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Positive Trends
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Romanian peasant blouse back in fashion
29 October 2014 - Romania's latest hot fashion item? The traditional peasant blouse. The peasant blouse garment with distinctive traditional stitching dates back centuries, but it disappeared from sight during the communist era as authorities tried to stamp out rural traditions. Now the blouse is making a comeback -- even having its intricate stitching featured in the recent presidential campaign. The revival of the 'ie' (EE-yeh) -- seen everywhere these days on the streets of the capital -- is a sign that Romanians are returning to their roots a quarter century after the Soviet collapse. (more)

Czechs honour Sir Nicholas Winton for trains evacuating children
28 October 2014 - The President of the Czech Republic awarded a Briton his country's highest state honor for organizing a mass evacuation of children to save them from Nazi death camps. Sir Nicholas Winton received the Order of the White Lion from President Milos Zeman at a ceremony Tuesday at Prague Castle. Accepting the award, the 105-year-old Winton said he was delighted to receive it. Winton had arranged for eight trains to carry 669 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia through Hitler's Germany to Britain in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. Winton's story did not emerge until 1988. (more)

Museum of Jewish history opens in Poland
28 October 2014 - The Presidents of Poland and Israel on Tuesday joined Holocaust survivors for the formal opening of a multimedia museum that tells the 1,000-year history of Jewish life in Poland. The POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews was built at what was the centre of the Warsaw Ghetto. It shows the richness of Poland's Jewish culture, which was wiped out in the Holocaust. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, on his first foreign trip as President, and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski attended the open-air ceremony. (more)

Finding hidden gems in cities and countries with new apps
27 October 2014 - News apps are helping users share information about sights and hidden gems in cities and countries around the globe so other people can benefit from their knowledge. (more)

Museum unveils rich story of Jewish life in Poland
27 October 2014 - In the two millennia between ancient Israel and its modern rebirth, Jews never enjoyed as much political autonomy as they did in Poland, a land that centuries later would become intrinsically linked to the Holocaust. The story of this great flourishing of political and cultural life is part of a 1,000-year history told in a visually striking new museum, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which opens its long-awaited core exhibition to the public Tuesday, 28 October amid days of celebrations. Polin is Hebrew for Poland, and also means 'rest here', a reference to a story Jews told themselves about their arrival in Poland in the Middle Ages. (more)

US: Alaska's indigenous languages now official along with English
24 October 2014 - Alaska's governor signed a bill on Thursday to officially recognize the state's 20 indigenous languages in a symbolic move that gives a nod to tribal efforts to save Native American tongues at risk of dying out. In April, the State Legislature overwhelmingly passed the bill. The move would make Alaska only the second US state, after Hawaii, to officially recognize indigenous languages. Lance Twitchell, a professor of native languages at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau, said the bill was important even if largely symbolic. 'Hawaii has gone from language decline and become one of the few areas where they are producing more native speakers than they are losing,' Mr Twitchell said. (more)

Remote Bhutan gets Google Street View panoramas
23 October 2014 - You can now take in dramatic vistas from the tiny, isolated Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan -- via Google. The tech giant Thursday unveiled Street View images -- the Google Maps feature providing 360-degree panoramic images -- for some 1,900 miles of roads in the remote country, which sits between India and China and is home to about 700,000 people. (more)

In US, Pittsburgh Penguins show solidarity by playing 'O Canada'
22 October 2014 - After a tragic day in Ottawa, Canada, the NHL (National Hockey League) and the Pittsburgh Penguins proved that they are about more than just hockey. The Pittsburgh Penguins decided to play the Canadian national anthem prior to their game against the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night. (Both teams are American) (more)

