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.
Everybody knows about the spread of war, the rise of AIDS and other diseases, the hopeless intractability of poverty. One survey found that two-thirds of Americans believed that the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has almost doubled over the last 20 years. Another 29 percent believed that the proportion had remained roughly the same. That’s 95 percent of Americans — who are utterly wrong. In fact, the proportion of the world’s population living in extreme poverty hasn’t doubled or remained the same. It has fallen by more than half, from 35 percent in 1993 to 14 percent in 2011 (the most recent year for which figures are available from the World Bank). The world’s best-kept secret is that we live at a historic inflection point when extreme poverty is retreating. United Nations members have just adopted 17 new Global Goals, of which the centerpiece is the elimination of extreme poverty by 2030. Their goals are historic. There will still be poor people, of course, but very few who are too poor to eat or to send children to school. Inequality [remains] a huge challenge in the U.S. But globally, inequality is diminishing, because of the rise of poor countries. The challenge now is to ensure that rich donor nations are generous in supporting the Global Goals — but also that developing countries do their part, rather than succumbing to corruption and inefficiency. So let’s get down to work and, on our watch, defeat extreme poverty worldwide. We know that the challenges are surmountable — because we’ve already turned the tide of history.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Amid a massive corruption scandal which has tarnished Brazil’s political class and driven the country’s president to the brink of impeachment, the Brazilian supreme court has banned corporate donations to candidates and parties in future elections. With eight votes in favour and three against, the court declared late on Thursday that the rules allowing companies to donate to election campaigns were unconstitutional. Rosa Weber, one of the judges who ruled in favour of the ban, argued that undue economic influence comprised the legitimacy of the country’s elections. “The influence of economic power has ended up transforming the electoral process into a rigged political game, a despicable pantomime which makes the voter a puppet, simultaneously undermining citizenship, democracy and popular sovereignty.” According to “The Spoils of Victory”, a US academic study into campaign donations and government contracts in Brazil, corporate donors to the PT in the 2006 elections received between 14 to 39 times the value of their donations in government contracts. The case was brought to the supreme court around one and a half years ago by the Order of Brazilian Attorneys (OAB). On Thursday the organization’s secretary general, Cláudio Pereira de Souza Neto, celebrated the decision. “It is what Brazilian society has been hoping for, even more so in these times of crisis,” he said, adding that the court order should make future elections cheaper.
Note: What do you think might happen if the US and Europe banned corporations from making political contributions? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Potentially life-giving water still flows across the ancient surface of Mars from time to time, NASA scientists said Monday in revealing a potential breakthrough in both the search for life beyond Earth and human hopes to one day travel there. While the discovery doesn't by itself offer evidence of life on Mars, either past or present, it does boost hopes that the harsh landscape still offers some refuge for microbes to cling to existence. "The existence of liquid water, even if it is super salty briny water, gives the possibility that if there's life on Mars, that we have a way to describe how it might survive," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA. NASA researchers using an imager aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter confirmed the watery flows by looking at light waves returned from seasonal dark streaks on the surface, long suspected to be associated with liquid water. It remains unclear where the water comes from. Alfred McEwen, who heads up NASA's HiRISE high-resolution camera aboard the Mars orbiter, said he's fairly confident life will one day be found on Mars. "It's very likely, I think, that there's life somewhere in the crust of Mars, microbes," he said. Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA, said the discovery announced Monday puts NASA in a perfect position to look for that life.