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St. Nicholas, bringer of sweets, reaches Brussels
3 December 2016 - Children gathered with parents in Brussels's medieval main square on Saturday to await the arrival of St. Nicholas, a pre-Christmas tradition in Belgium, the Netherlands, and other parts of northern Europe held in honor of the legendary gift-giver. Every year in early December parades are held in towns across Belgium and the Netherlands, at which thousands of children cheer St. Nicholas. His arrival in the capital cities of the two countries is especially picturesque. (more)

Designers breathe new life into China's dying folk crafts
2 December 2016 - At her workshop in a remote valley in one of China's poorest provinces, Pan Xiu-ying uses traditional techniques passed down for generations to create an indigo-dye batik scarf embellished with patterns inspired by her ethnic Shui minority. But her handicrafts aren't for family members. They're destined for affluent buyers thousands of miles away. (more)

New York City exhibition features Ukrainian and Romanian textiles
1 December 2016 - A Manhattan exhibition features rich textiles with intricate embroidery designs from the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine and Romania. 'Carpathian Echoes' at the Ukrainian Museum looks at the home textiles industry of the neighboring nations. The exhibition features an array of colorful folk textiles produced for clothing and the home, including traditional women's and men's costumes. (more)

Record charitable donations reported for Giving Tuesday
1 December 2016 - Giving Tuesday, a 5-year-old phenomenon aimed at encouraging online charitable giving, produced record-shattering donations this week, according to two organizations which tracked the flow of gifts. The 92nd Street Y in New York City, credited for launching the event in 2012, said Wednesday that contributions reported by organizations in the U.S. and abroad for a 24-hour period total $168 million -- up from about $117 million in 2015. It said there were roughly 1.6 million donations, coming from people in nearly 100 countries. (more)

US: Ellis Island exhibit revives New York's lost Little Syria
1 December 2016 - Shakifa Halal was a Syrian immigrant on a New York-bound ship, her dreams rolled up in a piece of embroidery made from silkworms she grew, fabric she wove, and cloth dyed with flowers picked in her homeland. Halal's floral artwork, which she brought to America in 1910 at the tender age of 13, now hangs in the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, part of an exhibition called 'Little Syria, N.Y.: An Immigrant Community's Life and Legacy.' Through documents, artifacts, and photos, the exhibition tells the story of a Middle Eastern community that once flourished in Lower Manhattan. (more)

US: Nostalgic customers still seeking out LL Bean's ol' boots
27 November 2016 - L.L. Bean is kicking it up a notch as demand continues to surge for its iconic boot. The Maine-based outdoors retailer has leased a larger, 110,000-square-foot building and plans to install a third injection-molding machine to manufacture the rubber soles. It's also hiring 100 more workers in the new year to make the boots. Annual sales have grown from fewer than 100,000 a decade ago to more than 600,000 this year. (more)

The science behind why you shouldn't stop giving thanks after Thanksgiving
24 November 2016 - Gratitude is too good to be left at the Thanksgiving table. On most days, gratitude manifests as an emotional reaction to a favorable event or outcome. But it also can be a way of life. People who consciously choose daily to seek out things in their lives to be thankful for are, research has shown, happier and healthier. (more)

US: Improve attitude with gratitude, James Taylor tells fans
24 November 2016 - James Taylor has a Thanksgiving message for his fans: Gratitude improves your attitude. The singer says in an email that giving thanks is the key to overcoming setbacks and dealing with reversals of fortune. 'To whom we give it is a big question but just go ahead on and do it. Gratitude is the way to an improved attitude . . .To have been born in human form and consciousness aboard this unbelievably beneficent planet is an incredible stroke of luck.' (more)

US: Opening their homes to Coast Guard recruits for Thanksgiving
24 November 2016 - Young men and women training to become members of the U.S. Coast Guard will enjoy a home-cooked meal thanks to strangers who welcome them into their southern New Jersey homes for Thanksgiving and Christmas as part of a tradition that has taken place for 33 years. Operation Fireside grew from efforts by the American Red Cross to care for service members, said Red Cross New Jersey Region spokeswoman Laura Steinmetz. Lifetime friendships between recruits and families are often formed. (more)

