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Britain's falling crime rate
1 September 2014 - According to the official statistics, crime is falling across Britain. It has been falling steadily for almost 20 years, despite the occasional spike in the statistics for some forms of crime. And over the past 12 months, the sharpest fall -- 19% -- has been recorded in Northampton. Surveys have shown that while most people in England and Wales believe lawlessness to be falling in the area where they live, the overwhelming majority believe it to be rising nationally, when it has actually fallen to its lowest level in decades. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) believes this may be explained by the way some crimes are reported in the media. (more)

Cuba gives US swimmer Diana Nyad sporting medal
31 August 2014 - One year after becoming the first person confirmed to have swum from Havana to Key West, Florida without a shark cage, US endurance swimmer Diana Nyad was back in Cuba to receive that country's Order of Sporting Merit award. After a ceremony led by First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Saturday, Nyad said she dreams of uniting Cubans and Americans to walk with her the length of the island of Cuba 'as good neighbours and friends.' Diaz-Canel called Nyad's feat 'a symbol of the friendship between our peoples,' referring to the United States and Cuba. (more)

Somali warlord agrees to talks, boosts government peace efforts
31 August 2014 - A Somali clan leader who fought for years to retake a strategic southern port city he once controlled has laid down arms and joined talks, bolstering government efforts to show it can restore order to a chaotic nation. The African Union force AMISOM, which has been involved in reconciliation efforts, said Barre Hirale and nearly 100 members of his militia gave up their weapons on Saturday after discussions with clan elders and Somali federal government delegations. (more)

Mali rebel factions agree to end hostilities ahead of September talks
30 August 2014 - Representatives of two platforms of rebel groups from northern Mali agreed on Thursday in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou to end hostilities and present a united front for talks with the Malian government in Algeria in early September. (more)

What dispute? India and China ignore land squabble
30 August 2014 - The last thing the world's two most populous countries want right now is war with each other. Not when things are going so well. 'The territorial issues and the sovereignty issues have not gone away,' said Sujit Dutta, a China scholar at New Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia University. 'But the Chinese are not pushing further (into the disputed regions) and neither are the Indians.' He continued, 'Today, India and China have a new context for their relationship.' (more)

China, Viet Nam say they'll negotiate sea disputes
27 August 2014 - China and Viet Nam said Wednesday they're committed to negotiating maritime disputes to avoid a recurrence of tensions that spiked when China deployed an oil rig in waters claimed by Hanoi. The statement followed talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vietnamese special envoy Le Hong Anh to resolve a crisis in relations dating from the rig's deployment in May. The friendship between China and Viet Nam was created and nourished by older generations of leaders, state broadcaster CCTV quoted Xi as saying. 'While clashes are inevitable between neighbours, what's crucial is how they are handled and what kind of attitude is taken,' he said. (more)

Gaza cease-fire holds as sides weigh gains
27 August 2014 - An open-ended cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip was holding Wednesday, as many people on both sides of the conflict wondered what was gained during 50 days of fighting. After more than seven weeks of fighting, the two sides settled for an ambiguous interim agreement in exchange for a period of calm. On Wednesday, the Israeli military said there were no reports of violations since the cease-fire went into effect at 7 pm (1600 GMT) Tuesday. (more)

Iran, Saudi diplomats hold rare talks
26 August 2014 - Saudi Arabia's foreign minister met Tuesday with an Iranian deputy foreign minister in the highest-level bilateral talks between the two Middle East powers since moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's election last year. Relations between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Shiite powerhouse Iran are tense, and the meeting provided an opportunity for the two oil-rich nations to begin to thaw those ties. (more)

UN chief welcomes Egyptian-brokered ceasefire for Gaza
26 August 2014 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed Tuesday's announcement of an open-ended ceasefire for Gaza, brokered under Egyptian auspices, and said he hopes this will lead to a political process aimed at achieving a durable peace. 'A brighter future for Gaza and for Israel depends on a sustainable ceasefire. It is up to the parties to live up to this responsibility,' said a statement issued by Mr Ban's spokesperson. (more)

