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Positive Trends
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Colombia expands protected areas by 31,000 square miles
23 April 2018 - Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos announced this week that the country will add 31,000 square miles of land to its protected areas and will also give indigenous communities the autonomy to govern their own territories, according to Mongabay and Thomson Reuters. Santos said the government will spend the next two weeks outlining the boundaries of the new protected land, as well as distributing land titles to indigenous groups. (more)

US: Pittsburgh powers up small electric vehicle fleet with solar charging stations
18 April 2018 - Pittsburgh is driving on sunshine and has the song lyrics to prove it. Mayor Bill Peduto on Wednesday dedicated the arrival of five solar-powered charging machines for the city's small but growing electric vehicle fleet with a performance by Lawrenceville-based musician Kevin 'Slim' Forsythe and the band Turbosonics. One of the charging stations powered the band's amplifiers. (more)

India: Government offices in Vizianagaram meet energy needs through solar power
15 April 2018 - The government offices in Vizianagaram district, including the Collectorate, the Zilla Parishad, and the municipal offices are making extensive use of solar energy to meet their power needs. The Collector's office emerged as the first in the State to use solar power to meet its power requirements. ... 'We have been asking hotels, commercial complexes, and other organizations to opt for solar power since it would be a clean and renewable resource. Maintenance is also cost-effective,' Collector Vivek Yadav told The Hindu. (more)

India's Prime Minister Modi to unveil new Ayurveda network during UK visit
13 April 2018 - Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join Prince Charles at the inauguration of a new Ayurveda centre of excellence during his visit to the UK next week. Modi will visit the United Kingdom from April 17-20 for a bilateral visit as well as to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). A plaque for the new centre will be unveiled in London to mark the launch of a new network to coordinate evidence-based research on yoga and Ayurveda, according to sources close to the India-UK bilateral visit. (more)

Colombia takes 'unprecedented' step to stop farms gobbling forests
11 April 2018 - Indigenous communities that depend on Colombia's Amazon rainforest for their survival will have more say over their ancestral lands, as Colombia adds 8 million hectares to its protected areas in an effort to stem forest loss. The new measures announced by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday (10 April) aim to create a buffer zone for the country's southern Amazon region. (more)

Interview: U.S. entrepreneur wins award for making government 'less insulting'
11 April 2018 - Jennifer Pahlka believes that coding can help deliver a better U.S. government that works to help reformed felons earn an honest living and public servants frustrated by poor technology. Pahlka was in Oxford (UK) -- where Ebay billionaire Jeff Skoll established a centre for social entrepreneurship in 2003 -- to collect an award, one of six Skoll winners this year. After seeing the challenges working in child welfare, she founded San Francisco-based non profit Code for America in 2009 to create user-friendly websites that make it easier to navigate systems to access state benefits or services. (more)

New projects in Brazil's Amazon? Not without congressional approval, says court
9 April 2018 - Brazil's government has been told that development projects, including hydropower dams, in protected areas can no longer go ahead without the prior approval of lawmakers. Campaigners said the decision should ensure the country's forests and reserves, including the Amazon rainforest, were better protected. 'This decision puts an end to a spree of provisional measures in the name of environmental de-protection,' said Mauricio Guetta, a lawyer at Instituto Socioambiental (ISA), an advocacy group. (more)

Colombia's top court orders government to protect Amazon forest in landmark case
6 April 2018 - Colombia's highest court has told the government it must take urgent action to protect its Amazon rainforest and stem rising deforestation, in what campaigners said was an historic moment that should help conserve forests and counter climate change. In their ruling on Thursday (5 April), the judges said that Colombia -- which is home to a swathe of rainforest roughly the size of Germany and England combined -- saw deforestation rates in its Amazon region increase by 44 percent from 2015 to 2016. (more)

European efforts to curb plastic litter in oceans are working - researchers
5 April 2018 - The number of plastic bags found in the seas around Britain has significantly dropped since 2010 as European governments crack down on their use, researchers said on Thursday (5 April). Several European countries, including Ireland, Denmark, France, and Britain, have introduced plastic bag levies since 2003, which have led to massive reductions in their use. (more)

New York offers free cyber security tools to public to deter hackers
29 March 2018 - New York City will offer free cyber security tools to the public as part of a new effort to improve online safety, officials said on Thursday (29 March), a week after Atlanta was hit with a ransomware attack that knocked some municipal systems offline. The program, dubbed NYC Secure, will launch a free smartphone protection app ... 'New Yorkers aren't safe online. We can't wait around for other levels of government to do something about it or the private sector,' New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said. The program will cost the city about $5 million per year, he said. (more)


