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Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media



Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories reported in the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. These inspiring news stories are listed with the stories most recently posted to the website listed first. For the same list with the most inspiring stories listed first, click here. For a concise list providing headlines and links to a number of highly inspiring articles and stories, click here. May these articles inspire us to find ever more ways to love and support each other and all around us to be the very best we can be.


Note: This comprehensive list of inspiring news stories is usually updated once a week. For an index to revealing excerpts of news stories on several dozen engaging topics, click here.

Netherlands face prison undercrowding crisis
2014-04-11, CBS News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-04-14 07:24:13
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/netherlands-face-prison-undercrowding-crisis/

The Dutch government is facing an unusual crisis: Prison undercrowding. There are now more guards and other prison staff than there are prisoners in the Netherlands for the first time, according to data released by the Justice Ministry. In 2008, there were around 15,000 inmates, in a country of 17 million. As of March of this year, there were just 9,710 inmates remaining, compared with 9,914 guards. And the number of inmates included 650 Belgian criminals the Netherlands is housing as part of a temporary deal. In the U.S., the figure is more like one guard or staff member per five prisoners. The overall U.S. incarceration rate is more than 10 times higher. Justice Ministry spokesman Jochgem van Opstal said "we're studying what the reason for the decline is." The ministry is already in the process of closing prisons and cutting 3,500 staff. Last week, labor union Abvakabo FNV slammed the cuts, saying they were leading to "staffing shortages." "At this moment you can't say there is any safety in Dutch prisons," union leader Corrie van Brenk said in an interview with Dutch broadcaster NOS. "It's an explosive situation." The government has rejected the criticism, saying violent incidents at prisons have been declining. One change politicians are considering is ending a practice of granting probation to criminals once they have served two-thirds of their sentences.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Goodbye, Oil: US Navy Cracks New Renewable Energy Technology To Turn Seawater Into Fuel, Allowing Ships To Stay At Sea Longer
2014-04-08, International Business Times
Posted: 2014-04-14 07:22:38
http://www.ibtimes.com/goodbye-oil-us-navy-cracks-new-renewable-energy-techno...

After decades of experiments, U.S. Navy scientists believe they may have solved one of the world’s great challenges: how to turn seawater into fuel. The development of a liquid hydrocarbon fuel could one day relieve the military’s dependence on oil-based fuels and is being heralded as a “game changer” because it could allow military ships to develop their own fuel and stay operational 100 percent of the time, rather than having to refuel at sea. The new fuel is initially expected to cost around $3 to $6 per gallon, according to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which has already flown a model aircraft on it. The Navy’s 289 vessels all rely on oil-based fuel, with the exception of some aircraft carriers and 72 submarines that rely on nuclear propulsion. The breakthrough came after scientists developed a way to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas from seawater. The gasses are then turned into a fuel by a gas-to-liquids process with the help of catalytic converters. The next challenge for the Navy is to produce the fuel in industrial quantities. It will also partner with universities to maximize the amount of CO2 and carbon they can recapture. ”For the first time we've been able to develop a technology to get CO2 and hydrogen from seawater simultaneously. That's a big breakthrough," said Dr. Heather Willauer, a research chemist who has spent nearly a decade on the project, adding that the fuel "doesn't look or smell very different."

Note: Strangely, the major media networks appear to be largely silent on this important breakthrough, except for Forbes, which downplays the whole thing, as you can see at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Collective thoughts that heal
2014-03-28, lynnemctaggart.com
Posted: 2014-04-14 07:20:49
http://lynnemctaggart.com/blog/262-collective-thoughts-that-heal

