working mom, 'I have had to get creative,' Andrea says. She and her husband Jay, an IT consultant, work as a team to ensure both get to enjoy their two TM sessions every day. (more)

'Celeb-studded' benefit concert at Kennedy Center for David Lynch Foundation: Washington Post reports
8 June 2017 - 'With Washington at what feels like peak stress ... Monday night [5 June] was a moment for its antidote: relaxing meditation. The David Lynch Foundation - a nonprofit started by the ''Twin Peaks'' director aimed at spreading the use of Transcendental Meditation to poor children in urban areas, veterans and victims of violence - held its first D.C. fundraiser, a celeb-studded concert at the Kennedy Center that drew an audience including first daughter/White House adviser Ivanka Trump and her husband and fellow West Winger, Jared Kushner,' The Washington Post reported. 'The foundation is opening an office on Capitol Hill, and organizers said the sold-out show would bring meditation training to 10,000 Washingtonians.' Performances were by comedians Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and Margaret Cho, actor Hugh Jackman, and music by Ben Folds, Kesha, and Angelique Kidjo. (more)

Seinfeld and Hugh Jackman headline 'National Night of Laughter and Song' at the Kennedy Center: DCist reports
4 June 2017 - It's not often that Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Hugh Jackman, Margaret Cho, Katie Couric, Kesha and Ben Folds are in the same room together - much less in Washington D.C. But they're just some of the luminaries who will gather at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Monday for the first-annual 'National Night of Laughter and Song'. The cavalcade of live performances doubles as a benefit for the David Lynch Foundation - a non-profit founded by the co-creator of the beloved, recently revived TV series Twin Peaks - which seeks to connect underprivileged populations to Transcendental Meditation. Given the city's high-stress professional environment, it's little surprise that meditation is in high demand in D.C., and has been on the upswing in recent years, according to the foundation's CEO Bob Roth. (more)

Support the arts. Create world peace. Discover World Peace Artists
30 May 2017 - Artists participating in a new online gallery, World Peace Artists, have joined together to support the Maharishi Vedic Pandit programme in India to create permanent world peace. UNESCO has officially described Vedic recitation as an intangible heritage of humanity. Trained from a very young age to become peace professionals, the Pandits experience daily their own deep silence through Transcendental Meditation and its advanced practices, and then perform Vedic recitations from that silent field. Their recitations are described as the fundamental organizing sounds of nature itself which create a powerful positive influence for the welfare, peace, prosperity, and harmony of the world. The website gives artists access to a global network of peace-loving clients who enjoy both owning beautiful art and supporting proven, practical programmes for global harmony and peace. (more)

David Lynch, the film director who harnesses the transformative power of Transcendental Meditation
26 May 2017 - 'True happiness is not out there. True happiness lies within' - before he learned Transcendental Meditation, renowned filmmaker David Lynch had heard these words but didn't know 'how to get there'. Learning TM in 1973, he says, 'Down within I went. It was so beautiful, so profoundly beautiful. I said, ''Where has this experience been?'' ' Lynch has more to say about the bliss of transcending: 'It's a field that is so beautiful, so powerful, it's eternal, it's immortal, it's immutable, it's infinite, it's unbounded.' As one who works in the intensely competitive Hollywood film industry, he explores how the TM technique reduces stress, and how it enriches the creative process: 'There are billions of ideas and you find the ones you love. We start transcending, that conduit widens out, and you start enjoying things and love the doing. . . . You look around and everything looks better. People don't look like enemies, they look like friends. Things that used to stress you, don't stress you so much.' (more)

David Lynch Foundation announces 'National Night of Laughter and Song' benefit gala at Kennedy Center, Washington, DC - 5 June
2 May 2017 - The David Lynch Foundation has announced a 'National Night of Laughter and Song' to be held Monday, 5 June at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall in Washington, DC. The gala is a benefit hosted by the Foundation's Center for Health and Wellness, to help support 10,000 veterans and at-risk youth in Washington. The event will feature a star-studded line-up including hosts Hugh Jackman, Deborra-lee Furness Jackman, and Katie Couric; comedians Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, and Margaret Cho; and singers/musicians Ben Folds, Kesha, Angeligue Kidjo, and Sharon Isbin. Distinguished honourees to receive 'Lifetime in Service' awards at the gala include award-winning journalist Candy Crowley; Patricia de Stacy Harrison, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and educator Dr George H Rutherford II, Chair of the U.S. Committee for Stress-Free Schools. (more)

Book review: Tender Flower of Heaven by Ann Purcell
7 April 2017 - Award winning author, musician, and poet Ann Purcell uses poetry to express deep inner values of life, principles which are beautifully uplifting and spiritually profound. She began writing poems to document her own inner experience of transcendental consciousness, gained through the daily practice of Transcendental Meditation starting in 1972. With clarity and simplicity, Ms Purcell brings out in the 130 poems in Tender Flower of Heaven universal transcendent experiences that have been reported by people throughout time. The poems reflect the author's keen sense of the heavenly in everyday moments of existence like the blooming of a delicate flower. (more)

Transcendental Meditation: 'Awesome, happy, necessary'
7 April 2017 - A high-level advertising professional in New York City, Marcia Lorente describes her experience with Transcendental Meditation in three words: 'Awesome, happy, necessary.' She adds, 'I love that TM is so easy, it's practically impossible to get it wrong, the results are immediate and increase with time.' Marcia is also an artist who recently began painting again after 10 years. 'The way I paint is fast and with big brushstrokes, it requires simultaneous control and lack of control, the accident, as Pollock would call it,' she says. 'I now realize it comes from the same place that I go to when I meditate, so I can go there more easily and I'm painting a lot more.' (more)

Maharishi University of Management film alumnus hands out Oscars at Academy Awards
11 March 2017 - Johnny Coffeen received an MA in film in 2015 from Maharishi University of Management and last August won a Student Academy Award for his thesis film, The Swan Girl. Along with three other student winners, he was asked to participate in the 89th Academy Awards, bringing Oscars onstage to presenters and escorting recipients off the stage. Johnny said that being at the heart of the event was 'beyond surreal'. He was most excited to meet Meryl Streep: 'I was pleased how consistently sweet and genuinely humble she was.' For the Student Academy Awards, 17 students were selected from a record number of entries that included 1,749 films from 381 colleges and universities around the world. Johnny is the first student from MUM to win such an award. (more)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

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)

Islamic State images purport to show destroyed Syrian temple
25 August 2015 - The Islamic State group released propaganda images Tuesday that purport to show militants laying explosives in and then blowing up the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria's ancient caravan city of Palmyra. A resident of Palmyra had told the Associated Press the temple was destroyed on Sunday, a month after the group's militants booby-trapped it with explosives. The temple, a structure of giant stone blocks several stories high fronted by six towering columns, was dedicated to a god of storm and rain -- the name means literally 'Lord of the Heavens.' (more)

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