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.
It took a bloody Civil War and the passage of a Constitutional amendment to eliminate slavery in the United States. Today, the tools to combat slavery have become decidedly more high-tech (and nonviolent). Made in a Free World in San Francisco, for example, has developed software that helps companies determine whether products they sell or make depend on global slave labor. At least 20 million people across the world are being forced to work for no pay. These workers are either directly or indirectly producing the goods sold by major corporations and small businesses alike, including those in the United States. “At the level of global brands, forced labor and human trafficking can often be hidden from view, the result of complex and frequently outsourced recruitment and hiring practices,” according to a United Nations report. Made in a Free World is a nonprofit that grew out of work that founder and CEO Justin Dillon did for the State Department in 2011. Dillon helped create an algorithm that allows consumers to determine the probability that companies were using slave labor, especially in raw material production, to make 400 popular products like beds, cars and cell phones. “We wanted to start a conversation,” Dillon told me. “No one wants to go out and buy things from slavery.” But Dillon realized that consumers were just one half the equation. To create real change, Made in a Free World needed to help companies - not just shame them - to rid slave labor from supply chains.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Trent Griffin was concerned last summer when he saw a child riding a bike that was missing a front tire in his neighborhood in Huntsville, Ala. He bought supplies to make the fix and offered the boy a newly repaired bike. Soon, Mr. Griffin was visited by many young bike riders. Griffin went to thrift stores to get materials to repair the bikes. He even gave bikes away to children in need. When a child received a freshly fixed bike, he or she also received a life lesson. His sister, Nicole Griffin Fields, told ABC News, "He makes them sign contracts that require them to have good behavior, to maintain their good grades, and to obey their parents." Is a little life counseling from a NASA engineer a good price to pay for having a freshly repaired bike? At least 1,000 people and a NASA astronaut said it was. Griffin's friends and family nominated him for the "Above and Beyond" award from "Good Morning America." His prize was a field full of 50 relatives and 1,000 grateful participants at the US Space and Rocket station near the Marshall Space Flight Center where Griffin works. Griffin also met an astronaut at the International Space Station, Scott Kelly, via a NASA video chat. Commander Kelly told Griffin he would receive 50 bicycles from Schwinn and Mongoose that he can give to more children in his neighborhood. Kelly finished the video chat with a low-gravity flip. America has a rich tradition of active community involvement, and people like Griffin share that with children by example.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Colombia's version of the hit TV contest "Dancing with the Stars" hopes to show millions of viewers that former battlefield enemies can live side by side. John Pinchao, a policeman held captive in a jungle camp, often in chains, by rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) until he escaped in 2007, is now sharing the dance floor with ex-FARC child soldier Ana Pacheco, who joined the rebel group aged 14. The prime-time show comes at a time when the three-year-old peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC are approaching the goal the two sides have set of signing an accord by March 23. If successful, this would end half a century of war that has killed 220,000 people and displaced 6.5 million, and would lead to some 7,000 FARC fighters handing in their weapons. As the March deadline for signing a peace deal looms, Colombians are considering to what extent they are ready to forgive FARC and accept former combatants back into society. For Pacheco, who left the rebel ranks when she was 16, the TV show is an opportunity to show the human face of former fighters. The producers of the TV show ... hope the unexpected line-up can foster empathy among Colombians with people who suffered during the years of conflict. "We want the show to awaken solidarity. We weren't just looking for great dancers and celebrities, what inspired us was to show the reality that faces Colombia, it's about living together," said Fox Colombia executive producer Oscar Guarin.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
President Obama on Monday announced a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the federal prison system, saying the practice is overused and has the potential for devastating psychological consequences. In an op-ed that appears in Tuesday editions of The Washington Post, the president outlines a series of executive actions that also prohibit federal corrections officials from punishing prisoners who commit “low-level infractions” with solitary confinement. The new rules also dictate that the longest a prisoner can be punished with solitary confinement for a first offense is 60 days, rather than the current maximum of 365 days. The president’s reforms apply broadly to the roughly 10,000 federal inmates serving time in solitary confinement. The reforms come six months after Obama, as part of a broader criminal-justice reform push, ordered the Justice Department to study how solitary confinement was being used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. “How can we subject prisoners to unnecessary solitary confinement, knowing its effects, and then expect them to return to our communities as whole people?” Obama wrote in his op-ed. He said he hoped his reforms at the federal level will serve as a model for states to rethink their rules on the issue.
