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British Columbia to lead Canada with 3 per cent growth this year
27 February 2015 - British Columbia will lead the country in economic growth this upcoming year, according to a forecast from the Conference Board of Canada. British Columbia is also the only province to post a surplus budget so far this year. (more)

UK: Queen Elizabeth marks 800th anniversary of Magna Carta (Reuters video)
26 February 2015 - Queen Elizabeth inspected a copy of the Magna Carta at a reception marking the document's 800th anniversary. Though it's centuries old -- the legal principles outlined in the document helped inspire the British and US Constitutions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The four surviving original copies were displayed together for the first time at London's British Museum earlier this month. To watch video see: (more)

India: Vastu expert made Telangana government adviser
23 February 2015 - Telangana is all set to become a vaastu compliant state with an expert in the ancient art taking charge as an advisor to the government on Monday. Suddala Sudhakara Teja will assume charge as an 'advisor on architecture' to the government. 'Vaastu is a time-tested branch of science, and by adopting it properly we can bring in efficiency to the system ensuring success. My job is to align the systems and process with the principles of vaastu so that the governance is effective and vibrant,' Mr Teja told The Times of India. (more)

Malawi bans child marriage, lifts minimum age to 18
17 February 2015 - Malawi has passed a law banning child marriage, raising the minimum age to 18 in a country where half of girls end up as child brides. Women rights campaigners hailed the move as 'a great day for Malawian girls' and said the law would help boost development in one of the world's poorest countries. (more)

US: Portland to generate electricity within its own water pipes
17 February 2015 - There's a lot of water constantly moving through the municipal pipelines of most major cities. While the water itself is already destined for various uses, why not harness its flow to produce hydroelectric power? Well, that's exactly what Lucid Energy's LucidPipe Power System does, and Portland, Oregon has just become the latest city to adopt it. (more)

Canada marks 50th anniversary of Maple Leaf flag (with video)
15 February 2015 - The reminiscences of a former Prime Minister who witnessed the emotional flag debates of the 1960s helped mark the 50th anniversary of the distinctive red-and-white emblem. Former Prime Minister Jean Chretien joined Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on Sunday to celebrate the milestone. 'The Canadian flag is a symbol of the values of peace, democracy, freedom, and justice that define and unite us as Canadians,' Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement. (more)

Sri Lanka's new President makes India his first visit abroad
15 February 2015 - Sri Lanka's new leader is underlining India's importance as a regional ally by making it his first official foreign destination as President, following years of uneasy relations with New Delhi and international pressure to speed up post-civil war reconciliation efforts at home. President Maithripala Sirisena's four-day visit, beginning with his arrival Sunday evening, has been welcomed by Indian officials. (more)

Canada: Ottawa gives Toronto $86M to help combat homelessness
13 February 2015 - Canada's federal government is offering a financial hand to Toronto's homeless. Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced the government will be providing just over $86 million to the city to help provide housing for the city's most vulnerable. The funding is part of a five-year plan to help combat homelessness, and the city will decide how it will be used. According to Toronto Mayor John Tory, funding from the federal programme helped the city launch the Streets to Homes programme in 2005. He said it has helped thousands of people, who have been able to settle in permanent housing since then. (more)

Germany returns books worth 2.5 million euros stolen from Italian libraries
13 February 2015 - German authorities on Friday returned 500 historical books including original works by Renaissance scientists Galileo Galilei and Nicolaus Copernicus, stolen from Italian libraries three years ago, to Naples prosecutors. (more)

Montreal lands Future Earth bureau
13 February 2015 - Montreal has landed an international secretariat coordinating research on climate change and sustainable development. Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre announced at a news conference in Montreal on 13 February that the city will be home to the main programme office of Future Earth, which has a mission to support research and the shift toward sustainability. (more)

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

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)

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

US approves first biotech apple that resists browning
13 February 2015 - US regulators on Friday approved what would be the first commercialized biotech apple, rejecting efforts by the organic industry and other GMO critics to block the new fruit. The US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved two genetically engineered apple varieties designed to resist browning that have been developed by the Canadian company Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. (more)

Drug abuse in Iran rising despite executions, police raids
12 February 2015 - Officials say methamphetamine production and abuse of hard drugs are skyrocketing in Iran despite potentially lethal criminal penalties for users if they are caught. The increase is partly because Iran is the main gateway for the region's top drug exporter, Afghanistan -- and partly because Iranian dealers are profiting so handsomely. Anti-narcotics and medical officials say more than 2.2 million of Iran's 80 million citizens already are addicted to illegal drugs, including 1.3 million on registered treatment programmes. They say the numbers keep rising annually, even though use of the death penalty against convicted smugglers has increased, too, and now accounts for more than nine of every 10 executions. (more)

