Inspirational News Stories
Excerpts of Key Inspirational News Stories in Major Media


Below are many highly engaging excerpts of key inspirational stories reported in the mainstream media. Links are provided to the original stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These inspirational stories are ordered by date posted to this list. You can explore the same stories listed by order of importance or by article date. Enjoy your inspirational reading!


Inspirational News stories


Note: This comprehensive list of inspirational news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.

The Kids Are More Than All Right
2012-02-02, New York Times blog
Posted: 2014-05-19 07:12:19
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/02/the-kids-are-more-than-all-right/

Every few years, parents find new reasons to worry about their teenagers. And while there is no question that some kids continue to experiment with sex and substance abuse, the latest data point to something perhaps more surprising: the current generation is, well, a bit boring when it comes to bad behavior. While marijuana use has recently had an uptick, teenagers are smoking far less pot than their parents did at the same age. In 1980, about 60 percent of high-school seniors had tried marijuana and 9 percent smoked it daily. Among seniors today, according to the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey, which has tracked teenage risk behaviors since 1975, 45.5 percent have tried the drug and 6.6 percent are smoking it frequently. Adolescent use of alcohol, tobacco and most illegal drugs is also far lower than it was 30 years ago. Today’s teenagers are also far less likely to have sex or get pregnant compared with their parent’s generation. In 1988, half of boys 15 to 17 had experienced sex; by 2010 that number fell to just 28 percent. The percentage of teenage girls having sex dropped to 27 percent from 37.2 percent, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What about TV shows like “Teen Mom” and “Gossip Girl” that suggest adolescence is dominated by sex and booze? “There is a lot more media hype around the kids who are raising hell,” says Dr. John Santelli, president-elect for the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. “There are a lot of kids who are pretty responsible.”

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




One Man, One Computer, 10 Million Students: How Khan Academy Is Reinventing Education
2012-11-02, Forbes Magazine
Posted: 2014-05-19 07:10:27
http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelnoer/2012/11/02/one-man-one-computer-10-mi...

The headquarters of what has rapidly become the largest school in the world, at 10 million students strong, is stuffed into a few large communal rooms in a decaying 1960s office building hard by the commuter rail tracks in Mountain View, Calif. The Khan Academy, which features 3,400 short instructional videos along with interactive quizzes and tools for teachers to chart student progress, is a nonprofit, boasting a mission of “a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.” There will be no IPO; funding comes from philanthropists, not venture capitalists. The next half-century of education innovation is being shaped right now. Global spending on education is $3.9 trillion, or 5.6% of planetary GDP. America spends the most–about $1.3 trillion a year–yet the U.S. ranks 25th out of the 34 OECD countries in mathematics, 17th in science and 14th in reading. It’s those latter statistics that motivate Khan. The site covers a staggering array of topics–from basic arithmetic and algebra to the electoral college and the French Revolution. The videos are quirky affairs where you never see the instructor (usually Salman Khan himself, who personally has created nearly 3,000 of them). Instead, students are confronted with a blank digital blackboard, which, over the course of a ten-minute lesson narrated in Khan’s soothing baritone, is gradually filled up with neon-colored scrawls illustrating key concepts. Over the past two years Khan Academy videos have been viewed more than 200 million times. The site is used by 6 million unique students each month.

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




Minnesota teen's YouTube song strikes emotional, viral chord
2014-04-30, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Posted: 2014-05-12 07:06:55
http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/music/257412031.html

An Austin teen is getting some big attention online for belting out an original song on YouTube. Molly Kate Kestner,18, posted a video on April 20 of herself singing "His Daughter." Since then, the song has garnered more than 1.3 million views (and climbing fast). Among those who have noticed: the Huffington Post and social media star George Takei shared the video on his Facebook page. Reached by phone ..., Mary Jane Kestner said her daughter was taking the sudden Internet fame in stride (but was exhausted from the attention and taking a nap). The Austin High School student is in the midst of graduating and also preparing to participate in the Distinguished Young Women of America scholarship program in a couple weeks (in Mobile, Alabama). She said her daughter hopes to record the song soon and release it on iTunes. Kestner said Molly hopes to one day be a motivational speaker, which is in line with the song's faith-centric vibe. "She's definitely more than just a pretty voice. The song is really showing something about her character," Mary Jane Kestner said. "She has a real interest in helping young girls discover their value."

