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Researchers find unique US Declaration of Independence copy
24 April 2017 - A unique copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence has been discovered in an unexpected place -- England. The copy, similar to the one viewed by millions each year at the National Archives in Washington has been locked away in a local records office in southeastern England forgotten by historians. ... The document is 24-inches-by-30 inches -- the same size as the one housed at the National Archives. Also like the one at the archives, it is written by hand on parchment -- the only two of their kind known to exist. But there are also key differences. (more)

Bluebell flowers decorate Belgian forest floor
19 April 2017 - Each spring, the ground of the forest Hallerbos trades in its brown and green hues for vibrant blue, when a burst of bluebell flowers bloom. The protected forest, located south of Brussels near the town of Halle, draws locals and tourists to witness a landscape that looks plucked from a fairy tale. (more)

Dancers from around the world show off at Irish Dancing Championships
11 April 2017 - Dancers from around the world will stomp the floorboards and leap into the air as they show off their best moves at Dublin's World Irish Dancing Championships this week. Excitement was palpable backstage on Tuesday as performers warmed up for the championships' categories including the traditional solo step dances, figure choreography team dancing, dance drama that tells a story and ceili, a kind of Celtic square dance. (more)

Why Easter is called Easter, and other little-known facts about the holiday
11 April 2017 - [On] April 16, Christians will be celebrating Easter, the day on which the resurrection of Jesus is said to have taken place. I [Brent Landau] am a religious studies scholar specializing in early Christianity, and my research shows that this dating of Easter goes back to the complicated origins of this holiday and how it has evolved over the centuries. Easter is quite similar to other major holidays like Christmas and Halloween, which have evolved over the last 200 years or so. In all of these holidays, Christian and non-Christian (pagan) elements have continued to blend together. Most major holidays have some connection to the changing of seasons. .... (more)

An Indian court says glaciers and rivers are 'living entities'
7 April 2017 - Just weeks after a high court in the Indian state of Uttarakhand granted legal personhood to the Ganges and Yamuna rivers, the same court recently extended that same standing to the Gangotri and Yamunotri glaciers that feed them. The finding follows New Zealand's mid-March passage of a law recognizing the Whanganui River -- a feature that the Maori people consider an ancestor -- as a living entity. And the Indian court's effort to protect the vanishing glaciers also carries religious overtones, since both the rivers and glaciers are considered sacred sites to many Hindus. (more)

Could making the Ganges a 'person' save India's holiest river?
5 April 2017 - A court in India has declared the Ganges river a legal 'person' in a fresh effort to save it from pollution. Research associate Shyam Krishnakumar explains how the ruling could help preserve the waterway upon which so many depend. (more)

Comoros Islands and other minnows' chance to dream in AFCON qualifying
30 March 2017 - The Comoros Islands are among the smallest countries on the African continent -- well, off to the side of it, to be geographically correct -- and among the newest. The tiny archipelago, which lies in the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean and has a population of around one million, has only been a fully fledged football-playing entity for just over a decade, but on Thursday (30 March) made a giant leap into the group phase of the African Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifiers. The Comoros became a FIFA member in 2005 ... (more)

Stolen Van Gogh paintings back in Amsterdam after 14 years
21 March 2017 - Two paintings by Vincent Van Gogh were unveiled, barely damaged, at an Amsterdam museum on Tuesday, 14 years after they were stolen in a mafia heist. The works ... are from a period that was crucial to the post-impressionist master's development as a painter. 'They are back,' said Van Gogh museum director Axel Rueger ahead of the unveiling of the paintings, each valued by investigators on their recovery by Italian police six months ago at 50 million euros ($53.97 million). 'I never thought I'd be able to say these words.' (more)

Happiness report: Norway is the happiest place on Earth
20 March 2017 - Norway is the happiest place on Earth, according to a United Nations agency report...The World Happiness Report measures 'subjective well-being' -- how happy the people are, and why. It looks at factors including economic strength (measured in GDP per capita), social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity, and perceived corruption. The World Happiness Report was released to coincide with the United Nations' International Day of Happiness on 20 March. (more)

