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.
Trained as a lawyer, Van Ngoc Ta never imagined that he would spend his evenings posing as a gang lord in brothels. Over the past 10 years, Van Ta has played an active role in ... Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, [a charity] that rescues Vietnamese women and girls trafficked to China for the sex trade as well as victims of forced labor. Undercover operations [are] part of the job. In the past decade he has rescued more than 480 women and girls sold into prostitution or sexually abused as well as victims of forced labor working in Vietnam. Some Vietnamese women go abroad for brokered marriages, mostly to China and Malaysia, but find themselves in domestic servitude or prostitution. Others are duped in online relationships and end up in the sex trade. Others are sold to traffickers by friends or neighbors. "We put the safety and interests of the victims first. What you want to do more than anything else is to bring them home. I have to be careful as there is a lot of money involved," said Van Ta, adding that girls can earn as much as $250 a day for their pimps and traffickers. "If you think of the number of girls I have rescued, this probably means I have taken about $2-3 million of earnings from the traffickers and brothels." Van Ta ... said the rewards of the job outweighed the risks. "When you bring a victim home, there are tears of happiness, and you would accept any price to bring them home," said Van Ta. Blue Dragon ... now has 72 staff and cares for more than 1,500 children in Vietnam [in addition to] its rescue work.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Whether it involves help with cat sitting or learning a new language, moving a sofa or lending a hand at a charity event, helpfulpeeps has seen the need requested – and fulfilled by a kind stranger. In a matter of months, helpfulpeeps – a social network based on the idea of the gift economy and paying it forward – has amassed more than 2,000 users throughout the world. The initiative, which originated in Britain, is premised on a simple idea: Ask for help whenever you want; help others whenever you can. “We noticed the ongoing disconnect in society and our over-reliance on money to solve our problems,” says Simon Hills, a cofounder. “We were also amazed to find that there are 12 million people in the UK who used to volunteer and would love to get back into it.” Without the requirement of an ongoing commitment, and with the flexibility of being able to offer support in person or even remotely ... the objective is to offer a more fulfilling relationship between users. Mr. Hills says, “Ultimately, it aims to save people money and develop a network of like-minded, helpful people, willing to lend a hand within the local and global community.” “Quite possibly the 'best' story was one of our very first posts – it was from an Australian lady who wanted to be reunited with her long lost friend of 15 years from when she used to live in Telford, [England]” Hills says. “The community rallied together, and we are pleased to announce that they have since been reunited.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
On a snowy afternoon in February 2004, an FBI agent came to Nick Merrill’s door, bearing a letter that would change his life. At the time, Merrill was running a small internet service provider. The envelope that the agent carried contained what is known as a “national security letter”, or NSL. It demanded details on one of his company’s clients; including cellphone tower location data, email details and screen-names. It also imposed a non-disclosure agreement which was only lifted this week, when – after an 11-year legal battle by Merrill and the American Civil Liberties Union, he was finally allowed to reveal the contents of the letter to the world. The NSL which Merrill was given was a new use for what was a relatively old tool. The FBI had long – if sparingly – used them, [but] the Patriot Act vastly expanded the scope of what an NSL could be applied to. The FBI greatly increased the number issued; according to a 2007 inspector general’s report, the NSL that Merrill was handed by the agent was one of nearly 57,000 issued that year. All of those thousands of NSLs were accompanied by a non-disclosure agreement, or “gag order” – which barred recipients were ever disclosing that they had received an NSL – even to the person whose records were being sought. With the ACLU, Merrill went to court to challenge the constitutionality of the letter, especially of the gag order. In 2014, Merrill sued again, helped by ... the Yale Law Clinic. Finally, [a] judge ... ruled that the gag order be completely lifted. It had taken Merrill almost 12 years.
Note: A 2007 Washington Post article summary sheds more light on Merrill's long struggle.
