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10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Afghan refugees are cooking up a better future in India
28 July 2016 - A project in Delhi is giving refugee women from Afghanistan the opportunity to run a catering business. The women cook the dishes at their homes and deliver to the designated pick-up centres. Given the growing demand, there are plans to set up a community kitchen. (more)

AP Poll: Support grows among Americans for stricter gun laws
23 July 2016 - Americans increasingly favor tougher gun laws, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. Nearly two-thirds of respondents expressed support for stricter laws, with majorities favoring nationwide bans on the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons such as the AR-15 and on the sale of high-capacity magazines holding 10 or more bullets. The percentage of Americans who want such laws is the highest since the AP-GfK poll started asking the question in 2013. Americans find common ground on other issues. Strong majorities of Democrats and Republicans said they support requiring background checks for people buying firearms at gun shows and through other private sales. (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)

At heavily fortified DMZ, South Korean troops swap boots for ballet shoes
14 July 2016 - Once a week, a group of South Korean soldiers near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides the Korean peninsula trade army boots for ballet shoes in a class intended to ease the stress of guarding the world's most heavily fortified border. As the suntanned, crew-cut dancers practiced movements to classical music, outside the studio, another group of soldiers played soccer. But ballet toughens you up too, said Lieutenant Colonel Heo Tae-sun. (more)

The Israelis and Palestinians who work together in peace
11 July 2016 - In hospitals, schools, and businesses, Israeli Arabs, Jews, and Palestinians are working side by side to forge a better future. The Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital sits on what was an Arab village that was cleared when the Israeli army attacked it in 1948 and the Arab residents fled. Today the hospital is a rare island of calm where Jews, Israeli Arabs, and some Palestinian staff work together to treat patients. The Max Rayne Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem, on the 'green line' between the Jewish neighbourhood of Patt and the Arab neighbourhood of Beit Safafa, has a mix of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim pupils. The school has seen an unprecedented demand with 200 students on a waiting list across six Hand in Hand schools in Israel. Sikkuy, an organisation that runs Ramadan tours for Jewish Israelis, was sure bookings would drop drastically after four people were killed in an attack on a market in Tel Aviv last month. But during Ramadan, the group held 50 tours for more than 1,500 people, to 10 Arab towns and villages. In the technology sector: Forsan Hussein, a Muslim Israeli, and his Jewish compatriot Ami Dror started Zaitoun Ventures nearly two years ago to help build and support Jewish-Arab startups. Zaitoun Ventures is an investment business that helps create technology companies in cooperation with Israeli and Arab business people in Israel, the occupied West Bank, and the wider Middle East. (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)

Refugees encounter a foreign word: Welcome
30 June 2016 - Canadian hockey moms, poker buddies, and neighbors are adopting Syrians, a family at a time. Across Canada, ordinary citizens, distressed by news reports of drowning children and the shunning of desperate migrants, are intervening in one of the world's most pressing problems. Their country allows them a rare power and responsibility: They can band together in small groups and personally resettle -- essentially adopt -- a refugee family. In Toronto alone, hockey moms, dog-walking friends, book club members, poker buddies, and lawyers have formed circles to take in Syrian families. The Canadian government says sponsors officially number in the thousands, but the groups have many more extended members. (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)

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

An approach to lasting peace in South Sudan that works
24 July 2016 - Dr David Leffler, Executive Director at the Center for Advanced Military Science, often takes time to write to publications from the stance of Maharishi's Invincible Defense Technology (IDT). Some articles concerning international conflict resolution positively call for his response, such as the New York Times: 'How Do You Stop a Future Terrorist When the Only Evidence Is a Thought?' After he explains research on the powerful coherence-creating properties of adding Transcendental Meditation to the daily routine of a defence force, Dr Leffler goes on to say, 'IDT is totally unlike any other defence technology in that it does not use violence in an attempt to quell violence. Not only is this a more civilized approach, but also the IDT defence technology supersedes all other known defence technologies (which are based on electronic, chemical, and/or nuclear forces). Therefore, militaries that deploy it gain the ultimate strategic advantage. And it has the added advantage of being extremely cost-effective, requiring minimal time and training to utilize.' (more)

