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Austria: Vienna's Jewish Museum returns painting seized by Nazis to heirs
22 September 2014 - A Jewish museum in Vienna returned a painting that was seized by the Nazis in 1938 to the artist's grandnieces on Friday, part of a wider move in Austria to deal with art illegally acquired after Germany annexed the country in 1938. The 1922 work 'The coffee hour. Fanny, the sister of the artist' by Jewish artist Jehudo Epstein, was handed to the granddaughter of the woman in the painting, Anne Starkey, who travelled from Britain to receive the piece, the museum said. (more)

India: This Durga Puja a blessing for environment
21 September 2014 - Members of Shree Sai Sewashram Puja Committee -- a unit of the Institute for Environment Research, Entrepreneurship, Education, and Development -- have pledged to not only spread awareness about environment protection and sustainable development but also adopt an eco-friendly way of immersing idols made of 100% natural material. Based on this year's theme of river water conservation, the organizers have decided that all the jewellery, flowers, leaves, and other 'shringar' items will be removed from the deities before they are taken for immersion. (more)

Dalai Lama praises China's leader as 'realistic'
20 September 2014 - The Dalai Lama praised Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday for being 'more realistic' and principled than his predecessors, a day after Xi's three-day visit to India ended. The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader has lived in exile for decades in India's Himalayan foothill city of Dharamsala, after fleeing China following a failed 1959 uprising. Beijing's attitude appears to be shifting, the Dalai Lama said, noting that China's Communist leaders, who officially are atheist, are now 'mentioning the importance of spiritualism'. He said that since becoming President in March 2013, Xi has demonstrated 'through his handling of problems, he is comparatively more realistic and with more principles' than his predecessors. (more)

US: Group aims to redo neglected site on National Mall
20 September 2014 - Lakeside gardens, model boats, and fine dining overlooking the nation's monuments could one day redefine a site on the National Mall that has languished for years with fetid water, dying fish, and crumbling walkways. After holding a design competition to improve spaces on the mall in 2011, the nonprofit Trust for the National Mall selected the little-known Constitution Gardens for a major rehabilitation over the next five years, officials with the group told The Associated Press. Designers are still refining the concept but are developing an ambitious project whose budget totals about $150 million. (more)

Thailand: Celebration of the birth anniversary of King Chulalongkorn on Si Chang Island in Chon Buri
17 September 2014 - Ko Si Chang, or Si Chang Island, off Chon Buri province, is preparing to hold its annual event to celebrate the birth anniversary of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) -- one of the most revered monarchs in Thai history. King Chulalongkorn was born on 20 September 1853. He has the same date of birth as King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII), who was born in 1925. The event to celebrate the birth anniversary of King Chulalongkorn is scheduled for 19 and 20 September in the grounds of Chudhadhuj Palace, a royal summer palace of King Chulalongkorn. It gives everyone the chance to experience some genuine village traditions and cultural heritage of the island. (more)

British Museum features 'golden age' of Ming China
16 September 2014 - Intricate, inventive, and ahead of their time -- and that's just the vases. London's British Museum will open a major new exhibition on Thursday exploring the rich art and global influences of China's Ming era in the 15th century. The exhibition looks at China's culture, government, and place in the world in the early Ming Dynasty, described as a 'pivotal 50 year period' for the country from 1400 to 1450. The exhibition -- which was five years in the making -- is part of new research efforts to shed light on early 15th-century China on the international stage. (more)

Mali: Custodian of Timbuktu's literary past looks to digital future
16 September 2014 - When extremists occupied Timbuktu, its 'blasphemous' manuscripts were their first target. But many are now preserved and digitized in homes -- and, families believe, protecting them in return. 'Here you have about 3,000 manuscripts dating from the ninth to the 19th century,' says Abdulwadid Abderrahim Haidara as he opens a rusty metal chest. 'Some are short -- three, four pages -- some run to a hundred pages. The subjects are religion, astrology, history, jurisprudence, and medicine. There are also some accounting ledgers written by gold and salt traders. I really need to get them on to a memory stick or a CD.' (more)

Taxi! Seeking women to drive for female passengers in NYC area
16 September 2014 - Sometimes a woman can be hard to find -- if you're looking for one behind the wheel of a taxi in New York City. Less than 3 per cent of the city's licensed taxi, livery, and limousine drivers are women, and that can be a problem for women who are reluctant to get into a cab alone with a male driver because of safety concerns or religious and social mores. An app called SheTaxi would locate taxis with a woman behind the wheel in New York City, Westchester County, and Long Island. Its creator, Stella Mateo, estimates around 500 drivers are needed to make it viable. SheTaxi, called SheRides in New York City, has been two years in the making. Bronya Shaffer, 66, of Brooklyn, said the app is a good idea. 'It's having one more opportunity in our whole world, in all of our interactions everywhere, to know that I can choose to have a woman if I want,' she said. 'It's kind of nice.' (more)

