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Carol Van Strum, crusader against Agent Orange, wins prestigious environmental award
18 March 2018 - Longtime environmental activist Carol Van Strum is now also the recipient of a prestigious environmental protection award for her decades of work. Strum was awarded the international David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding environmental and social justice work on the first of March 2018. Strum is the author of 'A Bitter Fog,' which tells the story of the fight she helped lead against aerial herbicide spraying in the Five Rivers area of Oregon, which led to a temporary ban on aerial pesticide spraying on federal forests. (more)

America's most beautiful botanical gardens
17 March 2018 - One of the best ways to celebrate the arrival of the clearer, warmer, and certainly brighter months of spring is to visit a botanical garden and marvel at nature's awakening beauty, with a full spectrum of radiantly colored plants and flowers that are just now starting to bloom across America. ... The following is a brief preview of five of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the country. (more)

US: Entering a 'rainforest' at the Philadelphia Flower Show
17 March 2018 - The 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show's theme was 'Wonders of Water.' The PHS (Pennsylvania Horticultural Society) chief of shows explained, 'We want to capture all the sensory elements of the rainforest -- its fantastic colors, scents, and sounds -- and demonstrate its unique and vital role in purifying water and sustaining our environment.' (more)

US: This is what the 2018 Philadelphia Flower Show looks like
17 March 2018 - Snow may be falling in the City of Brotherly Love, but it's decidedly spring once you head inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The Philadelphia Flower Show, put on by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, invites guests to walk into a rainforest, marvel at a 25-foot waterfall, and get lost in scores upon scores of flower displays. (more)

Just desserts - Sara Lee foundation to invest all assets into social change
16 March 2018 - The charity founded by the previous owner of frozen dessert-maker Sara Lee in the United States said it would invest its entire $440-million asset pool in ways that drive social change. The New York-based Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF), which in 2016 agreed grants of $23 million, said its decision would make it 'one of the largest foundations to commit 100 percent' to so-called impact investing. (more)

'Enough is enough': US students stage walkouts against guns
14 March 2018 - Declaring enough is enough, tens of thousands of young people from Maine to Alaska walked out of school to demand action on gun violence Wednesday (14 March) in one of the biggest student protests since the Vietnam era. Braving snow in New England and threats of school discipline in places like Georgia and Ohio, they carried signs with messages, railed against the National Rifle Association, and bowed their heads in memory of [the 17 students who lost their lives] in the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (more)

'Enough': US students come together in spectacular walkout to end gun violence
14 March 2018 - Thousands of students poured out of classrooms in the US on Wednesday (14 March) in an unprecedented expression of mourning and a demand for action to stem the country's epidemic of gun violence. The protesters called for new gun safety legislation, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and the introduction of universal background checks. They also opposed the additional fortification of schools with fences and armed guards, policies endorsed by the NRA, America's powerful gun lobby group. (more)

500 Canadian doctors protest pay raises because they already make enough money
11 March 2018 - Hundreds of Canadian doctors, medical specialists and residents, as well as medical students, have signed a petition protesting their own pay raises, instead asking that the money be reallocated to help nurses and patients in need. (more)

How Washington, DC's National Cherry Blossom Festival became a celebrated US annual spring tradition (+ video)
10 March 2018 - The more than a century-old tradition of commemorating the continued close relationship between the United States and Japan has flourished into one of America's most celebrated springtime festivals. The festival honors Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki's gift of 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, D.C., in 1912. The history of cherry trees in the nation's capital dates back to 1885, when Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, an American writer, photographer, and the first female board member of the National Geographic Society, returned with the idea following the first of her many trips to Japan. (more)

US: General Mills will create giant organic farm for Annie's mac and cheese
6 March 2018 - General Mills Inc. will partner with a private-equity owned agricultural business to create South Dakota's largest organic farm as a source of ingredients for its Annie's Macaroni and Cheese line. Gunsmoke and General Mills will work with Madison, Wisconsin-based agricultural firm Midwestern Bio-Ag to restore natural waterways and organic materials to the soil and establish a crop rotation system that will meet organic standards. (more)

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Malaysia: Transcendental Meditation can help you relax - Star Online reports
18 March 2018 - During a presentation in Malaysia on 'Transcending, Lifestyle, and Health: Optimising Brain Integration', Neuroscientist Dr Fred Travis explained that stress shuts down the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for the attention, planning, organising, impulse control, and moral reasoning functions of the brain. However, he said, 'Transcendental Meditation is able to help the body turn off its stress response system.' Dr Travis presented research on effects of TM including decrease in perceived stress, reduction in high blood pressure, and higher brain integration, among other health benefits. (more)

