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25 years on, Russians tell of how they defeated a coup
17 August 2016 - On August 19, 1991, a group of eight senior hard-line Communist leaders, including the KGB chairman, had seized power from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, declaring that Gorbachev was unable to continue as head of the party due to illness. In fact, Gorbachev was under arrest and the 'Gang of Eight' intended to roll back his reformist policies of glasnost and perestroika, which they believed had set the Soviet Union on a path of disaster. For a few days, the fate of the superpower hung in the balance. As the 25th anniversary of the August Coup draws near this Friday, The Associated Press has talked to participants and witnesses of those critical days when Muscovites turned out to defend the spirit of democracy that Gorbachev had unleashed, and many Soviet officers defied their orders and sided with the people, ensuring that that the plotters failed. (more)

Foreign ministers of Japan, China, South Korea likely to meet next week: media
17 August 2016 - Japan, China, and South Korea are in talks to hold a meeting of their foreign ministers next week, despite rows between Tokyo and Beijing over China's maritime expansion in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, a Japanese daily said on Wednesday, 17 August. The foreign ministers' meeting is expected to lay the groundwork for a three-way summit Tokyo is set to host this year. (more)

Germany urges Russia and Ukraine to ease tension over Crimea, keep talking
15 August 2016 - Germany's foreign minister urged Russia and Ukraine on Monday to reduce tensions over Crimea and stick to the troubled Minsk peace accords as a way of ending hostilities in eastern Ukraine. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the city of Yekaterinburg, said that even though the Minsk deal had stalled in places it should remain the focus of the peace process despite the alleged plot around Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Lavrov said Russia would play its part in ensuring the Minsk accords were honored. (more)

Life after Kony: How Uganda's women are rebuilding their lives
2 August 2016 - A women's group called Warocho Kwan Wwawa, which means 'renovate our lives' in Acholi is helping in Uganda. Set up by the UK-based charity Send a Cow, best known for its initiatives to help smallholder farmers through training, seeds, and livestock loans, the charity also employs members of the local community and social workers to help people in northern Uganda rehabilitate and reintegrate into everyday life. In addition to the money made from farming and supplying milk to the Gulu Women's Dairy Co-operative, Warocho Kwan Wwawa has contracts to make uniforms for two primary schools. (more)

Muslims go to Catholic Mass in France, Italy for solidarity
31 July 2016 - Muslims in France and Italy flocked to Mass on Sunday, a gesture of interfaith solidarity following a drumbeat of jihadi attacks that threatens to deepen religious divisions across Europe. French television broadcast scenes of interfaith solidarity from all around France, with Muslim women in headscarves and Jewish men in kippot crowding the front rows of Catholic cathedrals in Lille, Calais, or the Basilica of Saint Denis. There were similar scenes in Italy, where the head of Italy's Union of Islamic communities -- Izzedin Elzir -- called on his colleagues to 'take this historic moment to transform tragedy into a moment of dialogue.' The secretary general of the country's Islamic Confederation, Abdullah Cozzolino spoke at the Treasure of St. Gennaro chapel; three imams also attended Mass at the St. Maria Church in Rome's Trastevere neighborhood, donning their traditional dress as they entered the sanctuary and sat down in the front row. (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)

Afghan refugees are cooking up a better future in India
21 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)

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)

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

Transcendental Meditation: The organizing power of cosmic intelligence
24 August 2016 - Janet Hoffman, executive director of TM for Women Professionals in the US, examines human consciousness and just what creates order in society. She upholds that 'by continually enlivening the infinite wholeness of inner consciousness, we can continually expand our outer vision's breadth and depth.' She says that in light of the scientific fact: 'a small percentage of orderliness creating orderly fields', one percent of a community's population practicing Transcendental Meditation will enliven 'the deep mechanics of nature that will disallow or dissolve these problems with the organizing power of the cosmic intelligence of Nature itself.' (more)

Invincible Defense Technology: A powerful, proven tool for police and military
8 August 2016 - High satisfaction rates seems to be the norm in police and military forces when reporting results from their practice of Transcendental Meditation. Members of high-stress professions find that TM provides an inner armor to protect their members from the noxious effects of stress and negative experiences. In a study conducted by Ecuadorian army psychologists, over 96 percent of the military police officer cadets found the TM technique to be a highly practical activity. Ninety-two percent found their performance in activity had improved and they were better able to deal with stress; 96 percent declared their relationships with others had improved; and 95 percent said their practice of the TM technique was completely satisfying. New York City's police force found that officers diffused situations with more calm, creative solutions. The practical and cost-effective nature of the technique attracts many police and military agencies, most recently, these findings were reported in Opinion Nigeria, Nigeria Politics Online, Nigeria Nation, World Stage Group, The Seoul Times, and Global Village Extra of Nigeria. (more)

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)

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 brain-based approach to peace
9 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)

The United State of Women: A perspective from a teacher of Transcendental Meditation
6 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
21 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)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Child bomber in Turkey not the only violent use of children
21 August 2016 - The suicide attacker who detonated his explosives amid an outdoor Kurdish wedding party in southeastern Turkey, killing at least 51 people, was an Islamic State group child as young as 12 years old. The extremist group has a history of using children as weapons, sending them to their death strapped with explosives and putting them on front lines in Iraq and Syria. But the practice is not restricted to the Islamic State group and has been used by other militant groups. Here's a look at some: (more)

