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India to ratify Paris Agreement on climate change
26 September 2016 - India's Prime Minister said Sunday that his country will ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change early next month. India accounts for around 4.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said this month that 60 countries accounting for about 48 percent of emissions had already joined the agreement. The Paris Agreement asks both rich and poor countries to take action to curb the rise in global temperatures that is melting glaciers, raising sea levels, and shifting rainfall patterns. On Sunday, Modi said global warming especially poses a threat to coastal countries and cities. (more)

Hopes high about 'once in a lifetime' chance to reunify Cyprus
25 September 2016 - The prospect of a breakthrough ending the decades-old division of Cyprus could be delivered at a much-anticipated meeting between the leaders of the island's two estranged communities. Reunification hopes are expected to be reinvigorated on Sunday when the president, Nicos Anastasiades, who heads Greeks in the south, and Mustafa Akıncı, who heads Turks in the north, hold talks in New York with the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon. That the meeting is taking place at all is a breakthrough in itself. (more)

Safety project cuts accidents on deadly Bangladesh highway
23 September 2016 - A pilot project that installed basic road safety infrastructure such as bus stops and speed bumps on one of the world's most dangerous highways -- the N2 between Dhaka and Sylhet in Bangladesh -- has cut road deaths by more than 60 per cent in the first year, according to a study. Almost 100 per cent of local people surveyed said they thought the road was safer than it had been before. (more)

US, others call for rapid phase-out of heat-trapping HFCs
22 September 2016 - The United States and other countries are ramping up pressure on world leaders to quickly phase out the use of a chemical contributing to global warming. The White House says more than 100 countries are calling for an 'early freeze date' for hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs. The freeze date is when nations must cap their use of HFCs, refrigerants that are more potent heat-trapping gases than carbon dioxide. (more)

Sweden plans green tax credits for home appliance repairs
20 September 2016 - Sweden's government plans to introduce tax breaks to make it more affordable to repair washers, dryers, and other home appliances as a way to reduce waste and protect the environment. The government also suggested lowering the value added tax for repairs of bicycles... The government also said it is investing nearly 13 billion kronor ($1.5 billion) in various measures to reduce emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases, including by promoting public transportation and cycling. (more)

Israel looks for firms to build its largest solar power facility
19 September 2016 - Israel is planning a tender for building its largest ever solar power facility, which will have a capacity of up to 500 megawatts, in the southern Negev desert. The photovoltaic (PV) field will be 'unprecedented' in size for Israel, covering about 6 square kilometers (2.3 square miles) of land near the town of Dimona, the Finance Ministry said in a statement on Monday. (more)

Sweden to give tax breaks for repairs
19 September 2016 - The Swedish government is introducing tax breaks on repairs to everything from bicycles to washing machines so it will no longer make sense to throw out old or broken items and buy new ones. Per Bolund, Sweden's minister for financial markets and consumer affairs, hopes the tax break on appliances will spur the creation of a new home-repairs service industry, providing much-needed jobs for new immigrants who lack formal education. (more)

East Germany's old mines transformed into new lake district
17 September 2016 - Despite a euro 2.2 billion regeneration programme, the Lusatian Lake District project, on land once occupied by the GDR's industrial heartland, remains relatively unknown to non-east Germans. So we took a tour ... The development of this region is one of the former GDR's biggest success stories, transforming what was once one of its primary lignite-producing areas into the largest artificial lakeland in Europe. (more)

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi to get humanitarian award
17 September 2016 - Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar will be honored as the 2016 humanitarian of the year by students and faculty at the Harvard Foundation. She will receive the foundation's Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award during a ceremony Saturday, 17 September. (more)

$5 billion pledged for ocean conservation at U.S. meeting: State Dept
16 September 2016 - More than 20 countries participating in a high-level oceans conference in Washington have pledged more than $5 billion for ocean conservation efforts, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby told a briefing on Friday, 16 September. The countries on Thursday joined together to create 40 new marine sanctuaries around the world to protect the oceans from the threat of climate change and pollution. (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.
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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)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


US Official: One-third of calls to VA suicide hotline roll over
26 September 2016 - More than one-third of calls to a suicide hotline for troubled veterans are not being answered by front-line staffers because of poor work habits and other problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to the hotline's former director. Some hotline workers handle fewer than five calls per day and leave before their shifts end, even as crisis calls have increased sharply in recent years, said Greg Hughes, the former director of the VA's Veterans Crisis Line. The crisis hotline received more than 500,000 calls last year, 50 times the number it received in 2007, the hotline's first year of operation. (more)

