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India: This year, Ganesha is lord of the apps, too
31 August 2014 - A trip to the neighbourhood Ganpati mandal used to be a daily affair for Rajesh Pai and his family when they were living in central Mumbai. Since the family moved to Mira Road, the annual trek to see Khetwadi's tall Ganpati idols grew difficult, till Pai discovered a mobile app. As crowd management becomes tougher, some of the older mandals are trying to play catch up using technology. Mumbaicha Raja Android app from the Ganesh Galli mandal will be launched on Friday while Lalbaugcharaja-Official app, which was released last year and has more than 5,000 downloads, will soon have its iOS version. Khetwadicha Ganraj from Grant Road, which also has more than 5,000 downloads, is being updated with live telecast in high-definition video. All of them are free. (more)

Estonians excel in Mind World Champinonsihp
30 August 2014 - Estonian Andres Kuusk won the 2014 Pentamind World Championship -- an annual board games festival held in London, England. The Pentamind is a unique meta-event, which celebrates the best all round games player in the world. This is the third time that Andres has won the Pentamind having previously won it in 2011 and sharing it with Ankush Khandelwahl in 2013. Many of his Estonian compatriots were also triumphant this year-including Martin Hobemagi who won the Junior Pentamind World Championship and Madli Mirme who won the Women's Pentamind World Championship. (more)

US: Burning Man art event goes green to leave desert clean
29 August 2014 - Burning Man, the mass celebration of self-expression, espouses a 'leave no trace' ethic that manages to live up to its environmental promise, according to both supporters and skeptics of the annual event, which is held in Nevada's Black Rock Desert. 'Before, when they had the large numbers of people here, we didn't know whether an event of that size could be cleaned up,' said David Von Seggern, chairman of the local chapter of the Sierra Club. 'But they have done a good job in the last few years of cleaning up. It's really not a concern of ours anymore.' (more)

India's Ganesh festival goes green
25 August 2014 - With Ganesh Chaturthi festival just round the corner, experts are encouraging an environment-friendly celebration this year. Tanmay Khaitan, member of Parivartan, an NGO says, 'To begin with, we could avoid using Plaster of Paris (PoP) and painted idols which do most of the damage. Instead, clay or shaadu is most suitable for celebration as they do not pollute the 'environment.' He also suggests that in lieu of immersing the idols 'directly into lakes, rivers, and seas, we could make use of water tanks constructed by the government, to avoid water pollution.' Niranjan Upasani, who is involved in conducting eco-friendly Ganpati workshops says, 'Bio-degradable colours such as turmeric, henna, rice powder, coloured dal are safe to use when it comes to rangoli. (more)

India: Subcontinent photos from 1850-1910
23 August 2014 - A new exhibition in India's capital showcases some of the earliest photographs from South Asia, taken between 1850 and 1910 when the region was under British rule. Around 250 images from India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Nepal are on display at the 'Drawn from Light: Early Photography and the Indian Sub-continent' exhibition in New Delhi. (more)

On Day of Remembrance, UN says triumph over slavery should guide efforts to build culture of tolerance
23 August 2014 - Marking the anniversary of the first successful slave uprising in the Western hemisphere, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) stated that the struggle to overcome slavery 'has strengthened awareness of the equality of all men and women, which we have all inherited directly'. UNESCO's educational and cultural programmes and support for historical research are intended to highlight the wealth of the traditions that African peoples have forged in the face of adversity -- in art, music, dance, and culture in its broader sense, creating indissoluble ties between peoples and continents and irreversibly transforming the face of society. (more)

In China, a search for modern values at Confucius' birthplace
22 August 2014 - China's rulers are increasingly promoting Confucius, a figure once reviled by Chairman Mao, as a symbol for modern China. Tourists, seminar groups, and professionals are flocking to the ancient philosopher's birthplace. (more)

Two ancient Mayan cities found in Mexican jungle
22 August 2014 - Archaeologists have found two ancient Mayan cities hidden in the jungle of southeastern Mexico, and the lead researcher says he believes there are 'dozens' more to be found in the region. At each site, researchers found palace-like buildings, pyramids, and plazas. (more)

Canada: Film school for aboriginal youth moving into Winnipeg's Ellice Theatre
21 August 2014 - Canadian actor Adam Beach's film school for aboriginal youth will be housed at the Ellice Cafe and Theatre building, a longtime community venue in Winnipeg's West End. The film institute, a non-profit organization, will train at-risk aboriginal youth in various roles within the film industry. (more)