Teaching Transcendental Meditation to employees could have big benefits
15 March 2018 - The popularity of Transcendental Meditation in business is growing, and for good reason, reports Chief Learning Officer. The practice is shown to improve productivity and benefit the bottom line. TM has been proven to improve job satisfaction and performance, increase peak mental performance, decrease anxiety and reduce the likelihood of heart attacks, strokes and mortality by 47 per cent. Executive Director of the Center for Leadership and Performance (USA) and TM teacher Mario Orsatti said TM works so well in business environments because it involves no concentration or control, unlike other forms of meditation. (more)

Maharishi University of Management: MBA team gets top score amid increasing competition in global business simulation
12 March 2018 - A team of MBA accounting students at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA recently finished in the 99th percentile in an online business simulation that involved 1,271 master's-degree-level teams worldwide. This is the 5th time MUM MBA students finished in the top percentile at Capsim Management Simulations since they began competing in 2011. This year's top-ranking team included students from Nepal, Cameroon, and Thailand. The students used their knowledge of marketing, finance, operations, human resources, accounting, problem-solving, and data analysis. 'With each round of the simulation, we experienced layers of growth in 360-degree vision, which is so important for guiding a successful business,' said Ram Neupane, from Nepal. (more)

New bestselling book Strength in Stillness: A simple, straightforward description of TM
8 March 2018 - Bob Roth's new book, Strength in Stillness, has three pillars of information: The first discusses what Transcendental Meditation is, what it does, how it works and where it comes from. In the second, you can learn about what to expect when you contact a certified teacher to instruct you in the TM technique. It also describes published research on the brain and how TM improves your reaction to stress and anxiety. The third introduces people from all walks of life who have learned TM and their inspiring comments on how they benefited from it. When the actor Michael J Fox learned Transcendental Meditation, his was a stunning experience of profound relief. 'This moment,' he said to Roth, 'is the calmest I have felt in years. Decades.' (more)

Jennifer Aniston praises Transcendental Meditation
6 March 2018 - Jennifer Aniston revealed she practises Transcendental Meditation every morning in a bid to stay calm, centred and grateful for what she has. Known for her devotion to exercise and a healthy diet, Jennifer talked about the advantages of TM in a video quoted in Inquisitr. The publication also noted research recently published in Military Medicine that found reduced symptoms of PTSD in veterans who practised Transcendental Meditation. (more)

Veterans find quick relief from post-traumatic stress
3 March 2018 - Veterans of the wars in Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan found significant relief from their symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of practising Transcendental Meditation. The veterans and active-duty soldiers in the study had been diagnosed with clinical levels of PTSD, and coauthors Robert Herron, PhD, and Colonel Brian Rees, MD, reported that after one month, 87% had a clinically significant decrease of more than 10 points. The reduction was so great that 80% had their symptoms reduced to below the clinical level for PTSD. 'The evidence is mounting that Transcendental Meditation is an effective treatment for PTSD,' said Colonel Rees. (more)

Entrepreneur on TM: Energy, focus, and 'an abundance of time' for what matters most
28 February 2018 - 'After years of 70 hour work weeks in the advertising industry, I had to call it quits,' says Kat Maund. She found her Transcendental Meditation practice especially helpful at that turning point. 'It allowed me to process my career experience . . . while also creating the space to think about what to do next. TM gave me the rest I needed so desperately, insight into my deepest desires, and the confidence I needed to start over as an entrepreneur' in her own interior design business. 'I could write a book about each individual benefit [of TM]. . . the most extraordinary change as I shifted into working for myself is the abundance of time. Whether I'm just well-rested and more alert or able to focus my energy on what matters most, I rarely feel like I'm racing against the clock. . . . I am free to fill my life with the things that bring me the most joy.' (more)

A natural way to treat both fatigue and addiction: Transcendental Meditation fulfils the 'dire need for rest and restoration'
25 February 2018 - Fatigue and exhaustion are among the five top medical complaints among women today. Many are in dire need of rest and restoration, and increasingly seeking relief through alcohol or amphetamines. Now, however, some of the busiest women in America are turning to the Transcendental Meditation technique. In multiple studies, TM has been found to be the most effective way to reduce stress, and a powerful way to enhance brain functioning. TV journalist Soledad O'Brien says, 'I appreciate very much the opportunity . . . to experience a state of deep rest and relaxation that can be game-changing, and sometimes a life saver in a crazy world. It helps alleviate stress and pressure when you're trying to balance life and be a mother.' (more)

Developing Enlightened Buildings and Communities: Maharishi Vastu Architecture conference announced
22 February 2018 - 'Developing Enlightened Buildings and Communities - How Vedic Architecture, community design, and green building influence health, happiness, and lifestyle' is the title of a conference to be held 26-27 March in Washington, DC. This event will bring together real estate professionals from all over the world to explore the most cutting-edge ideas in real estate development and their impact on communities and inhabitants. The conference will integrate Maharishi Vastu - the ancient architectural and community planning science, also known as Vedic Architecture, holistic architecture in harmony with natural law - with the newest, hottest lifestyle trends, including sustainability, community-building, and wellness. (more)

