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Positive Trends
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India: Kerala block office turns fully solar-powered
18 June 2018 - Ambalappuzha has become the first fully solar-powered block panchayat office in the district. Officials said that after meeting the energy needs of the office, the local body was distributing additional electricity to the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB). 'The move has helped us to save a lot of money on electricity bills. We have become a model to the rest of the block panchayats in the district,' said an official. (more)

India: State's first electric bus to hit the capital's road today
18 June 2018 - On Monday (18 June), Kerala will launch its first electric bus, becoming the sixth Indian state to run the service. KSRTC chairman and managing director Tomin J Thachankary introduced the bus, which will operate on trial for 15 days in three cities, starting from the capital at 11 am on Monday. (more)

US: Aspen officials invest nearly $2 million on electric bus project
17 June 2018 - Aspen's elected officials this week committed to spending $1.8 million for a fleet of battery-powered buses that are expected to hit the streets next year. ... Next year a pilot program will be considered to see how the buses function in an alpine environment and how long they will hold a charge. Aspen is one of the first towns in the state [of Colorado] to have battery-electric buses. (more)

US: Green and quiet? That's what Chicago Transit Authority says new fleet of electric buses will deliver
17 June 2018 - For some CTA bus riders, their commute will be a bit greener -- and even somewhat quieter -- by year's end, officials say. On Wednesday (13 June), the Chicago Transit Authority signed off on the purchase of 20 all-electric buses at an estimated cost of $32 million. The buses will all be purchased by 2020, with several hitting the streets by year's end. (more)

One tiny India state is leading the charge to ban pesticides
8 June 2018 - Fifteen years ago, the tiny Indian state of Sikkim launched a radical experiment: Its leaders decided to phase out pesticides on every farm in the state, a move without precedent in India -- and probably the world. The change was especially significant for India, a country whose progress in agriculture was defined by the introduction of fertilizers and pesticide ... But with the indiscriminate use of pesticides came a spike in cancer rates in industrial farming areas. Rivers became polluted, and soil infertile. Sikkim's leaders say they were driven to go all-organic by those concerns and because pesticide residue -- including from some chemicals banned in other countries -- was tainting fish, vegetables, and rice. (more)

US: Solar energy farms gaining traction in Nebraska
3 June 2018 - Solar energy is gaining traction in Nebraska as a growing number of cities adopt the technology, and state officials are looking for ways to help the trend along. The technology has become so popular that some cities have had to expand their recently built solar farms or build new ones to keep pace with customer demand. (more)

You've got mail: Cuba, U.S. make permanent restored postal services
1 June 2018 - Cuba and the United States are making the re-establishment of postal services permanent after a trial run, the state-run Cuban News Agency reported on Friday (1 June), as cooperation in some areas inches forward ... The former Cold War foes first restored direct mail service as a pilot program in December 2015 as part of the policy of detente pursued by former U.S. President Barack Obama with then Cuban President Raul Castro. (more)

An Indian state banned pesticides. Tourism and wildlife flourished. Will others follow?
31 May 2018 - Fifteen years ago, the tiny Indian state of Sikkim launched a radical experiment: Its leaders decided to phase out pesticides on every farm in the state .... The cloud-wreathed Himalayan state is starting to see the dividends. Overall health has increased in the state, leaders say, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has embraced Sikkim and organic farming throughout India, pouring about $119 million into supporting organic farmers nationwide. (more)

EU moves to ban single-use plastics
28 May 2018 - The European Commission on Monday (28 May) proposed banning single-use plastic products such as cotton buds and plastic straws and putting the burden of cleaning up waste on manufacturers in an effort to reduce marine litter. Under the proposal, single-use plastic products with readily available alternatives will be banned and replaced with more environmentally sustainable materials. (more)

India: Law proposed to give legal backing to organic farming in Uttarakhand
27 May 2018 - The Uttarakhand government will soon bring in a law to give organic farming a legal backing so that organic produce that is in great demand in domestic and foreign markets fetches local farmers high returns, an official said. Under the proposed law, the locally produced organic crops will be known as 'Organic Uttarakhand'. (more)


