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In latest move, China halts over 100 coal power projects
17 January 2017 - China's energy regulator has ordered 11 provinces to stop more than 100 coal-fired power projects, with a combined installed capacity of more than 100 gigawatts, its latest dramatic step to curb the use of fossil fuels in the world's top energy market. Putting the power projects on hold is a major step towards the government's effort to produce power from renewable sources such as solar and wind, and wean the country off coal, which accounts for the majority of the nation's power supply. (more)

U.S. makes $500 million grant to climate change fund: State Department
17 January 2017 - The United States has made a $500 million grant to the Green Climate Fund, meant to help developing nations combat climate change, the State Department said on Tuesday, 17 January. (more)

US: President Obama celebrates World Series champion Chicago Cubs (+ videos)
16 January 2017 - President Barack Obama celebrated the World Series champion Chicago Cubs on Monday and spoke about the power sports has to unite people. 'Throughout our history, sports has had this power to bring us together even when the country is divided,' Obama said at a White House ceremony for his hometown team. 'Sports has changed attitudes and culture in ways that seem subtle but that ultimately made us think differently about ourselves.' (more)

Peru to begin cleaning up South America's largest lake
13 January 2017 - South America's largest lake is about to get a major clean up after years of uncontrolled pollution. Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said the construction of 10 treatment plants on rivers emptying into Lake Titicaca will carry a price tag of $437 million. He made the announcement Friday during a visit to the high-altitude lake straddling the border with Bolivia. (more)

China to plow $361 billion into renewable fuel by 2020
5 January 2017 - China will plow 2.5 trillion yuan ($361 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020, the country's energy agency said on Thursday, as the world's largest energy market continues to shift away from dirty coal power towards cleaner fuels. The investment will create over 13 million jobs in the sector, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said in a blueprint document that lays out its plan to develop the nation's energy sector during the five-year 2016 to 2020 period. (more)

Scotland produces 'greener electricity', says WWF Scotland
4 January 2017 - Power generated in Scotland has a significantly smaller impact on climate change when compared with the UK average, a conservation body claims. The conservation body's climate and energy policy officer Fabrice Leveque said: 'Thanks to the Scottish government's leadership on renewables policy, the climate change impact of producing electricity in Scotland has fallen rapidly and is now half that of the whole of the UK. (more)

US: New York City has fewest shootings ever last year
4 January 2017 - New York City recorded its fewest number of shootings in 2016 and narrowly missed setting a new record low for homicides since comparable record keeping began more than two decades ago, even as officers make fewer low-level arrests and greatly reduced their use of stop and frisk. According to data released Wednesday, the city had 335 homicides in 2016. The lowest since comparable record keeping for murders began in the 1960s was 333 in 2014. (more)

Australia: Federal government plan to improve fuel quality and vehicle efficiency worthwhile
3 January 2017 - The latest available figures from Australia's Environment Department show that in 2014 the services, construction and transport sector generated 11.5 per cent of Australia's 525 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent gases. If Australia can reduce this output by improving the efficiency of its vehicles and raising the standard of the fuel it uses, it obviously must do so. The federal government is right to seek ways to stop our cars from choking us. (more)

Finland to pay unemployed basic income in unique social experiment
2 January 2017 - Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income, amounting to 560 euros ($587), in a unique social experiment which is hoped to cut government red tape, reduce poverty, and boost employment. Olli Kangas from the Finnish government agency KELA, which is responsible for the country's social benefits, said Monday that the two-year trial with the 2,000 randomly picked citizens who receive unemployment benefits kicked off at the start of January. (more)

China announces ban on ivory trade by end of 2017
1 January 2017 - China will ban all domestic ivory trade and processing by the end of 2017, a move described by activists as a potential 'game changer' for African elephants. 'This is great news that will shut down the world's largest market for elephant ivory,' Aili Kang, executive director of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Asia, said in a statement. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Can Blacks and Police Find Inner Peace? Afro.com reports
22 November 2016 - 'If war refugees with PTSD can find rapid relief from stress through Transcendental Meditation practice, how much easier will it be for both police and inner city African-Americans to find inner peace?', write the authors of an article in Afro.com. TM is described as an evidence-based strategy to address the underlying buildup of stress in communities 'that inevitably erupts into violence'. According to recent research, more than 50% of people with PTSD who learn TM are symptom-free in 30-105 days. Police practising TM have found increased stability in stressful situations, better health, and greater resiliency to stress. It is a 'well-documented protocol for reducing stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) . . . . that will prevent and help neutralize this buildup of stress, anger, and violence in individuals and in society as a whole.' (more)

