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France honours Americans, Briton who disarmed train gunman (+ Reuters video)
24 August 2015 - French President Francois Hollande bestowed France's highest honour on Monday on three Americans and a Briton who helped disarm a gun-toting suspected Islamist militant on a train last week. (more)

Germany starts move to ban GMO crops: ministry letter
24 August 2015 - Germany has initiated a move to stop the growing of genetically modified crops under new European Union rules, documents seen by Reuters showed on Monday (24 August). In the letter, the agriculture ministry stressed that Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt is continuing a previously-announced policy to keep a ban on GMOs in Germany. (more)

World's largest solar power station planned for India
24 August 2015 - The world's largest solar power station will be built in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh over the next 18 months, government officials announced over the weekend. Just last week, the Indian state of Cochin announced that it's in the process of transitioning its international airport to 100 solar power. The two projects feed into a larger initiative that will see the country working towards the goal of generating 175,000 megawatts of renewable energy per year by 2022. With an average of 300 clear, sunny days per year, India's solar power potential is about 5,000 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. (more)

British foreign secretary reopens embassy in Tehran
23 August 2015 - Britain reopened its embassy in Tehran Sunday in a sign of newly thawed relations in the wake of a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond attended the reopening ceremony. 'Maintaining dialogue even under the most difficult conditions is crucially important,' Hammond said during a joint press conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. 'So reopening the embassy in Tehran and the Iranian embassy in London is not just an important symbol. It's an important practical channel for being able to engage on the very many issues that are of concern and the very many issues that we have shared interests.' (more)

French lawmaker wants mandatory vegetarian menu at school
21 August 2015 - France has been grappling with how to reconcile religious beliefs with secular values when it comes to pork in school lunches. One lawmaker's solution: vegetarian meals. France is tackling what to put on the plates of observant Muslim and Jewish schoolchildren, who by tradition don't eat pork. The proposal has received support from some left- and right-wing politicians as well as environmentalist and vegetarian organizations. (more)

Indian PM Modi offers solar power to Pacific island nations during summit
21 August 2015 - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday (21 August) offered to illuminate thousands of homes in Pacific island nations with solar power in a bid to help them combat climate change and natural disasters. Prime Minister Modi made the pledge as leaders and delegates of 14 Pacific nations gathered in the western desert state of Rajasthan for a summit. (more)

Britain to reopen embassy in Tehran this weekend
20 August 2015 - Britain will reopen its embassy in Iran this weekend nearly four years after protesters ransacked the elegant ambassadorial residence and burned the British flag. The move to restore full diplomatic relations marks a thawing of ties with Iran since it reached a nuclear deal with the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France, and Britain. (more)

Poland takes advantage of Vistula River's record low
19 August 2015 - Warsaw is having a treasure hunt -- exploiting the record low level of the Vistula River to find pieces of historic bridges and boats amid the discarded debris littering its banks. It's all part of city authorities' goal to turn the free-flowing river into a major tourist and sports attraction. The Vistula, which flows 1,047 kilometers (651 miles) from the Beskidy Mountains to the Baltic Sea, is at its lowest level since measurements started in late 18th century. 'We are taking a positive look at this situation and seizing the opportunity to do some cleaning,' deputy Warsaw Mayor Michal Olszewski said. (more)

US Marines who lowered embassy flag in 1961 back in Havana as it's raised again
14 August 2015 - Three U.S. Marines who lowered the flag at the U.S. Embassy in Havana more than five decades ago were given a position of honor at Friday's ceremony to raise the Stars and Stripes once again. US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the Marines vowed back then they would return to raise the flag, although nobody could have imagined how many years would pass. Retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. Francis 'Mike' East said he had been stationed on the island for just four and a half months, but he 'enjoyed the people and Cuba better than any place I've ever been.' (more)

US Secretary of State Kerry to Cubans: It's time to end 'mutual isolation' (+ AP video)
14 August 2015 - Secretary of State John Kerry presided Friday over the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana as the United States and Cuba re-establish diplomatic relations after more than 54 years. 'It doesn't take a GPS to realize that the road of mutual isolation and estrangement that the United States and Cuba have been traveling is not the right one and that the time has come for us to move in a more promising direction,' he said. Here are more of Mr Kerry's remarks: (more)

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

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)

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)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Deforestation in Mexico butterfly reserve more than triples
25 August 2015 - Illegal logging more than tripled in the monarch butterfly's wintering grounds In central Mexico, reversing several years of steady improvements, investigators announced Tuesday. The forest canopy is a sort of blanket against cold for the masses of orange-and-black butterflies that form huge clumps on tree branches during their winter stay in Mexico. Loss of that habitat is just one of the threats to the butterflies' amazing migration across Canada and the United States to Mexico. (more)

