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US First Lady urges Spanish women to promote girls' learning
30 June 2016 - U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama on Thursday appealed to girls and young women in Spain to get involved in her global girls' education initiative, saying it's important girls are 'valued for their minds.' Mrs. Obama arrived in Spain from Morocco on Wednesday. She had started the three-nation tour to promote the 'Let Girls Learn' initiative in Liberia. (more)

Michelle Obama, daughters, and mom promote girls' education in Morocco
29 June 2016 - U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, her mother, and daughters Sasha and Malia were joined by Meryl Streep in Morocco's Marrakesh on Tuesday on a six-day tour to try to promote girls' education. More than a third of Morocco's population of 34 million is illiterate -- one of the highest rates in North Africa, and the rate is higher for women at 41 percent, official data shows. She spent Sunday and Monday in Liberia promoting Let Girls Learn, a U.S. government initiative begun with her husband in 2015. (more)

Michelle Obama, daughters in Africa to push girls' education
28 June 2016 - First lady Michelle Obama visited a leadership camp for girls in Liberia to launch her latest Africa visit Monday, urging the teens in one of the world's poorest countries to keep fighting to stay in school. With her own teenage daughters joining her, Mrs Obama told the girls she was 'just so thrilled to be here with you.' She said, 'I'm here to shine a big bright light on you.' Education for girls is the central theme of the First Lady's trip, which also includes stops in Morocco and Spain. She was welcomed on her arrival in Liberia with a red carpet and traditional dancers. (more)

US First Lady promotes learning to empower Moroccan girls
28 June 2016 - U.S First Lady Michelle Obama spoke with teenage girls in Marrakech, Morocco, Tuesday, June 28. Michelle Obama was visiting Morocco to promote for the 'Let Girls Learn' in the North African kingdom, where only 36 percent of girls continue school beyond the primary level. Actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto joined the visit. The 'Let Girls Learn' initiative, launched in March 2015 by President Barack Obama and the First Lady, is to be extended to Morocco, the White House announced Tuesday. It said the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government foreign aid agency working in partnership with the Moroccan government, is investing nearly $100 million to transform secondary education in the country. USAID is also giving $400,000 to create five new girls' dormitories to improve educational opportunities for girls from rural areas. (more)

Israeli, Turkish leaders look to gain from reconciliation
27 June 2016 - Israel and Turkey struck a broad reconciliation pact Monday that will restore full diplomatic relations after six years of animosity between the once-close Mideast powers. The agreement with Israel will include an exchange of ambassadors and Israeli compensation for the deaths of 10 Turkish citizens from a 2010 Israeli naval raid on an activist flotilla that aimed to breach the Gaza blockade. Turkey will also be allowed to bring relief supplies into Gaza and carry out new development projects there. (more)

Turkish President apologizes for downing of Russian jet
27 June 2016 - Turkey's President has apologized for the downing of a Russian military jet at the Syrian border, the Kremlin said Monday, an unexpected move that could open the way for easing a bitter strain in Russia-Turkey ties. The formal apology, which the Kremlin had requested, came hours after Turkey and Israel announced details of an agreement to repair their strained relations. Turkey's new Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim, said recently that Turkey wants to increase the number of its friends and decrease the number of its enemies, and the letter [to Russian President Vladimir Putin] came on the same day that Turkey and Israel released details of a deal to reappoint ambassadors and end six years of acrimony over Israel's 2010 deadly raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship. (more)

Israel and Turkey agree to normalize ties: senior Israeli official
26 June 2016 - Israel and Turkey on Sunday reached agreement to normalize ties, a senior Israeli official said, to end a six-year rift over the Israeli navy's killing of 10 Turkish pro-Palestinian activists who tried to sail to the blockaded Gaza Strip in 2010. The once-firm allies had been quietly mending fences in trade and tourism since their leaders held a conciliatory phone call in 2013 and negotiations have intensified over the past six months to clear the way for a mutual return of ambassadors. (more)

Israeli official: Reconciliation deal reached with Turkey
26 June 2016 - Israel has reached a reconciliation deal with Turkey to end a bitter six-year rift between the Mideast powers, an official said Sunday. Relations between the former close allies imploded in 2010 following an Israeli naval raid that killed nine Turkish activists who were on a ship trying to breach Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. Following the incident, Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Israel and greatly scaled back military and economy ties. But relations were never broken completely. (more)

US First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters heading to Liberia, Morocco, Spain
25 June 2016 - US First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia are leaving Sunday (June 26) for Africa, where they will promote girls' education in Liberia and Morocco before going to Spain. Their first stop is Liberia, where the First Lady will meet with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and have a discussion with local teenage girls, moderated by Indian actress Freida Pinto. (more)

Germany imposes limits on fracking
24 June 2016 - Germany imposed limits on fracking on Friday, dealing a blow to efforts to develop shale gas. Under legislation passed by its lower house of Parliament, fracking will be banned in clay formations, which typically lie between 1,000 and 2,500 meters deep. In tightening its rules on fracking Germany follows France, which has banned the practice, and the Netherlands, which last year introduced a moratorium on shale exploration until 2020. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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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
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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)