Documentary film festival putting Kosovo on cultural map
21 August 2014 - Under a starry sky, young Kosovars take their seats alongside tourists on a platform rising from the shallow Bistrica River that cuts through Prizren. Others dangle their legs from the stone riverbank walls -- all drawn to the latest offering of Dokufest, the 13-year-old international documentary and short film festival that is putting Kosovo well and truly on the cultural map. Prizren, a centuries-old trading hub and cultural crossroads, is buzzing. Some 40 per cent of the visitors to the film festival are foreigners. This year at Dokufest, more than 230 documentaries were selected from nearly 2,400 submissions. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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PeaceRocks campaign honours Ringo Starr, benefits David Lynch Foundation outreach to at-risk adults and youth
26 August 2014 - International menswear designer John Varvatos celebrated Ringo Starr's 74th birthday recently by launching, in honour of Ringo, the #PeaceRocks campaign to benefit the David Lynch Foundation's outreach to teach Transcendental Meditation to at-risk youth, women who are survivors of domestic violence, and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. (more)

'This is truly something your mind just wants to do' - Blake Ian on Transcendental Meditation
6 August 2014 - Continuing to write about 'the long list of hugely successful people who practise Transcendental Meditation'--who initially inspired him to learn the technique himself--singer-songwriter and music producer Blake Ian gives special recognition to comedians including Jerry Seinfeld, Russell Brand, and others. He goes on to conclude, 'This method is so sustainable. I had tried many other methods of relaxation and meditation that I ended up giving up on, but this is truly something your mind just wants to do. After learning the correct method passed down for thousands of years, it works for anyone (even veterans with PTSD who often cannot even find help or relaxation with medicines have found relief).' (more)

It's about giving people a practice that will change their lives
5 August 2014 - Live The Process, an online collaborative guide to wellness and holistic health, shares stories featuring the Transcendental Meditation technique in concurrence with the launch of a new project, of which a portion of the proceeds will go to support the David Lynch Foundation. (more)

Inspired by 'long list of hugely successful people who practise Transcendental Meditation' - Blake Ian
1 August 2014 - Singer-songwriter and music producer Blake Ian relates how he was inspired to learn Transcendental Meditation after becoming aware of many highly successful people who practise the technique. 'I could not believe that so many giants of their industry, some my own personal heroes and favorite artists, had all been doing this same thing every day, twice a day.' (more)

WAVES conference at Maharishi University of Management - Free live webcasts begin tonight
31 July 2014 - Live webcasts begin this evening for the World Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES) conference in Fairfield, Iowa, USA. This 11th international WAVES conference of Vedic scholars from around the world--on the theme, 'Vedic Living in a Modern World'--is being held at Maharishi University of Management, starting this evening, 31 July and continuing through Sunday, 3 August. The main plenary sessions are being webcast live on Livestream throughout the weekend. (more)

Success without stress
29 July 2014 - Although she didn't enter law school until her mid-forties, Robin Zabel completed her degree ahead of schedule, then creatively adapted her knowledge, skills, and professional responsibilities in the face of a changing job market. In a recent interview she attributes of all her success to her lifelong Transcendental Meditation practice. 'Transcendental Meditation gave me unexpected broad benefits, just by increasing my clarity and eliminating stress daily. It laid the foundation for the self-confidence, the ability to focus on my studies, the resilience I needed to achieve and persevere . . . , the creativity to invent myself again and again.' (more)

Maharishi School alumnus directs Hollywood movie
26 July 2014 - Zachary Sluser, an alumnus of Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, began filming this spring The Driftless Area, a romantic drama featuring actors Aubrey Plaza, Anton Yelchin, Zooey Deschanel, John Hawkes, and Frank Langella. (more)

How to handle stress and live authentically according to Hugh Jackman
22 July 2014 - Between watching the FIFA World Cup and attending the 2014 Wimbledon Men's Final, actor, producer, and family man Hugh Jackman made time to join David Lynch Foundation Executive Director Bob Roth for an interview on Bob's SiriusXM radio show Success Without Stress. If you didn't already know it, Hugh is as likable in person as he is on the big screen, and he had some thought-provoking things to say. (more)

Three years of Transcendental Meditation - Blake Ian
19 July 2014 - 'On April 30, 2011, I learned the method of Transcendental Meditation,' writes singer-songwriter and music producer Blake Ian. 'Since then I have experienced the most productive and present three years of my life, which includes moving to New York City and turning an idea I had into a successful tech startup (the social conversation app Tawkers.com). This practice has changed the quality of my life in so many ways that it is hard to list them all, let alone effectively describe them. For starters, as someone who suffered with intense anxiety and panic attacks for most of my life, I now live nearly anxiety free, and TM is one of the key ingredients to that major shift.' (more)