US: Groundwater pumping in California has land sinking
19 August 2015 - Vast areas of California's Central Valley are sinking faster than in the past as massive amounts of groundwater are pumped during the historic drought, state officials said Wednesday, citing new research by NASA scientists. The data shows the ground is sinking nearly two inches each month in some places, putting roads, bridges, and vital canals that deliver water throughout the state at growing risk of damage. (more)

Air pollution killing 4,000 in China a day, US study finds
13 August 2015 - Air pollution is killing about 4,000 people in China a day, accounting for 1 in 6 premature deaths in the world's most populous country, a new study finds. The study released Thursday (13 August) blamed emissions from the burning of coal, both for electricity and heating homes. (more)

Swimmers sickened after Rio race worry about 2016 Olympics
12 August 2015 - Reports of dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria in Rio de Janeiro's waters have raised -- and renewed -- fears that athletes are at risk of getting sick at next summer's Olympics. Americans Kalyn Robinson and Chip Peterson can't help but wonder if a potential lifetime of health problems all goes back to the open water races they swam in the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio, where the waters are teeming with human waste. As part of its Olympic bid, Brazil promised to build eight treatment facilities to filter out much of the sewage and prevent tons of household trash from flowing into the Guanabara Bay. Only one has been built. (more)

AP Exclusive: US air traffic controller study shows chronic fatigue (+ AP video)
10 August 2015 - Air traffic controllers' work schedules often lead to chronic fatigue, making them less alert and endangering the safety of the national air traffic system, according to a study the government has kept secret for nearly four years. (more)

US: Controllers complain errors caused by tiring work schedules
10 August 2015 - NASA researchers warned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) nearly four years ago that air traffic controllers' schedules lead to chronic fatigue and undermine safety. The FAA has kept the NASA study secret. Voluntary reports from a confidential aviation safety database run by NASA show that controllers are still complaining that they make dangerous errors because their work schedules don't provide enough time for sleep. (more)

US: FACT CHECK - GOP candidates veer from the truth in 1st debate (+ AP video)
7 August 2015 - Republicans seeking their party's 2016 presidential nomination have the challenging task of trying to stand out among the 17 candidates in the race, and Thursday's televised debate was the first opportunity for the party to start whittling down its choices. So it's no surprise that the candidates had a vested interest in puffing up their own records as governors, senators, and public figures. And some of them just got the facts wrong. Here are some of the claims in the Cleveland debate and how they compare with the facts: (more)

US data: Nearly 5 dozen give a third of all 2016 campaign cash
1 August 2015 - An Associated Press analysis of fundraising reports filed with federal regulators through Friday found that nearly 60 donations of a million dollars or more accounted for about a third of the more than $380 million brought in so far for the 2016 presidential election. The review covered contributions to outside groups that can accept checks of any size, known as super PACs, and to the formal campaigns, which are limited to accepting no more than $2,700 per donor. That concentration of money from a small group of wealthy donors builds on a trend that began in 2012, the first presidential contest after a series of court rulings and regulatory steps that created the super PAC. 'We have never seen an election like this, in which the wealthiest people in America are dominating the financing of the presidential election and as a consequence are creating enormous debts and obligations from the candidates who are receiving this financial support,' said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a Washington-based group that wants to limit money in politics. No one has capitalized on the new era of big money like former Florida governor Jeb Bush. He's not alone in the use of super PACs to fuel a presidential run. 'There are a handful of billionaires that are making viable individuals whose campaigns never would have gotten off the ground' said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, which wants to tighten limits on money in politics. (more)

By nearly any measure, sunny South Florida is tops in fraud
29 July 2015 - By almost any measure, South Florida is America's organized fraud capital, although authorities say it's not entirely clear why. Need a phony ID? A fraudulent tax refund? Insurance money from a sham car crash? Florida may have just what you're looking for. Over the past decade or so, the three most populous South Florida counties -- Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach -- have become renowned for scammers stealing hundreds of millions from the government, banks, and individuals by using laptops, stolen identities, and fake medical procedures. The endlessly creative crooks come up with fake Jamaican lotteries, false marriages for immigration purposes, mediocre seafood marketed as better seafood, insurance rip-offs from fake accident, and fires -- even foreign substandard cheese passed off as domestic top shelf. But the big money is in a trio of major fraud trends: Medicare, mortgage, and identity theft-tax refunds. (more)

In rise of U.S. vape shops, owners eye new marijuana market
29 July 2015 - When Matt and Jen Osmun opened their vape (electronic cigarette) shop in Bethel, Connecticut, last December, they didn't expect to get a boost from the local medical marijuana outlet. As the number of U.S. vape shops soars, shop owners seek to capitalize not only on the vaping trend but on the more widespread, and legal, use of medical marijuana. (more)

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