Last July, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced the launch of a bold $100 million project "to reinvigorate the search for life in the universe." The amplified SETI initiative is "the most powerful, comprehensive and intensive scientific search ever undertaken for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth," according to the project's website. Now, for the first time, a new group of scientists and other professionals [has] formed a non-profit ... called UFO Detection and TrAcking (UFODATA for short), which includes an international team of scientists and engineers with an interest in UFOs. The organization has one goal and one goal only: to design, build and deploy a global network of automated surveillance stations that will monitor the skies full time looking for UFOs. UFODATA has no interest in alleged government conspiracies or adding more witness reports or FOIA documents to the thousands already on file. The idea here is that only a complete change of methodology toward a purely scientific approach to the UFO issue will enable us to move forward. The monitoring stations ... will record numerous physical characteristics of any UFOs that appear in their range. They will all send their data back to a central location. Current projections are that the stations will cost about $10-20,000 each, thanks to the unprecedented convergence of high resolution digital camera technologies, off-the shelf scientific instrumentation, powerful low-cost computing platforms and far-reaching high-speed internet access.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Scott Macaulay ... fixes vacuum cleaners for a living. This is the 28th year that Macaulay, 52, is hosting Thanksgiving at a Baptist Church in Melrose for people who have no other place to go. They might be widows, or new arrivals to this country, or poor. Some are simply lonely, like the elderly woman with Parkinson’s who arrived one year in an ambulance from a nursing home. Every year, Macaulay fashions a living room-dining room tableau inside the First Baptist Church fellowship hall. Except for the occasional small donation, Macaulay finances this all himself, and even though he’s frugal, it still costs him more than $1,000. As soon as one Thanksgiving dinner is over, he starts saving for the next, despite his own financial struggles. Still, he’s never skipped a dinner, not the year with the ice storm, not the year he passed out while driving, had a car accident, and was rushed to the hospital, where he got a pacemaker. He didn’t even cancel it this year, after getting word last Friday that the church ovens were broken and wouldn’t be fixed on time. He simply arranged a late switch to the Green Street Baptist Church. The largest crowd he’s had was 89 people. He’s refined and expanded the menu over the years; it now includes frozen meatballs as the hors d’oeuvres and canned fruit cocktail with a daub of pink sherbet. “It’s fabulous,” said an 88-year-woman, a widow “many, many, many years,” who ... goes to Macaulay’s meal every year.
The Power Pallet ... generates electricity from corn cobs, wood chips, coconut shells and other kinds of cheap, dense biomass. Although it costs $24,000 to $34,000, the Pallet can churn out electricity for less money than the diesel generators that power businesses across the developing world, while coughing up less pollution. And when used properly, the Pallet is “carbon negative,” pulling more heat-trapping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than it pumps back in. Its very existence is almost an accident. Years ago, the tinkerers who would eventually found All Power were ... building flame-throwing robots for Burning Man. Berkeley officials objected and convinced Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to cut the power [to their property]. As a result, Jim Mason, All Power’s CEO, developed a keen interest in generating electricity off the grid. “We got shut off and decided to hack climate change,” Price said. Now All Power has morphed into one of the Bay Area’s unlikeliest exporters, installing 700 machines in more than 30 countries worldwide. Its 30 employees assemble one or two Pallets each week, all in Berkeley. And All Power is one of a handful of American companies displaying their products at this week’s international climate conference in Paris. The Pallet uses gasification, a process more than a century old, that subjects carbon-rich organic material to high heat. What’s left of the original material becomes biochar, which can be mixed into soil as fertilizer. That waste product - biochar - is how the Pallet achieves carbon-negative status.
