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Positive Trends
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US: Pioneering green energy town in Georgetown, Texas
18 October 2017 - Mayor Dale Ross of Georgetown -- a Texas town of 65,000 -- has become a minor celebrity in environmental circles as a result of a pioneering decision in 2015 to get all the city's electricity from renewable sources. Ross has appeared in a National Geographic documentary, a forthcoming film about clean energy for HBO directed by James Redford (son of Robert) and in this year's follow-up to An Inconvenient Truth, which saw the advocate and former vice-president Al Gore visit Georgetown. (more)

China's pollution clean-up is gaining momentum
17 October 2017 - In pockets of China's industrial heartland, a government push to clean up the environment and cut excess output is starting to bite: Furnaces have gone cold, the lights have been switched off, migrant workers are drifting back home. For China's leadership, cleaning the noxious skies and filthy rivers has become a priority. In contrast to previous leaders' growth-at-all-costs approach, President Xi Jinping and his Premier have declared war on pollution. (more)

South Australia goes all out on renewables
17 October 2017 - Recently, South Australia's state government has announced not one but two record-breaking renewable energy projects: the world's largest solar thermal power plant and the world's largest lithium ion battery installation. Together, these projects will help the state surge well ahead of its already ambitious renewable energy targets while delivering a clear challenge to its coal-obsessed federal counterpart. (more)

Oxford to become first UK city to ban petrol and diesel cars from center
12 October 2017 - The university city of Oxford has unveiled plans to ban petrol and diesel cars from its center as part of the most radical set of proposals so far in Britain to curb pollution. Whilst London is rolling out an 'ultra low emission zone', which will see the most gas-guzzling vehicles pay daily charges to enter the city center from 2020, Oxford's 'Zero Emission Zone' will ban emitting vehicles from entering part of the city center from that date. (more)

Paris plans to banish all but electric cars by 2030
12 October 2017 - Paris authorities plan to banish all petrol- and diesel-fueled cars from the world's most visited city by 2030, Paris City Hall said on Thursday, 12 October. The move marks an acceleration in plans to wean the country off gas-guzzlers and switch to electric vehicles in a city often obliged to impose temporary bans due to surges in particle pollution in the air. (more)

U.S. governors, hackers, academics team up to secure elections
9 October 2017 - Hackers are joining forces with U.S. governors and academics in a new group aimed at preventing the manipulation of voter machines and computer systems to sway the outcome of future U.S. elections, a source familiar with the project said on Monday (9 October). (more)

India taps solar, storage to ensure all homes have power in 2018
27 September 2017 - The Indian government has pledged to broaden the roll-out of solar and battery storage to households without power in rural and remote towns and villages, as a part of a newly launched $2.5 billion project to electrify all of the country's households by the end of 2018. One of the key goals of India's solar and battery storage roll-out, which will be coordinated by the state-run Rural Electrification Corporation, is to cut use of kerosene in rural and remote areas, which is both a fire risk and a heavy pollutant. (more)

Brazil scraps bid to mine Amazon natural reserve
26 September 2017 - The Brazilian government backed off a controversial proposal to authorize private companies to mine a sprawling Amazon reserve Monday after blistering domestic and international criticism. The Renca reserve is home to the indigenous Aparai, Wayana, and Wajapi tribes and vast swaths of untouched forest, covering more than 17,800 square miles. (more)

Switzerland: Nations meet in Geneva to make mercury history
25 September 2017 - Signatories to the first global treaty to rein in mercury pollution are gathered in Geneva this week to discuss how to seek further progress. Switzerland, a trader of mercury, is mulling over how to implement the convention. Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal considered by the World Health Organization to be one of the top ten chemicals of major public health concern. (more)

UAE: Dubai introduces incentives to spur electric vehicle market
25 September 2017 - Electric-car drivers in Dubai will enjoy free parking, recharging, vehicle registration, and toll exemptions until the end of 2019, the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy announced. The incentives are designed 'to encourage the public use of electric vehicles in Dubai to help protect the environment,' said Mohammed Al Tayer, vice chairman of the energy council and managing director/chief executive officer of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. (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


Puerto Rico struggles with massive environmental crisis
16 October 2017 - Raw sewage is pouring into the rivers and reservoirs of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. People without running water bathe and wash their clothes in contaminated streams, and some islanders have been drinking water from condemned wells. Nearly a month after the hurricane made landfall, Puerto Rico is only beginning to come to grips with a massive environmental emergency that has no clear end in sight. (more)

U.S. government undercounted civilians killed by police
11 October 2017 - U.S. police killed 1,166 people -- more than three a day -- in 2015, but an official government count missed a majority of the deaths, a new study shows. The Guardian, a U.K.-based newspaper and media company with U.S. and international editions, counted 93 percent of the U.S. police-related deaths, while the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics counted only 45 percent, the report in PLOS Medicine found. 'It is kind of absurd that a British newspaper is able to do a better job counting the number of killings by police than the CDC or the Department of Justice,' said lead author Justin M. Feldman, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. (more)

