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We want more Syrian refugees: council offers exceed official UK pledge of 20,000
9 March 2017 - [The UK government] is under pressure to increase the number of Syrian refugees offered asylum in Britain as local authorities say they can take in more than the government's offer of 20,000 spaces. Local councils have pledged enough homes to accommodate almost 22,000 Syrian refugees, according to a comprehensive tally by The Guardian news organization. The government originally committed to providing places for 20,000 Syrians in September 2015, at the height of the European migration crisis. Councils have been overwhelmed by community support for the scheme to resettle Syrian refugees, with many local authorities increasing their pledges after campaigns from local charities and citizens' groups. (more)

Meet Marianne North, who defied Victorian convention to paint the world's jungles
7 March 2017 - By contemporary standards, Marianne North led an extraordinarily creative and productive life. Over the span of 15 years, she traveled to five continents and 17 countries, seeking out the most remote and hazardous parts of the tropics to paint exotic and undiscovered plants, presenting them in their jungle environments. The achievement, however, is amplified by the fact she did this in the 1870s and 1880s ... she sailed from England to the distant shores of Borneo, the Seychelles and Chile and produced more than 1,000 paintings ... (more)

Creating a buzz: how UK schools are embracing beekeeping
3 March 2017 - Teachers are discovering that beehives can provide exciting opportunities to learn outside the classroom. Dr Julia Hoggard has kept bees for 30 years and runs a 20-acre, bee-orientated nature reserve in Cumbria. For the past year, she has been working with a local primary school, helping the students to create their own hives. (more)

Marine bacteria produce an environmentally important molecule with links to climate: New study
13 February 2017 - Scientists from the University of East Anglia (UK) and Ocean University China have discovered that tiny marine bacteria can synthesise one of Earth's most abundant sulfur molecules, which affects atmospheric chemistry and potentially climate. This molecule, dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is an important nutrient for marine microorganisms and is the major precursor for the climate-cooling gas, dimethyl sulfide (DMS). It was previously widely thought that only eukaryotes - 'higher' organisms with complex cells, such as seaweeds and phytoplankton - produced DMSP. However, researchers have discovered that many marine bacteria also produce this sulfur compound, and have identified the key gene in the process. (more)

British village gets solar battery boost in green energy trial
20 January 2017 - Villagers in northern England may soon see their electricity bills slashed by as much as 50 percent in a pilot project allowing them to use solar power around the clock. The project, financed by energy supplier Northern Powergrid, is the first to analyze how linking batteries can allow more households to install solar panels without expensive upgrades to the grid. (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)

Scotland produces 'greener electricity', says WWF Scotland
4 January 2017 - Power generated in Scotland has a significantly smaller impact on climate change when compared with the UK average, a conservation body claims. The conservation body's climate and energy policy officer Fabrice Leveque said: 'Thanks to the Scottish government's leadership on renewables policy, the climate change impact of producing electricity in Scotland has fallen rapidly and is now half that of the whole of the UK. (more)

UK Queen's Christmas message: 'Small acts of goodness' inspire
25 December 2016 - Thousands of 'small acts of goodness' can make a difference, even though the world's problems often seem too big to change, the Queen [Britain's Queen Elizabeth II] has said. 'I often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things: volunteers, carers, community organisers and good neighbours; unsung heroes whose quiet dedication makes them special,' she said. (more)

UK Queen's speech in full: 'We can do small things with great love'
25 December 2016 - Read a full transcript of Queen Elizabeth II's traditional Christmas Day address to the UK on 25 December 2016. (more)

UK's Queen Elizabeth emphasizes 'small acts of goodness' in Christmas day message
25 December 2016 - Queen Elizabeth focused on what she called the value of doing small things with great love in her annual Christmas message on Sunday, reflecting on inspirational examples of 'ordinary people doing extraordinary things.' (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Second International Ayurveda Congress to be held in London - 1-2 April 2017: 'Time-Tested, Scientifically Verified Solutions For the Health Problems of Our Time'
10 January 2017 - All India Ayurvedic Congress, New Delhi; International Academy of Ayurved, Pune; and International Maharishi AyurVeda Foundation, Netherlands, extend a warm invitation to all health professionals, Ayurvedic scholars, and researchers from India and around the world to participate at this Second International Ayurveda Congress to be held in London in April. Internationally renowned scholars will be keynote speakers at the Congress and will present scientifically verified solutions to showcase the effectiveness of Ayurveda towards fulfilling the human pursuit of health, happiness, and long life. The International Ayurveda Congress offers a prestigious platform for research scholars to present their findings in various fields of Ayurveda. The latest innovative and pioneering work will be presented in this Congress. (more)

