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Positive Trends
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China: Overgrown Beijing slaps new limits on industry in bid to cut smog
28 July 2014 - China's overgrown and smog-hit capital Beijing has passed new rules banning the expansion of polluting and resource-intensive industries, the local government said on Friday. In a list of restrictions published on its website, the municipal government said it would ban the further expansion of a wide range of industries, including food processing, textiles, construction materials, papermaking, chemicals, and oil refining. (more)

Spain: New King moves to clean up palace's image
28 July 2014 - Spain's royal palace accounts will be subject to external audits and the results made public under a series of measure ordered by new King Felipe VI in an apparent bid to clean up the royal family's tarnished image. A Palace statement said Monday that the measures include plans for a new code of good conduct, a ban on immediate royal family members working outside the Palace, and greater control of gifts received by the royal family. (more)

US President Obama renames Africa programme for Nelson Mandela
28 July 2014 - A programme designed to foster a new generation of young African leaders will be renamed after former South African President Nelson Mandela, the White House said Sunday. President Barack Obama, who has said he was one of the untold millions of people around the world who were inspired by Mandela's life, is set to announce the name change at a town hall-style event on Monday in Washington with several hundred young leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa. The youngsters are participating in the inaugural Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, part of the broader Young African Leaders Initiative that Obama launched in 2010 to support a new generation of leadership there. (more)

Which is the most satisfied city in Europe?
28 July 2014 - Residents of 79 cities were polled on what they thought about various aspects of their lives. The Guardian's interactive chart shows how many were satisfied with their city's healthcare, cleanliness, noise levels, and more. For example, Groningen, Netherlands was most satisfied with their healthcare while Braga, Portugal was most satisfied with their education and Oslo, Norway was happy with employment. (more)

Australia: Local Alice Springs police horses have new downtown treat
27 July 2014 - A new public water trough in Alice Springs has been purpose built for local police horses. Senior Constable Dean Elliott, from the Mounted Police Unit, says it's much needed addition. Senior Constable Elliott says it's a unique feature given few small Australian towns have a Mounted Police Unit. Constable John O'Brien says these days they are used to patrol the streets, and are an important part of community engagement. (more)

Australia: Sydney and Melbourne going green
27 July 2014 - Australia's biggest cities are setting ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions despite signs the Federal Government will wind back the Renewable Energy Target (RET). The review into the country's RET is expected to make its recommendations next week. But when it comes to going green, Melbourne and Sydney are on the same page and are determined to make it happen, whatever direction Canberra takes. (more)

Canada: Crime rate down to lowest levels since 1969 in 2013
26 July 2014 - Statscan's police-reported crime statistics for last year, released Wednesday morning, show overall declines in crime rates, the Crime Severity Index (CSI), and most types of crime and violations. Among the findings, the national homicide rate fell to its lowest rate since 1966. (more)

China sees growth in cleaner environment
26 July 2014 - In what some might consider a surprising development, China -- currently the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide -- is emerging as a global leader in climate policy as it seeks to build a cleaner and more efficient economy. (more)

Britain to award £200 million in first renewable power auctions
24 July 2014 - Britain will offer guaranteed payments worth more than 200 million pounds ($340 million) a year to renewable projects in the first auction of contracts to help boost investment in low carbon power generation. The first auctions will be held in October and renewable firms will bid for the contracts, 'ensuring that new, clean electricity generation would be built at the lowest possible cost to energy consumers,' Ed Davey, Energy and Climate Change secretary said in a statement. (more)

Scotland: New marine protected areas unveiled
24 July 2014 - Seabirds, fish, and a large clam that can live for centuries are among the species that will benefit from 30 new marine protected areas, the Environment Secretary has announced. Approximately 20% of Scotland's seas are now in marine protected areas (MPAs) and the North East Faroe Shetland Channel is estimated to be the largest MPA in the European Union (EU). MPAs are designed to conserve a selection of marine species and habitats, and offer long-term support for the services the seas provide to society. (more)


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


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)