More than a third of the world's food goes uneaten, and many crops harvested in Africa are discarded rather than sold, according to an initiative announced Jan. 21 by the Rockefeller Foundation to cut food waste and loss by half. The seven-year, $130 million project aims to tackle food waste from crops in the fields to dinner tables in industrialized nations. Sub-Saharan Africa will receive much of the initiative's resources. In Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania, up to half of some crops are lost due to inefficient harvesting, storage, processing, and time to market. Enough food is grown to feed the 1.2 billion hungry or undernourished people worldwide, but a third is never eaten, according to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization figures. The initiative, called YieldWise, aims at cutting food waste and loss in half by 2030. Last year, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama also announced a goal of reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2030. In France, legislators have banned big supermarkets from destroying unsold but edible food. Training at mango farms in Kenya, maize farms in Tanzania, and tomato farms in Nigeria is already in the works, the New York-based philanthropic organization said, teaching farmers such skills as the use of crop-preserving technologies and strategies against crop loss.
Animal communicators are people who can fully communicate with an animal just as they would with a normal human person. The communication is telepathic and 2-way. Animal communicators have most likely existed for a long time, probably in every single culture in the world. Anna Breytenbach is a professional animal communicator. Anna was summoned in the case of the black leopard who had been moved to a South African wild cat park. He was given the name Diabolo (similar to the Spanish word for devil) and ... snarled at anyone who went near. The owners of the park were afraid of approaching him. They summoned an animal communicator (Anna) for help. After communicating with the leopard, she learnt that one of the reasons for him being upset was that he thought something was expected of him. The other reason was that he was worried about what had happened to 2 young cubs at the last place he was being kept. When Anna relayed this to the park owner, [he] broke down and cried. He confirmed that they were indeed 2 young cubs at the previous place. He told Anna to reassure the black leopard that nothing would be expected of him here - and that the 2 young cubs were safe. This relieved the leopard to the point where he opened up and became friendly. His name was subsequently changed to something more fitting – Spirit. There is no way Anna could possibly have known this information beforehand. She learnt it telepathically. She was told this by an animal!
Note: Watch videos of several animal communicators in action at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Alma Tucker discovered what her lifework would be when she was about to retire. She had been working for the Mexican Consulate’s Department of Protection in San Diego. “One of the assignments I had was to see patients in hospitals,” Ms. Tucker says. She would act as an interpreter and help them find family members in Mexico. This time, it was a 14-year-old girl. “When I arrived I found she was being sexually exploited” by a smuggler, Tucker says. The smuggler, who was supposed to be transporting the girl into the US, had told her that her parents hadn’t paid him, and so, he said, she was obligated to have sex with anyone he wanted her to. By the time the girl arrived in the US, she had been forced into sex by multiple men. That was when Tucker realized that victims of sex abuse and human trafficking need comforting as well as practical help. As she looked further into the problem of human trafficking on the US-Mexican border, she realized how few resources existed for Mexican victims. In 2010, Tucker and her husband established the International Network of Hearts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping victims of human trafficking, particularly underage ones, and raising awareness about the enormous problem of labor and sex trafficking. Then Tucker opened a home for underage victims in Tijuana, Mexico, called La Casa del Jardin – The Garden House – so named because, she says, she thinks of each girl as a flower waiting to bloom. “We try to create a very healthy ambiance,” she says. “They’re survivors. We give them a lot of love.”
When bride-to-be Dana Olsen's fiancé got cold feet and called off their wedding six weeks before they were to be married, she was understandably shocked. "I've been driving myself crazy trying to figure out what happened," she wrote on xoJane. But when life gave Olsen some particularly sour lemons, she made lemonade. "What's a girl to do?" she wrote. "Well, you've still gotta throw a party." After realizing she wouldn't be able to get any of her reception deposits back ("tens of thousands of nonrefundable dollars," she estimated), Olsen ... teamed up with Mary's Place, a Seattle homeless shelter for women and children, to put together a special night - complete with flowers, candles, plenty of food and a live band - for those living in the shelter. Olsen's generosity inspired others to contribute to the event, according to The Seattle Times. A group of hair stylists and makeup artists offered their services, ensuring each partygoer felt like a million bucks. "Turning the would-be wedding into an event for women in transition has made me feel a little less desolate," Olsen wrote. "It's helped distract me from the fact that I'm a jilted bride." Though Olsen's mother attended the party, Olsen herself chose to spend the day hiking with her dad.
Note: For more on this inspiring event, read this Seattle Times article.