Transcendental Meditation: A solution to violence
20 July 2016 - Vanessa Vidal, the U.S. National Director of TM for Women, emphasizes that violent or impulsive behavior originates in the brain, and therefore this is where violent tendencies must be prevented. Highlighting research selected from over 380 scientifically-validated studies on Transcendental Meditation, she points out that the experience of transcending activates the brain's prefrontal cortex and creates more efficient, integrated functioning by neutralizing the stress that negatively impacts the brain. 'Let's not only treat the problem,' she says, 'lets get to the root on the problem. . . . With the large body of evidence from research among prison inmates, students in at-risk schools, veterans with PTSD and in the laboratories of neuroscientists, the TM program has proven to be more than worthy of consideration and implementation as a preventive and therapeutic solution.' (more)

The brain-based approach to peace
11 July 2016 - The Brain-Based Approach to Peace restores balanced neurological functioning through Transcendental Meditation, and thereby promotes balanced, harmonious behavior on the individual and societal scale. Individual creativity and entrepreneurship increase as well. With greater civic calm, citizens' aspirations rise and a more productive and balanced society emerges. Such a society naturally disallows violence as a means for change, or as an expression of discontent. This is currently being featured on the Excellence In Action page of Global Good News. (more)

Media interest toward Invincible Defense Technology as means for peace
9 July 2016 - Dr. David Leffler, director of the organization for Invincible Defense Technology (IDT), recently asked selected publications if they would be interested in an article about IDT. The scientifically-validated technology organizes groups - and specifically for IDT, military groups - to incorporate Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programmes into their daily routine to create a powerful influence of peace and coherence in areas of the world. Dr. Leffler said, 'We see a universal concern in the media about the grave dangers faced in various high-tension areas of the world . . . they are now open to the great potential that Maharishi's Invincible Defense Technology provides to quickly save many lives and prevent great suffering, at nominal cost.' Not only were there positive replies, but three media outlets reprinted his letter: Valuewalk in New York City, Masterweb in Nigeria, and The Seoul Times of South Korea. (more)

The United State of Women: A perspective from a teacher of Transcendental Meditation
7 July 2016 - Ann Purcell, author and teacher of Transcendental Meditation, upholds the need for change, and speaks highly of a recent video that featured such luminaries as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Meryl Streep, and Tina Fey. They are, Ann says, 'admirable women [who] are speaking out to bring much-needed justice around the world on every level'. Ann says, 'Women's issues definitely unite women . . . ,' then asks, 'Is there something deeper that unites women and also men? Is there a field, or a state, of unity itself?' She explains that every person has quieter levels of the mind. 'There is a state that exists beyond all thoughts and feelings. It is simply a state of pure silence.' She describes the orderliness that comes into a person's thinking and actions through Transcendental Meditation, documented in many studies as a simple technique that allows easy access to the powerful level of silence within. Ann further explains that when enough people practise the 'coherence-creating' technique of TM and its advanced programmes, then positive trends automatically spread into society. (more)

Nature finds a way
23 June 2016 - Vanessa Vidal, US Director of Transcendental Meditation for Women, writes of her childhood in New Mexico, USA where her family was out-of-doors as much as time allowed. She says that it was only 'when I learned Transcendental Meditation that I realized that Nature is not just to be found outside of ourselves but within our minds and bodies and all that exists in the universe . . . Nature inspires us, propels us, nourishes us and guides us -- it is the most powerful evolutionary force of life.' She continues that as women -- protective of the most fine-feeling level, 'we need to nourish, to uplift -- and the gentleness in our nature finds a path to those around us. I found early in life that deep-enough rest is necessary for me to be in my most generous state of mind and emotions.' Ms Vidal upholds that TM is the most valuable way of reducing tiredness and stress, that restrictions melt during the practise of TM and that, 'our words and actions are beautiful and most effective when they're wrapped in love.' (more)

