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The science of 'paying it forward'
14 March 2014 - In recent years, social scientists have conducted experiments demonstrating that the effect of a single act of kindness can in fact ripple through a social network, setting off chains of generosity that reach far beyond the original act. But whether it is enough to merely witness a generous act, rather than actually benefit from one, has been an open question. Recent research suggests that the next time you stop to help a stranger, you may be helping not only this one particular individual but potentially many others downstream. (more)

1,000-year-old farming secrets could save the Amazon rainforest
9 April 2012 - An international team of archaeologists have made an intriguing discovery -- the peoples who farmed the Amazon long before the arrival of Europeans did so without burning down trees to clear room for their fields. These indigenous farmers used raised-field farming. 'This ancient, time-tested, fire-free land use could pave the way for the modern implementation of raised-field agriculture in rural areas of Amazonia,' said University of Exeter researcher Dr Jose Iriarte. (more)

EU agrees mandate for 'nearly zero energy' homes
20 May 2010 - All new buildings constructed in Europe after 2020 will have to be virtually carbon-neutral after the European Parliament gave new energy standards the last approval they needed on Tuesday. The European Union's mandate for 'nearly zero-energy buildings' will kick in for all new public buildings in the European Union after 2018, and for all new homes and offices two years later. (more)

Ash cloud's silver lining: bluer skies
23 April 2010 - As volcanic ash cast a shadow over millions of lives, Londoners and other city dwellers across Europe were treated to a rare spectacle of nature: Pristine, blue skies brighter than any in recent memory. The remarkable sight happened in part because mass flight groundings prevented busy airspace from being crisscrossed with plumes of jet exhaust that create a semi-permanent haze -- and other effects beyond the white contrails themselves. (more)

Real estate services firm Jones Lang sees Asia contributing higher revenue, powering global economic recovery
9 November 2009 - Real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle sees its Asian business driving growth next year as the region powers a global economic recovery, a top official said on Monday. The company expects Asia to contribute almost a third of revenues in 2010 from a quarter in 2008 on the back of rising demand in China and India, and as key markets such as Hong Kong and Australia start to show recovery. (more)

WWF: New species found in Mekong Rivers region of Southeast Asia
26 September 2009 - 163 new species were discovered last year in the Mekong River region of Southeast Asia, the WWF said Friday. WWF International said that scientists in 2008 discovered 100 plants, 28 fish, 18 reptiles, 14 amphibians, two mammals, and one bird species in the region. That works out to be about three species a week and is in addition to the 1,000 new species catalogued there from 1997 to 2007, the group said. The WWF called for increased efforts to ensure new species are protected by preserving the large areas of forest and the free-flowing river networks they need to survive. (more)

Wind energy news: Europe wind power body sees big offshore potential
14 September 2009 - Offshore wind turbines could meet 13-17 per cent of Europe's electricity need in 2030 if wind power projects get sufficient support, an industry lobby organization said on Monday. Offshore wind installations currently account for about 0.2 per cent of Europe's electricity demand, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) said in a report. 'There is enough energy over the seas of Europe to meet total European electricity demand several times over,' it said. (more)

Asia: El Niño spells fewer cyclones
17 August 2009 - The good news for Asian populations as well as aid workers is that with 2009 being an El Niño year, the sub-continent could experience fewer and less intense cyclones, according to a climatologist with the Bangkok-based Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC). Seven to eight cyclones form over the west Pacific Ocean in a 'normal year' and drop to about two or three in an El Niño year, studies have shown. (more)

Europe's 'cash-for-clunkers' programmes
8 August 2009 - The popular 'cash-for-clunkers' programme that has encouraged consumers in Europe and the US to trade in their old cars for newer and more efficient models was born in December 2008 when French President Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled a euro26 billion ($37.36 billion) stimulus plan to help the country ward off a recession. To date, 11 countries in Europe offer similar plans. (more)

Europe shares hit 9-month high on earnings momentum
3 August 2009 - European shares hit a nine-month high on Monday. At 1110 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was 1.6 per cent higher at 943.14 points after touching 944.71, the highest level since early November. The benchmark index, which slumped 45 percent last year following the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, has surged 46 per cent from its lifetime low on 9 March on growing optimism about the prospects of recovery. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Transcendental Meditation helps attention deficit
23 June 2011 - A recent study shows the Transcendental Meditation Programme to be beneficial for students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). While students may naturally grow out of a hyperactive disorder, attention deficit usually continues. Students practising Transcendental Meditation develop an increased ability to focus, research indicates. (more)