Exclusive: Civil war costs Yemen $14 billion in damage and economic losses - report
17 August 2016 - The cost from damage to infrastructure and economic losses in Yemen's civil war is more than $14 billion so far, according to a confidential report seen by Reuters that highlights the effort needed to rebuild the country, where more than half the population is suffering from malnutrition. (more)

Philippines: Major sea lane becoming target of Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf rebels
17 August 2016 - An Indonesian tugboat crewman escaped from his Islamist militant captors in the Philippines on Thursday by swimming out to sea after the militants threatened to cut his head off, a Philippine army spokesman said. Members of the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf group captured Indonesian Mohammad Safyan and six other Indonesian seamen from their boat as it was passing through waters off southern Philippine islands on June 23. Abu Sayyaf rebels operating in Muslim areas of the largely Christian Philippines have developed a reputation as ruthless kidnappers. They have increasingly been turning their attention to vessels passing through busy shipping lanes in the Sulu Sea as security along coasts has been tightened. In recent weeks, the rebels, who have vowed allegiance to Islamic State, beheaded two Canadians they kidnapped from a beach resort after a ransom deadline passed. Indonesian authorities have said piracy in the area could reach levels previously seen in Somalia. Analysts say $40 billion worth of cargo passes through the waters a year. (more)

Bombings in Thailand target tourist cities, killing 4 people
12 August 2016 - Attackers using firebombs and homemade explosives struck a series of popular resort cities and beach towns across Thailand in some of the worst violence to hit the country since a military coup two years ago. At least four people were killed and dozens wounded, including 11 foreigners. The attacks occurred south of Bangkok and several of the blasts -- including one on Patong beach in the tourist town of Phuket and four in the seaside resort city of Hua Hin -- appeared designed to strike the tourism industry, which provides vital income to the government. Police said firebombs also triggered blazes at markets and shops in six places, including Phuket, Trang, Surat Thani, Phang Nga, and a souvenir shop in the tourist town of Ao Nang, Krabi. (more)

Series of blasts hit resort towns in Thailand
12 August 2016 - A series of blasts hit three of the most popular tourist resorts as well as towns in southern Thailand on Thursday and Friday, killing four people and wounding dozens, days after the country voted to accept a military-backed charter in a referendum. Four bombs exploded in the upscale resort of Hua Hin on Thursday evening and Friday morning. Other blasts hit the tourist island of Phuket, a resort town in Phang Nga province, and Surat Thani, a city that is the gateway to islands such as Koh Samui in Thailand's Gulf. The attacks are bad news for Thailand's tourist sector, which has been one of the few bright spots in a sluggish economy. 'Why now when the country is getting better, the economy is getting better, and tourism is getting better? We have to ask why and who did it,' Thai junta chief and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters. (more)

Support for Libyan unity government 'crumbling': U.N. envoy
12 August 2016 - Support for the U.N.-backed unity government in Libya is 'crumbling' amid increased power outages and a weakening currency that is hitting crucial imports, the United Nations' envoy to the embattled north African country told a newspaper. The Government of National Accord (GNA) has been struggling to impose its authority on a country riven by political and armed rivalries, posing extra challenges as it tries to quash Islamic State jihadist militants. (more)

Thailand bombs: travel warnings as tourist resorts hit by fatal explosions -- as it happened
12 August 2016 - There have been multiple explosions in nine incidents in at least five separate locations across Thailand in the past 24 hours -- Hua Hin, Phuket, Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Trang. The attacks appear to be at least in part targeting areas where tourism is important. Foreign embassies are warning visitors to Thailand to be vigilant. As details of each incident trickle out, it is clear some of the devices were detonated using timers or a mobile phone signal. (more)

Tourist towns of Hua Hin and Phuket in Thailand hit by deadly explosions
12 August 2016 - A series of apparently coordinated blasts detonated across Thailand have killed at least four people and injured dozens, including in the tourism hotspots of Hua Hin and Phuket. The blasts, which appear to have been coordinated to target tourist hotspots around the country, took place just a few days before the first anniversary of a devastating bombing at a Hindu shrine in Bangkok that killed 22 people and wounded more than 100. The first blasts also took place on the eve of the birthday of Queen Sirikit in Hua Hin, a town where she and King Bhumibol Adulyadej maintain a summer palace. Thailand has a history of violence in southern areas from an ongoing low-level insurgency but bloodshed rarely spreads to Phuket or Hua Hin. (more)

'Untold devastation' in South Sudan triggers grave humanitarian crisis
9 August 2016 - South Sudan is reeling from an unprecedented humanitarian crisis a month after deadly clashes between government and opposition forces set off a fresh cycle of violence and displacements, the UN has warned. About 6 million South Sudanese -- more than half of the country's population -- are now in need of humanitarian assistance, with 4.8 million facing severe hunger. In Juba, the most recent surge in violence has left hungry, displaced families with a heart-wrenching choice: to stay inside the UN camp for displaced people and watch their children starve, or to fetch food from outside but risk attacks by marauding soldiers. (more)

Trafficking of Nigerian women into prostitution in Europe 'at crisis level'
8 August 2016 - The UN says 80 per cent of the Nigerian women who came to Italy by boat in the first half of 2016 will be trafficked into prostitution. The trafficking of Nigerian women from Libya to Italy by boat is reaching 'crisis' levels, with traffickers using migrant reception centres as holding pens for women who are then collected and forced into prostitution across Europe, the UN's International Organisation for Migration (IOM) warns. Although a thriving sex trafficking industry has been operating between Nigeria and Italy for over three decades, there has been a marked increase in the numbers of unaccompanied Nigerian women arriving in Italy on migrant boats from Libya. (more)

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