The Shampoo Summit: Women as peacemakers
29 May 2016 - Janet Hoffman, executive director of TM for Women Professionals in the USA, features an award-winning documentary by Iris Zaki called 'Women in Sink'. The story is set in an Israeli hair salon called Fifi's that is patronized by both Jewish and Arab women. Ms Hoffman writes, 'The film is an intimate, fun, and revealing testament to the uncomplicated, natural harmonizing power of women, despite the neighborhood's environment of racism and fear . . . [the salon is] a little island of sanity.' Ms Hoffman cites research showing that women have a natural tendency to connect and nourish, an aversion to inequity, and consistently compromise and cooperate in any group situation. She also notes that Transcendental Meditation 'removes the fatigue that is responsible for disconnecting us from the finer values of the mind and heart that constitute our deepest sense of self . . . [once] the connectedness to herself and her world are restored . . . with her emotions becoming more harmonious and calm, she finds her most true and noble inner compass'. (more)

Huffington Post: 'I experienced a place of silence within me that was beyond all conditioning'
19 May 2016 - Author Ann Purcell writes that after learning Transcendental Meditation 'I experienced a place of silence within me that was beyond all conditioning. It was just me, my truest self, stripped of all external images and trappings. Outside of meditation in my daily activities, I started to feel at home with who I really was. I became less swayed by what other people thought of me, and this growing independence brought me a feeling of real inner freedom.' Ms Purcell examines the freedom from judgmental thinking that arises from regular practise of TM: 'to transcend means to go beyond the thinking level of our mind and experience the state of pure silence, or Being, beyond all thought . . . once we discover within ourselves the common ground of unity among all diversity and start to live it in our daily lives, we will have come a long way towards realizing the ultimate truth of humanity.' (more)

Motherly love: Giving from a position of strength
19 May 2016 - Janet Hoffman, US director of Transcendental Meditation for Women, writes, 'Mothering is for everyone'. In her discussion of how Transcendental Meditation provides a greater capacity for nurturing, she says TM 'provides us with twice-daily experience of inner silence that replenishes our depleted reserves and enlivens our inner connectedness to our deepest sense of Self, which in turn supports our ability to sincerely and authentically connect with, and positively influence, the world around us.' Ms Hoffman touches on benefits from TM such as diminished stress and fatigue 'rewarding us with a naturally relaxed, stress-resilient physiology, and a heart that can spontaneously flow in love and support.' (more)

Iowa instructors are passionate about Transcendental Meditation
15 May 2016 - A glimpse of the fulfilling lives enjoyed by of teachers of Transcendental Meditation is given by the Dispatch-Argus of Quad Cities, a group of towns spanning the Mississippi River in Iowa and Illinois, USA. The article features David and Claudia Magill who have taught TM in Virginia, California, New York, and now the Quad Cities area since 2010. They have also been involved in teaching TM in programs involving probationers, parolees, the homeless, and victims of domestic violence. (more)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Many factors make France the top IS terror target in Europe
28 July 2016 - When militants loyal to the Islamic State group seek to inflict pain on Europe, France is their preferred target. Since January 2015, IS-inspired attackers have killed at least 235 people in France, by far the largest casualty rate of any Western country. French citizens or French-speaking residents have committed the overwhelming majority of strikes. Analysts agree that Islamic State propagandists particularly target France as a land anchored in secular values, liberal freedoms, and life's pleasures. But its colonial history, demographic tensions, and interventionist policies against militant Muslims abroad point to deeper reasons why anti-Western killers seek so ruthlessly to bring grief to France's door. (more)

Hundreds of displaced South Sudanese struggling for shelter
22 July 2016 - Hundreds of civilians displaced by recent fighting in South Sudan are struggling to find proper shelter in U.N. compounds in the capital as the rainy season begins to set in. Dozens of people have fallen ill with suspected cholera in South Sudan's capital, while a U.N. food warehouse was looted and destroyed, incurring 20 million U.S. dollars of damage, the United Nations has said. Many foreigners have already been evacuated from the world's newest nation, which is still recovering from a two-year civil war that started in 2013, killing tens of thousands of people and driving more than 2.5 million from their homes. (more)

The other Nice: hotbed for French jihadi recruiting
16 July 2016 - Best known as a Riviera tourist destination, Nice has been struggling to get a grip on its less prized distinction as France's prime recruiting ground for would-be jihadis. The hinterlands beyond the smart streets of the old city have seen dozens of its Muslim residents head to Syria in recent years to fight. 'Nice is the city which has been most hit by the jihadist phenomena,' said David Thomson, an expert on radicalization in France. 'There is one main reason behind it: since 2010, a charismatic character, known as one of the main recruiters of French jihadists, has been hugely active preaching in poor neighborhoods,' Thomson said. (more)