UN hosts meeting with Greek Cypriot, Turkish Cypriot negotiators
26 August 2014 - The United Nations has confirmed that Greek and Turkish Cypriot negotiators met in Nicosia to discuss arrangements for the upcoming meeting of the leaders from the two sides. The negotiators exchanged views on methodology and the way forward in preparation for the upcoming leaders' meeting which will be held on 2 September 2014, said the spokesperson. The negotiator's meeting comes after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week appointed Espen Barth Eide of Norway as his new Special Adviser on Cyprus. According to a UN statement Mr Eide, a seasoned diplomat, brings to the position a deep understanding of peace processes and peacemaking. (more)

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

Twenty-one architects, newly trained in Maharishi Vastu architecture, practising in 13 countries
27 August 2014 - Maharishi Vastu Architecture News is featuring more information about the recent international professional training course on Maharishi Vastu architecture in the Netherlands. Twenty-one architects from 13 countries graduated from the recent comprehensive, two-month training course at Maharishi European Research University (MERU) in Holland. The news post includes photos of the 21 architects, grouped according to country and region of the world, and their contact information, for those wishing to pursue Maharishi Vastu building projects in their areas. (more)

PM Netanyahu: 'Show me the science!' - Expert presents scientifically-validated Invincible Defense Technology to end violence, bring peace to Middle East
23 August 2014 - We ask Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: 'Show me the Science!', writes Dr David Leffler in (Middle East Peace). PM Netanyahu asserts that bombardment of Gaza will continue . . . 'until we guarantee full security and quiet for the residents of the south and all citizens of Israel'. Is bombing going to create lasting peace? Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying, 'Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.' PM Netanyahu should be commended for his lofty goals of 'full security and quiet'. They are statistically viable, if he supports his words with a proven, advanced military technology for Israel's military arsenals. Lasting peace and prosperity are a consequence of the scientifically-validated approach of Invincible Defense Technology (IDT). Extensive in-field military experience, coupled with peer-reviewed research shows that IDT can effectively, efficiently, and quickly end the current turmoil, and eliminate the rising spiral of violence. If the defence forces of Israel quickly deploy this statistically-verified approach, real and lasting peace and prosperity for both sides can be assured--not by guesswork bombardment and rocket retaliation, but by a scientifically-verified means to end the decades-old cycle of violence.

Silence and dynamism - The basis of progress
21 August 2014 - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi explains that Transcendental Meditation is a process to 'bring the mind back to silence, and from there release the thought. Bring the mind back to silence, and then you have a lively basis for the projection of a thought, lively basis for the sprouting of a thought. Then the thought will be promoted by the infinite creative intelligence of Natural Law. That is the theme. Let the thought be promoted from a lively field at the basis of all evolutionary process, which is the field of silence.' (more)

Netherlands: 21 architects complete advanced training in Maharishi Vastu Architecture
14 August 2014 - Twenty-one architects recently completed a post-graduate, professional training course on Maharishi Vastu architecture, held in the Netherlands. The participants, who are based in 13 countries around the world, came to Maharishi European Research University (MERU) in Holland to take the Maharishi Vastu Architect Training Course. The two-month intensive course was part of a comprehensive programme of training in Maharishi Vastu architecture, offered in three phases over the last several years by the Institute for Vedic Architecture and City Planning. (more)

An outsider's view of how to calm Middle East - Gaza tension: Mangalorean reports on Invincible Defence Technology
5 August 2014 - The Hamas arsenal of rockets keeps on coming as the Israeli military continues its offensive by hitting the Gaza Strip with its artillery fire and air strikes. . . . Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns that the Israeli military is hitting Hamas ''with growing force,'' and he guesses there is no end in sight. . . . Yet the mounting misery could end quickly and age-old tensions could be rapidly reduced if PM Netanyahu added a proven, advanced military technology to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) arsenal, writes Dr David Leffler in today's Mangalorean (India). Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) has been field-tested by foreign militaries, and scientifically validated by 23 peer-reviewed studies carried out in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. . . . The IDT approach has been used during wartime, resulting in reduction of fighting and in number of deaths and casualties, and in progress toward resolving the conflict peacefully. (more)

Vedic Living in a Modern World: International conference at Maharishi University, USA, 31 July - 3 August
30 July 2014 - The Eleventh World Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES) conference is coming to Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa, USA on Thursday, 31 July through Sunday, 3 August. This is the first time such a large and diverse group of Vedic scholars has come together on the campus to explore the relevance of ancient Vedic knowledge in today's world. Topics will include Yoga, natural medicine, higher states of consciousness, and reflections on the various Vedic texts. The main plenary talks will be webcast live. (more)

