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US: Construction begins on Connecticut town's solar farm
24 July 2017 - With the development of a new solar farm, the town (of Bethel, Connecticut) hopes to save both money and the environment. Construction began this week on the 2,900-panel solar farm expected to generate nearly 1 million kilowatts of energy a year for the town. 'This is an example of think globally, act locally,' First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said. 'The town of Bethel is doing its part to reduce carbon emissions [and] that reduces global warming.' Across the state, 2,400 residents in 73 communities have installed solar through Solarize Connecticut. (more)

US: Florida Organic Growers celebrates 30 years of healthful food
24 July 2017 - Dealing with social justice issues associated with organic farming has been at the core of Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers of Gainesville's work since the group's creation. Known as FOG, the nonprofit this month will celebrate 30 years of fighting for organic farmers, farm workers' rights, and for people on the lower rung of the economic ladder to have access to healthy food. Marty Mesh, executive director of the Gainesville-based organization, said it was established to support and promote sustainable organic agriculture through educating consumers, farmers, businesses, policy makers, and the general public about issues associated with organic farming. FOG also offers a program that makes fresh, local produce more affordable and accessible to low-income families. (more)

US: Miami suburb will require solar panels for all new homes
19 July 2017 - Rooftop solar panel installations will be required for all new residential construction, along with some home renovations, in a Miami suburb. The South Miami ordinance that takes effect September 18 was modeled after similar ordinances recently passed by San Francisco and three other California cities. (more)

US: South Portland's major solar array project begins
18 July 2017 - Construction has started on what is expected to be Maine's largest municipally owned solar array. The Portland Press Herald reports installation began at South Portland's capped landfill Tuesday, 18 July. The one-megawatt solar array will be composed of 2,944 solar panels. Officials expect the array to generate 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of energy per year. (more)

US: Lotus flowers blooming just in time for Los Angeles festival
13 July 2017 - Pink and white lotus blossoms are blooming just in time for a Los Angeles festival named after the aquatic flowers. The Lotus Festival -- the 37th annual at the city's Echo Park Lake -- kicks off Friday and runs through the weekend. The celebration traditionally honors Asian cultures. Food, art and music from Bangladesh will be featured this year. (more)

US: New partnership makes it easier to prove Pilgrim ancestry
13 July 2017 - The number of people trying to determine whether they are descended from a Mayflower passenger is surging as the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims' arrival in the New World approaches in 2020. Now, a partnership announced Thursday [13 July] between the New England Historic Genealogical Society and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants is making it easier to figure out. The Boston-based genealogical society is digitizing and indexing authenticated Mayflower Pilgrim genealogies and 50 years' worth of the 'Mayflower Quarterly' magazine, and making them available at its research site, Thanks to several television shows, genealogical research is now America's second-most popular hobby after gardening, said Lea Filson, governor general of the Plymouth-based General Society of Mayflower Descendants. (more)

US: Colorado joins 'climate alliance' of states fighting global warming
11 July 2017 - Colorado's governor signed an executive order on Tuesday (11 July) making his state the latest to join a 'climate alliance' of U.S. states and governors seeking to meet the goals of the Paris accord . . . The order calls for Colorado to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 26 percent from 2005 by 2025 and lower carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 25 percent, among other goals. 'Coloradans value clean air and clean water,' Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper said in a written statement. 'Our strong economy is a reflection of how our exhilarating outdoors attracts young entrepreneurs and the talent they need for their businesses.' (more)

Washington, D.C. hidden gem ready to shine as Lotus and Water Lily Festival begins
11 July 2017 - Every spring, millions of tourists and locals alike flock to see Washington, D.C.'s cherry blossoms in full bloom. But there's another national park tucked away in a corner of D.C. that offers spectacular blossoms over acres of gardens, and that's the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens -- the only U.S. national park dedicated to aquatic gardens. July is when the aquatic gardens shine. And this weekend [15 July], the park will kick off the Lotus and Water Lily Festival, a weeklong event featuring hands-on activities for the kids, gardening demonstrations for the grown-ups, and natural beauty on display for everyone. Visitors from all over the world come to see the exotic water lilies and lotus plants. (more)

