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Inspired by Nepalese, UK architect rebuilds ancient temple
16 January 2017 - When a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal last year, villagers in Changu Narayan ran up the steep rocky path that cuts through their town to their renowned temple. Seeing the piles of rubble, they figured their lives were over. Less than two years later, the community is cleaning up their World Heritage Site themselves, and one of the world's leading architects has taken on the recovery as his pet project. British architect John Sanday, who led the World Monuments Fund restoration of Cambodia's Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world, fell in love with the place decades ago. (more)

US: President Obama celebrates World Series champion Chicago Cubs (+ videos)
16 January 2017 - President Barack Obama celebrated the World Series champion Chicago Cubs on Monday and spoke about the power sports has to unite people. 'Throughout our history, sports has had this power to bring us together even when the country is divided,' Obama said at a White House ceremony for his hometown team. 'Sports has changed attitudes and culture in ways that seem subtle but that ultimately made us think differently about ourselves.' (more)

Want to learn Arabic, Korean, or Swahili? Refugee language tutors can help
16 January 2017 - Although he was a qualified dentist in Syria, Eiad Zinah is doing a postgraduate dentistry degree and English language tests so he can practice in Britain. He joins a growing number of newly-arrived, degree-educated refugees that Chatterbox has employed to teach languages, including Swahili, Arabic, Korean, and Farsi, to university students, businesspeople, and private clients. Former Afghan refugee Mursal Hedayat said she founded Chatterbox after watching her mother, a civil engineer, struggle to get relevant work when they first arrived in Britain in 1994. She now employs dozens of English-speaking refugees from countries like Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iraq -- many of whom have worked as lawyers, teachers, health workers, and translators. Hedayat said she hopes the Chatterbox program will expand across Europe and to Canada or the United States, so refugees can gain quality work experience and get to know the local population through language tutoring. (more)

Feasts with family mark Makar Sankranti celebrations
14 January 2017 - Celebrations, of multiple hues across different communities, will ring in Makar Sankranti, a festival that not only heralds the harvest season in Maharashtra, but also marks the transition of the sun into the zodiacal sign of Makara (Capricorn). The day is regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase in Indian culture, known as the 'holy phase of transition'. Kite-flying remains the most popular activity among kids. The sessions are expected to get a boost with the festival coming on a weekend this year. (more)

Makar Sankranti 2017: From holy dip in Ganga to flying kites, here's how people are celebrating around India (in pictures)
14 January 2017 - India is a land of diversity and each region has its own share of festivals that are celebrated with utmost fanfare and galore. Makar Sankranti is one such occasion that is celebrated across the country -- with different names but with a common purpose. The harvest festival celebrated by Indians across the world, falls on January 14, this year. Here's how people around India celebrated the holy occasion (in pictures): (more)

Thailand expects tourism revenue of nearly $50 billion in 2017
9 January 2017 - Thailand expects revenue from foreign tourists to rise 8.5 percent to 1.78 trillion baht ($49.8 billion) this year, a deputy prime minister said on Monday. The expected rise results from an improved outlook for global tourism as well as Thailand's investment in infrastructure, Deputy Prime Minister Thanasak Patimaprakorn told reporters. (more)

Harbin festival: China's ice-and-snow city -- in pictures
7 January 2017 - The northern Chinese city of Harbin is hosting its annual ice-and-snow festival -- one of the largest of its type in the world. The festival features huge ice palaces and sculptures. Last year the festival attracted more than a million visitors. (more)

Japanese throng shrines to pray for profitable 2017
4 January 2017 - Thousands packed a 1,300-year-old Shinto shrine in downtown Tokyo on Wednesday (4 January), the first official working day of 2017 in Japan, to pray for good luck and economic success in the new year. Investors did their part to kick off the year on a positive note, sending the Nikkei 225 index .N225 soaring 2.5 percent to its highest in 13 months. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was greeted by [joyful] crowds as he visited the Ise Grand Shrine, the holiest site in Japan's Shinto religion, near where Group of Seven leaders met last year for a summit. In downtown Tokyo, the Kanda Shrine was packed -- typical of many shrines and Buddhist temples over New Years. 'I'd like to do my best as company president and I prayed for my employees' health,' said businessman Yoshimichi Morishita. (more)