Note: Don't miss this touching video about a father with a drinking problem who left his daughter and how it changed her life. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




A German company is printing food for the elderly
2014-04-10, USA Today
Posted: 2014-05-12 07:05:29
http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/04/10/a-german-company-is-printing-fo...

A German company, Biozoon, is working on a 3D-printed food extruder that creates food that literally melts in your mouth, allowing elderly patients with dysphagia – the inability to swallow – to eat without choking. Biozoon uses molecular gastronomy to create food that can be "printed" using a standard extruder-based printer. The food solidifies and is completely edible but when it's eaten it quickly dissolves in the mouth. Over 60% of older patients have problems swallowing. This could save lives by ensuring they don't aspirate food crumbs into their lungs. The product itself can be molded and extruded in different ways and you can add colorants and texturizers to make things look and taste almost like the real thing. The powder mixes [can be easily prepared] for new forms of nutrition. Starters, main courses, desserts and snacks can be made which meet individual requirements, are balanced and above all optically appealing. According to the website: "The powder mixtures ... enable universal implementation so that both family caregivers and professional cooks and nurses can easily make the new diets. Appetizers, main dishes, desserts and snacks can now [be] custom fit, balanced and also be made visually appealing." The product, called seneoPro, will be available for use in 3D printers this year. It is true "customized" food and it's a fascinating use of the technology.

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




Norway has fallen in love with electric cars
2014-01-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-05-12 07:01:40
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/29/norway-electric-cars-sale

For three months at the end of 2013, the luxury electric sports car the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf family electric car were the best-selling models among all cars sold in [Norway], beating popular and conventionally-fuelled cars including the VW Golf. The latest figures suggest that over 21,000 all-electric vehicles (EVs) are now registered in the country of 5 million people with sales running at over 1,200 a month, or over 10% of all sales. The Nordic rush for zero-emission vehicles, which have a range of just over 100 miles in the case of the Leaf, is less inspired by concern for the environment than for the chance of free commuting in the bus lane and generous incentives, says the industry. Battery-powered cars in the world's fourth richest country are not just exempt from high rates of purchase tax, and VAT, but pay no road and ferry tolls or parking fees, cost less to insure and can be charged up for free electricity from thousands of points. Local government will also subsidise the installation of charging points in homes. Research suggests the subsidies could be worth nearly £5,000 a year per car. "You can buy a Nissan leaf for 280,000 [Norwegian krone (Nok)] (£26,500) which compares with 300,000 (£29,400) for a VW Golf. Over 10,000 km, it costs about 1,800 Nok (£176) to run, but the same for a petrol car would be 8,000 Nok (£784). On top of that I save 35Nok (£3.20) a day on tolls but some people are saving far more," says Snorre Sletvold, president of the Norwegian electric vehicle association.

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




Couple Brings Gift of Hearing to Impaired Across the Globe
2014-01-21, ABC News
Posted: 2014-05-12 06:59:51
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2014/01/21/couple-brings-gift-of-hearing-t...

In the shadow of Angkor Wat, Cambodia, a place that houses some of the oldest temples on Earth, people, young and old and considered deaf, came by the hundreds looking for a miracle. Bill and Tani Austin of Eden Prairie, Minn., were there in November to prove that most weren’t deaf at all. They say 95 percent of the world’s so-called deaf are merely hearing impaired but can do nothing about it. For 10 months a year, the couple travel around the world to fit the hearing impaired with hearing aids. Last year, the Austins’ Starkey Hearing Foundation fit 165,000 free hearing aids for people in India and the Bronx, from New Orleans to New Guinea. During the visit to Angkor Wat, Tani Austin fit Sarien, 12, with powerful hearing aids to see whether she could get her to respond. Her mother said she was completely deaf. With the hearing aids on, though, Sarien could hear sounds and tried desperately to make sounds for the first time in her life. After Bill Austin got rich running the hearing aid company Starkey — the industry’s only US owned and operated one since 1967 – he made it his mission to spend the money by giving back. He started the foundation in 1984 with wife Tani. Starkey supplies the hearing aids. Their goal: help 1 million people to hear by 2020. So far, nearly 500,000 hearing aids have been distributed around the globe. “For me a day here is better than any day on any beach anywhere in the world. It’s better than any fine meal in Paris. I would stay here and not eat at all and work for these kids and go home tired and say I had a good day,” Bill Austin said.

