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.
Ninety-two times the Frenchman raced around the velodrome, a curved indoor bicyclist track, at an average speed of 14 mph. That speed would be impressive for just about anyone on two wheels, but it was probably particularly satisfying for Robert Marchand. Mostly because, when he was young, one of his coaches told him to give up the sport. It’s even more impressive when one considers Marchand is 105 years old. As the clock signaled that he’d been riding for one hour, the crowd of hundreds in Le Vélodrome National de Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, near Paris, chanted his name, but it’s likely no one wondered whether he had captured a new world record. Of course he had — the category was created by the International Cycling Union specifically for him. And now it has been set: the record for longest official distance ridden in an hour in the newly minted older-than-105 class is 22.5 kilometers (14 miles). “I’m now waiting for a rival,” Marchand told the AP. Still, he said he could have gone faster, if he had not run into a little trouble on the track. “I did not see the sign warning me I had 10 minutes left,” he told the Guardian. “Otherwise I would have gone faster, I would have posted a better time.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
For years, Finland has been the by-word for a successful education system, perched at the top of international league tables for literacy and numeracy. Which makes it all the more remarkable that Finland is about to embark on one of the most radical education reform programmes ever undertaken by a nation state – scrapping traditional “teaching by subject” in favour of “teaching by topic”. Subject-specific lessons – an hour of history in the morning, an hour of geography in the afternoon – are already being phased out for 16-year-olds in the city’s upper schools. They are being replaced by what the Finns call “phenomenon” teaching – or teaching by topic. For instance, a teenager studying a vocational course might take “cafeteria services” lessons, which would include elements of maths, languages (to help serve foreign customers), writing skills and communication skills. More academic pupils would be taught cross-subject topics such as the European Union - which would merge elements of economics, history (of the countries involved), languages and geography. There are other changes too, not least to the traditional format that sees rows of pupils sitting passively in front of their teacher, listening to lessons or waiting to be questioned. Instead there will be a more collaborative approach, with pupils working in smaller groups to solve problems. The reforms reflect growing calls ... for education to promote character, resilience and communication skills, rather than just pushing children through “exam factories”.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Activists who say too many poor people are unfairly languishing in U.S. jails because they can’t afford to post cash bail are increasingly deploying a new tactic: Bailing out strangers. Community groups are collecting donations from individuals, churches, cities and other organizations in more than a dozen cities, including New York, Chicago, Seattle and Nashville, to bail out indigent prisoners. They’ve freed several thousand people in the last few years, and the number is growing. The overwhelming majority of defendants still show up for court. Once free, the defendants are better able to fight their case, often leading to charges being dropped or reduced. “Many, many people are having their lives ruined pre-trial because they can’t afford to get out of jail,” said Max Suchan, who co-founded the Chicago Community Bond Fund, which had bailed out 50 people as of December. The bail funds are a step toward a larger goal for some legal reform activists: abolishing the cash bail system. Advocates say it creates two unequal tiers of justice: one for people who can afford bail and one for people who can’t. In Chicago the anti-cash bail movement has a seemingly unlikely ally in Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. He argues the cash system should be abolished and replaced with more thorough background checks; if a person is considered dangerous, they stay in jail and if they’re not, they go free, with access to services such as drug-addiction counseling if needed.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
On Saturday, a white-bearded man in a cowboy hat held a sign outside of a Texas mosque. His sign read "You belong. Stay strong. Be blessed. We are one America" and he - as well as his message - quickly went viral. America, meet Justin Normand. He reveals that he had the sign made in the sign shop he manages and stood outside of the [Irving, Texas] mosque as a practice of his own Presbyterian religion. "This was about binding up the wounded. About showing compassion and empathy for the hurting and fearful among us," Normand writes. "Or, in some Christian traditions, this was about washing my brother's feet." He continues to write, while citing scriptures from the Bible, about the human call to be generous and kind to our neighbors - no matter their background. "Lastly, it worked. I felt better for the impact it had on my neighbors. They genuinely needed this encouragement," Normand concludes [in a] Facebook post. "They need us. They need all of us. They need you. We ARE one America." Normand's actions come at a crucial time as hate crimes against Muslims have spiked in America by 67 percent from 2014 to 2015 and 6 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the New York Times. The Islamic Center of Irving is where a group of armed protesters gathered outside last year in order to "Stop the Islamization of America," according to the Dallas Morning News.
