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10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Norway is building some of the world's first electric ferries
22 March 2018 - Norway wants two-thirds of all boats carrying both passengers and cars along its jagged and windy Atlantic coastline to be electrified by 2030. While progress in electrifying the world's excessively polluting shipping fleets is miles behind advances in automobiles, Europe is making initial strides as Paris Climate Accord goals to cut carbon dioxide emissions loom large. Dozens of battery-powered boats that can move through inland waterways in Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands are about to make their first voyages. (more)

This college wants to be the first 100 per cent renewable campus in the United States
21 March 2018 - In 2015, the state of Hawaii committed to converting 100 per cent of its energy supply to renewables by 2045. It's a steep undertaking, and one that will involve utilities coordinating resources across a network of grids that span the island. And at the same time, the Hawaii Legislature and the University of Hawaii system established a joint goal: The entire university network, which comprises 10 campuses across the islands, will be 'net zero' by 2035, meaning that the system would generate as much renewable energy as it consumes. And now by 2019, UH's Maui College will be among the first campuses in the nation to generate 100 per cent of its energy from an on-site solar installation, coupled with battery storage. (more)

US: More Maine towns making transition to life without plastic bags
20 March 2018 - Plastic bag fees and bans can be controversial, but in the Maine communities that already have adopted the changes, at least one official said that the transition has been much easier than anticipated. (more)

Thailand: Tourist islands unite to save environment
16 March 2018 - Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan in Surat Thani province will ban 'unfriendly activities' which hurt the environment and marine ecological systems at the country's top tourist destinations. The measures include: no anchoring at a coral reef, a ban on feeding marine animals, no catching fish, no construction that has harmful results on marine and coastal resources, no waste water discharges, and no sea walker activity. (more)

Finland is world's happiest country: U.N. report
14 March 2018 - Finland is the world's happiest country, according to an annual survey issued on Wednesday (14 March) that found Americans were getting less happy even as their country became richer. The U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network's (SDSN) 2018 World Happiness Report ranked 156 countries according to things such as GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, social freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption. (more)

France to commit 700 million euros to International Solar Alliance
11 March 2018 - France will commit 700 million euros to the International Solar Alliance (ISA), President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday (11 March) at the founding conference of the organization, reiterating the European country's commitment to the alliance and clean energy. ISA is an inter-governmental organization that aims to mobilize $1 trillion in funds for future solar generation, storage, and technology across the world. It has 60 signatories, with 30 of those countries having ratified the agreement. (more)

ISA summit: French President Macron applauds India's efforts in promoting solar energy
11 March 2018 - As world leaders gathered here [New Delhi] to discuss ways to promote more efficient and feasible methods of harnessing solar energy for power generation, visiting French President Emmanuel Macron today [11 March] pledged over $860 million for solar projects in developing countries and lauded India's efforts in making International Solar Alliance (ISA) a reality. The French president in 2015 joined hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cobble together a solar alliance of over 120 nations, situated between the two tropics. On Sunday [11 March], the alliance held its first summit in Delhi, which was attended by heads of 23 nations and 10 ministerial representatives. (more)

Cuba's Capitol reopens after years of restoration
1 March 2018 - After eight years of restoration work, Cuba on Thursday re-opened to the public the doors of its Capitol, an imposing neoclassical gem previously shunned as a symbol of U.S. imperialism now to become the seat of its national assembly. Its restoration was started in 2010 as part of the Office of City Historian's revamp of Havana, one of the architectural treasures of Latin America. Its design is tailored to Cuba's tropical weather, such as multiple patios to maximize air circulation. (more)

US: EPA photos show the positive impact on the country
28 February 2018 - Back in 1970, then-President Richard Nixon signed an executive order establishing the Environmental Protection Agency. Just after its creation, the EPA created a photo-documentary project called 'Project Documerica.' Its purpose? To 'record the state of the environment and efforts to improve it.' [The project] focused on 'environmental concerns of the early 1970s' ... it also showed the country's commitment to solving these problems ... About 15,000 digital scans in the collection are available to the public online. (more)

Diesel cars can be banned from German cities, court rules
27 February 2018 - German cities can ban the most heavily polluting diesel cars from their streets, a court ruled on Tuesday (27 February), a move that could accelerate a shift away from the combustion engine and force manufacturers to pay to improve exhaust systems. After the ruling, the northern city of Hamburg said it would start to implement limits on diesel vehicles from the end of April. (more)