France: 84 dead, 202 hurt as truck hits Bastille Day crowd in Nice
15 July 2016 - French leaders extended the country's 8-month-old state of emergency Friday and vowed to deploy thousands of police reservists on the streets after a Tunisian man drove a truck through crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, killing 84 people and wounding 202 others. The assault on revelers rocked a nation still dealing with the aftermath of two attacks in Paris last year that killed 147 people and were claimed by the Islamic State extremist group. French President Francois Hollande's government, whose popularity has plumbed record lows, has recently been buffeted by allegations that France's intelligence services have failed to get a handle on the country's jihadist threat. France has known for years that it is a top Islamic State target, and it is the biggest source for European recruits for IS, with more than 1,000 fighting in Syria or Iraq. (more)

South China Sea ruling won't stop plundering of ecosystem, experts say
13 July 2016 - An international tribunal's ruling that China has caused severe harm to coral reefs and endangered species in the South China Sea will not stop further damage to an already plundered ecoystem, scientists and academics said. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on Tuesday, 12 July that China did not have historic rights to the South China Sea and that it had breached Philippine sovereignty by endangering its ships and fishing and oil projects in the energy-rich waters. (more)

US: VA puts latest estimate of veteran suicides at 20 per day
7 July 2016 - On average, 20 veterans a day committed suicide in 2014, a slight decrease from the previous government estimate, but federal health officials are cautious about concluding the suicide problem is getting better. Rather, they say the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is relying on a more comprehensive database than ever before, making comparisons to prior studies difficult. In 2013, the VA projected that 22 veterans a day were committing suicide. But the number was also based on data submitted from fewer than half of the states. The attention on veteran suicide comes at a time when the VA has reported a huge upswing in veterans seeking medical care as they have returned from conflicts in the Middle East. (more)

Deadliest attack in a year kills 115 in central Baghdad
3 July 2016 - A devastating truck bombing on a bustling commercial street in downtown Baghdad killed 115 people early Sunday, brutally underscoring the Islamic State group's ability to strike the capital despite a string of battlefield losses elsewhere in the country. It was the deadliest terror attack in Iraq in a year and one of the worst single bombings in more than a decade of war and insurgency, and it fueled anger toward Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. (more)

Key radical Islamist groups in Bangladesh
3 July 2016 - The hostage crisis at a restaurant in Bangladesh's capital that left 28 dead, including 20 hostages and six militants, has focused attention on the radical Islamist attacks occurring in the moderate, mostly Muslim country in the past few years. Most have been claimed by the Islamic State group or by al-Qaida's local branch, but the government vehemently denies these transnational jihadi groups have any presence in the country. Instead, the government blames domestic militants and its political opponents of trying to destabilize the country. Authorities have cracked down on extremist groups by banning them from operating and arresting many of their members. The opposition parties deny the allegation that they're involved. A look at some of the main Islamic political parties and radical groups in the country: (more)

Hostage crisis leaves 28 dead in Bangladesh diplomatic zone
2 July 2016 - The dramatic, 10-hour hostage crisis that gripped Bangladesh's diplomatic zone ended Saturday morning with at least 28 dead, including six of the attackers, as commandos raided the popular restaurant where heavily armed attackers were holding dozens of foreigners and Bangladeshis prisoner while hurling bombs and engaging in a gunbattle with security forces. The victims included 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, and two Bangladeshi police officers. The attack marks an escalation in militant violence that has hit the traditionally moderate Muslim-majority nation with increasing frequency in recent months, with the extremists demanding the secular government set up Islamic rule. (more)

US cities see unexplained rise in violent crimes this year
5 June 2016 - Violent crimes -- from homicides and rapes to robberies -- have been on the rise in many major U.S. cities, yet experts can't point to a single reason why and the jump isn't enough to suggest there's a trend. Still, it is stumping law enforcement officials, who are seeking a way to combat the problem. Americans have grown accustomed to low crime rates since a peak in the 1990s. But law enforcement started seeing a spike last year that has continued unabated. What's unusual, however, is that it's not happening everywhere. Chicago and Los Angeles are seeing homicides on the rise, but other places like Miami and Oakland are not. (more)

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