Prince Charles' initiatives in holistic education: Parallels with Consciousness-Based Education
2 December 2016 - In Part 2 of this series, Ann Purcell explores initiatives by Prince Charles of the UK in holistic education, highlighting parallels to the system of Consciousness-Based Education founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In his book Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, Prince Charles describes major historical shifts in human thought over the past centuries through which 'nature was understood as being outside of us, something we could conquer and control. Education began to reflect this separation and focused on separate bits of information rather than on connections.' The prince has sought to promote 'a return to holistic education' through establishing innovative educational institutes where children can connect conventional academic subjects with universal patterns in nature, including within their own physiology. In Consciousness-Based Education institutions such as Maharishi University of Management, Ms Purcell writes, 'students learn the universal principles of intelligence that are prevalent in every field of study and discover that all knowledge emerges from the unified field of consciousness' which they experience directly through the practice of Transcendental Meditation. 'Reconnecting students to their own inner harmony and to the interconnectedness of all fields of knowledge', she says, 'is an essential and timely step to meeting the urgent needs of our precarious times.' (more)

UK's first Maharishi Peace Palace - creating peace for the individual and peace for society
7 November 2016 - News media continue to feature Britain's first Peace Palace, most recently in a video report on ITV News. The building, inaugurated last month in Rendlesham, Suffolk, will offer programmes and courses founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The Peace Palace and its surrounding residential development were designed in accord with ancient principles of Maharishi Vedic Architecture to promote peace and happiness for those who visit the building and in the environment. Richard Johnson, national director of the Transcendental Meditation programme in the UK, points out that Maharishi's central objective was to promote peace for the individual and the society. Mr Johnson says, 'We want to create peace on the level of consciousness on a deeper level so that it creates bliss in society and internationally', noting scientific research demonstrating this effect when sufficient people practise Transcendental Meditation. (more)

See inside the Rendlesham Peace Palace - a one-of-kind architectural feat for Britain: East Anglian Daily Times
15 October 2016 - The organization teaching Transcendental Meditation in the UK is celebrating the inauguration of its first Maharishi Peace Palace in Rendlesham, a Suffolk village. The Peace Palace is Britain's biggest building constructed using a set of principles taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - and sits at the centre of similarly designed, east-facing homes in Rendlesham's Garden Village - one of the largest Vedic Architecture settlements of its kind in the world. Richard Johnson, Rendlesham resident and national director of the Transcendental Meditation Programme in England, says: 'The building is about creating peace for the individual and society. Maharishi wanted buildings to be dedicated to that cause.' (more)

Great Britain: Dr Norman Rosenthal presents Transcendental Meditation on extensive tour
12 October 2016 - Dr Norman Rosenthal, psychiatrist and author of The New York Times best-seller ''SUPER MIND: How to Boost Performance and Live a Richer and Happier Life Through Transcendental Meditation'' has launched a British tour presenting Transcendental Meditation as a powerful tool for healing in stress-related illnesses such as anxiety, cardio-vascular disorders, and PTSD. During his presentations at hospitals, medical schools, universities, and public forums, he will include the disorder he is famous for identifying: Seasonal Affective Disorder, also alleviated through TM and light therapy. (more)

How to survive and flourish at school with Transcendental Meditation
20 September 2016 - Iain Robertson Campbell of Glasgow, Scotland, offers insights to encourage and nourish those who, at some point or other, feel despondent and discouraged by education. In addition to being a teacher of Transcendental Meditation, he is an English and Religious Studies high school instructor. After beginning TM, he recalled feeling the relief from stress in an intense academic setting - saying, '. . . you can restore the balance right away.' Among benefits noticed were spontaneously completing projects, more room to be compassionate toward others, and over time, observing the path his interests and skills were taking him. His inner confidence grew and he progressed from just 11 years of education due to undiagnosed dyslexia, to graduate studies in education. He said, ' . . . objective knowledge is rather dry and meaningless if we don't have self-knowledge, or access to real joy'. (more)

United Kingdom: Nigel Barlow recommends Transcendental Meditation to people terrified of speaking publicly
9 May 2016 - If you want to be an effective speaker, Nigel Barlow suggests learning Transcendental Meditation from a certified teacher. Barlow, a creative coach and inspirational speaker, has worked in over 30 countries in most sectors of industry and for some of the world's greatest companies. 'I've done it (TM) for 20 minutes twice a day for decades,' he said, 'and the effect is to allow your breathing to be more easy, your brain waves more coherent (clearer), even in a high stress situation like speaking.' (more)

United Kingdom: The Mirror: Team manager Sam Allardyce using Transcendental Meditation to keep calm
6 May 2016 - Manager Sam Allardyce, of the Sunderland team in the United Kingdom's Premier League Football Club (soccer for North Americans) made sports page headlines about his practise of Transcendental Meditation. He says, 'I've read the science on it and it gives you a better insight into how it helps to reduce your blood pressure and keeps you calmer -- if done the right way. You can be anywhere at any time, in a relatively quiet place. It refreshes you and makes you feel good to push on.' The article also states, 'TM was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and some studies claim it can reduce high blood pressure, anxiety, and chronic pain -- all common symptoms for recent Sunderland managers.' (more)

Christian Wharton, a painter with transparent and dazzling technique
16 March 2016 - Capturing water with water colours, Christian Wharton has had eight London exhibitions and her work adorns the offices of major corporations such as the BBC, hospitals, hospices and banks. By her own admission, it's the peaceful flow of meditating that has carried her so far. 'I started Transcendental Meditation in 1967 and it has been my guiding light,' Wharton says, 'a small candle at the still centre. My paintings would not have developed the way they did if it had not been for TM. It has not been merely an inspiration but has increased my perception of what is really going on in nature, art, and life itself.' (more)

