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Ancient green building technique helps ease West Africa housing crisis
27 March 2017 - In 2000, Burkina Faso farmer Seri Youlou and Frenchman Thomas Granier started the Nubian Vault Association, which is also known by its French name Association La Voûte Nubienne (AVN). They resurrected what they call the Nubian Vault technique, or the process of constructing sturdy vaulted roofs with mud bricks similar to processes employed centuries ago in ancient Egypt. Not only has the technique helped put a roof over families' heads and driven economic development, it's benefited the environment as well. According to AVN, since September 2015 Nubian Vault homes have saved around 55,000 tons of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere. (more)

Nature conservation as a bridge to peace in the Middle East
27 March 2017 - Loss of biodiversity is a major challenge in today's world as is the quest for peace in regions engaged in conflict. But scientists writing in a Review published 22 March in Trends in Ecology and Evolution say that efforts to conserve natural resources present an opportunity to find common ground between communities at odds, building trust and renewed hope for peace. (more)

US: Once a Superfund site with a crazy concept, Greensgrow celebrates 20 years
25 March 2017 - From its roots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Greensgrow Farm has educated the community about sustainable practices. It has reached out to neighborhood associations and partnered with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for beautification projects. Over the last 20 years, the original three-fourths of an acre urban farm has blossomed into a funky garden center, farm stand, and greenhouse (plus a West Philly satellite) that annually take in $1.8 million in revenue and receive 10,000 visitors. (more)

UK group expanding campaign to curb antibiotics in meat production
21 March 2017 - A shareholder coalition founded in the U.K. is recruiting investors for a campaign to convince KFC parent Yum Brands Inc and other [US] food companies to protect public health and corporate profits by reducing the use of antibiotics in the meat they serve in the United States and around the world. Members noted that chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc and McDonald's USA have used strict antibiotic policies to elevate their brands. (more)

US: Dominion announces 2 solar energy projects in South Carolina
20 March 2017 - Dominion Resources Inc [has] announced two large-scale solar energy projects in South Carolina. The Jasper County projects are expected to be completed in 2017 and would expand company's operating solar fleet to 9 states and over 1,500 megawatts by end of this year. (more)

US: When CVS stopped selling cigarettes, some customers quit smoking
20 March 2017 - The US retail pharmacy company CVS Health helped its customers quit smoking by pulling cigarettes off the shelves two years ago, a new study suggests. Smokers who purchased cigarettes exclusively at CVS stores were 38 percent less likely to buy tobacco after the national chain stopped selling cigarettes, the study shows. (more)

US: Go natural - Class teaches how to clean with green products
17 March 2017 - Homemade green cleaners are the topic of a workshop ... presented by Bluegrass Greensource [Kentucky]. It's part of a series called Green Living Lab, designed to teach specific environmentally friendly skills including sustainable cooking, starting native plants from seed, creating monarch butterfly way stations, litter abatement, traditional composting, and vermicomposting ... Most essential oils are natural disinfectants, said Deb Larkin, a Greensource environmental educator who will teach the class. They can be used in diffusers to kill airborne germs. Or put seven drops in one cup of warm water to wipe down surfaces in the kitchen. (more)

US: Snow forces two congressmen on a bipartisan road trip from Texas to D.C. - singing along the way (+ Wash Post video)
15 March 2017 - Two Texas congressmen from different parties, one Chevy Impala, 1,600 miles, live-streamed. What could possibly go right? . . . Just hours earlier, the men weren't much more than colleagues, brought together ... because they shared a common predicament and destination. A blizzard in the northeast had canceled (Will) Hurd's flight back to Washington and delayed (Beto) O'Rourke's. They were due in the House for floor votes by 6 p.m. Wednesday. So O'Rourke, who had spent Monday in San Antonio talking to veterans with Hurd, proposed a radical idea: a cross-country road trip, broadcast live via Periscope and Facebook for all of America. (more)

US: California's desert blooms as drought comes to an end
14 March 2017 - Southern California's deserts and hillsides are ablaze with color after a wet winter spurred what scientists say is the biggest wildflower bloom in years. Before the state's devastating five-year drought, Southern California families often made an annual trek to see wildflowers at Anza-Borrego and other destinations -- some as close as a freeway exit in the high desert. Now that storms have replenished dry desert land, the tradition has returned in force. (more)

