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Unity gives Jerusalem a prayer: Jews, Muslims, and Christians join for worship
25 September 2016 - Last week, and for just eight days, a music school in the lowest valley of Jerusalem was transformed into a communal house of prayer, named Amen, bringing together Jewish, Muslim, and Christian religious leaders and their congregations to worship together in one room. It was a sight rarely seen in this segregated city. The eight religious leaders all met again on Wednesday for a special ceremony to mark International Peace Day. (more)

Ukraine hands back stolen paintings to Dutch museum
16 September 2016 - Kiev authorities handed over to the Netherlands on Friday five masterpieces stolen from a Dutch museum in 2005 and recovered in Ukraine earlier this year. The paintings -- part of a group of 24 works valued at 10 million euros when they went missing in 2005 -- were said in December to have been discovered in a villa in a pro-Russian separatist controlled area of eastern Ukraine. (more)

Linguistic study proves more than 6,000 languages use similar sounds for common words
13 September 2016 - A first-of-its-kind linguistic study has revealed more than two-thirds of the world's languages use the same sounds for the same words. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), analysed between 40 and 100 basic vocabulary words from 62 per cent of the world's more than 6,000 current languages and 85 per cent of their linguistic lineages. The researchers did not know why humans tend to use the same sounds across languages to describe basic objects and ideas. (more)

Syrian refugee musicians sell out shows in Germany
13 September 2016 - At the neoclassical Concert House in Berlin's Gendarmenmarkt, busts of German composers Beethoven, Bach, and Handel looked on as the 65 musicians took their seats for a sold-out weekend concert. The Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra settling in to play represents a much more recent chapter in German history, consisting entirely of professional musicians who fled civil war in their homeland to seek refuge in Europe. Founded in Germany a year ago . . . it has since performed concerts across the country and soon plans to tour Sweden. The musicians' hope is that their concerts will give the European audience a reference point to understand Syrian music and culture. (more)

US: Dakota flute-maker, player earns nation's highest folk honor
11 September 2016 - There was a time when Bryan Akipa knew nothing of flutes. But that was long ago, before the budding artist stumbled across a wooden mallard-head flute in the studio of his mentor, sparking a fascination that led to a career in both making and playing the distinctive Dakota flutes. Akipa, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe, is a recipient of America's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts, the National Heritage Fellowship, which is awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts. He will be recognized later this month during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. (more)

Africa hosts Henri Matisse exhibit for first time: 'Perfect'
4 September 2016 - For the first time, Africa is hosting an exhibit devoted to Henri Matisse. The show in Johannesburg features more than 80 works, including a painting that points to how the continent inspired Matisse and his contemporary, Pablo Picasso. Because this is the first Matisse exhibit in Africa, the show is broad in scope to allow space for learning and engagement . . . (more)

Rwanda's tourism earnings seen up 25 pct in 2016 from last year - official
3 September 2016 - Rwanda expects to boost its revenue earnings from tourism this year by 25.8 percent from 2015, helped by extra attractions, an official told Reuters late on Friday. The central African country is famed for rolling green hills and treks to see endangered gorillas on the slopes of the Virunga Mountains. A new national park called Gishwati-Mukura, the country's fourth, a 'cultural village' in the capital Kigali, a vast new hospitality facility called the Kigali Convention Centre, and new adventure activities on Lake Kivu would drive revenue growth, said Francis Gatare chief executive officer of state-run Rwanda Development Board. (more)

Polish director Skolimowski appeals for more films on immigrants
31 August 2016 - Veteran Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski on Wednesday pleaded for more films to made about migrants, saying immigration was one of the world's biggest problems. Speaking at the Venice film festival where he was awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement, Skolimowski said migrants deserved to be looked at in a 'sympathetic way'. (more)

Thailand's first halal hotel hopes to help boost Muslim arrivals
30 August 2016 - Predominately Buddhist Thailand has opened its first halal hotel as hopes to attract more Muslim visitors and boost one of the few bright spots in its economy. Nearly 30 million foreign tourists came to Thailand last year but only about 658,000 were from the Middle East, according to industry data. The four-star Al Meroz hotel in Bangkok, which opened in November, hopes to play its part in changing that. Eager to tap into a growing Muslim tourist market, Thailand launched a mobile application last year which helps tourists search for halal eateries and Muslim-friendly attractions. (more)

Upbeat music may make people more cooperative
30 August 2016 - The right mood music can influence how well people work together, a new management-oriented study suggests. Many retail establishments carefully select the music they play in order to influence consumer behavior, such as encouraging shoppers to buy more, the authors write. But employees hear the same music and its effect on them hasn't been studied. People in a positive mood are more cooperative and more creative, while those in a negative mood tend to narrow in on solving individual problems rather than group problems, said Neal M. Ashkanasy, professor of management at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, who was not part of the new research. (more)

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

David Lynch in conversation: 'It's ignorance that keeps us in that boat of suffering'
17 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)

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)

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)

Los Angeles Times: Why David Lynch says Transcendental Meditation is the secret to success
3 June 2016 - Filmmaker David Lynch was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times in support of Dr Norman Rosenthal's new book, 'Super Mind: How to Boost Performance and Live a Richer and Happier Life Through Transcendental Meditation'. Mr Lynch fielded questions such as how TM enhances creativity - 'I think ideas are out there and you catch them like how you catch fish. The more consciousness you have, the deeper you can catch those ideas . . . ' and was also asked how he defined success - 'true happiness is not out there; true happiness lies within.' (more)

Natural beauty complements Maharishi Vedic Architecture
31 May 2016 - Gardens under construction for the beautiful Argiro Student Center at Maharishi University of Management are currently being featured in the website for Maharishi Vedic Architecture. This latest enhancement in the campus master-plan makes use of the natural terrain, a bowl-like hillside sloping to the east of the student centre. Surrounding a structure with beautiful gardens and natural features - that sustain as well as enhance the environment - is a key goal in building a Vastu (space designed to promote harmony with natural forces). Making use of native plants will be a priority in the landscaping phase. To launch the project, a Maharishi Vedic Observatory is currently being installed - this outdoor element consists of ten solar observation instruments that are meant to be viewed to enliven the connection between the individual's awareness and the cosmos. In addition to lovely photos, the article includes a section on the importance of ideal room placement in a Vastu home. (more)

Dr Norman Rosenthal on 'Super Mind: How to boost performance and live a richer and happier life through Transcendental Meditation'
17 May 2016 - Dr Norman Rosenthal offers an excerpt from his book Super Mind: How To Boost Performance And Live A Richer And Happier Life Through Transcendental Meditation. He tells the story of how Megan Fairchild, principal ballerina in the New York City Ballet, credits TM for relieving the effects of tension and giving her steadfast courage to undertake a challenging audition and new direction in her career. Dr Rosenthal says, 'I love Megan's story because it shows how the subtle but profound benefits of the TM technique exert their effects on a person's life. Initially there is often relief of stress, decreased anxiety, and greater resilience. These changes are often followed by expansion of consciousness and further personal development.' (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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