Transcendental Meditation helps brain work as a whole, ADHD study shows
23 June 2011 - EEG measurements of students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) showed that the Transcendental Meditation Programme had a positive influence on brain functioning--promoting a high increase in global coherence over the whole brain across different frequency bands, and strengthening integration of the frontal areas responsible for executive function. (more)

Transcendental Meditation helps improve verbal fluency, ADHD study shows
23 June 2011 - Cognitive assessments of students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) showed that the Transcendental Meditation Programme helped improve word fluency, language-based concept fluency, and students' ability to shift from one concept to another. (more)

Transcendental Meditation shows promise among approaches for ADHD
23 June 2011 - The Transcendental Meditation Programme shows promise among approaches to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) including biofeedback and other forms of meditation. (more)

Increased cognitive efficiency in military officers: Research on Transcendental Meditation
5 May 2011 - Military officers who learned the Transcendental Meditation Programme as part of their training had greater speed and improved performance for tasks requiring quick and effective decision-making, a scientific research study showed. Their memory for details also improved. (more)

Research on Transcendental Meditation: Increased exercise tolerance in coronary artery patients
5 May 2011 - Scientific research on the Transcendental Meditation Programme has shown increased exercise tolerance in patients with coronary artery disease, indicating improved cardiovascular health. (more)

Dr Alarik Arenander tours Europe to demonstrate coherent brain functioning through Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation Programme
22 December 2007 - Dr Alarik Arenander, Director of the Brain Research Institute at Maharishi University of Management and Director of Research at the Centre for Leadership Performance, a division of Maharishi University of Management's Institute of Science, Technology, and Public Policy, commented on his recent tour through Europe demonstrating the increased coherence in brain functioning that results from practice of Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation Programme and underlies its benefits for all areas of life. (more)

Invincibility for Europe through Consciousness-Based Education: Dr Ashley Deans presents highlights of his tour - Part II
20 December 2007 - Dr Ashley Deans, Director of Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, continues to review highlights of his extensive tour of Europe, commenting on the enthusiastic response from educators in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Italy, and also in Israel. (more)

Invincibility for Europe through Consciousness-Based Education: Dr Ashley Deans presents highlights of his tour - Part I
19 December 2007 - Continuing his worldwide tour to present Consciousness-Based Education, Dr Ashley Deans, Director of Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, visited nine nations in Europe and one in the Middle East in recent months, including Ukraine, Armenia, Bulgaria, Poland, Turkey, Israel, Switzerland, England, Wales, and Scotland. Dr Deans said that wherever educators hear about this knowledge, they want it for their schools. (more)

Latin American countries express unprecedented support for Consciousness-Based Education
22 August 2007 - The countries of Bolivia, Venezuela, and Panama are moving quickly to establish programmes in their schools and universities so that all students can enjoy Consciousness-Based Education very soon. Eighty-two newly trained teachers of Transcendental Meditation will soon return to their countries to support teaching activities in Latin America. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Wherever you look, corruption dogs the Balkan
7 January 2011 - Wherever you look, accusations are flying about high-level corruption in the Balkans. EU members Romania and Bulgaria are under pressure from Brussels to fight graft and bribery more than three years after joining the 27-nation bloc, with Germany and France recently warning that allowing them to join the continent's visa-free travel zone too quickly could have 'grave consequences' for the bloc's security. That is slowing momentum to expand the union deeper into the Balkans. Clearing the higher bar could prove difficult for Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo -- all ex-Yugoslav states tinged with a reputation for corruption. (more)

DuPont collaborates on biotech maize for Africa
8 April 2010 - DuPont said in February its agricultural unit had formed an alliance in sub-Saharan Africa to collaborate on development of biotech maize varieties that need less fertilizer. DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred unit will contribute gene technology in work led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and funded with $19.5 million in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID. The group said it hopes to use transgenics as well as other biotechnology tools to create and share new maize varieties using fertilizer more efficiently and get higher yields, even where soils are poor. (more)

NATO allies may commit 6,000 troops for Afghan war
27 November 2009 - NATO governments may increase their fighting forces in Afghanistan by up to 6,000 soldiers in response to President Barack Obama's expected call for tens of thousands of additional US service members, diplomats said Friday. On Tuesday, President Obama is expected to announce his new battle plan for Afghanistan, including an increase in US forces and a strategy for ending America's military involvement there. Administration officials say the President's plan will likely include the deployment of about 30,000 additional US and allied soldiers. A NATO diplomat said Friday that European and other nations already participating in the international force are expected to contribute between 4,000 and 6,000 fresh troops. The international force currently numbers more than 100,000 service members, with 41 NATO and other allied countries contributing about 36,000. The rest are Americans. NATO has scheduled a conference for 7 December during which other allied nations will be able to pledge their own reinforcements. (more)