Today, more companies are moving beyond traditional philanthropy to forge important changes in how their businesses support and promote social change. Take Patagonia, which recently ... began encouraging customers to repair their gear rather than contribute to global waste. To help make that happen, Patagonia staff hit the road to offer free repairs on busted zippers, rips, tears, buttons and more - whether the product was made by Patagonia or not - and showed people how to fix their own gear. Another example is Salesforce.com. The San Francisco cloud computing company ... has been offering discounts on its software of as much as 75 percent so that nonprofits can better connect clients, donors and volunteers, and effectively build resources. At Levi Strauss, 4,000 employees completed 230 volunteer projects during their Community Day in June, including collecting nearly 80 pounds of trash from the Kallang River in Singapore, distributing HIV/AIDS education kits in Belgium and installing playground equipment in Kentucky. So what’s in it for the company? First, it creates a prouder, more engaged and more cohesive workforce. External relationships can benefit, too. Looking ahead, volunteerism and strategic engagement will be increasingly relevant. According to research compiled in “The Millennial Impact Report,” a company’s involvement with causes was the third most important factor to Millennials when applying for a job.
842 megawatts is ... more than enough to power all the homes in the Denver metro area. It’s also enough to keep about 15 percent of Google’s data centers humming. On Thursday, Google announced that it had finalized contracts to buy 842 megawatts of wind and solar energy from plants in the US, Chile, and Sweden, nearly doubling the company's total clean energy capacity. The contracts ... help to give the energy companies financial stability to be able to build additional clean energy facilities. Renewable energy now provides about 37 percent of the total energy consumed by Google’s data centers worldwide. This purchase is the largest of its kind ever made by a non-utility company, but Google isn’t the only tech giant shifting over to clean energy. One of Facebook’s five data centers is powered entirely by a nearby wind farm, and the company says it plans to get 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2018. Amazon’s cloud computing division announced last year that its operations would eventually be powered completely by clean energy. And in 2014, Apple announced that all of its offices, stores, and data centers in the US were being powered ... renewable sources. Google was one of 13 large companies that collectively invested more than $140 billion in new clean energy projects in July as part of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. Apple and Microsoft were also part of the pledge; both companies said their operations would eventually be 100 percent powered by renewable energy.
In late 2012, Brice Royer was lying on a bed in terrible pain, thinking about how to kill himself. Today, the pain is still there and the malignant tumour in his stomach is no smaller. But he has never been happier. A year ago, Royer, 31, decided to give and receive freely without the use of money in an effort to build community. Thinking he was staring down a death sentence, Royer [researched] and reflect on the causes of illness. Toxins in the environment. Loneliness. Stress. “The root cause (is) a lack of love in our society,” Royer says. “A lot of the problems that we have today - anything from the housing crisis in Vancouver, how expensive things are, to working at a stressful job, making ends meet and not having much time to have community or friends - all these things I feel led to a lot of health problems and in my case, can aggravate cancer.” Royer researched where the healthiest people in the world live and the lifestyle they practise. “They all take care of each other. They all have big families and small communities and they all have something called the gift economy. They are isolated from the market economy,” Royer explains. [He] suggested to a friend that they practise this within their own circle using a Facebook group. True to philosophy, he offered to pay someone else’s rent ... for a year instead of his own. The woman he helped was a chronically ill single mother. The biggest payoff, he says, is the community he’s built and the love and support he gets from friends.
Guilford County, North Carolina, has 24 food deserts - high-poverty neighborhoods where at least one-third of the residents live a mile or more from a grocery store. People living in these neighborhoods are more likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more. Northeast Greensboro [has] been without a local grocery store for nearly 20 years. "People organized for years to attract a corporate grocery store to the community and were rebuffed every time,” says James Lamar Gibson. “When the spark was lit that we can do this for ourselves, that’s what resonated with ... the community.” Gibson [works] as a volunteer for the Renaissance Community Co-op. The idea of being an owner of the co-op has gotten a lot of residents really excited. In total RCC needs to raise $2.1 million, and they’re about 95 percent of the way there. With the initial fundraising almost complete, RCC is ready to take on the next steps of the project: getting the food and hiring employees. The goal is to work with as many local companies and producers as possible - from the food they buy to the delivery companies to the refrigeration systems. Organizers have made sure to let the community know that this won’t look like a typical co-op in a higher-income neighborhood. The neighborhood is predominantly made up of low-income black families, so the food and the prices will reflect that. The hiring ... will reflect that as well.
