Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories from the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. The inspiring news story summaries most recently posted here are listed first. You can explore the same list with the most inspiring stories listed first. See also a concise list providing headlines and links to a number of highly inspiring stories. 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.
15-year-old Patrick Otema, from Kampala in Uganda, found his voice for the very first time. Patrick, who was born deaf, was unable to even express himself to his family and, had things not changed, would have been condemned to a life of silence. But thanks to a pioneering new programme, he has finally been taught to communicate using sign language. But Patrick has been lucky. His teacher is Raymond Okkelo who is deaf himself - and who is one of the few Ugandans to use sign language. 'In the past I was also like him,' he explains. 'I couldn’t use sign language, the only thing I could do was hide in fear.' Raymond became deaf as a child after a bout of malaria. Six months ago, he travelled to the Ugandan capital Kampala for intensive training in sign language. Now able to communicate with the outside world, Raymond is determined to change the lives deaf people in sub-Saharan Africa, many of whom have never been taught sign language. Raymond ... has also opened the very first sign language school in the country - which Patrick now attends. But nothing is as heart-warming as the moment that Patrick finally realises he can communicate, with joy spreading across his face as he grasps the significance of what he has learned. Patrick's transformation is nothing short of breathtaking. But Patrick won't be the only deaf child to benefit. Buoyed by the success of his first cohort of students, Raymond hopes to take his school on tour and help many more children on the way.
2014 has probably been the best year in history. Take war, for example – our lives now are more peaceful than at any time known to the human species. Archaeologists believe that 15 per cent of early mankind met a violent death, a ratio not even matched by the last two world wars. Since they ended, wars have become rarer and less deadly. We have recently been celebrating a quarter-century since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, which kicked off a period of global calm. The Canadian academic Steven Pinker has called this era the “New Peace”, noting that conflicts of all kinds – genocide, autocracy and even terrorism – went on to decline sharply the world over. Global life expectancy now stands at a new high of 71.5 years, up six years since 1990. In India, life expectancy is up seven years for men, and 10 for women. It’s rising faster in the impoverished east of Africa than anywhere else on the planet. In Rwanda and Ethiopia, life expectancy has risen by 15 years. The Ebola crisis has led to 7,000 deaths, each one a tragedy. But far more lives have been saved by the progress against malaria, HIV and diarrhoea. The World Bank’s rate of extreme poverty (those living on less than $1.25 a day) has more than halved since 1990, mainly thanks to China. We still have a lamentably long list of problems to solve. But in the round, there’s no denying it: we are living in the Golden Era.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Onlookers at a train station in northern India watched in awe as a monkey came to the rescue of an injured friend — resuscitating another monkey that had been electrocuted and knocked unconscious. The injured monkey had fallen between the tracks, apparently after touching high-tension wires at the train station in the north Indian city of Kanpur. His companion came to the rescue and was captured on camera lifting the friend's motionless body, shaking it, dipping it into a mud puddle and biting its head and skin — working until the hurt monkey regained consciousness. The first monkey, completely covered in mud, opened its eyes and began moving again. Crowds of travelers watched the Sunday scene in amazement, filming and snapping pictures.
Note: Watch a one-minute video of this most unusual heroic act.