A remarkable study carried out by Harvard University [is] detailed in Dr. Joe Dispenza’s fascinating new book You are the Placebo. In 1981, eight men in their 70s and 80s attended a five-day retreat at a monastery in Peterborough, New Hampshire, organized by Harvard University, where they were asked to pretend that they were 22 years younger than their present age. When they got there, they discovered constant reminders of two decades previously: old issues of Life magazine and the Saturday Evening Post, shows on TV that had been popular in the late 50s, radios playing Perry Como and Nat King Cole. The men were asked to discuss events that had been current two decades before: Fidel Castro’s sudden ascendancy to power in Cuba, Nikita Khrushchev’s stand-off with Eisenhower in a US meeting, homeruns hit by Mickey Mantle and knock-out punches by Floyd Patterson. This carried on throughout the five days of the retreat. After the retreat ended, the researchers took the same physiological measurements they’d carried out at start of the study and discovered that the men actually had grown ‘taller’; they showed improved height, weight and gait, their postured straightened, their joints had become more flexible, their hearing, eyesight, grip strength, memory and general mental cognition had all improved. In fact, by the end of the five days, many of these octogenarians had given up their canes and were playing touch football. Once they’d been reminded of their younger selves, their bodies actually became younger – and all in less than a week. ‘The change wasn’t just in their minds,’ wrote Dispenza, ‘it was also in their bodies.’

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Meditation Has the Power to Influence Your Genes
2013-12-09, Psychology Today
Posted: 2014-04-14 07:19:03
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201312/meditation-has-th...

In a groundbreaking discovery, a collaborative team of researchers from Wisconsin, Spain, and France reported in December 2013 the first evidence of specific molecular changes at a genetic level following a period of mindfulness meditation. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice," says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. The study compared the effects of a single day of intensive mindfulness practice between a group of experienced meditators and a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After an intensive day of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a dramatic range of genetic and molecular differences. Meditation was found to alter levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation. "Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs," says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona in Spain, where the molecular analyses were conducted. In past studies, mindfulness-based training has been shown to have beneficial effects on inflammatory disorders. Meditation is endorsed by the American Heart Association as an effective way to lower [the] risk for heart disease. Another study from April 2011 found that meditation produces powerful pain-relieving effects in the brain.

Note: For an excellent and inspiring book on how your thinking and feeling can change your genes, check out Bruce Lipton's Biology of Belief, available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Venezuela: A Call for Peace
2014-04-02, New York Times
Posted: 2014-04-07 14:34:36
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/02/opinion/venezuela-a-call-for-peace.html

Venezuelans ... have built a participatory democratic movement from the grass roots that has ensured that both power and resources are equitably distributed among our people. According to the United Nations, Venezuela has consistently reduced inequality: It now has the lowest income inequality in the region. We have reduced poverty enormously — to 25.4 percent in 2012, on the World Bank’s data, from 49 percent in 1998; in the same period, according to government statistics, extreme poverty diminished to 6 percent from 21 percent. We have created flagship universal health care and education programs, free to our citizens nationwide. We have achieved these feats in large part by using revenue from Venezuelan oil. Since 1998, the movement founded by Hugo Chávez has won more than a dozen presidential, parliamentary and local elections through an electoral process that former American President Jimmy Carter has called “the best in the world.” Recently, the United Socialist Party received an overwhelming mandate in mayoral elections in December 2013, winning 255 out of 337 municipalities. Popular participation in politics in Venezuela has increased dramatically over the past decade. The claims that Venezuela has a deficient democracy and that current protests represent mainstream sentiment are belied by the facts. The antigovernment protests are being carried out by people in the wealthier segments of society who seek to reverse the gains of the democratic process that have benefited the vast majority of the people.

Note: This article was written by Nicolás Maduro, the president of Venezuela. We have long observed a strong media bias against Venezuela. Thanks to the New York Times for finally printing an article in support of this country which, despite its problems, has made remarkable strides in recent years.




The 3 best plants to clean your air
2014-04-03, The Intelligent Optimist
Posted: 2014-04-07 14:29:51
http://theoptimist.com/3-best-plants-clean-air/#!CRsQt

