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In India, government aid helps carmakers go green and cheap to fight smog crisis
31 January 2016 - Carmakers are gearing up to launch affordable hybrid and electric cars for India in the next few years, executives said, lured by government incentives for fuel-efficient vehicles as the country accelerates efforts to cut worsening air pollution. As the industry descends on smog-bound New Delhi for India's biggest car show, starting Wednesday, foreign firms like Toyota Motor Corp will join domestic players like Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra in displaying green cars designed to reel in potential buyers. (more)

South Korea, Japan, China education ministers meet for 1st time
30 January 2016 - The education ministers of South Korea, Japan, and China on Saturday held the first three-way meeting among the countries that often spar over how their wartime past is described in textbooks. The ministers agreed to hold their gatherings annually and expand student exchanges and partnership programs between universities as well as elementary, middle, and high schools. (more)

Britain to take in unaccompanied refugee children from conflict areas
28 January 2016 - Britain will take in some unaccompanied refugee children from Syria, North Africa, and other conflict areas, the Home Office (interior ministry) said on Thursday, but it did not say how many. This is in addition to the 20,000 Syrian refugees the government has pledged to take in by 2020. More than 1,000 of them -- around half of them children -- have already been resettled in Britain under this scheme, the government says. (more)

Deals and warm words flow as Iran President visits Europe
26 January 2016 - Italy and Iran signed billions of dollars of business deals on Monday at the start of a visit to Europe by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani aimed at rebuilding his nation's ties with the West after years of economic sanctions. Heading a 120-strong delegation of business leaders and ministers, Rouhani will spend two days in Rome before flying to France on Wednesday, looking to polish Tehran's diplomatic credentials at a time of turmoil in the Middle East. A pragmatist elected in 2013, Rouhani championed the 2015 accord under which Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for the end of U.N., EU, and some U.S. sanctions this month. (more)

Iranian leader gives Pope rug, wants Pope Francis to pray for him
26 January 2016 - Iran's President and Pope Francis have exchanged gifts and wishes for hope and prayers after they met privately at the Vatican. Pope Francis shook hands warmly with President Hassan Rouhani, who is trying to shape a role as regional conflict solver for Iran after the recent nuclear accord led the West to lift sanctions. (more)

Iranian President Rouhani begins 4-day European visit
26 January 2016 - Italy's Premier said Monday that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, kicking off the first state visit to Europe by an Iranian President in nearly two decades, 'can play a fundamental role in the stability' of the Middle East. Iran's President Rouhani told reporters the political talks leading to the nuclear deal could provide the blueprint for pursuing peace in the Middle East. Europe was Iran's largest trading partner before the sanctions, and a range of business and trade deals are on the table. The trip is also aimed at expanding tourism as Rouhani's administration is planning to diversify its revenue sources. (more)

Japan Emperor visits Philippines, a former WWII adversary
26 January 2016 - Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko were met at Manila's airport by President Benigno Aquino III and his top Cabinet members. Relations between the Asian nations have improved dramatically in the seven decades since WWII. Japan has become a major trading partner and aid donor to the Philippines. President Aquino will formally welcome Emperor Akihito at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday for talks, and hold a state banquet for Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko later Wednesday. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, among the Philippine officials who welcomed Akihito at the airport, said the first visit by a Japanese Emperor to the country following the last world war was a milestone. (more)

Cuba's Raul Castro to visit France on February 1
18 January 2016 - Cuban President Raul Castro next month will make the first visit to France by a Cuban head of state since his brother in 1995 as he tries to carve out a larger role for the Communist-run nation since improving ties with the United States. French President Francois Hollande in May became the first Western President to visit Cuba in more than 50 years. (more)

Germany wants to put 2 billion euros into encouraging electric cars
13 January 2016 - German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel wants to commit two billion euros ($2.17 billion) to encourage more people to buy electric cars, the newspaper Die Zeit reported on Wednesday, 13 January. Gabriel also wants to expand charging stations and encourage federal offices to use electric cars -- an initiative that will be funded under the current German budget without tax increases, he said. The German government aims to put one million electric cars on the roads by 2020. Among the country's carmakers, BMW, Mercedes, and Volkswagen now produce all-electric cars; Audi, Mercedes, and Porsche have plans to build one. (more)

Canada resettles 10,000 Syrian refugees, few problems so far
12 January 2016 - Canada prepared on Tuesday, 12 January to welcome its 10,000th Syrian refugee since November, and resettlement workers said the heavy influx has gone smoothly despite a shortage of housing in Toronto and [an] incident in Vancouver. While landing in Toronto and Montreal, refugees are also settling across the country. (more)

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

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.

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)

Hundreds in Albania and Kosovo learn Transcendental Meditation
9 September 2013 - Dr Bevan Morris, President of Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, USA, toured Kosovo and Albania in the past year to present the latest developments and research regarding the Transcendental Meditation programme around the world. At the time of Dr Morris's visit, for the past few months a foundation started by a wealthy businessman had sponsored about 700 people to learn Transcendental Meditation in Albania and Kosovo. Because of this, several officials and educators Dr Morris met with had already heard of the technique. (more)

Fiji receives a visit from President of Maharishi University of Management
20 July 2013 - Dr Bevan Morris, President of Maharishi University of Management in the USA, visited Fiji this year, meeting with government and education officials, presenting the wide range of scientifically verified applications of the Transcendental Meditation programme to improve all areas of society. (more)

US: Senator supports MUM's substantive research on cardiovascular health
12 July 2013 - In a recent review of the past year's developments, Dr Bevan Morris, President of Maharishi University of Management, described the appreciation, help and support given to the university through the years by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, the home state of MUM in the USA. Senator Harkin, a member of the United States Senate for 28 years, gave the 2013 commencement address at the MUM graduation ceremonies last spring. He has assisted the university particularly in the area of its substantive research on alternative approaches to treating and preventing heart disease. (more)

