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US: Navajo robotics team heads to international competition
13 August 2018 - A team of Navajo high school students from a remote town in southern Utah is building a robot to represent North America in an international robotics competition. The team was specially invited to compete in the First Global Challenge that starts August 14 in Mexico City. Teams from more than 190 countries will create robots for energy generation, especially renewable power. Teams hail from countries ranging from Congo to Ukraine, and also include separate teams representing specifically the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. (more)

African refugee grows homeland's bitter eggplants in Vermont
12 August 2018 - After surviving refugee camps in Africa, Janine Ndagijimana settled in Vermont and began to dream of farming. When she considered what to plant, she thought back to her time in Tanzania and settled on the African eggplant, also called bitter ball or garden egg. It wasn't found in Vermont, and she remembered how it garnered a good price at the refugee market. These days, Ndagijimana's farming of the oblong white fruit and other varieties has turned her into a refugee success story in Vermont, one of the least culturally or racially diverse states . . . She's part of a growing number of farmers from other parts of the world who have used social media, the internet, and niche markets often in big cities to successfully sell crops native to their home countries. (more)

Monsanto ordered to pay $289 million in world's first Roundup cancer trial
10 August 2018 - A California jury on Friday (10 August) found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a man who alleged the company's glyphosate-based weed-killers, including Roundup, caused his cancer and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages. (more)

U.S. appeals court orders EPA to ban pesticide said to harm
9 August 2018 - A divided federal appeals court on Thursday (9 August) ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ban a widely-used pesticide that critics say can endanger children and farmers. Writing for the Seattle-based appeals court, Judge Jed Rakoff directed the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos within 60 days, saying the agency failed to counteract 'scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children.' (more)

US: Vermont city employs goats to get rid of poison ivy
8 August 2018 - Vermont's capital city (Montpelier) is trying a natural way to get rid of poison ivy -- grazing goats. The goats graze on the poison ivy, causing stress to the plants so that they retreat, said the goat's owner Mary Beth Herbert. It's expected to take several years of cyclical grazing to eradicate the poison ivy, she said. The poison ivy doesn't harm the goats named Ruth, Bader, and Ginsburg. (more)

US study: Greening vacant lots improves mental health
7 August 2018 - Planting new grass and trees and making other improvements to vacant lots may reduce neighbors' feelings of depression and worthlessness, a recent study suggests. Improving blighted areas could be an inexpensive way for communities to help address local mental health, say the authors. A commentary published with the study points out that a growing body of evidence ties contact with nature to health benefits. (more)

US: In a conservative Northern California county, a team of Mexican immigrants helps battle the Carr fire
3 August 2018 - Behind River Ridge Terrace in Redding, where the monstrous Carr fire had destroyed homes, a team of 20 men used shovels to stab the charred earth. Under the blazing sun, the clinking of metal stopped when one of the men scooping dirt out from under a tree spotted smoke rising from the ground. ... From afar, the mop-up operation was typical firefighting work, with one exception -- it was being done by mostly Mexican immigrants who spend their off-seasons picking oranges, lemons, and cherries across Washington, Oregon, and California. (more)

Deep origin of rare blue diamonds revealed in their flaws (+ AP video)
1 August 2018 - Blue diamonds ... are the rarest of all and how they formed more than a billion years ago is a bit of a mystery. Now scientists think they have a glimmer of an answer. They've long known that the blue tint comes from traces of boron in the diamond. But the element is mostly found near the Earth's surface, not deep down where diamonds are typically created. Researchers scrutinized 46 blue diamonds, studying imperfections in the gems for clues. (more)

US: New York state expands popular grassland bird area
31 July 2018 - New York is buying 180 acres to expand a wildlife area that's a popular destination for birders looking for snowy owls and other rare birds of prey. The Department of Environmental Conservation is adding the land to the existing 286-acre Washington County Grasslands Wildlife Management Area in Fort Edward. The state-owned area is within a 2,000-acre grassland recognized by the National Audubon Society as critical bird habitat. (more)