The world’s air quality is deplorable. You don’t have to look far to find examples of how bad it is. Harder to find are solutions to this problem. Government mandates and clean air initiatives help the goal of reducing greenhouse gases on a larger scale, but these measures do little to help improve the quality of air that you’re breathing right now. [Here is information about] three plants that create enough oxygen to keep you alive, even if you’re sitting with them inside a sealed container, though we don’t suggest you try that. Dypsis lutescens [or] bamboo palm: In addition to removing carbon dioxide from the air and replacing it with oxygen, the bamboo palm filters out air particles that can be dangerous when inhaled. The main particles the bamboo palm removes from the air are xylene, a byproduct of the petroleum and chemical industries, and toluene, a component of car exhaust. It is recommended to have 4 shoulder high palms per person in your house. Sansevieria trifasciata [or] snake plant: Snake plant ... converts carbon dioxide to oxygen at night [and] removes nitrogen oxide, a by-product of car exhaust and fertilizer, and formaldehyde, a component of textile and wood production, from its environment. It is suggested to have 6–8 waist high plants per person per household. Epipremnum aureum [or] devil’s ivy: Devil’s ivy ... filters out formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene, a byproduct of petroleum combustion, from the air you’re breathing. A handful of these 12-inch high plants should do wonders for making the air quality in your house better.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Facebook CEO Zuckerberg’s Base Salary Falls to $1
2014-04-01, MSN
Posted: 2014-04-07 14:28:14
http://money.msn.com/business-news/article.aspx?feed=BLOOM&date=20140401&id=1...

Mark Zuckerberg has decided he’s a $1-a-year man. Zuckerberg, who is Facebook Inc.’s chief executive officer and also the 22nd richest person in the world as ranked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, was paid $1 in salary for 2013, according to a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. That’s down from a base salary of $503,205 in 2012, the year that Facebook went public. Zuckerberg is following the well worn path of other Silicon Valley technology moguls who also chose to take on the symbolic annual salary of $1 after they were already wealthy. Apple Inc.’s late co-founder Steve Jobs helped popularize the practice, which is today also espoused by Google Inc. co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, among others. All own sizable equity stakes in their own companies. Zuckerberg, whose wealth totals around $27 billion, owns Facebook shares that give him 61.6 percent of voting power in the Menlo Park, California-based social network, according to the filing. He saw his net worth balloon last year as Facebook’s stock more than doubled in value. The 29-year-old has ramped up his public service and philanthropy, including starting a group called Internet.org to connect the world to the Web. Zuckerberg’s total compensation last year was $653,165, down from $1.99 million in 2012. The amount, besides the $1 salary, was for the passenger fees, fuel, crew and catering costs for his use of private planes for personal reasons, as part of his security program, according to the filing. The CEO also made $3.3 billion last year after exercising stock options to purchase 60 million shares, according to the filing.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Why happiness is healthy
2014-03-20, CNN
Posted: 2014-04-07 14:24:25
http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/20/health/happiness-wellbeing-health

Happiness -- you know it when you see it, but it's hard to define. We also know that we don't always have control over our happiness. Research suggests that genetics may play a big role in our normal level of subjective well-being, so some of us may start out at a disadvantage. On top of that, between unexpected tragedies and daily habitual stress, environmental factors can bring down mood and dry up our thirst for living. Being able to manage the emotional ups and downs is important for both body and mind, said Laura Kubzansky, professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard School of Public Health. Many scientific studies ... have found a connection between psychological and physical well-being. A 2012 review of more than 200 studies found a connection between positive psychological attributes, such as happiness, optimism and life satisfaction, and a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. Lower blood pressure, normal body weight and healthier blood fat profiles were also associated with a better sense of well-being in this study. Some researchers speculate that positive mental states ... have a direct effect on the body, perhaps by reducing damaging physical processes.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




A shy boy, a three-legged dog and a soul-binding friendship
2014-02-21, Fox News
Posted: 2014-04-07 14:22:54
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/02/21/shy-boy-three-legged-dog-and-soul-bin...

When 7-year-old Owen Howkins met his new dog, Haatchi, he was a shy boy suffering from a rare syndrome that left his muscles permanently flexed and his mobility limited. When Haatchi met Owen, he was recovering from losing his left rear leg after being hit by a train in north London. For the boy in the wheelchair and the three-legged Anatolian Shepherd, it was an instant, soul-binding friendship, one that Owen says “changed my life.” In the video “A Boy and his Dog,” recently released on YouTube, Owen’s stepmother Colleen Drummond explains, “The day that Haatchi met Owen was utterly incredible. It was electric. It was spiritual…they immediately understood they were going to work together as a team.” Owen has a condition called Schwartz-Jampel syndrome, which his father, Will, explains leaves his muscles in a permanently flexed state. Because they never relax, it affects his balance and Owen uses a walker or wheelchair to get around. Now, Owen says, he and Hattachi “like going for walks in my electric wheelchair.” “His confidence has grown and grown this past year,” his father reports. Owen agrees. “Everything changed in my life with him,” he says, referring to Haatchi, who was rescued by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Among the many things Owen says Haatchi taught him is not to be afraid of strangers. Says Drummond, “Owen and Haatchi simplify everything by pure love.” Adds Owen, “Haatchi is my best friend.”

