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US: Demand draws young people to farming
17 December 2017 - For only the second time in the last century, the number of farmers under 35 years old is increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest Census of Agriculture. This new generation can't hope to replace the numbers that farming is losing to age. But it is already contributing to the growth of the local-food movement and could help preserve the place of midsize farms in the rural landscape. ... That impact could grow as young farmers scale up and become a larger part of the commercial food system, Merrigan [Kathleen Merrigan, the head of the Food Institute at George Washington University and a deputy secretary at the USDA under President Barack Obama] said. (more)

US: Bipartisan bill might seed the future of organic farming
16 December 2017 - Advocates on both sides of the aisle say doubling funding for the USDA's organic research program will help farmers meet demand and remain competitive. Maine representative Chellie Pingree, herself a farmer and advocate for organic farming practices ... and others say funding more research is crucial to help farmers who are making the transition. In order to move this needle, Pingree in May introduced the Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2017 (H.R. 2436), which proposes more than doubling the program's funding to $50 million per year through 2023, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Support for the legislation has been picking up steam, with more than 50 new co-sponsors (47 Democrats, 4 Republicans) signing on between September and November 2017. (more)

US: New Minneapolis company wants to increase non-GMO and organic crop shipments and processing
16 December 2017 - A new Minneapolis-based firm has begun working on infrastructure to focus on non-GMO and organic crops. 'Demand has outpaced the investment in the infrastructure,' said Pipeline Foods chief executive Erick Jackson. Jackson said his company is planning to invest between $300 million and $500 million on facilities, specifically focused on non-GMO and organic crops. (more)

Antibiotics sales for use in U.S. farm animals dropped in 2016: FDA
7 December 2017 - The sale and distribution of antibiotics approved for use in food-producing animals in the United States decreased by 10 percent from 2015 to 2016, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report said on Thursday (7 December). It was the first decline in year-to-year sales since the FDA began collecting the data in 2009, according to food and consumer health groups. (more)

US: Tucson airport marks completion of 'iconic' solar array
6 December 2017 - The Tucson (Arizona) Airport Authority on Wednesday (6 December) the completion of a solar-energy array over its hourly and daily parking lots. The solar array will offset upwards of 50 percent of energy needs for Tucson International Airport's terminal. The project was started in 2013 with a first phase of 1 megawatt (AC) of photovoltaic panels going up in an arced array that shades hundreds of hourly and daily parking spaces in from of the terminal. (more)

US: New York Governor announces $3.5 million in funding for EV adoption support initiatives
3 December 2017 - The Governor of New York State, Andrew M Cuomo, has announced the availability of $3.5 million in new funding for those pursuing means of increasing the rate at which plug-in electric vehicles are adopted; those pursuing the price reduction of electric vehicle charging station installation and operation; and those pursuing ways of using electric vehicles to improve the resiliency of the grid. The new funding is intended to help in the achievement of the New York State governor's goals to slash the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 (as compared to 1990 levels). (more)

US: Tim Belk's new adventure turned the former retailer into an organic farmer
2 December 2017 - Tim Belk always likes to have some kind of project to keep himself busy. ... It's on that 200-plus-acre property [his family's property in Chester, S.C.] that Belk, the former CEO of the Charlotte [North Carolina] department store chain that bears his family's name, is working on as his latest, albeit unexpected, project: Starting an organic farm. Belk described organic farming as a fast-growing industry that's especially attractive to young people willing to invest in sustainability and their well-being. (more)

US: New York claims country's largest solar project dedicated to a ski resort
1 December 2017 - The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), and Borrego Solar have announced the completion of Gore Mountain Ski Resort's 5.3 MW solar array in Washington County, New York. According to NYSERDA, the state-backed project represents the largest solar installation dedicated to a ski resort in the nation and supports Governor Andrew Cuomo's goal to have 50 percent of New York's electricity come from renewable sources by 2030. (more)

India's new 'power for all' scheme launched in Manipur for 175,000 households
30 November 2017 - The Saubhagya scheme to bring electricity to every household in India has been launched in the state of Manipur by Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy, R.K. Singh. Singh said the Manipur government is performing well in terms of power and that Manipur is the fastest reforming state in the sector. A total of 175,000 households will be included in the scheme, 162,000 rural homes and 13,000 urban homes. Singh said that it is Prime Minister Modi's vision to provide electricity to every household in the country. (more)