US: Research misconduct often unreported in published studies
9 February 2015 - When US health regulators find serious problems with how medical researchers collect their data, the researchers' final reports often don't mention it, a new analysis suggests. Out of 78 published papers reporting on clinical trials in which the US Food and Drug Administration found very serious issues, only three mentioned any violations, the new report says. (more)

Constitution move pushes Nepal deeper into political turmoil
25 January 2015 - Nepal's ruling coalition on Sunday took a step toward drafting a new constitution, angering the opposition and pushing the Himalayan country further into political turmoil. Opposition members in the Constituent Assembly protested noisily behind rows of security personnel in parliament as Speaker Subash Nemwang ignored them and announced a proposal committee would proceed with voting on the constitution. The opposition parties reacted immediately to Sunday's announcement, vowing street protests against the speaker and the government. A general strike last week shut down businesses and schools and several vehicles were torched. (more)

Yemen suffers power vacuum after President, Premier quit
23 January 2015 - Yemen drifted deeper into political limbo on Friday after President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi resigned in exasperation at a Houthi rebel takeover of the country, a move that appeared to catch the Iran-backed group off balance. His resignation on Thursday startled the Arabian Peninsula country of 25 million, where the Houthis emerged as the dominant faction by seizing Sanaa in September and dictating terms to a humiliated Hadi, whom they had held as a virtual prisoner at his home residence clashes with security guards this week. 'The United States is troubled by reports of President Hadi and his cabinet's resignation,' State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. 'At this time, it is critical that all sides avoid violence.' (more)

US: Probe finds NYC jail guards hired despite arrests, gang ties
15 January 2015 - A yearlong New York City probe of jail hiring practices released Thursday points out problems with the recruiting, hiring, and screening of guards who work in the city's jails. The investigation found systemic problems with the Department of Correction hiring system, including no recruiting strategy for the past six years, which allowed an alarmingly high number of hires who had arrest records, gang ties, or other red flags that are markers for corruption. (more)

Agonizing, lonely search for missing kids in China
27 December 2014 - In the grainy video, Zhang Xiuhong can see her daughter ride her bike down a country road on her way to school one spring afternoon six years ago. In the next shot, Yao Li rides down a driveway a few moments after her classmates walk by. Then, the pictures stop: The 15-year-old disappeared just minutes after that surveillance footage was taken, leaving only a shoe as a clue in a nearby ditch. Zhang and her husband have since searched all over China for Yao Li, hoping to rescue her from a child trafficking industry that swallows up thousands of boys and girls every year. Along the way, the couple have also been harassed, arrested, and jailed repeatedly by police who accuse them of stirring up trouble by joining with other parents and taking their search to the streets. (more)

Abandoned asbestos mines still a hazard in India
22 December 2014 - Asbestos waste spills in a gray gash down the flank of a lush green hill above tribal villages in eastern India. Three decades after the mines were abandoned, nothing has been done to remove the enormous, hazardous piles of broken rocks and powdery dust left behind. In Roro Village and other settlements below, people who never worked in the mines are dying of lung disease. Yet in a country that treats asbestos as a saviour that provides cheap building materials for the poor, no one knows the true number and few care to ask. Asbestos makes up as much as 14.3 per cent of the soil around Roro Village, analysis of samples gathered by The Associated Press showed. Neither the government nor the Indian company that ran the mines from 1963 to 1983 has made any move to clean up the estimated 700,000 tonnes of asbestos tailings and debris left scattered across several kilometers (miles) of hilly mining area. India keeps no statistics on how many people have been sickened or died from exposure to asbestos, which industry and many government officials insist is safe when mixed with cement. Western medical experts strongly disagree. The World Health Organization and more than 50 countries, including the US and all of Europe, say it should be banned in all forms. Asbestos fibres lodge in the lungs and cause many diseases. 'My greatest concern is what will happen in India. It's a slow-moving disaster, and this is only the beginning,' said Philip Landrigan, a prominent New York epidemiologist. (more)

US: EPA coal ash standards a setback for environmental groups
22 December 2014 - Six years ago, there was a massive spill of coal ash sludge in Tennessee. Three years later, tonnes of coal ash swept into Lake Michigan. Last February, there was another spill and gray sludge spewed into the Dan River in North Carolina. With each disaster, environmentalists sounded alarms and called for the byproduct of burning coal to be treated as hazardous waste. On Friday, US Environmental Protection Agency released the first standards for the coal-burning waste, but they were hardly what environmental groups were hoping for. (more)

Iraq's Shiite fighters desert over shortages
20 December 2014 - Abu Murtada al-Moussawi answered the call last summer from Iraq's top Shiite cleric to help save the country from the Islamic State group, but after less than three months on the front lines he and several friends returned home because they had run out of food. 'The government's negligence toward us has created bitterness among the volunteer fighters risking their lives in order to protect the country,' said Hassan Saleh, owner of a cafe in Sadr City, who took part in battles against the IS group north of Baghdad in September. (more)

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