Strength in Stillness: Bob Roth talks about his new book, the rise of meditation in our culture, and the future of TM
20 February 2018 - Strength is one of the many important benefits of practising the Transcendental Meditation technique, said Bob Roth in a recent interview about his new book, Strength in Stillness. 'But the strength that comes from TM is not based on something external, but rather something internal - the field of silence, or stillness, that lies within everyone. The subtitle, The Power of Transcendental Meditation, is how to access that inner stillness.' A TM teacher for 45 years, Roth is CEO of the David Lynch Foundation. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Fake news spreads faster than true news on Twitter -- thanks to people, not bots
8 March 2018 - From Russian 'bots' to charges of fake news, headlines are awash in stories about dubious information going viral. You might think that bots -- automated systems that can share information online -- are to blame. But a new study shows that people are the prime culprits when it comes to the propagation of misinformation through social networks. And they're good at it, too: Tweets containing falsehoods reach 1,500 people on Twitter six times faster than truthful tweets, the research reveals. (more)

Scientists prove that truth is no match for fiction on Twitter
8 March 2018 - Researchers find fake news reaches users up to 20 times faster than factual content -- and real users are more likely to spread it than bots. 'Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it,' wrote Jonathan Swift in 1710. Now a group of scientists say they have found evidence Swift was right -- at least when it comes to Twitter. In the paper, published in the journal Science, three MIT researchers describe an analysis of a vast amount of Twitter data: more than 125,000 stories, tweeted more than 4.5 million times in total, all categorised as being true or false by at least one of six independent fact-checking organisations. (more)

Study finds false stories travel way faster than the truth
8 March 2018 - Twitter loves lies. A new study finds that false information on the social media network travels six times faster than the truth and reaches far more people. (more)

How America's clean coal dream unravelled
2 March 2018 - Kemper power plant promised to be a world leader in 'clean coal' technology but Guardian reporting found evidence top executives knew of construction problems and design flaws years before the scheme collapsed. High above the red dirt and evergreen trees of Kemper County, Mississippi, gleams a 15-story monolith of pipes surrounded by a town-sized array of steel towers and white buildings. The hi-tech industrial site juts out of the surrounding forest, its sharp silhouette out of place amid the gray crumbling roads, catfish stands, and trailer homes of nearby De Kalb, population: 1,164. The $7.5 billion Kemper power plant once drew officials from as far as Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Norway to marvel at a 21st-century power project so technologically complex its builder compared it to the moonshot of the 1960s. It's promise? Energy from 'clean coal'. .... It was a promise they wouldn't keep. (more)

Study: Snowpack has declined dramatically across U.S. West
2 March 2018 - Scientists have found dramatically declining snowpack across the American West over the past six decades that will likely cause water shortages in the region that cannot be managed by building new reservoirs, according to a study published Friday (2 March). Eastern Oregon and northern Nevada saw the worst decreases in snowpack over the span of the study. Individual sites in California, Montana, Idaho, Washington [state], and Arizona saw snowpack declines of more than 70 percent, the study found. (more)

US: Bosses at world's most ambitious clean coal plant kept problems secret for years
2 March 2018 - Disclosure regarding the $7.5 billion Kemper plant in Mississippi throws further cloud over promise of clean coal energy. Executives at the world's most ambitious 'clean coal' plant knew for years about serious design flaws and budget problems but sought to withhold key information from regulators before their plans collapsed, according to documents obtained by the Guardian. ... The documents show that Kemper's design faced what proved to be an insurmountable issue: it required vastly more maintenance downtime than originally predicted, and according to one 2014 report would be offline 45 per cent of its first five years rather than the 25 per cent the company had publicly projected. (more)

Global microwave foods market to reach $136.3 billion by 2023
23 February 2018 - According to a new report published by Allied Market Research, titled, Microwavable Foods Market by Product and Packaging Technology: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2017-23, the global microwavable foods market was valued at $100.98 billion in 2016, and is projected to reach $136.305 billion by 2023 . . . Microwavable foods are convenience food that require minimal preparation time and are cooked using the conventional microwave oven. Increased participation of women in workforce and changes in family dynamics have increased the dependency on readymade microwavable foods. Other factors ... (more)

Consumer products' air quality impact 'underestimated'
16 February 2018 - US research has found that chemicals in everyday household products are now a key contributor to city air pollution, rivalling some vehicle emissions. The study, led from Colorado University, focussed on so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are contained in petroleum-based products such as cleaning fluids and paints, and when they get into the air can form particles that affect health. The scientists say the sources of non-vehicle VOCs have been underestimated. (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)


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