Winds, floods, and fire: US ties record for costly weather
6 October 2017 - Howling winds, deadly floods, fire, and ice so far this year have pushed the U.S. into a tie for weather disasters that topped $1 billion in damages. There have been 15 costly disasters through September, tying 2011 for the most billion-dollar weather disasters for the first nine months of a year. The record for a year is 16, and the hurricane season is not over yet. Between 1980 and 2007, the U.S. averaged only four billion-dollar disasters per year. In the decade since, the country has averaged 11 per year. ...'Climate change is impacting extreme weather in ways we hadn't anticipated,' Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University said in an email. But an even bigger factor is that more people moving into harm's way 'has created massive amounts of exposure in regions prone to severe weather events,' said Mark Bove, a meteorologist at insurance giant Munich Re. (more)

Liz Weston: Equifax just changed the rest of your life
2 October 2017 - Adding freezes to your credit reports is an appropriate response to the massive Equifax database breach that exposed the private information of 143 million Americans. ... But there are so many other ways the bad guys can use the information they stole, which included Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and some driver's license numbers. (more)

CNN Exclusive: Russian-bought Black Lives Matter ad on Facebook targeted Baltimore and Ferguson
27 September 2017 - ...The decision to target the ad in those two cities offers the first look at how accounts linked to the Russian government-affiliated troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency used geographically targeted advertising to sow political chaos in the United States, the sources said. New descriptions of the Russian-bought ads shared with CNN suggest that the apparent goal of the Russian buyers was to amplify political discord and fuel an atmosphere of incivility and chaos . . . These ranged from posts promoting Black Lives Matter to posts promoting gun rights and the Second Amendment to posts warning about what they said was the threat undocumented immigrants posed to American democracy. Beyond the election, Russians have sought to raise questions about western democracies. The targeting issue is also important because, if it appears that the targeting was particularly sophisticated, questions may be raised about how the Russians knew where to direct their ads. ... (more)

Scared, hungry, unkempt: how a slave looks in modern Britain
27 September 2017 - People who look unkempt, scared, or work without proper clothing might be the victim of slavery, Britain's anti-slavery body said on Wednesday. Slavery predominantly affects immigrants and vulnerable people, often working at car washes, nail salons, and farms, said the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), as it launched a campaign to help the public identify trafficking. At least 13,000 people are estimated to be victims of modern slavery in Britain, but police say that figure is just the tip of an iceberg, with numbers rising countrywide. In August, police said slavery was more prevalent than previously thought, with gangs capitalising on a crime estimated to generate profits of $150 billion a year globally. (more)

How a dam building boom is transforming the Brazilian Amazon
26 September 2017 - Brazil is in the midst of a dam-building spree in the Amazon basin that is changing the face of the world's largest tropical forest region. The boom is driven by the country's agricultural and heavy industrial interests, is being carried out with little regard to the impacts on indigenous people and the environment, is proceeding with little effort to capitalize on the nation's vast renewable energy potential, and is often fueled by corruption. (more)

Britain: Portland prisoners 'developing drug problem in jail'
20 September 2017 - Prisoners have developed drug problems behind bars prompting a rise in violence at a jail, a report says. One in five inmates have a drug habit they did not have before their jail term began at HMP/YOI Portland, HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) found. It said violence was high against staff as well as inmates at the Dorset jail. (more)

Brazilian President Temer charged with obstruction of justice and racketeering
14 September 2017 - Brazil's prosecutor general's office has filed charges of racketeering against President Michel Temer and six other leading politicians from his party, three of whom are already in jail. Temer and two other men are also accused of obstructing justice. 'They practiced illicit acts in exchange for bribes by way of diverse public organs,'' prosecutors said. 'Michel Temer is accused of having acted as the leader of the criminal organisation since May 2016.' Prosecutors said the group, all politicians from Temer's Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), pocketed $188m in bribes. (more)

EU report on weedkiller safety copied text from Monsanto study
14 September 2017 - EU's food safety watchdog recommended that glyphosate was safe but pages of report were identical to application from pesticide maker. The European food safety authority (Efsa) based a recommendation that a chemical linked to cancer was safe for public use on an EU report that copied and pasted analyses from a Monsanto study, the Guardian can reveal. Franziska Achterberg, Greenpeace EU's food policy director, said: Whether this is a question of negligence or intent, it is completely unacceptable. It calls into question the entire EU pesticide approval process. If regulators rely on the industry's evaluation of the science without doing their own assessment, the decision whether pesticides are deemed safe or not is effectively in the industry's hands.' (more)

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