For decades, American high school teacher Bruce Farrer has been asking his students to write letters to their future selves. 20 years later, he tracks down the students and posts their letters to them. Speaking in a video for US airline West Jet, Farrer says that the letters have become more valuable because we now communicate far less by letters than we did 20 years ago. He created the assignment because he wanted his students to do an exercise "that was different, that would be interesting and one that they would value". An old pupil of Farrer says when he was asked to write a 10 page letter to his future self, he thought it was "a lesson just to pass the time, to keep us busy for a few hours while he did other things". He now understands what a dedicated teacher Farrer was. Of course, tracking down your students 20 years after teaching them is a challenging task. Farrer describes it as "a lot of detective work" but he is excited to find out the different paths his ex-pupils have taken. The video shows the reactions of some of Farrer's old students upon opening their letters. One describes it as an "emotional roller-coaster" as she reads about the passing of her grandmother and aunt, experienced through the eyes of her younger self. Despite the profound effect that receiving the letters has on its recipients, Farrer remains modest about his diligence and commitment. "I'm just a regular teacher who happened to assign a rather different assignment", he says.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Six of the largest U.S. school districts are switching to antibiotic-free chicken, officials said on Tuesday, pressuring the world's top meat companies to adjust production practices in the latest push against drugs used on farms. The move by districts in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami-Dade County and Orlando County is intended to protect children's health amid concerns about the rise of so-called "superbugs," bacteria that gain resistance to conventional medicines. The change may raise costs for schools. The six districts ... hope to limit costs by combining their purchasing power. Under the new standards, all chicken products served in the districts must come from birds that were never fed antibiotics. School officials are demanding the change after meeting with industry experts and "really understanding how this affects the human body overall and our future with antibiotic resistance," said Leslie Fowler, executive director of nutrition support services for the Chicago Public Schools. The switch is expected to take several years. Companies like Tyson Foods Inc and Pilgrim's Pride Corp have said they will not be able to change production systems quickly. A Reuters investigation in September found that major U.S. poultry firms were administering antibiotics to their flocks far more pervasively than regulators realized.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
“I think we humans are born to move,” says Stephen Jepson, a Florida-based “exercise innovator” who has developed a fun, fast, easy, and supercharged method to develop new brain cells. “Think about it,” says Jepson, “When did we humans begin to become hunter-gatherers? Nearly two million years ago. When did we quit being hunter gatherers? Only 11,000 years ago, when humans developed agriculture. So, for this huge amount of time in our history, humans evolved to be hunter-gatherers.” All that time we were barefoot, according to Jepson. “We were very careful where we placed our feet,” he says. “How many times will a child, barefoot out in the garden, accidentally step on and get stung by a honey bee? Probably only once.” The 72-year-old’s program, Never Leave the Playground, is showing people it’s never too late to improve their balance, energy and health. He believes his activities just may ward off brain diseases, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, and can prevent one of the most serious threats to older people — falls. “People believe exercise is strenuous but my method is neither arduous nor boring,” says Jepson. “Instead, I focus on movements and games, many similar to those children play on the playground.” The movements he teaches promote balance and dexterity which prevents falls and increase eye – hand coordination. “If you can do only one thing for your health make it to be physically active. Movement makes us smarter.”
Note: Don't miss the inspiring seven minute video of Stephen showing great ways to play for health and longevity.
In 1991, in the tiny town of New Berlin, in upstate New York, a young physician named Bill Thomas ... had just taken a new job as medical director of Chase Memorial Nursing Home. More farmer than doctor, [Thomas] had a Paul Bunyan beard and was more apt to wear overalls beneath his white coat than a tie. From the first day on the job, he felt the stark contrast between the giddy, thriving abundance of life that he experienced on his farm and the confined, institutionalised absence of life that he encountered every time he went to work. So, acting on little more than instinct, he decided to try to put some life into the nursing home. They moved in ... one hundred parakeets, four dogs, two cats, plus a colony of rabbits and a flock of laying hens. [They also planted] hundreds of indoor plants and a thriving vegetable and flower garden, [and introduced] on-site child care for the staff. Researchers studied the effects of this programme over two years, comparing a variety of measures for Chase’s residents with those of residents at another nursing home nearby. Their study found that the number of prescriptions required per resident fell to half that of the control nursing home. The total drug costs fell to only 38 per cent of the comparison facility. Deaths fell 15 per cent. The study couldn’t say why. But Thomas thought he could.
Some of the highest employment rates in the advanced world are in places with the highest taxes and most generous welfare systems, namely Scandinavian countries. The United States and many other nations with relatively low taxes and a smaller social safety net actually have substantially lower rates of employment. In Scandinavian countries, working parents have the option of heavily subsidized child care. Leave policies make it easy for parents to take off work. Heavily subsidized public transportation may make it easier for a person in a low-wage job to get to and from work. And free or inexpensive education may make it easier to get the training to move from the unemployment rolls to a job. Wages for entry-level work are much higher in the Nordic countries than in the United States, reflecting a higher minimum wage, stronger labor unions and cultural norms that lead to higher pay. Perhaps more Americans would enter the labor force if even basic jobs paid [adequate wages], regardless of whether the United States provided better child care and other services. There is a lesson from Scandinavia useful in its simplicity: If you make it easier for people to work, it may be the case that more will.