Twenty-eight-year-old Robert Borba is one of the last of a kind; A real, honest-to-goodness, cow roping cowboy. Robert works at a ranch outside Eagle Point, Oregon. But he recently gained notoriety ... because of what he did among the cart corrals of a Walmart parking lot. This past June, Robert says he moseyed over to the Walmart for some dog food, and on the way out he heard a woman screaming. “’Stop him! Stop him! He stole my bike! He stole my bike!’ And I kind of look around and all of a sudden this guy goes whizzing by me on a bicycle,” Robert said. As security cameras show, there was no way to catch him on foot. So the cowboy did what cowboys do. He saddled up to save the day, armed with little more than a lasso. “A couple swings and then I threw it at him, just like I would a steer,” Robert said. Robert called 911 himself, describing to the incredulous operator how he was able to detain the suspect. “We got a guy who just stole a bike here at Walmart. I got him roped and tied to a tree,” he said on the call. “What!?” the operator said. “I got him roped from a horse and he’s tied to a tree.” The cavalry arrived moments later, led by Eagle Point police officer Chris Adams. “I looked up and from the horse there was a rope connected to the ankle of a gentleman on the ground holding onto a tree,” Adams said. John Wayne couldn’t have it done better. “I’d take him by my side any day,” Adams said. “I told the cop, I said, ‘Man, you guys ought to pick up a rope and throw that gun away’,” Robert said.
The name Rumi is synonymous with love poetry. But [many readers] don’t know much about the life of the beloved 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic. The new biography Rumi’s Secret, by Brad Gooch ... provides important insights. The idea of Rumi’s secret came from a conversation Gooch had with a merchant named Sebastian, [who] compared Rumi to the American Walt Whitman – another poet revered for the universality of his writing – who “never tells his secret!” Gooch follows that fascinating statement with one of his own: “Rumi did have secrets – personal, poetic, and theological – that he was always both revealing and concealing.” The book’s first section ... opens with Rumi, at five years old, seeing angels. His father, an esteemed Muslim preacher and teacher, explained that the beings had come to bring him favor and invisible gifts. The Rumi we know today might never have emerged if not for three profound friendships. The first and most impactful was with Shams of Tabriz, a mystic. Shams urged Rumi ... to be honest and heartfelt, rather than refined, and to ... use music, sung poetry, and whirling to “literally spin loose of language and logic, while opening and warming his heart.” Rumi had two other cherished friends: a goldsmith named Salah, who had studied with Rumi’s tutor from childhood, and Hosam, one of Rumi’s loyal followers. Each man helped the poet learn about love (both human and divine), the process of giving up the self to make room for something purer and higher, and transcendence.
The question of what happens when we die is a mysterious one. But for some who have been through near-death experiences, the question has a clear answer. Anita Moorjani ... shared her story. "I crossed over into the afterlife and back," said Moorjani. Diagnosed with lymphoma in 2002, Moorjani ... was losing her cancer battle, withering down to just 85 pounds and battling tumors. She slipped into a coma in February 2006. She said that’s when she died and crossed over to an afterlife. “I felt as though I was above my body,” she said. “It was like I had 360-degree peripheral vision of the whole area.” According to [her] book "Dying To Be Me", she was reunited in that state with her late father, who told her to turn back. “But I felt I didn't want to turn back, because it was so beautiful. It was just incredible, because, for the first time, all the pain had gone. And I felt as though I was enveloped in this feeling of just love. Unconditional love.” Citing an “incredible clarity,” she said she decided to return to her body because she believed “it would heal very, very quickly.” It did. “Within four days, my tumors shrunk by 70 percent, and the doctors were shocked,” she said. “And I kept telling everyone that, ‘I know I'm going to be okay. I know it’s not my time to die.’” Moorjani isn’t alone in connecting a "crossing over" experience to healing.
Note: Read an awesomely inspiring essay on Anita's incredible journey through death. The above article also introduces the healing of 8-year-old Annabel Beam after a near-death experience. Annabel's story is detailed in the book “Miracles from Heaven”. For more, explore concise summaries of NDE news articles and other fascinating resources on this incredible topic.
Last August, a group of six young Indians took to the streets of Delhi with one simple aim: to feed the homeless. Overnight, they drove to restaurants, collected unsold food, re-packaged it and gave it to around 100 people sleeping rough in the capital. Friends, colleagues and strangers soon joined them on drives and their numbers began to swell. In less than a few months, a nationwide volunteer movement known as the Robin Hood Army (RHA) had emerged, on a mission to curb food waste and stamp out hunger. Founders Ghose and Anand Sinha, also 27, were inspired by Refood International, an organisation based in Portugal. “Using a hyperlocal model, they collect excess food and give it to those who need it. But every community has their own Refood chapter,” explains Ghose. “I realised it was something that can be very easily done in India, where the need would be much more.” The movement gained huge momentum after the launch of its social media campaign, and now boasts a 500-strong volunteer base spread out across 13 cities. In April, the group also began operations in neighbouring Pakistan. The Robin Hood Army’s ideology revolves around decentralisation. Small teams, mostly young professionals, become responsible for specific areas; they scout for local restaurants, convince them to donate surplus food, identify clusters of people in need - such as the homeless and orphanages - and carry out weekly distributions.