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

New study: Transcendental Meditation helps women reduce trauma in prison, gain 'self-care for life'
24 August 2017 - Research finds that women are the fastest growing population in U.S. prisons, nearly double the rate of men, and enter prison with high rates of abuse and proportionally more trauma. Fortunately, a 2017 randomized controlled study published in The Permanente Journal found that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique significantly reduced trauma symptoms in female inmates at an Oregon prison. 'Meditating twice a day has helped lessen my stress levels, allowed me to connect to and centre myself at deeper levels, and to retreat, reflect, and problem-solve,' said one inmate. Another said, 'I no longer feel imprisoned. I now feel my freedom from the inside of me.' The TM technique has critical advantages as a mind-body intervention for underrepresented populations, according to Charles Elder, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., author of a companion editorial in The Permanente Journal. (more)

Post-Traumatic Growth: 'Transcendental Meditation has given me the opportunity to live a life that is truly full of purpose, meaning, connection, and service'
1 August 2017 - Suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTS), and finding no relief through treatments provided by the U.S. Veterans Administration, Marine Corps veteran Paul Downs went to Boulder Crest Retreat Facility for veterans in Virginia, which partners with the David Lynch Foundation to offer Transcendental Meditation as part of its programme. One of only five witnesses testifying before the recent U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs' hearing on PTS, Downs said that after just a few weeks of practising TM, he felt less anxious, less angry, more focused, more energized, more directed. 'I gained a connection to self that I didn't have before. I found peace with my past. I realized who I am - and there's no pill for that. . . . It is hard to believe that 20 minutes, twice a day, is exactly what we require. But it is. It works for me, and for thousands of my brothers and sisters. It has given me the opportunity not just to survive on earth, but thrive here - and to live a life that is truly full of purpose, meaning, connection, and service.' (more)

US: Veterans are using Transcendental Meditation to treat PTSD
22 July 2017 - Thousands of veterans have turned to Transcendental Meditation to treat their PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder]. The David Lynch Foundation has worked with US Veterans Administration centres, Army and Marine bases, and veterans' organizations to bring TM to vets and active-duty soldiers, Mother Jones reports. Research has found TM to be effective in reducing PTSD. One veteran, a former Army nurse in Iraq who has been practising TM for four years, says painful memories are still there, but increasingly they seem like a thing of the past. 'Very recently,' she says, 'I've started to feel happiness, which I hadn't felt in years.' (more)

UK Parliament marks International Yoga Day - Prof Tony Nader, MD, PhD honoured with special award
16 July 2017 - The third International Yoga Day was celebrated in the House of Commons, Palace of Westminster, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Indian Traditional Sciences, its Secretariat Amarjeet S Bhamra and the High Commission of India. The event on 10 July was designed to explore the value of introducing Yoga in the NHS (National Health Service). Chief Guest of the event, H.E. High Commissioner Y K Sinha paid tribute to the work of the APPG in introducing Yoga, Ayurveda and other disciplines into the mainstream of public life. Prof Tony Nader, MD, PhD, MARR, head of the worldwide Transcendental Meditation organization, was honoured with a special award, and presented five volumes of Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation Programme to Members of Parliament. In his keynote address Prof Nader explained that 'every one of us has within us, built into our very physiology, the essential quality of Yoga, which is unifying.' (more)

U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan gives Maharishi University of Management commencement address: 'We are living in a moment that calls out for you'
4 July 2017 - U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan from Ohio's 13th District delivered the commencement address at Maharishi University of Management, USA, on 24 June. Congressman Ryan has taken a national leadership role in improving access to healthcare, promoting ways to make college more affordable, and expanding renewable energy. He challenged the graduates to find innovative solutions to the seemingly intractable problems facing the world: 'Graduates, we are living in a moment that calls out for you, because you are those rare positive disruptors - creative, open, smart, self-driven, resilient, fearless. You are the modern-day explorers. Your meditation practice will assist you in navigating the turbulent waters of modern society. Your Consciousness-Based Education has prepared you to take your place among those leaders who are redefining the rules and changing the way we all see things. Our nation and the world desperately need you now.' (more)

Maharishi School grad posted at US Embassy in Liberia
15 May 2017 - Colette 'Coco' Clark, a 2011 graduate of Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, has recently been hired by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. Her first posting will be at the U.S. embassy in Liberia, beginning in June. Ms. Clark received a Bachelor of Science in foreign service, summa cum laude, from Georgetown University in 2015 and a Master of Arts in security studies the following year, also from Georgetown. She is proficient in Arabic and has worked for the past two years at the U.S. Department of Justice on legal negotiations between the U.S. government and Middle Eastern countries. (more)

