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Indian state steps up hunt for mythical glow-in-the dark plant
28 July 2016 - A state in northern India is about to embark on a multimillion-pound search in the Himalayas for a mythical plant believed to hold life-saving properties. Uttarakhand is committing 250m rupees of state money to hunt for the the herb sanjeevani booti, which is credited in the ancient [Vedic] text the Ramayana with restoring life to Rama's brother Lakshman. Ancient texts say the plant has life-restoring properties, grows in the high mountains of the Himalayas, and glows in the dark. (more)

US: California governor signs bill to require registration of 'ghost guns'
26 July 2016 - California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on Friday, 22 July, a bill to require anyone planning to build a homemade firearm to first obtain a serial number for the weapon and submit to a background check, his office said in a statement. The legislation signed by the Democratic governor of the country's most populous state follows his signing earlier this month of a sweeping package of gun control bills. (more)

With the creation of an all-Africa passport, a push toward African unity?
26 July 2016 - The African Union is set to launch a common electronic passport that would grant visa-free travel to all of its 54 member-states, a move that hits at the organization's long-running goal, of more closely linking nations from across the continent. 'The passport is a way to deepen the integration of Africa as one continent,' says Rita Kiki Edozie, who coauthored a book about the AU, which replaced the earlier OAU in 2002. (more)

Iran: UN chief hails Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as 'historic achievement'
21 July 2016 - In a statement on Wednesday, the UN chief congratulated Iran and the participants in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the first anniversary of the 'historic achievement' and commended progress made so far. On 20 July last year, the Council adopted resolution 2231 (2015), endorsing the JCPOA under which Iran pledged that it would not seek, develop, or acquire nuclear weapons. (more)

US: Obama administration offers EV charging loan guarantees
21 July 2016 - The White House on Thursday (21 July) said it was expanding a federal loan guarantee program to include companies building electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, part of a broader effort to boost electric vehicle sales. The Obama administration also unveiled a partnership with nearly 50 automakers, utilities, states, and electric vehicle charging companies to get more EVs and charging stations. (more)

India: Government to generate 146 MW of solar power at various airports
9 July 2016 - India's government on Saturday said that it plans to generate a total of 146 MW of solar power at various airports across the country. The ministry of civil aviation disclosed this information after a meeting to review the progress of energy and water conservation measures at Airports Authority of India's (AAI's) airports. According to the ministry, AAI has already installed solar power plants at 16 airports with a total capacity of 5.4 MW. (more)

US: San Francisco enacts broad ban on foam cups, coolers, toys
9 July 2016 - People in San Francisco won't be able to buy polystyrene foam coolers, kiddie pool toys, or packing peanuts after supervisors approved a measure in June that goes far beyond the prohibition on foam food carryout containers in effect in dozens of cities and counties. Environmentalist are cheering San Francisco's ban as the most comprehensive by a large U.S. jurisdiction on the cheap insulating foam that cushions goods and keeps drinks hot or cold. They say the lightweight plastic is extremely slow to decompose, and it pollutes waterways, harming marine life and birds. The San Francisco measure builds off a 2006 ordinance mandating food vendors and restaurants use recyclable or compostable carryout containers. That meant no puffy polystyrene. A 2015 study found 8 percent of microscopic particles found in the San Francisco Bay were identified as foam, likely from polystyrene products. Businesses are on board, said Jim Lazarus, a senior vice president at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. (more)

US gives tentative OK to flights to Cuba from 10 US cities
7 July 2016 - The U.S. government on Thursday tentatively approved scheduled commercial airline service to Havana from 10 American cities, further bridging the gulf between countries as close as an hour flight but long kept at a greater distance by the Cold War. The decision is another long stride in President Barack Obama's effort to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations. (more)

India's Modi calls Pakistan Premier on Eid, wishes him well post-surgery
6 July 2016 - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday, the Muslim holiday of Eid, to wish him a speedy recovery from surgery, a sign the two men remain in touch, despite fraught diplomatic relations. (more)

Party in the USA: America celebrates its independence
4 July 2016 - Americans aren't shy about celebrating their nation's birthday. Many places are rolling out long-established Independence Day traditions on Monday. Some Fourth of July highlights from around the country: President Barack Obama called America a 'miracle' that needs to be defended and nurtured on Monday during his final July Fourth celebration at the White House. In Philadelphia, where the Founding Fathers approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the national birthday celebration ran all day. (more)

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

Rio de Janeiro's elite police learning Transcendental Meditation in preparation for 2016 Olympics
24 November 2015 - With Olympic Games just a year ahead, the pressure is mounting on Rio de Janeiro police. Security has remained a major challenge in preparation for the grand international event. To prevent stress-induced burnout, last week a group of 400 Rio police officers started a course of Transcendental Meditation. An official explained that a policeman who is less stressed will have a better capacity to make decisions. If TM is proven to reduce the stress, the goal is to expand teaching the technique to the whole troop. The courses are supported by the David Lynch Foundation, which was founded to prevent and eradicate the effects of traumatic, toxic stress among at-risk populations. (more)

US: Women's Prison Association brings Transcendental Meditation to women with criminal justice involvement
28 October 2015 - The Women's Prison Association, a social service organization based in New York City that works with women at all stages of criminal justice involvement, has partnered with the David Lynch Foundation to offer Transcendental Meditation to clients and staff. One participant says, 'I meditate everyday, twice a day. I see the benefits everyday when dealing with my child or anyone else. I have more patience and understanding. I have more energy. Since meditation, my sugar levels have regulated (I am diabetic). It seems like everything has fallen into place. . . .' (more)

