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Positive Trends
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Australia: Landcare funding boost to include $15m for new Indigenous protected areas
28 March 2017 - A $100m funding package to Landcare will include $15m for new Indigenous protected areas, raising hopes of further federal support for the environmental policy and its related Indigenous ranger program. The funding will also support Landcare projects, the work of Landcare Australia and the National Landcare Network, and a small grants program for sustainable agriculture. (more)

UK: Quiet revolution cuts energy consumption
28 March 2017 - After decades of constant increases, the consumption of electricity in many European countries is going down. Coupled with the rise in the use of renewable energy, this has cut carbon emissions faster than expected. Some countries, notably Germany, have been expecting and planning for this to happen, but the UK government has been surprised by the trend. It forecast a continued rise in the use of electricity, but it has been falling. (more)

China: Smog-hit Beijing plans 'green necklace' to block pollution
23 March 2017 - Beijing and the surrounding province of Hebei will plant trees, establish green belts, and make use of rivers and wetlands to create a 'green necklace' to protect China's smog-hit capital from pollution, the Hebei government said on Thursday. The city has also promised to curtail coal consumption and decommissioned its last coal-fired power plant earlier this month. (more)

Europe poised for total ban on bee-harming pesticides
23 March 2017 - The world's most widely used insecticides would be banned from all fields across Europe under draft regulations from the European commission, seen by the Guardian news. The documents are the first indication that the powerful commission wants a complete ban and cite 'high acute risks to bees'. A ban could be in place this year if the proposals are approved by a majority of EU member states. (more)

Solving the worldwide plastic problem with innovative ideas
23 March 2017 - Many people are stepping up and taking action that will help the world resolve the over abundance of plastic waste. Here are a number of innovative breakthroughs in the desire to curb the world's plastic pollution problem, that show by working together, there can be a real positive change. (more)

Ganges and Yamuna rivers granted same legal rights as human beings
21 March 2017 - The Ganges river, considered sacred by more than 1 billion Indians, has become the first non-human entity in India to be granted the same legal rights as people. A court in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand ordered on Monday (20 March) that the Ganges and its main tributary, the Yamuna, be accorded the status of living human entities. ... The court in the Himalayan resort town of Nainital appointed three officials to act as legal custodians responsible for conserving and protecting the rivers and their tributaries. It ordered that a management board be established within three months. (more)

Austria joins up charging points to boost electric car usage
20 March 2017 - Austria is creating a nationwide network of charging stations for electric cars, making it easier for drivers to charge up as part of the country's efforts to promote the vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions. The move means drivers can sign up with any one of the 11 suppliers and use all the stations within the combined network, rather than have separate contracts with each company. (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: 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)

In race to curb climate change, cities outpace governments
13 March 2017 - Cities from Oslo to Sydney are setting goals to curb climate change that exceed national targets . . . More than 2,500 cities have issued plans to cut carbon emissions to the United Nations since late 2014, setting an example to almost 200 nations that reached a Paris Agreement in December 2015 to fight global warming. Although there are no officially collated statistics available, many city targets are more ambitious than those set by governments under the Paris accord, which imposes no obligations on cities, regions, or companies to define goals. ... Mayors in 12 big U.S. cities including Austin, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston this week reaffirmed a commitment to the Paris deal. (more)


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


'Results inside correctional facilities with Transcendental Meditation have been simply astounding'
1 February 2017 - In an editorial published this week accompanying two studies on Transcendental Meditation with male and female prison inmates, Dr. Charles Elder, a clinician and researcher with Kaiser Permanente, called for wider use of evidence-based mind-body interventions for prisoners. 'Mind-body interventions can provide the patient with a simple self-help tool that can effectively reduce anxiety, help treat substance abuse, reduce inmate recidivism, and help address a range of medical conditions,' Dr Elder wrote, citing research on Transcendental Meditation that supports these benefits. Rebecca Pak of The Women's Prison Association agrees: 'The results inside correctional facilities . . . with Transcendental Meditation have been simply astounding. If we shifted our focus from punitive responses to interventions designed to improve mental and physical health, we would have much greater impact.' The article reviews research results on Transcendental Meditation in prisons over the last four decades. (more)

Can Blacks and Police Find Inner Peace? Afro.com reports
22 November 2016 - 'If war refugees with PTSD can find rapid relief from stress through Transcendental Meditation practice, how much easier will it be for both police and inner city African-Americans to find inner peace?', write the authors of an article in Afro.com. TM is described as an evidence-based strategy to address the underlying buildup of stress in communities 'that inevitably erupts into violence'. According to recent research, more than 50% of people with PTSD who learn TM are symptom-free in 30-105 days. Police practising TM have found increased stability in stressful situations, better health, and greater resiliency to stress. It is a 'well-documented protocol for reducing stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) . . . . that will prevent and help neutralize this buildup of stress, anger, and violence in individuals and in society as a whole.' (more)

