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10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Signed contracts to buy US homes climb to 20-month high
31 March 2015 - More Americans signed contracts to buy homes in February, evidence that the spring buying season could open strong after sluggish sales for much of the winter. The upturn suggests a solid spring sales rebound, after a lackluster winter. But unlike last year when sales fell, the spring buying season opens after more than a year of robust hiring that has pulled the unemployment rate down to 5.5 percent, the lowest level in nearly seven years. (more)

Canada's New Brunswick province bans fracking, plans study
30 March 2015 - Lawmakers in New Brunswick voted on Thursday to prohibit fracking in the eastern Canadian province, committing to study the controversial method of extracting oil and gas for one year before reconsidering the ban in 2016. The province is the latest of several in eastern Canada, including Quebec, Labrador and Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia, to stop companies from fracking while they study its impact. Local environmental and indigenous groups worry hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a method that involves pumping water, sand, and chemicals deep into a well to extract oil or gas, could contaminate local water supplies. (more)

Zimbabwe capital turns to solar streetlights to cut costs, crime: TRFN
30 March 2015 - Harare City Council is installing solar-powered street lights that will illuminate the central business district at night, with plans to extend the project to other parts of Zimbabwe's capital city. The country is increasingly turning to the sun for its energy requirements, with the government hoping to build billion-dollar solar plants countrywide if it can find needed investment. (more)

Britain's greenhouse gas emissions down 8.4 per cent in 2014
28 March 2015 - Britain's greenhouse gas emissions fell 8.4 per cent in 2014 due to a decline in fossil-fuel power generation, preliminary government data showed on Thursday. The fall largely resulted from a 15 per cent decrease in emissions from the energy supply sector as coal-fired generation fell and output from renewable power sources rose. (more)

Canada: Ontario government seeks to reduce pesticide use by 80 per cent by 2017
28 March 2015 - In an effort to protect bees, birds, butterflies, and other pollinators, the Ontario government is seeking to reduce a specific class of pesticides by 80 per cent by 2017. On Monday, the provincial government announced its Pollinator Health Action Plan. The first step would be to change pesticide regulation, in particular reducing the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid pesticides. (more)

US: Ohio lawmakers pass bill to clean up Lake Erie
28 March 2015 - The Ohio General Assembly Wednesday passed a major new measure to clean up Lake Erie pollution and fight the harmful algal blooms that contaminated Toledo's water last summer. The bill focuses on reducing the amount of nutrients such as phosphorus which flow into the lake as rain runoff, feeding the growth of harmful algal blooms. (more)

China says it agrees with India to maintain border peace
25 March 2015 - China and India have agreed to maintain peace and tranquillity along their Himalayan border while they work on resolving a long-festering boundary dispute, China's foreign ministry said after talks in New Delhi. China's foreign ministry said in a statement released on Monday both countries would build on the results of previous negotiations and push forward in 'the correct direction'. (more)

Australia's biggest national park to be created
24 March 2015 - A five million hectare slice of Western Australia's Kimberley region will become the country's largest national park after the State Government struck a deal forever banning mining in the iconic Mitchell Plateau. Premier Colin Barnett said thanks to the agreement, the 'extraordinary' landscape would be preserved, delivering a major conservation outcome. (more)

Chinese city prepares to pump almost $800M into electric car incentives
24 March 2015 - Shenzhen city, which is home to Warren Buffett-backed Chinese electric-car maker BYD Auto, will provide as much as 5 billion yuan ($799 million) in government funding to spur demand for green vehicles, according to an official statement released recently. The statement says the fund will be used to subsidize purchasing of vehicles, to help reduce the cost of driving them, and to buy recharging infrastructure and develop regulations for Shenzhen, which is located just north of Hong Kong. It is one of the most crowded cities in the world, with more than 15 million inhabitants. (more)