Norway tops global happiness report
20 March 2017 - Norway jumped to top spot in the World Happiness Report despite the plummeting price of oil -- a key part of its economy -- but researchers said it's the 'human things' that matter, such as a feeling of community which is strong in the Scandinavian country of 5 million. In the report on 155 countries, Denmark fell to second, followed by Iceland, Switzerland, and Finland. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Transcendental Meditation: 'Awesome, happy, necessary'
16 April 2017 - A high-level advertising professional in New York City, Marcia Lorente describes her experience with Transcendental Meditation in three words: 'Awesome, happy, necessary.' She adds, 'I love that TM is so easy, it's practically impossible to get it wrong, the results are immediate and increase with time.' Marcia is also an artist who recently began painting again after 10 years. 'The way I paint is fast and with big brushstrokes, it requires simultaneous control and lack of control, the accident, as Pollock would call it,' she says. 'I now realize it comes from the same place that I go to when I meditate, so I can go there more easily and I'm painting a lot more.' (more)

Book review: Tender Flower of Heaven by Ann Purcell
7 April 2017 - Award winning author, musician, and poet Ann Purcell uses poetry to express deep inner values of life, principles which are beautifully uplifting and spiritually profound. She began writing poems to document her own inner experience of transcendental consciousness, gained through the daily practice of Transcendental Meditation starting in 1972. With clarity and simplicity, Ms Purcell brings out in the 130 poems in Tender Flower of Heaven universal transcendent experiences that have been reported by people throughout time. The poems reflect the author's keen sense of the heavenly in everyday moments of existence like the blooming of a delicate flower. (more)

Maharishi University of Management film alumnus hands out Oscars at Academy Awards
29 March 2017 - Johnny Coffeen received an MA in film in 2015 from Maharishi University of Management and last August won a Student Academy Award for his thesis film, The Swan Girl. Along with three other student winners, he was asked to participate in the 89th Academy Awards, bringing Oscars onstage to presenters and escorting recipients off the stage. Johnny said that being at the heart of the event was 'beyond surreal'. He was most excited to meet Meryl Streep: 'I was pleased how consistently sweet and genuinely humble she was.' For the Student Academy Awards, 17 students were selected from a record number of entries that included 1,749 films from 381 colleges and universities around the world. Johnny is the first student from MUM to win such an award. (more)

Interview with Bob Roth: 'TM gives you more focus, more energy, more edge to do what you want to do'
2 March 2017 - In a recent Format Magazine interview, Bob Roth, executive director of the David Lynch Foundation, explained that with Transcendental Meditation, you don't have to suffer for your art. 'Every one of us has a level of our mind right now deep within us that's already calm and settled and peaceful and wide awake, and it's said to be the source of our unlimited creativity. Transcendental Meditation is a simple technique to access that reservoir of creativity that lies within.' It works even if you don't believe in it, he said, and pointed out research findings of increased integration of brain functioning and activation of the prefrontal cortex during the practice. 'TM allows the mind to settle down to the point where you can hear a pin drop in the universe, and . . . creating from that state, is unbelievably powerful and satisfying and impactful.' (more)

Editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, Michele Promaulayko on Transcendental Meditation: 'I'm a huge proponent of it'
15 February 2017 - Before becoming editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, Michele Promaulayko worked in health journalism, with access to the greatest minds in the field of mental and physical well-being. So it's no surprise that as a spokesperson for an integrated approach to healthy living, she is an avid fan of Transcendental Meditation. With rigorous research backing up the effectiveness of the practice, TM for her is an all-round wellness tool. 'It's just good on a physiological level. Good for your body, good for your brain.' She feels that if TM 'became a universally accepted practice, it would have this incredible domino effect on the world. . . . for me to have gone from a sceptic to a passionate endorse, says a lot about how deeply I believe in it.' (more)

Creativity and Transcendental Meditation: 'My silent awareness started to burst with creativity'
13 February 2017 - Where does creativity come from? 'The inner world of consciousness is the source of all creativity,' writes Ann Purcell, teacher of Transcendental Meditation and author. At the deepest level of the mind is a field of pure silence, or Being, which is beyond all the to-do lists, thoughts and feelings at the surface levels of our awareness, she explains. Anything can be created from this deepest level, in 'any field of expression - artistic, athletic, business. The more your awareness is open to the unbounded, limitless blank canvas of your mind, the more you can draw upon this field of infinite creativity.' Transcendental Meditation is a direct means to do this - a technique to 'go beyond the surface level of the mind until you transcend even the finest thinking level and experience the source of thought.' Not long after learning TM, she says, 'My silent awareness started to burst with creativity, with words and rhythms that were embedded in my soul.' (more)