Japan's chrysanthemums: More than symbol of autumn
22 October 2014 - When Americans think of flowers and Japan, they think of cherry blossoms. But to the Japanese, there is a flower for every time of year, and right now, it's the chrysanthemum, celebrated in festivals, shows, and home displays. Like the cherry blossom, the chrysanthemum, called 'kiku' in Japanese, symbolizes the season, but more than that, it's a symbol of the country itself. The monarchy is referred to as the Chrysanthemum Throne and the imperial crest is a stylized mum blossom. That seal is embossed on Japanese passports. The flower is also a common motif in art, and it's seen in everyday life depicted on the 50-yen coin. Originally introduced from China, this flower came with a legend about longevity, the story of a town whose residents all lived to over 100 years old. At this time of year in Japan, you'll even find chrysanthemum petals in your food. Fall is also the season for a range of festivals and shows celebrating the flower. (more)

Tourists watch solar alignment in Egypt temple
22 October 2014 - Hundreds of visitors gathered in Egypt on Wednesday at the Great Temple of Ramses II to watch the sun illuminate colossal statues, a rare 3,200-year-old astronomical ceremony that happens twice a year. Thirty-two centuries ago, during the reign of Ramses II, the temple was precisely built to align with the sun twice a year, celebrating the pharaoh's birthday and coronation. It is considered one of the most beautiful of Egypt's ancient monuments and it is well-known for its four colossal statues of Ramses II, the sun gods Re-Horakhte and Amon-Re, and the Theban god of darkness Ptah, the only one who is not lit by the solar alignment. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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David Lynch interviewed, 'Everybody holds the key to unlock the mystery'
23 October 2014 - Filmmaker David Lynch described his creative process and results from practising Transcendental Meditation, saying, 'It's unbounded intelligence, creativity, happiness, love, energy, and peace. And it's within every human being. It's there, that you make the subconscious conscious and develop your full potential as a human being.' (more)

Celebrating the Indian Vedic Calendar Day of Dhanvantari: One day of the year dedicated to perfect health
21 October 2014 - Today Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Transcendental Meditation organization celebrated an ancient Indian holiday, called the Day of Dhanvantari--the Day of Perfect Health in the Indian Vedic Calendar. This day traditionally precedes the celebration of Deepavali, the Festival of Lights, by two days. A highlight of the celebration today was the recitation of Vedic formulae by Maharishi Vedic Pandits at the Brahmasthan--geographical centre--of India, followed by Maharishi's lecture on 10 November 2004. (more)

Architect Bing Thom speaks on Transcendental Meditation and creativity
17 October 2014 - Bing Thom, an award-winning architect and recipient of Canada's celebrated Golden Jubilee Medal said about his work, 'So this combination of the subjective world and the objective world is like Transcendental Meditation, where you come into yourself, and then you come out into action. I can't separate architecture from meditation. To me, it's all just Being, you know? Just the way I am.'
(more)

Jerry Seinfeld: 'The Thing That I Love More Than Money, More Than Love, More Than Just About Anything'
13 October 2014 - Celebrated actor Jerry Seinfeld was recently interviewed on SiriusXM Satellite Radio about his 40 years practising Transcendental Meditation. In his talk with show host Bob Roth he said, 'Everyone's got some of this, although many don't have enough, and I rarely meet a person who doesn't want more'. Mr Seinfeld explains in a one minute video what he calls 'the greatest riches in human life' and how you can get more. (more)

What is Liberation
12 October 2014 - We can understand why our status as an individual is never sufficient until we can incorporate the wholeness of our nature, the Unity of our consciousness, into our otherwise endlessly seeking conscious mind. This is the state of liberation that results from repeatedly transcending thought to the silent unified depths of consciousness during the Transcendental Meditation technique. (more)

Who Am I? Strengthening Ethnic Values
8 October 2014 - In Transcendental Meditation for Women Professionals, contributing author Linda Egenes features the life of Christine Spotted Elk, a tribal school counselor, and the inspiring results Christine gained after renewing her regular practice of Transcendental Meditation. Christine feels that not only is the stress of the day dissolving as she meditates each morning and afternoon, but also the historical burden of generations of trauma. After her husband began TM Christine said, 'We both had such a peaceful experience and it made a deep impact on both of us. Each day that I meditated, I felt like I was getting stronger and more resilient to all that was happening around me.' Christine notes that by getting more in touch with herself through meditation, she is strengthening her connection with her tribal traditions. (more)