US: Louisiana's bald eagle population growing
29 July 2018 - After nearly dying out in the 1970s, Louisiana's bald eagle population is showing signs of a comeback. The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says its latest eagle survey shows not just a high number of nests but a high number of healthy chicks in them. In the early '70s, the state had less than seven nests. Eagles across North America were devastated by a pesticide commonly known as DDT. Their populations rose after it was banned. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
Short Summaries of Top Stories

Psychology Today: The power of inner silence
14 August 2018 - Psychologist and bestselling author Elaine Aron, PhD, writes in Psychology Today about the value of accessing quieter levels of the mind - not only for 'Highly Sensitive Persons' (HSPs), her field of expertise - but for anyone seeking to be wiser, more creative and effective in daily life. Describing various methods of 'turning inward to find that deeper quiet', Dr Aron writes, 'And there is meditation, the route I have used for 46 years. I chose Transcendental Meditation, partly because its goal is the deepest possible rest and inner silence. . . . Whatever the tradition, those committed to these deeper levels of inner silence and calm report at its deepest the same satisfying state, perhaps best called ''pure consciousness'' because it can be without thoughts, feelings, or perceptions, yet you are wide awake inside.'  (more)

TM for Women: Fulfilling the pursuit of happiness at the deepest level of our self
10 August 2018 - 'While all Americans in principle have the liberty that allows for the pursuit of happiness, women struggle to fulfil this goal,' writes Janet Hoffman, executive director of TM for Women Professionals in the USA. Research shows that depression is twice as likely in women than in men. A 2010 study by researchers at University of California Los Angeles shows that depressive symptoms decreased by almost 50% over a 12-month period among people practising Transcendental Meditation. 'Our mission in TM for Women is the full empowerment of women as independent, self-sufficient, happy human beings,' Hoffman writes, '. . . . realizing ourselves as the immeasurable being we are - with no lack, no boundary, nothing missing or needed.' (more)

Wide awake: Katy Perry on Transcendental Meditation
7 August 2018 - Ever-evolving music icon Katy Perry shares her enthusiasm for the benefits of her Transcendental Meditation practice, while delivering a message of empowerment and hope for young people. In a conversation with her TM teacher Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, she says, 'I noticed when I meditate that my whole brain kind of opens up . . . and it's like I'm clearing out the cobwebs of my neural pathways and finding new neural pathways to ignite. It's some of the most incredible stillness. And I would also say it brings some of the best, most creative ideas to the surface for me, especially when I come out of it. . . . Recharging, having the mental strength, the physical strength and immune strength, to be able to take on this big, technical, technological world.' (more)

American Nurses Association's 'Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation' campaign blog features Transcendental Meditation
4 August 2018 - The American Nurses Association's (ANA) Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation blog recently published an article by Amy Ruff, RN, BSN, WOCN, US National Director of Transcendental Meditation for Nurses. In 'Meditation 101: Know Your Options', she writes, 'One common misconception is that all meditation procedures are more or less ''the same''. But this is incorrect - meditation procedures often differ in their purpose, practice and the results they give.' Ruff learned TM as a new graduate RN in 1973 - tired, stressed, and full of anxiety after months in the high-stress environment of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). 'What appealed to me was the science behind [TM]': research showing physiological indications of decreased stress and improvements in health. 'After the first 20 minute meditation I felt rejuvenated, clearer and happier.... TM saved my nursing career.' (more)

Creating social and economic change: Maharishi University of Management MBA student
2 August 2018 - Maharishi University of Management graduate student Suhaib Mohamed wants to use his skills and knowledge of media, business, sustainability, and social justice to improve the lives of people in his country, Sudan. Looking to expand his education towards sustainability, he thought MUM's MBA in Sustainable Business was the perfect fit. 'I wanted to connect to my Self,' he said. 'The idea of consciousness is a great idea; it connects us to all the human beings around the world.' Before coming to the US, Suhaib had a weekly programme on Sudan TV discussing youth-related issues. For his efforts to impact the lives of young people, he received the 2014 most influential figures of Sudan award and the 2016 Jack Bakhit Encouraging Award. (more)