Transcendental Meditation: A resource for reducing stress among law enforcement professionals
19 November 2016 - Dr Martha Batorski, a recognized speaker on the topic of leadership development and stress reduction, calls for the use of healing strategies like Transcendental Meditation to 'reduce the effects of stress on those who serve and protect - male and female - so they may better draw upon inner resources of calm to de-escalate situations and serve as true role models in our society.' 'Policewomen,' she writes in TM for Women, 'have naturally contributed to a new paradigm in law enforcement, bringing qualities to the field . . . that include greater empathy and ability to defuse situations and a larger field of awareness during stressful situations.' With as many as 18 per cent of police officers suffering from PTSD, and a higher rate among policewomen, there is increasing interest in the scientifically proven effectiveness of TM in greatly reducing PTSD symptoms and increasing resiliency to stressful situations. (more)

Transcendental Meditation significantly helps ease trauma symptoms, stress among inmates
8 October 2016 - Researchers found Transcendental Meditation significantly reduced trauma symptoms and stress in male prisoners. The study, funded by the David Lynch Foundation and conducted by a team lead by Dr Sanford Nidich, was a randomized, controlled trial of 181 Oregon state correctional inmates categorized as 'moderate to high-risk'. One inmate expressed his experience after learning TM: 'As I entered the 24th year behind bars I had come to grips with most of the demons of the past but still felt fragmented. Recently I was given the chance to learn TM . . . As the weeks passed that sense of fragmentation started to flow into something deeper and new. A quiet that feels so natural and restful that I feel like I've finally come home. To a place where things make sense and I'm just happy. The pains of my life haven't gone away . . . just feels like I've grown beyond them.' To date the study is published in The Permanente Journal and featured by EurekAlert! while other journals and media are inquiring into reporting the study. (more)

Federal employees learn about 'next generation PTSD relief strategy' that really works
22 September 2016 - On 22 September, the founding president of African PTSD Relief, David Shapiro, and Dr. Katie Grose, a teacher of Transcendental Meditation, gave presentations to some of the employees at a large federal complex in the Washington, D.C. area. The PTSD Relief team presented results of scientific research studies conducted on-site with refugees in Africa who learned TM and experienced dramatic relief from post-traumatic stress. The presenters are invited to participate in a charity fair for federal employees in October. (more)

Rio de Janeiro's elite police learning Transcendental Meditation in preparation for 2016 Olympics
24 November 2015 - With Olympic Games just a year ahead, the pressure is mounting on Rio de Janeiro police. Security has remained a major challenge in preparation for the grand international event. To prevent stress-induced burnout, last week a group of 400 Rio police officers started a course of Transcendental Meditation. An official explained that a policeman who is less stressed will have a better capacity to make decisions. If TM is proven to reduce the stress, the goal is to expand teaching the technique to the whole troop. The courses are supported by the David Lynch Foundation, which was founded to prevent and eradicate the effects of traumatic, toxic stress among at-risk populations. (more)

US: Women's Prison Association brings Transcendental Meditation to women with criminal justice involvement
28 October 2015 - The Women's Prison Association, a social service organization based in New York City that works with women at all stages of criminal justice involvement, has partnered with the David Lynch Foundation to offer Transcendental Meditation to clients and staff. One participant says, 'I meditate everyday, twice a day. I see the benefits everyday when dealing with my child or anyone else. I have more patience and understanding. I have more energy. Since meditation, my sugar levels have regulated (I am diabetic). It seems like everything has fallen into place. . . .' (more)

1001 Benefits of Transcendence
11 January 2015 - For the past five years, Blaze Compton and colleagues have been teaching inmates in several major US state prisons to practise Transcendental Meditation. 'Just 16 weeks of transcending is enough to begin a major reordering of the brain and nervous system to a more normal style of functioning that dramatically supports pro-social thinking and behavior,' he says. Mr Compton presents an extensive collection of research articles on TM ('1001 Benefits of Transcending'), 211 research institutions that have investigated TM, and 176 medical and scientific journals that have published research on the technique. (more)