Note: Don't miss the touching, nine-minute video of this boy and his dog at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Can what you eat affect your mental health? New research links diet and the mind
2014-03-24, Washington Post
Posted: 2014-03-31 08:04:39
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/can-what-you-eat-affect...

Scientists have recently begun to investigate [whether] food can have as powerful an impact on the mind as it does on the body. Research exploring the link between diet and mental health “is a very new field; the first papers only came out a few years ago,” said Michael Berk, a professor of psychiatry at the Deakin University School of Medicine in Australia. “But the results are unusually consistent, and they show a link between diet quality and mental health.” “Diet quality” refers to the kinds of foods that people eat, how often they eat them and how much of them they eat. In several studies ... Berk and his collaborators have found lower rates of depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder among those who consumed a traditional diet of meat and vegetables than among people who followed a modern Western diet heavy with processed and fast foods or even a health-food diet of tofu and salads. “Traditional diets — the kinds of foods your grandmother would have recognized — have been associated with a lower risk of mental health issues,” Berk said. The association between diet and mental well-being may start even before birth. A 2013 study of more than 23,000 mothers and their children, led by Berk’s frequent collaborator and Deakin colleague Felice Jacka, suggests a link between a mother’s consumption of sweets and processed foods during pregnancy and behavioral and mental health issues in her child at age 5.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




GoldieBlox Helping to Build a Generation of Female Engineers
2013-09-04, ABC News blog
Posted: 2014-03-31 08:02:41
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2013/09/goldieblox-helping-to-build-a-g...

Debbie Sterling is on a mission to build up girls by breaking down a few barriers. Fed up with the lack of women in her engineering field (the latest studies from the National Science Foundation show that 11 percent of engineers of women), Sterling, a graduate of Stanford University, came up with an idea after coming across research that kids’ toys could have a huge impact on their career choices. She set her sights on building a construction toy for girls after visiting a toy store. “I was so disappointed that there weren’t things that would inspire girls to [use] their brains,” Sterling, 30, said. "I wanted to put something in there that girls can see that they too could find a passion in engineering and that they too could find these subjects fun.” And so the idea for GoldieBlox, toys that encourage girls to not just play with dollhouses but build them, was born. “In creating the GoldieBlox character, I wanted to make a character that girls could relate to,” Sterling said. “She’s feminine and she loves building.” To fund the dream, to the tune of $150,000, Sterling made a plea, complete with a video, on Kickstarter. The money started flooding in. “We reached our goal in four days,” she said, “and ended up almost doubling it by the end.” GoldieBlox is now sold in about 500 independent stores in the United States and Canada, and even at Toys R Us. Sterling said her toys had been consistently in the Top 20 best-selling toys on Amazon. "I firmly believe that in my own lifetime I’m going to see a huge shift,” Sterling said. “I’m going to see an enormous shift of more girls entering these fields, inventing amazing things, with men.”

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




How Far Can You Get on Kindness? Man Traveling the World on Goodwill
2013-08-21, ABC News blog
Posted: 2014-03-31 08:01:16
http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/far-kindness-man-traveling-world-strange...

