How We Present
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories
London's Chelsea Flower Show in full bloom
26 May 2017 - Britain's most prestigious flower show is taking place this week with hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of floral delights from Alium to Zantedeschia. The highlight of Britain's horticultural calendar, the annual Chelsea Flower Show in London's sprawling Royal Hospital complex features a host of elaborate gardens designed by experts and is famous for its unusual installations. (more)
Japanese interactive art exhibition dazzles Beijing, China
25 May 2017 - A new digital interactive exhibition in Beijing allows visitors to create their own art and see it immediately reflected in the work being displayed around them. The project, 'Living Digital Forest and Future Park', is the first to be opened in China by the Japanese art collective teamLab. The Beijing exhibition includes a digital garden of floating flowers and forest animals, and a crystal universe of light sculptures. (more)
Afghan women break ground with TV station launch
19 May 2017 - A new TV channel dedicated to women is set to begin broadcasting in Afghanistan, the first of its kind in a country whose media industry, like many areas of society, remains dominated by men. Zan TV ('Women's TV') launches on Sunday with a staff of all female presenters and producers, following a high-profile marketing campaign on billboards in Kabul and on social media. (more)
India: The ancient game that saved a village
18 May 2017 - Fifty years ago, Marottichal was a very different place. Like many villages in northern Kerala, alcoholism and illicit gambling were rife among its small population. Having developed a zeal for chess while living in the nearby town of Kallur, Unnikrishnan moved back to his afflicted hometown and opened his teashop, where he began teaching customers to play chess as a healthier way to pass the time. Miraculously, the game's popularity flourished while drinking and gambling declined. The village's enthusiasm for the ancient pastime, which is believed to have originated in India in the 6th Century . . . 'Chess improves concentration, builds character and creates community,' he [Baby John] said. The village has also lured visitors from as far away as Germany and the US keen to learn the game or hone their skills. (more)
Is this world's oldest YouTube star?
16 May 2017 - A great-grandmother from India is winning hearts with her cooking videos. Mastanamma doesn't have a birth certificate to prove her 106 years but has millions of followers who can't have enough of her recipes and #GrannyWisdom. (more)
Go inside the Chelsea Flower Show 2017 in London
15 May 2017 - It's no secret: The English adore their gardens. And this month, the most enthusiastic, including Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, can be seen in their element at the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show in London. The Chelsea Flower Show (which has, since 1913, been the Royal Horticultural Society's main event) is scheduled to return to London on May 23-27. There, 157,000 people will be admitted to admire the billions of blooms, which are bound to include the nation's flower, the Tudor rose. (more)
Shed heaven: The workshops turning men's lives around
11 May 2017 - For some men, retirement is a long-awaited chance to travel the world, hit the golf course, or take up a new hobby. For others, after decades in work, it can be a time of loneliness and isolation. But across Scotland, a new movement is helping growing numbers of men improve their health and their mood. Men's Sheds have been set up across the country to enable men to come together to pursue practical interests like wood-turning and metalwork. A new report by the charity outlines the impact the initiative has had on the lives of those who use the sheds. In The Shed Effect, men describe why they first turned to their local shed and how it has changed their lives. (more)
Researchers find unique US Declaration of Independence copy
24 April 2017 - A unique copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence has been discovered in an unexpected place -- England. The copy, similar to the one viewed by millions each year at the National Archives in Washington has been locked away in a local records office in southeastern England forgotten by historians. ... The document is 24-inches-by-30 inches -- the same size as the one housed at the National Archives. Also like the one at the archives, it is written by hand on parchment -- the only two of their kind known to exist. But there are also key differences. (more)
Bluebell flowers decorate Belgian forest floor
19 April 2017 - Each spring, the ground of the forest Hallerbos trades in its brown and green hues for vibrant blue, when a burst of bluebell flowers bloom. The protected forest, located south of Brussels near the town of Halle, draws locals and tourists to witness a landscape that looks plucked from a fairy tale. (more)
Dancers from around the world show off at Irish Dancing Championships