There's a growing movement in America to train people to get around the stresses of daily life. It's a practice called "mindfulness" and it basically means being aware. Jon Kabat-Zinn is an MIT-trained scientist who's been practicing mindfulness for 47 years. Back in 1979, he started teaching mindfulness through meditation to people suffering from chronic pain and illness. That program is now used in more than 700 hospitals worldwide. Jon Kabat-Zinn: When your alarm goes off and you jump out of bed, what is the nature of the mind in that moment? Are you already like, "oh my God," your calendar pops into your mind and you're driven already, or can you take a moment and just lie in bed and just feel your body breathing. And remember, "oh yeah, brand new day and I'm still alive." So, I get out of bed with awareness, brush my teeth with awareness. When you're in the shower next time check and see if you're in the shower. You may not be. You may be in your first meeting at work. You may have 50 people in the shower with you. If you look at people out on the street, if you look at people at restaurants, nobody's having conversations anymore. They're sitting at dinner looking at their phone, because their brain is so addicted to it. So all of this is leading to a societal exhaustion. But if you're starting to think mindfulness is something you should start practicing, he says you may be missing the point.
Findings from a new study published in Cancer by a Canadian group suggest that our mental state has measurable physical influence on ... our DNA. Dr. Linda E. Carlson and her colleagues found that in breast cancer patients, support group involvement and mindfulness meditation – an adapted form of Buddhist meditation in which practitioners focus on present thoughts and actions in a non-judgmental way ... are associated with preserved telomere length. Telomeres are stretches of DNA that cap our chromosomes and help prevent chromosomal deterioration. We want our telomeres intact. In Carlson’s study distressed breast cancer survivors were divided into three groups. The first group was randomly assigned to ... mindfulness meditation and yoga; the second to 12-weeks of group therapy; and the third was a control group, receiving just a 6-hour stress management course. Telomeres were maintained in both treatment groups but shortened in controls. Previous work hinted at this. More recent work looking at meditation reported similar findings. The biologic benefits of meditation in particular extend well beyond telomere preservation. Earlier work by Carlson found that ... mindfulness is associated with healthier levels of the stress hormone cortisol and a decrease in compounds that promote inflammation.
Mary Risley, a chef, writer and founder of Tante Marie's Cooking School, works to alleviate hunger in the city through the nonprofit organization Food Runners. Founded by Risley in 1997, Food Runners picks up 10 tons a week of food that would otherwise be thrown away and serves more than 350 community organizations, including residential hotels and substance abuse treatment centers. The group has 200 volunteers and a paid driver of a refrigerated truck. Donors include local restaurants, hotels, cafes, caterers, retail markets and wholesalers. In 1997, Risley was honored as cooking teacher of the year by Bon Appétit magazine, but she yearned for more. "Dianne Feinstein was the mayor at the time, and I phoned her office and asked what was being done about hunger. They recommended that I call the San Francisco Food Bank [and] was referred to Daily Bread in Berkeley. Its founder, Carolyn North, became her mentor. She modelled Food Runners after Daily Bread. "I copied (North's) program, because she believes, like I do, that we all belong in the same world," said Risley. "None of us are an entity standing alone, living alone, doing our own thing. We depend on each other as part of our existence. The ultimate goal for Food Runners is to make sure no business in San Francisco is throwing away nutritional, edible food," Risley said.
Note: Watch an inspiring two-minute video on this great movement.
Earlier this month, in Kansas City, Missouri, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department was out looking for people. What made this operation especially unusual was the man behind it: a fellow in a red hat -- known to these men only as "Secret Santa." Every year this anonymous, wealthy businessman gives out about a hundred thousand dollars worth of hundred dollar bills to random strangers. But this year, instead of doing it all himself, he deputized these deputies to give away much of it. And so, armed to the teeth with Benjamins, the officers went out to do Santa's bidding. They specifically went after people they thought would appreciate it most. "Merry Christmas," a deputy said while handing money to a driver. "You're kidding. Oh my God, no," answered the driver in disbelief. Most people weren't just blown away -- most people were moved to tears. Their reactions were a combination of really needing the money and being caught off guard. This year "Secret Santa" also had a secret agenda. "What do you want the officers to get out of this?" I asked him. "Joy," he answered. "You know, as tough as they are they have hearts that are bigger than the world." Let's face it, it hasn't been a good year for law enforcement -- but for the vast majority of decent officers who will never make headlines -- Secret Santa offered this gift.
Note: Don't miss the incredibly beautiful three-minute video on this.