John Bramblitt of Denton, Texas, lost his vision 13 years ago due to complications with epilepsy and plunged into a deep depression, feeling disconnected from the world around him. He found a new way to express his experience of the world around him in painting however. Bramblitt learned to distinguish between different coloured paints by feeling their textures with his fingers, taught himself how to paint using raised lines and harnessed haptic visualization, enabling him to "see" his subjects through touch. While many of his portraits are taken from events in his life he experienced while sighted, he has also produced life-like paintings of people he's never actually seen, including his wife and son. Art was always a big part of his life but took on a new importance following his blindness. "Art reshaped my life," he said. Whilst continuing to create new works, Bramblitt teaches art workshops focusing on adaptive techniques for young artists with disabilities, for which he has received three Presidential Service Awards. You can buy originals and prints of John's work here.
Note: Don't miss the incredibly inspiring one-minute video of this inspiring blind artist.
Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are nearly indestructible. The microscopic animals can survive boiling water, extreme cold, and even a trip to space. Tardigrades can even be frozen for a year, or 10, and return to life when they thaw. But these tough little animals are still surprising scientists. When scientists sequenced the genome of water bears, they found that 17.5 percent of the animals’ DNA came from other species. “We had no idea that an animal genome could be composed of so much foreign DNA,” study co-author Bob Goldstein said in a news release. “We knew many animals acquire foreign genes, but we had no idea that it happens to this degree.” Tardigrades have some 6,000 foreign genes, the scientists report in a paper published Monday. Foreign DNA appears in an organism’s genome through a process called horizontal gene transfer. In that process, species swap genetic material directly, instead of exclusively inheriting DNA from the organism’s parents. Dr. Goldstein and colleagues ... think the tardigrade’s defense mechanism for extreme circumstances actually opens the door for this foreign DNA. When the water bears are under extreme stress they curl up, expel their water and appear dead. The scientists think the animal’s DNA splits into tiny pieces during this process. When the animal starts to come back to life by rehydrating, their cells become leaky and can absorb molecules around the animal. As the animal stitches its own DNA back together, the foreign pieces can get woven in too.
Two decades ago, Harris Rosen ... decided to shepherd part of his fortune into a troubled community with the melodious sounding name of Tangelo Park. This neighborhood [and] its leaders tried to beat back drugs, crime and too many shuttered homes. Nearly half its students had dropped out of school. Twenty-one years later, with an infusion of $11 million of Mr. Rosen’s money so far, Tangelo Park is a striking success story. Nearly all its seniors graduate from high school, and most go on to college on full scholarships Mr. Rosen has financed. Young children head for kindergarten primed for learning, or already reading, because of the free day care centers and a prekindergarten program Mr. Rosen provides. Property values have climbed. Houses and lawns, with few exceptions, are welcoming. Crime has plummeted. “It’s not inexpensive,” Mr. Rosen said. “You stay until the neighborhood no longer needs you.” But, he added, there are a lot of wealthy people with the resources to do the same thing if they choose. In all, Mr. Rosen now spends about $500,000 a year, less than when he began the program, he said. Mr. Rosen’s plan gives no money directly to the schools, directing it instead to help preschool children and provide scholarships for high school graduates. Next year, Mr. Rosen is starting his education program in Parramore, a neighborhood in downtown Orlando, with housing projects and a more transient population. Success ... he said, might persuade other wealthy people to embrace the program.