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


New study: Transcendental Meditation helps women reduce trauma in prison, gain 'self-care for life'
24 August 2017 - Research finds that women are the fastest growing population in U.S. prisons, nearly double the rate of men, and enter prison with high rates of abuse and proportionally more trauma. Fortunately, a 2017 randomized controlled study published in The Permanente Journal found that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique significantly reduced trauma symptoms in female inmates at an Oregon prison. 'Meditating twice a day has helped lessen my stress levels, allowed me to connect to and centre myself at deeper levels, and to retreat, reflect, and problem-solve,' said one inmate. Another said, 'I no longer feel imprisoned. I now feel my freedom from the inside of me.' The TM technique has critical advantages as a mind-body intervention for underrepresented populations, according to Charles Elder, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., author of a companion editorial in The Permanente Journal. (more)

Post-Traumatic Growth: 'Transcendental Meditation has given me the opportunity to live a life that is truly full of purpose, meaning, connection, and service'
1 August 2017 - Suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTS), and finding no relief through treatments provided by the U.S. Veterans Administration, Marine Corps veteran Paul Downs went to Boulder Crest Retreat Facility for veterans in Virginia, which partners with the David Lynch Foundation to offer Transcendental Meditation as part of its programme. One of only five witnesses testifying before the recent U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs' hearing on PTS, Downs said that after just a few weeks of practising TM, he felt less anxious, less angry, more focused, more energized, more directed. 'I gained a connection to self that I didn't have before. I found peace with my past. I realized who I am - and there's no pill for that. . . . It is hard to believe that 20 minutes, twice a day, is exactly what we require. But it is. It works for me, and for thousands of my brothers and sisters. It has given me the opportunity not just to survive on earth, but thrive here - and to live a life that is truly full of purpose, meaning, connection, and service.' (more)

US: Veterans are using Transcendental Meditation to treat PTSD
22 July 2017 - Thousands of veterans have turned to Transcendental Meditation to treat their PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder]. The David Lynch Foundation has worked with US Veterans Administration centres, Army and Marine bases, and veterans' organizations to bring TM to vets and active-duty soldiers, Mother Jones reports. Research has found TM to be effective in reducing PTSD. One veteran, a former Army nurse in Iraq who has been practising TM for four years, says painful memories are still there, but increasingly they seem like a thing of the past. 'Very recently,' she says, 'I've started to feel happiness, which I hadn't felt in years.' (more)

UK Parliament marks International Yoga Day - Prof Tony Nader, MD, PhD honoured with special award
16 July 2017 - The third International Yoga Day was celebrated in the House of Commons, Palace of Westminster, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Indian Traditional Sciences, its Secretariat Amarjeet S Bhamra and the High Commission of India. The event on 10 July was designed to explore the value of introducing Yoga in the NHS (National Health Service). Chief Guest of the event, H.E. High Commissioner Y K Sinha paid tribute to the work of the APPG in introducing Yoga, Ayurveda and other disciplines into the mainstream of public life. Prof Tony Nader, MD, PhD, MARR, head of the worldwide Transcendental Meditation organization, was honoured with a special award, and presented five volumes of Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation Programme to Members of Parliament. In his keynote address Prof Nader explained that 'every one of us has within us, built into our very physiology, the essential quality of Yoga, which is unifying.' (more)

U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan gives Maharishi University of Management commencement address: 'We are living in a moment that calls out for you'
4 July 2017 - U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan from Ohio's 13th District delivered the commencement address at Maharishi University of Management, USA, on 24 June. Congressman Ryan has taken a national leadership role in improving access to healthcare, promoting ways to make college more affordable, and expanding renewable energy. He challenged the graduates to find innovative solutions to the seemingly intractable problems facing the world: 'Graduates, we are living in a moment that calls out for you, because you are those rare positive disruptors - creative, open, smart, self-driven, resilient, fearless. You are the modern-day explorers. Your meditation practice will assist you in navigating the turbulent waters of modern society. Your Consciousness-Based Education has prepared you to take your place among those leaders who are redefining the rules and changing the way we all see things. Our nation and the world desperately need you now.' (more)

