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Buffer zone agreed on in Ukrainian peace talks
20 September 2014 - Participants in Ukrainian peace talks agreed early Saturday to create a buffer zone to separate government troops and pro-Russian militants and withdraw foreign fighters and heavy weapons from the area of conflict in eastern Ukraine. The deal reached by representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the Moscow-backed rebels and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe marked an effort to add substance to a cease-fire agreement that was signed on 5 September. (more)

Marking International Day, UN affirms people's right to 'imagine' world at peace
20 September 2014 - With John Lennon's iconic song 'Imagine' as the backdrop, the United Nations on 19 September marked the International Day of Peace underscoring that all people have the right to peace. As on each year since the Day was created in 1981, the Secretary-General asked combatants to lay down their arms 'so all can breathe the air of peace'. 'We must douse the fires of extremism and tackle the root causes of conflict,' Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said ahead of the official observance of the Day, 21 September, which this year falls on Sunday. He also called on people around the world to observe a minute of silence at noon on Sunday and reflect on what peace means for the human family. (more)

Minutes silence to mark UN Day of Peace this weekend
20 September 2014 - Millions of people will stop for a minutes silence at noon this Sunday as part of the United Nations' International Day of Peace. Prayers for peace will be held at services throughout the weekend and Global Meditations are taking place as people of all faiths come together. Each year, the United Nations chooses a different peace theme for the annual day. The 2014 International Day of Peace is devoted to the Right of Peoples to Peace, marking the 30th anniversary of a General Assembly resolution of the same name. (more)

'Refugees Welcome!' is more than a slogan in Germany
19 September 2014 - As asylum seekers increasingly flock to Germany, a solidarity movement not only demands that immigrants have the right to stay, but provides its own support through language classes, sports, and mentorship programmes. Twenty-six-year-old Gloria Amoruso co-founded kein Abseits! in 2011 to encourage education through sports and mentoring. The organization's name means 'not offside' and invokes soccer terminology as a metaphor for not straying into the margins of society. Last week the organization held its first soccer training for young refugee girls as part of a new project called Heimspiel, another play on words meaning 'home game'. (more)

Germany: Chancellor Merkel leads Berlin rally against anti-Semitism
14 September 2014 - Chancellor Angela Merkel led a rally against anti-Semitism in Berlin on Sunday, telling several thousand people that Jewish life is part of Germany's identity and she wants to ensure that Jews feel safe here. 'We are making unmistakably clear with this rally that Jewish life belongs to us -- it is part of our identity and culture,' she said. Germany's Jewish community organized the rally at the capital's Brandenburg Gate. President Joachim Gauck joined ministers and Germany's top Protestant and Catholic clerics at the event along with Muslim community leaders. (more)

Israeli soldiers from elite wire-tapping unit refuse to use 'extortion', 'blackmail' on Palestinians
14 September 2014 - Israel's intelligence corps has been rocked by a major internal protest over the treatment of Palestinians. More than 40 former soldiers and current army reservists have signed a letter refusing future service in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) military intelligence wing, known as Unit 8200. Unit 8200 is often compared to the United States National Security Agency. It uses sophisticated technology to monitor the lives of Palestinians, gathering information which is then used by Israel's military. It also carries out surveillance overseas. But the group of soldiers who served in the unit has spoken out about the methods used and the toll they take on innocent civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories. The veterans believe the surveillance and intelligence gathering by Unit 8200 is not necessary for Israeli national security. (more)

Ukraine, rebels trade 67 prisoners in peace deal
12 September 2014 - In the dead of night, Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebel forces on Friday exchanged 67 prisoners who had been captured during fighting in eastern Ukraine, part of a cease-fire deal that has struggled to succeed. The transfer took place in the dark outside of the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk under the watch of international observers. (more)

Thirteen Israeli and Palestinian groups building peace
10 September 2014 - The following article highlights some of the organizations and initiatives working to create a lasting peace based on dignity, security, equality, and respect for the human rights of all Palestinians and Israelis. (more)

Ukraine says Russia withdrawing forces from east, sees boost for peace
10 September 2014 - Ukraine's President said on Wednesday Russia had removed the bulk of its forces from his country, raising hopes for a peace drive now underway after five months of conflict. President Petro Poroshenko told a televised cabinet meeting Ukraine would remain a sovereign, united country under the terms of a peace roadmap approved last Friday, but said parts of the east under rebel control would get special status. (more)