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A record-breaking distance has been achieved in the bizarre world of quantum teleportation. Scientists teleported photons (packets of light) across a spool of fiber optics 63 miles (102 kilometers) long, four times farther than the previous record. Quantum teleportation relies on the strange nature of quantum physics, which finds that the fundamental building blocks of the universe can essentially exist in two or more places at once. Specifically, quantum teleportation relies on an odd phenomenon known as "quantum entanglement," in which subatomic particles can become linked and influence each other instantaneously, regardless of how far apart they are. Scientists cannot distinguish the state of either particle until one is directly measured, but because the particles are connected, measuring one instantly determines the state of the other. Currently, physicists can't instantly transport matter (say, a human), but they can use quantum teleportation to beam information from one place to another. "What's exciting is that we were able to carry out quantum teleportation over such a long distance," study co-author Martin Stevens, a quantum optics researcher at the NIST in Boulder, Colorado. Quantum teleportation could enable the development of a "quantum Internet" that allows messages to be sent more securely, Stevens said. The scientists detailed their findings ... in the journal Optica.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A US billionaire is hoping to boost the morale of teachers in the US by increasing their pay packets out of his own pocket. Hedge fund manager Jim Simons is to offer an extra $15,000 (Ł10,000) a year to 800 mathematics and science teachers in the US. The founder of Renaissance Technologies, a company worth $22bn, said that the number of people being paid would increase. "We give them extra money, $15,000 a year. We have 800 math and science teachers in New York City in public schools today, as part of a core," said Simons, during a Ted talk interview. "There's a great morale among them. They're staying in the field. Next year, it'll be 1,000 and that'll be 10% of the math and science teachers in New York public schools." He said he hoped the scheme would incentivise good teaching. "Yeah — instead of beating up the bad teachers, which has created morale problems all through the educational community, in particular in math and science, we focus on celebrating the good ones and giving them status," Simons said. Teachers in the US are paid approximately $56,383 (Ł37,000) a year and Simons set up the Math for America 20 years ago with his wife, Marilyn, to promote mathematics teaching in the US.
It is hard for T. A. Barron – a Colorado native, former Rhodes Scholar, and author of more than 30 highly acclaimed books – to pick the young hero that impresses him the most. They all inspire the veteran writer. In 2001, Barron founded The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, a program that strives to recognize and encourage the heroic efforts of young people and, as Barron describes it, “to spread the word about their examples as young heroes, so that other young people from all backgrounds will be inspired to do something themselves to make the world better.” In the 15 years since its founding, The Barron Prize has awarded more than $540,000 to some 364 young leaders. The honorees have come from 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, and have collectively raised more than $15 million for their causes. “These kids are from every conceivable background,” Barron says, adding that their stories far outweigh any that he could pen. The latest batch of honorees will be announced Sept. 21, and will include Mary-Pat. Tired of attending more funerals than school graduations, she flew from Atlanta to Chicago, determined to receive help from Burrell Communications, one of the largest mutlicultural marketing firms in the world, for her “Think Twice” ad campaign against gun violence. Barron says he hopes the ever-growing list of prize winners will serve to inspire other young people.
Note: Don't miss the video of one of these inspiring teens available at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Erik de Buhr ...has found his dream job in the construction industry. He uses his skills to build huts, 6-by-10-foot dwellings. Then he gives them away. For the past three years, these small dwellings have become a home for the homeless in Eugene, [Oregon]. Teaming up with 12 local churches, de Buhr and his wife, Fay, are giving people who have been living on the streets a safe place to sleep. So far they’ve placed 49 huts in the community, serving 100-plus homeless people. [They also provide] a bridge to other programs. Whether the need is drug rehabilitation or job training, getting eyeglasses or going to a dentist, de Buhr and the churches he partners with can point the way. The emphasis is always on the next step. “We foster a culture of self-improvement,” de Buhr says. “That’s what’s rewarded in our camps.” The idea is to move homeless people from needing assistance to living on their own. “We encourage people to find ways not to be a burden on the social services,” de Buhr says. “And also for their own well-being not to become dependent on those social services.” But in some situations those services are very much needed, he agrees, such as for people with ongoing disabilities or mental health problems. “But if you have the capacity to improve your situation, and also live with a certain self-confidence, that’s what we want to see,” de Buhr says. He, Fay, and their 6-year-old son live in a 6-by-10-foot hut behind their renovated office building. Next door to them are six other huts, temporary homes for homeless people.