11 April 2017 - Dancers from around the world will stomp the floorboards and leap into the air as they show off their best moves at Dublin's World Irish Dancing Championships this week. Excitement was palpable backstage on Tuesday as performers warmed up for the championships' categories including the traditional solo step dances, figure choreography team dancing, dance drama that tells a story and ceili, a kind of Celtic square dance. (more)
Success of Maharishi's Programmes
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories
David Lynch, the film director who harnesses the transformative power of Transcendental Meditation
26 May 2017 - 'True happiness is not out there. True happiness lies within' - before he learned Transcendental Meditation, renowned filmmaker David Lynch had heard these words but didn't know 'how to get there'. Learning TM in 1973, he says, 'Down within I went. It was so beautiful, so profoundly beautiful. I said, ''Where has this experience been?'' ' Lynch has more to say about the bliss of transcending: 'It's a field that is so beautiful, so powerful, it's eternal, it's immortal, it's immutable, it's infinite, it's unbounded.' As one who works in the intensely competitive Hollywood film industry, he explores how the TM technique reduces stress, and how it enriches the creative process: 'There are billions of ideas and you find the ones you love. We start transcending, that conduit widens out, and you start enjoying things and love the doing. . . . You look around and everything looks better. People don't look like enemies, they look like friends. Things that used to stress you, don't stress you so much.' (more)
David Lynch Foundation announces 'National Night of Laughter and Song' benefit gala at Kennedy Center, Washington, DC - 5 June
2 May 2017 - The David Lynch Foundation has announced a 'National Night of Laughter and Song' to be held Monday, 5 June at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall in Washington, DC. The gala is a benefit hosted by the Foundation's Center for Health and Wellness, to help support 10,000 veterans and at-risk youth in Washington. The event will feature a star-studded line-up including hosts Hugh Jackman, Deborra-lee Furness Jackman, and Katie Couric; comedians Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, and Margaret Cho; and singers/musicians Ben Folds, Kesha, Angeligue Kidjo, and Sharon Isbin. Distinguished honourees to receive 'Lifetime in Service' awards at the gala include award-winning journalist Candy Crowley; Patricia de Stacy Harrison, President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and educator Dr George H Rutherford II, Chair of the U.S. Committee for Stress-Free Schools. (more)
Transcendental Meditation: 'Awesome, happy, necessary'
16 April 2017 - A high-level advertising professional in New York City, Marcia Lorente describes her experience with Transcendental Meditation in three words: 'Awesome, happy, necessary.' She adds, 'I love that TM is so easy, it's practically impossible to get it wrong, the results are immediate and increase with time.' Marcia is also an artist who recently began painting again after 10 years. 'The way I paint is fast and with big brushstrokes, it requires simultaneous control and lack of control, the accident, as Pollock would call it,' she says. 'I now realize it comes from the same place that I go to when I meditate, so I can go there more easily and I'm painting a lot more.' (more)
Book review: Tender Flower of Heaven by Ann Purcell
7 April 2017 - Award winning author, musician, and poet Ann Purcell uses poetry to express deep inner values of life, principles which are beautifully uplifting and spiritually profound. She began writing poems to document her own inner experience of transcendental consciousness, gained through the daily practice of Transcendental Meditation starting in 1972. With clarity and simplicity, Ms Purcell brings out in the 130 poems in Tender Flower of Heaven universal transcendent experiences that have been reported by people throughout time. The poems reflect the author's keen sense of the heavenly in everyday moments of existence like the blooming of a delicate flower. (more)
Maharishi University of Management film alumnus hands out Oscars at Academy Awards
11 March 2017 - Johnny Coffeen received an MA in film in 2015 from Maharishi University of Management and last August won a Student Academy Award for his thesis film, The Swan Girl. Along with three other student winners, he was asked to participate in the 89th Academy Awards, bringing Oscars onstage to presenters and escorting recipients off the stage. Johnny said that being at the heart of the event was 'beyond surreal'. He was most excited to meet Meryl Streep: 'I was pleased how consistently sweet and genuinely humble she was.' For the Student Academy Awards, 17 students were selected from a record number of entries that included 1,749 films from 381 colleges and universities around the world. Johnny is the first student from MUM to win such an award. (more)
Interview with Bob Roth: 'TM gives you more focus, more energy, more edge to do what you want to do'
2 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)
Editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, Michele Promaulayko on Transcendental Meditation: 'I'm a huge proponent of it'