Mariachis parade in Mexico to celebrate patron saint of musicians
23 November 2016 - Hundreds of mariachi folk musicians filled the streets of Mexico City on Tuesday, 22 November, to celebrate and serenade the feast day of Cecilia, the patron saint of music. Clad in their traditional cropped jackets and wide sombreros, the mariachi guitarists, trumpeters, and violinists played songs and marched in procession. (more)

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

Ramayana: The hero's journey and the quest for enlightenment
27 November 2016 - Linda Egenes shares what she learned about Transcendental Meditation as 'a way to effortlessly unfold the hero or heroine inside us - a way to reach for our highest self.' While teaching writing to a 'lively group of octogenarians' she found 'that every life is heroic, every journey a quest for growth and a better way of living.' But how can we be the heroes of our own stories? She concludes that 'the most important thing I can do for myself and others around me is to stay rested [in order] to think more clearly. Research shows that [TM] has an effect not only in [our] thinking more creatively and profoundly, thus making better decisions, but in creating more harmonious relationships and engaging in higher moral reasoning. In Ms. Egenes' abridged version of the Vedic epic The Ramayana: A New Retelling of Valmiki's Ancient Epic - Complete and Comprehensive co-authored with Dr. Kumuda Reddy, she describes how the heroes 'invariably reach for the highest course of action, the one that will bring happiness to everyone around them.' (more)

Maharishi University of Management alumna Genevra Bell: An entrepreneurial artist
16 November 2016 - Genevra Bell never thought she would one day make a living drawing animals. It all began when she moved to England after graduating from Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, with a degree in fine arts. Her specialization in ceramics brought her to a job in a Cumbria pottery studio, but soon she turned to painting and illustration. This grew to animal portraits, cards, calendars, and an expanding business - she recently added design licensing to her services. Now back in Fairfield as a teaching assistant and administrator for the MUM art department, she says, 'My experience in the art department was amazing and that's why I wanted to come back.' She recently won a Minted and Pottery Barn Kids Design challenge contest with her poster, The Animalphabet. (more)

Creativity and consciousness: An interview with author Linda Egenes
14 November 2016 - Author of over 500 articles and six books, Linda Egenes describes how her creativity and mental clarity have developed through regular practice of Transcendental Meditation. She also talks about her newest book, co-authored with Kumuda Reddy, MD: The Ramayana: A New Retelling of Valmiki's Ancient Epic - Complete and Comprehensive. 'The Ramayana is the most widely read epic in the world today,' Ms Egenes says. 'Although it's the oldest epic on earth, it's a wonderful story for our modern times, because it features two enlightened people who, even though pressed to their limits, exhibit ideal qualities of kindness, compassion, tolerance and forgiveness to every person they meet.' In this shorter version of the 'charming and beautiful story', the authors decided to 'use a novelistic format but still retain the underlying wisdom of the original'. (more)

Maharishi University of Management: David Lynch graduate wins Student Academy Award
3 October 2016 - The David Lynch Graduate School of Cinematic Arts at Maharishi University of Management, is pleased to announce that 2015 graduate Johnny Coffeen has been awarded the coveted Student Academy Award for his thesis film, The Swan Girl, about an artist mysteriously held captive in a studio, sculpting complex figures in an effort to atone for the mistakes of his past. This award will qualify him to be considered for an Academy Award nomination early next year. Coffeen is a member of the second graduating class of this unique school that uses the Transcendental Meditation technique to encourage students to tap into their creative potential. (more)

Transcendental Meditation enhances the freedom to create
30 September 2016 - 'Twice-daily practice of Transcendental Meditation', writes Janet Hoffman, executive director of TM for Women, 'keeps an artist tirelessly attuned to that inner source, promoting spontaneity, originality, and freedom of expression, giving her full reign to delight in the field of all possibilities.' Examining women's historic role as artists, Ms Hoffman credits the feminist movement for bringing forward women artists, saying 'women often use the medium of art to try to awaken the world and cause it to grow - a trait inherent within feminine nature.' Ms Hoffman upholds that the freedom to create is 'not just external, but also internal. It is there for us to take and enjoy.' (more)