When Tamara Houston’s daughter developed a painful eye condition – on a Sunday, during a high school rodeo competition – the Yuba City mom ... picked up her cellphone and called her family’s primary care doctor, who met them two hours later at his Rocklin office. The cost of the weekend emergency visit? Zero, because it was already included in her family’s monthly $200 fee. Houston’s family of four is taking advantage of concierge medicine, a small but growing trend. Under a concierge-style practice, patients pay a monthly or annual fee ... in exchange for longer appointment times, same-day visits and round-the-clock access to their doctor by cellphone, text or email. Some concierge doctors even make house calls. “I would never go back to a regular practice,” said Houston. “This takes all of the bureaucracy out of the equation. I don’t have to deal with co-pays or insurance. And we get to see a doctor who knows us.” Concierge medicine ... has gained more traction in recent years among both physicians and patients. “Mainstream medicine doesn’t allow you to practice good medicine,” said Dr. Chris Campbell, [the Houston family’s primary care doctor]. In his old practice, the constant churn of patients “felt like assembly-line medicine.” Dr. Marcy Zwelling, an internal medicine doctor in Los Alamitos, switched her practice nearly 15 years ago. “We’ve arranged for good, cash prices so patients can get their care and understand the value of what they’re buying,” she said. "It’s huge. And it’s absolutely cheaper.”
The Elephant Sanctuary south of Nashville is more than 2,000 acres of freedom for elephants. But for a resident named Tarra, there's not enough room in Tennessee to escape the bad news she got last week. For nearly a decade, Tarra had been best friends with a dog named Bella, a mutt who wandered onto the sanctuary grounds and into the heart of the gentle giant. They were so close, in fact, that when Bella got injured a few years ago and had to spend three weeks recuperating in the sanctuary office, guess who held vigil the entire time? Twenty-two hundred acres to roam free, and Tarra just stood in the corner waiting. Home video of their reunion shows how inseparable they'd become and remained, right to the end. Last week, sanctuary workers found Bella's body. By all indications she'd been attacked by coyotes. Where they found Bella is not where she was attacked. "When I looked around ... there was no signs of an attack here," said director of elephant husbandry, Steve Smith. "And Tarra, on the underside of her trunk, had blood - as if she picked up the body." Steve's theory is Tarra carried Bella possibly a mile or more to bring her home. [The sanctuary's CEO Rob] Atkinson said the elephants are ... spending more time with Tarra and being extra nice - making gestures like giving her a portion of their food. Of course, anyone who's lost a dog knows you can't eat your way out of the grief - as much we might try - but still nice to know at least Tarra's not alone in this. It's also nice to see that compassion is much more than just human.
Note: Don't miss the beautiful video of this sad event at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Arno Michaelis was once a thriving member of the Neo-Nazi movement. He participated in white supremacist rallies, was a fervent supporter of what he called a Racial Holy War, and was the lead singer in a hate metal band called Centurion. Michaelis says that "single parenthood, love for my daughter, and the forgiveness shown by people I once hated," changed him and guided him toward a life of tolerance, acceptance and peace. Michaelis' story was featured [among our] inspirational stories of people overcoming differences in sexuality, religion, race and nationality to do the right thing. Michaelis was kind of enough to comment on the piece personally, where he revealed that he was actually inspired by another story in the article, about Keshia Thomas, a black teenager who during a 1996 KKK rally saved the life of a white supremacist in danger of being killed by a mob of counter-demonstrators. "It's such an honor to be included among these amazing examples of humanity. Each is an inspiration, but I'm especially moved by Keshia's amazing exhibit of courage. I was on the white supremacist side of an Ann Arbor rally in 1988, and the hate the protesters reflected and amplified back at us was instrumental in justifying the white supremacist dogma that I ran with for the next 7 years. Aggression is fuel to neo-nazis. Keshia struck the most devastating blow to hate possible and I strive to follow her lead." Keshia and Arno's stories prove that a culture of tolerance can have a powerful domino effect.