Leon Logothetis [is] on a mission. Riding his yellow motorcycle, which he calls Kindness One, he is attempting to travel around the world on nothing but the kindness of strangers. No money. No food. Nowhere to stay. Logothetis is counting on the generosity of the human spirit to keep him going. So far, he's met with success. In Las Vegas, a family gave him food and a place to sleep. In Nebraska, cowboys let him stay with them on their ranch. "The American people have been absolutely fantastic," Logothetis said. And in Pittsburgh, after a dozen people turned him down, Logothetis met Tony, a homeless man who shared his food and offered to let Logothetis sleep with him in a dilapidated garage. So just how far can kindness get you? Logothetis is determined to find out. "I used to be broker in London, sitting behind a desk, working 12 hour days, and it wasn't for me," he explained. "Then I went and traveled the world and connected with people. And that's what it's all about. That's where the magic is; connection. Heart to heart." Logothetis said he'll board a ship from New York to Europe, adding he'll do so "as a non-paying passenger. Kindness Rocks!" He also lists a tentative itinerary that would see him traveling to France, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Istanbul, India, Bhutan, Cambodia and Vietnam, among other countries. His journey will be filmed for a TV show. The trip also serves to raise awareness about and raise funds for Make a Wish International.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Following in the footsteps of his father, a Zionist hero, toward a free and democratic Palestine
2013-04-08, Haaretz (One of Israel's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-03-31 07:59:42
http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/following-in-the-footsteps-of-his-father...

If Miko Peled’s memoir The General’s Son were made into a movie, it would open with this scene: In his San Diego home in 1997, while casually watching CNN, he catches a glimpse of a young girl on a stretcher. There’s been a suicide bombing on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem. As if on cue, he receives a phone call from his mother in Israel saying that his 13-year-old niece Smadar, daughter of his sister Nurit, is missing. Somehow, he knows instinctively she’s the girl he saw on TV. This fear is confirmed several agonizing hours later, when her body is found at a morgue. He must fly back to Israel immediately, as the state funeral for the granddaughter of General Matti Peled, the Independence War hero..., awaits his return. This moment in 1997 marks the beginning of a powerful personal and political journey, recounted in Peled’s new book in a style that is part confessional, part cinematic epic and part emotional appeal for “different answers” to the Israeli-Palestinian conundrum. His sister Nurit’s adamant stance that the occupation was to blame for her daughter’s death was also a key factor. “She said, ‘no real mother would want this to happen to another mother,” recalls Peled, “and for me that crystallized how morally unjustifiable retaliation is.” “If there were a democratic single state tomorrow,” he argues, “would people vote along ethnic or religious lines? Or would they vote for someone who promised better schools, roads and lower taxes? I think the latter.” The one-state solution is inevitable, he says, “not because Israelis are changing,” but because the current situation cannot continue.

Note: For a powerful video of this brave man, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Seems like the whole world is 'Happy'
2014-03-20, CNN
Posted: 2014-03-25 10:17:41
http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/20/showbiz/music/happy-pharrell-williams-song/inde...

There are happy songs -- and then there is "Happy." The bouncy tune by singer/composer/producer/rapper Pharrell Williams has occupied the No. 1 spot on the charts for more than a month. It's spurred countless covers -- including one by Academy Award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow, reprising her guest star role in the 100th episode of "Glee." There is even a YouTube version of "Happy" that has gone completely to the dogs. It has managed to seemingly capture the rush of happiness in its lyrics and melody. Not a bad trick for a tune that slowly grew from a single on last summer's "Despicable Me 2" soundtrack to such popularity that Robert Morast, a writer for the Virginian-Pilot, recently entered into a debate of whether it should be considered for the official state song of Virginia. "Pharrell's hit track is a jolt of mood-lifting music," wrote Morast. "And while it's fine to be happy, the best art is crafted with a range of emotional perspectives." Even with its slow build, "Happy" caught ears from the beginning. Upon release it was quickly dubbed "an instant contender for 2013's Song of the Summer" by Rolling Stone. Since then, it's topped the charts in more than a dozen countries besides the United States, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Poland. Williams has partnered with the United Nations Foundation in celebration of Thursday's International Day of Happiness, encouraging fans to donate to the organization and submit content to his 24Hoursof Happiness.com site.

Note: To watch this awesome four-minute happy video which has had over 100 million views, click here. To see the website which has great videos of people in happy dance 24 hours a day based on this song, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




California drought: Solar desalination plant shows promise
2014-03-18, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2014-03-25 10:15:26
http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/California-drought-Solar-desalination-p...

