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Ghana is being heralded as the next big tourist destination. Here's why
7 February 2019 - The country recently unveiled a 15-year-long tourism plan that seeks to increase the annual number of tourists to Ghana from one million to eight million per year by 2027. Ghana's travel industry is projected to raise $8.3 billion a year by 2027, plus associated benefits, according to the plan. (more)

In pictures: Lunar New Year welcomes the year of the pig
5 February 2019 - More than a billion people around the world have begun celebrating the Lunar New Year and the start of the Year of the Pig. In China that means millions of people have travelled to their hometowns, in the largest annual human migration. Also known as the Spring Festival, the Lunar New Year is celebrated by countries across Asia. The pig, one of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, is believed to be a symbol of optimism, enthusiasm, and hard work. (more)

US: In first, Native American tribe displaced by sea gets land to relocate
10 January 2019 - A small Native American tribe in Louisiana whose land has nearly vanished into the sea has moved a step closer to relocating its community further inland after authorities acquired new land for the move, part of a first-of-its-kind project. Pat Forbes, an official with the state of Louisiana, which handled the purchase, said he hoped this first attempt in U.S. history to move an entire community losing its home to water would serve as a blueprint for generations to come. (more)

Masked dance tradition rises from near extinction in Cambodia
3 January 2019 - Cambodia's centuries-old tradition of masked dance (Lakhon Khol) was nearly wiped out by the Khmer Rouge ... but a handful of artists managed to keep it alive and are now working to pass it along to a new generation. Lakhon Khol was recently listed by UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural agency, as an intangible cultural heritage, along with neighboring Thailand's version of the dance, known as Khon. There are different variations in Southeast Asia, all featuring dancers wearing elaborate painted masks depicting the Ramayana. (more)

From duct-taped shoes to $11M: Man leaves surprise donations
28 December 2018 - Alan Naiman was known for an unabashed thriftiness that veered into comical, but even those closest to him had no inkling of the fortune that he quietly amassed and the last act that he had long planned. The Washington state social worker passed away this year at age 63, leaving most of a surprising $11 million estate to children's charities that help the poor, sick, disabled, and abandoned. (more)

7 upbeat stories of improving lives in 2018
26 December 2018 - While headlines in 2018 were dominated by sombre stories ... there were also some positive and brighter headlines. Here are seven of them: (more)

US: Memphis restaurant offers Christmas meal for homeless
26 December 2018 - A Memphis restaurant that offers a Christmas Day dinner for the homeless brightened the spirits of diners and volunteers alike on Tuesday (25 December). Employees also gave out coats and warm clothing. Downtown Memphis resident Sarah Nickell volunteered at the meal for the fourth year in a row. She said she has seen people return year after year, some of whom have been able to get off the streets and now have a stable home and job. (more)

Pope's Christmas wish: World fraternity despite differences
25 December 2018 - Pope Francis offered a Christmas wish for fraternity among people of different nations, cultures, faiths, races, or ideas, describing the world's differences as a richness, not a danger, and championing the rights of religious minorities. (more)

Biblical city of Bethlehem boasts largest Christmas in years
24 December 2018 - Pilgrims from around the world flocked to Bethlehem on Monday (24 December) for what was believed to be the biblical West Bank city's largest Christmas celebrations in years. Hundreds of locals and foreign visitors milled in Manger Square as bagpipe-playing Palestinian Scouts paraded past a giant Christmas tree. Palestinian Tourism Minister Rula Maaya said all Bethlehem hotels were fully booked, and the city was preparing to host an 'astounding' 10,000 tourists overnight. (more)

Queen Elizabeth extols goodwill and respect in Christmas message
23 December 2018 - Britain's Queen Elizabeth will say in her Christmas message that the festival's message of peace and goodwill needs to be heeded as much as ever, and people should respect each other even when they habour the most deeply held differences. According to excerpts released by Buckingham Palace on Monday (24 December), the 92-year-old monarch will also speak of family and friendship ... (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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South Africa: How TM is helping Hannah Robertson, age 14, train for the 2020 Olympics
13 February 2019 - Young champion swimmer Hannah Robertson, in Johannesburg, says Transcendental Meditation 'helps a lot with stress and helps you stay focused and concentrated' for races and her training - and also in school: 'My grades have gone up.' Her coach, Dean Price, High Performance Manager of Swimming South Africa (the country's aquatics governing body), also values the technique. 'The biggest thing in coaching is to be level-headed and clear-thinking, so you make informed decisions and are not clouded by emotions. I think TM puts you in such a positive framework, so you naturally are seeing [athletes'] positive qualities and reminding them of that. . . . You can't believe how powerful TM is in transforming people. . . . It puts you in that space where you can do these incredible performances.' (more)

