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.
David Korten began his professional life as a professor at the Harvard Business School on a mission to lift struggling people in Third World nations out of poverty by sharing the secrets of U.S. business success. Yet, after a couple of decades in which he applied his organizational development strategies in places as far-flung as Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and the Philippines, Korten underwent a change of heart. In 1995, he wrote the bestseller When Corporations Rule the World, followed by a series of books that helped birth the movement known as the New Economy, a call to replace transnational corporate domination with local economies, control, ownership, and self-reliance. This month, Korten, who is also the co-founder and board chair of YES!, publishes a new book challenging readers to rethink their relationship with Earth—indeed, with all creation, from the smallest quantum particle to the whole of the universe. The world needs “a new story,” he says. Buying into the “Sacred Money and Markets” story that money is wealth and the key to happiness locks us into indentured servitude to corporate rule. It’s the traditional development model, or transnational capitalism, that damages Earth as a living community, including not just humans but all life forms. Control of money is the ultimate mechanism of social control in a society in which most every person depends on money for the basic means of living. The only legitimate purpose of the economy is to serve life, is to serve us as living beings making our living in co-productive partnership with living Earth.
Note: David Korten's new book is titled: Change the Story, Change the Future. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The Greek parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly adopted a "humanitarian crisis" bill to help its poorest people, ignoring apparent pressure from the European Union to halt the legislation. Greek government coffers are almost empty and [anti-austerity Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras needs further financial assistance for his country, but he also wants to enact social laws that break with the austerity imposed by international creditors since 2010 as a condition of the bailout. His government's refusal to fall into line with eurozone partners over its massive bailout has angered not only EU powerhouse Germany, but Spain and Portugal as well. The Greek legislation calls for households that were cut off because they could not pay their bills to be given a capped amount of free electricity. Up to 30,000 households would also get a housing allowance and 300,000 people would receive food subsidies. The legislation also includes help for people who have lost their jobs in recent months and no longer have social security coverage. "When all indicators are in the red like unemployment, poverty, etc, we do what is necessary to tackle these problems," Greek Labour Minister Panos Skourletis told lawmakers.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
On 20 May 1916, Ernest Shackleton, Frank Worsley, and Tom Crean reached Stromness, a whaling station on the north coast of South Georgia. They had been walking for 36 hours, in life-threatening conditions. They did not talk about it at the time, but weeks later all three men reported an uncanny experience during their trek: a feeling that "often there were four, not three" men on their journey. The "fourth" that accompanied them had the silent presence of a real person, someone walking with them by their side. Encounters such as these are common in extreme survival situations: guardian angels, guides, or even Christ-like figures have often been reported. We know them now as "third man" experiences, following a line in TS Eliot's poem, The Wasteland: "Who is the third who walks always beside you? When I count, there are only you and I together. But when I look ahead up the white road, there is always another one walking beside you." In his book The Third Man Factor, John Geiger collects together a wide range of third man stories, including accounts from mountaineers, sailors, and survivors of terrorist attacks. They all involve a strong impression of a felt presence ... which will often feel as if it has a spiritual or guiding purpose.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
What makes a Nobel Prize winner? There's several suggested factors: Perseverance? Good luck? Good mentors and students? Here’s one possible factor that I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams; chocolate consumption. Chocolate consumption tracks well with the number of Nobel Laureates produced by a country. At least that's what a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine - one of the world’s premier journals of medical research - claims. The paper starts by assuming ... that winning a Nobel Prize must somehow be related to cognitive ability. It then goes on to describe a link between flavanols - organic molecules found among other foods in chocolate, green tea and red wine - and cognitive ability. From this idea the author basically jumps to the dubious and frankly bizarre question of whether chocolate consumption could possibly account for Nobel Prize winning ability. The hypothesis is testable, so the author decides to simply plot the number of Nobel prize winners per 10 million people in different countries counted from 1900-2011 vs the chocolate consumption in those countries. A plot of chocolate consumption vs number of Nobel Prizes reveals a strong correlation of 0.79. The most likely explanation for that correlation is that it's caused by a third factor.