Quietly whirring away in a dusty field in the Central Valley is a shiny solar energy machine that may someday solve many of California's water problems. It's called the WaterFX solar thermal desalination plant, and it has been turning salty, contaminated irrigation runoff into ultra-pure liquid for nearly a year for the Panoche Water and Drainage District. It's the only solar-driven desalination plant of its kind in the country. Right now its efforts produce just 14,000 gallons a day. But within a year, WaterFX intends to begin expanding that one small startup plant into a sprawling collection of 36 machines that together can pump out 2 million gallons of purified water daily. Within about five years, WaterFX company co-founder Aaron Mandell hopes to be processing 10 times that amount throughout the San Joaquin Valley. And here's the part that gets the farmers who buy his water most excited: His solar desalination plant produces water that costs about a quarter of what more conventionally desalinated water costs: $450 an acre-foot versus $2,000 an acre-foot. That brings Mandell's water cost close to what farmers are paying, in wet years, for water from the Panoche and other valley districts - about $300 an acre-foot. And that makes it a more economically attractive option than any of the 17 conventional desalination plants planned throughout California. If Mandell can pull it off, the tiny farming town where he is starting his enterprise could be known as ground zero for one of the most revolutionary water innovations in the state's history.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Catholics, Anglicans, and Muslims join to fight world slavery
2014-03-17, Christian Science Monitor
Posted: 2014-03-25 10:13:44
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2014/0317/Catholics-Anglican...

Christians and Muslims have joined to try to help free millions of men, women and children held in modern-day slavery, forced to work as maids, prostitutes, child soldiers and manual laborers. The Global Freedom Network, launched [on March 17] at the Vatican, aims to eradicate slavery by encouraging governments, businesses, educational and faith institutions to rid their supply chains of slave labor. The initiative is the brainchild of billionaire Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest, who founded the Walk Free Foundation in 2012 to mobilize a grass-roots movement to end slavery. Forrest, ranked 270th on Forbes' list of the world's richest people, used personal contacts to bring the 1.2-billion strong Catholic Church, 85-million strong Anglican Communion, and al-Azhar university in Cairo, the world's foremost seat of Sunni learning, on board with the initiative. Representatives from all three gathered ... at the Vatican to sign an agreement to launch the project, which will be based at the Vatican and have a chief executive responsible for implementing a five-year business plan. Objectives include getting the G20 to condemn modern-day slavery, persuading 50 major corporations to commit to slavery-proofing their supply chains, and convincing 160 governments to endorse a seven-year, $100 million fundraising effort to implement anti-slavery programs globally.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




The mind business
2012-08-24, Financial Times
Posted: 2014-03-25 10:11:28
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/d9cb7940-ebea-11e1-985a-00144feab49a.html

For seven years now, a growing number of General Mills workers have been practising meditation, yoga and so-called “mindfulness” in the workplace. And what began as a side project by one executive has transformed the culture of a Fortune 200 multinational. “It’s about training our minds to be more focused, to see with clarity, to have spaciousness for creativity and to feel connected,” says Janice Marturano, General Mills’ deputy general counsel, who founded the programme. “That compassion to ourselves, to everyone around us – our colleagues, customers – that’s what the training of mindfulness is really about.” The General Mills initiative is at the vanguard of a movement that is quietly reshaping certain corners of the corporate world. With meditation, yoga and “mindfulness”, the foundational tenets of Buddhism, Hinduism and other pan-Asian philosophies have infiltrated the upper echelons of some of the biggest companies on earth. William George, a current Goldman Sachs board member and a former chief executive of the healthcare giant Medtronic, ... is one of the main advocates for bringing meditation into corporate life. “The main business case for meditation is that if you’re fully present on the job, you will be more effective as a leader, you will make better decisions and you will work better with other people,” he [says]. Though the combination of mysticism and capitalism may seem incongruous, this interplay has found fertile ground at some of the best-known companies in the US and Europe. It is happening at Target, Google and First Direct, among others. Today, in organisations large and small, eastern wisdom is changing western business.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Louisiana's longest-serving death row prisoner walks free after 30 years
2014-03-11, CNN
Posted: 2014-03-17 08:09:59
http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/11/us/louisiana-glenn-ford-freed