The Danish and Cypriot cities hosting popular EU's cultural project
4 January 2017 - During 2017, Aarhus, Denmark and Pafos, Cyprus will hold the title of European Capital of Culture. For these cities it is an excellent opportunity to show 'the city's image', put the city on the European and the world map, and attract more tourists. At the same time, the event provides opportunities for the city's authorities to rethink the cities' development through culture. (more)

Syrian band brings music of Aleppo to Berlin
2 January 2017 - Instead of bombs there were beats. Guitars took over for guns. And there were cheers, not screams. But Aleppo was never far from the minds of the band Musiqana and the crowd at its record release concert in Berlin. 'I didn't know if I should cry or be happy,' said Samaa Hijazi, a 20-year-old medical student has been in Germany about five years but grew up in Syria. 'I was thinking about the times my father sang these songs. I sang them together with my brother. And they are all still in Syria.' Lead singer Abdallah Rahhal, 28, is an Aleppo native, and the band's music is the city's version of Arab Tarab, a traditional Arab music often referred to as 'musical euphoria,' with emotional and poetic lyrics. (more)

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

Tim Ferriss on Transcendental Meditation as a Tool for Titans
11 January 2017 - Author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss's popular self-help books have all swiftly reached the top of The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists. The latest, Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, is based on interviews with more than 200 world-class performers including celebrities, athletes, and scientists. Writing in The Observer recently, he says more than 80 per cent of those he interviewed were using meditation to get better results with less stress. Ferriss himself practises Transcendental Meditation. Initially he was 'afraid of ''losing my edge'', as if meditation would make me less aggressive or driven. That was unfounded; meditation simply helps you channel drive toward the few things that matter, rather than every moving target and imaginary opponent that pops up.' (more)

'Twin Peaks' actress Sherilyn Fenn: Transcendental Meditation is 'life-changing' - Washington Times interview
12 December 2016 - Sherilyn Fenn, renowned for memorable acting roles on American TV shows including ''Gilmour Girls', 'In Plain Sight', and the classic David Lynch series 'Twin Peaks', has been practising Transcendental Meditation for two years. She says it has been 'life changing'. During production of the upcoming revival of 'Twin Peaks', set to air in 2017, Sherilyn says, director and writer Lynch 'has all of us doing [TM] on set'. She also discusses the expansion and deepening range of her emotional life in what she considers 'her greatest role: as mom to two boys'; and how her work has evolved with age: 'The beauty of age is we grow, we learn. We have more wisdom.' (more)

Ramayana: The hero's journey and the quest for enlightenment
10 November 2016 - Linda Egenes shares what she learned about Transcendental Meditation as 'a way to effortlessly unfold the hero or heroine inside us - a way to reach for our highest self.' While teaching writing to a 'lively group of octogenarians' she found 'that every life is heroic, every journey a quest for growth and a better way of living.' But how can we be the heroes of our own stories? She concludes that 'the most important thing I can do for myself and others around me is to stay rested [in order] to think more clearly. Research shows that [TM] has an effect not only in [our] thinking more creatively and profoundly, thus making better decisions, but in creating more harmonious relationships and engaging in higher moral reasoning. In Ms. Egenes' abridged version of the Vedic epic The Ramayana: A New Retelling of Valmiki's Ancient Epic - Complete and Comprehensive co-authored with Dr. Kumuda Reddy, she describes how the heroes 'invariably reach for the highest course of action, the one that will bring happiness to everyone around them.' (more)

Creativity and consciousness: An interview with author Linda Egenes
1 November 2016 - Author of over 500 articles and six books, Linda Egenes describes how her creativity and mental clarity have developed through regular practice of Transcendental Meditation. She also talks about her newest book, co-authored with Kumuda Reddy, MD: The Ramayana: A New Retelling of Valmiki's Ancient Epic - Complete and Comprehensive. 'The Ramayana is the most widely read epic in the world today,' Ms Egenes says. 'Although it's the oldest epic on earth, it's a wonderful story for our modern times, because it features two enlightened people who, even though pressed to their limits, exhibit ideal qualities of kindness, compassion, tolerance and forgiveness to every person they meet.' In this shorter version of the 'charming and beautiful story', the authors decided to 'use a novelistic format but still retain the underlying wisdom of the original'. (more)

