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President Obama will visit India again as ties expand
21 November 2014 - US President Barack Obama will attend India's Republic Day celebrations in January as chief guest, a sign of steadily expanding ties between the two countries. President Obama was invited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will be the first US President to attend a Republic Day celebration, the White House said on Friday. Diplomats said President Obama, who visited India in 2010, would also be the first US President to visit the country twice while in office. (more)

South Africa participates in Africa-Turkey Summit
21 November 2014 - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, where he will represent South Africa at the 2nd Africa-Turkey Summit of Heads of State and Government. Leaders at the summit are expected to discuss a number of key projects, an implementation plan as well as come up with the Summit Outcomes Declaration. (more)

Indian Prime Minister Modi urges expatriates in Australia to invest back home
17 November 2014 - Thousands of expatriate Indians thronged Sydney's Allphones Arena on Monday, many travelling 1,000 km (620 miles) on a train dubbed the Modi Express, to clap and cheer Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Modi's appearance at the 21,000-seat arena underscored the popularity he enjoys among some Indians at home and abroad. He promised lifetime visas to people of Indian origin, repeating an offer he made to expatriates in the United States that would seek to strengthen cultural and business ties between overseas Indians and their home country. Mr Modi arrived on Friday for the G20 economic summit in Australia, where about 300,000 Indians live. He urged overseas Indians to boost investment at home, reprising an appeal made elsewhere, including the US. (more)

Koalas and kangaroos: G20 first ladies enjoy Aussie outback
15 November 2014 - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's wife Margie introduced a group of G20 leaders' wives to the wild side of life Down Under, which included koala cuddling at an animal sanctuary on the outskirts of Brisbane. The spouses of the G20 leaders paid a visit to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary on Saturday. Koalas, which are not actually bears but rather marsupials that carry their young in a pouch, are an iconic symbol of Australia. Aside from koala bears, the sanctuary is also home to over 100 species of animals. More than 80 per cent of Australia's wildlife is unique to the country. (more)

Peru aims to cover rural electrical gap with solar panels by 2020
12 November 2014 - Peru plans to nearly close its gap in electrical coverage in rural regions by the end of the decade with a recently-awarded $28.5 million solar-energy contract, the government said on Wednesday. Only 70 per cent of rural Peru is now connected to the electrical grid, compared to 90 per cent nationally. Energy and Mines Minister Eleodoro Mayorga said the photovoltaic panels will boost rural electrical coverage to 96 per cent in five years -- much faster than waiting for the grid to reach Peru's far-flung provinces. (more)

US long-term visas issued for Chinese travellers
12 November 2014 - On Wednesday, 11 people were given the first-ever US visas to let Chinese citizens travel back and forth to the United States for up to 10 years. In a new agreement, announced this week during the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Beijing will issue similar visas to Americans looking to make repeated trips to China. (more)

US: NY prosecutor to fund rape kit testing nationally
12 November 2014 - Evidence from up to 70,000 rape cases nationwide will get long-awaited DNA testing, the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr announced Wednesday as he pledged as much as $35 million to help eliminate a backlog that has long troubled authorities, victims, and lawmakers. He announced the plan at a news conference with television show 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' star and survivors' advocate Mariska Hargitay. The initiative is meant to complement some $41 million President Barack Obama has proposed. (more)

EU nations could get power to block GMO crops
11 November 2014 - European lawmakers have voted to give EU member states the power to ban cultivation of genetically modified crops on their territory even if they have been approved by the 28-nation bloc. Tuesday's vote on genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, must still be converted into EU-wide law by the bloc's executive, the European Commission and national governments. (more)

India gets minister for yoga and traditional medicine
11 November 2014 - India has set up a ministry to promote alternative therapies such as yoga and traditional ayurveda medicine, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on a mission to raise awareness and the appeal of home-grown health treatments. Modi has repeatedly called for greater use of India's health remedies and exercises, part of a push to promote traditional learning. (more)

APEC summit gets underway outside Beijing
10 November 2014 - A summit of 21 Asia-Pacific economies is underway outside Beijing amid China's efforts to boost its status as a regional leader in trade and finance. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin are among leaders joining Chinese President Xi Jinping at Tuesday's meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. (more)

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

Meditation sessions a hit in US Congress
12 November 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)

US Senator Harkin to deliver 2013 commencement address at Maharishi University of Management
3 April 2013 - Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, who has served in the United States Senate since 1985 and in the House of Representatives from 1975-1985, will deliver the 2013 commencement address at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, on 25 May. Known for his strong interest in alternative medicine and sustainability, Senator Harkin has visited the MUM campus twice. In 2004, when he was working on health care legislation, he came to learn more about the university's prevention-oriented wellness programme and the National Institutes of Health-funded research in natural medicine. He also visited the new Sustainable Living Center last August.