Maharishi School grad posted at US Embassy in Liberia
15 May 2017 - Colette 'Coco' Clark, a 2011 graduate of Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, has recently been hired by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. Her first posting will be at the U.S. embassy in Liberia, beginning in June. Ms. Clark received a Bachelor of Science in foreign service, summa cum laude, from Georgetown University in 2015 and a Master of Arts in security studies the following year, also from Georgetown. She is proficient in Arabic and has worked for the past two years at the U.S. Department of Justice on legal negotiations between the U.S. government and Middle Eastern countries. (more)

'Results inside correctional facilities with Transcendental Meditation have been simply astounding'
1 February 2017 - In an editorial published this week accompanying two studies on Transcendental Meditation with male and female prison inmates, Dr. Charles Elder, a clinician and researcher with Kaiser Permanente, called for wider use of evidence-based mind-body interventions for prisoners. 'Mind-body interventions can provide the patient with a simple self-help tool that can effectively reduce anxiety, help treat substance abuse, reduce inmate recidivism, and help address a range of medical conditions,' Dr Elder wrote, citing research on Transcendental Meditation that supports these benefits. Rebecca Pak of The Women's Prison Association agrees: 'The results inside correctional facilities . . . with Transcendental Meditation have been simply astounding. If we shifted our focus from punitive responses to interventions designed to improve mental and physical health, we would have much greater impact.' The article reviews research results on Transcendental Meditation in prisons over the last four decades. (more)

Can Blacks and Police Find Inner Peace? Afro.com reports
22 November 2016 - 'If war refugees with PTSD can find rapid relief from stress through Transcendental Meditation practice, how much easier will it be for both police and inner city African-Americans to find inner peace?', write the authors of an article in Afro.com. TM is described as an evidence-based strategy to address the underlying buildup of stress in communities 'that inevitably erupts into violence'. According to recent research, more than 50% of people with PTSD who learn TM are symptom-free in 30-105 days. Police practising TM have found increased stability in stressful situations, better health, and greater resiliency to stress. It is a 'well-documented protocol for reducing stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) . . . . that will prevent and help neutralize this buildup of stress, anger, and violence in individuals and in society as a whole.' (more)

Transcendental Meditation: A resource for reducing stress among law enforcement professionals
19 November 2016 - Dr Martha Batorski, a recognized speaker on the topic of leadership development and stress reduction, calls for the use of healing strategies like Transcendental Meditation to 'reduce the effects of stress on those who serve and protect - male and female - so they may better draw upon inner resources of calm to de-escalate situations and serve as true role models in our society.' 'Policewomen,' she writes in TM for Women, 'have naturally contributed to a new paradigm in law enforcement, bringing qualities to the field . . . that include greater empathy and ability to defuse situations and a larger field of awareness during stressful situations.' With as many as 18 per cent of police officers suffering from PTSD, and a higher rate among policewomen, there is increasing interest in the scientifically proven effectiveness of TM in greatly reducing PTSD symptoms and increasing resiliency to stressful situations. (more)

Transcendental Meditation significantly helps ease trauma symptoms, stress among inmates
8 October 2016 - Researchers have found that Transcendental Meditation significantly reduced trauma symptoms and stress in male prisoners. The study, funded by the David Lynch Foundation and conducted by a team led by Dr Sanford Nidich, was a randomized, controlled trial of 181 Oregon state correctional inmates categorized as 'moderate to high-risk'. One inmate expressed his experience after learning TM: 'As I entered the 24th year behind bars I had come to grips with most of the demons of the past but still felt fragmented. Recently I was given the chance to learn TM. . . . As the weeks passed that sense of fragmentation started to flow into something deeper and new. A quiet that feels so natural and restful that I feel like I've finally come home. To a place where things make sense and I'm just happy. The pains of my life haven't gone away . . . just feels like I've grown beyond them.' The study was published yesterday in The Permanente Journal. (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Australia's Northern Territory lifts fracking ban
16 April 2018 - Australia's Northern Territory on Tuesday (17 April) lifted a nearly two-year moratorium on fracking to extract gas, unlocking vast onshore reserves in the resource-rich region and raising the possibility of other provinces following suit. (more)

Labour trafficking rises across Europe as laws fall short - watchdog
3 April 2018 - Labour trafficking is on the rise across Europe and has overtaken sexual exploitation as the predominant form of modern-day slavery in several countries including Britain, Belgium, and Portugal, a leading European human rights body said on Tuesday (3 April). But a lack of prosecutions and convictions, limited labour laws and inspections, and fear among victims are hindering efforts to tackle trafficking in industries from agriculture to construction, said a report by the Council of Europe (CoE). (more)

