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Yemen's ancient art of brickmaking endures war
26 July 2016 - Traditional mud brick tower houses have always been a source of pride to Yemenis, and over a year into a devastating civil war, they are also providing some much-needed jobs in the ancient capital Sanaa. The traditional [brick] houses of Sanaa, a UNESCO world heritage site, are said to have been founded by the son of Prophet Noah two and half millennia ago. Despite the threat of destruction, a decades-long spread of concrete construction, and tight wartime budgets, the appeal of the ancient art of brickmaking remains strong. (more)

AP Poll: Support grows among Americans for stricter gun laws
23 July 2016 - Americans increasingly favor tougher gun laws, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. Nearly two-thirds of respondents expressed support for stricter laws, with majorities favoring nationwide bans on the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons such as the AR-15 and on the sale of high-capacity magazines holding 10 or more bullets. The percentage of Americans who want such laws is the highest since the AP-GfK poll started asking the question in 2013. Americans find common ground on other issues. Strong majorities of Democrats and Republicans said they support requiring background checks for people buying firearms at gun shows and through other private sales. (more)

Did Rembrandt trace his self-portraits?
22 July 2016 - The 17th-century artist and other Old Masters could have exploited mirrors and lenses to achieve their detailed, life-like paintings. A pair of independent researchers in the UK set up mirrors and lenses which allow a painter to project their image on a canvas. They published their work in the Journal of Optics. Previous hypotheses on this are hotly debated. Now Francis O'Neill and Sofia Palazzo Corner's study details why the use of technology in producing portraits is entirely possible -- and in the case of Rembrandt, perhaps even probable. (more)

African honeyguide birds aid hunters in rare, sweet partnership
21 July 2016 - A small African bird that guides people to bees' nests hoping to share honey and wax responds to hunters' special calls in a rare example of a partnership between wild animals and humans, scientists said on Thursday, 21 July. Cooperation between the greater honeyguide bird and hunters was first written about by a Portuguese missionary in 1588, but was widely dismissed as pure hearsay. In recent years, however, researchers have found ever more evidence of the bond. (more)

Wild birds lead people to honey if they make the right sound
21 July 2016 - In Mozambique's woodlands, the sound of sweet evolution is at work.Over the centuries humans and a wild bird species have learned to work together with a simple sound: 'Brrr-hm.' When human honey-hunters make that call, the bird called the honeyguide does its namesake job with incredible accuracy, leading people to hidden bees' nests. Scientists put this ancient practice to the test and it passed with high flying colors. (more)

Santas from all over the world meet in Denmark
20 July 2016 - With just five months until Christmas, Santas from around the world are gathering in Copenhagen for a mid-season break at the annual World Santa Claus Congress. This year 140 Santas from 12 countries gathered in the Danish capital for the three-day event. 'A successful Santa is not just about the costumes and the clothes. You have to have Christmas in your heart. You have to have the love of children and caring and giving in your hear to be a really successful Santa and it's not something you can make up.' said Santa Cherry from Canada. (more)

UK: Annual Royal 'Swan-Upping' takes place on River Thames
18 July 2016 - A census of the British Queen's swans has taken place annually on the River Thames for the last 800 years. On Monday, 18 June, a group of Boats led by the Queen's Swan Marker continued the tradition, known as 'Swan Upping.' It takes them five days to cover the stretch of the Thames between Sunbury near London out to Abingdon near Oxford. Cygnets are individually tagged, as part of conservation efforts to protect the young birds. Those who carry out the tradition hope that it helps conserve the future of the birds and educates younger generations. (more)

World-class Mexican Museum being built in San Francisco
18 July 2016 - San Francisco is getting another cultural treasure -- a world-class museum to showcase the largest collection of Mexican and Latino art in the nation. The 60,000-square-foot Mexican Museum will be the downtown home of the collection that includes 800 works of Mexican folk art donated by the family of Nelson Rockefeller and pieces by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera and painter Miguel Covarrubias. (more)

Iraq's marshes named world heritage site
17 July 2016 - A wetland in southeast Iraq, thought to be the biblical Garden of Eden and almost completely drained during Saddam Hussein's rule, has become a UNESCO world heritage site, Iraqi authorities said on Sunday, 17 July. Fed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the marshlands of Mesopotamia are spawning grounds for Gulf fisheries and home to bird species such as the sacred ibis. They also provide a resting spot for thousands of wildfowl migrating between Siberia and Africa. (more)

US: In Saratoga Springs, reviving the wells that made it famous
17 July 2016 - More than a century after scores of Saratoga Springs' famous mineral wells were capped in an early example of environmental conservation, a few of them could soon be flowing with naturally carbonated water once again. Saratoga Springs has been known for its natural mineral springs since Colonial times, when Mohawk Indians introduced Europeans to the carbonated waters bubbling up from the ground in the Adirondack foothills. (more)