Comedian Amy Schumer: 'Transcendental Meditation, it's so easy. It's like the laziest. It helps!'
15 September 2016 - Renowned comedian Amy Schumer sets a perfect example of how to preserve mental and physical health despite her overwhelming schedule of TV shows, movies and comedy tours. In addition to her healthy lifestyle choices, she found that practicing Transcendental Meditation 'totally changed the game for me: Energy, focus, general bettering of life and feeling just physically and mentally better.' She recently suggested TM during a Michael Ian Black podcast show, 'How To Be Amazing' when he asked her to recommend anything she was loving and finding amazing. (more)

Smithsonian photo competition won by Maharishi University of Management alumnus
5 September 2016 - Maharishi University of Management alumnus Radim Schreiber won a top award in the Smithsonian magazine annual photography competition for the second time. 'Synchronous Fireflies' was uploaded to The Smithsonian November 2015 and it was selected as Shot Of The Day the next month, followed by Editors' Pick, Finalist, and now Altered Images Winner out of 48,000 photos. Mr Schreiber explains in his fascinating website that no special photography techniques beyond basic contrast or color adjustment are used in his time exposures. His award-winning firefly images have been featured at CBS, NPR, National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Iowa Public Television, The Weather Channel, The National Wildlife Federation, and KEW Royal Botanical Gardens. He says, 'I believe that fireflies open doors to joy, magic and deep connection with nature . . . When I see fireflies being a mere reflection of stars under the Milky Way, I feel connected to everything in the universe. They are communicating to me. I am listening . . . ' (more)

David Lynch in conversation: 'It's ignorance that keeps us in that boat of suffering'
3 September 2016 - Salon online has published an interview of David Lynch by his book editor in celebration of the ten years since 'Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity' was released: Mr Lynch's iconic record of his commitment to Transcendental Meditation, his feelings about Hollywood and his working style as an artist. TarcherPerigee has just reissued Lynch's work in a 10th-anniversary edition, which includes new interviews with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. (more)

Ann Purcell's new music CD: You're a Hero: Profound principles for every child to enjoy
29 August 2016 - A new music CD by Ann Purcell has warmed hearts everywhere: You're a Hero: Songs for Children incorporates many sayings and principles that guide everyone toward a better way of living. Ms Purcell says, 'they are basic universal truths that every child should grow up learning.' Author and teacher of Transcendental Meditation, Ms Purcell shared Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's delight in timeless sayings such as, 'Peace begins within', 'Go for the highest', 'Life is here to enjoy', and 'Truth alone triumphs'. Author Amy Hatkoff says in her review of the CD, 'I couldn't wait to get a copy to my great-nieces.  I wanted them to hear the messages and feel the wonderful, uplifting energy.' (more)

Musician Donovan Leitch talks legacy of 'Sunshine Superman' and importance of Transcendental Meditation
18 August 2016 - Donovan Leitch will perform at Fairfield, Iowa's music festival 'Fairfest' September 2-4 during this tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of his album and first world tour Sunshine Superman. A portion of the tour's proceeds will go towards the Donovan Children's Fund, a division of the David Lynch Foundation. The singer is passionate about the benefits children gain from practicing Transcendental Meditation. He speaks with enthusiasm about the idea that 'sleep is not the deepest form of rest.' Children who are introduced to TM find a refuge from the tension and friction of the world. Through TM, he says, they 'will feel a great sense of unity with all things, and compassion will arise.' He's not expecting an immediate panacea, but, he notes, 'These tiny beginnings create enormous things.' (more)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

US: Donald Trump Jr compares Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles
20 September 2016 - Donald Trump Jr has used a Twitter post to liken Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles [a candy] and suggest that America should not accept any. (more)

Poll: In tumultuous summer, young Americans in a dour mood
13 July 2016 - In a summer of political and racial tumult, young Americans are in a dour mood: pessimistic about the fairness of their economic system, questioning the greatness of the United States, and deeply skeptical of the way the nation picks its leaders. A new poll of young people between the ages of 18 and 30 finds that an overwhelming 90 percent think the two-party political system has real -- though fixable -- problems or that it is 'seriously broken'. Though the new GenForward survey is a poll of all young people, not necessarily registered or likely voters, it nevertheless shows clear discontent with the two major-party candidates for President. Only 39 percent of young people have a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton. Just 19 percent think well of Donald Trump. (more)

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)

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