Keelan Dimick, finalist in prestigious American Pianists Awards for Cole Porter Jazz Fellowship: TM alleviates stress, 'the music writes itself'
11 December 2018 - Keelan Dimick is one of five finalists competing for the prestigious 2019 American Pianists Awards / Cole Porter Jazz Fellowship, which offers $100,000 (US) in support and career advancement. In an interview after his recent concert in the Awards series in Indianapolis, Indiana - Keelan spoke of how Transcendental Meditation 'alleviates any stress that's in my head. And stress constricts creativity. So when that's gone, it's easier to just let music write itself because the best musicians start with a seed and the music just writes itself. Meditation helps bring that about.' The 27-year-old Fairfield, Iowa native will participate in the Awards Finals 5-6 April in Indianapolis. (more)

David Lynch Foundation's 'Holiday Evening of Comedy and Conversation' benefit, 10 Dec. at The Plaza, New York - Last day to get tickets
6 December 2018 - In just a few days, on 10 December, Jerry Seinfeld, John Mulaney, Mike Birbiglia, and Vanessa Bayer will take the stage at The Plaza / New York. This 'Holiday Evening of Comedy and Conversation' will support national initiatives of the David Lynch Foundation providing Transcendental Meditation to benefit underserved youth, and prevent and treat substance use disorder, which afflicts over 20 million Americans. This Friday, 7 December, is the final day to get tickets. (more)

CNBC: Dr Norman Rosenthal's Super Mind, about Transcendental Meditation, featured in '10 great books for your holiday gift list'
27 November 2018 - Number 4 on CNBC's list of holiday gift books is Super Mind: How to Boost Performance and Live a Richer and Happier Life Through Transcendental Meditation. In the book, research psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal, MD, explores how anyone can perform at peak aptitude through the daily practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM), heightening physical, emotional, and intellectual capabilities. TM 'gives you an equanimity, a centeredness, a calmness - so that you can thoughtfully deal with things in a better way without being emotionally hijacked,' said Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, one of those featured in the book. (more)

Fatherly: Transcendental Meditation makes me a calmer, more present Dad
6 September 2018 - In Fatherly.com's weekly 'How I Stay Sane' column, fathers talk about the things that help them keep grounded in all the other areas of their lives. Zack, a club owner in Miami, says, 'I practise Transcendental Meditation. . . . It's so incredibly helpful. There are times where, especially with two kids, chaos exists - obviously - and it's very easy to get upset. So I use meditation as a tool to excuse myself for 15 minutes, gather myself, and make sure that I'm composed. . . . It helps me be the best version of myself that I can be - a better dad, person, friend, colleague - everything.' (more)

Tom Hanks on how TM helps him overcome 'the afternoon slump'
22 August 2018 - The Afternoon Crash. The 3 O'clock Slump. The Post-Lunch Syndrome. Whatever you call it, we've all experienced that point in the afternoon where energy seems to evaporate and productivity plummets. International film star Tom Hanks says that learning the Transcendental Meditation technique helped him regain and maintain his energy, focus, and productivity at that time of the day: 'I crumbled between 3 o'clock in the afternoon and 7. I mean I was no good for anything. I couldn't read; I couldn't talk on the phone; I couldn't do any work. It was really an unproductive four hours. And now, with meditation, it is the most productive hours of my day.' (Includes video) (more)

Wide awake: Katy Perry on Transcendental Meditation
7 August 2018 - Ever-evolving music icon Katy Perry shares her enthusiasm for the benefits of her Transcendental Meditation practice, while delivering a message of empowerment and hope for young people. In a conversation with her TM teacher Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, she says, 'I noticed when I meditate that my whole brain kind of opens up . . . and it's like I'm clearing out the cobwebs of my neural pathways and finding new neural pathways to ignite. It's some of the most incredible stillness. And I would also say it brings some of the best, most creative ideas to the surface for me, especially when I come out of it. . . . Recharging, having the mental strength, the physical strength and immune strength, to be able to take on this big, technical, technological world.' (more)

Transcendental Meditation is improving life for Zuni youth
9 July 2018 - The Zuni are one of many Southwest American Indian tribes. Most Zuni people live in an area called the Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico. The Zuni have largely remained self-contained, avoiding outside influences, and have greatly preserved their way of life. However, the tribe suffers from some of the same problems plaguing much of Indian Country, such as unemployment, poverty, alcoholism, crime, and insufficient education. In the last two years a number of Zuni youth have begun learning the Transcendental Meditation technique. Commenting on the positive influence of her TM practice, one young woman said, 'I feel more relaxed and confident of who I am.' Another said, 'I feel happier, less grudge in my soul, excited to create positive energy at home.' (more)

Uganda: An Iowa woman's Transcendental Meditation road leads to Africa
19 June 2018 - 'I've always gravitated toward projects that had to do with women,' says Leslee Goldstein. For her Ph.D. in Vedic Science at Maharishi University of Management, 'I decided to do a research study on Transcendental Meditation with women, and then I narrowed it to mothers.' Goldstein put the word out that she wanted to do her research in Africa, and within 48 hours had a project with 81 single, illiterate mothers living in poverty in Uganda. 'A mother is the first teacher. . . . a mother's job is a challenging job: You have to be a doctor, counselor, cook - you have to be everything, her job is 24/7. I started to see how important it is for mothers to have a way to stay balanced and to help them do their jobs, because it's critical for the world.' (more)