Great Britain most powerful, positively influential nation in the world, newspaper reports
19 January 2013 - A recent article in The Independent newspaper in Great Britain reported that the country is now considered to be the most powerful nation in the world. But this power is distinct from the military power that dominated in the past. The article states, 'For the first time, Britain has beaten the US to the top spot in an annual survey of global soft power. Coined by a Harvard academic in 1990, the term describes how countries use attraction and persuasion, rather than coercion or payment, to change behaviour.' (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Huge blaze out of control in Tripoli battle as Libya slides into chaos
28 July 2014 - A huge fuel depot in Libya's capital burned out of control on Monday, set ablaze in fighting between rival militias that has driven the country to chaos three years after the NATO-backed revolt that toppled Muammar Gaddafi. Combat over control of the nearby airport forced firefighters to withdraw, abandoning their attempts to extinguish the blaze ignited by a missile strike that hit millions of litres of fuel. Foreign governments have looked on powerless as anarchy sweeps across the North African oil producer. Western countries have urged their nationals to leave, shut their embassies and pulled diplomats out, after two weeks of clashes among rival factions of former rebels killed nearly 160 people in Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi. The Netherlands, the Philippines and Austria on Monday prepared to evacuate diplomatic staff. The United States, United Nations and Turkish embassies have already shut operations after the worst violence since the 2011 uprising. Two rival brigades of former rebels fighting for control of Tripoli International Airport have pounded each other's positions with Grad rockets, artillery fire, and cannons for two weeks, turning the south of the capital into a battlefield. (more)

Tiger, tiger, dying out - a majestic animal on its knees
28 July 2014 - Tigers once covered a vast stretch of Asia. They could be found in the tip of India, all the way across to Bali and even into eastern Turkey. Now they survive in a few pockets, primarily in India, South-east Asia, and here in Russia's eastern Primorsky region. Worldwide numbers are estimated at little more than 3,000. In every one of these locations, they are under mortal threat. A key reason is depressingly predictable: the demand for exotic animal parts. Partly this is for traditional medicines that have no recognised medicinal value. It is also for tiger pelts and tiger-bone wine seen as exotic luxury items. In Russia, local hunters can receive £10,000 for a dead tiger from the middlemen who smuggle it to the black markets across the Chinese border. In the 1940s, Russia had been the first country to grant the tiger full protection and an effective conservation effort allowed its numbers to grow. The collapse of the USSR saw that end almost overnight. Rangers' salaries were not paid, leading to their abandoning their posts, and Chinese traders looking for tiger parts moved north across the newly opened border. Illegal loggers also took their chainsaws to vast stretches of Korean pine forests, felling trees for the Asian markets. This decimated parts of the tigers' habitat and reduced the number of deer and wild boar that the big cats feed on. (more)

Global decline of wildlife linked to child slavery
26 July 2014 - Ecologists say the shortage of wild animals means that in many countries more labour is now needed to find food. Children are often used to fill this need for cheap workers, especially in the fishing industry. The decline in species is also helping the proliferation of terrorism, and the destabilisation of regions. The authors argue that the rapid depletion of species has increased the need for slave labour. Declining fisheries around the world mean boats often have to travel further in harsher conditions to find their catch. In Asia, men from Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand are increasingly sold to fishing boats where they remain at sea for many years, without pay and forced to work 18-20 hour days. This exploitation also happens in Africa, where people who once found their food in the neighbouring forests now travel for days to find prey. (more)

US: Appeals court rules FDA can continue allowing antibiotics in animal feed
26 July 2014 - A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the US Food and Drug Administration may continue its policy of allowing widespread antibiotic use in animal feed -- a practice believed by many to contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or superbugs. In a 2-1 ruling, the US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the FDA could reject two citizen petitions challenging the use of antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracyclines in feed for animals raised for human consumption, even when those animals are not sick. The decision Thursday is a reversal of a lower court ruling on a suit, filed by several consumer advocacy groups, that had called on the FDA to hold hearings reviewing new scientific evidence on the regular use of antibiotics in livestock feed. Despite a 1977 declaration that the widespread use of antibiotics in animal feed was unsafe, the FDA in 2011 rejected the two citizen petitions and opted not to hold the hearings, either. But a district court in New York in 2012 ruled on behalf of the National Resources Defence Council, the Centre for Science in the Public Interest and other groups that sued the agency, calling for a ban on use of antibiotics for food animals when they were not sick. However, the federal appeals court said Thursday that it was up to the FDA, not the courts, to decide how to deal with the problem. (more)