Charles Darwin is normally associated with the "survival of the fittest" theory. He also ... wrote that the communities most likely to flourish were "those with the most sympathetic members", an observation backed up by research that we are wired to care about each other. But we have such a strong cultural narrative about the selfish side of humanity that we adopt systems and behaviours that undermine our natural co-operative tendencies. This starts in schools, where the relentless focus on exams and attainment instills in young people the idea that success is about doing better than others. It continues in our marketing culture, which encourages conspicuous displays of consumption and rivalry. It's found at the heart of our workplaces, where employees compete with each other for performance-related rewards. This "get ahead or lose out" ethos [is] deeply flawed. In schools, helping young people to develop social and emotional skills [has] been shown to boost their performance. In workplaces, research ... shows that "givers" - people who help others without seeking anything in return - are more successful in the long term than "takers" - who try to maximise benefits for themselves, rather than others. For society as a whole, the World Happiness Report 2013, a major global study, found that two of the strongest explanatory factors for national wellbeing are levels of social support and generosity.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Ryan’s stories were truly legendary. His mother Cyndi said [that] when he was 5 years old, he confided in her one evening before bed. He said, "mom, I have something I need to tell you. I used to be somebody else.” The preschooler would then talk about “going home” to Hollywood. “His stories were so detailed and they were so extensive, that it just wasn’t like a child could have made it up,” she said. Cyndi said she ... had never really thought about reincarnation. She checked out books about Hollywood from the local library, hoping something inside would help her son make sense of his strange memories. “Then we found the picture,” she said. That photo ... was a publicity shot from the 1932 movie. “She turns to the page in the book, and I say ‘that’s me, that’s who I was,’" Ryan remembers. Finally she had a face to match to her son’s strange “memories,” giving her the courage to ask someone for help. That someone was Dr. Jim Tucker ... at the University of Virginia. [Tucker] has spent more than a decade studying the cases of children ... who say they remember a past life. [His] office contains the files of more than 2,500 children— cases accumulated from all over the world by his predecessor, Ian Stevenson. Tucker has [discovered some] intriguing patterns. For instance, 70 percent of the children say they died violent or unexpected deaths in their previous lives, and males account for 73 percent of those deaths— mirroring the statistics of those who die of unnatural causes in the general population. “There’d be no way to orchestrate that statistic with over 2,000 cases,” Tucker said.
Note: Don't miss the fascinating video of Ryan's story at the link above. His family and Dr. Tucker were able to confirm amazing details five-year-old Ryan described from his past life. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The rape by six men of the 23-year-old Delhi medical student who later died of her injuries sparked national protests and changes to India’s rape laws. For film-maker Ram Devineni, founder of the publisher and film production company Rattapallax, it also led to Priya’s Shakti, a new comic for teenagers which Rattapallax says is “rooted in ancient matriarchal traditions that have been displaced in modern representations of Hindu culture”, and which is intended to support “the movement against patriarchy, misogyny and indifference through love, creativity and solidarity”. Illustrated by Dan Goldman, the comic is about to be unveiled at Mumbai Comic-Con. It tells the story of Priya, devoted to the goddess Parvati, and as a young girl, full of dreams of becoming a teacher. But she is told by her father to stop going to school, and to stay home and take care of the house. As she grows up, she is the victim of increasing sexual violence, until she is raped - and then thrown out of the family home. Parvati is horrified to discover what women on earth go through, and inspires Priya to speak out and spread a new message to the world: to treat women with respect, educate all children, and speak out when a woman is being mistreated. Priya, riding on a tiger, returns to her village. She is, said Devineni, “a new hero for a modern India”. Priya’s Shakti – Shakti is “the female principle of divine energy” – is available free online, and Rattapallax has printed 6,000 copies in Hindi and English for the convention and for educational distribution.
Note: For more, read this inspiring article in the Christian Science Monitor.
Neha Gupta became the first ever American today to be awarded the Children’s International Peace Prize in The Hague, Netherlands. The prize is awarded annually to a child, anywhere in the world, for his or her dedication to children’s rights. Gupta began her astounding work when she was just a child herself, visiting her parents' native India nine years ago. Carrying out a family tradition of celebrating birthdays by delivering gifts to orphans, she was struck by the condition these children were living in. "The place was just really in shambles," Gupta told Saulny. "I didn't want to accept these things. These are things I wanted to fix." She moved to fix them quickly, any way that she could. Back home in Pennsylvania, she made a bold move, deciding to sell all of her toys to raise money for the orphans she had met in India. "We just put it out on our driveway and people came, bought things and it turned out to be such a successful event,” Gupta said. “From that one event we raised $700 and I’ve wanted to keep going.” Gupta kept going, selling crafts door to door and collecting corporate donations in her dad’s SUV. Nine years later, now an 18-year-old college student, she runs Empower Orphans, a global charity that has raised $1.3 million. The organization reaches orphans in the U.S. and abroad, helping to build classrooms, buy books, equip computer labs, pay for health exams, supply water and buy sewing machines to empower other young women to start their own businesses. Despite all of her extraordinary successes, Gupta describes herself as just an ordinary teenager who found her calling early in life. That bit of serendipity has touched the lives of more than 25,000 children so far.