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




This Man With A Van Has A 'Wild Obsession' With Helping Homeless People
2014-04-16, Huffington Post
Posted: 2014-05-05 11:15:45
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/16/man-van-homeless-one-inc_n_5153832.html

Armed with a van and fueled by passion, Aaron Reddin is on a mission to help homeless individuals in need. After conquering his own drug addiction, Reddin began to run a long-term drug and alcohol program and a homeless shelter. Through this experience, he developed a "wild obsession" with helping the homeless. "I was dissatisfied with the number of folks that were sleeping outside, and the fact that everyone expected them to somehow come to us to help," Reddin says in the video above. "I said, you know what, let's raise a thousand bucks and buy a crappy old van." With his van, Reddin began a nonprofit called The One, Inc. The organization aims to help any "one" person on the streets. Whether it be through providing shoes, blankets, food, supplies or just lending a helping hand, the organization works to make contributions big or small. A large part of their mission includes mobility. "We primarily serve these needs by going to the people in need, wherever they may be," the website states. "We visit current homeless camps, search for new camps, comb alleyways, check under bridges and seek out the needy deep in the woods."

Note: The One, Inc. now has four buses in four cities. To learn more about The One, Inc., click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Cuddling Babies: Hospital Volunteers Show the Power of Human Touch
2014-03-13, ABC News
Posted: 2014-05-05 11:14:29
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/03/cuddling-babies-hospital-volunt...

The neonatal intensive care unit [NICU] is full of buzzers, bells and the steady hum of technology. The machines that line the rooms are safeguarding the most fragile human lives. How reassuring ... is the sound of a friendly voice? The look of a friendly face? Babies in the neonatal intensive care unit cling to moments like that, but sometimes parents and nurses can’t be there to offer the constant reassurance. That’s where Pat Rice comes in. He is a volunteer “cuddler” at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. He and his wife, Claire Fitzgerald, have been cuddling babies there for 16 years. His deep voice helps soothe the babies. He joked someone once told him it sounded like a tuba. “Apparently the voice helps make a difference. I don’t know why,” said Rice. “But I find that it works pretty well.” The nurses said that the cuddles have an immediate impact for these infants. It can even be measured. Their blood oxygenation starts to climb, meaning the baby is relaxed and is breathing deeper. The doctors say cuddling leads to better tolerance of pain, more stable body temperature and even stronger vital signs. Fitzgerald and Rice said they often comfort parents whose babies are admitted to the NICU because they can share stories about all the babies they have cuddled who are now home and thriving. Rice said that at his granddaughter’s soccer game recently, a little girl came up to him and gave him a big hug — it was a child he had once cuddled in the hospital.

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




Farm-to-Table Living Takes Root
2014-03-11, New York Times
Posted: 2014-05-05 11:13:19
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/12/dining/farm-to-table-living-takes-root.html

In ... this bedroom community outside Phoenix, amid precision-cut lawns and Craftsman-style homes, lambs caper in common green areas, chickens scratch in a citrus grove and residents roam rows of heirloom vegetables to see what might be good for dinner. The neighborhood is called Agritopia, and it’s one of a growing number of so-called agrihoods, residential developments where a working farm is the central feature, in the same way that other communities may cluster around a golf course, pool or fitness center. The real estate bust in 2008 halted new construction, but with the recovery, developers are again breaking ground on farm-focused tracts. At least a dozen projects across the country are thriving, enlisting thousands of home buyers who crave access to open space, verdant fields and fresh food. “I hear from developers all the time about this,” said Ed McMahon, a senior fellow for sustainable development at the Urban Land Institute. Sixteen of Agritopia’s 160 acres are certified organic farmland, with row crops (artichokes to zucchini), fruit trees (citrus, nectarine, peach, apple, olive and date) and livestock (chickens and sheep). Fences gripped by grapevines and blackberry bushes separate the farm from the community’s 452 single-family homes, each with a wide front porch and sidewalks close enough to encourage conversation. The hub of neighborhood life is a small square overlooking the farm, with a coffeehouse, farm-to-table restaurant and honor-system farm stand. The square is also where residents line up on Wednesday evenings to claim their bulging boxes of just-harvested produce, eggs and honey.