Kailash Satyarthi has ... just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Satyarthi is a hero to many people. [He] has driven the global movement to end child labor. Because of his work, we now know there are 168 million child laborers worldwide. They used to be invisible. Kailash started risking his life for these children more than 30 years ago, when he broke into Indian factories to emancipate them. Early footage of him doing this “raid and rescue” work showed the world that child slavery exists. Along with his wife, Sumedha, he helped those he rescued to recover and find their place in the world, and he put their stories on the global stage, shaming lawmakers and companies into acknowledging the systemic exploitation of children for economic gain. GoodWeave [is] an organization that he created in 1994. At that time there were over 1 million children weaving carpets in South Asia alone. In exchange for proving that there were no children in their supply chains, carpet sellers could put the GoodWeave label on their products. Since 1995, more than 11 million carpets bearing the GoodWeave label have been sold worldwide, reducing child labor in the carpet industry by an estimated 75 percent. GoodWeave aims to emancipate the last 250,000 children working the carpet looms by 2020.
In Xiaolin Zheng's version of the future, installing solar panels could be as simple as applying a sticker. “In China, the rooftops of many buildings are packed with solar energy devices,” says Zheng. “One day my father mentioned how great it would be if a building’s entire surface could be used for solar power, not just the roof, but also walls and windows.” An invention from Zheng's research team at Stanford University might someday make that possible. They have created a type of solar cell that is thin, flexible, and adhesive—a solar sticker. “Our new technique lets us treat the solar cells like a pizza,” explains Zheng. “When you bake pizza, you use a metal pan that can tolerate high temperatures. But when it’s time to distribute the pizza economically, it’s placed in a paper box." Working with her students, Zheng set out to fabricate solar cells on a silicone or glass surface as usual, but she inserted a metallic layer between the cell and the surface. After some trial and error, the team was finally able to peel away the metallic layer from the surface. The result was ... skinny, bendable cells [that] can produce the same amount of electricity as rigid ones. According to Zheng. “The silicon wafers come through the process clean and shiny. So just like a pizza pan, they can be used again and again, which translates to savings.” And because the solar stickers are lighter than conventional panels, they will be easier and less expensive to install.
Note: Watch a video of this amazing process at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Local governments, both big and small, are debating and approving "responsible banking ordinances" to hold banks accountable for how they treat people living in each city. The core tenet of each ordinance is simple: improve the availability of information that banks provide cities when we consider depositing taxpayer dollars and awarding contracts for new financial services. Responsible banking ordinances have recently been approved or are being considered in cities including New York, Seattle, Berkeley, Boston, Portland, Kansas City and San Francisco (responsible banking laws have been on the books in Cleveland and Philadelphia for years). The Los Angeles responsible banking ordinance will create a public, transparent process for gathering information about each bank's history of service in the community. The City of Los Angeles has a $30 billion banking portfolio, and the city's decision-makers are charged with selecting the financial institutions that will be allowed to profit from conducting transactions ... on behalf of our taxpayers. Progress toward banking responsibility is not coming without a fight. Big banks have been visiting city council offices [and have] argued that their investment divisions should not be held accountable. There is a good reason that responsible banking ordinances are being approved across the country -- banking responsibly is the fiscally responsible thing to do.
Note: The responsible banking ordinance movement has gained momentum since the above article was written about Los Angeles' inspiring success. In 2013, Minneapolis, MN became the 10th major US city to join this movement. In 2014, New York City beat the bankers in court to keep their ordinance alive. Want to see this model used by your city government?
Jeffrey Wright is well known around his high school in Louisville, Ky., for his antics as a physics teacher. But it is a simple lecture — one without props or fireballs — that leaves the greatest impression on his students each year. The talk is about Mr. Wright’s son and the meaning of life, love and family. Each year, Mr. Wright gives a lecture on his experiences as a parent of a child with special needs. His son, Adam, now 12, has a rare disorder called Joubert syndrome, in which the part of the brain related to balance and movement fails to develop properly. Visually impaired and unable to control his movements, Adam breathes rapidly and doesn’t speak. Mr. Wright ... recalls the day Adam was born, and the sadness he felt when he learned of his condition. “The whole thing about where the universe came from? I didn’t care. I started asking myself, what was the point of it?” All that changed one day when Mr. Wright ... realized that his son could see and play — that the little boy had an inner life. He and his wife, Nancy, began teaching Adam simple sign language. One day, his son signed “I love you.” “There is something a lot greater than energy. There’s something a lot greater than entropy. What’s the greatest thing?” “Love,” his students whisper. “That’s what makes the ‘why’ we exist,” Mr. Wright tells the spellbound students.