Stressed out? Anxious? Looking for peace? Why some are turning to Transcendental Meditation - Detroit TV news reports
30 July 2018 - In addition to many celebrities who practise Transcendental Meditation, Detroit area TV station WXYZ features 'regular folks here in southeast Michigan [who] are among TM's fans'. A physician recalls learning TM when he was in 10th grade: 'I couldn't read for more than five minutes at a time or study [or] just focus. . . . The minute I learned [the TM] technique, I could study for an hour straight. . . . Next thing I know, I was getting all A's.' James Cahaney, director of the Transcendental Meditation centre in metro Detroit, explains, 'When you learn TM and your stress levels - cortisol, epinephrine - are reduced, then people start to feel better.' (more)

The secret that makes Transcendental Meditation unique: How TM differs from mindfulness and other practices
27 July 2018 - In this excerpt from the revised and expanded edition of the best-selling classic, Transcendental Meditation: The Essential Teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, author Jack Forem explains the uniqueness of Transcendental Meditation and what distinguishes it from contemplation, concentration, mindfulness, and other practices. A growing body of research is demonstrating significant differences both in the techniques and in the effects they have on body and mind. In contrast to other techniques, which keep the mind active at the surface level, 'TM is a vertical process, opening or expanding awareness to deeper levels. . . . like diving to the depths of the ocean', Forem writes. 'The real ''secret'' is to transcend, to open our awareness to the field where all the laws of nature silently reside in a unified, unexpressed state. With regular practice, we become capable of living and thinking from that level, projecting our thoughts from that realm of unlimited potential.' (more)

Maharishi University of Management: Computer professionals student describes benefits of 'holistic life' at MUM
16 July 2018 - Carlton Ellis is the first student from Jamaica to attend the Computer Professionals programme at Maharishi University of Management. He had been looking for a scholarship abroad to earn a master's degree and gain international work experience. After researching about MUM and Transcendental Meditation, he decided to enrol at the university. 'Before coming here, my blood pressure was continuously climbing to new highs, but it is normal now,' said Carlton. 'I feel more refreshed when I meditate and more energetic. This is not just TM; it is the holistic life here at MUM.' Carlton feels his coursework and campus routine have helped him prepare for the demands of his new professional life, and recently found a position as a software developer with a company in Chicago, Illinois. (more)

The 'Dear Prudence' Story: The inspiration for the Beatles song in Rishikesh, India, 1968
14 July 2018 - After learning Transcendental Meditation at UCLA, Prudence Farrow attended a TM Teacher Training Course in India with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968. John Lennon and George Harrison were her 'course buddies' during their studies with Maharishi. 'I was deeply immersed in my studies and meditation,' she says, explaining that the Beatles' song 'Dear Prudence' was written to encourage her to come out and sing with them. Over the last 50 years, Prudence has instructed thousands of people in TM. Author and filmmaker, she earned her doctorate in 2007, with a focus on South Asian Studies and Sanskrit. 'The years of meditating have enriched my life so much,' she says. 'We need a better world. We need people to be more conscious, to be more evolved. . . . If you can strengthen people inside, you've changed the world.' (more)

Transcendental Meditation is improving life for Zuni youth
9 July 2018 - The Zuni are one of many Southwest American Indian tribes. Most Zuni people live in an area called the Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico. The Zuni have largely remained self-contained, avoiding outside influences, and have greatly preserved their way of life. However, the tribe suffers from some of the same problems plaguing much of Indian Country, such as unemployment, poverty, alcoholism, crime, and insufficient education. In the last two years a number of Zuni youth have begun learning the Transcendental Meditation technique. Commenting on the positive influence of her TM practice, one young woman said, 'I feel more relaxed and confident of who I am.' Another said, 'I feel happier, less grudge in my soul, excited to create positive energy at home.' (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Blue light from phone screens accelerates blindness, study finds
14 August 2018 - Light from digital devices triggers creation of toxic molecule in the retina that can cause macular degeneration. Scientists say they have found how blue light from smartphones, laptops, and other digital devices damages vision and can speed up blindness. (more)