Note: Don't miss an inspiring video on this beautiful woman and the way she is changing the world.
All parents want their kids to have the skills they need to thrive in the world. But, while most parents feel comfortable talking about the importance of safety, health, schoolwork, and relationships, when it comes to the importance of money, many fall silent. Perhaps that’s because money can bring up extremely strong emotions. How much we have or don’t have, and how our income compares to that of others, can be a source of shame—whether we perceive ourselves as having too much or too little. Parents often find themselves fighting over finances, leaving the impression on kids that money causes conflict. In my role as the personal finance columnist for The New York Times, parents often ask me for advice. Here are some tips: 1. Talk about money and your values around money. 2. Give children money to manage on their own. 3. Teach kids to spend wisely. 4. Put kids to work. 5. Teach kids the importance of giving. 6. Practice gratitude. While these tips aren’t foolproof, parents who follow them have a better chance of raising children with a wise relationship to money. It’s up to all of us to make sure our children understand our values and know how to save, spend, or give away money in a way that is consistent with those values. If we all approached the topic with more honesty and openness, we might avoid a future where children end up either crippled by debt or thinking that everything should come to them on a silver platter.
Note: The above was written by Ron Lieber, whose new book, The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money, is about how parents can do a better job of teaching their kids about money. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
At Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia, the shop is adorned with Post-it notes and letters. The messages are from customers who gave $1 so homeless members in the community could get a slice, which costs $1. The pay-it-forward pizza program started about a year ago, [owner Mason] Wartman says, when one paying customer asked if he could buy a slice for a homeless person. "I said, 'Sure.' I took his dollar and ran out and got some Post-it notes and put one up to signify that a slice was purchased," he recalls. Pay-it-forward pizza was born. Over the past nine months, Wartman says, clients have bought 8,400 slices of pizza for their homeless neighbors. He kept track of the prepaid slices with Post-it notes on the walls until he hit about 500 free slices. He now keeps track at the register. Wartman says the customer who started it all was inspired by a practice in Italy called "suspended coffee" where customers purchase an extra cup for someone who can't afford it. Pay-it-forward generosity isn't limited to Italian cafes or one Philly pizza shop. Even mega-chains, including the bakery and sandwich chain Panera, have gotten into the giving act. Other chains' pay-it-forward systems have grown organically. Starbucks Coffee Co. spokeswoman Sanja Gould says some people just offer to pay for the person behind them in line, while others "might load a certain dollar amount onto a Starbucks card and the store partners have it on hand and they keep adding to it as the line goes on." Wartman says ... people want to help but aren't sure what to do. "This is a super-easy way, a super-efficient way and a super-transparent way to help the homeless."
Note: Watch a great video on this inspiring pizza shop.
The City-County Council on Monday voted largely along party lines to create a "Homeless Bill of Rights," making Indianapolis one of the first cities in the country to do so. The ordinance, modelled after similar laws in Rhode Island and Illinois, establishes specific protections for the homeless, a vulnerable population that advocates say face pervasive discrimination in their daily lives. Among the protections: the right to "move freely in public spaces," such as sidewalks and public buildings; the right to equal treatment by city agencies; the right to emergency medical care; and the right to a "reasonable expectation of privacy" for their personal property, just as someone would have inside a home. Notably, it ... requires the city to give a homeless person 15 days notice before displacing him or her from a camp. The city also would have to store displaced people's belongings for 60 days and connect them with nonprofits that would provide them with transitional housing and "wrap-around services," such as medical care and employment assistance. [City Councilman LeRoy] Robinson said such services are vital — and less costly than arresting people for minor offenses to get them off the streets. "It is much more cost-effective to provide support services and assistance to those experiencing homelessness in our city, than to arrest them," Robinson wrote in an email to The Star.
Burlington recently announced that it now produces or gets more power than its citizens use. And it’s all coming from renewable sources of energy like wind and solar and hydroelectric. Ken Nolan helps run Burlington Electric, the local utility company that supplies power to the city’s 42,000 residents. Some might say, of course this is happening in Burlington — the town that’s often cast as a liberal, progressive haven. But Burlington — and Vermont at large — has plenty of economic reasons to try and do their part to tackle climate change: Vermont’s iconic, multi-million dollar industries — skiing and maple syrup — are as dependent on the climate as any industry in the U.S. And the state suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in damage from Hurricane Irene — the type of storm scientists say will grow in frequency unless we reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. Nolan says that switching from fossil fuel energy to renewable energy will likely save the city about $20 million dollars over the next two decades. What’s more, consumers haven’t been hit with a big price increase: while residential customers across the US have seen small but gradual increases in their utility bills over the years, Burlington’s rates haven’t increased since 2009. There’s nothing magic about Burlington in terms of where it sits. It was just a bunch of decisions made over ten years or more, to get towards renewable energy.
