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A new opera star emerges from the 'vocal breadbasket' of South Africa
22 October 2016 - In recent years, South Africa's rich choral tradition has produced a wave of talented opera singers who are making their mark on the world stage. Soprano Pretty Yende wowed opera enthusiasts in 2013, when she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, while bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana will open next year's Glimmerglass Festival as Porgy in the American classic, 'Porgy and Bess.' Now, South Africa is pinning its hopes on another rising opera star - 25-year-old Noluvuyiso Mpofu. (more)

Serbia: Pianists in the spotlight at Belgrade's classical festival
20 October 2016 - Now in its 48th year, the Belgrade Music Festival, BEMUS, will again showcase some of the best classical musicians, including works by young Serbian talents as well as the great composers. All the great masters will be covered, including performances of pieces by Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Brahms, Stravinsky, Debussy, and many more. (more)

Sweden: Art raises awareness about humanity's impact on nature
18 October 2016 - A growing body of artwork addressing climate change includes exhibits at the Artipelag in Stockholm, Sweden where sustainable design is used. At the Artipelag in Stockholm, exhibits such as one showcasing sustainable design are hosted in a building that regulates its temperature with a heat exchange system using seawater. Glass expanses bathe galleries in natural light, cutting down on electricity use. 'You have to start in your everyday life and make small changes,' says Bo Nilsson, director of Artipelag's exhibition hall. (more)

US: Young girl takes the stage to urge Native values of taking care of land, each other
17 October 2016 - In a soft, clear voice, an 11-year-old girl from a small village on Kodiak Island described a vision Monday for living Alaska Native values, for embracing environmental causes, and for connecting with other people in this electronic age. She gave the opening keynote speech for the First Alaskans Institute Elders and Youth Conference held in Fairbanks, Alaska. (more)

Early editions of Shakespeare's plays get rare public view
14 October 2016 - The public is getting a rare peek at first and early editions of some of William Shakespeare's most beloved plays. The Boston Public Library's free exhibition opens on Friday. The library holds a copy of the so-called 'First Folio,' the earliest published collection of Shakespeare's works. The last time the library showcased many of the materials was 100 years ago. (more)

Thailand: People pay respects to Thai King at Grand Palace
14 October 2016 - Buddhist ceremonies began Friday in Bangkok's Grand Palace complex for King Bhumibol Adulyadej before his body is displayed for people to pay respects to the revered monarch. Most Thais have known no other King. Bhumibol, the world's longest-reigning monarch, had been on the throne for 70 years. Television channels were running non-stop programs devoted to the life of the King. Although a constitutional monarch, Bhumibol wielded enormous political power and served as a unifying figure during Thailand's numerous political crises. He anchored the Southeast Asian country . . . with a blend of majesty and a common touch. So revered was Bhumibol that his portraits are displayed in virtually every Thai home and business, generally depicting him in arduous travels to remote villages, where he often went to see the situation of his subjects first hand. (more)

Remembering Thai King's seven decades of rule (AP video)
13 October 2016 - The King of Thailand was the world's longest-reigning living monarch, presiding over his country for seven decades. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, also known as as King Rama the Ninth (King Rama IX), was deeply revered by his people -- blending majesty with a common touch. Public service was the keynote of his reign. He was most visible to the people crisscrossing the country sponsoring development projects for Thai farmers. He anchored the nation through violent upheavals and communist revolutions next door. And he was a powerful influence on the spiritual, material, and political life of the country. (more)

US: Indigenous groups are way ahead of everyone else at protecting forests
10 October 2016 - By the time three federal government agencies issued their joint statement halting construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on September 9, there were some 5,000 protesters on site in Cannon Ball, North Dakota challenging the project. After hearing about the Standing Rock resistance, Native groups from all over the world came to stand in solidarity with the Sioux, traveling from Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and the Ecuadorian Amazon. The thousands of demonstrators represented some 280 different indigenous tribes, by far the largest Native American protest in recent memory and perhaps one of the largest ever recorded. (more)

US: What is Indigenous People's Day? More states observe alternative Columbus Day
10 October 2016 - In recent years, many schools and businesses have begun to observe Indigenous People's Day instead of Columbus Day. More and more jurisdictions across the nation are also recognizing Indigenous People's Day in an effort to distance the day from Christopher Columbus. The first Indigenous Peoples Day was reportedly celebrated in Berkeley, California in 1992. A resolution created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 officially made August 9 International Day of the World's Indigenous People. Before that, South Dakota decided to rename the second Monday of October Native American Day. (more)

First Australian Indigenous-language video game offers new platform for ancient culture
5 October 2016 - The world's first Aboriginal Australian-language video game is being developed in a bid to preserve traditional language and culture. The endless runner game is titled Tjinari, meaning 'someone always on the go' in the Western Desert language Ngaanyatjarra. 'It's very important to make sure that our young people continue to speak our languages because all languages are important,' Ngaanyatjarra linguist Elizabeth Marrkilyi Ellis said. (more)

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

Maharishi University of Management: David Lynch graduate wins Student Academy Award
4 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
1 October 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 Schemer: 'Transcendental Meditation, it's so easy. It's like the laziest. It helps!'
28 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)

Singing the song of life
10 August 2016 - Valerie JanLois - musician, composer, and performer - remembers that when she was young, 'outside of singing, there were only tiny, tiny moments of happiness.' After beginning Transcendental Meditation 42 years ago, 'I could feel immediately that this was something that would make me happy for the rest of my life.' A teacher of TM since 1985, she outlines other benefits in her life: improved relationships and empathy, ease in fulfilling desires, and the 'sudden stepping up in quality in everything I did.' Valerie once approached a recording studio to record something for personal use, and still sounds amazed that she was not only invited to continue recording, but through the production of two more albums, 'With no effort, the top musicians in the San Francisco Bay area . . . galvanized around my two albums.' She identifies her effortless creativity as springing from the deepest levels of awareness available from regular TM practice, and says, 'When you have a desire and a path in life, even though you have the raw materials - the talent - nature has to support it. There may be many blocks there, but if you have a technique that consciously brings your awareness to the area where all the laws of nature reside, then they become tickled and thrilled to support you.' (more)

The Mirror, UK: Manager of soccer/football team for England, Sam Allardyce, wants players to practice TM
6 August 2016 - The sports section of the Mirror UK, reported that soccer/football manager 'Big' Sam Allardyce would like his players to practice Transcendental Meditation, believing it will stop them from crumbling under pressure. He has practiced TM for 12 years now, and says 'it's very relaxing, very calming and you can do it anywhere.' He has long been an advocate of sports science and psychology and wants his stars to be more familiar with the mental side of the game. (more)

Vogue Magazine: Natasha Khan - Transcendental Meditation 'connects me to the places that bring ideas and clarity'
21 June 2016 - Australia's issue of Vogue Magazine interviewed British songstress Natasha Khan, opening the discussion with benefits she has noticed from two years of practising Transcendental Meditation. When asked if TM has changed her art, Natasha replied, 'It has made it better in a way. I feel less nervous and more confident. I'm going with the flow a bit more; ideas flow much easier. For performing, I feel much more relaxed.' (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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