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India: Maharashtra Chief Minister Fadnavis asks police personnel to practice yoga asanas
27 January 2015 - Acknowledging the stress and pressure faced by policemen during duty hours, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday asked the officials to make yoga a part of their lives as it brings positive energy to the body and mind. 'I think yoga is essential for every individual. I am confident that after the workshop, the participants will feel nice and find a change in themselves,' Fadnavis said after inaugurating a one-day yoga workshop for Mumbai Police at Prena Hall in south Mumbai. (more)

Modi, Barack share hugs and laughter as between 'two old friends'
27 January 2015 - Several hours before United States President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the plan to set up a hotline between the two of them, it was clear that their conversations had already been warm and crackling with chemistry. As Air Force One touched down in Delhi on Sunday, PM Modi appeared on the tarmac. In a break from protocol -- a break that former PM Manmohan Singh had made for former US President Bush in 2006 and President Obama in 2010 as well -- PM Modi personally greeted Mr Obama as he alighted from the plane. The two leaders then chatted, as old friends would: even though they first met only four months ago; this is their fourth meeting since then. (more)

Obama and Modi: Best moments (with CNN video)
26 January 2015 - US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are pals, if you haven't heard. The pair have 'chemistry', according to the White House and Indian officials. They've shared impromptu strolls on the National Mall and, on Sunday, a long meander through a New Delhi rose garden. Indian weavers are hurriedly piecing together saris as gifts for the First Lady. And local television networks are running entire pieces speculating the two leaders might take a selfie. Here's a highlight reel of social media's favorite Obama and Modi broments so far: (more)

President Obama chief guest at India's Republic Day Parade (CNN video)
26 January 2015 - President Obama received an unprecedented honor during his high-profile visit to India. CNN's Sumnima Udas reports. (more)

Lauded as hero in Paris attack, Malian man made French citizen
25 January 2015 - The Malian grocery worker hailed as a hero for saving hostages' lives when an Islamist militant attacked a kosher supermarket in Paris this month was made a French citizen on Tuesday. Lassana Bathily, 24, was joined by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Prime Minister Manuel Valls in a packed naturalization ceremony. 'I am so happy to get dual nationality,' said a smiling Bathily, who also received a medal for his actions. (more)

Obama, Modi declare era of 'new trust' in US-India relations
25 January 2015 - President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday declared an era of 'new trust' in the often fraught relationship between their nations as the US leader opened a three-day visit to New Delhi. From the start, the day was more about putting their personal bond on display. Obama later told reporters that Modi's 'strong personal commitment to the US-India relationship gives us an opportunity to further energize these efforts.' Modi was as effusive. He called Obama by his first name and said 'the chemistry that has brought Barack and me closer has also brought Washington and Delhi closer.' (more)

President Obama arrives in India (Reuters video)
25 January 2015 - US President Barack Obama arrives in New Delhi. Rough cut video (no reporter narration) (more)

President Obama arrives in India ahead of Republic Day (Reuters video)
25 January 2015 - US President Barack Obama arrives in India ahead of National Day celebrations. (more)

President Obama's India itinerary after arrival in New Delhi
25 January 2015 - President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama arrived in New Delhi on Sunday morning ahead of schedule to start a three-day visit to the country to showcase what his administration sees as a deepening relationship between the United States and India. Mr. Obama was invited to India as chief guest for the country's Republic Day celebrations on Monday. Before that his schedule will be taken up with talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a state dinner at the Presidential Palace, among other things. Here is Sunday's schedule in full: (more)

US President Obama arrives in India; set for talks with PM Narendra Modi
25 January 2015 - US President Barack Obama has arrived in India on a three-day visit. In a departure from protocol, Prime Minister Narendra Modi received President Obama, who was accompanied by his wife Michelle and a high-level delegation, at the Palam airport. Modi and Obama hugged each other, reflecting their personal chemistry. Obama will be the first US President to grace the Republic Day parade as the Chief Guest on Monday. (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

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)

Top news of 2014 left public grasping for answers
20 December 2014 - From Ukraine to the Middle East, from the Ebola threat to racial tensions in the United States, many of the top news stories fed into a growing sense of frustration. Many of this year's biggest stories were rooted in far-flung locales, but their impact kept rippling. That was certainly the case with the conflict over Ukraine, stretching back to President Victor Yanukovych's ouster in February. When Russia filled the vacuum by grabbing the Crimean peninsula and working with militants bent on taking more territory from the western-leaning government, it set off a standoff reminiscent of the Cold War. In 2014, Ukraine kept a lasting place in the headlines but was hardly an exception. Violence in the Middle East once again took command of the headlines, sometimes in ways that shocked even a public numbed by the region's tense history. In late October, Peter Foley, an Australian coordinating the hunt for the vanished Malaysia Airlines jet, faced questions about its direction. 'We are in for the long haul,' Foley said. He was referring only to the searchers and their role in trying to bring resolution to a singular conundrum. But he could just as well have been speaking about the challenges raised by any one of numerous news events in 2014, a year when making sense of the headlines required patience, but did little to reward it. (more)

More air strikes near eastern Libyan oil port and border to Tunisia
16 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
16 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)

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