Ringo Starr birthday celebration continues with premiere of tribute concert supporting David Lynch Foundation
7 July 2014 - Today Ringo Starr, currently in the midst of a multi-city USA concert tour with his All Starr Band, is celebrating his 74th birthday. The celebration continues 13 July, with the premiere showing of a tribute concert honouring the legendary former Beatle on AXS TV. The concert--'Ringo Starr: A Lifetime of Peace and Love'--features performances by many other top recording artists. Taped in January, the event launched the Ringo Starr Peace and Love Fund, a division of the David Lynch Foundation, which provides Transcendental Meditation instruction to at-risk students in underserved schools, women survivors of domestic violence, and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


As forests are cleared and species vanish, there's one other loss: a world of languages.
7 June 2014 - A new report shows a direct link between disappearing habitats and the loss of languages. One in four of the world's 7,000 spoken tongues is now at risk of falling silent for ever as the threat to cultural biodiversity grows. As the politics change and deforestation accelerates, the natural barriers that once allowed so many languages to develop there in isolation are broken down. This is part of a process that has seen languages decline as biodiversity decreases. While around 21 per cent of all mammals, 13 per cent of birds, 15 per cent of reptiles, and 30 per cent of amphibians are threatened, around 400 languages are thought to have become extinct in the same time. Conservationists fear that the loss of species due to man's activities is accelerating. And linguists say that the wealth of the world's human languages is now safeguarded by very few indigenous peoples, most of whom live precarious lives in developing countries. (more)

Central African Republic marked by rising hatred, violence, and trauma - UN officials
30 March 2014 - One year after rebels seized power in the Central African Republic (CAR), the situation in the country is marked by rising hatred between communities, deteriorating security, and humanitarian conditions, and increasing fear and trauma among the population, United Nations relief officials warned. Since the conflict started in December 2012 following attacks from mainly Muslim Seleka rebels, thousands of people are believed to have been killed, and 2.2 million -- about half the population of CAR -- need humanitarian aid. With more than 650,000 people still internally displaced, and over 290,000 having fled to neighbouring countries, the conflict has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones as mainly Christian militias known as anti-Balaka (anti-machete) have taken up arms. Volker Turk, head of international protection for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told a news conference in Geneva that the situation in the capital, Bangui, has deteriorated significantly in terms of security. (more)

Screen time tied to poor well-being among kids
18 March 2014 - Spending too much time in front of a television, computer or other devices with screens may signal problems in a child's family and personal well-being, according to a new study. Based on data for more than 3600 children in eight European countries, researchers found that family functioning and emotional well-being were especially linked to changes in the amount of time kids spent in front of screens. Several recent studies have highlighted the possible negative effects of kids spending too much time watching televisions, playing video games, and working on computers. Late last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also urged parents to keep tabs on their children's media use and limit screen time to no more than one to two hours of high quality programming. In the current research, scientists found that in regards to social and peer-related measures, screen time had no effect. But for each additional hour or so of screen time parents reported, a child's risk of emotional and family problems rose up to two-fold. (more)

US: Gun violence increasing in PG-13 movies
10 November 2013 - The amount of gun violence in movies rated PG-13 has more than tripled over the last two decades, says a new study. When PG-13 first became a designation, movies with that rating had similar amounts of gun violence as G and PG films, researchers found. Now, they sometimes have more shooting scenes than R-rated movies. 'It doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out there are going to be disturbed kids who are going to see this kind of content,' said Daniel Romer. 'The problem for parents is they can no longer rely on the PG-13 rating to tell them there isn't a lot of violence in those films,' he added. Across all films, the number of violent sequences more than doubled during the study period, the researchers found. Romer told Reuters Health past evidence suggests seeing weapons in use can make people have more aggressive thoughts. Dr. James Sargent said the movie industry knows films make more money when they are rated PG-13, because adolescents are a profitable audience. Violence also makes money, he said -- so the fact that more of it is showing up in PG-13 films 'is no surprise.' (more)