Transcendental Meditation: A resource for reducing stress among law enforcement professionals
19 November 2016 - Dr Martha Batorski, a recognized speaker on the topic of leadership development and stress reduction, calls for the use of healing strategies like Transcendental Meditation to 'reduce the effects of stress on those who serve and protect - male and female - so they may better draw upon inner resources of calm to de-escalate situations and serve as true role models in our society.' 'Policewomen,' she writes in TM for Women, 'have naturally contributed to a new paradigm in law enforcement, bringing qualities to the field . . . that include greater empathy and ability to defuse situations and a larger field of awareness during stressful situations.' With as many as 18 per cent of police officers suffering from PTSD, and a higher rate among policewomen, there is increasing interest in the scientifically proven effectiveness of TM in greatly reducing PTSD symptoms and increasing resiliency to stressful situations. (more)

Transcendental Meditation significantly helps ease trauma symptoms, stress among inmates
8 October 2016 - Researchers have found that Transcendental Meditation significantly reduced trauma symptoms and stress in male prisoners. The study, funded by the David Lynch Foundation and conducted by a team led by Dr Sanford Nidich, was a randomized, controlled trial of 181 Oregon state correctional inmates categorized as 'moderate to high-risk'. One inmate expressed his experience after learning TM: 'As I entered the 24th year behind bars I had come to grips with most of the demons of the past but still felt fragmented. Recently I was given the chance to learn TM. . . . As the weeks passed that sense of fragmentation started to flow into something deeper and new. A quiet that feels so natural and restful that I feel like I've finally come home. To a place where things make sense and I'm just happy. The pains of my life haven't gone away . . . just feels like I've grown beyond them.' The study was published yesterday in The Permanente Journal. (more)

Federal employees learn about 'next generation PTSD relief strategy' that really works
22 September 2016 - On 22 September, the founding president of African PTSD Relief, David Shapiro, and Dr. Katie Grose, a teacher of Transcendental Meditation, gave presentations to some of the employees at a large federal complex in the Washington, D.C. area. The PTSD Relief team presented results of scientific research studies conducted on-site with refugees in Africa who learned TM and experienced dramatic relief from post-traumatic stress. The presenters are invited to participate in a charity fair for federal employees in October. (more)

Rio de Janeiro's elite police learning Transcendental Meditation in preparation for 2016 Olympics
24 November 2015 - With Olympic Games just a year ahead, the pressure is mounting on Rio de Janeiro police. Security has remained a major challenge in preparation for the grand international event. To prevent stress-induced burnout, last week a group of 400 Rio police officers started a course of Transcendental Meditation. An official explained that a policeman who is less stressed will have a better capacity to make decisions. If TM is proven to reduce the stress, the goal is to expand teaching the technique to the whole troop. The courses are supported by the David Lynch Foundation, which was founded to prevent and eradicate the effects of traumatic, toxic stress among at-risk populations. (more)

US: Women's Prison Association brings Transcendental Meditation to women with criminal justice involvement
28 October 2015 - The Women's Prison Association, a social service organization based in New York City that works with women at all stages of criminal justice involvement, has partnered with the David Lynch Foundation to offer Transcendental Meditation to clients and staff. One participant says, 'I meditate everyday, twice a day. I see the benefits everyday when dealing with my child or anyone else. I have more patience and understanding. I have more energy. Since meditation, my sugar levels have regulated (I am diabetic). It seems like everything has fallen into place. . . .' (more)

1001 Benefits of Transcendence
11 January 2015 - For the past five years, Blaze Compton and colleagues have been teaching inmates in several major US state prisons to practise Transcendental Meditation. 'Just 16 weeks of transcending is enough to begin a major reordering of the brain and nervous system to a more normal style of functioning that dramatically supports pro-social thinking and behavior,' he says. Mr Compton presents an extensive collection of research articles on TM ('1001 Benefits of Transcending'), 211 research institutions that have investigated TM, and 176 medical and scientific journals that have published research on the technique. (more)

Meditation sessions a hit in US Congress
25 October 2014 - The success of programmes for veterans and other at-risk groups has inspired a congressional leader to organize meditation sessions for people working in Washington, DC at the US Congress. Rep Tim Ryan began the meditation sessions, which he calls, 'Quiet Time Caucus' two years ago and the New York Post is calling the sessions 'wildly popular' with members of Congress and staffers.
(more)

Guardian Liberty Voice: Research shows group meditation can reduce crime rates
11 April 2014 - A recent article in the US publication Guardian Liberty Voice took an in-depth look into scientific research on the coherence-creating effect of group meditation, detailing how it 'was not only able to reduce the crime rate, but also can save cities millions of dollars'. Noting more than 50 research studies on this phenomenon, known as the Maharishi Effect, the article explains that it is produced by a specific form of meditation--the Transcendental Meditation Sidhi Programme, an advanced practice of Transcendental Meditation. In one study in Merseyside, England, 'During periods when a meditating group slightly larger than the square root of one percent of the population held sessions the monthly data showed a 13.4 percent drop in crime. This was very significant in contrast to the national crime rate, which had actually increased by 45 percent.' (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Thousands of Fukushima evacuees face hardship as subsidies to be slashed
17 January 2017 - Nearly six years after Noriko Matsumoto and her children fled Japan's Fukushima region, fearing for their health after the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, they confront a new potential hardship -- the slashing of vital housing subsidies. Matsumoto is among nearly 27,000 people who left areas not designated as mandatory evacuation zones, spooked by high levels of radiation after nuclear meltdowns unleashed by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Now, as the Fukushima local government prepares to slash unconditional housing assistance on March 31, many face the painful choice of returning to areas they still fear are unsafe, or reconciling to financial hardship . . . (more)