The U.S. solar industry is on course for a new growth record in 2015, according to a new report that finds that solar photovoltaic installations now exceed 20 gigawatts in capacity and could surpass an unprecedented 7 gigawatts this year alone across all segments. A gigawatt is equivalent to 1 billion watts and can power some 164,000 homes. “It’s setting records every quarter,” says Shayle Kann, senior vice president of GTM Research and lead author of the [report's] residential segment. The report comes just weeks after President Obama traveled to Las Vegas — a particularly fast-paced solar market — to sing the industry’s praises and cast solar, and particularly “distributed” solar on rooftops, as an icon of progress and technological innovation. Out of all new electricity installations in the U.S. in the first six months of this year, 40 percent were solar. U.S. solar photovoltaic is at 20 gigawatts of installed capacity now, and may add another 18 gigawatts by the end of next year. The new report also looks towards a tiny market at present that nonetheless contains great potential — solar-plus-storage, in which solar installations are combined directly with batteries in order to preserve energy culled from the sun for use at times of convenience or greater demand. It finds that while only 4 megawatts of solar-plus-storage were deployed last year, by this year that could increase five fold — and by 2020 it could reach 769 megawatts.
Judy Fridono tells of how her dog Ricochet failed out of traditional service-dog training only to reveal a hidden talent: surfing with children with special needs. Fridono reveals the first time Ricochet hopped on a surfboard with Patrick Ivison, a quadriplegic teenager who surfed on his own with the help of a team of humans. Fridono had planned to make a video of Ricochet and Patrick surfing side-by-side, each on their own boards, to help raise money for Patrick’s treatment, but Ricochet had another idea. She wanted to surf tandem with Patrick. “Patrick, she wants to surf with you,” I said, not knowing where the words came from. “That’d be cool!” Patrick grinned. Here was a boy with a disability and I was asking him and his mother and their assembled team to put their trust in a dog. “All I can do is trust Ricochet to know what she’s doing,” I told them. “Can you trust my dog?” I asked 14-year-old Patrick. “Sure! Let’s do it!” he answered without hesitation. Patrick’s team lifted Patrick onto the board first. Then, we let Ricochet hop on the board, and she positioned herself. The team pushed Ricochet and Patrick out on the board together. Then, in one incredible moment, Ricochet and Patrick were surfing together on the same board, riding a wave of hope that changed their lives forever. Thanks to Ricochet’s fundraising, Patrick was able to get physical therapy at an innovative rehabilitation center for spinal cord injuries. In 2012, he walked across the stage at his high school graduation.
Note: Judy Fridono's book about this surfing dog is titled “Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope With the Dog Who Inspires Millions”.
What is termed Corbynomics is Jeremy Corbyn's proposal that: "The Bank of England to be given a new mandate to upgrade our economy to invest in new large scale housing, energy, transport and digital projects: Quantitative Easing for people instead of banks." The money to fund these projects will be created electronically by the Bank of England. Only 3% of the money in circulation is in the form of coins and notes; the remaining, 97%, is created electronically by private banks every time they make a loan and by the bank of England under its Quantitative Easing programme. The recovery in the British economy thus far has been mainly based on inflating property and financial assets prices. The Bank of England has created Ł375bn, following the 2008 economic crash, that went into banks and financial markets through the buying of existing government bonds (Quantitative Easing for banks). Positive Money calculates that only 8% of that money went into the real economy, with the rest trapped in financial markets, inflating financial assets and property prices, and benefiting the top 5%. This has been money creation that creates bubbles in the economy, and when they burst, the fall out can devastate the lives of millions. Quantitative easing for people (PQE), in contrast, will bypass the financial markets and private banks with the money channelled through a National Investment Bank into the areas that Britain needs. This seems ... less risky to the economy than conventional Quantitative Easing.