'Results inside correctional facilities with Transcendental Meditation have been simply astounding'
1 February 2017 - In an editorial published this week accompanying two studies on Transcendental Meditation with male and female prison inmates, Dr. Charles Elder, a clinician and researcher with Kaiser Permanente, called for wider use of evidence-based mind-body interventions for prisoners. 'Mind-body interventions can provide the patient with a simple self-help tool that can effectively reduce anxiety, help treat substance abuse, reduce inmate recidivism, and help address a range of medical conditions,' Dr Elder wrote, citing research on Transcendental Meditation that supports these benefits. Rebecca Pak of The Women's Prison Association agrees: 'The results inside correctional facilities . . . with Transcendental Meditation have been simply astounding. If we shifted our focus from punitive responses to interventions designed to improve mental and physical health, we would have much greater impact.' The article reviews research results on Transcendental Meditation in prisons over the last four decades. (more)

Can Blacks and Police Find Inner Peace? reports
22 November 2016 - 'If war refugees with PTSD can find rapid relief from stress through Transcendental Meditation practice, how much easier will it be for both police and inner city African-Americans to find inner peace?', write the authors of an article in TM is described as an evidence-based strategy to address the underlying buildup of stress in communities 'that inevitably erupts into violence'. According to recent research, more than 50% of people with PTSD who learn TM are symptom-free in 30-105 days. Police practising TM have found increased stability in stressful situations, better health, and greater resiliency to stress. It is a 'well-documented protocol for reducing stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) . . . . that will prevent and help neutralize this buildup of stress, anger, and violence in individuals and in society as a whole.' (more)

Transcendental Meditation: A resource for reducing stress among law enforcement professionals
19 November 2016 - Dr Martha Batorski, a recognized speaker on the topic of leadership development and stress reduction, calls for the use of healing strategies like Transcendental Meditation to 'reduce the effects of stress on those who serve and protect - male and female - so they may better draw upon inner resources of calm to de-escalate situations and serve as true role models in our society.' 'Policewomen,' she writes in TM for Women, 'have naturally contributed to a new paradigm in law enforcement, bringing qualities to the field . . . that include greater empathy and ability to defuse situations and a larger field of awareness during stressful situations.' With as many as 18 per cent of police officers suffering from PTSD, and a higher rate among policewomen, there is increasing interest in the scientifically proven effectiveness of TM in greatly reducing PTSD symptoms and increasing resiliency to stressful situations. (more)

Transcendental Meditation significantly helps ease trauma symptoms, stress among inmates
8 October 2016 - Researchers have found that Transcendental Meditation significantly reduced trauma symptoms and stress in male prisoners. The study, funded by the David Lynch Foundation and conducted by a team led by Dr Sanford Nidich, was a randomized, controlled trial of 181 Oregon state correctional inmates categorized as 'moderate to high-risk'. One inmate expressed his experience after learning TM: 'As I entered the 24th year behind bars I had come to grips with most of the demons of the past but still felt fragmented. Recently I was given the chance to learn TM. . . . As the weeks passed that sense of fragmentation started to flow into something deeper and new. A quiet that feels so natural and restful that I feel like I've finally come home. To a place where things make sense and I'm just happy. The pains of my life haven't gone away . . . just feels like I've grown beyond them.' The study was published yesterday in The Permanente Journal. (more)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

How to disrupt an election: Fake IDs, fraud, and Facebook
16 February 2018 - A year before Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy, two Russian operatives landed in the United States to lay groundwork for an intelligence operation targeting the legitimacy of the 2016 election. What began as a Cold War-like attack by an old adversary would mix old-fashioned political agitation with 21st century social media tools that ultimately roiled the election and shook America's political landscape. (more)

US: Bottled water giant Nestle tells California regulators it's entitled to keep piping water
12 February 2018 - Nestle is disputing the findings of an investigation by California water regulators, arguing the company is entitled to keep piping water out of the San Bernardino National Forest -- even more water than it has been bottling and selling in the past few years. State officials carried out a 20-month investigation and concluded in December that the company doesn't seem to have valid rights for much of the water it's been drawing from the forest north of San Bernardino. The dispute stretches back more than a century to the creation of the national forest in 1893, and to an early bottling operation that began with a contract in 1909. (more)