'Whales ho!' Sailors, conservationists help keep whales safe
9 July 2017 - For centuries, sailors have shouted their own language aboard -- 'Hoist sail!' 'Prepare to come about!' 'Anchors aweigh!' Now they're teaming up with conservationists to put a new twist on another ancient cry -- 'Whales ho!' The sport of sailboat racing and nonprofit groups are floating new guidelines aimed at increasing awareness of the majestic mammals and reducing potentially fatal collisions with endangered North Atlantic right whales and other species. (more)

Parades and fireworks: US celebrates Fourth of July
4 July 2017 - Americans celebrated the United States' 241st birthday in both joyous and serious ways, from flashy firework displays for massive crowds to small-town parades. Thousands upon thousands of fireworks turned the night sky over New York City into a festival of color during the annual Macy's fireworks show. In Philadelphia, where the Founding Fathers approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, there was a daylong national birthday party. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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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)

Why I practise Transcendental Meditation: Five professional women speak out
21 July 2017 - Linda Egenes has had the opportunity over the years to interview dozens of 'truly inspiring women' who have found that the Transcendental Meditation technique helps their careers, their families and their health. Some are new to TM, others have practised the technique for many years. 'What they have in common,' says Linda, 'is their enthusiasm to tell others about the great things that are happening in their lives since they started to practise TM.' She shares thoughts from five professionals on how the TM technique has become an integral part of a happy, healthy, and successful life. (more)

How to neutralize stress in the workplace
20 July 2017 - Each workplace environment is unique, but in this era they have a common thread - stress. Pavel Khokhlachev, a Russian-English conference interpreter based in London, offers insight into how the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) not only benefits interpreters - but can positively impact professionals who work in high-stakes scenarios, travel for work, or regularly deal with a stressful environment. Khokhlachev reviews TM research findings of deep rest and relaxation during the practice, as well as reduced stress, anxiety, and PTSD, lower blood pressure, improved brain function, and enhanced work performance - all of which he has found helpful in the 'extremely demanding' work of consecutive and simultaneous interpreting. 'It's a great feeling to know that no matter how stressful and hectic my day is, I can always sit down, close my eyes and 20 minutes later feel rested, composed and alert,' he says. (more)

Rx against trauma: Transcendental Meditation heals PTSD, builds up 'inner immune system' to stress
19 July 2017 - 'We live in traumatic times,' writes William Hathaway in OpEdNews. For victims of war and terror and their families this can be life shattering. Many suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a debilitating condition that can last for decades unless properly treated. Soldiers are highly affected - over half a million US troops deployed since 2001 suffer from PTSD. Fortunately, effective treatments are now available. Ten studies published in professional journals have shown that Transcendental Meditation (TM) rapidly heals PTSD, both in military veterans and civilians. Research also indicates that TM can increase resilience, and 'build up an inner immune system that keeps the stress from devastating us'. (more)

TM is 'a win-win-win-win for employees, their families, the company, and our customers' - Entrepreneur
18 July 2017 - After suffering from mental burnout, Kevin Barnicle, founder and CEO of Controle in Illinois, USA, discovered Transcendental Meditation (TM). Because he personally benefited from the programme, Barnicle began offering to pay half of the cost for employees who wanted to learn TM. He has since noticed employees have better focus, less stress and, in turn, more creative thinking. 'Those three components will not only spill into their personal life, but also their professional life,' said Barnicle. 'So it is a win-win-win-win for them personally, their families and loved ones, the company and our customers.' Mr Barnicle's experience was featured in a recent article in Entrepreneur exploring what eight different companies are doing to support mental health in the workplace. (more)