A school garden is a holistic investment in a child’s future. By raising awareness of healthy eating, gardens can combat ... hunger and micronutrient deficiencies. A school meal provides strong incentive to send a child to school. Once in school, a well-fed child is both less likely to drop out and more likely to focus on lessons. Children who learn creative agricultural techniques can handle situations that might have caused community-wide food shortages in the past. A number of flourishing programs provide excellent examples: Belize’s GATE program, organized by Plenty Belize, has a long-term program to help schools develop organic school gardens. Some of its schools ... are now processing food with solar dryers and canning equipment. South Africa’s EduPlant program supports schools with new gardens for two years until they can manage on their own. EduPlant also organizes workshops for educators, produces education materials, and runs an annual competition for learners’ projects. Uganda’s garden-based education, a large part of the country’s school curricula, is already producing tangible benefits such as practical agricultural skills, reduced school tuition, and improved health. Kenya’s School Garden Initiative has established 11 school gardens. While working in the gardens, children learn fine arts, math, science, history, language, and nutrition. School gardens ... instill strength and confidence by demonstrating the possibility of immediate self-reliance, empowering children in the way all schools should.
Sarah Chayes ... was a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio and was assigned in 2001 to cover post-Taliban Afghanistan. But she soon decided to put aside her reporting career [to] become a key player in the attempt to bring about a sea change in US foreign policy by showing how what some see as an innocuous crime – corruption – is actually a serious threat to international security. She has seen it at work not only in Afghanistan but in other places with violent insurgencies, such as Syria, Nigeria, and Iraq. In Afghanistan, the government “was really a criminal organization masquerading as a government,” she says. “Its objective was amassing personal wealth, and it was doing this very well.” The United States had aligned itself ... with a corrupt system by working through corrupt proxies and providing them with funds and other assets, she says. This made the US no longer a neutral player in the eyes of those being harmed by corrupt practices. In 2007 Chayes wrote a book, “The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban,” that showed how the corruption and “warlordism” in Afghanistan was supported by the US. It was read by academics and by those at high levels of the US military. In his final testimony to the US Senate, [former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael] Mullen pointed to systemic corruption as the No. 1 challenge undermining US efforts in the region: Chayes’s issue had finally entered the conversation of high-level US decisionmakers.
The incredible reactions of people intentionally sharing a silent moment of eye contact with strangers has been filmed as part of a social experiment in Australia. In the video ... the public is asked where the human connection has gone, and invites people to share eye contact with strangers for one minute to find out. As people share a very personal moment with each other, they can be seen unexpectedly tearing up, sharing a smile or a hug. The public experiment was created by the Liberators International, an organisation which according to their personal webpage work to 'inspire humanity to share acts of freedom, love and kindness with one other.' The organisation was founded by Peter Sharp, an artist with the mission to create social art which engages communities in playful acts and in sharing acts of love and kindness with one another. Curious onlookers look baffled as the watch the voluntary participants get emotional and shed a tear before hugging each other. On their Facebook page, Liberators International wrote ‘In this experiment we discover what happens when we intentionally share eye contact with strangers… We had no idea how quickly things would escalate!’ Through the unique experiment, strangers can be seen sharing a smile and a laugh with one other, breaking the ice that ordinarily exist between strangers today.
The seven core assumptions are [a] set of beliefs [from the inspiring book] "Heart Of Hope." The first assumption is that the true self in everyone is good, wise and powerful. [The] second assumption is that the world is profoundly interconnected. You CANNOT disconnect. The third one is this idea that ... every one of us is born with a fundamental inclination to be in good relationship with others. No matter what happens to you or what you do, that's still there. That's a part of human nature. The fourth is, all humans have gifts. Everyone is needed for what they bring. Fifth, everything we need to make positive change is already here. We can find ways to access that together. Sixth, Human beings are holistic. You just cannot work [just] with the mind, or just with the body. Human beings have these other aspects, the emotional side, the spiritual side. When we are not paying attention to those, they always impact us sideways and we don't really understand what's going on. The seventh is this idea that in order to live from this core self that represents the best in us, we have to practice. All of these things build on each other and can become habits of how you show up in the world. But only if you practice.