15 February 2017 - Before becoming editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, Michele Promaulayko worked in health journalism, with access to the greatest minds in the field of mental and physical well-being. So it's no surprise that as a spokesperson for an integrated approach to healthy living, she is an avid fan of Transcendental Meditation. With rigorous research backing up the effectiveness of the practice, TM for her is an all-round wellness tool. 'It's just good on a physiological level. Good for your body, good for your brain.' She feels that if TM 'became a universally accepted practice, it would have this incredible domino effect on the world. . . . for me to have gone from a sceptic to a passionate endorse, says a lot about how deeply I believe in it.' (more)
Creativity and Transcendental Meditation: 'My silent awareness started to burst with creativity'
13 February 2017 - Where does creativity come from? 'The inner world of consciousness is the source of all creativity,' writes Ann Purcell, teacher of Transcendental Meditation and author. At the deepest level of the mind is a field of pure silence, or Being, which is beyond all the to-do lists, thoughts and feelings at the surface levels of our awareness, she explains. Anything can be created from this deepest level, in 'any field of expression - artistic, athletic, business. The more your awareness is open to the unbounded, limitless blank canvas of your mind, the more you can draw upon this field of infinite creativity.' Transcendental Meditation is a direct means to do this - a technique to 'go beyond the surface level of the mind until you transcend even the finest thinking level and experience the source of thought.' Not long after learning TM, she says, 'My silent awareness started to burst with creativity, with words and rhythms that were embedded in my soul.' (more)
Muriel Nellis on 57 years of passion for publishing: 'Transcendental Meditation made my creative journey joyful'
8 February 2017 - In her long, prolific career in publishing, Muriel Nellis has worked with the White House and NIH, and launched her own top-selling agency, Literary and Creative Artists. 'Like many women today, I have had to fulfil so many roles at once,' she says, about managing the demands of business, family and civic life. 'I finally learned that juggling is much easier if you practise Transcendental Meditation. TM was life-saving to me.' It also 'made my creative journey joyful. . . . What I really gain, every time I meditate, is a whole new sense of myself. When I stepped out of a meeting to meditate, and came back newly alert and focused, I knew that I'd just gotten in touch with a source of energy and coherent strength always within me. It's a profound tool that every woman owns and it's all inside. It's uniquely yours.' (more)
Jennifer Lopez on Transcendental Meditation: '20 minutes a day in the morning and at night - it was necessary'
31 January 2017 - American singer, actress, dancer, fashion designer, author, and producer Jennifer Lopez learned Transcendental Meditation 'because it's overwhelming sometimes, doing all of the things I do at once. . . . 20 minutes a day in the morning and at night. It was necessary.' She felt the need for something to keep her grounded, and TM is an important part of 'a whole rounded regimen that deals with your mind, your soul, your spirit and your body. It's working out, it's dancing, it's meditating. And then, at the end of the day, just being happy, being with my kids and feeling the love and the joy that they give me. All of that helps balance it out, so work doesn't feel so crazy.' (more)
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories
Key radical Islamist groups in Bangladesh
3 July 2016 - The hostage crisis at a restaurant in Bangladesh's capital that left 28 dead, including 20 hostages and six militants, has focused attention on the radical Islamist attacks occurring in the moderate, mostly Muslim country in the past few years. Most have been claimed by the Islamic State group or by al-Qaida's local branch, but the government vehemently denies these transnational jihadi groups have any presence in the country. Instead, the government blames domestic militants and its political opponents of trying to destabilize the country. Authorities have cracked down on extremist groups by banning them from operating and arresting many of their members. The opposition parties deny the allegation that they're involved. A look at some of the main Islamic political parties and radical groups in the country: (more)
Hostage crisis leaves 28 dead in Bangladesh diplomatic zone
2 July 2016 - The dramatic, 10-hour hostage crisis that gripped Bangladesh's diplomatic zone ended Saturday morning with at least 28 dead, including six of the attackers, as commandos raided the popular restaurant where heavily armed attackers were holding dozens of foreigners and Bangladeshis prisoner while hurling bombs and engaging in a gunbattle with security forces. The victims included 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, and two Bangladeshi police officers. The attack marks an escalation in militant violence that has hit the traditionally moderate Muslim-majority nation with increasing frequency in recent months, with the extremists demanding the secular government set up Islamic rule. (more)
U.S. families struggling with teens' phone addiction: report