Lava Mae - the unlikely nonprofit that turns old Muni buses into shower stalls to be used by homeless people - said Tuesday that its second bus is rolling along and that it has a new plan to expand throughout California. Doniece Sandoval, founder of Lava Mae, stood in front of Bus No. 2, which will be parked every Tuesday on Fulton Street next to the Main Library. Sandoval ... had the idea for Lava Mae after seeing a filthy homeless woman crying and saying she would never be clean. Lava Mae’s simple solution of providing homeless people with showers and toilets has captured the attention of people around the world, many of whom have asked Sandoval to help them create a similar program. City Librarian Luis Herrera said Lava Mae is a great addition to the Main Library, which sees up to 3,000 visitors every day - many of them homeless and seeking bathrooms, sinks or just a place to rest. Despite all the praise, getting Lava Mae up and running has been much harder than expected, Sandoval said. The first bus is being taken out of rotation for a few weeks so some electrical glitches can be fixed. Finding licensed bus drivers adept at working with homeless people and willing to do it for $16 an hour has also been a huge problem, especially with all the competition from corporate shuttle buses. Sandoval said the bus driver shortage has prompted her to plan for the third Lava Mae vehicle to be a pickup truck pulling a shower stall on wheels. That should be running early next year.
Farmer Phub Zam, 55, is in a hurry. Monsoon rains have hit ... and Zam is rushing to harvest her broccoli. "Of all my vegetables, broccoli is the most sought after," she said. Each kilogram sells for ... 15 to 30 cents more than broccoli imported from neighboring India, because her produce is grown without the use of chemicals. After decades of subsistence farming, Zam went organic four years ago. Now she grows 21 crops on her 1.3-acre farm, [earning] three times more than she made before. Zam’s success is part of Bhutan’s plan to support sustainable farming as one key to build a thriving “green" economy. In 2011, the government launched the National Organic Program, which aims to make the country’s agriculture 100 percent organic by 2020. Zam’s switchover came when a team of officials from the agriculture ministry told her they were offering women farmers in her village free training in organic farming, including composting and selling the compost for a profit. After attending a three-day training course, Zam started her home compost heap. Today, she sells about 60 kilograms of compost - made of grass, leaves, cow dung and sawdust - every two months to tourist resorts and other buyers. Zam also uses the compost at her farm, including in the two greenhouses she bought and installed with an 80 percent subsidy from the government. In June, officials announced that the government had so far provided 176 greenhouses to farmers and planned to install 650 more.
As part of its ‘Unlimited’ campaign, Western Sydney University in New South Wales, Australia, has told the harrowing story of one of its graduates, refugee lawyer Deng Thiak Adut. In 1985, the Sudanese government began destroying villages eventually leading to the rise of the People's Liberation Army. Two years later, six-year old Deng Thiak Adut was taken away from his family’s banana farm in South Sudan and conscripted into the Army. After undergoing military training, several years of army service and witnessing numerous atrocities, Deng was still a boy when he was shot in the back. A further two years later, a chance meeting led to Deng reuniting with his brother who helped smuggle him out of the country by hiding him in a corn sack on the back of a truck. After working at a local service station to learn English, Deng enrolled at TAFE and completed his Advanced Diploma in Accounting before deciding to study law. In 2005 he enrolled in a Bachelor of Laws at Western Sydney University and became the first person in his family to graduate with a law degree. Now determined to help other Sudanese refugees, the university’s poignant video has prompted its Facebook page to be flooded with messages of support for the graduate and the campaign. As the refugee crisis continues to develop in Europe, the emotional advert serves as a stark reminder that if a country open its doors to those in need, people from all walks of life can come together to benefit humanity as a whole.
Note: Don't miss the awesome video commercial featuring this most inspiring man.
Kanya Sesser, 23, skateboards, models lingerie and surfs – and she does it all without lower limbs. Sesser, who was born without legs, was adopted from an orphanage in Thailand before moving to Portland, Oregon, with her new family. Now, she earns more than $1,000 a day working as a model. "I enjoy making money from it and I love showing people what beauty can look like," Sesser told the Daily News. "These images show my strength." The 23-year-old, who uses a skateboard instead of a wheelchair, began modeling for sports brands when she was 15. The Huffington Post UK reports that the Los Angeles-based model has reportedly posed for brands like Billabong, Rip Curl Girl and Nike. "I was mainly doing athletics shoots then as I got older I got into lingerie modeling," Sesser told the Daily News. "It's something fun and it shows my story – I'm different and that is sexy, I don't need legs to feel sexy." Now, the model hopes to compete in the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as a mono-skier.
Note: Don't miss this inspiring seven-minute video of Kanya's courage and fascinating life.