Coherence-creating conference of advanced meditators convenes in Brussels 'to support unity and stability in Europe' during EU summit
6 March 2013 - A four-day conference of advanced Transcendental Meditation practitioners is in progress in Brussels, Belgium--'to support unity and stability in Europe' during the current summit of European Union leaders, organizers said. Scientific research has found that large groups practising these advanced technologies of consciousness reduce social stress and create a measurable influence of coherence and harmony in the surroundings. Similar conferences held during EU summits last year had 'remarkable' effects, said Dr Stijn van den Bosch, director of the Transcendental Meditation programme in Belgium. The first was held in June during an important EU summit meeting about the financial crisis. 'Although expectations for a good outcome were very low, heads of state came to an agreement on the first day.' A news article commented, 'After 20 failed EU summits, here is finally one that has some good results.' (more)

Belgium: Transcendental Meditation group established to create coherence, harmony for EU
21 January 2013 - In Brussels, Belgium, where many key institutions of the European Union are based, a group of advanced Transcendental Meditation practitioners dedicated to supporting unity and stability in Europe has been established nearby in two adjacent, dignified city-centre buildings. The group's purpose is to create through their daily meditation practice an influence of coherence and harmony in the collective consciousness of Europe--one of many initiatives of Maharishi's Invincible Defence programmes in Belgium and other countries around the world. (more)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Guyana in political crisis after suspension of parliament
17 November 2014 - Guyana President Donald Ramotar's decision to suspend parliament to avoid a no-confidence motion against him has plunged the small former British colony into political crisis, as foes decry the President as a dictator. Opposition parties, which have a small legislative majority, last week demanded a no-confidence vote to protest spending of some $22.5 million without parliamentary approval on items ranging from school stipends to an airport expansion project. That followed years of complaints that the government has refused to provide details on millions of dollars in spending on infrastructure projects. Perched on the shoulder of Latin America, Guyana has a population of only 740,000 people. Much of the country is covered in dense jungle, the site of some both legal and clandestine gold, diamond, and bauxite mining. It also produces sugar and timber. Since gaining independence in 1966, Guyana has struggled with ethnic tensions between Guyanese of Indian and African descent. (more)

Nearly 36 mln people are slaves, Qatar in focus: global index
17 November 2014 - Almost 36 million people are living as slaves across the globe with an index on Monday listing Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Qatar, and India as the nations where modern-day slavery is most prevalent. (more)

Rohingya relatives says thousands missing in boats en route to Malaysia
15 November 2014 - Thousands of Rohingya boat people who have left Myanmar in the past month have yet to reach their destinations, say relatives and an advocacy group for the persecuted minority, raising fears their boats have been prevented from reaching shore. The boat people are headed for Malaysia, but most transit through Thailand, where smugglers and traffickers hold them at jungle camps near the Malaysian border until relatives pay ransoms to secure their release. About 460 boat people were found and detained by the Thai authorities in November, but thousands more have not made landfall or contacted relatives after what is usually a five-day voyage. 'Where are they?' said Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, which plots migration across the Bay of Bengal. 'We have become very concerned.' (more)

Ukraine says rebels get reinforcements, shelling batters truce
11 November 2014 - Kiev accused separatists of preparing for renewed conflict in east Ukraine on Tuesday by bringing in 'Russian mercenaries' and rearming as heavy shelling increased strains on a crumbling ceasefire. Shelling around Donetsk, the main rebel stronghold, and artillery exchanges elsewhere punctured a truce that has been violated by what Kiev says are armed Russian incursions, and what the rebels call a new offensive by government forces. Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the rebels had beefed up positions around the port city of Mariupol in the southeast, control of which would open up roads to territory in southern Ukraine that some Western leaders say Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes to claim. The ceasefire agreed on 5 September was intended to end a conflict that has killed more than 4,000 people since the separatists rose up in the mainly Russian-speaking east against the Western-looking government in Kiev. Russia has denied providing the rebels with military support. A Reuters correspondent saw a convoy of about 50 military trucks without insignia on Tuesday carrying equipment such as artillery guns and missile-launchers near Makiivka, on the eastern outskirts of Donetsk. The OCSE also reported a sighting of what appeared to be the same convoy. (Organization for Security and Cooperation, a body that includes Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and Western European countries) (more)