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

Vogue Magazine: Natasha Khan - Transcendental Meditation 'connects me to the places that bring ideas and clarity'
15 July 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)

Natural beauty complements Maharishi Vedic Architecture
14 July 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)

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)

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)

United Kingdom: The Mirror: Team manager Sam Allardyce using Transcendental Meditation to keep calm
6 May 2016 - Manager Sam Allardyce, of the Sunderland team in the United Kingdom's Premier League Football Club (soccer for North Americans) made sports page headlines about his practise of Transcendental Meditation. He says, 'I've read the science on it and it gives you a better insight into how it helps to reduce your blood pressure and keeps you calmer -- if done the right way. You can be anywhere at any time, in a relatively quiet place. It refreshes you and makes you feel good to push on.' The article also states, 'TM was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and some studies claim it can reduce high blood pressure, anxiety, and chronic pain -- all common symptoms for recent Sunderland managers.' (more)

Profile: Chelsea McCooey, teacher of Transcendental Meditation from Vancouver, Canada
20 April 2016 - Vancouver Real television sat down with Chelsea McCooey, the director of the recently opened Transcendental Meditation centre in Vancouver, Canada. Chelsea was literally born into TM as both her parents were TM meditators, but she had to find her own way in life, which eventually led to valuing the practice of TM. Chelsea rephrases Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who said that if we don't water the root of our existence, we cannot enjoy its fruit. 'So that's why we go within, settle, meditate,' she says, 'to then go out and enjoy life even more.' She relates her journey into TM and life as the centre director, and outlines some advanced programmes in Maharishi technologies available at the centre. (more)

Meditation, creativity, peace: A documentary about David Lynch and his travels
11 April 2016 - Shot by film students, the documentary Meditation, Creativity, Peace follows the famous director David Lynch on his globetrotting journey through 16 countries from 2007 to 2009. Mr Lynch's message centres on the crossroads of Transcendental Meditation and creativity -- and he is ever-ready for a touch of tongue-in-cheek humour, that includes his 'before and after' diagram of what it is like to practise TM. He explains the 'after' is very good but way after as: 'Totality. Total fulfillment. Liberation. Salvation.' (more)

Transcendental Meditation is tailor made for on-the-go millennials
31 March 2016 - Transcendental Meditation is being adopted by stressed-out millennials - people between the ages of 18 and 35 - reports The article includes videos from a community of meditating celebrities - Oprah Winfrey, David Lynch, Hugh Jackman, and Howard Stern - who explain the benefits of Transcendental Meditation. Additionally, an entertaining video follows four ordinary young adults from deciding to learn TM through one month of regular practice. (more)

Maharishi School students win top state award for musical theater
28 March 2016 - The Iowa High School Speech Association's All-State Festival gave the Critic's Choice Award to a team from Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment for its outstanding performance this year. After performing well in the state competition, two acts from Maharishi School were invited to perform at the recent All-State Speech Festival in the capital city, Des Moines, with their entry in the musical theater category coming away with the top award: a Critic's Choice banner. Senior Anna Unger and sophomore Devan Burke performed an excerpt of 'Once,' a musical stage adaptation based on the 2007 film of the same name. The award for 'Once' is the 18th Critic's Choice award in the school's history since it began competing in 1988. (more)

Christian Wharton, a painter with transparent and dazzling technique
16 March 2016 - Capturing water with water colours, Christian Wharton has had eight London exhibitions and her work adorns the offices of major corporations such as the BBC, hospitals, hospices and banks. By her own admission, it's the peaceful flow of meditating that has carried her so far. 'I started Transcendental Meditation in 1967 and it has been my guiding light,' Wharton says, 'a small candle at the still centre. My paintings would not have developed the way they did if it had not been for TM. It has not been merely an inspiration but has increased my perception of what is really going on in nature, art, and life itself.' (more)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

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)

UN: Satellite images show Temple of Bel in Syria 'destroyed'
31 August 2015 - A satellite image on Monday shows that the main building of the ancient Temple of Bel in the Syrian city of Palmyra has been destroyed, a United Nations agency said. The image was taken a day after a massive explosion was set off near the 2,000-year-old temple in the city occupied by Islamic State militants. It stood out among the ruins not far from the colonnades of Palmyra, which is affectionately known by Syrians as the 'Bride of the Desert.' Palmyra was an important caravan city of the Roman Empire, linking it to India, China, and Persia. Before the outbreak of Syria's conflict in March 2011, the UNESCO site was one of the top tourist attractions in the Middle East. (more)

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