Muriel Nellis on 57 years of passion for publishing: 'Transcendental Meditation made my creative journey joyful'
8 February 2017 - In her long, prolific career in publishing, Muriel Nellis has worked with the White House and NIH, and launched her own top-selling agency, Literary and Creative Artists. 'Like many women today, I have had to fulfil so many roles at once,' she says, about managing the demands of business, family and civic life. 'I finally learned that juggling is much easier if you practise Transcendental Meditation. TM was life-saving to me.' It also 'made my creative journey joyful. . . . What I really gain, every time I meditate, is a whole new sense of myself. When I stepped out of a meeting to meditate, and came back newly alert and focused, I knew that I'd just gotten in touch with a source of energy and coherent strength always within me. It's a profound tool that every woman owns and it's all inside. It's uniquely yours.' (more)

Jennifer Lopez on Transcendental Meditation: '20 minutes a day in the morning and at night - it was necessary'
31 January 2017 - American singer, actress, dancer, fashion designer, author, and producer Jennifer Lopez learned Transcendental Meditation 'because it's overwhelming sometimes, doing all of the things I do at once. . . . 20 minutes a day in the morning and at night. It was necessary.' She felt the need for something to keep her grounded, and TM is an important part of 'a whole rounded regimen that deals with your mind, your soul, your spirit and your body. It's working out, it's dancing, it's meditating. And then, at the end of the day, just being happy, being with my kids and feeling the love and the joy that they give me. All of that helps balance it out, so work doesn't feel so crazy.' (more)

Interview: Transcendental Meditation helps actor Matt Bomer 'really centre myself and quiet myself'
17 January 2017 - Matt Bomer made his way to the top in a hypercompetitive entertainment industry, earning prestigious awards such as the Golden Globe on the way. Men's Fitness recently interviewed the star of the current series, The Last Tycoon, to discover the secret behind his success. As expected, the topic of Transcendental Meditation, which Bomer has practised for years, came up. 'It's helped me in a lot of ways,' he said, 'because I think it enables me to sort of get out of my own head, to get all the different voices going on kind of centred and focused.' Professionally, 'working with other creative people it helps to come from a centred place so you're able to stay in touch with yourself and your own voice in the midst of everyone else in the room who has their own agenda and take on things.' (more)

Tim Ferriss on Transcendental Meditation as a Tool for Titans
3 January 2017 - Author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss's popular self-help books have all swiftly reached the top of The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists. The latest, Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, is based on interviews with more than 200 world-class performers including celebrities, athletes, and scientists. Writing in The Observer recently, he says more than 80 per cent of those he interviewed were using meditation to get better results with less stress. Ferriss himself practises Transcendental Meditation. Initially he was 'afraid of ''losing my edge'', as if meditation would make me less aggressive or driven. That was unfounded; meditation simply helps you channel drive toward the few things that matter, rather than every moving target and imaginary opponent that pops up.' (more)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Key radical Islamist groups in Bangladesh
3 July 2016 - The hostage crisis at a restaurant in Bangladesh's capital that left 28 dead, including 20 hostages and six militants, has focused attention on the radical Islamist attacks occurring in the moderate, mostly Muslim country in the past few years. Most have been claimed by the Islamic State group or by al-Qaida's local branch, but the government vehemently denies these transnational jihadi groups have any presence in the country. Instead, the government blames domestic militants and its political opponents of trying to destabilize the country. Authorities have cracked down on extremist groups by banning them from operating and arresting many of their members. The opposition parties deny the allegation that they're involved. A look at some of the main Islamic political parties and radical groups in the country: (more)

Hostage crisis leaves 28 dead in Bangladesh diplomatic zone
2 July 2016 - The dramatic, 10-hour hostage crisis that gripped Bangladesh's diplomatic zone ended Saturday morning with at least 28 dead, including six of the attackers, as commandos raided the popular restaurant where heavily armed attackers were holding dozens of foreigners and Bangladeshis prisoner while hurling bombs and engaging in a gunbattle with security forces. The victims included 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, and two Bangladeshi police officers. The attack marks an escalation in militant violence that has hit the traditionally moderate Muslim-majority nation with increasing frequency in recent months, with the extremists demanding the secular government set up Islamic rule. (more)