Drug cartels find Argentina attractive transit way
10 November 2014 - The interception of a drug shipment earlier this year called attention to a worrying trend in Argentina, the increasing use of its roads and ports as a trade route for cocaine and other drugs bound for markets in the US, Europe, and beyond. Bordered by long stretches of sparsely developed land to its north and west, and 3,100 miles (nearly 5,000 kilometers) of Atlantic coastline on the east, Argentina is proving attractive for traffickers exporting cocaine from neighbouring Bolivia and from nearby Peru, which in 2012 surpassed Colombia to become the world's biggest cocaine producer. The rising use of Argentina as a passageway is also leading to greater consumption within the country, fuelling growing violence between gangs battling to control turf and markets. (more)

Worst east Ukraine shelling for month; ceasefire looks in doubt
9 November 2014 - East Ukraine's rebel stronghold Donetsk was pummelled on Sunday by the heaviest shelling in a month, and the OSCE said it spotted an armoured column of troops without insignia in rebel territory that Kiev said proved Moscow had sent reinforcements. A two-month-old ceasefire to end a war that has killed 4,000 people has appeared shakier than ever in the past few days, with each side accusing the other of having violated the terms of the peace plan. Ukraine's military said its standoff with the Russian-backed separatists in the east had intensified in the past week, which saw the rebels swear in new leaders after elections the government says violated the terms of the truce pact. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) operates in East Ukraine with the blessing of all sides and is widely seen as neutral. Its statement that it spotted an unidentified armoured column in rebel territory helps support Kiev's position that Moscow has been sending in reinforcements to protect separatist enclaves the Kremlin now refers to as 'New Russia'. Although Russia blames the crisis on Kiev and the West, NATO has said it has overwhelming evidence that Russia has aided the rebels militarily in the conflict. (more)

Mexican meth increasingly supplanting at-home labs in US
8 November 2014 - America's Heartland is ridding itself of the scourge of homemade methamphetamine, with lab seizures down by nearly half in many high-meth states. There is no cause to celebrate: Meth use remains high, but people are increasingly turning to cheaper, imported Mexican meth rather than making their own. Mexican cartels have upped their meth-making. At first, the Mexican meth was aimed mainly at big cities and suburbs. Now the imported drug has even reached rural areas. 'The great news is that meth from Mexico doesn't explode, doesn't burn down your house and your neighbour's home, doesn't contaminate your property, doesn't kill children the way meth labs have done here in the US for decades,' said Jason Grellner, the chief narcotics officer in Franklin County, Missouri. The US Drug Enforcement Administration's website lists thousands of homes contaminated by meth. One only needs to go to the morgue to know that, despite fewer lab busts, the meth problem isn't going away. (more)

US: Chef, 90, faces jail, fines for feeding the homeless
8 November 2014 - For decades, 90-year-old Arnold Abbott has hauled pans filled with food onto a south Florida beach park to feed hundreds of homeless people. For his good deeds, Mr Abbott finds himself facing up to two months in jail and hundreds of dollars in fines after new laws that restrict public feeding of the homeless went into effect in Fort Lauderdale, Florida earlier this year. He was first cited last Sunday, along with two clergymen and a volunteer from his nonprofit, Love Thy Neighbor. On Wednesday, several police cars waited for Abbott at a downtown Fort Lauderdale park, and officers pulled aside the frail man, clad in a white chef's coat, soon after the first plates were ready to be served. At least 57 cities in the US have limited or banned public feeding. A widely agreed-upon solution -- giving the longtime homeless beds as they work their way into treatment programmes -- is too costly for many municipalities that struggle with homelessness. (more)

US: Showdown looms as California eyes pesticides
8 November 2014 - With organic food growers reporting double-digit growth in US sales each year, producers are challenging a proposed California pest-management programme they say enshrines a pesticide-heavy approach for decades to come, including compulsory spraying of organic crops at the state's discretion. (more)

AP Exclusive: Myanmar profits off Rohingya exodus
6 November 2014 - Small wooden boats leave the shores of western Myanmar nearly every day, overloaded with desperate Rohingya Muslims who are part of one the largest boat exoduses in Asia since the Viet Nam War. Helping them on their way: Myanmar's own security forces, who are profiting off the mass departure of one of the world's most persecuted minorities by extracting payments from those fleeing. A report to be released Friday, 7 November by the Bangkok-based advocacy group Fortify Rights, and reporting by The Associated Press, indicate the practice is far more widespread and organized than previously thought, with Myanmar naval boats going so far as to escort asylum seekers out sea, where larger ships operated by transnational criminal networks wait to pick them up (more)

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