Meditation sessions a hit in US Congress
25 October 2014 - The success of programmes for veterans and other at-risk groups has inspired a congressional leader to organize meditation sessions for people working in Washington, DC at the US Congress. Rep Tim Ryan began the meditation sessions, which he calls, 'Quiet Time Caucus' two years ago and the New York Post is calling the sessions 'wildly popular' with members of Congress and staffers.
(more)

Guardian Liberty Voice: Research shows group meditation can reduce crime rates
11 April 2014 - A recent article in the US publication Guardian Liberty Voice took an in-depth look into scientific research on the coherence-creating effect of group meditation, detailing how it 'was not only able to reduce the crime rate, but also can save cities millions of dollars'. Noting more than 50 research studies on this phenomenon, known as the Maharishi Effect, the article explains that it is produced by a specific form of meditation--the Transcendental Meditation Sidhi Programme, an advanced practice of Transcendental Meditation. In one study in Merseyside, England, 'During periods when a meditating group slightly larger than the square root of one percent of the population held sessions the monthly data showed a 13.4 percent drop in crime. This was very significant in contrast to the national crime rate, which had actually increased by 45 percent.' (more)

Belgium: Peace Assemblies in Brussels create harmonious atmosphere for EU leaders' summits
10 March 2014 - European Union Summit meetings bring together heads of state in Brussels, Belgium, every few months to make important decisions for the whole EU. Brussels is also the seat of the European Commission, European Council, and European Parliament. A few hundred metres away, special Peace Assemblies of advanced Transcendental Meditation practitioners have been held coinciding with the summits, with the aim of creating a coherent, harmonious atmosphere for EU leaders' deliberations, so that they will have the most life-supporting effect for all of Europe. (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Thousands of Fukushima evacuees face hardship as subsidies to be slashed
17 January 2017 - Nearly six years after Noriko Matsumoto and her children fled Japan's Fukushima region, fearing for their health after the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, they confront a new potential hardship -- the slashing of vital housing subsidies. Matsumoto is among nearly 27,000 people who left areas not designated as mandatory evacuation zones, spooked by high levels of radiation after nuclear meltdowns unleashed by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011. Now, as the Fukushima local government prepares to slash unconditional housing assistance on March 31, many face the painful choice of returning to areas they still fear are unsafe, or reconciling to financial hardship . . . (more)

Wilbur Ross, Trump's Commerce pick, offshored 2,700 jobs since 2004
17 January 2017 - Billionaire Wilbur Ross, chosen by Donald Trump to help implement the president-elect's trade agenda, earned his fortune in part by running businesses that have offshored thousands of U.S. jobs, according to Labor Department data attained by Reuters. Supporters say Ross saved thousands of U.S. jobs by rescuing firms from failure. Data attained by Reuters through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that rescue effort came at a price: textile, finance and auto-parts companies controlled by the private-equity titan eliminated about 2,700 U.S. positions since 2004 because they shipped production to other countries . . . The figures, which have not previously been disclosed, amount to a small fraction of the U.S. economy, which sees employment fluctuate by the tens of thousands of jobs each month. But Ross's track record clashes with Trump's promise to protect American workers from the ravages of global trade. Recently, Trump claimed credit for saving 800 jobs at a Carrier Corp. factory in Indiana, even touring the plant to shake hands with employees. (more)

Former MI6 agent Christopher Steele's frustration as FBI sat on Donald Trump Russia file for months
15 January 2017 - Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent who investigated Donald Trump's alleged Kremlin links, was so worried by what he was discovering that at the end he was working without pay, The Independent has learned. Mr Steele also decided to pass on information to both British and American intelligence officials after concluding that such material should not just be in the hands of political opponents of Mr Trump, who had hired his services, but was a matter of national security for both countries. However, say security sources, Mr Steele became increasingly frustrated that the FBI was failing to take action on the intelligence from others as well as him. He came to believe there was a cover-up, that a cabal within the Bureau blocked a thorough inquiry into Mr Trump, focusing instead on the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. It is believed that a colleague of Mr Steele in Washington, Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who runs the firm Fusion GPS, felt the same way and, at the end also continued with the Trump case without being paid. (more)

