His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
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US: Iowa farmers use organic crops to get greater profits
24 February 2018 - Although still a small piece of Iowa farming, more and more growers are shifting to organic corn, soybeans, and other crops to improve their bottom line. The number of Iowa farms and acres certified as organic have each climbed about 5 percent last year over 2015, U.S. Department of Agriculture surveys show. Sales climbed 9 percent to $131.2 million. Altogether, the organics industry is closing in on $50 billion annually. (more)

US: Senators want to bolster research of organic agriculture
24 February 2018 - A pair of U.S. senators is introducing legislation designed to improve organic farming research. Democratic Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine say their legislation would reauthorize and incrementally increase funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. (more)

Superagers' youthful brains offer clues to keeping sharp (+AP video)
23 February 2018 - It's pretty extraordinary for people in their 80s and 90s to keep the same sharp memory as someone several decades younger, and now scientists are peeking into the brains of these 'superagers' to uncover their secret. (more)

Canada: Saskatchewan organic sector leading the country
23 February 2018 - The Canadian organic sector was responsible for more than $5.4 billion in retail sales in 2017, and much of that success can be traced back to Saskatchewan, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. There are 824 certified organic farmers in Saskatchewan, and 29 per cent of all certified organic land in Canada is based in Saskatchewan. (more)

There are climate solutions in our soil
23 February 2018 - If you're looking for a way to combat climate change, look no further than your kitchen table. Our food system accounts for approximately 20 to 30 per cent of human-made greenhouse gasses emitted globally, and most of those emissions are directly tied to agriculture. ... Numerous studies have found that organic farming methods reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency in agriculture. (more)

Federal government to help fund Canadian Organic Standards review
23 February 2018 - The federal government will commit $250,000 towards a review process of the Canadian Organic Standards, a procedure that must be conducted every five years. Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAuley announced the funding January 26 acknowledging the Canadian organic industry is one of Canada's fastest-growing agricultural sectors, with more than $5.4 billion in retail sales in 2017. Growing the Canadian organic sector will contribute to the government's goal of reaching $75 billion in annual agri-food exports by 2025, he said. (more)

Promoting the development of Canada's organic sector
23 February 2018 - The Canadian organic industry is one of Canada's fastest growing agricultural sectors ... Speaking last month at the Guelph Organic Conference and Tradeshow, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced that the Government of Canada is providing essential support to update the Canadian Organic Standards. (more)

For clean drinking water in Kenya, just add sunshine (and a can)
22 February 2018 - On a sunny afternoon in Western Kenya, Eunice Shigali filled a 10 liter jerrycan with water, then unfolded it like a suitcase and placed it in the sun. After a few hours, a green smiley face appeared on the side of the black container, telling her the water was clean and hot, and ready to cook ugali, a staple dish made of maize flour. (more)

South Africa: Solar powers turns World Heritage Site Robben Island green
22 February 2018 - Today Robben Island is a major tourist attraction, a reminder of what South African leaders went through to secure our freedom. Dom Wills (PhD Electrical engineering) is leading the way [to change the future of the landmark into one of pride] with a solar power farm on the island that has taken it off South Africa's energy grid and turned the World Heritage Site green. He co-founded SOLA Future Energy in 2013 with the goal of developing solar power throughout Africa. Previously, Robben Island relied solely on diesel generators . . . (more)

US: First National Bank of Omaha won't renew NRA contract for Visa card
22 February 2018 - First National Bank of Omaha will not renew a contract with the National Rifle Association (NRA) to issue an NRA-branded Visa card, the bank said on Thursday (22 February). 'Customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the NRA,' said First National Bank of Omaha spokesman Kevin Langin. The bank declined further comment. (more)

US: North Dakota culinary students partner with local schools
22 February 2018 - Several culinary arts students from the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) worked with cafeteria staff at Breckenridge High School in Minnesota on a dish served to the high school's students recently. The culinary students and the high school's kitchen staff hosted the tasty training featuring a unique blend of roasted vegetables, packed with flavor and nutrients but free of salt. NDSCS culinary instructor Kyle Armitage said this was his first experience with the Chefs Move to Schools program. (more)

Popular push for Austrian smoking ban gathers pace
20 February 2018 - More than 200,000 Austrians have signed a petition calling for a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, campaign organizers said . . . Under the current system, parliament must hold a debate on any issue that draws 100,000 signatures. The rush to sign has been so great that there have been queues at local government offices and the Interior Ministry's computer system that manages online signatures has frequently collapsed. (more)

South Africa's new leader winning fans with morning exercise
20 February 2018 - South Africa's new President Cyril Ramaphosa is winning some fans with his habit of early-morning jogs and walks in which he chats and takes selfies with the public. The 65-year-old president told onlookers that the exercise is a positive way to start the day and he encouraged South Africans to do the same. Start with short walks and increase the distance and 'in no time you won't even feel it,' he says. (more)

Togo charity wins award for improving access to safe drinking water
19 February 2018 - An African charity that improved access to drinking water and sanitation and reduced the chance of cholera deaths in a village in Togo was on Monday (19 February) awarded the Kyoto World Water Grand Prize. The award is granted every three years for outstanding grassroots projects to solve water issues in developing nations. (more)