Fox News' Bill O'Reilly praises Transcendental Meditation: 'Tip of the Day - The David Lynch Foundation, very worthy'
2 October 2014 - At the conclusion of 'The O'Reilly Factor' show on Fox News 1 October, host Bill O'Reilly praised the David Lynch Foundation's programmes providing free Transcendental Meditation instruction to at-risk children. 'TM helps these children . . . calms them down,' he said. Mr O'Reilly explained that at a recent New York event, he commended Paul McCartney for his 2009 Radio City Music Hall concert with Ringo Starr to benefit the Foundation. The anecdote served as the introduction to Mr O'Reilly's 'Tip of the Day: The David Lynch Foundation, very worthy'. (more)

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)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Assad's warnings start to ring true in Turkey
27 October 2014 - When Sunni rebels rose up against Syria's Bashar al-Assad in 2011, Turkey reclassified its protege as a pariah, expecting him to lose power within months and join the autocrats of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Yemen on the scrap heap of the 'Arab Spring'. Assad, in contrast, shielded diplomatically by Russia and with military and financial support from Iran and its Shi'ite allies in Lebanon's Hezbollah, warned that the fires of Syria's sectarian war would burn its neighbors. For Turkey, despite the confidence of Tayyip Erdogan, elected this summer to the presidency after 11 years as prime minister and three straight general election victories, Assad's warning is starting to ring uncomfortably true. Turkey's foreign policy is in ruins. Its once shining image as a Muslim democracy and regional power in the NATO alliance and at the doors of the European Union is badly tarnished. (more)

Dozens more girls abducted by Nigerian extremists
27 October 2014 - Dozens of girls and young women are being abducted by Islamic extremists in northeast Nigeria, raising doubts about an announced ceasefire and the hoped-for release of 219 schoolgirls held captive since April. On 17 October, Nigeria's military said a ceasefire had been agreed to with Boko Haram and ordered troops to immediately comply. But there have been a number of kidnappings and battles since then that call into question the ceasefire. The insurgents also launched several attacks since the ceasefire was announced. None of the escaped girls interviewed by Human Rights Watch was offered proper counseling, the group said in a new report Monday, quoting escapees who described forced marriages and rapes, forced conversions to Islam, forced labour, and forced participation in attacks. (more)

Suspected Boko Haram fighters kidnap 25 girls in northeast Nigeria
23 October 2014 - Suspected Boko Haram militants kidnapped at least 25 girls in an attack on a remote town in northeastern Nigeria, witnesses said, despite talks on freeing over 200 other female hostages they seized in April. John Kwaghe, who witnessed the attack and lost three daughters to the abductors, and Dorathy Tizhe, who lost two, said the kidnappers came late in the night, forcing all the women to go with them, then later releasing the older ones. In a separate attack, a bomb exploded Wednesday at a bus station in the town of Azare in northern Nigeria's Bauchi state, killing at least five people and wounding 12, police said. Boko Haram is likely to be the prime suspect. The insurgents have repeatedly bombed public places since launching an uprising demanding an Islamic state in religiously mixed Nigeria five years ago. They have stepped up their campaign this year, setting off deadly blasts across the country that killed hundreds. (more)

Nigeria truce is shaky, no news of abducted girls
22 October 2014 - Days after Nigeria's military raised hopes with the announcement that Islamic extremists had agreed to a cease-fire, Boko Haram is still fighting and there is no word on the fate of the 219 schoolgirls held hostage for six months. The official silence raises many questions, especially since Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau has not confirmed that a truce has been agreed. Despite the ceasefire announced by the military on Friday, the Islamic insurgents have attacked two villages and a town in the northeast and raised their flag in a fourth village. People who escaped this week from Bama, a town in a part of northeastern Nigeria where Boko Haram has declared an Islamic caliphate, say hundreds of residents are being detained for allegedly breaking the group's strict version of Shariah law. Many young men have been forced to join Boko Haram, and those who refuse are killed, said those who ran away. (more)