India: 220 languages lost in last 50 years - survey
7 September 2013 - All over the world there are serious alarms about the disappearance of languages and culture. A new study, the People's Linguistic Survey of India, concludes that in India alone 220 Indian languages have disappeared in the last 50 years, and that another 150 could vanish in the next half century as speakers die and their children fail to learn their ancestral tongues. 'Languages cannot be preserved by making dictionaries or grammars,' survey supervisor Ganesh Devy states. 'Languages live if people who speak the languages continue to live. So we need to look after the well being of the people who use those languages, which means we need a micro-level planning of development where language is taken as one factor.' He says, 'Revival is possible only if the livelihood of those people is protected. I'm emphasizing that the language disappears when the livelihood options of the speech community disappears.' (more)

Northern Ireland violence flares for second day
13 July 2013 - Violence flared for a second night around traditional Orange Day parades in Northern Ireland, with police coming under attack from petrol bombs, fireworks, stones, and bottles, and responding with water cannon. Thousands of pro-British Protestants march every summer in the British province, a regular flashpoint for sectarian violence as Catholics, many of whom favour unification with Ireland, see the parades as a provocation. The Orange Order, which organizes marches to mark the 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne by Protestant Prince William of Orange over Catholic King James of England, was angered this year when authorities ruled they could not walk along a stretch of road that divides the two communities. That sparked violence on Friday evening, after tens of thousands of Orange Order marchers, wearing orange sashes and waving British flags, paraded at more than a dozen venues across Northern Ireland. (more)

US: Graffiti force closure of Joshua Tree park sites
13 April 2013 - Acts of graffiti have become so pervasive at Joshua Tree National Park's most popular hiking spots that officials have had to close them to the public, and they blame the big bump in vandalism on social media. Rangers said they've found graffiti spray painted on 17 sites, including the famous rock formations and historic Native American sites, at the Southern California park's Rattlesnake Canyon. They put historic Barker Dam off limits after vandals carved their names into the cement of the Old West landmark. National Parks officials said the graffiti started with just a few markings, but quickly spread. They blame vandals who posted pictures of their handiwork on social media sites such as Facebook, which enticed others to the same spot and leave their own illicit marks. 'I've worked at six national parks, and this is the most extensive I've seen in 20 years,' ranger Pat Pilcher told reporters this week during a tour of some of the damage. Meanwhile, the San Bernardino County Sun reports that officials are closing 308 acres of the canyon until April 30 while volunteers from the Urban School of San Francisco help scrub the graffiti off the giant granite boulders. (more)

US: Researchers report sharp rise in extremist 'patriot' groups
5 March 2013 - President Barack Obama's administration and the gun control debate after the Connecticut school shooting have led to surging numbers of anti-government 'patriot' groups, according to a civil rights group that tracks extremist groups. The Southern Poverty Law Centre reported the rising numbers on Tuesday in its annual report on extremist groups. The number of anti-government patriot groups, one category tracked by the centre, rose dramatically over the past four years, from 149 groups in 2008 to 1,360 today, researchers reported. That was up about 7 per cent from the 1,274 active in 2011. The election and re-election of the nation's first African-American President and the rugged economy have fuelled their growth, said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the SPLC. (more)

Scottish man dies, taking town's dialect with him
4 October 2012 - In a remote fishing town on the tip of Scotland's Black Isle, the last native speaker of the Cromarty dialect has passed away, taking with him a little fragment of the English linguistic mosaic. Academics said Wednesday that Bobby Hogg, who was 92 when he died last week, was the last person fluent in the dialect once common to the seaside town of Cromarty, 175 miles (280 kilometres) north of Edinburgh. 'I think that's a terrible thing,' said Robert Millar, a linguist at the University of Aberdeen in northern Scotland. 'The more diversity in terms of nature we have, the healthier we are. It's the same with language.' 'We'll all live,' Millar said -- but it's part of a relentless trend toward standardization which has driven many regional dialects and local languages into oblivion. Linguists often debate how to define and differentiate the world's many dialects, but most agree that urbanization, compulsory education, and mass media have conspired to iron out many of the kinks that make rural speech unique. (more)

Guinea: Ethnic riots spread in capital
21 September 2012 - At least one person was killed on Friday, as ethnic riots pitting the Peul and the Malinke, the two largest ethnicities in the country, spread from a market in Conakry, to the suburbs of the Guinean capital, according to witnesses and the Red Cross. Tensions between the two groups have been running high ever since the 2010 Presidential election, which was won by Malinke politician Alpha Conde. He defeated a Peul candidate, and the vote was overwhelmingly carried out along ethnic lines. Since coming to power, Conde is accused of favouring his ethnic group in appointments to government ministries, all the way down to the guards and janitors. (more)

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