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Key dates in US relations with Cuba
17 December 2014 - Following are key events in US-Cuba relations from the start: Fidel Castro's rebels take power as dictator Fulgencio Batista flees Cuba on 1 January 1959. The United States soon recognizes the new government. But relations begin to sour as Americans criticize summary trials and executions of Batista loyalists. (more)

President Obama: US re-establishing relations with Cuba
17 December 2014 - President Barack Obama announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba on Wednesday and declared an end to America's 'outdated approach' to the communist island in a historic shift aimed at ending a half-century of Cold War enmity. 'These 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked,' President Obama said in remarks from the White House. It's time for a new approach.' (more)

US, Cuba plan restored relations after 50 years of hostility
17 December 2014 - The United States plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba more than 50 years after they were severed, a major policy shift after decades of hostile ties with the communist-ruled island, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday. Announcing the end of what he called a 'rigid' policy of isolation of Cuba that had been ineffective, President Obama said the United States planned to move toward normal ties and would open an embassy in Cuba. (more)

14 cities get Bloomberg 'innovation team' grants
15 December 2014 - Fourteen cities ranging from Long Beach, California, to Jerusalem are getting up to $3 million from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's foundation to create 'innovation teams' to jump-start new approaches to poverty, public safety, job growth, and other issues, the foundation announced Monday. The Bloomberg Philanthropies grants range from $400,000 to $1 million annually for three years, expanding and internationalizing awards to five US cities in 2011. (more)

EU seeks to end misleading food labels from Saturday
12 December 2014 - EU shoppers and restaurant-goers should know more about what they are eating under EU labelling law that takes effect from Saturday to protect allergy-sufferers, promote healthier eating, and give consumers an informed choice. Members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum welcomed the rules as marking the end of misleading information. (more)

South Africa to announce 1,000 MW of renewable energy contracts
12 December 2014 - South Africa will announce a series of renewable energy projects on Monday that will add 1,000 megawatts (MW) of power into the country's constrained electricity grid, sources close to the deals told Reuters. All projects should be constructed within two years, and by 2017 their first power should be feeding into the grid, the government official said. (more)

US: Paul Revere's 1795 time capsule unearthed
12 December 2014 - Paul Revere hasn't stirred up this much anticipation in Boston since his midnight ride from Charlestown to Lexington. More than two centuries later, a recently unearthed time capsule he buried with fellow revolutionary Samuel Adams -- the man whom Revere was riding to see that night to warn that the British were coming -- has got his former city, state, and most of the Internet abuzz. (more)

US: Paul Revere's time capsule unearthed in Boston
12 December 2014 - A centuries-old time capsule buried by Paul Revere, an icon of the American Revolutionary War, was unearthed during repairs at the Massachusetts State House in Boston this week, Secretary of State William Galvin said on Friday. The box-shaped capsule from 1795 has not yet been opened. Revere is best known for alerting Colonial fighters to the approach of British Forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775. (more)

Workers just unearthed a centuries-old time capsule buried by Paul Revere
12 December 2014 - A chance discovery by a group of repairmen in Boston has led to the unearthing of a centuries-old time capsule, believed to have been buried there in the 1790s by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. The antique time capsule, which had been placed in a cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House, was discovered this week when workers who had been repairing a water leak at the building stumbled upon it, CNN reports. The time capsule is believed to have first been buried at the State House in 1795 by Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, who was the Governor of Massachusetts at the time. It's thought to be one of the oldest time capsules in the United States. (more)

Flights between Serb and Croat capitals to resume
11 December 2014 - Air Serbia says it will resume flights between Belgrade and Zagreb on Friday after a 23-year break. Flights between the Serbian and Croatian capitals were discontinued in 1991 because of the war between the two former Yugoslav republics. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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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.
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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.
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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)


Flops
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More air strikes near eastern Libyan oil port and border to Tunisia
17 December 2014 - Libya's recognized government conducted air strikes against rival government forces trying to seize major oil ports in the east and against targets in the west on Monday, witnesses said. Libya has had two governments and parliaments since a group called Libya Dawn seized the capital Tripoli in August. The recognized Prime Minister, Abdullah al-Thinni, was forced to withdraw to the east. Both sides are allied to brigades which helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and now vie for political power and a share of the vast oil reserves in a conflict Western powers fear might tear apart the North African country. (more)

UN Sahel envoy says Libya turmoil could destabilize neighbours
17 December 2014 - The United Nations special envoy to the Sahel region said on Monday talks to resolve a crisis in Libya had stalled and warned several countries in the region risked being destabilized unless it was resolved quickly. Libya has two governments competing for legitimacy since a group called Libya Dawn seized Tripoli in August, forcing the internationally recognized Prime Minister, Abdullah al-Thinni, to the eastern city of Tobruk, spurring fears of a civil war for control of the country's vast oil reserves. (more)

US: Hanford waste storage tanks continue to deteriorate
16 December 2014 - Underground nuclear waste storage tanks on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation continue to deteriorate, raising questions about how the wastes will be managed in the future, according to a report released Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office. Hanford, located near Richland in eastern Washington, contains 177 nuclear waste tanks, some of which have leaked. The nation's largest collection of radioactive waste is left over from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons. The GAO (Government Accountability Office) report said that both the older single-walled tanks and newer double-walled tanks are deteriorating. (more)

Tens of thousands dead in South Sudan conflict: UN
15 December 2014 - Tens of thousands of people have died in South Sudan during one year of warfare and the country's leaders are putting their 'personal ambitions' ahead of the nation's future, the UN secretary-general said Monday. A year ago Monday fighting broke out in South Sudan's capital, Juba, and spiraled across the country. The UN says more than 1.9 million people have been displaced by the warfare, battles that often pit fighters loyal to President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, against those who support former Vice President Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer. (more)

Drug violence, climate change create ceaseless wave of Latin American refugees
10 December 2014 - Drug-fueled gang violence and extreme weather linked to climate change are forcing tens of thousands of people in Latin America to flee their homes every year, according to Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council. In the past, it was dictatorships, coups, and civil wars that drove people from their homes in Central America, Haiti, and other parts of Latin America. But these days rampant gang violence and drug turf wars are uprooting growing numbers of people from Mexico, Colombia, and Central America. Gang violence as a leading cause of displacement came under the spotlight after nearly 70,000 children travelling alone -- mostly from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala -- were caught crossing the US border with Mexico this year, more than double the number apprehended in 2012. Local street gangs, known as maras, control entire neighbourhoods through extortion, sexual violence against girls and women, threats, killings, and forced recruitment. (more)

US: Federal judge rules Big Island GMO law invalid, pre-empted by state, federal law
26 November 2014 - A Hawaii County law restricting genetically engineered crops is invalid, a federal judge said in an order issued Wednesday. US Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren's decision is similar to his earlier ruling invalidating Kauai County's law on pesticides and genetically modified crops. He's the same magistrate judge who is handling a lawsuit against Maui County's new law banning the cultivation of genetically modified organisms. (more)

Trafficking in children on the rise, says new UN report
24 November 2014 - One in three known victims of human trafficking is a child, and girls and women are particularly targeted and forced into 'modern slavery', according to the 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, released on 24 November by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna. 'Unfortunately, the report shows there is no place in the world where children, women, and men are safe from human trafficking,' said UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov. 'Official data reported to UNODC by national authorities represent only what has been detected. It is very clear that the scale of modern-day slavery is far worse,' he added. (more)

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)

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