Cochin International Airport in southern India’s Kerala state may be best known as the gateway to the tourist beaches and houseboats of the region’s famous backwaters. Now it has a new claim to fame: The world’s first solar airport. Since August, the airport has used 46,000 solar panels laid across 45 acres to power all its electricity needs, and sell excess power to the government-run grid. At night, when the sun doesn’t shine, it pulls some of that power back from the grid, making the airport effectively “carbon neutral.” Over the next 25 years, the project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of planting 3 million trees. The move to solar power is also expected to help cut pollution in Kochi, an industrial city ranked the 24th most polluted in India. Based on the results at Kochi, India’s government has directed 125 airports run by the Airport Authority of India to generate at least 1 megawatt of solar power each by March 2016. If a medium-sized airport such as Kochi, with just 1,300 acres of land, can produce sufficient electrical power for its operations, larger airports such as Delhi, with 5,000 acres, and Bangalore, with 3,000 acres, should be able to meet some of their power demand too, said Kurian, the Kochi airport’s managing director. “We are expecting not only other Indian airports, but airports in other countries, also to follow suit,” he said. “Every day we are being asked for expert advice and are answering queries from across the world.”
A Facebook post from the mother of an unmuzzled B.C. biologist has gone viral, shedding more insight into the changes in the control of information since the new federal government took office last week. [Jody] Paterson quoted a status update her son made on his personal Facebook account. "We were told that it's ok to talk to the media or anyone about what we do without permission. That's how surreal it was. That's how things changed over night," the post reads. Kristi Miller, a B.C.-based molecular geneticist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, was among the first scientists to speak out after the unmuzzling. In 2011, she was prevented from discussing her research into the 2009 Fraser River sockeye salmon collapse following its publication. "When we were banned, it almost made government scientists second-class citizens in the scientific arena," she said. "It was quite embarrassing." Navdeep Bains, the new minister of innovation, science and economic development, announced the policy change Friday, two days after Trudeau and his cabinet were sworn in. "Government scientists and experts will be able to speak freely about their work to the media and the public," he said in a written statement. The previous government ... brought in a restrictive communications policy that required national or international media requests to speak with federal government scientists to be approved by a minister's office, and all communications with government scientists to go through a government communications office.
Fragrance company Axe has built a grooming products empire by buddying up with bros. Their ads are well known for their sexual humor and exaggerated scenarios. Perhaps that’s why Axe’s latest ad has come as such a surprise. Instead of focusing on broad humor, the company’s Super Bowl spot to promote the new Axe Peace fragrance line is a sprawling epic that seemingly spans to span continents and generations. Axe often visits college campuses and talks to students to discover what topics and themes will captivate their Millennial customers. Right now, [marketing director Matthew] McCarthy says, those topics are peace and harmony. “The idea of making the world a more peaceful place is a pretty universal idea. Young people are saying, ‘Hey, this world’s pretty soon going to be my world and I’m going to be even more responsible for it.’” The commercial ... begins with a montage of classic wartime images. A tank rolls through a devastated European city, an Asian dictator is flanked by Maoist propaganda posters and a Middle Eastern ruler wields a nuclear device. Midway through, though, the narrative is turned on its head as each invader is revealed to actually be making a loving gesture toward a woman. If the typical Axe ad operates on the assumption that sex sells, this one attempts to prove that romance does. So is Axe turning to a more serious tone for good? McCarthy says the company simply has to pick the right message for the right moment. But for now he thinks they’ve hit a note that resonates.
Note: Don't miss the most amazing, two-minute version of this awesome commercial.
A Georgia State Patrol Trooper went above and beyond the call of duty after a Halloween tragedy. Four Morgan County children lost both of their parents as they were getting ready to trick-or-treat Saturday. Donald and Crystal Howard ... were killed instantly when their SUV flew off the road and hit a tree. Trooper Nathan Bradley arrived at the home to break the news of the tragedy. “Unfortunately, I was greeted by four children in full costumes,” Bradley said. With their grandmother’s permission, Bradley didn’t tell the children, who ranged in age from 6 to 13, that their parents had died. “The first thing I said was, ‘Hey lets go get something to eat,’” Bradley said. “They said, ‘My parents will be here soon.’ I said, ‘Your Grandma wants you to hang out with me till she gets here." Bradley treated Justin, Amaya, Damien and Travion to dinner, movies and Halloween candy at the Monroe State Patrol post followed by a sleepover. “The whole purpose was to preserve their Halloween,” said Bradley. They weren't told about their parents’ accident until the next morning when their grandmother arrived. Bradley also started a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses so that Crystal and Donald can be buried in Florida, where the children are moving in with grandparents. All the kindness came from a young state trooper who didn't want to ruin Halloween for his four new friends. “It’s the first time in the line of duty I told someone I loved them and I do love them,” Bradley said. “I care about them a lot.”