Note: Watch this beautiful, 12-minute video on Mr. Wright's Law of Love. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A campaign launching Tuesday aims to get growing businesses to do what San Francisco’s Salesforce.com did in its infancy 15 years ago: Promise to donate 1 percent of its equity, 1 percent of its employees’ time and 1 percent of the firm’s products to charity. Called the Pledge 1% Program — and led by Salesforce and others — it aims to get 500 other corporations to do the same over the next year. Those who have bought into the idea have seen other benefits. “It’s good for business, too,” said Bradley Heinz, program manager at Optimizely.org. The San Francisco company — which includes several top execs who used to work at Salesforce — is participating in the program. If a younger company can make philanthropy part of its DNA when it is smaller, it will become a way of life as it grows. It is somewhat easier to convince a young firm to volunteer time and offer its product at a deeply discounted rate. San Francisco’s income inequality divide — the fastest-growing in the country — is inspiring other growing companies to look at what they can do to help. Employees at Practice Fusion, a cloud medical records company in San Francisco, decided that they would take $50,000 that would have been used for their holiday gift and give it to the poor. “People were not that into the gifts and schwag,” said Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard. “They wanted to give back.”
Pope Francis stood Saturday for two minutes of silent prayer facing east in one of Turkey's most important mosques, a powerful vision of Christian-Muslim understanding at a time when neighboring countries are experiencing violent Islamic assault on Christians and religious minorities. The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi called it a moment of "silent adoration." It was a remarkably different atmosphere from Francis' first day in Turkey, when the simple and frugal pope was visibly uncomfortable with the pomp and protocol required of him for the state visit part of his trip. With President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's mega-palace, honor guard and horseback escort now behind him, Francis got down to the business of being pope, showing respect to Muslim leaders, celebrating Mass for Istanbul's tiny Catholic community and meeting with the spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians. Francis' visit comes at an exceedingly tense time for Turkey, with Islamic State militants grabbing territory next door in Syria and Iraq and sending some 1.6 million refugees fleeing across the border. Some refugees were expected to attend Francis' final event on Sunday before he returns to Rome. Francis was following in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI, who visited Turkey in 2006 amid heightened Christian-Muslim tensions over a now-infamous papal speech linking violence with the Prophet Mohammed.
"People try and run away from things and to forget, but with psychedelic drugs they're forced to confront and really look at themselves," explains Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, from Imperial College London. The drugs Carhart-Harris is referring to are hallucinogens such as magic mushrooms -- specifically the active chemical inside them, psilocybin. Carhart-Harris scanned the brains of 30 healthy volunteers after they had been injected with psilocybin and found the more primitive regions of the brain associated with emotional thinking became more active and the brain's "default mode network," associated with high-level thinking, self-consciousness and introspection, was disjointed and less active. "We know that a number of mental illnesses, such as OCD and depression, are associated with excessive connectivity of the brain, and the default mode network becomes over-connected," says David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology, who leads the Imperial College team. The over-connectivity Nutt describes causes depressed people to become locked into rumination and concentrate excessively on negative thoughts about themselves. Depression is estimated to affect more than 350 million people around the world. The current pharmaceutical approach to treatment is with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac. But SSRIs ... are generally prescribed for long periods of time to maintain their effect. Nutt thinks psilocybin could be a game-changer, used as part of a therapeutic package ... to treat people within just one or two doses of treatment.
Note: For more about the therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable sources.
In the wake of a grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, Americans have grown accustomed to images of police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. One such image is now going viral, but not for the reason one might think. The photo ... shows 12-year-old Devonte Hart and Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum embraced in a hug outside of a Ferguson rally on Tuesday. Hart’s mother ... explained that she and Hart went to downtown Portland “with the intention of spreading love and kindness.” Hart brandished a “Free Hugs” sign as he stood alone in front of a police barricade. His mother says he started to get emotional during the rally: “He wonders if someday when he no longer wears a ‘Free Hugs’ sign around his neck, when he’s a full-grown black male, if his life will be in danger for simply being.” That’s when Sgt. Barnum noticed Hart crying and called the boy over to him. Barnum ... asked why he was crying. Hart’s mother says his response was “about his concerns regarding the level of police brutality towards young black kids was met with an unexpected: “Yes. I know. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Next, Sgt Barnum asked if he could have one of the “Free Hugs” advertised on his sign. Barnum [said] “it’s a blessing for me that I didn’t miss an opportunity to impact this child.” The image has now been shared widely across social media. Hart’s mother called the tearful hug “one of the most emotionally charged experiences I’ve had as a mother.”
Note: Read lots more on this inspiring incident and the challenging background of Devonte Hart. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.