Study at military academy finds Transcendental Meditation improves cadets' resilience
23 April 2013 - In a study conducted at Norwich University, America's first private military college, researchers found that practising Transcendental Meditation quickly increased resilience among cadets in training. 'Very quickly we saw a huge shift in increase in resilience,' said Marguerite Meyer, Ed.D. Dr Meyer is the director of the Academic Achievement Center at Norwich University. (more)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Isolated Nepal PM could be toppled by constitution crisis
4 February 2016 - An unwieldy coalition of lawmakers trying to implement Nepal's first democratic constitution is finding common cause with protesting minority groups, isolating Prime Minister K.P. Oli and increasing the risk his government could fall this spring. Oli, of the leftist Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), promised to resolve simmering tensions in the southern plains and lift a blockade of the Indian border when he was voted in to power almost four months ago. Yet sporadic violence continues in the Himalayan nation. Protest leaders say the heavy-handed police tactics show the government is not sincere about finding a solution, while in Kathmandu residents have to choose between queuing for hours for fuel and gas and paying exorbitant prices on the black market. (more)

10,000 young migrants unaccounted for, EU police agency says
1 February 2016 - Authorities dealing with Europe's migrant crisis have lost track of about 10,000 unaccompanied children amid fears that organized crime gangs are beginning to exploit the vulnerable youngsters, a senior official at the European Union's police agency said Monday. Europol Chief of Staff Brian Donald said that the figure 'would be a conservative estimate across all the countries that are dealing with this migrant crisis' over the past 12-18 months. (more)

Britain gives scientist go-ahead to genetically modify human embryos
1 February 2016 - Scientists in Britain have been give the go-ahead to edit the genes of human embryos for research purposes, using a technique that some say could eventually be used to create 'designer babies'. Less than a year after Chinese scientists caused an international furor by saying they had genetically modified human embryos, Kathy Niakan, a stem cell scientist from London's Francis Crick Institute, was granted a license to carry out similar experiments. (more)

US: Billionaire donors helped Cruz rise in GOP presidential bid
24 January 2016 - Four of America's wealthiest businessmen laid the foundation for Ted Cruz's now-surging Republican presidential campaign and have redefined the role of political donors. The long-believing benefactors are New York hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, Texas natural gas billionaires Farris and Dan Wilks, and private-equity partner Toby Neugebauer. They honed their plan to help Cruz before he began his steady rise in polls -- even before he announced his presidential bid in March. (more)

UK government misses own green targets
11 January 2016 - The UK government has failed to meet its own targets for cutting the environmental impact of the state's operations, according to a Defra report quietly published last month. The 'greening government commitments', which began when David Cameron declared he would lead the 'greenest government ever' in 2010, were intended to deliver big cuts in carbon emissions, domestic flights, waste, and water usage. Efforts fell short on all counts, though the reductions that were achieved still saved taxpayers £185m in the last year. Ministers have been heavily criticized for cuts to a swath of green policies, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, and a leaked letter in November revealed the government is not on track the meet the nation's EU obligation for green energy in 2020. (more)

US: NYC homeless -- From the hopeless to those on cusp of jobs
10 January 2016 - As New York City grapples with a surge in homelessness, both the city and state governments have unveiled urgent measures to reach out to people living on the street and try to persuade them to move to shelters. The Associated Press interviewed several dozen homeless New Yorkers over two days to get their impressions of government aid and shelter programs. Here are some of their stories: (more)

US: NYC's homeless skeptical of programs intended to help them
10 January 2016 - A surge in homelessness is bedeviling New York City, and dozens of homeless people made it clear in interviews that it will take more than outreach programs by the mayor and governor to bring them in from the cold. Not one of them told The Associated Press they had been approached by outreach workers Mayor Bill de Blasio promised last month would be out on the streets. All said they would rather take their chances on the street in frigid weather than turn to a shelter system they described as filthy, violent, vermin-infested, and rife with mental illness and addiction. Michael Cliff, begging in Manhattan's Union Square Park, said he won't go to a city shelter due to worries about violence. But, for now, Cliff has a more immediate fear. 'I'm scared. ... I'm really scared I'm going to die out here when it's cold,' said the 32-year-old, who said he was once an actor. (more)

Thailand's road deaths surge despite junta's hardline tactics
5 January 2016 - The number of deaths on Thailand's roads increased over the New Year period despite a crackdown on drunk drivers by the ruling junta, according to official statistics released on Tuesday, 5 January. The government said 380 people had died in 3,379 accidents during a seasonal surge dubbed the 'Seven Dangerous Days', the highest toll in five years on what are already some of the world's deadliest roads. (more)

From cattle raiders to heavy rains: Kenya's displaced families under threat
31 December 2015 - In Baringo country, the impacts of climate change have been devastating. Droughts have exacerbated cattle raiding, while now heavy rains threaten to wash away makeshift homes. 2015 has been another dry year and what were once rivers look more like dusty roads. Water scarcity has led to diminishing lands for pasture. And this, in turn, has led to a rise in cattle raiding. Traditionally, cattle raiding was as way of raising a dowry, but it has since taken on a more criminal and violent nature, often leading to deaths and displacements. In Baringo county, around 1,500 families are reportedly displaced due to cattle raids, and prolonged dry spells have exacerbated this trend. (more)

US: Campaign cash in state judicial elections grows
28 December 2015 - The flow of money into state judicial races has been rising in recent years and shows no sign of slowing down. Races in a handful of states, including Ohio and North Carolina, are among those that will be watched closely. The increase in political funding has raised questions about how courts can maintain their independence when campaign donors and interest groups spend so much money seeking influence on the bench. (more)

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