Smoking rise in Africa has experts fear 'pandemic'
12 November 2009 - Africa faces a surge in cancer deaths unless action is taken in the next decade to stem rising smoking levels in a continent where anti-tobacco laws remain rare, US scientists said Wednesday. More than half the continent will double its tobacco use within 12 years if current trends continue, the American Cancer Society (ACS) said in a report which found that 90 per cent of people living there have no protection from secondhand smoke. Over the past four decades, smoking rates have fallen in rich countries, but have been rising in much of the developing world. The ACS estimates that smoking will kill 6 million people worldwide in 2010 and 72 per cent of those killed will be from low- and middle-income countries. In a report published in August, it said that around 50 per cent of men in developing countries smoke. (more)

African farmers suffer hardship as climate worsens
5 October 2009 - African farmers said on Monday floods and droughts expected to worsen with climate change have already brought poor harvests, and women workers are suffering the most. The UN climate panel says rich nations, blamed by poorer countries for emitting most of the harmful greenhouse gases, should cut emissions between 25-40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid dangerous climate change. However, preliminary talks meant to narrow differences over ways to deepen the fight against climate change have stalled on efforts to convince rich nations to make tough emissions cuts and fund the efforts of developing countries. Africa, the world's poorest continent mainly dependent on subsistence agriculture, is expected to bear the brunt of unpredictable weather patterns that could ruin crops, entrenching poverty and malnourishment. (more)

UNICEF: Global recession impacts African children
31 August 2009 - The UN Children's Agency says more African babies will die and more of the continent's children will drop out of school because of the global recession. Experts speaking in Johannesburg Monday based their bleak predictions on previous crises. UNICEF Adviser Anthony Hodges says experience shows that when poor people's income drops, they cut back on food and visits to clinics and withdraw their children from school to save on tuition fees and the cost of uniforms and supplies. Drops in countries' GDP have been linked to increases in infant deaths. (more)

Drinking alcohol increases in Asia, beverage sector booms despite downturn
22 July 2009 - The crowds drinking beer in the bustling bars of Mumbai and Shanghai underscore the motive behind a flurry of recent merger and acquisition activity in Asia, with forecasts of strong growth for beer and spirits in years to come. In China and India, as well as smaller markets in Southeast Asia such as Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam, beer drinking is becoming a popular pastime due to rising disposable income and relatively young populations who are embracing the party scene. Market research firm Euromonitor International says Asia is the most dynamic region globally in volume for beer, with average annual growth of 8 per cent between 2003 and 2008. China is the world's biggest beer market and India's $12 billion alcohol market has been enjoying 12-15 per cent annual growth. India is now the second-biggest market for Ciroc, Diageo's 'superluxury' vodka. Its Black Label whiskey is an 'iconic brand' in India, said Diageo's Asia-Pacific President John Pollaers. (more)

Births to unwed mothers rising
14 May 2009 - The percentage of births to unmarried women in the United States has been rising sharply, but it's way behind Northern European countries, a new US report on births shows. Iceland is the leader with 6 in 10 births occurring among unmarried women. About half of all births in Sweden and Norway are to unwed moms, while in the US, it's about 40 per cent. However, in the United States, unmarried mothers are more likely to be on their own and - traditionally - they are more likely to be poor and uneducated, experts said. The report shows trends from 1980 to the most recent years available. Increases in unwed births were dramatic in many other countries, with Italy rising from 4 per cent to 21 per cent, Ireland from 5 per cent to 33 per cent, Canada from 13 to 30 per cent, and the United Kingdom from 12 per cent to 44 per cent. (more)

May Day turns violent in Turkey, Germany, Greece
1 May 2009 - May Day protesters clashed with riot police in Germany, Turkey, and Greece on Friday while thousands angry at the government's responses to the global financial crisis took to the streets in France. Rising unemployment across Europe and beyond has added intensity to May Day marches as last year's market crash and banking meltdown rolls into the real economy. There were early morning clashes in Germany and protests in Istanbul swiftly turned violent. Greek police clashed with self-styled anarchists. Almost one in three young people in Turkey is without a job and the government fears social unrest and increased ethnic tension because of the downturn. The situation in European countries is rapidly worsening. (more)

Death knell sounds for Europe's beekeepers, farming endangered
28 April 2009 - Europe's beekeeping industry could be wiped out in less than a decade as bees fall victim to disease, insecticides, and intensive farming, international beekeeping body Apimondia said on Monday. Last year, about 30 per cent of Europe's 13.6 million hives died. Losses reached 50 per cent in Slovenia and as high as 80 per cent in southwest Germany. With 35 per cent of European food crops relying on bees to pollinate them, it poses a big threat for farmers. (more)


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