Costa Rica uses 100% renewable energy for past 75 days. How are they doing it?
24 March 2015 - The entire country of Costa Rica is currently running on completely renewable energy and has been for 75 days now. The switch to renewable energy makes economic sense for Costa Rica, given that its primary industries are agriculture and tourism, particularly eco-tourism. Not only is renewable energy cheaper than ever, using it will help protect the nation's assets. The Central American nation aims to be carbon-neutral by 2021. (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

Boko Haram kills 41, prevents hundreds voting in Nigeria
29 March 2015 - Boko Haram extremists killed 41 people, including a legislator, and scared hundreds of people from polling stations in the northeast, but millions voted across Nigeria Saturday in the most closely contested presidential race in the nation's history. All the Boko Haram attacks took place in northeastern Nigeria, where the military Friday announced it had cleared the Islamic extremists from all major centers, including the headquarters of their so-called Islamic caliphate. (more)

Mental health vetting of pilots ineffective, US experts say
29 March 2015 - There is little effective, real-world screening of airline pilots for mental problems despite regulations in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere that say mental health should be part of their regular medical exams, pilots and safety experts said. A negative mental health evaluation would likely cause the FAA (U.S. Federal Aviation Administration) to withdraw the pilot's medical certificate, which means the pilot would no longer be able to fly. Pilots who suffer mild to moderate depression, for which there are many therapies and medications, risk jeopardizing their careers if they seek treatment and that becomes known to the FAA or their airline, said Doug Moss, a Boeing 777 pilot for a major airline. (more)

Museum attack in Tunisian capital kills 19; 2 gunmen slain
18 March 2015 - Foreign tourists scrambled in panic Wednesday after militants stormed a museum in Tunisia's capital and killed 19 people, 'shooting at anything that moved,' a witness said. At least 44 people were wounded. It was the deadliest attack on civilians in the North African country in 13 years. Tunisians overthrew their dictator in 2011 and kicked off the Arab Spring that spread across the region. While the uprising built a new democracy, the country has also struggled with economic problems and attacks by extremists. (more)

Europe swamped with crush of migrants arriving by land, sea
5 March 2015 - The European Union is immersed in a full-fledged migration crisis. Some officials are even floating the idea of a multinational border guard to deal with the hundreds of thousands arriving from war-torn countries like Syria, poor nations in Africa, and non-EU neighbors like Kosovo. Here's a look at Europe's migration crisis: (more)

Beijing residents gasp for fresh air in the city of smog (with Reuters video)
4 March 2015 - Millions of Chinese are paying the price for decades of red-hot economic growth that have lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty, but have taken a toll on the environment due to rapid industrialization. Over the past seven years, levels of particulate matter in Beijing's air smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) averaged nearly five times the recommended daily level set by the World Health Organization, according to data from a monitoring station at the US embassy. The medical implications of sustained exposure are sobering. (more)

One year on, China's 'war on pollution' still to be won (Reuters video)
3 March 2015 - Millions of Chinese are paying the price for decades of red-hot economic growth. In the face of increasing public anger at the state of China's battered environment last year the government 'declared war' on pollution at its key National People's Congress meeting. With this year's National People's Congress about to start, many are hoping the government's words will translate into cleaner skies. (more)

Russia: Nemtsov a possible 'sacrificial victim,' investigators say
28 February 2015 - Maybe it was Islamic extremists who killed Boris Nemtsov. Or someone offended by his love life. Or agents of a Western power that will stop at nothing to disfigure President Vladimir Putin's image and drive him from power. Russian investigators, politicians, and political commentators on state television on Saturday covered much ground in looking for the reason Nemtsov was gunned down in the heart of Moscow, but they sidestepped one possibility -- that he was murdered for his relentless opposition to Putin. Nemtsov, a charismatic Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Putin, was gunned down Saturday near the Kremlin. (more)

Russia: Nemtsov killing follows slaying of other Kremlin critics
28 February 2015 - Prominent Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov's killing follows the slaying over the past decade of several other high-profile critics of President Vladimir Putin and his policies. Here is a look at some of the best-known cases. (more)

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)

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