Suspected Boko Haram fighters mount deadly attacks after Nigeria 'ceasefire'
18 October 2014 - Suspected Boko Haram militants have killed dozens of people in five attacks on Nigerian villages that occurred after the government announced a ceasefire to enable 200 abducted girls to be freed, security sources and witnesses said on Saturday. The fresh attacks dashed hopes for an easing of the northeast's violence, although officials remained confident they can negotiate the release of girls whose abduction by the rebels in the remote northeastern town of Chibok in April caused international shock and outrage. Boko Haram, whose name translates roughly as 'Western education is sinful', has massacred thousands in a struggle to carve an Islamic state out of religiously mixed Nigeria, whose southern half is mainly Christian in faith. Boko Haram, seen as the biggest threat to Africa's top economy and oil producer, is believed to be divided into several factions that loosely cooperate with each other, and it is unclear with which faction the government has been negotiating. (more)

More Bangladeshis found in Thailand on human trafficking route
13 October 2014 - Thai police found scores of sick and exhausted boat people hiding on a remote island on Monday, and all but one of the 79 suspected human-trafficking victims were from Bangladesh, according to local officials. The high proportion of Bangladeshis cropping up on smuggling routes once plied mainly by Rohingya is consistent with what a leading Rohingya advocacy group says is an alarming rise in 'forced departures' from Bangladesh. Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, which plots migration across the Bay of Bengal, said the group had learned that brokers in Bangladesh were abducting men and boys, or luring them by false promises of work, then shipping them to Thailand and Malaysia. Reuters reported last year how thousands of Rohingya were held and sometimes tortured by traffickers at jungle camps in southern Thailand until their families secured their release with ransoms of $2,000 or more. The discovery of the boat people, along with the detention of dozens more Rohingya last month, suggests that smuggling routes are still thriving in Thailand. (more)

Islamic State magazine says group enslaved Yazidis
12 October 2014 - Islamic State group militants captured, enslaved, and sold Yazidi women and children, the latest issue of a magazine purportedly published by the extremists claimed Sunday, the group's first public confirmation of the allegations. Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled into the Sinjar Mountains, many getting stranded there for weeks, after the militant onslaught on Sinjar in August, part of the Islamic State group's lightning advance across northern and western Iraq. Hundreds were killed in the attack, and tens of thousands fled for their lives, most to the Kurdish-held parts of northern Iraq. The Associated Press independently has interviewed a number of Yazidi women and girls who escaped captivity and several claimed that they were sold to Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria. (more)

Turkey: Syrian town about to fall to jihadists
7 October 2014 - The Islamic State group is about to capture the Syrian border town of Kobani, Turkey's president said Tuesday, as outgunned Kurdish forces struggled to repel the extremists with limited aid from US-led coalition airstrikes. Islamic State fighters using tanks and heavy weapons looted from captured army bases in Iraq and Syria have been pounding Kurdish forces in the town of Kobani for days. The Islamic State group has conquered vast swaths of Syria and Iraq, declaring a self-styled caliphate governed by its strict interpretation of Shariah law. The militants have massacred captured Syrian and Iraqi troops, terrorized minorities, and beheaded two American journalists and two British aid workers. (more)

Pakistani Taliban declare allegiance to Islamic State and global jihad
5 October 2014 - The Pakistani Taliban declared allegiance to Islamic State on Saturday and ordered militants across the region to help the Middle Eastern jihadist group in its campaign to set up a global Islamic caliphate. Islamic State, which controls swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, has been making inroads into South Asia, which has traditionally been dominated by local Taliban insurgencies against both the Pakistan and Afghanistan governments. In a message marking the Muslim holy festival of Eid al-Adha, the Pakistani Taliban said they fully supported IS goals. The statement, released in Urdu, Pashto, and Arabic, came despite recent speculation that the Taliban leadership, whose goal is to topple the government and set up a Sharia state, is actually wary of IS, which is driven by different ambitions that have little to do with South Asia. The Pakistani Taliban have been beset by bitter internal rivalries over the past year. (more)

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)

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