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US: Tourists flock to gawk at massive highway bridge projects
2 August 2015 - One of the biggest and most expensive bridge projects in Minnesota history is sparking a hot market for tours. From the $3.9 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement in New York to a 'floating bridge' outside Seattle, bridge construction tours around the country are regularly filled to capacity, too. (more)

'Selfies' of the 17th century highlighted in Dutch exhibition
23 July 2015 - The selfie may be a contemporary look, but a Dutch museum aims to show that its roots go back centuries. In an upcoming exhibition, the Mauritshuis (art museum) in The Hague is showing a collection of self-portraits by master artists including Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Carel Fabritius, and Gerrit Dou from Dutch painting's 17th century Golden Age. The self-portrait was particularly popular among Dutch painters of the period. Rembrandt alone painted and drew dozens over his lifetime. (more)

Culinary tourists driving growth in US tourism
23 July 2015 - Culinary tourists are pushing growth in foreign tourism to the United States, which is transforming its image as a fast-food mecca to a land of regional tastes and dishes, said officials visiting the Expo 2015 world's fair focusing on food this week. Foreign tourism to the United States in 2014 rose by 7 percent to over 75 million, contributing $221 million to the economy. (more)

Koran fragment find excites British researchers (Reuters video)
22 July 2015 - British researchers have discovered fragments from a Koran manuscript in the library of the University of Birmingham, mistakenly bound to a similar Koran. At 1370 years old, researchers says it's one of the oldest manuscripts of the Koran that exists today. Radiocarbon dating has found that the manuscript is just about as old as the prophet himself. (more)

Koran fragments found in UK library are among world's oldest, says university
22 July 2015 - Fragments of a Koran manuscript found in a British university library are from one of the world's oldest surviving copies of the Islamic text, and may even have been written by someone who knew Prophet Mohammad, researchers said on Wednesday. (more)

Along River Thames, Swan Uppers begin annual bird census
20 July 2015 - Dressed in a traditional scarlet coat and with a feather in his hat, Queen Swan Marker David Barber led six wooden rowing skiffs up the River Thames on Monday as bird counters began the old English tradition of Swan Upping. The five-day census goes back to the 12th century. Today, it is a way of collecting data and assessing young cygnets for injury or disease. (more)

Digital imaging reveals oldest biblical text since Dead Sea Scrolls (+ Reuters video)
20 July 2015 - Israeli archaeologists said on Monday they had discerned biblical writing on a charred 1,500-year-old parchment with the help of digital imaging and described the text as the oldest found since the Dead Sea Scrolls. U.S. and Israeli researchers made the discovery using advanced medical and digital technology to examine the object, first unearthed 45 years ago when then-standard forensics could not decipher any script on the scroll. (more)

UK: Teams on the Thames count the Queen's swans (+ AP video)
20 July 2015 - Teams of census-takers took to the River Thames on Monday for the colorful annual count of Queen Elizabeth II's swans -- a blend of science and ceremony that dates to the 12th century. Wardens, zoologists, and boatmen count, measure, weigh, and ring the swans in order to safeguard the population and determine its health. (more)

Bulgaria President opens Rozhen National Folklore Fair
18 July 2015 - Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev opened the Rozhen National Folklore Fair, on Friday, 17 July, the press centre of the President's Office announced. After 9-year break Rozhen Festival is revived. The fair's goal is to popularize the Bulgarian folk dance and song. The President said that the Rozhen Festival is a symbol of unification and patriotism. In his words, it is evidence for the rich spirituality and strong roots of Bulgarian people, as well as source for people genius of the eternal Rhodope folklore and traditions. (more)

South Africans celebrate International Nelson Mandela Day
18 July 2015 - South Africans honored the 67 years of former President Nelson Mandela's service to the country with 67 minutes of charity and community action around the country on his birthday Saturday. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Interview with composer, musician Soul Basement: 'TM has brought me new perspectives, a deeper understanding of myself . . .'
28 July 2015 - Fabio Puglisi, Italian musician and composer known professionally as Soul Basement, describes how Transcendental Meditation 'has brought me new perspectives, a deeper understanding of myself and the world I live in. Huge amounts of energy, mad happiness and joy, deeper and more stable relationships, both at work and in everyday life.' He feels that 'the whole planet should do TM' and adds that practising the technique brings a happy and rewarding life and 'a state of joy so deep, concrete, and rooted, that once one reaches it can no longer get separated from it.' (more)

Unfolding the full range of beauty through Transcendental Meditation
23 July 2015 - Supermodel Raquel Zimmermann relates how 'the gift of perceiving beauty more deeply comes to me through my Transcendental Meditation practice, which continually unfolds my potential to know deeper levels of myself and reality. The capacity to appreciate the full range of beauty from its surface appearance to the depths of its sustaining splendor is cultivated by the transcending process during the TM technique.' Raquel offers lovely quotes from various authors and personalities to bring out many layers of understanding about beauty--for example 'there is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness'--concluding that 'limitlessness . . . . the nature of our selves and of all life', whose 'flavor is Beauty', is 'the source and goal of all our strivings'. (more)