US: Review - 'Voices' draws attention to African American poets
16 September 2014 - George Moses Horton wasn't supposed to be able to read. As a black slave in rural North Carolina in the pre-Civil War South, he definitely wasn't supposed to be able to compose sonnets and ballads. But on 18 July 1828, his poem 'Slavery' appeared in the newspaper Freedom's Journal. Two researchers are bringing attention to poets like Horton though their book, 'Voices Beyond Bondage: An Anthology of Verse by African Americans of the 19th Century'. The collection aims to fill in gaps in the commonly accepted history of African American poetry. Poetry was a common part of the glue of the African American community. The African American newspaper saw its job not to just inform, educate, and entertain, but also to serve as an outlet for African American literature that was ignored by the mainstream white press. (more)

Canada: The Inuit were right -- shipwreck find confirms 168-year-old oral history
10 September 2014 - The discovery of a ship that had been missing since 1846 has at least partially solved one of Canada's favourite mysteries; what's more, its location confirms the veracity of Inuit accounts that never squared with the accepted version of what happened. 'For us Inuit it means that oral history is very strong in knowledge, not only for searching for Franklin's ships but also for environment and other issues,' Louie Kamookak, an Inuit historian, told CBC News. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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US: David Lynch Foundation director Bob Roth addresses Google Zeitgeist conference
17 September 2014 - Earlier this week in Phoenix, Arizona, Bob Roth, executive director of the David Lynch Foundation, spoke to 400 top international business and tech leaders at Google Zeitgeist. The title of Mr Roth's talk was: 'Relieving the world's stress with Transcendental Meditation': 'Trauma and toxic stress are the number one health epidemic confronting at-risk populations because they fuel disease, violent behavior and poverty. The David Lynch Foundation is committed to empowering all those in need with the evidence-based Transcendental Meditation technique to live healthier, more productive lives.' (more)

UK: Ringo Starr praises TM, David Lynch Foundation at GQ Awards
5 September 2014 - The former Beatles drummer was awarded the Humanitarian Prize at the 17th annual edition of British GQ's (Gentleman's Quarterly) Men of the Year Awards in London, in recognition of his support for the David Lynch Foundation. 'I truly believe in the David Lynch Foundation,' Ringo said in accepting his award. 'They started to bring meditation into inner-city schools and now it's a fact that in those schools and neighborhoods violence has gone down. Meditation brings people back to being human again.' (more)

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)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Islamic State militants threaten ancient sites in Iraq, Syria
19 September 2014 - For more than 5,000 years, numerous civilizations have left their mark on upper Mesopotamia. Their ancient, buried cities, palaces, and temples packed with monumental art are scattered across what is now northern Iraq and eastern Syria. Now much of that archaeological wealth is under the control of extremists from the Islamic State group. The militants have demolished some artifacts in their zealotry to uproot what they see as heresy, but they are also profiting from it, hacking relics off palace walls or digging them out to sell on the international black market. The Islamic State militants seek to purge society of everything that doesn't conform with their strict, puritanical version of Islam. But their extremist ideology doesn't prevent them from also profiting from the sale of ancient artifacts. (more)

Study: Americans endure unwanted care near death
17 September 2014 - Americans suffer needless discomfort and undergo unwanted and costly care as they die, in part because of a medical system ruled by 'perverse incentives' for aggressive care and not enough conversation about what people want, according to a report released Wednesday. Though people repeatedly stress a desire to die at home, free from pain, the opposite often happens, the Institute of Medicine found in its 'Dying in America' report. Most people do not document their wishes on end-of-life care and even those who do face a medical system poorly suited to give them the death they want, the authors found. The result is breathing and feeding tubes, powerful drugs, and other treatment that often fails to extend life and can make the final days more unpleasant. Advance directives including living wills have been unpopular and ineffective, the report said. The report praised programs in palliative care, which focuses on treating pain, minimizing side effects, coordinating care among doctors, and ensuring concerns of patients and their families are addressed. This type of care has expanded rapidly in the past several decades and is now found in a majority of US hospitals, but the report said many physicians have no training in it. (more)

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)

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