Canada: Premeditated move - Rabbi relocating to Iowa to deepen knowledge of Transcendental Meditation
15 June 2018 - Inspired by meditation to seek ordination, Rabbi Alan Green plans to use his Jewish perspectives in the meditation capital of North America. After 18 years as the senior rabbi of Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Green and his wife Chaya, a meditation teacher, will move this summer to Fairfield, Iowa, USA, home to thousands of practitioners of Transcendental Meditation. 'Basically it will be a context where I can fulfil my dream of Jewish observance and study with the practice of Transcendental Meditation,' says the Los Angeles native, who came to Winnipeg in 1992 and has served at Shaarey Zedek since 2000. (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Working mothers 'up to 40 percent more stressed'
27 January 2019 - They may have had more than a sneaking suspicion that it was the case, but now working mothers have the data to back it up: they are indeed more stressed than other people -- 18 percent more, in fact. And that figure rises to 40 percent for those with two children, according to a major study that analyzed 11 key indicators of chronic stress levels. (more)

Hundreds of trafficked children go missing from UK care homes
19 December 2018 - Findings raise doubts about Britain's ability to care for vulnerable children at time when record number of suspected child slaves are being referred to government. A growing number of trafficked children in Britain are going missing from care homes, with some feared to be returning to their traffickers after being treated like criminals or illegal immigrants by authorities, two charities said on Wednesday (19 December). (more)

Lost lives, lost billions: the cost of child marriage in Africa
21 November 2018 - Child marriage is costing African countries at least $60 billion in lost lifetime earnings, more than what the world gives the continent in aid each year, the World Bank said on Wednesday (21 November). Be it high school dropout rates, teen pregnancy, or poor health outcomes, the cost of child marriage is far from just monetary, the Bank said in its report. Gender experts say early marriage not only stifles a girl's progress in education, health, and employment, but also hampers the development of her children -- creating a vicious cycle of malnutrition, poor health, and ignorance. (more)

Female Nobel prize winner deemed not important enough for Wikipedia entry
3 October 2018 - When the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm announced the Nobel prize for physics this week, anyone wanting to find out more about one of the three winners would have drawn a blank on Wikipedia. Until around an hour and a half after the award was announced on Tuesday, the Canadian physicist Donna Strickland was not deemed significant enough to merit her own page on the user-edited encyclopedia. (more)

In world's 'happiest' countries, signs of a happiness gap
26 August 2018 - The Nordic countries regularly appear at the top of an annual list of the world's happiest nations, but their reputation as 'happiness superpowers' masks the difficulties of a significant part of the population, a new analysis shows. The trends highlighted in the report appear to be backed up by various national studies conducted in the region. (more)

American Indians fear U.S.-Mexico border wall will destroy ancient culture
12 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)

AP analysis: American Americans largely left out among high-paying jobs
31 March 2018 - Jonathan Garland's fascination with architecture started early: He spent much of his childhood designing Lego houses and gazing at Boston buildings on rides with his father away from their largely minority neighborhood. But when Garland looked around at his architectural college, he didn't see many who looked like him -- there were few black faces in classroom seats, and fewer teaching skills or giving lectures. ... An Associated Press analysis of government data has found that black workers are chronically underrepresented compared with whites in high-salary jobs in technology, business, life sciences, and architecture and engineering, among other areas. Instead, many black workers find jobs in low-wage, less-prestigious fields where they're overrepresented, such as food service or preparation, building maintenance and office work, the AP analysis found. (more)

AP-NORC Poll: 50 years after MLK, civil rights goals unmet
30 March 2018 - Fifty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., only 1 in 10 African Americans think the United States has achieved all or most of the goals of the civil rights movement he led, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Three-quarters of African Americans said there has been little or no progress on fair treatment by police, and more than half answered the same about fair coverage by the media, political representation, or equal economic opportunities. (more)

For Chinese millennials, despondency has a brand name
4 September 2017 - Chinese millennials with a dim view of their career and marriage prospects can wallow in despair with a range of teas such as 'achieved-absolutely-nothing black tea', and 'my-ex's-life-is-better-than-mine fruit tea'. While the drink names at the Sung chain of tea stalls are tongue-in-cheek, the sentiment they reflect is serious: a significant number of young Chinese with high expectations have become discouraged and embrace an attitude known on social media as 'sang', after a Chinese character associated with the word 'funeral' that describes being dispirited. It's a reaction to cut-throat competition for good jobs in an economy that isn't as robust as it was a few years ago and when home-ownership -- long seen as a near-requirement for marriage in China -- is increasingly unattainable in major cities as apartment prices have soared. While 'sang' can be a pose or affectation, despondency among a segment of educated young people is a genuine concern for President Xi Jinping and his government, which prizes stability. ... The average starting salary for college graduates dropped by 16 percent this year to 4,014 yuan ($608) per month amid intensifying competition for jobs as a record 8 million graduate from Chinese universities -- nearly ten times the number in 1997. (more)

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)

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