UK: Transcendental Meditation - 'More effective than several years of therapy'
24 July 2015 - 'It was like darkness disappearing with the shining of light upon it,' says James Miles, describing the rapid improvement in his emotional health after he started practising Transcendental Meditation. 'Within two months of learning TM I'd quit therapy. Halfway through that last session it became clear to both my therapist and myself: there were no problems to talk about.' He adds, 'I was regular with my 20 minutes Transcendental Meditation, morning and evening. Apart from that I just carried on with life, not trying to do anything differently. My problems with worry, fear, anxiety, confusion, and depression all started to lift.' (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Many middle-aged workers face job problems due to physical frailty
24 January 2017 - Nearly a third of middle-aged workers suffer from some level of frailty, including fatigue, issues with walking, and other physical limitations that make them less able to hold a job, according to a UK study. Frailty is more often something considered when treating elderly patients, but middle-aged patients may face some of the same symptoms, the study team writes in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Frailty was tied to a large impact on employment. (more)

Britain braced for floods after heavy winds, snow
13 January 2017 - Parts of England were preparing for severe flooding on Friday, after heavy winds, snow, and rain hit the country overnight, cancelling flights, closing schools, and causing disruption to commuters. Around 100 flood warnings are in place across Britain, with 11 at a severe level, meaning that there is a threat to life. (more)

Women suffer much more work stress than men, says psychiatrist
30 December 2016 - Women suffer considerably higher levels of work-related stress, anxiety and depression than men, with workplace sexism and familial responsibilities providing additional career pressures, a leading psychiatrist has said. It comes as official figures show that women aged 25-54 are more stressed than their male colleagues, with this pressure peaking for those aged 35-44, when many women are juggling family responsibilities, such as caring for children and elderly parents. (more)

UK: Rough sleeping on rise in Birmingham after cuts to services for homeless
2 December 2016 - Charities, outreach workers, and the Birmingham (England) city council all view 'frightening' levels of rough sleeping as a result of local authority cuts. Birmingham city council's chief executive, Mark Rogers, acknowledges that one of the clearest consequences of the reduction in local authority budgets over the past six years is the rise in homelessness. He points to reductions in the funding of the Supporting People programme, which was designed to help people with addictions and mental health problems get into secure accommodation, as a key area of concern. 'A very simple indicator of withdrawal of grant funding is the rise in homelessness. Rough sleeping has increased considerably in the city,' he said. (more)

London's homelessness count continues to rise
1 December 2016 - However you cut the numbers, the capital's struggle to house its vulnerable people is getting harder. London dominates estimates of national homelessness newly published by Shelter. This, of course, is no surprise. Neither are high levels of homelessness anything new in the capital. (more)

More than 250,000 people in England are homeless, says Shelter
30 November 2016 - More than 250,000 people in England are homeless or lack a permanent place to live, according to [the charity] Shelter. Releasing figures to mark its 50th anniversary on Thursday, the charity [Shelter] estimated that there were almost 255,000 people living in hostels and other types of temporary accommodation, or sleeping rough on the streets. Shelter says its figures are a conservative estimate. (more)

UK Government has breached air pollution laws and failed to take enough action on emissions, High Court rules
2 November 2016 - The UK government knowingly relied on 'optimistic' vehicle emissions tests and ignored 'higher, more realistic' figures in order to delay action by up to a decade, judge states. Environmental legal group ClientEarth described the decision as a 'damning indictment of ministers' inaction on killer air pollution'. In an echo of the Volkswagen vehicle emissions scandal, the judge said ministers knew an overly optimistic model of pollution was being used, ClientEarth said in a statement. (more)

Brexit shockwaves hit British jobs, banks, automobiles
28 July 2016 - Shockwaves from Britain's vote to leave the European Union rocked the economy on Thursday, with thousands of jobs lost at one of the country's biggest banks, big extra costs for Ford, and consumer confidence plunging. (more)

Britain's economy wilting fast after Brexit vote
22 July 2016 - Britain's economy is shrinking, the broadest survey of business confidence since last month's historic vote to quit the European Union showed on Friday, 22 July. The flash, or preliminary, Markit survey of purchasing managers -- executives who make spending decisions at 1,250 big firms -- fell by the most in its 20-year history. (more)

Boris Johnson: Britain's top envoy anything but diplomatic
14 July 2016 - He's insulted everyone from the President of the United States to the people of Papua New Guinea. Now the remarkably undiplomatic Boris Johnson, his political career miraculously revived, has become Britain's top diplomat. The reaction to his surprise appointment as foreign secretary in British Prime Minister Theresa May's new Conservative Cabinet has been swift and blunt: His French counterpart called him a liar, the Germans say he's irresponsible, and a British legislator believes it's the worst political appointment since Roman emperor Caligula made his horse a senator. And those are Britain's allies talking. 'I wish it was a joke but I fear it isn't,' former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt tweeted at the news of Johnson's appointment. (more)


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