US: City of Washington, D.C. pushes climate action
14 March 2017 - Washington D.C. [has] signed [a] 20-year agreement to buy solar power from a company that is installing solar panels on roofs and on parking lots in the city. And it's passed a law to help ensure that the benefits of solar power expansion reach the poor, the elderly, and young people in need of jobs as well as wealthier business and families. Around the world, cities are increasingly at the forefront of action to curb climate change. Some have set ambitious emissions reduction goals, while others have pushed ahead with policies despite national-level foot dragging. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Group practice of Transcendental Meditation reduces drug-related deaths in general population
26 March 2017 - The rate of US drug-related fatalities fell 30.4 per cent nationwide from 2007 to 2010 due to the reductions in societal stress and increased alertness in the individuals in society created by a large group practising the Transcendental Meditation technique and its advanced programme, the TM-Sidhi programme, a new study shows. During 2007 to 2010, the size of the TM-Sidhi group located at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, was above or near 1,725 participants, the size predicted to have a positive influence on the US quality of life. 'It's a bold claim,' said lead author Dr Michael Dillbeck, 'but there are now 14 peer-reviewed published studies that suggest that one's individual consciousness is directly connected to an underlying, universal field of consciousness, and that by collectively tapping into that universal field through Transcendental Meditation, we can have a positive effect on the environment.' This analysis of stress-related public health indicators also found that during the same period the rate of infant mortality was reduced by 12.5 per cent. (more)

Transcendental Meditation: The secret weapon of leaders . . .
23 March 2017 - 'Low investment, High Return' is how Kenneth Gunsberger describes Transcendental Meditation, reports Forbes magazine's French edition. Vice President of UBS Wealth Management in New York, Gunsberger manages his clients' fortunes, market competition, and professional stress. Too much pressure in his office and family prompted him to listen to a friend's advice to learn TM. Within a few months he achieved his best business results in 25 years, and experienced more happiness at home. 'TM has allowed me to step back and see situations much more clearly and with less emotion. Today I make better choices, I distribute my energy more intelligently and ''get better results''', he said. The article includes a brief introduction to Transcendental Meditation by certified teacher Leonard Stein, director of the Switzerland office of the David Lynch Foundation in Geneva. (more)

Transcendental Meditation improves mental clarity, reduces risk factors for memory loss
21 March 2017 - With the many factors that can put women at risk for memory loss, including those that develop in the process of ageing, Janet Hoffman discusses how Transcendental Meditation helps to support memory function. The executive director of the TM programme for women professionals in the USA outlines scientifically proven benefits of regular TM practice, commenting, 'Because of this deep rest and balancing that occur in the body - including healthy changes in the brain, tissues, and hormones - deep stress washes away, in turn improving and balancing mental, physical, and emotional health.' (more)

Elizabeth Vargas on beating alcohol addiction with the help of Transcendental Meditation
19 March 2017 - When award-winning ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas courageously went public in 2013 about her struggles with anxiety induced alcohol addiction, it was a step towards removing the stigma from the issue of women's alcohol addiction and bringing the topic into the spotlight. Since fellow ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos introduced her to Transcendental Meditation, it has become one of the tools and routines that have helped her stay healthy, a vital cornerstone of her recovery. The practice helped her develop what Vargas calls 'the reflective pause'. She says, 'If you can slow down long enough to think clearly, you can start to not only manage that panic, but understand that what you're so terrified of isn't really that terrifying.' (more)

Military vets see benefits of Transcendental Meditation on PTSD
17 March 2017 - Among Transcendental Meditation's greatest proponents are military veterans who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), who say TM has dramatically changed their lives for the better, reports TheFix.com, a leading international publication on addiction and recovery. TM has even been found to reduce the reliance on psychotropic medication for some veterans. While some were skeptical of TM, many have credited the practice with helping them recover, and improving their health and their relationships. 'All that feeling of stress and heaviness, I can feel it melt away,' said one vet. (more)

Women of Vision: 2017 Humanitarian and Courage Awards - David Lynch Foundation announces May benefit
13 March 2017 - The 2017 Humanitarian and Courage Awards will be presented 9 May in New York City to five 'Women of Vision'. The event is a benefit for the David Lynch Foundation's Center for Women's Health and Wellness, which teaches Transcendental Meditation to women and girls who are victims of domestic violence and assault. The Awards honour 'individuals or organizations who, through their wisdom, conviction, life experience, and resolve, help to elevate members of our world family to new levels of health, prosperity, and progress'. Honourees are Gisele Bundchen - model, entrepreneur and environmentalist, Robin Roberts - co-anchor, ABC's Good Morning America, Carolyn Rafaelian - philanthropist, founder and CEO, ALEX AND ANI, Joni Steele Kimberlin - filmmaker, activist for women and children, and Latoya Mack - veteran and artist. Rosanna Scotto, co-host of Good Day New York, will host the event. (more)