1001 Benefits of Transcendence
11 January 2015 - For the past five years, Blaze Compton and colleagues have been teaching inmates in several major US state prisons to practise Transcendental Meditation. 'Just 16 weeks of transcending is enough to begin a major reordering of the brain and nervous system to a more normal style of functioning that dramatically supports pro-social thinking and behavior,' he says. Mr Compton presents an extensive collection of research articles on TM ('1001 Benefits of Transcending'), 211 research institutions that have investigated TM, and 176 medical and scientific journals that have published research on the technique. (more)

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)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Brexit shockwaves hit British jobs, banks, automobiles
28 July 2016 - Shockwaves from Britain's vote to leave the European Union rocked the economy on Thursday, with thousands of jobs lost at one of the country's biggest banks, big extra costs for Ford, and consumer confidence plunging. (more)

Britain's economy wilting fast after Brexit vote
28 July 2016 - Britain's economy is shrinking, the broadest survey of business confidence since last month's historic vote to quit the European Union showed on Friday, 22 July. The flash, or preliminary, Markit survey of purchasing managers -- executives who make spending decisions at 1,250 big firms -- fell by the most in its 20-year history. (more)

US: 8 years after hope and change, voters are angry, anxious
16 July 2016 - Less than four months before Election Day, [a] sense of anger and anxiety runs deep with voters across the country. Trump and Clinton will each try to paint a rosy picture of life under their leadership during their back-to-back conventions, but it seems unlikely either can quickly shake Americans out of their bad mood. A stunning 79 percent of Americans now believe the country is heading in the wrong direction, a 15-point spike in the past year, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Voters are strikingly unhappy with the candidates who will be on the ballot this fall, with only 22 percent saying they would be proud to see Trump win and 27 percent to see Clinton. (more)

Boris Johnson: Britain's top envoy anything but diplomatic
14 July 2016 - He's insulted everyone from the President of the United States to the people of Papua New Guinea. Now the remarkably undiplomatic Boris Johnson, his political career miraculously revived, has become Britain's top diplomat. The reaction to his surprise appointment as foreign secretary in British Prime Minister Theresa May's new Conservative Cabinet has been swift and blunt: His French counterpart called him a liar, the Germans say he's irresponsible, and a British legislator believes it's the worst political appointment since Roman emperor Caligula made his horse a senator. And those are Britain's allies talking. 'I wish it was a joke but I fear it isn't,' former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt tweeted at the news of Johnson's appointment. (more)

Poll: In tumultuous summer, young Americans in a dour mood
13 July 2016 - In a summer of political and racial tumult, young Americans are in a dour mood: pessimistic about the fairness of their economic system, questioning the greatness of the United States, and deeply skeptical of the way the nation picks its leaders. A new poll of young people between the ages of 18 and 30 finds that an overwhelming 90 percent think the two-party political system has real -- though fixable -- problems or that it is 'seriously broken'. Though the new GenForward survey is a poll of all young people, not necessarily registered or likely voters, it nevertheless shows clear discontent with the two major-party candidates for President. Only 39 percent of young people have a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton. Just 19 percent think well of Donald Trump. (more)

Brexit prompts biggest drop in UK consumer morale in five years
8 July 2016 - British consumer morale suffered its biggest drop in more than five years after last month's decision by voters to leave the European Union, and surveys of recruitment firms and retailers also signalled a slowdown ahead. The GfK survey is one of the first clear signs that British households -- a key driver of the economy -- have been unsettled by the June 23 vote to quit the EU, which sparked political chaos and sent sterling to a 31-year low against the dollar. (more)

Brexit vote roils London real estate market
8 July 2016 - The EU referendum and its aftermath are striking fear in Britain's real estate markets. Britain's vote to leave the EU has raised concerns about an economic downturn as well as the possibility that some companies might have to move business to mainland Europe to retain access to the EU's single market. Those concerns saw investors rush to sell out of British commercial real estate this week. At least six investment firms suspended redemptions in their U.K. commercial real estate funds, and shares of publicly traded builders such as Land Securities Plc and Taylor Wimpey plunged. Demand for office space is expected to be hit hard, with banks and financial firms downsizing and moving staff to other nations in the bloc. Things are also unsettled in the housing market. (more)

UK left with power vacuum as UKIP leader latest to step down
4 July 2016 - Britain's Conservative Prime Minister is stepping down. The Labour Party leader is barely clinging to power. And now the head of the U.K. Independence Party, a key architect of the dramatic vote to leave the European Union, has resigned as well. It has left the country with a power vacuum just as someone needs to step up and own the talks on how Britain will exit the EU. The June 23 referendum results have ripped through British politics like a buzz saw, and it will likely be weeks before some clarity emerges. (more)

European Commission to extend glyphosate license for 18 months
28 June 2016 - The European Commission is extending by 18 months its approval for weed-killer glyphosate, used in Monsanto's Roundup, Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said on Tuesday. In the absence of any extension, manufacturers would have to phase out products containing the common herbicide within six months. (more)

Kids, teachers ditch school as crisis engulfs Venezuela
16 June 2016 - Education is no longer a priority for many poor and middle-class Venezuelans who are swept up in the all-consuming quest for food amid a wave of looting and riots. Frequent power and water cuts are disrupting classes, and schools have been closed on Fridays for about the last two months. Venezuela has released little hard data in recent times and does not participate in the globally recognized Program in International Student Assessment tests, so it is hard to gauge the state of education with statistical precision. (more)

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