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Positive Trends
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US: Court upholds Arkansas' ban on Monsanto farm chemical
20 February 2018 - An Arkansas judge on Friday (16 February) dismissed a Monsanto Co lawsuit aiming to stop Arkansas from blocking the use of a controversial farm chemical the company makes, dealing a blow to its attempts to increase sales of genetically engineered seeds. Monsanto, which is being acquired by Bayer AG, filed the lawsuit last year in a bid to halt the state's ban on sprayings of the weed killer known as dicamba from the period spanning April 16 to October 31. (more)

UK unveils new technology to fight extremist content online
18 February 2018 - The British government is unveiling new technology designed to remove extremist material from social media, amid mounting pressure on companies like Facebook and Twitter to do more to remove such content from their platforms. ... Unilever, a global consumer products company and one of the world's largest advertisers, on Monday (12 February) demanded results, saying it wouldn't advertise on platforms that do not make a positive contribution to society. ... (more)

German cities to trial free public transport to cut pollution
13 February 2018 - 'Car nation' Germany has surprised neighbours with a radical proposal to reduce road traffic by making public transport free, as Berlin scrambles to meet EU air pollution targets and avoid big fines. The proposal will be tested by 'the end of this year at the latest' in five cities across western Germany, including former capital Bonn and industrial cities Essen and Mannheim. (more)

How do you build a healthy city? Copenhagen reveals its secrets
13 February 2018 - Copenhagen consistently sits at the very top of the UN's happiness index and is one of the star performers in the Healthy Cities initiative of the World Health Organization. It is a model for how healthy cities might be created across the world. Promoting health in everyday life is first, says the city's plan, 'by making it attractive to cycle, by serving nutritious lunches in our institutions, or by enabling educational institutions to offer quit-smoking programmes. Healthy thriving people are ... more likely to complete an education and find employment. In other words, health enables us to live the life we want.' (more)

French President Macron and singer Rihanna join forces for education
3 February 2018 - Emmanuel Macron and [singer] Rihanna may not usually move in the same circles, but the French President and pop star joined forces on Friday (2 February) to champion education for the world's poorest countries. The pair urged world leaders and donors to scale up support for schooling at a financing conference of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in Senegal's capital Dakar. (more)

Bulgaria-Macedonia treaty boosts business ties
2 February 2018 - Bulgarian and Macedonian companies want to do more business together and make new investments in each other's markets since the two countries signed a friendship treaty in August 2017, business organizations say. ...The Prime Ministers of Bulgaria and Macedonia, Boyko Borissov and Zoran Zaev, signed the landmark treaty, which had been negotiated for over a decade, in August 2017 in Skopje [the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia]. The two Parliaments ratified it in January 2018, putting the once fraught relationship between Skopje and Sofia on a new footing and bringing the two countries closer through an EU-oriented partnership. (more)

China's Hebei province to cut coal use by 5 million tonnes this year: Xinhua
27 January 2018 - China's northern Hebei province plans to reduce its annual coal consumption by 5 million tonnes this year by promoting the use of clean and renewable energy, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday (27 January). (more)

US: California governor pushes for 5 million zero-emission cars
26 January 2018 - California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday outlined a $2.5 billion plan to subsidize electric vehicles and expand the network of charging stations as part of an ambitious goal of putting 5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030. It's the latest step by Brown to advance his ambitious climate agenda during his final year in office. The $2.5 billion in spending still needs legislative approval. (more)

US: California looks to ramp up electric vehicle sales
26 January 2018 - California said on Friday (26 January) it would ramp up efforts to boost electric vehicles . . . California Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order 'to curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks and boost the number of zero-emission vehicles driven in California.' Brown set a new target of 5 million zero-emission vehicles in California by 2030, up from a prior target of 1.5 million by 2025. (more)

US: Job training program puts Detroiters to work
21 January 2018 - Nedra Smith has dreamed of becoming a neurosurgeon one day. The 34-year-old Detroit woman said she never pursued the career because she couldn't afford the cost of schooling. But a free job training program rolled out by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's administration last year has given Smith hope. Smith graduated from Detroit At Work's health care program in the fall and is now a patient care technician at St. John Hospital in Detroit. (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


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)

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)

US: California set for New Year's buzz with recreational marijuana sales
29 December 2017 - California adults not content to ring in the New Year with the traditional fizz of champagne can look forward to celebrating with the buzz of marijuana, purchased for the first time from state-licensed retailers of recreational pot. Dozens of newly authorized marijuana stores are due to open for business across California on Jan. 1, launching yet another chapter in America's drug culture and the largest regulated commercial market for cannabis in the United States -- one valued at several billion dollars. (more)

US: California preps for marijuana-infused fare, from wine to tacos
26 December 2017 - Move over, pot brownies. The world's largest legal recreational marijuana market kicks off Monday [1 January 2018] in California, and the trendsetting state is set to ignite the cannabis culinary scene. Cannabis-laced dinners with celebrity chefs at private parties have flourished across Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego in recent years, but a medical marijuana card was required to attend. With that requirement gone, the edibles market is expected to boom, though manufacturers face a host of regulations, and doctors fear the products could increase emergency room visits and entice youth. Marijuana industry analysts predict edibles for the recreational marijuana market will top $100 million in sales in 2018. (more)

Mexico murders hit record high, dealing blow to President
23 December 2017 - Mexico has this year registered its highest murder total since modern records began, according to official data, dealing a fresh blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto's pledge to get gang violence under control with presidential elections due in 2018. A total of 23,101 murder investigations were opened in the first 11 months of this year, surpassing the 22,409 registered in the whole of 2011, figures published on Friday night by the interior ministry showed. The figures go back to 1997. (more)

Desperate Venezuelans peddle wares door-to-door in Colombia to survive
20 December 2017 - Thousands of impoverished Venezuelans are crossing the border to Colombia every day to sell cheap basics, from oranges to candles, in a desperate attempt to earn hard currency amid their country's worsening economic collapse. ... Hundreds of vendors are sleeping in the streets of the Venezuelan border town of San Antonio, while the surge in hawkers on the Colombian side is stoking anger among local shopkeepers. (more)

US: Amtrak train on new route hurtles onto highway, kills 3
18 December 2017 - An Amtrak train making the first-ever run along a faster new route hurtled off an overpass south of Seattle on Monday and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least three people, injuring more than 100 and crushing two vehicles, authorities said. Attention quickly turned to the train's speed. A website that maps location and speed using data from Amtrak's train tracker app showed the train was going 81.1 mph (129 kph) about a quarter of a mile from the point where it derailed, where the speed limit is significantly lower. (more)

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