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


New study: Transcendental Meditation helps women reduce trauma in prison, gain 'self-care for life'
24 August 2017 - Research finds that women are the fastest growing population in U.S. prisons, nearly double the rate of men, and enter prison with high rates of abuse and proportionally more trauma. Fortunately, a 2017 randomized controlled study published in The Permanente Journal found that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique significantly reduced trauma symptoms in female inmates at an Oregon prison. 'Meditating twice a day has helped lessen my stress levels, allowed me to connect to and centre myself at deeper levels, and to retreat, reflect, and problem-solve,' said one inmate. Another said, 'I no longer feel imprisoned. I now feel my freedom from the inside of me.' The TM technique has critical advantages as a mind-body intervention for underrepresented populations, according to Charles Elder, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., author of a companion editorial in The Permanente Journal. (more)

Post-Traumatic Growth: 'Transcendental Meditation has given me the opportunity to live a life that is truly full of purpose, meaning, connection, and service'
1 August 2017 - Suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTS), and finding no relief through treatments provided by the U.S. Veterans Administration, Marine Corps veteran Paul Downs went to Boulder Crest Retreat Facility for veterans in Virginia, which partners with the David Lynch Foundation to offer Transcendental Meditation as part of its programme. One of only five witnesses testifying before the recent U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs' hearing on PTS, Downs said that after just a few weeks of practising TM, he felt less anxious, less angry, more focused, more energized, more directed. 'I gained a connection to self that I didn't have before. I found peace with my past. I realized who I am - and there's no pill for that. . . . It is hard to believe that 20 minutes, twice a day, is exactly what we require. But it is. It works for me, and for thousands of my brothers and sisters. It has given me the opportunity not just to survive on earth, but thrive here - and to live a life that is truly full of purpose, meaning, connection, and service.' (more)

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)

UK Parliament marks International Yoga Day - Prof Tony Nader, MD, PhD honoured with special award
16 July 2017 - The third International Yoga Day was celebrated in the House of Commons, Palace of Westminster, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Indian Traditional Sciences, its Secretariat Amarjeet S Bhamra and the High Commission of India. The event on 10 July was designed to explore the value of introducing Yoga in the NHS (National Health Service). Chief Guest of the event, H.E. High Commissioner Y K Sinha paid tribute to the work of the APPG in introducing Yoga, Ayurveda and other disciplines into the mainstream of public life. Prof Tony Nader, MD, PhD, MARR, head of the worldwide Transcendental Meditation organization, was honoured with a special award, and presented five volumes of Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation Programme to Members of Parliament. In his keynote address Prof Nader explained that 'every one of us has within us, built into our very physiology, the essential quality of Yoga, which is unifying.' (more)

U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan gives Maharishi University of Management commencement address: 'We are living in a moment that calls out for you'
4 July 2017 - U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan from Ohio's 13th District delivered the commencement address at Maharishi University of Management, USA, on 24 June. Congressman Ryan has taken a national leadership role in improving access to healthcare, promoting ways to make college more affordable, and expanding renewable energy. He challenged the graduates to find innovative solutions to the seemingly intractable problems facing the world: 'Graduates, we are living in a moment that calls out for you, because you are those rare positive disruptors - creative, open, smart, self-driven, resilient, fearless. You are the modern-day explorers. Your meditation practice will assist you in navigating the turbulent waters of modern society. Your Consciousness-Based Education has prepared you to take your place among those leaders who are redefining the rules and changing the way we all see things. Our nation and the world desperately need you now.' (more)

Maharishi School grad posted at US Embassy in Liberia
15 May 2017 - Colette 'Coco' Clark, a 2011 graduate of Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, has recently been hired by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. Her first posting will be at the U.S. embassy in Liberia, beginning in June. Ms. Clark received a Bachelor of Science in foreign service, summa cum laude, from Georgetown University in 2015 and a Master of Arts in security studies the following year, also from Georgetown. She is proficient in Arabic and has worked for the past two years at the U.S. Department of Justice on legal negotiations between the U.S. government and Middle Eastern countries. (more)

'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)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


American Indians fear U.S.-Mexico border wall will destroy ancient culture
16 June 2018 - To the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Indians, the water of the Rio Grande that divides the United States and Mexico sanctifies religious rites and purifies their hunts. Indian communities living miles away use the river to send messages to fellow tribes downstream, tribal chief Jose Sierra told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. ... But now tribal leaders fear a proposed border wall ... will sever access to the river, spoiling traditions and ruining ancient culture. (more)