Transcendental Meditation for everyone - Wall Street Journal reports
17 July 2017 - Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation (DLF) and longtime teacher of Transcendental Meditation, works with a wide-ranging clientele that includes celebrities such as Katy Perry and Jerry Seinfeld, hedge-fund managers, inner-city students, prisoners, and veterans, the Wall Street Journal reports. Bridgewater hedge fund founder Ray Dalio is quoted as saying that his TM practice has been 'integral to whatever success I've had in life'. DLF is dedicated to teaching Transcendental Meditation, particularly to at-risk populations, 'to improve their health, cognitive capabilities and performance in life'. In addition to opening the nonprofit's first office in Washington, D.C., in June, DLF has been participating in prison studies recently, in which researchers have found greater reductions in anxiety, depression, and trauma symptoms in an inmate group practising TM, compared to controls. (more)

Every day of my life has gotten better since that first day I learned Transcendental Meditation
15 July 2017 - Michael Funk has participated in numerous medical missions to Central and South American and African countries. 'It can be very taxing emotionally and physically in these situations,' he says, 'but Transcendental Meditation offers the ability to maintain equanimity along with being able to give the support required even in the most demanding situations. Having a technique that allows me to sit down and completely relax and recharge twice a day has been invaluable.' The physician assistant and assistant professor of medical education at Barry University, St. Croix, says, 'TM has expanded my capacity to love, value, and appreciate the diversity of people, places, and things. . . . Every day of my life has gotten better since that first day I learned TM. It's the single most important decision I have made.' (more)

Maharishi University of Management professor and doctoral student win best article award
13 July 2017 - Maharishi University of Management professor Andrew Bargerstock and PhD student Ye Shi won an award for writing the best article in the peer-reviewed journal Strategic Finance. They formally accepted the Lybrand Gold Medal Award at the annual conference of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) on 20 June in Denver, Colorado. (more)

Mother Nature's emissaries
12 July 2017 - 'Intuition, patience, wisdom, love - all the blessed qualities associated with motherhood and caregiving - often are obliterated when we are exhausted and not aligned with our own internal voice and source of nourishment,' writes Susan Linden, a mother, psychologist, and certified teacher of the Transcendental Meditation programme. 'During TM practice, our mind effortlessly settles to quieter, softer levels of thinking, transcending the pressures, worries and agitation of our active mind. This easily accessed experience of inner silence restores our energy, happiness, and ability to extend our selves to others in a relaxed, compassionate, vibrant way. . . . We are the kind of mother, caregiver, sister and friend we want to be. We are sustained by the silent fullness within us.' (more)

How Transcendental Meditation helps you recover from heartache and trauma
11 July 2017 - Transcendental Meditation 'helps to heal wounds. You're giving your body a state of rest that's deeper than sleep so it heals trauma in the brain in an effortless and profound way,' says Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, which has helped provide TM to thousands of at-risk youth, women survivors of abuse, military veterans, and prison inmates across the US and abroad. A recent article in features Roth's comments in context of the 'epidemic of stress and trauma' afflicting everyday life - noting that 'Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural, and easy technique that gives you access to that part of you that's already perfectly calm, settled, peaceful, and wide awake inside.' (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Absent dads tied to stress-related cellular changes in kids
18 July 2017 - The loss of a father due to death, divorce, or jail is associated with children having shorter caps on the ends of their chromosomes, according to a study that points to a possible biological explanation for health problems often encountered by kids with absent dads. The protective caps known as telomeres shrink with age, and are also thought to erode with extreme stress. Some previous research has linked shorter telomeres to an increased risk of a variety of chronic health problems in adults, including heart disease and cancer. (more)

US: Drought in High Plains the worst some farmers have ever seen
15 July 2017 - Drought in North Dakota is laying waste to fields of normally bountiful food and hay crops ... Some longtime farmers and ranchers say it's the worst conditions they've seen in decades -- possibly their lifetimes -- and simple survival has become their goal as a dry summer drags on without a raincloud in sight. (more)