John Emerson Moss is an unheralded giant in the capital of California. Moss [represented] Sacramento in Congress for 25 years – a career marked by one of the most noteworthy legislative records of the second half of the 20th century. Moss was the author and champion of the federal Freedom of Information Act, which gave any American the right to access federal records once routinely sealed by the most powerful forces in the American government. Because of Moss, there is the Consumer Product Safety Commission. He played a major role in enacting the Toy Safety Act, the Poison Package Control Act, the Federal Privacy Act. He was chief sponsor of the Clean Air Act. Moss was one of the first voices in government to come out against the Vietnam War, a position that put him squarely at odds with President Lyndon Johnson – one of the most politically powerful and vindictive men to occupy the Oval Office. A Democrat like Johnson, Moss’ opposition to Vietnam and his dogged pursuit of FOIA cost him what many politicians crave most – power. President Johnson was against the idea of opening federal records to the public and he fought Moss behind closed doors. Moss prevailed when Johnson bowed to pressure from newspaper editors and a growing mistrust of government. He signed FOIA into law the week of July 4, 1966. It was a momentous event. But there is no film of Moss standing behind Johnson as he signed FOIA into law because a grudging Johnson refused to have a public signing ceremony to mark the event.
Note: Moss’ 100th birthday falls on April 13, 2015. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
With Stage 4 metastasized breast cancer, Patti ... wanted to know how to live life with no regrets. Out of Patti’s vision and sense of urgency, the No Regrets Project was born. Between radiation treatments, spinal surgery and a bucket list trip to Alaska, Patti wrote essays, talked with anyone who would listen, dreamed and created. In the end, she developed five simple, personal practices to help herself live life more fully: be grateful every day, trust – take the risk, courage to be me, choose joy, and love myself & share it. While the phrases may be simple, accomplishing them is not. The development of the No Regrets Project is Patti Pansa’s legacy to all of us. Each day, Patti wrote in her gratitude journal. The simplest things caught her attention. “I am grateful for a little bird sitting on a branch outside of my bedroom window,” “I love to feel the warmth in the sunlight crossing my bed,” and more. This practice of gratitude helped her to focus on the things that she appreciated most, rather than on her declining health and the difficult medical procedures that she endured. Patti learned that trust requires an element of surrender. With diminishing energy, she simply followed the flow of suggestions and referrals to find the resources that were needed in a short period of time. Patti spent the last five months of her life celebrating, sharing, creating, loving, and living. On October 23, 2013, under hospice care, Patti died at home with her family. She died with no regrets.
McDonald’s said on Wednesday that its 14,000 US restaurants will stop serving chicken raised with antibiotics "important to human medicine," a significant change in food policy for the world’s largest fast-food chain. McDonald’s said the decision is an attempt to adapt to diners’ desire for healthier food.‘‘Our customers want food that they feel great about eating — all the way from the farm to the restaurant — and these moves take a step toward better delivering on those expectations,’’ McDonald’s US president, Mike Andres, said in a statement. McDonald’s said the new policy will be implemented across its US supply chain within two years. Also, McDonald’s said that this year it will begin offering milk jugs in its Happy Meals that contain milk from cows that have not been treated with the growth hormone rbST. Public health advocates cheered the move, and some groups, including Keep Antibiotics Working, said they had been in ‘‘close dialogue’’ with McDonald’s about the policy change.
Good Samaritans are working to make sure that the homeless and others in need are prepared for the winter weather. Hats and scarves have been spotted around several areas that are experiencing frigid temperatures this winter. The apparel -- which has shown up in cities including Edmonton and Winnipeg in Canada, and Wilmington, North Carolina -- comes with messages urging those in need to take the winter wear. "I am not lost!" a message attached to a scarf in Wilmington reads. "If you are stuck out in the cold, please take this to keep warm!" The group responsible for that particular item, Scarves in the Port City, says that their aim is to account for those who need a helping hand during the winter months in a simple and effective way. "We collect and distribute scarves for the homeless during inclement weather," the group ... wrote on their Facebook page. "We hope to help create awareness of the difference kindness can make to people's attitudes, feelings and actions towards themselves and others when it's embraced as a way of life." The do-gooders, who often place the clothing in locations that are easily accessible for people in need, like libraries where people may seek refuge from the chill or homeless shelters, say they hope their efforts can provide some much-needed comfort to those who need it most over the winter months.