Note: Through gofundme, over $450,000 was raised to support this grieving family. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Research is mounting that a natural, potent source of stress relief is right in front of your nose. New science is showing that slowing down and deepening your breathing can have profound effects on well-being. “Many researchers can’t imagine how something so simple could actually have effects on physiology,” says Dr. Andrew Weil, a physician and founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. Breathing exercises – a staple of mindfulness and yoga practices – have been shown to help control blood pressure, improve heart rate, make arteries more flexible and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which tamps down the body’s fight-or-flight response to stress. Weil and other experts now believe deep breathing has a place in a clinical setting. “It’s enough to warrant applications in several areas of medicine,” says Dr. Luciano Bernardi, an internal-medicine professor whose research shows that slow-breathing exercises improve exercise capacity in patients with chronic heart failure. “We’ve shown that this simple thing has a fantastic series of effects.
Note: Explore three simple breathing exercises recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil.
In 2015, Naropa University awarded its first-ever honorary degree. Parker Palmer ... delivered one of the greatest commencement addresses of all time — a beam of shimmering wisdom illuminating the six pillars of a meaningful human existence. In his first piece of advice, Palmer calls for living with wholeheartedness. "What I really mean ... is be passionate, fall madly in love with life. Be passionate about some part of the natural and/or human worlds and take risks on its behalf, no matter how vulnerable they make you." Palmer’s second point of counsel speaks to ... living with opposing truths. Take everything that’s bright and beautiful in you and introduce it to the shadow side of yourself. Wholeness is the goal, but wholeness does not mean perfection, it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of your life. In his third piece of advice, Palmer calls for extending this courtesy to others: As you welcome whatever you find alien within yourself, extend that same welcome to whatever you find alien in the outer world. His fourth piece of advice: Take on big jobs ... like the spread of love, peace, and justice. In his fifth point of counsel, Palmer ... offers: "Since suffering as well as joy comes with being human, I urge you to remember this: Violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering." In his sixth and final piece of wisdom, Palmer quotes ... Saint Benedict: “Daily, keep your death before your eyes.” If you hold a healthy awareness of your own mortality, your eyes will be opened to ... life.
In every corner of the world, there are people who are flagrantly ill, people who mutter to invisible others and box at the air. In India ... Madhu’s relatives dealt with her illness by abandoning her at a healing shrine. She wandered the country [until] the outreach team from an organization called the Banyan found her ... on the street. Since the Banyan was started in 1993, it has rescued over 1,500 women from the street. The group’s members wash, feed and medicate the women, and then they teach them to sew, cook and do other tasks. Families are more likely to take the women back if they come with medication and domestic skills. Over half the women have since been reunited with their kin. When I visited the Banyan, I was struck by how happy and grateful the women were. The atmosphere seemed so different from the palpable anger and fear in the shelters that catered to women with serious mental illness that I knew from working in Chicago. The challenge for the Banyan is to enable women to be useful to families who may not accept them back if they cannot work. In our country, it’s different. Because of our underfunded and fragmented mental health system, it is commonplace for people with psychosis to become periodically homeless. They often end up living in a street culture that teaches them that they become crazy only if they are weak. They distrust help, and they have learned that they should never admit to being ill. To reach the people who need our help we need to understand what it means to be crazy in their world.