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




Watch "Peter the Elephant" try to play a piano duet
2012-11-28, CBS News
Posted: 2014-05-05 11:11:57
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/watch-peter-the-elephant-try-to-play-a-piano-duet/

[An] utterly adorable, caught-on-tape performance was posted by YouTube user PaulBartonPiano who writes about it: "I was actually playing [the piano] for Soi, a 5 year elephant, when [another elephant named] Peter came by with his mahout on his regular evening trip to the river for a bath. Peter heard the music and [deviated] from the mud road (behind the tree) to the piano. I suddenly felt something strange sucking the back of my head and had an unexpected duet partner. In another video he plays piano and my back as a drum. The mahout you can hear occasionally isn't giving commands in any way to Peter, rather voicing a tiny bit [of] concern for the piano's survival. Okay, so admittedly Peter might not be the best partner to have on a piano duet. But he definitely makes up for his lack of training by giving it his all and being just so darn cute!

Note: To watch this amazing, two-minute video of a piano duet with an elephant, click here. To see Peter try his trunk at another instrument, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Vermont Ups the Ante on Genetically Modified Foods
2014-04-25, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2014-04-29 11:44:01
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/vermont-ups-ante-genetically-modified-...

Vermont has raised the stakes in the debate over genetically modified foods by becoming the first state to pass a bill requiring that they be labeled as such in the grocery aisle, making the move despite the opposition of the powerful U.S. food industry. The Vermont bill says genetically modified foods "potentially pose risks to health, safety, agriculture, and the environment" and includes $1.5 million for implementation and defense against lawsuits expected from the food and biotech industries. It's unclear how GMO labeling might affect consumers' wallets or food companies' bottom line if shoppers reject labeled foods. The labels will say "produced with genetic engineering" for packaged raw foods, or "partially produced with genetic engineering" or "may be produced with genetic engineering" for processed food that contains products of genetic engineering. Meat and dairy would be exempt. A national New York Times poll in January 2013 found that 93 percent of respondents said foods containing GMOs should be labeled. Twenty-nine other states have proposed bills recently to require GMO labeling, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. More than 60 countries require such labeling, according to the Vermont Right to Know campaign. Some farmers in Vermont, known for its organic food operations, see the bill's passage as a David-vs.-Goliath victory. "This vote is a reflection of years of work from a strong grass-roots base of Vermonters who take their food and food sovereignty seriously and do not take kindly to corporate bullies," Will Allen, manager of Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford, said.

Note: For more on the good reasons to require GMO labels on foods, see the excellent summary of the risks from GMOs available here.




The brain injury that made me a math genius
2014-04-20, Salon
Posted: 2014-04-29 11:27:13
http://www.salon.com/2014/04/20/the_brain_injury_that_made_me_a_math_genius/

If you could see the world through my eyes, you would know how perfect it is, how much order runs through it, and how much structure is hidden in its tiniest parts. The universe itself and everything we can touch and all that we are is made of the most beautiful geometric patterns imaginable. I know because they’re right in front of me. Because of a traumatic brain injury, the result of a brutal physical attack, I’ve been able to see these patterns for over a decade. This change in my perception was really a change in my brain function, the result of the injury and the extraordinary and mostly positive way my brain healed. All of a sudden, the patterns were just . . . there, and I realize now that my injury was a rare gift. I’m lucky to have survived, but for me, the real miracle—what really saved me—was being introduced to and almost overwhelmed by the mathematical grace of the universe. Doctors tell me that nothing in my brain was newly created or added when I was injured. Rather, innate but dormant skills were released. This theory comes from psychiatrist Darold Treffert, who is considered the world’s leading authority on savants and acquired savants. He ... suggested that all of us have extraordinary skills just beneath the surface, much as birds innately know how to fly in a V-formation and fish know how to swim in a school. Why the brain suppresses these remarkable abilities is still a mystery, but sometimes, when the brain is diseased or damaged, it relents and unleashes the inner genius. This isn’t just my story. It’s the story of the potential secreted away in all of us.