World Association for Vedic Studies to hold 11th international conference at Maharishi University of Management, USA
21 July 2014 - The World Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES) conference is the largest and most prestigious academic conference on Vedic Studies, and they have chosen to host their 11th international conference at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA. More than 100 Vedic scholars and thought leaders from around the world will come together at MUM, 31 July - 3 August, for a seminal conference, 'Vedic Living in a Modern World'. (more)

The ancient art of nourishing life from the inside
18 July 2014 - Why do people meditate? Those who practise Transcendental Meditation know it's not just for the experience they have during the 20-minute practice of the technique, as enjoyable as this can be. It's because the practice brings substantial rewards--after meditation. Transcendental Meditation is a preparation for more successful activity, for the development of consciousness, and for greater fulfilment in life. (more)

Celebrating the Vedic tradition of knowledge: 'The world is my family' - Maharishi
12 July 2014 - On 12 July, the organizations of the Global Country of World Peace in many countries participated in the festival of Guru Purnima, the full moon day in July which honours the great teachers of the Vedic tradition of knowledge--the source of the many programmes and technologies of consciousness, including Transcendental Meditation, brought to the world over 50 years by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. On this occasion in July 2007, Maharishi said, 'The world is my family has been the inspiration from all time, and we are experiencing today, the world is my family on the highest level, on the pinnacle level of invincibility characterizing real lasting freedom in affluence, integrity, coherence, all positivity, perfect health, long life.' (more)

Women invited to join third 'virtual meeting' in 2014 conference call series - 29 June
28 June 2014 - Sunday, 29 June is the date of the third in a series of six telephone conferences for women being held throughout this year. All women are invited to join in this bimonthly 'virtual global assembly' and learn how women can become a powerfully nourishing agent for positive change in the world by awakening the nourishing power of consciousness within. The next women's conference call will feature a discussion on the topic of shifting our world view in order to redesign our destiny. (more)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Australia leans toward buying Japan subs to upgrade fleet - sources
1 September 2014 - Japan and Australia are leaning towards a multibillion-dollar sale by Tokyo of a fleet of stealth submarines to Canberra's military in a move that could rile an increasingly assertive China, people familiar with the talks said. An agreement is still some months away, three people said, but the unprecedented sale of off-the-shelf vessels based on the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force's Soryu class sub is emerging as the likeliest option. Such a deal would signal a major expansion of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's controversial drive for a more active military after decades of pacifism. Rival China regularly accuses Abe of reviving Japan's wartime militarism. Australia is eager to get the quiet-running diesel-engine subs from Japan, despite the political backlash that would follow from abandoning a government pledge to build the vessels at home, said a person with knowledge of Canberra's thinking. (more)

India says Pakistan border clashes 'extremely serious and provocative'
31 August 2014 - Clashes along India's border with Pakistan are 'extremely serious and provocative' and not conducive to improving relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday. The comments came nearly two weeks after New Delhi called off top level diplomatic talks, protesting against Pakistan's meetings with separatists from the disputed region of Kashmir. Exchanges of fire between Indian and Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Indian- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir have intensified in recent weeks, claiming lives of several people, including soldiers. 'The incursions taking place at the border both at the LoC and at the international border are extremely serious and provocative,' Jaitley said. 'These are creating an environment which are not being conducive to the relationship of the two countries.' The clashes have further strained ties between the two South Asian countries, which have been at loggerheads over the possession of the Himalayan region of Kashmir since their independence from the British rule in 1947. (more)

Islamist rebels attack intelligence site in Somalia
31 August 2014 - Islamist rebels blew up a car bomb and gunmen attacked a national intelligence site in Somalia's capital where suspected militants are held, in an assault on Sunday that left at least 12 people dead. Three soldiers and two civilians were killed along with seven militants, including the suicide bomber who detonated the vehicle packed with explosives, government officials said. One intelligence officer, who identified himself only as Nur, told Reuters the gunmen had entered one building, forcing security personnel to fight room-to-room to clear them out. 'All the attackers perished in the end,' Nur said. Some of the attackers wore stolen uniforms of the security forces, the Information Ministry said in a statement, adding that all the militants were killed with 45 minutes of the attack starting. It said the two civilians killed had been passers-by. Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's spokesman for military operations, told Reuters the group was behind the attack, the latest in a series of raids in Mogadishu in recent months, including a July assault on the presidential compound. (more)