Yahoo hack steals personal info from at least 500M accounts
22 September 2016 - Computer hackers swiped personal information from at least 500 million Yahoo accounts in what is believed to be the biggest digital break-in at an email provider. The massive security breakdown disclosed Thursday (22 September) dates back to late 2014, raising questions about the checks and balances within Yahoo -- a fallen internet star that has been laying off staff to counter a steep drop in revenue during the past eight years. Yahoo didn't explain what took so long to uncover a breach that it blamed on a 'state-sponsored actor' -- parlance for a hacker working on behalf of a foreign government. (more)

Aid trucks hit by air strikes as Syria says ceasefire over
19 September 2016 - Air raids hit aid trucks near the city of Aleppo on Monday, a monitoring group reported, as the Syrian military declared that a week-long ceasefire was over. The attacks were carried out by either Syrian or Russian aircraft, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that there had been 35 strikes in and around Aleppo since the truce ended. (more)

Nepal's deadly roads
19 September 2016 - Hundreds have died or been severely injured in a summer of carnage on Nepal's roads. The recent spike in accidents follows the bloodiest year yet on Nepal's roads -- 2,006 people died and more than 4,000 were severely injured in the 12 months from July 2015. More people have been killed on the roads in the last 10 years than in the country's decade-long civil war, in which an estimated 16,000 people died. (more)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to extend drug war as 'cannot kill them all'
19 September 2016 - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has asked for a six-month extension for his war on drugs, saying there are too many people involved in the narcotics trade and he 'cannot kill them all'. Some 3,000 people have been killed since Duterte won May elections in a landslide on a vow to kill tens of thousands of criminals in an unprecedented blitz to rid the country of illegal drugs in six months. (more)

US: Drugmakers fought state opioid limits amid crisis
18 September 2016 - The makers of prescription painkillers have adopted a 50-state strategy that includes hundreds of lobbyists and millions in campaign contributions to help kill or weaken measures aimed at stemming the tide of prescription opioids, the drugs at the heart of a crisis that has cost 165,000 Americans their lives and pushed countless more to crippling addiction. The drugmakers vow they're combating the addiction epidemic, but The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found that they often employ a statehouse playbook of delay and defend that includes funding advocacy groups that use the veneer of independence to fight limits on their drugs, such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and fentanyl, the narcotic linked to [musician] Prince's death. The industry and its allies spent more than $880 million nationwide on lobbying and campaign contributions from 2006 through 2015 -- more than 200 times what those advocating for stricter policies spent and eight times more than the influential gun lobby recorded for similar activities during that same period, the AP and Center for Public Integrity found. (more)

US: EPA says glyphosate, used in Monsanto Roundup herbicide, likely not carcinogenic
16 September 2016 - Glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto Co's Roundup herbicide, is not likely carcinogenic to humans, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday as it outlined its current position on the controversial chemical. Other government authorities have issued a variety of opinions. The European Food Safety Authority last November said glyphosate was 'unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.' (more)

How Libya is slowly becoming 'Somalia on the Mediterranean'
13 September 2016 - On 15 September 2011 David Cameron flew into a newly liberated Tripoli with the then President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, to be mobbed by rebels grateful for NATO airstrikes that had helped them secure victory over Muammar Gaddafi. Back then, optimism was in the air. In rebel camps, coffee bars, hotels already jammed with foreign businesspeople -- even amid the shattered concrete ruins of Gaddafi's giant Bab al-Azizia compound -- the talk was of progress. Back-of-the-envelope calculations showed Libya would undoubtably have the brightest future of any of the emerging Arab Spring states. It had Africa's largest oil reserves and only 6 million souls to share it. Democracy was on the way. What could go wrong? As it turned out, everything. (more)

Reuters Special Report: 'Superbug' scourge spreads as U.S. fails to track rising human toll
7 September 2016 - Fifteen years after the U.S. government declared antibiotic-resistant infections to be a grave threat to public health, a Reuters investigation has found that infection-related deaths are going uncounted, hindering the nation's ability to fight a scourge that exacts a significant human and financial toll. (more)

US: Chicago homicides hit 20-year high as gun violence spikes
1 September 2016 - Chicago recorded its deadliest month in two decades in August, part of a sharp rise in gun violence in the nation's third-largest city this year. Chicago police said Thursday that 90 people were killed last month, a 66 percent increase over August 2015. There were 472 shooting victims -- an average of more than 15 people per day. The city once had some of the nation's strictest gun-control laws, but many are no longer on the books. Last year, the police department said it confiscated nearly 7,000 illegal guns. Here's a look at what's happening in Chicago: (more)

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