US: Toxics from manufacturing turn up in public water systems
13 August 2018 - Lauren Woeher wonders if her 16-month-old daughter has been harmed by tap water contaminated with toxic industrial compounds used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets, and fast-food wrappers. Henry Betz, at 76, rattles around his house alone at night, thinking about the water his family unknowingly drank for years that was tainted by the same contaminants, and the pancreatic cancers that killed wife Betty Jean and two others in his household. In Horsham, and surrounding towns in eastern Pennsylvania, and at other sites around the United States, the foams once used routinely in firefighting training at military bases contained per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. PFAS have been in production since the 1940s, and there are about 3,500 different types. EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] testing from 2013 to 2015 found significant amounts of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in public water supplies in 33 U.S. states. (more)

Hacking the US mid-terms? It's child's play
12 August 2018 - Bianca Lewis, 11, has many hobbies. She likes Barbie, video games, fencing, singing... and hacking the infrastructure behind the world's most powerful democracy. She's taking part in a competition organized by R00tz Asylum, a non-profit organization that promotes 'hacking for good'. Its aim is to send out a dire warning: the voting systems that will be used across America for the mid-term vote in November are, in many cases, so insecure a young child can learn to hack them with just a few minute's coaching. The first competitor to break in was 11-year-old Audrey Jones. It took her 10 minutes. (more)

Gusting winds, heat to menace California wildfire battle
8 August 2018 - Crews battling the largest wildfire in California's history face a return of gusting winds and high temperatures on Thursday (9 August) that are expected to stoke a blaze that has burned an area nearly the size of Los Angeles. ... breezy conditions are expected to return on Thursday afternoon and last through Saturday, the National Weather Service said on Twitter. (more)

Hackers already attacking midterm elections, raising U.S. alarms
8 August 2018 - The U.S. midterm elections are at increasing risk of interference by foreign adversaries led by Russia, and cybersecurity experts warn the Trump administration isn't adequately defending against the meddling. At stake is control of the U.S. Congress. The risks range from social media campaigns intended to fool American voters to sophisticated computer hacking that could change the tabulation of votes. (more)

US: Wildfires scorching homes, land, and California's budget
2 August 2018 - Just a month into the budget year, California has already spent more than one-quarter of its annual fire budget, at least $125 million, state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Mike Mohler said. Following years of drought and a summer of record-breaking heat, immense tracts of forests, chaparral, and grasslands have become tinder that allows even a small spark to explode into a devouring blaze, authorities said. More than 13,000 firefighters are [currently] battling fires with the help of crews from as far away as Florida but Governor Jerry Brown repeated predictions from fire officials that California can expect a future of devastating fires, in part because of the changing climate. (more)

Accidents at Amazon: workers left to suffer after warehouse injuries
30 July 2018 - A Guardian [British daily newspaper] investigation has revealed numerous cases of Amazon workers suffering from workplace accidents or injuries in its gigantic warehouse system and being treated in ways that leave them homeless, unable to work, or bereft of income. ... Other Amazon employees succumb to the fatigue and exhaustion of the fulfillment center work environment and quit before getting injured. (more)

'Urban island effect' compounds Phoenix's sweltering heat
26 July 2018 - When temperatures soar as they have this week in downtown Phoenix, homeless people ride the air-conditioned light rail to avoid a heat so brutal it killed 155 people in the city and surrounding areas last year. An occasional siren wails as paramedics rush to help people sick from the heat. Already devilishly hot for being in the Sonoran desert, Arizona's largest city is also an 'urban heat island,' a phenomenon that pushes up temperatures in areas covered in heat-retaining asphalt and concrete. ... In urban heat islands, solar radiation and hot air from vehicles and buildings get trapped between high-rises. There aren't enough trees to provide shade and evaporative cooling that can bring down temperatures. (more)

US: Newsroom of NY Daily News slashed in half
24 July 2018 - On Monday (23 July), word came that Tronc, the Chicago-based corporation that bought The News last year, had slashed its newsroom in half, laying off dozens of the best local journalists and ripping the heart and soul out of the 99-year-old tabloid, one of New York City's greatest assets and fiercest defenders. The loss for the city will be terrible. (more)

US study: Gluten-free kids' foods loaded with sugar
23 July 2018 - Children's foods that are promoted as gluten-free tend to be lacking in nutritional value and loaded with sugar just like other packaged kids' products on grocery store shelves, a U.S. study suggests. Four in five children's snacks and treats had at least 10 percent of calories from sugars -- gluten-free or not -- the study found. (more)


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