An entrepreneur who set up a successful sandwich chain which helps the homeless said he is "honoured" to receive an MBE as he dedicated the award to people "marginalised" from society. Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of Social Bite, receives the honour. The chain he helped found offers "suspended coffee and food", which means customers can pay in advance for a coffee or any item of food from the menu and a local homeless person can go into the shop to claim it. About a quarter of its staff have experienced homelessness. Mr Littlejohn said: "I'm honoured to receive this award in recognition for my work with Social Bite. "I would like to dedicate it to the hundreds of homeless people Social Bite works with in Scotland who are marginalised from society and have no stake in the economic system. "I'm relatively young but I hope to dedicate the rest of my working life to helping people who have been excluded from the system. "By working alongside the amazing Social Bite team - and other charities - I hope I can play my part in eradicating homelessness from Scotland and spread the social enterprise business model further afield." Social Bite also plans to provide a low-cost, supervised and safe living environment for up to 20 homeless people with 10 purpose-built homes in Granton, Edinburgh. Earlier this month, Olympic cycling veteran Sir Chris Hoy and around 300 of the most influential people in Scotland slept rough in Edinburgh's Charlotte Square to raise funds for the project.
Note: Watch a touching, two-minute video of this beautiful organization. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
U.S. solar employs more workers than any other energy industry, including coal, oil and natural gas combined, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's second annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report. 6.4 million Americans now work in the traditional energy and the energy efficiency sector, which added more than 300,000 net new jobs in 2016, or 14 percent of the nation's job growth. Overall, the U.S. solar workforce increased 25 percent in 2016. Solar ... employed almost 374,000 workers in 2016, or 43 percent of the Electric Power Generation workforce. This is followed by fossil fuels, which accounts for 22 percent of total Electric Power Generation employment, or 187,117 workers across coal, oil and natural gas generation technologies. Wind generation is seeing growth in employment with a 32 percent increase since 2015. The wind industry provides the third largest share of Electric Power Generation employment with 102,000 workers at wind firms across the nation. Construction and installation projects represented the largest share of solar jobs, with almost four in ten workers doing this kind of work, followed by workers in solar wholesale trade, manufacturing and professional services. Solar employers reported that they expect to increase employment by 7 percent this year.
Veteran homelessness has dropped nearly in half since 2010, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced. On a given night in January, there were fewer than 40,000 homeless veterans, according to the country’s annual Point-in-Time count. That marked a 47 percent decrease since the same count was conducted six years prior. The success was due to the White House’s first-ever strategic plan to end veteran homelessness and a unique partnership between HUD and the Department of Veteran Affairs. Through the collaboration, HUD provides rental assistance to homeless veterans and the VA complements it with case management and clinical services. Since 2010, more than 360,000 veterans and their families have been permanently housed, rapidly rehoused or were spared from becoming homeless through HUD and VA programs. “The dramatic decline in veteran homelessness reflects the power of partnerships in solving complex national problems on behalf of those who have served our nation,” Robert A. McDonald, VA secretary, said in a statement. “The men and women who have fought for this nation should not have to fight to keep a roof over their head.” Numerous studies over the years have found that the concept of housing first, which touts providing housing to homeless people in need before addressing their health or economic issues, is effective and cost efficient.
President Obama declared five new national monuments Thursday. Three new monuments in the South, all of which have bipartisan support, exemplify Obama’s push to expand America’s shared national identity through the narrative it tells with its public lands. Two of them, in Birmingham and Anniston, Ala., were sites of violent acts perpetrated against African American children and an interracial group of civil rights activists. The third, in Beaufort, S.C., commemorates the period between the Civil War and the push for segregation in the 1890s when freed slaves worked to establish schools and communities of their own. Obama noted that the monuments “preserve critical chapters of our country’s history” and reflect his long-standing effort to “ensure that our national parks, monuments and public lands are fully reflective of our nation’s diverse history and culture.” By invoking the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate the sites, Obama has now used the act more than any other president. While ... civil rights proponents had long expected the Alabama sites to be designated as national monuments, Obama’s decision to establish one to Reconstruction was more surprising. Northwestern University history professor Kate Masur, who pushed for designation, [said] that the [Penn Center site in South Carolina] will illuminate “one of the most important and most misunderstood eras of our past. The Reconstruction era was the nation’s first effort to grapple with slavery’s lasting impact, when millions of former slaves began forging lives in freedom.”