At least 15 killed by Israeli shelling of Gaza school; toll exceeds 760
24 July 2014 - Gazan authorities said Israeli forces shelled a shelter at a UN-run school on Thursday, killing at least 15 people as the Palestinian death toll in the conflict climbed over 760 and attempts at a truce remained elusive. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his horror at the attack on the school at Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza strip. 'Many have been killed -- including women and children, as well as UN staff,' he said in a statement. 'Circumstances are still unclear. I strongly condemn this act.' Ban later arrived to Cairo where he was expected to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been working the telephones to try to broker an elusive truce. Kerry's spokesman said the school attack incident 'underscores the need to end the violence'. (more)

French Jews living in fear, minister says
24 July 2014 - Many members of France's Jewish community are living in fear after pro-Palestinian protests in recent weeks were marred by violence and use of anti-Semitic language, the country's foreign minister said on Thursday. France has both the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in Europe and flare-ups in the Middle East have often in the past added to tensions between the two communities. 'Jews in France should not be afraid but many of them are afraid,' Laurent Fabius told France Inter radio after one listener called in to share her experiences of hearing anti-Semitic comments in public. Local media showed the burnt-down front of a kosher grocery shop in the heavily Jewish Parisian suburb of Sarcelles after a non-authorised protest on Sunday. The weekend before, marchers clashed with riot police outside two Paris synagogues. (more)

Gang violence, fears for children fuel rush to US
24 July 2014 - Many immigrants flooding across the southern border of the U.S. say they're fleeing violent gangs in Central America. Experts, however, say those gangs are actually a byproduct of US policies in the 1990s that sent many immigrants back to Central America after they had been indoctrinated into gang culture in this country. The violence they took with them easily took hold and flourished in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala -- countries with weak, dysfunctional governments. (more)

Myanmar Muslims in remote Rakhine suffer worsening health crisis
24 July 2014 - Since international aid groups were forced out of the area in February and March, members of the minority Muslim Rohingya community who relied on them say basic health care services have all but disappeared. Worst affected are those in Northern Rakhine State (NRS), home to most of Myanmar's 1.3 million Rohingya who are stalked by sickness and malnourishment and as yet untouched by reforms under a semi-civilian government which took power in 2011. Many people in and around the village of Inn Din, a collection of bamboo houses with thatched roofs and earthern floors a two-hour drive from NRS's biggest town Maungdaw, speak of disease and preventable death. The expulsion of international aid organisations stems from the violence that erupted across Rakhine state in 2012 between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, killing at least 200 people and displacing 140,000, most of them Rohingya. When Medecins Sans Frontieres-Holland said it had treated people it believed were victims of sectarian violence near Maungdaw in January, the government expelled the group for favouring Muslims. Myanmar denies the attack took place. (more)

Armed bandits demand water in dry northern India
21 July 2014 - Armed bandits in drought-stricken northern India are threatening to kill hundreds of villagers unless they deliver 35 buckets of water each day to the outlaws in their rural hideouts. Since the threats were delivered last week, 28 villages have been obeying the order, taking turns handing over what the bandits are calling a daily 'water tax,' police said Monday. 'Water itself is very scarce in this region. Villagers can hardly meet their demand,' officer Suresh Kumar Singh said by telephone from Banda, a city on the southern border of central Uttar Pradesh state and caught within what is known in India as bandit country. Though the number of bandits has declined drastically in recent decades, they are still common in the hard-to-reach forests and mountains of the Bundelkhand region. Banditry dates back some 800 years in India to when emperors still ruled. The area is cut off from supply lines, leaving the bandits reliant on surrounding villages. Since 2007, it has been starved for rain, with the yearly monsoon bringing only half the usual number of 52 rainy days a year. But while the bandits were once admired as caste warlords with a touch of Robin Hood about them, as they fought to protest feudal orders or to avenge personal wrongs, today's bandits are considered mostly opportunistic thugs seeking personal wealth and power. (more)

Bolivian president vows to expand coca crops
21 July 2014 - Bolivian President Evo Morales has been re-elected head of the country's largest union of coca growers and promises to expand crops if he wins a third term as the nation's leader. Morales told union members Sunday that Bolivia needs a new law regarding coca production. Current law allows nearly 30,000 acres of coca leaf to be grown for traditional use. One proposal would expand the permitted acreage, including in the Chapare region that is Morales' political base, to more than 49,000 acres. The United Nations, however, has estimated Bolivia already grows more than that, with nearly 57,000 acres believed dedicated to the crop last year. (more)

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