Note: Listen to the complete 84 minute audio interview with prominent social justice advocate Kay Pranis at the link above.
Something changed in America between the time of Julius Rosenwald’s death in 1932 and the current presidential election cycle, in which a billionaire leads one party’s polls by spreading what his detractors see as a message of greed, xenophobia, and entitlement. Owner of the retailing giant Sears, Roebuck & Co., Rosenwald was the son of an immigrant who started out as a door-to-door peddler and, through hard work and opportunities, opened his own store ... and became very rich. Why has nobody heard of him? He wasn’t a big self-promoter and he didn’t think wealth marked him as exceptional. In an archival film snippet in Aviva Kempner’s artless but essential documentary, “Rosenwald,” he is heard to say, “Don’t be fooled by believing that because a man is rich he is necessarily smart. There is ample proof to the contrary.” Now imagine those words uttered by certain billionaires today. Rosenwald was not just humble and wise. Despite his canny capitalism, he was what might today be called a socialist. He believed in spreading the wealth - or at least his own. He believed in social justice and racial equality. He quietly spent millions building more than 5,000 schools (monickered affectionately “Rosenwald schools”) for African-American children in the South. He befriended Booker T. Washington and generously endowed the great black educator’s Tuskegee Institute. For decades his Rosenwald Fellowships benefited gifted people such as Marian Anderson, Ralph Bunche, and James Baldwin.
We are witnessing the end of an era. Coal is fast becoming the telegraph to renewable energy’s Internet. The fossil-fuel divestment movement, which began just three years ago, is having an impact. Institutional investors representing nearly $1 trillion of portfolio value, including Stanford University, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, have committed to divest from coal. In California, legislation passed Wednesday that would require several of the state’s largest pension funds to divest from coal as well. Coal’s contribution to global warming has led Pope Francis, Prince Charles and the Dalai Lama to call for a transition to clean energy. While coal remains America’s largest source of electricity generation, over the past six years coal-fired generation has declined from 52 to 34 percent of our electricity portfolio. Renewable energy, which made up just 12 percent of California’s generation in 2008, now provides more than 25 percent of the state’s power. California is on track to reach Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. As a result of this progress, there are now more Californians working in the solar industry than working for the state’s utilities. The United States now has twice as many solar industry employees as coal miners. Exporting our know-how to the world, which needs to get off coal too, will be our next big business. Now is indeed the time to divest our pension funds from coal, cut the cord from this piece of our past and hasten our transition to a clean energy future.
A couple in Turkey ... doled out food to 4,000 Syrian refugees for their wedding reception. The bride wore an elaborate white dress, with a tiara perched on her headdress, and the groom sported a white tuxedo with black trim. They stood behind large food trucks distributing meals to hungry Syrians. The couple had decided that instead of hosting their friends and family for a traditional banquet reception, they would feed the victims of a bloody civil war next door. The idea came from the groom’s father, who volunteers for a Turkish relief organization called Kimse Yok Mu (KYM). For the past few years, KYM has distributed daily meals to the thousands of impoverished Syrians who’ve flooded across the nearby border. He approached a representative of the organization and proposed that the family would cover part of the costs of feeding refugees for the day. His son ... was surprised by the prospect, but [was] soon won over. “When he told that to the bride she was really shocked because, you can imagine, as a bride you wouldn’t think about this — it’s all about you and your groom,” says Hatice Avci, the international communications manager for KYM. “In southeastern Turkey there is a real culture of sharing with people in need. They love to share their food, their table, everything they have. That’s why the bride also accepted. And afterwards she was quite amazed about it.” So, they arrived at KYM’s distribution center on Thursday to spend the day serving food and taking photographs with their grateful recipients.