A Turkish man has staged an eight-hour silent vigil on Istanbul's Taksim Square, scene of violent clashes between police and anti-government protesters in recent weeks, inspiring hundreds of others to follow his lead. Erdem Gunduz said he wanted to take a stand against police stopping demonstrations near the square, Dogan news agency reported. He stood silently, facing the Ataturk Cultural Centre which was draped in Turkish flags and a portrait of Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, from 6 p.m. ... on Monday. By 2 a.m. ... when the police moved in, about 300 people had joined him. Ten people, who refused to be moved on by police, were detained. Gunduz, swiftly dubbed "standing man" on social media in Turkey, inspired similar protests elsewhere in Istanbul as well as in the capital Ankara and the city of Izmir on the Aegean coast. The silent protests were in stark contrast to demonstrations at the weekend, which saw some of the fiercest clashes so far when police fired teargas and water cannon to clear thousands from Taksim Square. What began in May as a protest by environmentalists upset over plans to build on a park adjoining Taksim has grown into a movement against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, presenting the greatest public challenge to his 10-year leadership.
Almost all Costa Rica's electricity was produced by renewable energy in 2016. The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said that around 98.1 per cent of the country’s electricity came from green sources. These included large hydropower facilities, fed by a myriad of rivers and heavy seasonal rains, geothermal plants, wind turbines, solar panels and biomass plants. The country used carbon-free electricity for more than 250 days last year with a continuous 110-day stretch from 17 June until 6 October. Science and environment journalist Maria Gallucci described the tropical country as "a verdant gem amid a pile of black coal rocks". In comparison, less than 15 per cent of the US electricity supply for January to October 2016 was renewable. Coal and natural gas together made up nearly two-thirds of the US electricity generation over that period and nuclear power provided the remaining 19 per cent. ICE president Carlos Manuel Obregón said he expected renewable power generation to stay “stable” in Costa Rica in 2017. The country, which hosts more than five per cent of the world’s species biodiversity despite a landmass that covers 0.03 per cent of the planet, has recently set up four new wind farms. Costa Rican clean development adviser Dr Monica Araya has said the extent of Costa Rica's renewable electricity generation is a “fantastic achievement".
The Antarctic ozone layer, which shields the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays, shows encouraging signs that it's beginning to heal, according to research published in the journal Science. Scientists credit the healing to an international policy set nearly three decades ago that cut the production of ozone-destroying chemicals. That agreement - the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer - called for the phase-out of substances including chlorofluorocarbons and halons, once present in refrigerators, aerosol cans and dry cleaning chemicals. "The ozone layer is expected to recover in response, albeit very slowly," wrote the researchers in the study. The ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, protects animal and plant life on Earth from powerful UV rays. When the ozone layer is weakened, more UV rays can get through and affect humans, making them prone to skin cancer, cataracts and other diseases. There also may be consequences for plant life, including lower crop yields and disruptions in the ocean's food chain. The ozone hole was discovered in 1985, which led to the Montreal Protocol two years later. Researchers ... found that the hole in the ozone layer had shrunk by 1.5 million square miles, based on their measurements every September since 2000 to 2015. This area is equivalent to 4 million square kilometers, which is bigger than India. Since the Montreal Protocol went into effect, the amount of harmful chemicals has also decreased.
In a country where billions of pounds of food get wasted every year, one app is connecting the dots between those who have excess food and those who need it. Copia, a food recovery app, collects surplus food from companies and distributes it to organizations that serve people in need. Companies can use the app to order a food pickup after an event, for instance, and Copia will come retrieve the fare and drop it off at a local pantry, shelter or soup kitchen. “Hunger is the world’s dumbest problem, especially in the world’s wealthiest country,” Komal Ahmad, the app’s founder, said. “It’s a distribution problem. We get food from those who have it to those who need it.” Food waste is a huge issue in the United States: 31 percent of the available food supply, or 133 billion pounds, went uneaten in 2010. This is in a country in which almost 50 million Americans ... live in food insecure households. “Hunger is pervasive,” said Margarette Purvis, President of Food Bank of NYC. “It’s a horrible thing that is hidden in every city.” So far Copia has collected more than eight hundred thousand pounds of food, connecting it to seven hundred thousand people. Ahmad is hoping ... to potentially use the technology to distribute other much-needed items like medicine. “Next, we want to use the platform to redistribute food to Syrian migrants in our country,” Ahmad said. If you want to help, you can get businesses you work with to use the app. But Purvis suggested something more: go volunteer at a local food pantry.