Vincent Bataoel: 'We infuse the principles of being stress free and relaxed into our company'
11 March 2017 - Vincent Bataoel and his wife Nelina Loiselle have spent the last decade building Above Green, a successful consulting company which helps clients such as Bank of America, San Francisco Airport, and the US military get their buildings LEED Certified - a highly regarded green building certification programme used around the world. As an unfulfilled college student, Vincent's keen interest in quantum physics, neuroscience, and human potential eventually led him to the Maharishi University of Management website. 'Everything on the site was talking about health, human potential, and consciousness. I knew it was the place for me.' Vincent and Nelina continue to practise Transcendental Meditation, which they learned at MUM - a well-proven tool for increasing resilience. 'We meditate every day', says Vincent. 'It's an important part of our personal lifestyle, but also our business lifestyle. We've tried to infuse the principles of being stress free and relaxed into our company.' (more)

Maharishi University of Management MBA students finish in top 1 per cent in worldwide business simulation
10 March 2017 - A team of MBA accounting students at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA recently finished in the 99th percentile in an online business simulation that involved 1,136 master's-degree-level teams worldwide. This is the 4th time MUM MBA students finished in the top percentile at Capsim Management Simulations since they began competing in 2011. The students managed both short-term and long-term metrics across eight rounds of decision-making, with each round representing one year. This entailed using their knowledge of marketing, finance, operations, human resources, accounting, problem-solving, and data analysis. MUM professor Andrew Bargerstock said, 'As faculty in the business college, we feel that the simulation results demonstrate the readiness of our students for job markets now and ultimately for executive leadership positions.' (more)

Women's History Month through the lens of feminine values
8 March 2017 - 'The contribution of women throughout history is not necessarily marked by a specific achievement in time and space. It is marked by a progressive society in which integrity, compassion and creativity are displayed by its citizens,' said Dr Candace Badgett, International Trustee, Transcendental Meditation for Women, about the celebration of Women's History Month. 'Our greatest accomplishment has been, and will always be, our ability to most fully reflect the more tender, more merciful impulses of our own nature and to infuse those values into the world around us. . . . Ultimately, every one of us must take the journey to our innermost Self,' she said, and TM for Women offers every woman 'the opportunity to experience the innate strength and happiness that forms the bedrock of our self-sufficiency, which in turn is the foundation from which we give and nourish and heal ourselves and the world around us - a world that needs us now more than ever.' (more)

Interview with Bob Roth: 'TM gives you more focus, more energy, more edge to do what you want to do'
3 March 2017 - In a recent Format Magazine interview, Bob Roth, executive director of the David Lynch Foundation, explained that with Transcendental Meditation, you don't have to suffer for your art. 'Every one of us has a level of our mind right now deep within us that's already calm and settled and peaceful and wide awake, and it's said to be the source of our unlimited creativity. Transcendental Meditation is a simple technique to access that reservoir of creativity that lies within.' It works even if you don't believe in it, he said, and pointed out research findings of increased integration of brain functioning and activation of the prefrontal cortex during the practice. 'TM allows the mind to settle down to the point where you can hear a pin drop in the universe, and . . . creating from that state, is unbelievably powerful and satisfying and impactful.' (more)


Flops
Short Summaries of Top Stories


US: North Dakota pipeline spill larger than previously thought
27 March 2017 - Last December, the Belle Fourche Pipeline in western North Dakota ruptured. At the time, the company estimated that 176,000 gallons of oil had been spilled before the pipeline was shut down. But according to an updated estimate, the amount of oil that leaked from Bell Fourche was significantly higher, making it one of the largest pipeline spills in the state's history. More than three years ago, 840,000 gallons of oil seeped from a pipeline break in North Dakota to contaminate the surrounding soil. Less than a third has been cleaned up. (more)

Health and behavior problems can linger after child abuse
20 March 2017 - Children who have suffered from abuse or neglect may have physical or behavioral health problems even after the mistreatment stops, new guidelines for pediatricians emphasize. Although some children recover from adversity, traumatic experiences can result in significant disruption of normal development, researchers note in Pediatrics. (more)