Israeli fire on Gaza town raises war crimes claim
31 August 2014 - The first of August dawned as a day of promise for the Mahmoum clan and thousands of other Palestinians stuck in United Nations shelters in Rafah -- thanks to a temporary cease-fire with Israel they could go home for three days. But the expected respite quickly turned into one of the deadliest and most controversial episodes in the recent war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. After just two hours, amid fear that Hamas had captured an Israeli soldier, the Israeli military sealed off the Rafah area and began shelling. By the end of the next day, 190 Palestinians were dead, according to a list of names compiled by two Gaza human rights groups, including 14 members of the Mahmoum family. The Rafah operation is almost certain to be a focus of U.N. investigators and rights groups looking into possible war crimes because it highlights a key concern: The treatment of civilians. A Palestinian rights group argues that the Israeli army violated the rules of war, which include giving adequate warning to civilians, using proportionate force, and distinguishing between civilians and combatants. Unlike in many other Gaza battles, civilians were caught by surprise by the sudden fire and sealed exits. 'None of the rules of international humanitarian law was observed,' said Mahmoud Abu Rahma of the Al Mezan rights group. (more)

No resolution of Gulf Arab split after ministers meet
30 August 2014 - Gulf Arab foreign ministers met in Jeddah on Saturday but took no big step towards ending a diplomatic row that has undermined their ability collectively to influence Middle East events. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain in March withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar, saying it had broken promises to them about Gulf security, which analysts connected to Doha's support for the Muslim Brotherhood. A visit by three top Saudi princes, including Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, to Doha on Wednesday had prompted widespread speculation in Gulf media that Saturday's meeting would result in a resolution or escalation of the rift. Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheik Sabah Khaled al-Sabah, whose country has tried to mediate in the dispute, said Saturday's meeting had led to limited progress. But he did not announce any concrete step to end the rift at a news conference after the meeting. In late 2011 Saudi Arabia pushed for Gulf Cooperation Council members to unite 'as a single entity' in a bid to join the group of six monarchies into a united front against Iran and the instability caused by that year's Arab uprisings. However, the GCC, which also includes Kuwait and Oman, appears more divided than at any point in its 33-year history. (more)

Over 100 Russian soldiers killed in single Ukraine battle - Russian rights activists
28 August 2014 - More than 100 Russian soldiers were killed in eastern Ukraine in a single battle this month while helping pro-Russian separatists fight Ukrainian troops, two members of the Russian presidential human rights council said on Thursday, citing accounts from eyewitnesses and relatives of the dead. Ella Polyakova and Sergei Krivenko, both members of the council -- an advisory body with no legal powers and an uneasy relationship with the Kremlin -- said around 300 people were wounded in the same incident on 13 August near the town of Snizhnye, when a column of trucks they were driving, full of ammunition, was hit by a sustained volley of Grad missiles. 'A column of Russian soldiers was attacked by Grad rockets and more than 100 people died. It all happened in the city of Snizhnye in Donetsk province,' Krivenko told Reuters. If confirmed, the deaths would support assertions by Kiev and its Western allies that Russia is fueling the conflict in eastern Ukraine by supplying the separatists with both weapons and soldiers. They pose awkward questions for the Kremlin, which has consistently denied involvement in the conflict. A defence ministry official repeated that denial in strong terms on Thursday. (more)