Dust storms drag New Delhi air quality back to dangerous levels
14 June 2018 - Air quality in New Delhi plummeted to a dangerous level on Wednesday (13 June), putting residents at risk, mainly due to dust storms from western India, a senior official at the pollution control board said. Air quality has worsened in New Delhi in recent years, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office to directly monitor measures to clean up the capital's air. (more)

Global warming set to exceed 1.5°C, slow economic growth - U.N. draft
14 June 2018 - Global warming is on course to exceed the most stringent goal set in the Paris agreement by around 2040, threatening economic growth, according to a draft report that is the U.N.'s starkest warning yet of the risks of climate change. Governments can still cap temperatures below the strict 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7° Fahrenheit) ceiling agreed in 2015 only with ''rapid and far-reaching' transitions in the world economy, according to the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). (more)

Guatemala town destroyed by volcano thought it was safe
8 June 2018 - Orlando Paez plans never to go back to his hamlet of San Miguel Los Lotes, where he narrowly escaped an onrushing river of superheated volcanic ash as his dying neighbors screamed for help. ... A good question is why authorities ever allowed it in the first place. Nestled on the flanks of the extremely active volcano, the village was square in the path of a gulch that channeled the downhill flow of fast-moving hot rock, ash, and debris when the mountain erupted Sunday (3 June), burying homes up to their rooftops. At least 109 people were killed and nearly 200 remain missing, according to the most recent official toll. ... the village was first settled in the 1950s as housing for coffee pickers who worked on local plantations ... (more)

Russia's Gulag museum: Prisoner data secretly destroyed
8 June 2018 - A museum studying Soviet prison camps said Friday (8 June) it has discovered a secret Russian order in 2014 instructing officials to destroy data on prisoners -- a move it said 'could have catastrophic consequences for studying the history of the camps.' Up to 17 million people were sent to the Gulag, the notorious Soviet prison camp system, in the 1930s and 1940s, and at least 5 million of them were convicted on false testimony. The prison population in the sprawling labor camps peaked at 2 million people. (more)

US: Growing number of fatal car crashes linked to drug use
3 June 2018 - An increasing number of drivers involved in fatal crashes are testing positive for drugs, especially opioids and marijuana, according to a new study by the Governors Highway Safety Association -- though it is unclear whether drug use is actually the culprit in those crashes. The report raises serious concerns at a time when the U.S. is facing an epidemic of opioid usage and as more and more states legalize marijuana for medical and recreational usage. (more)

US: Drugged driving deaths spike with spread of legal marijuana, opioid abuse
2 June 2018 - More than 5,300 drivers who died in fatal crashes in 2016 tested positive for drugs, research shows. As legal marijuana spreads and the opioid epidemic rages on, the number of drugged drivers killed in car crashes is rising dramatically, according to a report released this week. Forty-four percent of fatally injured drivers tested for drugs had positive results in 2016, the Governors Highway Safety Association found, up more than 50 percent compared with a decade ago. More than half the drivers tested positive for marijuana, opioids, or a combination of the two. (more)

Puerto Rican death toll from Hurricane Maria 73 times official tally: study
29 May 2018 - Hurricane Maria claimed 73 times more lives in Puerto Rico than the official death toll of 64, according to new calculations based on a survey of thousands of residents by a team from Harvard and elsewhere. The group estimates that 4,645 people died between September 20 and December 31, 2017 as a direct or indirect result of the Category 4 storm, and one-third perished because of delayed or interrupted medical care. The researchers say even that estimate may be too low and the numbers 'underscore the inattention of the U.S. government to the frail infrastructure of Puerto Rico.' (more)

Almost half of US families can't afford basics like rent and food
17 May 2018 - The economy may be chugging along, but many Americans are still struggling to afford a basic middle class life. Nearly 51 million households don't earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation, and a cell phone, according to a study released Thursday (17 May) by the United Way ALICE Project. That's 43% of households in the United States. (more)

US: Lack of paper trail a concern amid fears of election hacking
17 May 2018 - As the midterm congressional primaries heat up amid fears of Russian hacking, roughly 1 in 5 Americans will be casting ballots on machines that do not produce a paper record of their votes. That worries voting and cybersecurity experts, who say lack of a hard copy makes it difficult to double-check results for signs of manipulation. (more)

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