Lack of sleep linked to behavioral problems in kids
16 March 2017 - Getting too little sleep in early childhood is linked to cognitive and behavioral problems years later, a U.S. study suggests. 'Children who aren't getting the recommended amount of sleep have more difficulties with attention, with emotional control, with reasoning, with problem-solving, and also have behavioral problems,' lead author Dr. Elsie Taveras told Reuters Health. (more)

Now hear this: Loud sound may pose more harm than we thought (+ hearing test prepared for AP)
14 March 2017 - Scientists have been finding evidence that loud noise -- from rock concerts, leaf blowers, power tools, and the like -- damages our hearing in a previously unsuspected way. It may not be immediately noticeable, and it does not show up in standard hearing tests. But over time, Harvard researcher M. Charles Liberman says, it can rob our ability to understand conversation in a noisy setting. It may also help explain why people have more trouble doing that as they age. And it may lead to persistent ringing in the ears. (more)

Hate daylight saving time? You may have a point, researchers say
11 March 2017 - For most Americans, daylight saving time means only one thing: losing an hour's sleep. So what is the point? This is actually a reasonable question, according to a growing body of scientific research. When clocks in almost all of the United States spring forward by an hour at 2 a.m. on Sunday, it will likely prompt an increase in heart attacks and strokes, cause more car accidents, and reduce worker productivity, according to studies. It will also fail to cut the nation's energy bill, contrary to what the experts once believed. (more)

For most Americans, Dow 20,000 carries little benefit
26 January 2017 - While Wall Street celebrates yet another stock market record -- surpassing 20,000 on the Dow Jones industrial average -- many Americans have little reason to cheer. Research by Edward Wolff, an economist at New York University, found that the wealthiest 10 percent of households owned 81.4 percent of stock market wealth as of 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available. The middle 60 percent of U.S. households owned just 7.7 percent. Those figures include stocks held in individual retirement plans and 401(k)s as well as in mutual funds. The giant mutual fund company Vanguard says its typical retirement account balance in 2015 was $26,405. (more)

US: West prepares for flooding while East Coast in deep freeze
9 January 2017 - As the East Coast [of the United States] waits to thaw out from a weekend icy mess, another storm is bringing rain and the potential of the worst flooding in more than a decade to the West coast. In the East, the worst, lingering problems were expected in North Carolina where up to 10 inches of snow and sleet fell in places Saturday. The deep freeze followed. Forecasters predict temperatures won't get above freezing in much of the state before Tuesday afternoon, a big problem in a place where officials depend on usually mild weather to melt away the ice and snow on less traveled routes. (more)

More than one-third of schoolchildren are homeless in shadow of Silicon Valley
28 December 2016 - The tech economy is drawing new inhabitants and businesses but is contributing to dislocation, leaving families, teachers, and even principals with housing woes. Little more than a strip of asphalt separates East Palo Alto from Palo Alto, with its startups, venture capitalists, Craftsman homes, and Whole Foods. Remarkably, slightly more than one-third of students -- or 1,147 children -- are defined as homeless here, mostly sharing homes with other families because their parents cannot afford one of their own, and also living in RVs and shelters. The district is being squeezed from every side: teachers, administrative staff, and even principals have housing woes of their own. (more)

US: Massive 2013 oil spill in North Dakota still not cleaned up
18 December 2016 - Three years and three months later, a massive oil spill in North Dakota still isn't fully cleaned up. The company responsible hasn't even set a date for completion. Though crews have been working around the clock to deal with the Tesoro Corp. pipeline break, which happened in a wheat field in September 2013, less than a third of the 840,000 gallons that spilled has been recovered -- or ever will be, North Dakota Health Department environmental scientist Bill Suess said. Some say that one of the largest onshore oil spills recorded in the U.S. serves as a cautionary example, especially given a recent pipeline break about 150 miles south and ongoing debates over the four-state Dakota Access pipeline. (more)

Is your olive oil fake?
17 December 2016 - The popularity of the Mediterranean diet has made olive oil a $16 billion-a-year industry. Unfortunately, this popularity has also led to massive fraud and corruption. Even 'extra virgin'' olive oil is often diluted with other less expensive oils, including hazelnut, soybean, corn, sunflower, palm, sesame, grape seed and/or walnut. These added oils will not be listed on the label. (more)

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