UN: Armed group detains 43 peacekeepers in Syria
28 August 2014 - An armed group detained 43 UN peacekeepers during fighting in Syria early Thursday and another 81 peacekeepers are trapped, the United Nations said. The peacekeepers were detained on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights during a 'period of increased fighting between armed elements and the Syrian Arab Armed Forces,' the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. It said another 81 peacekeepers are 'currently being restricted to their positions in the vicinity of Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah.' The statement did not specify which armed group is holding the peacekeepers. Various Syrian rebel groups, including the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, have been fighting the Syrian military near the Golan Heights. On Wednesday, opposition fighters captured a Golan Heights crossing point on the disputed border between Syria and Israel. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the 43 detained peacekeepers are from Fiji and are thought to be in the southern part of the area of separation. The 81 troops from the Philippines had their movements restricted. 'The situation is extremely fluid. Obviously, we are very concerned,' Dujarric said. 'We are dealing with non-state armed actors,' he said. 'The command and control of these groups is unclear. We're not in a position to confirm who is holding whom. Some groups self-identified as being affiliated with al-Nusra, however, we are unable to confirm it.' The statement said the United Nations 'is making every effort to secure the release of the detained peacekeepers,' who are part of UNDOF, the mission that has been monitoring a 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after their 1973 war. (more)

A grim stalemate at war's end in Gaza
27 August 2014 - The third Gaza War in six years appears to have ended in another sort of tie, with both Israel and Hamas claiming the upper hand. Their questionable achievements have come at a big price, especially to long-suffering Palestinians in Gaza. In a sense, Israel got what it wanted: Hamas stopped firing rockets in exchange for mostly vague promises and future talks. But the cost to Israel was huge: Beyond the 70 people killed -- all but six of them soldiers -- the economy has been set back, the tourism season destroyed, its people rattled for 50 days and its global standing pummeled by images of devastation in Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces bristling from people who sense that Hamas controlled events and could not have its grip loosened on the Gaza Strip, which it seized by force from the Palestinian Authority in 2007. Around the corner lie international investigations into war crimes allegations. Hamas is celebrating its success after surviving Israel's far superior firepower. The Islamic militant group's rocket fire emptied a string of Israeli border communities and disrupted Tel Aviv's international airport. Weak a few months ago, it may emerge as more of a player in Palestinian politics, and the plight of Gazans is again atop the world's concerns. It also paid dearly: 2,143 Palestinians were killed, including nearly 500 children and hundreds of militants. The UN estimates the war destroyed or severely damaged 17,200 homes and left 100,000 Palestinians homeless, with considerable swaths of Gaza in rubble. (more)

India, Pakistan intensify cross-border firing as ties sour
24 August 2014 - Indian and Pakistani troops intensified firing across the border over the weekend killing at least four, an Indian official said on Sunday, straining ties between the arch rivals who recently called off top-level diplomatic talks. Last week India said its foreign secretary would not meet with her Pakistani counterpart as scheduled on Monday because of plans by Pakistan to consult separatists from the border state of Jammu and Kashmir ahead of the meeting. The cancellation dashed any hopes of near-term peace deliberations, chances of which had risen after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the inauguration of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about three months ago. The Himalayan region of Kashmir has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan since both countries became independent in 1947. They have fought three wars and came close to a fourth in 2001 and there have been regular clashes on the Line of Control that divides Indian- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. Giving ammunition to hawks on both the sides against resuming talks, firing across the border has picked up. (more)

Israeli airstrike levels seven-story building in Gaza
24 August 2014 - Israeli airstrikes levelled a seven-floor office building and severely damaged a two-story shopping centre in the Gaza Strip early Sunday, signalling a new escalation in seven weeks of fighting with Hamas. The strikes in the southern town of Rafah came just hours after Israel bombed an apartment tower in Gaza City, collapsing the 12-story building with 44 apartments. Around 30 people were wounded in the strikes, but no one was killed, Palestinian officials said. The targeting of large buildings appears to be part of a new military tactic by Israel. Over the weekend, the army began warning Gaza residents in automated phone calls that it would target buildings harbouring 'terrorist infrastructure' and that they should stay away. A senior military official confirmed that Israel has a policy of striking at buildings containing Hamas operational centres or those from which military activities are launched. The official said each strike required prior approval from military lawyers and is carried out only after the local population is warned. However, he said, there was now a widening of locations that the military can target. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to discuss the matter with reporters. In the 12-story apartment tower, the target was a fourth-floor apartment where Hamas ran an operations centre, according to Israeli media. In the past, Israel has carried out pinpoint strikes, targeting apartments in high-rises with missiles, while leaving the buildings standing. However, this time a decision was made to bring down the entire tower, according to Channel 10, an Israeli TV station. (more)

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