Trump adviser had five calls with Russian envoy on day of sanctions - sources
14 January 2017 - Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for national security adviser, held five phone calls with Russia's ambassador to Washington on the day the United States retaliated for Moscow's interference in the U.S. presidential election, three sources familiar with the matter said. The calls occurred between the time the Russian embassy was told about U.S. sanctions and the announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin that he had decided against reprisals, said the sources. ... (more)

Trump's CEO meetings raise ethics questions
14 January 2017 - President-elect Donald Trump's meetings with CEOs seeking federal approval for major mergers are raising red flags for ethics lawyers concerned about the possible erosion of a firewall between the incoming White House and regulators reviewing those billion-dollar deals. Trump met this past week with the heads of German chemical company Bayer and seed and herbicide giant Monsanto, who made their case for their $57 billion merger. The deal would likely need to be approved by Trump's choices to lead antitrust enforcement at the Justice Department. . . . Presidents typically keep their distance from such reviews, so as not to appear to be exerting political influence on a regulatory process intended to evaluate the impact a merger could have on competition and consumers. (more)

After 2016 campaign, more Americans consider Russia a threat: Reuters/Ipsos poll
13 January 2017 - Americans are more concerned than they were before the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign began about the potential threat Russia poses to the country, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Friday [13 January]. The January 9-12 survey found that 82 percent of American adults, including 84 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans, described Russia as a general 'threat' to the United States. That's up from 76 percent in March 2015 when the same questions were asked. (more)

This new poll has all kinds of bad news for Donald Trump
10 January 2017 - As honeymoons go, Donald Trump's wasn't much to write home about. He was voted in as the most unpopular president-elect in modern history and got slightly less unpopular in the weeks that followed, as the goodwill flowed. Even then, though, he clearly remained the most unpopular president-elect in modern history. Again, that was the honeymoon. And now it's over. A new poll from Quinnipiac University suggests that Trump has reverted to his pre-election standing, with Americans having major concerns about his temperament and the direction in which his presidency will lead the country. And a majority -- 51 percent -- now have an unfavorable view of him. (more)

Trump has taken few steps to disentangle from private empire
9 January 2017 - President-elect Donald Trump pledged to step away from his family-owned international real estate development, property management, and licensing business before taking office January 20. With less than two weeks until his inauguration, he hasn't stepped very far. Trump has canceled a handful of international deals and dissolved a few shell companies created for prospective investments. Still, he continues to own or control some 500 companies that make up the Trump Organization, creating a tangle of potential conflicts of interest without precedent in modern U.S. history. (more)

The end of a People: Amazon dam destroys sacred Munduruku 'Heaven'
6 January 2017 - Four dams are being built on the Teles Pires River -- a major tributary of the Tapajós River -- to provide Brazil with hydropower, and to possibly be a first step toward constructing an industrial waterway to transport soy and other commodities from Mato Grosso state, in the interior, to the Atlantic coast. Those dams are being built largely without consultation with impacted indigenous people, as required by the International Labor Organization's Convention 169, an agreement which Brazil signed. A sacred rapid, known as Sete Quedas, the Munduruku 'Heaven', was dynamited in 2013 to build the Teles Pires dam. A cache of sacred artifacts was also seized by the dam construction consortium and the Brazilian state. The Indians see both events as callous attacks on their sacred sites, and say that these desecrations will result in the destruction of the Munduruku as a people -- 3,000 Munduruku Indians live in 112 villages, mainly along the upper reaches of the Tapajós River and its tributaries in the heart of the Amazon. (more)

Hungry Venezuelans flood Brazilian towns, as threat of mass migration looms
1 January 2017 - Survival for Venezuelans is becoming a matter of flight. About 10,000 Venezuelans are streaming into Brazil every month in search of food and medicine, authorities say, camping out on the streets and swamping government services in Amazon frontier towns ill-prepared to receive them. Oil-rich Venezuela has been an immigrant destination for much of its history. Now it is a place to flee. Chronic food shortages, rampant violence and the erratic and often paranoid behavior of President Nicolás Maduro have turned the country's border crossings and beaches into escape valves. (more)

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