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China, Viet Nam patch ties after territory disputes
19 October 2014 - China and Viet Nam agreed to resume military ties and better manage their maritime disputes in the first signs that tensions over territorial claims could be easing. Despite fraternal ties between their ruling Communist parties, relations between the two countries grew tense this year after China deployed an oil rig near the Paracel Islands, which are also claimed by Hanoi. The vessels of the two sides rammed each other near the rig, and there were deadly anti-China riots in several industrial parks in Viet Nam, leading to an exodus of thousands of Chinese workers. (more)

On the road to find the world's funniest person
19 October 2014 - It was last summer and Israeli-Palestinian tensions were at the highest they'd been in some time when Jamie Masada hit on a formula for world peace: Forget about guns and bombs, and just tell jokes to each other. He knew it'd be a challenge to bring together people from across the world who dislike each other, and hope they will laugh at each other. And yet, that's what he's trying to do with what he calls the first Funniest Person in the World competition. (more)

Ukrainian, Russian leaders sound optimistic note
17 October 2014 - Russian and Ukrainian leaders sounded optimistic after marathon, Europe-brokered talks Friday, signalling progress on both a definitive peace settlement in Ukraine and a gas dispute that threatens to disrupt supplies to Europe this winter. While Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko stopped short of declaring a breakthrough, they both spoke with renewed confidence. The fighting in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and government troops began a month after Russia annexed the peninsula of Crimea, killing more than 3,600 people, according to the UN. The West, in return, imposed economic sanctions, which Putin is eager to see lifted. (more)

Russian President Putin to meet with Western leaders on Ukraine
16 October 2014 - Russian President Vladimir Putin is mounting a diplomatic blitz on the sidelines of a summit of European and Asian leaders in a bid to escape Russia's worst crisis with the West since the Cold War. Putin on Friday will discuss Ukraine over breakfast with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and key European leaders on the sidelines of the 10th ASEM summit in Milan. He may also meet privately with Poroshenko. (more)

Berlin plans people's party to mark 25 years since fall of Wall
14 October 2014 - The German capital will mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with a huge street party around the Brandenburg Gate celebrating the part ordinary people played in bringing down communism in eastern Europe. The Berlin Wall, which divided the island of West Berlin from the communist East after it was built in 1961, was the most potent symbol of the Cold War. Momentous images of emotional Germans from the East surging through the newly opened border stunned the world in 1989 and the following year, when the two Germanys became one. (more)

US: Imams in NYC denounce violent extremism
14 October 2014 - About a dozen imams from mosques in all five of New York City's boroughs have gathered to denounce violent extremist acts around the world. At a press conference Tuesday on the steps of City Hall, the President of the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York said that Islamic law forbids violent terrorist acts. (more)

Train service back in former Sri Lankan war zone
13 October 2014 - Cheered by tens of thousands of people, a train decorated with banana plants and colourful flower garlands arrived in Sri Lanka's northern Tamil heartland on Monday, 24 years after the 'Queen of Jaffna' was suspended due to civil war. 'Yarl Devi', as it is known in Tamil, was once a popular mode of transport between the ethnic Tamil-majority north and the Sinhala-majority south but was scaled back in 1990 because of the heightening of the civil war between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels. Before the civil war erupted in 1983, the train was the most convenient way to travel between north and south. India loaned $800 million for the project. (more)

Ukraine, Russia central bankers quip, shake hands in Washington
11 October 2014 - Female central bankers from Ukraine and its bitter rival Russia took the stage together in Washington on Saturday and described differing fallout from the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Their governments in Kiev and Moscow may be at odds, but Valeria Hontareva, governor of the Central Bank of Ukraine, and Ksenia Yudayeva, deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia, managed to joke about the irony of their encounter on a panel on the sidelines of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings -- and to shake hands afterwards. (more)

A look at Nobel Peace winner Kailash Satyarthi
10 October 2014 - As a boy, Satyarthi was moved by other children who had to work, and whose parents were too poor to send them to school. He started a football club with membership fees paying the school fees of needy children. He and a friend collected donations of 2,000 schoolbooks in a single day, a project that eventually became a book bank in his town. (more)