3 May 2016 - Half of teenagers in the United States feel addicted to their mobile phones, with most checking the devices at least every hour and feeling pressured to respond immediately to messages, a survey released on Tuesday found. The majority of parents concurred. The findings from the nonprofit group Common Sense Media, which focuses on the effects of media and technology on children, highlighted the tension such close ties to devices can cause, with it disrupting driving, homework, and other time together. 'It is causing daily conflict in homes,' Common Sense Media's founder and CEO James Steyer said in a statement. (more)
Retaking Syria's Palmyra reveals more shattered antiquities
28 March 2016 - The recapture of Syria's ancient city of Palmyra from the Islamic State group has brought new revelations of the destruction wreaked by the extremists, who decapitated priceless statues and smashed or looted artifacts in the city's museum. Experts say they need time to assess the full extent of damage in Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site which once attracted tens of thousands of tourists every year. The Sunni extremist group, which has imposed a violent interpretation of Islamic law across the territory it controls in Syria and Iraq, claims ancient relics promote idolatry. But it is also believed to have profited from looted antiquities. (more)
'Here we go again' -- Americans' lament after Oregon shooting
2 October 2015 - The news from Oregon was grim enough in isolation -- nine people shot dead at a community college. For many Americans it was all the sadder as a reminder of how frequent, how depressingly routine, mass shootings have become -- in malls, at churches, and so often at schools and colleges. (more)
Horrific stampede at hajj in Saudi Arabia kills 717 pilgrims
24 September 2015 - A horrific stampede killed at least 717 pilgrims and injured hundreds more Thursday on the outskirts of the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the deadliest tragedy to strike the annual hajj pilgrimage in more than two decades. At least 863 pilgrims were injured in the crush, said the Saudi civil defense directorate, which provided the death toll. The tragedy struck as Muslims around the world marked the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday. It was the second major disaster during this year's hajj season. Two survivors interviewed by The Associated Press said the disaster began when one wave of pilgrims found themselves heading into a mass of people going in another direction. (more)
Unsupervised teens more likely to use tobacco, pot, and alcohol
18 September 2015 - A small U.S. study appears to confirm adult fears that teens who spend more than the average amount of unsupervised time 'hanging out' with peers have higher odds of smoking cigarettes and marijuana and drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, greater than average involvement in structured school and after-school activities did not seem to offer a protective effect. Organized time, such as arts classes at school, religious activities outside school, or community volunteer work had a very modest protective effect. (more)
Islamic State magazine blasts Muslims fleeing to Europe as sinners
10 September 2015 - Hundreds of thousands of people have fled wars in the Middle East this year, often from areas seized or threatened by Islamic State militants. They have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe on flimsy boats that have sometimes capsized, killing hundreds, in one of the biggest waves of migration since World War Two. Most of the refugees come from Syria, Iraq, and Libya -- states ravaged by conflict frequently involving Islamic State. But the magazine of Islamic State, which controls territory in Iraq and Syria where some 10 million people live, said those who leave its domain were committing a 'major sin'. (more)
UN: Satellite images show Temple of Bel in Syria 'destroyed'
31 August 2015 - A satellite image on Monday shows that the main building of the ancient Temple of Bel in the Syrian city of Palmyra has been destroyed, a United Nations agency said. The image was taken a day after a massive explosion was set off near the 2,000-year-old temple in the city occupied by Islamic State militants. It stood out among the ruins not far from the colonnades of Palmyra, which is affectionately known by Syrians as the 'Bride of the Desert.' Palmyra was an important caravan city of the Roman Empire, linking it to India, China, and Persia. Before the outbreak of Syria's conflict in March 2011, the UNESCO site was one of the top tourist attractions in the Middle East. (more)
Islamic State images purport to show destroyed Syrian temple
25 August 2015 - The Islamic State group released propaganda images Tuesday that purport to show militants laying explosives in and then blowing up the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria's ancient caravan city of Palmyra. A resident of Palmyra had told the Associated Press the temple was destroyed on Sunday, a month after the group's militants booby-trapped it with explosives. The temple, a structure of giant stone blocks several stories high fronted by six towering columns, was dedicated to a god of storm and rain -- the name means literally 'Lord of the Heavens.' (more)