Liv Tyler on Transcendental Meditation: 'Incredible way of centering myself'
8 July 2015 - American actress Liv Tyler describes how she began to feel after starting twice a day Transcendental Meditation practice--'from that moment on I've never been that frazzled or that tired ever again. It was like it sort of restored my body on such a deep level. There was like a week's worth of sleep. From that moment forward it was like a new day . . . . My whole nervous system reacted differently. I feel much less panicked and anxious and more calm about things. But I also feel deeply centered and rested.' Watch a video of Liv discussing how Transcendental Meditation has become part of her life. (more)

Musicians who practise Transcendental Meditation: Music, infinity, reality
5 July 2015 - 'As musicians practise Transcendental Meditation regularly over time, their consciousness is elevated and grows more in harmony with the infinite field from which all the laws of nature and all matter arise,' writes Janet Hoffman, executive director of the Transcendental Meditation Program for Women Professionals in the USA. 'In this way, their music eventually can fulfil the responsibility that comes with influence: to enliven the deepest level of harmony within us.' Ms Hoffman also gives a glimpse of some of the many American musicians who practise and publicly endorse the TM programme. (more)

Profile: Ken Chawkin - public relations expert and teacher of Transcendental Meditation
2 July 2015 - A recent interview profiles Ken Chawkin, a teacher of Transcendental Meditation and public relations expert who has worked for Maharishi University of Management and the David Lynch Foundation. Explaining his successful career, he says, 'I make friends with people. Genuinely, because I like them and I am interested in them and in what they do.' About creative processes of writing poetry, Ken points out how 'we observe objects, yet embedded within the object is consciousness - looking at us, experiencing us. So there has got be a flow in between, the mutual process of knowing and recognition,' that, 'a poem wants to get expressed, wants to be born'. (more)

Jon Hopkins: 'TM takes you right down into a really pure form of consciousness'
15 June 2015 - Producer and musician Jon Hopkins, one of the most critically acclaimed and sought-after performers of alternative music, has been practising Transcendental Meditation for about six months. 'It's like going down in an elevator,' he says. 'It takes you right down into a really pure form of consciousness.' He also describes the good effects of his '20 minutes twice a day' TM practice in daily life: 'It literally makes everything easier. It makes the colours you see more vivid. . . . it's like there's this extra layer of intensity to things. It's almost being a kid again.' (more)

Hugh Jackman: Transcendental Meditation a 'life-changer'
8 June 2015 - Since learning Transcendental Meditation in 2012, award-winning actor Hugh Jackman has come to rely on the reduced stress and improved clarity and focus he gains from the practice. 'Nothing has ever opened my eyes like Transcendental Meditation has,' he said during an interview conducted by Bob Roth, Executive Director of the David Lynch Foundation. 'It makes me calm and happy, and, well, it gives me some peace and quiet in what's a pretty chaotic life!' Mr Jackman was a recent guest on Bob Roth's monthly SiriusXM radio show, Success without Stress. (more)

Interview with author Ann Purcell: The Transcendental Meditation technique and the Journey of Enlightenment
28 May 2015 - Ann Purcell discusses 'that aspect within every woman that reflects the qualities that are nurturing, loving, understanding, compassionate, insightful, intuitive, creative, forgiving, healing, steady, patient and wise. Men also possess this quality because it is a fundamental constituent of natural law itself. But women more readily express it in their natural tendency as the mothers of the world to nourish one and all.' A chapter in the new edition of her book, The Transcendental Meditation Technique and the Journey of Enlightenment, explores this topic and how TM not only reduces stress, but helps one become 'very resilient, firmly established within, where nothing from the outside can shake our inner stability and inner joy and inner well of creativity'. (more)

The Huffington Post editors learn to counter work stress with Transcendental Meditation
26 May 2015 - Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, recently published the following on her Facebook page: 'So grateful to Bob Roth, the Executive Director of the David Lynch Foundation, for coming to The Huffington Post to teach Transcendental Meditation to our editors in our new meditation room. Love his metaphor of our minds being like the ocean's surface - full of big waves - but all of us have places of stillness and tranquility - an ocean floor - that we can tap into with meditation.' She also talks about her new book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. (more)

Knowledge of ourselves through Transcendental Meditation
24 May 2015 - 'Though it is possible to transcend through any sense - through looking - this is usually a lucky happening and offers us only a fleeting glimpse of the truth,' says award-winning writer Sasha Kamini Parmasad. 'It is wonderful, therefore, that we have Transcendental Meditation - a reliable, systematic, effortless mental technique that gives us the daily opportunity to slip beyond our relative experience and unfold our divine nature.' She concludes that, 'as this pure consciousness, stillness, permeates our looking we begin to glimpse or sense in others, in objects of the world, something ineffable - beautiful, radiating, colorless, without taste, smell, or sound. . . . We slip beyond all our worldly experiences, knowledge of ourselves, and experience ourselves purely, incandescently, luminously.' (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