Note: Excerpted from Struck By Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel by Jason Padgett and Maureen Seaberg. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Iranian killer's execution halted at last minute by victim's parents
2014-04-16, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2014-04-29 11:25:57
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/16/iran-parents-halt-killer-execution

When he felt the noose around his neck, Balal must have thought he was about to take his last breath. Seven years ago Balal, who is in his 20s, stabbed 18-year-old Abdollah Hosseinzadeh during a street brawl in the small town of Royan, in the northern province of Mazandaran [Iran]. But what happened next marked a rarity in public executions in Iran, which puts more people to death than any other country apart from China. The victim's mother approached, slapped the convict in the face and then decided to forgive her son's killer. The victim's father removed the noose and Balal's life was spared. Balal's mother hugged the grieving mother of the man her son had killed. The two women sobbed in each other's arms – one because she had lost her son, the other because hers had been saved. [The slain boy's father, Abdolghani] Hosseinzadeh said a dream prompted the change of heart. "Three days ago my wife saw my elder son in a dream telling her that they are in a good place, and for her not to retaliate … This calmed my wife and we decided to think more until the day of the execution." Many Iranian public figures, including the popular TV sport presenter Adel Ferdosipour, had called on the couple, who have a daughter, to forgive the killer. Although they did so, Balal will not necessarily be freed. Under Iranian law the victim's family have a say only in the act of execution, not any jail sentence.

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




Rivers' garbageman named CNN Hero of the Year
2013-11-19, CNN
Posted: 2014-04-29 11:24:45
http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/19/world/hero-of-the-year/index.html

Chad Pregracke, an Illinois man who has dedicated his life to cleaning the Mississippi River and other U.S. waterways, is the 2013 CNN Hero of the Year. Pregracke organizes community cleanups across the country through his nonprofit, Living Lands & Waters. About 70,000 volunteers have pitched in, helping Pregracke collect more than 7 million pounds of trash in the past 15 years. "The garbage got into the water one piece at a time," Pregracke said earlier this year. "And that's the only way it's going to come out." "I'll just keep on cleaning up America's rivers and loving every minute of it," said Pregracke when he accepted the award. During the show, Pregracke pledged to spread some of his Hero of the Year money to the rest of the top 10 Heroes: "I've met so many great people today, the other Heroes, and I'm really moved by all their stories and all the things they do around the world. ... I'm going to give 10 grand to each of them, because they're awesome." Pregracke, 38, grew up in East Moline, Illinois, where the Mississippi River was in his backyard. As a teenager, he worked as a commercial shell diver and began to notice the heaps of debris in the fabled waterway, which supplies drinking water to 18 million people in more than 50 U.S. cities. "I saw thousands of barrels, thousands of tires, cars, trucks and tops of school buses. ... I got sick of seeing it and just wanted to do something about it," said Pregracke. For nine months out of the year, Pregracke lives on a barge with members of his 12-person crew. They go around the country with a fleet of boats, and they try to make cleanup fun for the volunteers who show up in each city.

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




Teen's invention could charge your phone in 20 seconds
2013-05-18, NBC News
Posted: 2014-04-29 11:23:42
http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/teens-invention-could-charge-your-phon...

Waiting hours for a cellphone to charge may become a thing of the past, thanks to an 18-year-old high-school student's invention. She won a $50,000 prize ... at an international science fair for creating an energy storage device that can be fully juiced in 20 to 30 seconds. The fast-charging device is a [type of] so-called supercapacitor, a gizmo that can pack a lot of energy into a tiny space, charges quickly and holds its charge for a long time. What's more, it can last for 10,000 charge-recharge cycles, compared with 1,000 cycles for conventional rechargeable batteries, according to [the inventor] Eesha Khare of Saratoga, Calif. Supercapacitors also allowed her to focus on her interest in nanochemistry — "really working at the nanoscale to make significant advances in many different fields." To date, she has used [her] supercapacitor to power a light-emitting diode, or LED. The invention's future is even brighter. She sees it fitting inside cellphones and the other portable electronic devices that are proliferating in today's world, freeing people and their gadgets for a longer time from reliance on electrical outlets. "It is also flexible, so it can be used in rollup displays and clothing and fabric," Khare added. "It has a lot of different applications and advantages over batteries in that sense." Khare's invention won her the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, conducted ... in Phoenix, Ariz.

Note: Now let's see if it actually makes it to market or is blocked by the companies that profit from selling many chargers. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds'
2014-04-17, NPR
Posted: 2014-04-21 08:05:55
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/04/17/303772556/plant-breeders-release-...