US: Teen worried about walking alone creates app for safety
19 February 2018 - Medha Gupta sometimes felt uneasy making the 20-minute walk from the corner where the school bus dropped her off to her home in Herndon, Virginia -- especially during the colder months, when it would get dark early. Her mother had a suggestion: Write an app. So she went to work. The result was Safe Travel, an app designed by Medha to help commuters feel more secure when traveling alone. (more)

The country breeding a generation of chess whizz kids
18 February 2018 - Since 2011, all children in Armenia from six to eight years old have compulsory chess lessons. It's the first country in the world to include it on the national curriculum. Armenia now has more than 3,000 qualified trained chess teachers in its schools. Many other countries want to follow suit, according to Smbat Lputian, president of the Armenian Chess Academy. He tells me excitedly about a new chess scientific research institute, due to open in Yerevan (Armenia's capital) later this year, where scientists and psychologists will research the impact of chess in the learning process. (more)

US: Hot major on campus? At schools big and small, it's computer science
18 February 2018 - Leah Brumgard majors in studio art at Swarthmore College, Jeff Novak in math, and William Colgan in biology. But all three have a second major: Computer science. Computer science has become the second most popular major on the 1,620-student campus , behind economics. It's a far shift from as recently as 2010, when there were fewer than a dozen computer-science graduates. Across the country, the number of computer science majors at doctoral institutions has more than tripled in the last decade. It's much hotter than it was during the dot-com blitz in the late 1990s, according to the national Computing Research Association. (more)

AP Photos: People in Asia and beyond welcome Lunar New Year
16 February 2018 - People in Asia and around the world are celebrating the Lunar New Year on Friday with festivals, parades and temple visits to ask for blessings. This year marks the year of the dog, one of the 12 animals in the Chinese astrological chart. People in Beijing celebrated with family feasts and visits to bustling temple fairs amid the mid-winter chill. Ethnic Chinese and others around the world also marked the holiday with celebrations. (more)

Renault opens its first electric-vehicle-only showroom, in Sweden
16 February 2018 - Today (16 February) , Renault will open its first electric-car-only showroom ... The 'Renault Electric Vehicle Experience Center' will open in Stockholm, in one of the Swedish capital's largest shopping centers, known as Taby Centrum. Different zones within the space display the cars themselves and educate visitors on charging stations and how public charging works. They also provide information both on local subsidies and financial incentives and the various ways drivers can purchase, lease, or pay for EVs and related services. Outside, visitors can test-drive Renault's range of battery-electric vehicles ... (more)

Unilever lays bare palm oil supply chain in rare industry move
16 February 2018 - Consumer goods giant Unilever said on Friday (16 February) it had laid bare its entire palm oil supply chain, including all the suppliers and mills it sources from, to boost transparency in a rare industry move. Unilever said it was the first consumers goods company to publish such details, having disclosed the location of more than 1,400 mills and over 300 direct suppliers of the oil used in products from snacks and soaps to cosmetics and biofuels. Marc Engel, Unilever's chief supply chain officer, said the company hoped sharing the information would be the start of a new industry-wide movement towards supply chain transparency. (more)

US: Court upholds Arkansas' ban on Monsanto farm chemical
16 February 2018 - An Arkansas judge on Friday (16 February) dismissed a Monsanto Co lawsuit aiming to stop Arkansas from blocking the use of a controversial farm chemical the company makes, dealing a blow to its attempts to increase sales of genetically engineered seeds. Monsanto, which is being acquired by Bayer AG, filed the lawsuit last year in a bid to halt the state's ban on sprayings of the weed killer known as dicamba from the period spanning April 16 to October 31. (more)

US: Generation Z will demand more organic, better-for-you and globally-inspired food and beverage, Acosta says
15 February 2018 - For the first time, Generation Z is emerging as an influencer in grocery spending and early indications suggests that they will favor more organic, healthy products as well as authentic and multicultural offerings, according to new research from Acosta. (more)

Laser scanning reveals 'lost' ancient Mexican city 'had as many buildings as Manhattan'
15 February 2018 - Archaeology might evoke thoughts of intrepid explorers and painstaking digging, but in fact researchers say it is a high-tech laser mapping technique that is rewriting the textbooks at an unprecedented rate. The approach, known as light detection and ranging scanning (lidar) involves directing a rapid succession of laser pulses at the ground from an aircraft. Now, researchers have used the technique to reveal the full extent of an ancient city in western Mexico, about a half an hour's drive from Morelia, built by rivals to the Aztecs. (more)

'Migrant TripAdvisor' app helps new arrivals navigate Italy
15 February 2018 - A new smartphone app aims to help migrants in Italy find hospitals, schools, and police stations at the press of a button -- and quickly seek help ... More than 600,000 migrants have reached Italy from North Africa in the last four years, many fleeing war and poverty. Many migrants struggle to adapt when they arrive, said Oliviero Forti of aid group Caritas, which developed the app. 'They need a travel companion,' he said, adding that migrants tend to arrive with nothing apart from a phone. The app is available in four languages -- English, Italian, French, and Arabic -- and has been downloaded more than 500 times since it was launched earlier this month, Forti said. (more)

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