Hydrogen has the potential to fuel incredibly environmentally clean cars. But making that fuel hasn't been so efficient or economical. Pure hydrogen gas does not occur naturally on Earth, so scientists must devise ways to separate hydrogen from naturally occurring compounds, like H2O. Until now, cars that run on water have been out of reach. But a team of scientists have come up with a different mechanism to produce hydrogen fuel from water. These researchers have created a biomaterial that catalyzes the splitting of the water elements, which they describe in a paper published in the journal Nature Chemistry. The biomaterial, called P22-Hyd, is made up of a modified enzyme, hydrogenase, protected within the protein shell of a bacterial virus. The mechanism goes both ways. P22-Hyd breaks the chemical bonds in H2O to produce hydrogen and oxygen, but it can also combine the two gases to generate power. That reversal is how hydrogen fuel cell cars work. "The reaction runs both ways - it can be used either as a hydrogen production catalyst or as a fuel cell catalyst," study lead author Trevor Douglas, of Indiana University Bloomington said. "You don't need to mine it; you can create it at room temperature on a massive scale using fermentation technology. It's a very green process to make a very high-end sustainable material."
It was every subway rider’s nightmare. Wesley Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker and Navy veteran ... was waiting for the downtown local at 137th Street and Broadway in Manhattan around 12:45 p.m. He was taking his two daughters, Syshe, 4, and Shuqui, 6, home before work. Nearby, a man collapsed, his body convulsing. Mr. Autrey and two women rushed to help, he said. The man, Cameron Hollopeter ... stumbled to the platform edge and fell to the tracks, between the two rails. The headlights of the No. 1 train appeared. “I had to make a split decision,” Mr. Autrey said. So he made one, and leapt. Mr. Autrey lay on Mr. Hollopeter, his heart pounding, pressing him down in a space roughly a foot deep. The train’s brakes screeched, but it could not stop in time. Five cars rolled overhead before the train stopped, the cars passing inches from his head, smudging his blue knit cap with grease. Mr. Autrey heard onlookers’ screams. “We’re O.K. down here,” he yelled, “but I’ve got two daughters up there. Let them know their father’s O.K.” He heard cries of wonder, and applause. Power was cut, and workers got them out. Mr. Hollopeter ... had only bumps and bruises. The police said it appeared that Mr. Hollopeter had suffered a seizure. Mr. Autrey refused medical help, because, he said, nothing was wrong. He did visit Mr. Hollopeter in the hospital before heading to his night shift. “I don’t feel like I did something spectacular; I just saw someone who needed help,” Mr. Autrey said. “I did what I felt was right.”
Note: Don't miss the inspiring two-minute video of this act of courage.
To the average person, it may seem that the biggest technology advances of 2015 were the larger smartphone screens. But a ... broad range of technologies reached a tipping point. 1. The Internet and knowledge: As of 2015 ... India has more Internet users than the U.S. does, and China has twice as many. Never before has all of humanity been connected in this way. 2. Doctors in our pockets: In 2015, smartphone-connected medical devices came into the mainstream. Previous generations of medical advances were for the rich; now all can benefit. 3. Bitcoin and disintermediation: One of the most controversial technology advances recently is Bitcoin, an unregulated and uncontrolled digital currency. In 2015, it gained acceptance by retailers such as Overstock.com. And the technology that underlies it, blockchain ... has the potential to transform the lives of billions of people who lack bank accounts and access to the legal and administrative infrastructure that we take for granted. 4. Engineering of life: Another technology that came into the mainstream was Crispr gene modification. Via Crisprs, DNA can be edited for as little as $100. 5. The drone age: As the technologies advance, drones will carry increasing amounts of weight and travel over longer distances. 6. Saving the planet with clean energy: U.S. lawmakers struck [a deal] to extend tax credits for solar and wind capture for another five years, which will accelerate the progress of clean energy. By, 2030, solar capture could provide 100 percent of today’s energy.
The Campbell Soup Company may become the first major U.S. food company to list genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in its ingredients lists nationwide as it threw its weight behind a national labeling standard. The company announced its support on Thursday for federal regulation of GMO standards, noting it is in favor of federal legislation that would allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate which foods can be labeled GMOs. The company's support for federal legislation comes as Vermont prepares to implement the Vermont Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Act, which would require a GMO label on food by July 1, 2016, if the food is "entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering." Campbell posted an example of that label on its website and said it was preparing to expand the GMO labeling nationwide even without federal regulations, but to do so would need guidance from the FDA and USDA. The company estimates the new labels could be implemented in approximately 12 to 18 months after it gets guidance from the federal agencies. There is currently no federal standard for what food would constitute a GMO, unlike a food item that is deemed USDA Organic. The World Health Organization defines a GMO as "foods derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, e.g. through the introduction of a gene from a different organism."