Note: See the complete article for pictures of this generous practice showing up in the U.S. and Canada. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The Division III basketball game between Mount St. Joseph's and Hiriam College ... was special because of one freshman forward, number 22, Lauren Hill, who made her college basketball debut while battling an inoperable brain tumor that has given her just months left to live. Hill had long dreamed of playing college basketball, of fulfilling a hope she had had since middle school. The freshman forward made an uncontested left-handed layup for the opening basket. Her shot brought a standing ovation from a sellout crowd at Xavier University's 10,000-seat arena. Her coach said normally 50 people attend their games. Hill has a brain tumor the size of a lemon, and it is growing daily. She was diagnosed last fall after suffering from vertigo and dizziness while playing for her high school team. Despite her condition, she committed this year to playing basketball, a game she first fell in love with in the 6th grade. "She's chasing a dream," her father, Brent Hill, told CBS News' Steve Hartman. "And she wants people to see that - that they can do that." Her parents said she actually asked the doctor: "Can I at least still play basketball?" Her attitude is remarkable -- the only tears a CBS News crew ever saw when interviewing her were of joy when she read about all the people who were supporting her charity called the "The Cure Starts Now." Curing pediatric brain cancer is one of her two top priorities. The other [was] simply to live long enough to play in her first college game.
A millionaire Chinese businessman has bulldozed the wooden huts and muddy roads where he grew up - and built luxury homes for the people who lived there. Xiong Shuihua was born in Xiongkeng village in the city of Xinyu, southern China and said that his family had always been well looked after and supported by residents in his childhood. So when the 54-year-old ended up making millions in the steel industry he decided to repay the favour. The business tycoon decided to return to the village and give everybody a place of their own to live - for free. Five years ago, the area was run down and many lived in basic homes. But the area has been transformed in recent years and now 72 families are enjoying life in luxury new flats. Meanwhile, 18 families, who were particularly kind to the businessman, were given villas of their own in a project costing close to Ł4 million. After moving in, he even promised three meals a day to the older residents and people on a low income to make sure they could get by. The multimillionaire made his money first of all in the construction industry and later by getting involved in the steel trade. He said: 'I earned more money than I knew what to do with, and I didn't want to forget my roots. 'I always pay my debts, and wanted to make sure the people who helped me when I was younger and my family were paid back.' Elderly local Qiong Chu, 75, said: 'I remember his parents. They were kind-hearted people who cared very much for others, and it's great that their son has inherited that kindness.'
Note: See pictures of the neighborhood Shuihua built at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A group of top American intellectuals have volunteered to "take" the 1,000 lash sentence imposed by the Saudi government on a prominent liberal blogger. Raif Badawi ... received the sentence for insulting his country's hardline Islamic clerics. The move, which follows widespread international outrage at the sentence, is being led by Robert P. George, a leading professor at Princeton University. Professor George said: "Together with six colleagues on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, I sent a letter to the Saudi Ambassador to the US calling on the Saudi government to stop the horrific torture of Raif Badawi — an advocate of religious freedom and freedom of expression in the Saudi Kingdom. If the Saudi government refuses, we each asked to take 100 of Mr. Badawi's lashes so that we could suffer with him. The seven of us include Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, Christians, Jews, and a Muslim." Mr Badawi, 31, who set up a liberal website to discuss Saudi politics in which he criticised the country’s hardline religious establishment, has been sentenced to ten years in prison as well as 1,000 lashes. So harsh is the flogging that it has to be administered in individual sessions of 50 lashes a time in order to stop the recipient dying or suffering serious injury during the process. The first bout of 50 lashes was dished out to Mr Badawi on January 9, before hundreds of spectators in a public square in front of a mosque in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. The date for a second set of lashes has so far been postponed as doctors have said that Mr Badawi's injuries from the first flogging have not yet healed.
The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself. But in the 1970s ... Bruce Alexander noticed [that] the rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends. The rats with good lives ... mostly shunned [the drugged water]. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did. Professor Alexander argues [that] addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you. It’s your cage. This gives us an insight that goes much deeper than the need to understand addicts. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection. This isn’t [just] theoretical. 15 years ago, Portugal had one of the worst drug problems in Europe, with one percent of the population addicted to heroin. They had tried a drug war, and the problem just kept getting worse. So they decided to do something radically different. They resolved to decriminalize all drugs, and transfer all the money they used to spend on arresting and jailing drug addicts, and spend it instead on reconnecting them to their own feelings, and to the wider society. The results? Since total decriminalization, addiction has fallen, and injecting drug use is down by 50 percent.
Note: The complete article tells the story of internationally renown journalist Johann Hari's profound shift in thinking about addiction as he personally investigated Portugal's inspiring success.