A look at the top 10 youngest Nobel laureates
10 October 2014 - On Friday, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person ever to be awarded a Nobel Prize, sharing the 2014 Peace Prize for her work on children's rights. Here's a look at the top 10 youngest people to win a Nobel prize throughout the history of the award. (more)

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

Creating national invincibility through individuals creating a 'beautiful, coherent, harmonious, evolutionary influence' - Maharishi
4 October 2014 - In the continuation of an address given in Seelisberg, Switzerland, on 21 October 1977, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi explained further how invincibility can be structured on the level of whole societies and nations. This can be achieved, Maharishi said, through education that gives individuals the ability to awaken and function from the deepest level of their consciousness, which he describes as the 'home of all the laws of nature', and from there create only an evolutionary influence of coherence and harmony in society. Maharishi's historic address, 'Celebrating invincibility to every nation', was featured recently during an international conference at Maharishi European Research University (MERU) in Holland on 3 October. (more)

Celebrating invincibility to every nation: Harmony, coherence, freedom from fear - Maharishi
3 October 2014 - Today organizations of the Global Country of World Peace in many countries participated in the festival of Victory Day, which celebrates the victory of administration based on total natural law to promote peace, happiness, good health and prosperity for every individual and the whole society. Nearly 40 years ago, on Victory Day in October 1977, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi announced that the assembly was 'celebrating invincibility to every nation', on the basis of news reports of reduced crime rate in many parts of the world. The decrease, Maharishi said, reflected rising coherence in world consciousness generated by many people practising Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programmes. 'A coherent, integrated, orderly society will emanate the influence of coherence, integration, life-supporting value, orderliness, evolution. When a nation radiates evolutionary influence, that will be a joy to the whole family of nations,' Maharishi said. (more)

A group of grieving mothers hope to rediscover inner peace with Transcendental Meditation
27 September 2014 - Mothers grieving for children lost to inner city violence connected with the David Lynch Foundation to learn Transcendental Meditation. 'The Chicago mothers, just beginning to see the potential meditation has to bring order to their lives, stumbled into TM,' writes Erin Meyer in an article about the group--'they rediscovered an inner peace thought to have died with their children'. (more)

21 new Maharishi Vastu architects complete training
25 September 2014 - Earlier this summer 21 architects from 13 countries graduated from an intensive, two-month training programme as fully certified Maharishi Vastu architects. Their country affiliations, contact information, and pictures are featured on the Maharishi Vastu page on Facebook, organized according to their region of the world. (more)

The Expansion of Happiness: New book on Transcendental Meditation published
24 September 2014 - The Expansion of Happiness, a new book by Mack Travis, takes us on his personal journey as he discovers how practising Transcendental Meditation, twice a day for the past forty years, has balanced and enhanced the quality of his life. The book is subtitled: A common-sense look at the Transcendental Meditation technique founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Travis presents Maharishi's scientifically validated, effective meditation technique in a compelling, easy-to-understand way that shows how regular practice enables people to achieve peacefulness, purpose, and happiness in their lives. (more)

International Vedic association holds conference at Maharishi University of Management
20 September 2014 - More than 100 Vedic scholars and thought leaders assembled at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA this summer for an international conference on 'Vedic Living in a Modern World' cosponsored by the World Association for Vedic Studies. The conference brought together 'a diverse group of people who share a profound respect for and love of the holistic knowledge and life-supporting culture of ancient India', said co-chair Dr Peter Scharf. Among those presenting were 75 scholars from out of town, including India and Canada, and another 20 from India via Skype. (more)

US: Village of small, modular Vastu homes planned
16 September 2014 - A village of small, modular homes of various sizes, designed according to Maharishi Vastu Architecture, is now being planned for Fairfield, Iowa, USA. This 'micro-village' will have both homes and multi-unit buildings. All units so far are in the 400-800 square foot (37-48 square metre) range, and studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom configurations are planned. (more)