Wind and solar power appear set for a record-breaking year in 2016 as a clean-energy construction boom gains momentum in spite of a global glut of cheap fossil fuels. Installations of wind turbines and solar panels soared in 2015 as utility companies went on a worldwide building binge, taking advantage of falling prices for clean technology as well as an improving regulatory and investment climate. Both industries have seen stock prices jump since Congress approved an extension of tax credits for renewables as part of last month’s $1.14 trillion budget deal. Orders for 2016 solar and wind installations are up sharply, from the United States to China to the developing economies of Africa and Latin America, all in defiance of stubbornly low prices for coal and natural gas, the industry’s chief competitors. “The policy base for renewables has strengthened, both on the incentives side and through mandates,” [former Energy Department assistant secretary Dan] Reicher said. “At the same time, the financing of renewable-energy projects has become a mainstream business for Wall Street. The early-stage investments from Silicon Valley for clean energy were small potatoes compared to the massive investments Wall Street is making. It truly is a global business.”
Good news. Sometimes, it comes in the form of a cancelled hydro dam that spares 20,000 people from the burden of displacement. Other times, it takes the shape of a simple court admission that Indigenous Peoples do actually make the best conservationists. Indigenous rights victories give us all pause to celebrate, to reflect and to rejuvenate our own quests for justice. In a landmark decision last week, the Dutch Court of Appeals ruled that four Ogoni farmers from Nigeria can take their case against [oil company] Shell to a judge in the Netherlands. Alali Efanga, one of the Ogoni farmers who ... said the ruling "offers hope that Shell will finally begin to restore the soil around my village so that I will once again be able to take up farming and fishing on my own land." The Wampis nation ... took an unprecedented step forward by establishing the first Autonomous Indigenous Government in Peru's history. Spanning a 1.3 million hectare territory - a region the size of the State of Connecticut - the newly created democratically-elected government brings together 100 Wampis communities representing some 10,613 people. Monsanto ... took another big hit after Mexico's Supreme Court suspended a permit to grow genetically modified soybeans across 250,000 hectares on the Yucatán peninsula. The judgment stemmed from a constitutional law in Mexico that requires the consideration of indigenous communities. The judge commented in the ruling that co-existence between honey production and GM soybeans is simply not possible.
Note: Don't miss the details of these and many other recent indigenous community victories at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Abdel Gawad Ellabbad knows exactly how he was infected with hepatitis C. As a schoolboy in this Nile Delta rice-farming village, his class marched to the local clinic every month for injections against schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease spread by water snails. Six million Egyptians were infected with hepatitis C by unsterile needles during the country’s decades-long fight against schistosomiasis. The virus spread insidiously; today, at least 10 percent of Egyptians, nearly nine million people, are chronically infected, the highest rate in the world. But a grand experiment unfolding across the country may change all that. Pharmaceutical companies are testing ... a complicated deal to sell hepatitis drugs at a fraction of their usual cost. If [successful] the arrangement in Egypt may serve as a blueprint not just for curing hepatitis around the world, but also for providing other cutting-edge medicines to citizens in poor countries who could never afford them. The experiment here is about a year old and, while still fragile, appears to be headed for success. Mr. Ellabbad, for one, was finally cured of hepatitis this spring. An air-conditioning repairman, he took a three-month regimen that included sofosbuvir, first of the new generation of miracle drugs. The pills would have cost more than $84,000 in the United States. He got them free from the Egyptian government, which paid about $900. “Before, I felt like I was dying,” he said. “Now I feel like I’ve never felt before. Like I’m 35 again.”
In the classroom, subjects are often presented as settled and complete. But our collective understanding of any given subject is never complete, according to Jamie Holmes, who has just written a book on the hidden benefits of uncertainty. In “Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing,” Holmes explores how the discomforting notions of ambiguity and uncertainty affect the way we think and behave. Confronting what we don’t know sometimes triggers curiosity. Teachers who hope to inspire curiosity in their students, and to encourage tolerance for ambiguity, can take steps to introduce uncertainty into the classroom. “The emotions of learning are surprise, awe, interest and confusion,” Holmes said. But because confusion provokes discomfort, it should be discussed by teachers to help students handle the inevitable disquiet. “The best assignments should make students make mistakes, be confused and feel uncertain,” he said. Teachers who instruct with a sense of humanity, curiosity and an appreciation for mystery are more apt to engage students in learning, Holmes explained. “Those with an outlook of authority and certainty don’t invite students in,” he said. Also, when teachers present themselves as experts imparting wisdom, students get the mistaken idea that subjects are closed. “Teachers should help students find ways to think and learn,” he said. “The best teachers are in awe of their subjects.” The process of discovery is often messy and non-linear.