Britons ever more deeply divided over Brexit, research finds
31 January 2018 - The social divide revealed by Britain's 2016 vote to leave the European Union is not only here to stay but deepening, according to academic research published on Wednesday. Britain is negotiating a deal with the EU which will shape future trade relations, breaking with the bloc after four decades, but the process is complicated by the divisions within parties, society, and the government itself. (more)

US now second in the world for financial secrecy, report says
30 January 2018 - The United Nations has been urged by the Tax Justice Network to coordinate a global effort to end offshore tax evasion and corruption, amid warnings that the UK is continuing to insulate its overseas territories from financial transparency. Commenting on the launch of the TJN's Financial Secrecy Index 2018, which ranks countries on the size and secretiveness of their offshore sectors, its chief executive, Alex Cobham, said big financial centres had proven unwilling to reform voluntarily. 'The 2018 release confirms the long-term picture that the richest and most powerful countries have continued to pose the greatest global risks -- with Switzerland and the US established as the key facilitators of illicit financial flows,' he said. 'If we are to end tax evasion, corruption, fraud, and money laundering, the world's major financial centres need to clean up their act.' ... Switzerland, the US, and the Cayman Islands are the biggest contributors to global financial secrecy according to the survey, which is published every two or three years. (more)

U.S. rivers getting saltier, drinking water at risk: study
8 January 2018 - U.S. rivers and streams have become saltier and more alkaline over the last 50 years, posing risks to drinking water by damaging pipelines and other infrastructure, according to a study released on Monday [8 January]. As municipal workers dump salt on roads to combat ice and farmers put fertilizer on fields, the runoff has made U.S. waterways saltier and more alkaline, according to the study ... Salt can also be released by floods that reach sewage systems and spill the contamination into waterways, as well as from brines at hydraulic fracturing -- or fracking -- operations and oil and gas sites. (more)

Venezuelans scour polluted river for lost treasure, survival
8 January 2018 - Angel Villanueva waded into the dirty brown water of the Guaire River, the putrid channel snaking through Venezuela's capital, where he hoped to scavenge for a bit of treasure. He raked his hands across the bottom of the shallow waterway, turning his face away from the foul smell. Then he stood up, letting gravel and rocks fall through his fingers, scanning for an earring backing, lost rings, or any other bits of precious metal to cash in for food. ... Images of poor Venezuelans eating from garbage piles in Caracas have come to symbolize the deepening economic crisis in what was once one of Latin America's wealthiest countries. Less visible are the young men and boys who comb the Guaire's dirty waters for any sliver of metal that might help feed their families. (more)

US: California set for New Year's buzz with recreational marijuana sales
29 December 2017 - California adults not content to ring in the New Year with the traditional fizz of champagne can look forward to celebrating with the buzz of marijuana, purchased for the first time from state-licensed retailers of recreational pot. Dozens of newly authorized marijuana stores are due to open for business across California on Jan. 1, launching yet another chapter in America's drug culture and the largest regulated commercial market for cannabis in the United States -- one valued at several billion dollars. (more)

US: California preps for marijuana-infused fare, from wine to tacos
26 December 2017 - Move over, pot brownies. The world's largest legal recreational marijuana market kicks off Monday [1 January 2018] in California, and the trendsetting state is set to ignite the cannabis culinary scene. Cannabis-laced dinners with celebrity chefs at private parties have flourished across Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego in recent years, but a medical marijuana card was required to attend. With that requirement gone, the edibles market is expected to boom, though manufacturers face a host of regulations, and doctors fear the products could increase emergency room visits and entice youth. Marijuana industry analysts predict edibles for the recreational marijuana market will top $100 million in sales in 2018. (more)

Mexico murders hit record high, dealing blow to President
23 December 2017 - Mexico has this year registered its highest murder total since modern records began, according to official data, dealing a fresh blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto's pledge to get gang violence under control with presidential elections due in 2018. A total of 23,101 murder investigations were opened in the first 11 months of this year, surpassing the 22,409 registered in the whole of 2011, figures published on Friday night by the interior ministry showed. The figures go back to 1997. (more)

Desperate Venezuelans peddle wares door-to-door in Colombia to survive
20 December 2017 - Thousands of impoverished Venezuelans are crossing the border to Colombia every day to sell cheap basics, from oranges to candles, in a desperate attempt to earn hard currency amid their country's worsening economic collapse. ... Hundreds of vendors are sleeping in the streets of the Venezuelan border town of San Antonio, while the surge in hawkers on the Colombian side is stoking anger among local shopkeepers. (more)

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