Maharishi University of Management alumna Genevra Bell: An entrepreneurial artist
23 October 2016 - Genevra Bell never thought she would one day make a living drawing animals. It all began when she moved to England after graduating from Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, with a degree in fine arts. Her specialization in ceramics brought her to a job in a Cumbria pottery studio, but soon she turned to painting and illustration. This grew to animal portraits, cards, calendars, and an expanding business - she recently added design licensing to her services. Now back in Fairfield as a teaching assistant and administrator for the MUM art department, she says, 'My experience in the art department was amazing and that's why I wanted to come back.' She recently won a Minted and Pottery Barn Kids Design challenge contest with her poster, The Animalphabet. (more)

Maharishi University of Management: David Lynch graduate wins Student Academy Award
3 October 2016 - The David Lynch Graduate School of Cinematic Arts at Maharishi University of Management, is pleased to announce that 2015 graduate Johnny Coffeen has been awarded the coveted Student Academy Award for his thesis film, The Swan Girl, about an artist mysteriously held captive in a studio, sculpting complex figures in an effort to atone for the mistakes of his past. This award will qualify him to be considered for an Academy Award nomination early next year. Coffeen is a member of the second graduating class of this unique school that uses the Transcendental Meditation technique to encourage students to tap into their creative potential. (more)

Transcendental Meditation enhances the freedom to create
30 September 2016 - 'Twice-daily practice of Transcendental Meditation', writes Janet Hoffman, executive director of TM for Women, 'keeps an artist tirelessly attuned to that inner source, promoting spontaneity, originality, and freedom of expression, giving her full reign to delight in the field of all possibilities.' Examining women's historic role as artists, Ms Hoffman credits the feminist movement for bringing forward women artists, saying 'women often use the medium of art to try to awaken the world and cause it to grow - a trait inherent within feminine nature.' Ms Hoffman upholds that the freedom to create is 'not just external, but also internal. It is there for us to take and enjoy.' (more)

Comedian Amy Schumer: 'Transcendental Meditation, it's so easy. It's like the laziest. It helps!'
15 September 2016 - Renowned comedian Amy Schumer sets a perfect example of how to preserve mental and physical health despite her overwhelming schedule of TV shows, movies and comedy tours. In addition to her healthy lifestyle choices, she found that practicing Transcendental Meditation 'totally changed the game for me: Energy, focus, general bettering of life and feeling just physically and mentally better.' She recently suggested TM during a Michael Ian Black podcast show, 'How To Be Amazing' when he asked her to recommend anything she was loving and finding amazing. (more)

Smithsonian photo competition won by Maharishi University of Management alumnus
5 September 2016 - Maharishi University of Management alumnus Radim Schreiber won a top award in the Smithsonian magazine annual photography competition for the second time. 'Synchronous Fireflies' was uploaded to The Smithsonian November 2015 and it was selected as Shot Of The Day the next month, followed by Editors' Pick, Finalist, and now Altered Images Winner out of 48,000 photos. Mr Schreiber explains in his fascinating website that no special photography techniques beyond basic contrast or color adjustment are used in his time exposures. His award-winning firefly images have been featured at CBS, NPR, National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Iowa Public Television, The Weather Channel, The National Wildlife Federation, and KEW Royal Botanical Gardens. He says, 'I believe that fireflies open doors to joy, magic and deep connection with nature . . . When I see fireflies being a mere reflection of stars under the Milky Way, I feel connected to everything in the universe. They are communicating to me. I am listening . . . ' (more)

David Lynch in conversation: 'It's ignorance that keeps us in that boat of suffering'
3 September 2016 - Salon online has published an interview of David Lynch by his book editor in celebration of the ten years since 'Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity' was released: Mr Lynch's iconic record of his commitment to Transcendental Meditation, his feelings about Hollywood and his working style as an artist. TarcherPerigee has just reissued Lynch's work in a 10th-anniversary edition, which includes new interviews with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. (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)

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