US: More Maharishi Vastu homes using modular construction
9 September 2014 - Maharishi Vastu Architecture reports that another Vastu home built using modular construction has just been delivered and set on its foundation in Iowa. This latest Vastu modular is modern in style, with verandahs and screened porches on front and rear. The open, central living area has clerestory windows just below its high ceilings to allow light to flood in from above--a feature recommended for all Vastu buildings. (more)

US: Vastu modular construction taking hold in Fairfield, Iowa
6 September 2014 - In the past few months the Maharishi Vastu Architecture website has featured the modular construction methods on a house being built in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, in the Abundance Eco Village community. The home was inaugurated over the summer after being delivered from the factory and set on its foundation in May. (more)

The ''Dear Prudence'' story: One woman's journey in consciousness
2 September 2014 - A recent talk by Prudence Farrow Bruns is a featured video on ConsciousnessTalks--a monthly online series of TED-style talks focusing on the exploration and development of consciousness, presented by leading scientists, artists, and innovative thought-leaders from diverse fields. In the 'Dear Prudence' story, Dr. Bruns, author, film producer, Sanskrit scholar, and one of the first US teachers of the Transcendental Meditation technique charmingly recounts her personal journey of self development that began in the 1960s, and eventually led her to the TM technique and studying with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the historic India course where the Beatles wrote the well-known song that bears her name. (more)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Suspected Boko Haram fighters mount deadly attacks after Nigeria 'ceasefire'
20 October 2014 - Suspected Boko Haram militants have killed dozens of people in five attacks on Nigerian villages that occurred after the government announced a ceasefire to enable 200 abducted girls to be freed, security sources and witnesses said on Saturday. The fresh attacks dashed hopes for an easing of the northeast's violence, although officials remained confident they can negotiate the release of girls whose abduction by the rebels in the remote northeastern town of Chibok in April caused international shock and outrage. Boko Haram, whose name translates roughly as 'Western education is sinful', has massacred thousands in a struggle to carve an Islamic state out of religiously mixed Nigeria, whose southern half is mainly Christian in faith. Boko Haram, seen as the biggest threat to Africa's top economy and oil producer, is believed to be divided into several factions that loosely cooperate with each other, and it is unclear with which faction the government has been negotiating. (more)

2 Peru governor candidates win despite drug probes
19 October 2014 - Two gubernatorial candidates under investigation in Peru for drug trafficking-related crimes have won election and two face runoffs after a nationwide vote for mayors, governors and municipal councils, according to unofficial results on Monday, 6 October. Hundreds of candidates suspected of ties to drug trafficking were on the ballot Sunday in what authorities called the Andean nation's most violent campaign since 2000. A 29 August judicial order launching an investigation of Gambini says he amassed a fortune and extensive land holdings with a small mayor's salary. Also victorious was Gilmer Horna, under investigation for possible money laundering. One of every three Peruvian voters lives in a region where candidates were investigation, on trial, or previously convicted of drug-related crimes. Peru's state attorney for drug enforcement, Sona Medina, said her office had identified 700 such candidates. (more)

Sudan could be arming South Sudan rebels, says report
19 October 2014 - Sudan's government plans to increase military assistance to rebels in South Sudan, which could prolong the south's civil war and return the region to a wider conflict, according to a leaked document. South Sudan -- which broke away from Sudan in 2011 after a peaceful vote for independence -- has had an internal conflict since last December between supporters of the government and former Vice President Riek Machar. Thousands have been killed and some 1.7 million people displaced. (more)

Islamic State magazine says group enslaved Yazidis
12 October 2014 - Islamic State group militants captured, enslaved, and sold Yazidi women and children, the latest issue of a magazine purportedly published by the extremists claimed Sunday, the group's first public confirmation of the allegations. Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled into the Sinjar Mountains, many getting stranded there for weeks, after the militant onslaught on Sinjar in August, part of the Islamic State group's lightning advance across northern and western Iraq. Hundreds were killed in the attack, and tens of thousands fled for their lives, most to the Kurdish-held parts of northern Iraq. The Associated Press independently has interviewed a number of Yazidi women and girls who escaped captivity and several claimed that they were sold to Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria. (more)