U.S. families struggling with teens' phone addiction: report
3 May 2016 - Half of teenagers in the United States feel addicted to their mobile phones, with most checking the devices at least every hour and feeling pressured to respond immediately to messages, a survey released on Tuesday found. The majority of parents concurred. The findings from the nonprofit group Common Sense Media, which focuses on the effects of media and technology on children, highlighted the tension such close ties to devices can cause, with it disrupting driving, homework, and other time together. 'It is causing daily conflict in homes,' Common Sense Media's founder and CEO James Steyer said in a statement. (more)

Retaking Syria's Palmyra reveals more shattered antiquities
28 March 2016 - The recapture of Syria's ancient city of Palmyra from the Islamic State group has brought new revelations of the destruction wreaked by the extremists, who decapitated priceless statues and smashed or looted artifacts in the city's museum. Experts say they need time to assess the full extent of damage in Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site which once attracted tens of thousands of tourists every year. The Sunni extremist group, which has imposed a violent interpretation of Islamic law across the territory it controls in Syria and Iraq, claims ancient relics promote idolatry. But it is also believed to have profited from looted antiquities. (more)

'Here we go again' -- Americans' lament after Oregon shooting
2 October 2015 - The news from Oregon was grim enough in isolation -- nine people shot dead at a community college. For many Americans it was all the sadder as a reminder of how frequent, how depressingly routine, mass shootings have become -- in malls, at churches, and so often at schools and colleges. (more)

Horrific stampede at hajj in Saudi Arabia kills 717 pilgrims
24 September 2015 - A horrific stampede killed at least 717 pilgrims and injured hundreds more Thursday on the outskirts of the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the deadliest tragedy to strike the annual hajj pilgrimage in more than two decades. At least 863 pilgrims were injured in the crush, said the Saudi civil defense directorate, which provided the death toll. The tragedy struck as Muslims around the world marked the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday. It was the second major disaster during this year's hajj season. Two survivors interviewed by The Associated Press said the disaster began when one wave of pilgrims found themselves heading into a mass of people going in another direction. (more)

Unsupervised teens more likely to use tobacco, pot, and alcohol
18 September 2015 - A small U.S. study appears to confirm adult fears that teens who spend more than the average amount of unsupervised time 'hanging out' with peers have higher odds of smoking cigarettes and marijuana and drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, greater than average involvement in structured school and after-school activities did not seem to offer a protective effect. Organized time, such as arts classes at school, religious activities outside school, or community volunteer work had a very modest protective effect. (more)

Islamic State magazine blasts Muslims fleeing to Europe as sinners
10 September 2015 - Hundreds of thousands of people have fled wars in the Middle East this year, often from areas seized or threatened by Islamic State militants. They have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe on flimsy boats that have sometimes capsized, killing hundreds, in one of the biggest waves of migration since World War Two. Most of the refugees come from Syria, Iraq, and Libya -- states ravaged by conflict frequently involving Islamic State. But the magazine of Islamic State, which controls territory in Iraq and Syria where some 10 million people live, said those who leave its domain were committing a 'major sin'. (more)

UN: Satellite images show Temple of Bel in Syria 'destroyed'
31 August 2015 - A satellite image on Monday shows that the main building of the ancient Temple of Bel in the Syrian city of Palmyra has been destroyed, a United Nations agency said. The image was taken a day after a massive explosion was set off near the 2,000-year-old temple in the city occupied by Islamic State militants. It stood out among the ruins not far from the colonnades of Palmyra, which is affectionately known by Syrians as the 'Bride of the Desert.' Palmyra was an important caravan city of the Roman Empire, linking it to India, China, and Persia. Before the outbreak of Syria's conflict in March 2011, the UNESCO site was one of the top tourist attractions in the Middle East. (more)

Islamic State images purport to show destroyed Syrian temple
25 August 2015 - The Islamic State group released propaganda images Tuesday that purport to show militants laying explosives in and then blowing up the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria's ancient caravan city of Palmyra. A resident of Palmyra had told the Associated Press the temple was destroyed on Sunday, a month after the group's militants booby-trapped it with explosives. The temple, a structure of giant stone blocks several stories high fronted by six towering columns, was dedicated to a god of storm and rain -- the name means literally 'Lord of the Heavens.' (more)

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