'We want food!' Looting and riots rock Venezuela daily
12 June 2016 - A young woman faints in the heat as hundreds fight for pasta, screaming they are hungry. Slum-dwellers and armed gangs wait for nightfall to hijack food trucks or ransack stores. A mother is shot dead fleeing police after hundreds storm warehouses. Food riots and violent looting have become a daily occurrence across scarcity-struck Venezuela and a major problem for the struggling leftist government of President Nicolas Maduro. (more)

Israel says con men stole millions from global companies
7 June 2016 - The scam had all the trappings of a major con. Working from a dingy office building just a short drive from the glittering Mediterranean Sea in the coastal city of Netanya, Israel, eight immigrants from Europe formed an unlikely team that allegedly conspired to dupe major multinational companies out of millions of dollars. Most of them spoke French, the others Italian. They telephoned employees at some of Europe's biggest companies, identified themselves as top executives, and tricked workers into transferring large sums of money to bank accounts in their control, police said. It was a classic 'fake CEO' or 'fake president' scam, a scheme used by various criminals worldwide that has robbed companies of some $1.8 billion in just over two years, according to the FBI. Most of the eight suspects in the latest case are either jailed or under house arrest. But not the man who boasts of creating the scam, which has inspired copycats like these around the globe: French-Israeli con artist Gilbert Chikli. He mysteriously remains a free man, living in luxury in his villa in a seaside Israeli city as French authorities try to bring him to justice over a massive con for which he was previously convicted. (more)

Japan: Woman breaks silence among Fukushima thyroid cancer patients
7 June 2016 - She's 21, has thyroid cancer, and wants people in her prefecture in northeastern Japan to get screened for it. That statement might not seem provocative, but her prefecture is Fukushima, and of the 173 young people with confirmed or suspected cases since the 2011 nuclear meltdowns there, she is the first to speak out. That near-silence highlights the fear Fukushima thyroid-cancer patients have about being the 'nail that sticks out,' and thus gets hammered. The thyroid-cancer rate in the northern Japanese prefecture is many times higher than what is generally found, particularly among children, but the Japanese government says more cases are popping up because of rigorous screening, not the radiation that spewed from Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant. (more)

Corruption soils Afghanistan's bright blue treasure
6 June 2016 - When David Cameron described Afghanistan to the Queen as 'fantastically corrupt' over drinks at Buckingham Palace in April it was widely regarded as a gaffe. But the British Prime Minister was not wrong. Afghanistan ranks a woeful 166th out of 168 countries in Transparency International's latest assessment of graft and crooked dealing around the world. And there is no better evidence of just how deep corruption goes than the fate of one of Afghanistan's greatest treasures, the gemstone lapis lazuli. (more)

US: Florida AG asked Trump for donation before nixing fraud case
6 June 2016 - Florida's attorney general personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump around the same time her office deliberated joining an investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University and its affiliates. The new disclosure from Attorney General Pam Bondi's spokesman to The Associated Press on Monday provides additional details around the unusual circumstances of Trump's $25,000 donation to Bondi. The money came from a Trump family foundation in apparent violation of rules surrounding political activities by charities. After the check came in, Bondi's office nixed suing Trump, citing insufficient grounds to proceed. The timing of the donation by Trump is notable because the now presumptive Republican presidential nominee has said he expects and receives favors from politicians to whom he gives money. (more)

Ex-Texas official: Trump U probe dropped due to politics
4 June 2016 - Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has moved to muzzle a former state regulator who says he was ordered in 2010 to drop a fraud investigation into Trump University for political reasons. Former Deputy Chief of Consumer Protection John Owens, now retired, said his team had built a solid case against the now-presumptive Republican presidential nominee, but was told to drop it after Trump's company agreed to cease operations in Texas. The former state regulator told The Associated Press on Friday that decision was highly unusual and left the bilked students on their own to attempt to recover their tuition money from the celebrity businessman. Owens' boss at the time was Greg Abbott, then the attorney general and now the state's GOP governor. The AP first reported Thursday that Trump gave donations totaling $35,000 to Abbott's gubernatorial campaign three years after his office closed the Trump U case. Several Texas media outlets then reported Owens' accusation that the probe was dropped for political reasons. (more)

Testy Trump takes his war with the press to a new level
1 June 2016 - Donald Trump's heated war with the media reached new heights as he turned the brag-worthy feat of raising $5.6 million for veterans' charities into a sparring match with reporters pressing him on the issue. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee had previously declined to disclose which charities had received the $6 million he'd claimed to have raised, and his campaign had gone back and forth about how much pledged money had come through. The Washington Post had pressed for an accounting of the donations, and several charities said they received checks just last week. (more)

AP-NORC Poll: American voters feel disconnected, helpless in 2016
30 May 2016 - Republicans and Democrats feel a massive disconnect with their political parties and helpless about the Presidential election. That's according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The divisive primary season has fueled an overall sense of pessimism about the political process that underscores a widening chasm between political parties and the voters they claim to represent. Just 12 percent of Republicans think the GOP is very responsive to ordinary voters, while 25 percent of Democrats say the same of their party. Among all Americans, the AP-NORC poll found that just 8 percent consider the Republican Party to be very or extremely responsive to what ordinary voters think. (more)

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