Jessica McClard, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, had always been intrigued by the recent trend of Little Free Libraries, which she’d notice popping up quite frequently in her neighborhood. But then she thought about how she could expand the idea into something more. That’s how The Little Free Pantry was born. She built what she believes to be is the first Little Free Pantry, stocked with canned goods, toiletries and paper goods. Her idea has taken off with huge success. “I check on it about once every day because it’s at the church,” McClard told ABC News of the small structure located in front of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Fayetteville. The items that fly off the shelves the fastest are simple goods that can make a world of difference to someone in need. “Personal hygiene items for sure,” she explained. “Deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, diapers, feminine hygiene products, paper goods are great too, paper towels and toilet paper. I get asked about high temperatures and whether food could really spoil, but the turnover rate is so high it’s never been a problem.” The Little Free Pantry isn’t just used for the normal, everyday items. She’s noticed people stocking it with school supplies for children, and even was delighted to find it decorated for Memorial Day. “I feel like there’s some community ownership over it, and that’s exciting.” More than anything, McClard hopes that her Little Free Pantry “helps someone who may be in a tight spot and to let them know they’re not alone.”
Five months before Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba's went public in September 2014, cofounders Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai created charitable trusts and seeded them with a combined 50 million in share options. Today those trusts are worth nearly $3.5 billion. It's one sign of a new age of large-scale philanthropy in China. Three decades after economic reforms paved the way for 400 billionaires to emerge ... extremely wealthy Chinese have started giving their money away in large sums ... according to research on China's top 100 philanthropists released Wednesday by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School. "It's important to look at the trends in how rich people are giving back to society. We wanted to create healthy competition among donors and shift the national debate from wealth creation to philanthropy," said Peiran Wei, who led the research. Among the 100 philanthropists, the average donation was around $8 million. They gave most often to education. "If you're a businessman in China, it's probably easier for you to make money than to give it away. It's not a free market for philanthropy," Wei said. More than half of the philanthropists gave to charities affiliated with the government. Wei speculates this is ... because these are some of the few entities today that can handle giving at a large scale. However, 19 donors on the list have created private foundations, which Wei says signals a shift toward more professionalized philanthropy.
You are undoubtedly familiar with so-called “sharing economy” titans such as Uber and Airbnb. Both companies are wreaking havoc on existing business models. But there is a problem. These are not truly “sharing economy” companies. For the record, I’m with Harvard Business Review authors Giana M. Eckhardt and Fleura Bardhi who made a strong case against using the term “sharing economy” when it comes to firms like Uber and Airbnb. The authors suggested these sorts of businesses - where products and services are traded on the basis of access rather than ownership, when trade is done temporarily and not permanently - ought to be referred to as the “access economy.” While there isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with companies like Uber or Airbnb ... they are not examples of organizations who are truly “sharing”. [Each company] extracts money from its “partners” and reinvests the profit in itself, not those who are its laborers. Which brings me to ... the business model of a “Platform Cooperative.” In its simplest form, a Platform Cooperative is defined as “worker–owned cooperatives designing their own apps-based platforms, fostering truly peer-to-peer ways of providing services and things”. Put differently, those doing the work are owners and are both compensated for such effort and regarded as members of the greater team. A Platform Cooperative is not in it to extract money from its labourers through the rental of talent, service or even capital. Its business model is not about renting access.
Note: Read a great article describing 11 "platform cooperatives" which create a real sharing economy.
Solar energy is now cheaper than traditional fossil fuels. Solar and wind is now either the same price or cheaper than new fossil fuel capacity in more than 30 countries, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum. The influential foundation has described the change as a "tipping point" that could make fighting climate change into a profitable form of business for energy companies. But investors and energy firms are still failing to put money into such green solutions despite the fact that they are cheaper than more traditional forms of electricity generation. “Renewable energy has reached a tipping point – it now constitutes the best chance to reverse global warming,” said Michael Drexler, Head of Long Term Investing, Infrastructure and Development at the World Economic Forum. Just ten years ago, generating electricity through solar cost about $600 per MWh, and it cost only $100 to generate the same amount of power through coal and natural gas. But ... today it only costs around $100 the generate the same amount of electricity through solar and $50 through wind. The cheap price of solar and wind energy is already encouraging companies to build more plants to harvest it. The US is adding about 125 solar panels every minute ... and investment in renewables in 2015 rose to $286 billion, up 5 per cent from the year before. Even despite that cheap price ... the worldwide investment is only 25 per cent of the $1 trillion goal set in the landmark Paris climate change accord.
Note: Why are most of the media in the US hardly reporting this inspiring news at all? Read more on this great news in this informative essay.