US: Antipsychotic use rising among teens and young adults
10 July 2015 - A growing number of U.S. teens and young adults are being prescribed antipsychotics, a new study suggests. In particular, it appears they're being used to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) -- a condition for which the powerful drugs are not approved. 'Increasingly, many youth are receiving these medications to treat behavior problems in the absence of a more severe psychiatric illness,' said Meredith Matone, a research scientist with PolicyLab at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, who wasn't involved in the study. (more)

Boko Haram guns down 97 people praying in mosques in Nigeria
2 July 2015 - Boko Haram extremists gunned down nearly 100 Muslims praying in mosques in a northeast Nigerian town during the holy month of Ramadan, a government official and a self-defense fighter said Thursday. The attack Wednesday night on the town of Kukawa came the day after the Islamic extremist group attacked a village 35 kilometers (22 miles) away and killed another 48 men and boys, according to witnesses who counted the dead. (more)

Islamic State beheads female civilians for first time in Syria: monitor
30 June 2015 - The hardline Islamic State group has beheaded two women in Syria, the first time it has decapitated female civilians, the founder of a group monitoring the war said on Tuesday. One of the women was beheaded along with her husband in Deir al-Zor city. In al-Mayadeen city to the south east, the group beheaded another woman and her husband. All of them were accused of sorcery, the monitor said. (more)

US: Heroin overdose deaths quadrupled from 2000 to 2013
11 June 2015 - The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in March that heroin overdose deaths in the United States quadrupled from 2000 to 2013, with most of the increase coming after 2010. Officials in Marion, Ohio hope they've seen the worst of the latest heroin skirmish. On Wednesday, 60 law enforcement officers raided three addresses in Marion, arrested four people and seized more than two pounds of the blue heroin that has plagued the city. But they know there will be more, and that the heroin crisis probably hasn't peaked yet, here or anywhere else. (more)

No exit: For female jihadis, Syria is one-way journey
28 May 2015 - When three British schoolgirls trundled across the Syrian border; when a pregnant 14-year-old ran away from her Alpine home for the second time; when a sheltered girl from the south of France booked her first trip abroad -- they were going to a place of no return. Only two of the approximately 600 Western girls and young women who have joined extremists in Syria are known to have made it out of the war zone. By comparison, as many as 30 percent of the male foreign fighters have left or are on their way out. In interviews, court documents, and public records, The Associated Press has compiled a detailed picture of European girls and young women who join extremists such as the Islamic State group -- a decision that is far more final than most may realize. (more)

Islamic State claims Yemen mosque attack: Islamic State Twitter statement
22 May 2015 - A bomb exploded at a Shi'ite Houthi mosque in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Friday, wounding 13 people, a security source said, and the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on Twitter. The bombing came against a backdrop of civil war in the country. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have seized large swathes of territory, including Sanaa, prompting formation of a Saudi-backed Arab coalition that is using air power to try to halt their advances. Sunni Islamist militants have been seeking to extend their influence amid the chaos. (more)

Suicide bomber kills 21 at Saudi Shi'ite mosque, Islamic State claims attack
22 May 2015 - A suicide bomber killed 21 worshippers on Friday in a packed Shi'ite mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia, residents and the health minister said, the first attack in the kingdom to be claimed by Islamic State militants. It was one of the deadliest assaults in recent years in the largest Gulf Arab country, where sectarian tensions have been frayed by nearly two months of Saudi-led air strikes on Shi'ite Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen. (more)

Boko Haram retakes Nigerian town of Marte in Borno state
16 May 2015 - Boko Haram militants retook the Nigerian town of Marte in Borno state, which had been liberated in February, the state deputy governor said. The recapture of the town followed two strikes this week on state capital Maiduguri, which left at least 12 people dead. (more)

AP News Guide: Plight of Myanmar's Rohingya
14 May 2015 - Thousands of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims have been fleeing persecution at home, and now their refugee boats are being turned away by neighboring countries, leaving them stranded at sea. Others had been locked up in jungle camps in Thailand. An untold number have died of starvation, sickness, and abuse. Here's a brief look at their plight and history: (more)

Alcohol use in movies tied to teen drinking
16 April 2015 - In a study of 15-year-olds in the UK, those who had been most exposed to alcohol use in films were also most likely to have tried alcohol, and about twice as likely as the least exposed to have been binge drinking. The results are in line with research from the USA, Europe, and elsewhere that links youth 'viewing of depictions of alcohol use in movies and the onset of drinking, regular drinking, binge-drinking, and alcohol-related problems,' said lead author Andrea Waylen of the School of Oral and Dental Sciences in Bristol, England. (more)

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