The beauty industry now has its own green 'seal of approval'
30 November 2017 - It may soon be easier for shoppers to find beauty products without toxic chemicals. The Environmental Working Group has launched EWG Verified, a label that will help consumers spot products that meet stringent ingredient and transparency requirements. The Environmental Working Group nonprofit launched a new label this month [November] called EWG Verified, which certifies personal care products as free from chemicals of concern. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Brazil: Maharishi University of Management professor presents EEG research on Transcendental Meditation at conferences on consciousness
16 December 2017 - Experts from a variety of disciplines continue to try to understand consciousness. Recently Dr Fred Travis, Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management, USA, was invited to present his perspective at two conferences in Brazil hosted at top universities in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. At both conferences Dr Travis presented his EEG research on the Transcendental Meditation technique. (more)

Powered by Transcendental Meditation: Artist Krista Kim and the Techism movement
13 December 2017 - Artist Krista Kim's 'canvas' is digital images of LED lights. Her 'brushes' and 'paints' various kinds of software. For inspiration she uses Transcendental Meditation to dive into the creative silence deep within. 'You just basically tap into this creative force of intelligence from where all things come, and this collective intelligence . . . you go into this deep state of bliss and then when you come out, you feel amazing, you feel like you've touched the sky.' After learning TM, 'I felt that every aspect of my life, whether it's being a mother, being an artist, being a person, just being myself, it just made everything better, brought it to a new level.' Krista feels that meditation and art are vital to creating a better world. She is a pioneer bridging the gap between art and tech: 'The more involved artists are in conversation amongst leading-edge technology innovators, the more humane the future becomes.' (more)

Diminishing grief and trauma: An interview on Transcendental Meditation and psychotherapy
11 December 2017 - 'Transcendental Meditation centres and calms the nervous system, which is a key player in the trauma response,' says Debbie Augenthaler, a New York City psychotherapist who specializes in trauma, grief, and loss. She highlights several benefits of TM - 'peace, emotional balance, and flexibility - [that] are essential for a calm nervous system,' explaining some of the many ways in which TM helps people heal and move forward in their lives. 'Regular TM practice develops a capacity for increased resilience, faster recovery from stress, and helps to manage and reduce anxiety. TM also reduces insomnia and can help practitioners get more restful and rejuvenating sleep. . . . I consider my TM practice to be the foundation of my self-care.' (more)

US: Maharishi University of Management's online MBA in Sustainable Business rated #5 in nation
9 December 2017 - Maharishi University of Management's online MBA in Sustainable Business is ranked #5 on MBA Central's 2017 list of 'The 10 Best Online Sustainability MBAs'. 'An MBA in Sustainability is more valuable than ever,' MBA Central reports. 'We selected ten great MBA programmes that are flexible, affordable, and of high academic caliber. . . . [these] top 10 MBA programmes in sustainability are paving the way for a greener future.' The MUM listing highlights Consciousness-Based Education, including the Transcendental Meditation technique, as part of the university's educational approach, which recognizes 'the consciousness within the individual as a source for learning'. (more)

Dr Norman Rosenthal to be featured in free webinar: 'The Way to a Super Mind' - 8 December
8 December 2017 - This Friday, 8 December, from 1:00pm-2:00pm US ET (7:00pm-8:00pm CET) renowned psychiatrist, researcher, and bestselling author Norman Rosenthal, MD, will be featured in a webinar titled 'The Way to a Super Mind': Exploring the principles and techniques elite performers use to achieve sustained excellence. Dr Rosenthal will engage in a conversation with business executive Moe Abdou, founder of 33 Voices, on topics including: What is a Super Mind? What are the key barriers that prevent access to one's super mind? Learning to transcend thought and unconscious behaviour, and the keys to building a better brain. (more)

Discovering a bio-marker for the deeply silent state of Transcendental Consciousness during TM
6 December 2017 - Dr David Orme-Johnson continues his account of how research on Transcendental Meditation developed at Maharishi European Research University (MERU) in the 1970s. Working with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Founder of the Transcendental Meditation programme and MERU, a group of scientists, including Dr Orme-Johnson, identified EEG and other physiological markers of Transcendental Consciousness, the deeply silent state of awareness experienced during TM practice. (more)