A group of scientists and food activists is launching a campaign to change the rules that govern seeds. They are releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new "open source pledge" that is intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely. The new Open Source Seed Initiative will pass out 29 new varieties of 14 different crops, including carrots, kale, broccoli and quinoa. Anyone receiving the seeds must pledge not to restrict their use by means of patents, licenses or any other kind of intellectual property. Any future plant that is derived from these open source seeds also has to remain freely available as well. Irwin Goldman, a vegetable breeder at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, ... doesn't like the consequences of restricting access to plant genes — what he calls germplasm. "If we don't share germplasm and freely exchange it, then we will limit our ability to improve the crop," he says. Sociologist Jack Kloppenburg, also at the University of Wisconsin, has been campaigning against seed patents for 30 years. His reasons go beyond Goldman's. He says turning seeds into private property has contributed to the rise of big seed companies that in turn promote ever-bigger, more specialized farms. "The problem is concentration, and the narrow set of uses to which the technology and the breeding are being put," he says.

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




French parliament bans cultivation of GM maize
2014-04-15, Reuters
Posted: 2014-04-21 08:04:45
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/15/us-france-gmo-idUSBREA3E1NY20140415

France's lower house of parliament adopted a law on [April 15] prohibiting the cultivation of any variety of genetically modified maize, saying it posed a risk to the environment. France adopted a decree last month to halt the planting of Monsanto's insect-resistant MON810 maize, the only GM crop allowed for cultivation in the European Union. The law also applies to any strain adopted at EU level in future, including another GM variety, Pioneer 1507 developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemical, which could be approved by the EU executive later this year after 19 out of 28 member states failed to gather enough votes to block it. The Socialist government, like its conservative predecessor, has opposed the growing of GM crops because of public suspicion and widespread protests by environmentalists. Jean-Marie Le Guen, the minister in charge of relations with parliament, told the National Assembly, "This bill strengthens the decree passed last March by preventing the immediate cultivation of GMO and extending their reach to all transgenic maize varieties." A debate on the future of GM policy is going on at EU level, with the European Commission suggesting an opt-out that would allow individual countries to ban such crops. Le Guen called for a stable EU system that would ensure member states' decisions could not be challenged legally.

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




10 ways to keep your diet GMO-free
2014-03-25, CNN
Posted: 2014-04-21 08:03:23
http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/25/health/upwave-gmo-free-diet/index.html

Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods and founding executive director of The Institute for Responsible Technology, a leading source of GMO-health-risk information, says several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. In fact, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid genetically modified foods altogether. Ready to go GMO free? Here are 10 ways to shop smarter: 1. Go organic. The USDA National Organic Standards prohibit GMOs, so shopping organic is a great way to avoid them. 2. Load up on fruits and veggies. Most fresh produce is non-GMO, says Smith, but zucchini, yellow summer squash, edamame, sweet corn and papaya from Hawaii or China are considered high risk and are best avoided. Only buy those high-risk fruits and vegetables if they are labeled "organic" or "non-GMO," he advises. 3. Look for the non-GMO-verified seal. Since GMOs require no labeling, this seal is one of the best ways to tell when foods are free of genetic modification. 4. Join the Tipping Point Campaign. This network of local activists is working to educate communities on the dangers of GMOs. 5. Beware of additives. The five most common GMOs -- corn, canola, soy, cotton and sugar beets -- often end up as additives (in the form of corn syrup, oil, sugar, flavoring agents or thickeners) in packaged foods.

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




The Vatican's Precious Manuscripts Go Online
2014-04-11, Wall Street Journal
Posted: 2014-04-21 08:01:39
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303873604579495370743103510

Almost 600 years after Pope Nicholas V founded the Vatican Apostolic Library, the Holy See is now turning to 50 experts, five scanners and a Japanese IT firm to digitize millions of pages from its priceless manuscripts, opening them to the broader public for the first time. When the project is finished, one of the richest and most important collections of historical texts in the world will be available with a click of the mouse—and free. [The] institution known as the Popes' Library ... houses more than 82,000 manuscripts, some dating back to the second century. Scholars must now submit a detailed request to gain access to the library, which sits within the Vatican walls. The most precious works of art ... have been mostly off-limits. For the past year, Vatican officials have worked closely with experts at Japanese IT firm NTT DATA to test special scanners designed to handle particularly delicate documents. The machines have a protective screen to limit the manuscripts' exposure to light, and windows must remain shut and curtains drawn during the scanning procedure to keep dust and extraneous light out of the room. With the test phase finished, about 50 Italian and Japanese operators will soon begin the process of digitizing the first batch of 3,000 manuscripts under the watchful eye of Vatican librarians. That process, which will take place entirely inside the library, is expected to take four years. After each document is scanned, it will be formatted for long-term storage and then released onto the library's website. The first digital images are expected to be put online in the second half of this year.

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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.

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