AP ANALYSIS: US-led airstrikes produce few gains
7 October 2014 - After two months, the US-led aerial campaign in Iraq has hardly dented the core of the Islamic State group's territory. The extremist fighters have melted into urban areas when needed to elude the threat, and they have even succeeded in taking new territory from an Iraqi army that still buckles in the face of militants. In neighbouring Syria, days of airstrikes have been unable to stop militants on the verge of capturing a strategic town of Kobani on the Turkish border. The limited results show the central weakness of the campaign: There is only so much that can be done from the air to defeat an extremist force that has swept over much of Iraq and Syria. The Islamic State fighters have proven elusive and flexible, able to reorganize to minimize the blows. And more importantly, there are almost no allied forces on the ground able to capitalize on the airstrikes and wrest back territory from the militants. Most of the success for the air campaign has been in rural, open areas of northern Iraq. (more)

Turkey: Syrian town about to fall to jihadists
7 October 2014 - The Islamic State group is about to capture the Syrian border town of Kobani, Turkey's president said Tuesday, as outgunned Kurdish forces struggled to repel the extremists with limited aid from US-led coalition airstrikes. Islamic State fighters using tanks and heavy weapons looted from captured army bases in Iraq and Syria have been pounding Kurdish forces in the town of Kobani for days. The Islamic State group has conquered vast swaths of Syria and Iraq, declaring a self-styled caliphate governed by its strict interpretation of Shariah law. The militants have massacred captured Syrian and Iraqi troops, terrorized minorities, and beheaded two American journalists and two British aid workers. (more)

Hong Kong standoff reflects wide rifts in society
5 October 2014 - The story of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong's top leader, is the type of rags-to-riches tale that is generally admired in this commercially-minded city. But Leung is deeply unpopular, thanks mainly to his longstanding ties with mainland China. Beijing's burgeoning influence in this former British colony is a key factor driving protests that have paralyzed parts of this dynamic city and brought on some of the worst confrontations in decades. Anger toward Beijing is not shared by all in Hong Kong, and the scuffles that began Friday between protesters and people trying to force them off the streets reflect widening rifts within this city of 7 million. Protesters and their supporters have turned out by the tens of thousands at times over the past week to voice their disapproval of Leung and of plans that would require a pro-Beijing committee to screen the nomination for Hong Kong's inaugural election for chief executive in 2017. The dissatisfaction that sparked the protests extends well beyond unhappiness with Leung and political reforms. Incomes have stagnated while living costs have soared. (more)

Mexico massacre victims feared to be missing students
5 October 2014 - Bodies found in mass graves in southwestern Mexico are feared to be those of students who went missing last month after they clashed with corrupt local police, authorities said on Sunday. Police infiltrated by local drug cartels are suspected of abducting some of the students, a local security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. 'You really can't call them police,' the official said, standing on the hillside above Iguala. The graves have created a major headache for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office two years ago pledging to end a wave of gang-related violence that has killed around 100,000 people since the start of 2007. (more)

Pakistani Taliban declare allegiance to Islamic State and global jihad
5 October 2014 - The Pakistani Taliban declared allegiance to Islamic State on Saturday and ordered militants across the region to help the Middle Eastern jihadist group in its campaign to set up a global Islamic caliphate. Islamic State, which controls swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, has been making inroads into South Asia, which has traditionally been dominated by local Taliban insurgencies against both the Pakistan and Afghanistan governments. In a message marking the Muslim holy festival of Eid al-Adha, the Pakistani Taliban said they fully supported IS goals. The statement, released in Urdu, Pashto, and Arabic, came despite recent speculation that the Taliban leadership, whose goal is to topple the government and set up a Sharia state, is actually wary of IS, which is driven by different ambitions that have little to do with South Asia. The Pakistani Taliban have been beset by bitter internal rivalries over the past year. (more)

Peru vote marred by violence, drugs
5 October 2014 - Voters across Peru are choosing mayors, governors, and municipal councils following the most violent campaign since 2000, with hundreds of candidates suspected of ties to drug trafficking. Two mayoral candidates have been slain in gangland-style killings, both in cocaine-trafficking corridors. Seven gubernatorial candidates running Sunday in five of Peru's 24 states are under investigation for drug-trafficking related crimes. (more)

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