Watch Live Today - 'A New Science for Peace' summit in Washington, DC - 5 December, 9:00AM (US EST)
5 December 2017 - Today's summit - A New Science for Peace: Research on Transcendental Meditation, the Brain, Trauma, and Peace - will be streamed live online starting at 9:00 a.m. (US Eastern Time). The summit is hosted by the David Lynch Foundation's Abramson Center for Peace, highlighting 40 years of research on the Transcendental Meditation technique as an intervention for reducing trauma and violence among individuals, and within society as a whole. The event is being held at American University in Washington, DC, from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon. (more)

Learning to keep calm and carry on with Transcendental Meditation: Austin American-Statesman reports
4 December 2017 - In late 2016, Helen Anders decided to learn Transcendental Meditation (TM). Now, a year later, she writes in the Austin American-Statesman, 'I sleep better, so I'm in a better mood in the morning. I can more easily deal with rambunctious grandchildren and turbulent airplane rides. I'm more likely to observe annoyance without being a rattled participant . . . . I emerge from a meditation (the standard is two 20-minute meditations a day) feeling invigorated and ready for action, yet calm.' She notes research on heart health benefits of TM, and also comments, 'Why did I choose TM? I was impressed by my brother and his wife, who have meditated since their college days and are the calmest, most self-possessed people I know.' (more)

Washington, DC: American University to host 'A New Science for Peace' - 5 December
3 December 2017 - This Tuesday morning, 5 December, the School of International Service (SIS) at American University in Washington, DC, will be the venue for 'A New Science for Peace: Research on Meditation, the Brain, Trauma, and Peace'. Hosted by the Abramson Center for Peace and the David Lynch Foundation, the panel will be moderated by Candy Crowley, former anchor, CNN's 'State of the Nation with Candy Crowley'. A select group of leaders in the Washington region will explore the impact of 40 years of published research and clinical applications of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique - for improving health and reducing PTSD symptoms among high-risk groups, and reducing trauma, crime, and violence in society as a whole. (more)

Transcendental Meditation may help reduce impulse spending and promote healthier financial habits and lives
1 December 2017 - Transcendental Meditation is well-known as a stress reliever in the finance industry, and many believe a sound body and mind may lead to healthier financial choices among the general population. Scientific studies have shown a direct relationship between stress and impulsive behaviours like overspending. 'TM does something simple and effective to eliminate stress and to help our mind be more resistant to the negative influences of stress,' says Mario Orsatti, who teaches TM in some of the most stressful situations anywhere - on Wall Street. TM's health benefits include lower blood pressure and reduced stress, anger, and anxiety; as noted on CardRates.com, those who deal with stress in financially unhealthy ways may benefit. (more)


Flops
Short Summaries of Top Stories


Monsanto offers cash to U.S. farmers who use controversial chemical
11 December 2017 - Monsanto Co will give cash back to U.S. farmers who buy a weed killer that has been linked to widespread crop damage, offering an incentive to apply its product even as regulators in several U.S. states weigh restrictions on its use. (more)

West Coast crisis leads to rise in US homeless population (+ AP video)
6 December 2017 - The nation's homeless population increased this year for the first time since 2010, driven by a surge in the number of people living on the streets in Los Angeles and other West Coast cities. Increases are higher in several West Coast cities, where the explosion in homelessness has prompted at least 10 city and county governments to declare states of emergency since 2015. City officials, homeless advocates and those living on the streets point to a main culprit: the region's booming economy. Rents have soared beyond affordability for many lower-wage workers ... The numbers in the report back up what many people in California, Oregon and Washington have been experiencing in their communities: encampments sprouting along freeways and rivers; local governments struggling to come up with money for long-term solutions; conflicts over whether to crack down on street camping and even feeding the homeless. (more)