The hidden crisis on US college campuses: 36 percent of students don't have enough to eat
3 April 2018 - Caleb Torres lost seven pounds his freshman year of college - and not because he didn't like the food in the dining hall. A first-generation college student, barely covering tuition, Torres ran out of grocery money halfway through the year and began skipping meals as a result. ... Torres is finally talking about his experience with the hunger problem on America's college campuses: a quiet, insidious epidemic that researchers say threatens millions of students every year. (more)

Global carbon emissions hit record high in 2017
22 March 2018 - Global energy-related carbon emissions rose to a historic high of 32.5 gigatons last year, after three years of being flat, due to higher energy demand and the slowing of energy efficiency improvements, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. The IEA said Asian countries accounted for two thirds of the global increase in emissions. The biggest drop came from the United States, where they were down 0.5 percent to 4.8 gigatons due to higher renewables deployment. (more)

How to disrupt an election: Fake IDs, fraud, and Facebook
16 February 2018 - A year before Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy, two Russian operatives landed in the United States to lay groundwork for an intelligence operation targeting the legitimacy of the 2016 election. What began as a Cold War-like attack by an old adversary would mix old-fashioned political agitation with 21st century social media tools that ultimately roiled the election and shook America's political landscape. (more)

US: Bottled water giant Nestle tells California regulators it's entitled to keep piping water
12 February 2018 - Nestle is disputing the findings of an investigation by California water regulators, arguing the company is entitled to keep piping water out of the San Bernardino National Forest -- even more water than it has been bottling and selling in the past few years. State officials carried out a 20-month investigation and concluded in December that the company doesn't seem to have valid rights for much of the water it's been drawing from the forest north of San Bernardino. The dispute stretches back more than a century to the creation of the national forest in 1893, and to an early bottling operation that began with a contract in 1909. (more)

Britons ever more deeply divided over Brexit, research finds
31 January 2018 - The social divide revealed by Britain's 2016 vote to leave the European Union is not only here to stay but deepening, according to academic research published on Wednesday. Britain is negotiating a deal with the EU which will shape future trade relations, breaking with the bloc after four decades, but the process is complicated by the divisions within parties, society, and the government itself. (more)

US now second in the world for financial secrecy, report says
30 January 2018 - The United Nations has been urged by the Tax Justice Network to coordinate a global effort to end offshore tax evasion and corruption, amid warnings that the UK is continuing to insulate its overseas territories from financial transparency. Commenting on the launch of the TJN's Financial Secrecy Index 2018, which ranks countries on the size and secretiveness of their offshore sectors, its chief executive, Alex Cobham, said big financial centres had proven unwilling to reform voluntarily. 'The 2018 release confirms the long-term picture that the richest and most powerful countries have continued to pose the greatest global risks -- with Switzerland and the US established as the key facilitators of illicit financial flows,' he said. 'If we are to end tax evasion, corruption, fraud, and money laundering, the world's major financial centres need to clean up their act.' ... Switzerland, the US, and the Cayman Islands are the biggest contributors to global financial secrecy according to the survey, which is published every two or three years. (more)

U.S. rivers getting saltier, drinking water at risk: study
8 January 2018 - U.S. rivers and streams have become saltier and more alkaline over the last 50 years, posing risks to drinking water by damaging pipelines and other infrastructure, according to a study released on Monday [8 January]. As municipal workers dump salt on roads to combat ice and farmers put fertilizer on fields, the runoff has made U.S. waterways saltier and more alkaline, according to the study ... Salt can also be released by floods that reach sewage systems and spill the contamination into waterways, as well as from brines at hydraulic fracturing -- or fracking -- operations and oil and gas sites. (more)

Venezuelans scour polluted river for lost treasure, survival
8 January 2018 - Angel Villanueva waded into the dirty brown water of the Guaire River, the putrid channel snaking through Venezuela's capital, where he hoped to scavenge for a bit of treasure. He raked his hands across the bottom of the shallow waterway, turning his face away from the foul smell. Then he stood up, letting gravel and rocks fall through his fingers, scanning for an earring backing, lost rings, or any other bits of precious metal to cash in for food. ... Images of poor Venezuelans eating from garbage piles in Caracas have come to symbolize the deepening economic crisis in what was once one of Latin America's wealthiest countries. Less visible are the young men and boys who comb the Guaire's dirty waters for any sliver of metal that might help feed their families. (more)

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