Poor quality sleep could increase Alzheimer's risk, research suggests
10 July 2017 - Prolonged periods of poor sleep increase levels of proteins involved in Alzheimer's disease, research suggests ... While previous research has revealed that bad sleep can increase levels of these proteins, known as beta-amyloid and tau, it was unclear which aspect of shut-eye was behind the uptick. Now researchers say that poor sleep quality, and disruption of the deep, restful sleep known as slow-wave sleep, both play a key role. '[The study] shows specifically that slow wave sleep, or deep sleep, is important for lowering the levels of amyloid overnight,' said Yo-El Ju, a neurologist at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, and a co-author of the research. 'We think that not getting good sleep chronically over the years would increase the risk of the amyloid and tau clumping up and causing Alzheimer's disease.' (more)

US: Invasive Asian carp found near Great Lakes beyond electrified barrier
24 June 2017 - An Asian carp has been found just miles from the Great Lakes, beyond an electrified barrier designed to keep the invasive species from entering the ecosystem and wreaking the sort of damage seen elsewhere in the US. The animals have been blamed for pushing out native species and lowering water quality, which can kill off organisms such as freshwater mussels. . Any invasion of the Great Lakes could disturb the vast freshwater ecosystem . . . (more)

Conservationists: Imperiled Atlantic salmon decline worsens
18 June 2017 - Fewer of North America's Atlantic salmon are making it back to rivers to spawn, which bodes poorly for the future of the imperiled fish, an international conservation group says. Atlantic salmon were once abundant in the rivers of New England and Atlantic Canada, but they are now endangered or have disappeared in parts of both areas. The salmon are born in rivers, swim to the Atlantic and return to their natal river to spawn. (more)

US: Lead found in 20% of baby food samples, especially juices and veggies
16 June 2017 - Pediatricians and public health researchers know they have to be on the lookout for lead exposure from paint chips and contaminated drinking water. A new report suggests food -- particularly baby food -- could be a problem, too. The Environmental Defense Fund, in an analysis of 11 years of federal data, found detectable levels of lead in 20 percent of 2,164 baby food samples. The toxic metal was most commonly found in fruit juices such as grape and apple, root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots, and cookies such as teething biscuits. The organization's primary focus was on the baby foods because of how detrimental lead can be to child development. Lead can cause problems with attention and behavior, cognitive development, the cardiovascular system and immune system, said Dr. Aparna Bole, pediatrician at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, who was not involved with the report. (more)

APNewsBreak: Official says more Hanford nuke mishaps likely
15 June 2017 - Future accidental radiation releases at the largest U.S. site of waste from nuclear weapons production are likely following back-to-back emergency evacuations of workers in May and June because aging infrastructure is breaking down, the top Energy Department official at the site told The Associated Press. (more)

US: Summer vacation? Lots of Americans say they can't afford it
15 June 2017 - Forget frequent flier miles, last-minute getaways, and even road trips. Nearly half of Americans say they won't be taking a vacation this summer, mostly because they can't afford it, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (more)

Dow launches new GMO corn after landing China import approval
14 June 2017 - Dow Chemical Co [U.S.] secured import approval from China for its next-generation Enlist corn variety and announced it would be commercially available in the United States and Canada next year, but the company was still awaiting approval of Enlist soybeans from the world's top soy importer. China on Wednesday [14 June] approved two new varieties of genetically modified (GMO) crops for import from June 12, including Dow's Enlist corn, engineered to combat weeds resistant to the widely used herbicide glyphosate, which is the main ingredient in Monsanto's ... Roundup herbicide. (more)

Irregular sleep tied to worse grades
13 June 2017 - College students who go to sleep and wake up at different times during the week may be harming their academic performance, according to a U.S. study. Consistency -- going to bed and waking up at about the same time every day, weekends included -- was linked with a better grade point average (GPA) among the college students in the study, the researchers found. (more)


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