Arctic sea ice melt to exacerbate California droughts: study
5 December 2017 - Melting Arctic sea ice could render sun-soaked California vulnerable to a recurrence of the severe drought suffered in recent years as it is likely to cause high pressure systems that push away rain-bearing storms, a study released on Tuesday (5 December) said. As temperatures rise, the Arctic Ocean is expected to become ice-free within two or three decades, resulting in more of the sun's heat being stored in the Arctic Ocean, leading to atmospheric circulation changes and cloud formations in the tropical Pacific that move north. The recent five-year drought cost California's farmers billions of dollars in lost production, slashed seasonal agriculture jobs by the thousands, and spiked electricity bills for residents as hydroelectric systems failed. (more)

US: 5 ruffed grouse test positive for West Nile Virus in Michigan
5 December 2017 - State officials say five ruffed grouse have tested positive for the West Nile Virus. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says it marks the first time the disease has been confirmed in the state's ruffed grouse population. West Nile Virus primarily is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. (more)

US: California communities under siege from wind-driven fires
5 December 2017 - Wind-driven fires tore through California communities Tuesday (5 December) for the second time in two months, leaving hundreds of homes feared lost and uprooting tens of thousands of people. The most damaging fire was in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles ... The fires in Ventura County lit up hillsides and spread rapidly Monday evening ... As the sun rose Tuesday, the first of at least three additional Southern California fires broke out, fueled by stiff winds that prevented firefighting aircraft most of the day from dumping water to protect homes or attack the march of flames. The fires came just eight weeks after the deadliest and most destructive series of wildfires in state history burned through Northern California ... and destroyed 8,900 homes and other buildings. Fires are not typical in Southern California this time of year but can break out when dry vegetation and too little rain combine with the Santa Ana winds. Hardly any measurable rain has fallen in the region over the past six months. (more)

US: Hundreds of homes destroyed by out-of-control California wildfire
5 December 2017 - A fast-moving wildfire whipped by hot, dry Santa Ana winds destroyed hundreds of homes in and around Ventura, California, on Tuesday (5 December) as thousands of residents were forced to flee ahead of the flames. The blaze, dubbed the Thomas Fire, broke out on Monday evening in the foothills above Ventura. Winds quickly drove it west into the city some 50 miles northwest of Los Angeles. By Tuesday evening it remained zero percent contained, and had charred more than 50,000 acres, fire officials said. (more)

U.S. scientists take step toward creating artificial life
29 November 2017 - In a major step toward creating artificial life, U.S. researchers have developed a living organism that incorporates both natural and artificial DNA and is capable of creating entirely new, synthetic proteins. The work, published in the journal Nature, brings scientists closer to the development of designer proteins made to order in a laboratory. Previous work by Floyd Romesberg, a chemical biologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, showed that it was possible to expand the genetic alphabet of natural DNA beyond its current four letters: adenine(A), cytosine(C), guanine (G) and thymine(T). 'This is the first time ever a cell has translated a protein using something other than G, C, A or T,' Romesberg said. 'It's the first change to life ever made.' (more)

Siemens, Trimble, Moody's breached by Chinese hackers, U.S. charges
27 November 2017 - U.S. prosecutors have charged three Chinese nationals affiliated with a cyber security company in China with hacking into Siemens AG, Trimble Inc, and Moody's Analytics to steal business secrets. An indictment unsealed on Monday (27 November) in federal court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, charged the three with launching 'coordinated and unauthorized' cyber attacks between 2011 and 2017. ... Two U.S. government officials told Reuters that Guangzhou Bo Yu, also known as Boyusec, is affiliated with China's People's Liberation Army Unit 61398, and that most if not all its hacking operations are state-sponsored and directed. (more)

Stressed out parents less likely to cook homemade meals
24 November 2017 - On days when parents feel stressed or depressed, children are less likely to get homemade food for dinner, a U.S. study suggests. 'One potential explanation for these findings is that parents who have a stressful day at work, school, or home or who feel depressed throughout the day may be overwhelmed and not feel like making a family meal, and so they opt for pre-prepared foods and make less homemade foods,' said lead study author Jerica Berge of the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. (more)

Nearly half of US cancer deaths blamed on unhealthy behavior
21 November 2017 - A new look at cancer in the U.S. finds that nearly half of cancer deaths are caused by smoking, poor diet, and other unhealthy behaviors. That's less than commonly-cited estimates from more than 35 years ago, a result of new research methods and changes in American society. Smoking rates have plummeted, for example, while obesity rates have risen dramatically. (more)

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