There are many ways to measure 30 years, but for Glenn Ford, the yardstick is simple. "My sons -- when I left -- was babies. Now they grown men with babies," he said, speaking as a free man for the first time in nearly three decades. Ford, Louisiana's longest-serving death row prisoner, walked free [on March 11] after spending nearly 30 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit. According to the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana, a judge ordered that Ford be freed ... after prosecutors petitioned the court to release him. New information corroborated what Ford had said all along: that he was not present at nor involved in the November 5, 1983, slaying of Isadore Rozeman, the project said. "We are very pleased to see Glenn Ford finally exonerated, and we are particularly grateful that the prosecution and the court moved ahead so decisively to set Mr. Ford free," said Gary Clements and Aaron Novod, Ford's attorneys. They have argued his trial was compromised by the unconstitutional suppression of evidence and by inexperienced counsel. Ford had been on death row since 1984, making him one of the longest-serving death row prisoners in the United States. "After 30 years, Louisiana's longest-serving death row prisoner will get his freedom soon," Amnesty International USA senior campaigner Thenjiwe Tameika McHarris said in a statement shortly before his release. "Glenn Ford is living proof of just how flawed our justice system truly is. We are moved that Mr. Ford, an African-American man convicted by an all-white jury, will be able to leave death row a survivor."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Vermont Votes for Public Banking
2014-03-09, The Nation Magazine
Posted: 2014-03-17 08:08:52
http://www.thenation.com/blog/178759/vermont-votes-public-banking#

This year, [Vermonters for a New Economy] urged citizens to petition to place the public-banking question on the agendas of town meetings across the state—distributing information outlining a proposal to turn the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) into a state bank. Last week, at least twenty Vermont town meetings took up the issue and voted “yes.” In many cases, the votes were overwhelming. Vermont is not the only state where public banking proposals are in play. But the town meeting endorsements are likely to provide a boost for a legislative proposal to provide the VEDA with the powers of a bank. The bill would create a “10 Percent for Vermont” program that would “deposit 10 percent of Vermont’s unrestricted revenues in the VEDA bank and allow VEDA to leverage this money, in the same way that private banks do now, to fund…unfunded capital needs.” The legislation would also develop programs, often in conjunction with community banks, “to create loans which would help create economic opportunities for Vermonters.” Among the most outspoken advocates for the public-banking initiative is Vermont State Senator Anthony Pollina, a veteran Vermont Progressive Party activist and former gubernatorial candidate, who argues that it “doesn’t make any sense for us to be sending Vermont’s hard-earned tax dollars to some bank on Wall Street which couldn’t care less about Vermont or Vermonters when we could keep that money here in the state of Vermont where we would have control over it and therefore more of it would be invested here in the state.”

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Mich. middle school football team conspires for touching touchdown
2013-10-26, CBS News
Posted: 2014-03-17 08:07:12
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mich-middle-school-football-team-conspires-for-to...

Between classes, they schemed and conspired. For weeks, the football players at Olivet Middle School in Olivet, Mich., secretly planned their remarkable play. "Everyone was in on it," says Nick Jungel. "But the coaches didn't know anything about it," Parker Smith says. "We were, like, going behind their back." We've never heard of a team coming up with a plan to not score. "It's just like to make someone's day, make someone's week, just make them happy," Justice Miller says. The play -- which was two plays, actually -- happened at a home game earlier this month. The first part of their plan was to try to get as close to the goal line as possible without scoring, even if it meant taking a dive on the one-yard-line, which it did. The crowd was not happy. "But us kids knew, hey, we got this, this is our time, this is Keith's time," Parker, the quarterback, says. Keith Orr is the little kid in the brown jacket. He's learning disabled, struggles with boundaries -- but in the sweetest possible way. Because of his special nature, it's no surprise that Keith embraces his fellow football players. What is surprising is how they have embraced him. "We thought it would be cool to do something for him," Parker says. "Because we really wanted to prove that he was part of our team and he meant a lot to us," adds Nick. "Nothing can really explain getting a touchdown when you've never had one before," says Justice. Which brings us to part two of their play. If you didn't see Keith, it's because they were so protective of him, but he was in the middle of the rush. When they crossed the goal line, Keith says it was "awesome."

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