The end of a People: Amazon dam destroys sacred Munduruku 'Heaven'
6 January 2017 - Four dams are being built on the Teles Pires River -- a major tributary of the Tapajós River -- to provide Brazil with hydropower, and to possibly be a first step toward constructing an industrial waterway to transport soy and other commodities from Mato Grosso state, in the interior, to the Atlantic coast. Those dams are being built largely without consultation with impacted indigenous people, as required by the International Labor Organization's Convention 169, an agreement which Brazil signed. A sacred rapid, known as Sete Quedas, the Munduruku 'Heaven', was dynamited in 2013 to build the Teles Pires dam. A cache of sacred artifacts was also seized by the dam construction consortium and the Brazilian state. The Indians see both events as callous attacks on their sacred sites, and say that these desecrations will result in the destruction of the Munduruku as a people -- 3,000 Munduruku Indians live in 112 villages, mainly along the upper reaches of the Tapajós River and its tributaries in the heart of the Amazon. (more)

Hungry Venezuelans flood Brazilian towns, as threat of mass migration looms
1 January 2017 - Survival for Venezuelans is becoming a matter of flight. About 10,000 Venezuelans are streaming into Brazil every month in search of food and medicine, authorities say, camping out on the streets and swamping government services in Amazon frontier towns ill-prepared to receive them. Oil-rich Venezuela has been an immigrant destination for much of its history. Now it is a place to flee. Chronic food shortages, rampant violence and the erratic and often paranoid behavior of President Nicolás Maduro have turned the country's border crossings and beaches into escape valves. (more)

World: Illegal logging shows little sign of slowing
30 December 2016 - A report released in December presents the most comprehensive scientific analysis of illegal logging ever published. Its findings indicate a third of the tropical timber traded globally comes from illegal deforestation, and that regulation loopholes along with an uptick in organized criminal networks are bolstering the illicit activity. (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)

'Outrageous': Coal mine gets expansion nod despite secret, incomplete studies
26 December 2016 - The Baird government has approved the expansion of the most aggressive coal mine in the Special Areas of Greater Sydney's catchment despite not knowing the compounding impact it will have on water supplies. Approval was granted despite South32 commissioning a report on groundwater impacts in 2012 -- when it was seeking the go-ahead for the five excavation lines -- but then declining to make the findings available even to the government. (more)

Smog engulfs cities in northern China for fourth day
20 December 2016 - A plane carrying the chief executive of the world's biggest oil exporter was prevented from landing in the Chinese capital of Beijing on Tuesday because of thick smog blanketing large swathes of northern China. China declared a 'war on pollution' in 2014 amid concern its heavy industrial past was tarnishing its global reputation and holding back its future development. But it has struggled to reverse the damage done by decades of breakneck economic growth, much of it based on the coal-burning power sector. Despite months of efforts to hone its rapid response systems, air quality deteriorated in parts of the region on Tuesday, with the environment ministry warning that firms were flouting emergency restrictions. (more)

Air pollution in northern Chinese city surpasses WHO guideline by 100 times
19 December 2016 - Concentrations of airborne pollutants in a major northern Chinese city exceeded a World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline by 100 times on Monday as north China battled with poor air quality for the third straight day. Pollution alerts have become increasingly common in China's northern industrial heartland, especially during winter when energy demand -- much of it met by coal -- skyrockets. (more)

Americans' odds of earning more than parents have plunged
8 December 2016 - The likelihood that young adults will earn more than their parents has plummeted in recent decades, a study has found, fueling concerns that the American dream of steady upward mobility is foundering amid a widening wealth gap. ...Anxieties about status and economic opportunity formed a backdrop to the 2016 election campaign, with many voters concerned that their children wouldn't fare as well as they had. Conversely, many younger voters worry that they won't do as well as their parents, largely because of sluggish income growth and higher costs for housing, health care, and student debt. Chetty's research suggests that those concerns are well-founded. (more)

In Macedonia's fake news hub, teen shows AP how it's done
2 December 2016 - On the second floor of a noisy sports center in the Macedonian town of Veles, a teenage purveyor of fake news cracked open his laptop and laid out his case for why lying is more lucrative than the truth. Real news gets reported everywhere, he argued. Made-up stories are unique. 'The fake news is the good news,' the 18-year-old said, pointing to a graph showing his audience figures, which reached into the hundreds of thousands, a bling watch clasped firmly around his wrist. 'A fake news article is way more opened than any other.' (more)

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