UN officials call for renewed global commitment to ending nuclear tests
10 September 2014 - United Nations officials have called for renewed commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons and nuclear tests, noting that nearly 2,000 such tests have taken place since 1945. 'Our collective aspiration for a world free of nuclear weapons must be reflected in a firm and formal commitment to ban nuclear tests,' Charles Thembani Ntwaagae, Vice-President of the General Assembly, said in a message delivered on behalf of President John Ashe. (more)

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

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)

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)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Glossary of extremists in Middle East and Africa
19 September 2014 - Violent radicals inspired by al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden pepper the map from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. A look at the organizations presenting the most serious threats from South Asia to the Middle East and Africa. (more)

Islamic State militants threaten ancient sites in Iraq, Syria
19 September 2014 - For more than 5,000 years, numerous civilizations have left their mark on upper Mesopotamia. Their ancient, buried cities, palaces, and temples packed with monumental art are scattered across what is now northern Iraq and eastern Syria. Now much of that archaeological wealth is under the control of extremists from the Islamic State group. The militants have demolished some artifacts in their zealotry to uproot what they see as heresy, but they are also profiting from it, hacking relics off palace walls or digging them out to sell on the international black market. The Islamic State militants seek to purge society of everything that doesn't conform with their strict, puritanical version of Islam. But their extremist ideology doesn't prevent them from also profiting from the sale of ancient artifacts. (more)

Roadside bombs kills 5 UN peacekeepers in Mali
19 September 2014 - A roadside bomb in northern Mali killed five UN peacekeepers and wounded several others on Thursday, a spokesman said of the latest in a string of deadly attacks on the force. Northern Mali fell under control of Tuareg separatists and then al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists following a military coup in 2012. A French-led intervention last year scattered the extremists, but some remain active in the countryside and there have been continued bursts of violence. (more)

South Africa's murder rate goes up
19 September 2014 - South Africa recorded about 17,000 murders in the year ending in March, reflecting a 5 per cent increase over the previous year, police said Friday. While South Africa's murder rate has shown an overall decline in the past decade, analysts said the annual crime statistics show that violence is one of the most serious problems facing the country. The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said the latest data shows that an average of 47 murders happen daily in South Africa and likened the rate of killing to that of a country at war. (more)

Islamic State executes eight Sunnis in northern Iraq
14 September 2014 - Islamic State militants publicly executed eight Sunni men in a small northern Iraqi village at the weekend for allegedly plotting against the group, an eyewitness from the village told Reuters on Sunday. The killing began on Friday night when a pair of masked Islamic State gunmen openly murdered a police officer in al-Jumasah village after the militant group accused him of spying for the Kurdish and Iraqi military forces, the witness said. The Islamic State fighters gathered local residents to watch the execution in the village, about 120 km (75 miles) north of Tikrit. 'Islamic State members said that this is the fate of anyone who opposes them,' the witness said. 'They presented as evidence CDs and copies of the man's correspondences with the security forces.' After the police officer was executed, a small armed group opened fire in revenge on the house of an Islamic State officer. (more)

Moscow stifles dissent as soldiers return in coffins
12 September 2014 - Russian soldiers recently killed in the Ukraine have died in a war in which they officially have no involvement.This is a problem in Russia. Chatter about young soldiers returning home in coffins has begun to spread over the past few weeks. Though still limited, such talk has powerful echoes of earlier Russian wars such as Chechnya and Afghanistan. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said this week that Russia had moved most of its forces back across the border into Russian territory after a ceasefire between Kiev and the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. But a NATO military officer said on Thursday that Russia still had 1,000 troops in the country. The idea of an outright invasion of eastern Ukraine by Russian troops is highly unpopular in Russia. A survey by pro-Kremlin pollster Fund of Social Opinions said 57 per cent of Russians support the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, but only 5 per cent support an invasion of Ukrainian territory. Russian authorities have worked to systematically silence rights workers' complaints over soldiers' deaths, intimidating those who question the Kremlin's denials that its soldiers are in Ukraine. Russia's defence ministry denies reports that Russian military units were operating in Ukraine. Rights activists and their lawyers say the biggest difference between the first Chechen War in the 1990s and now is that Russian authorities have become better at stopping information they don't like. (more)

Russia successfully tests nuclear missile, more planned - navy chief
10 September 2014 - Russia carried out a successful test of its new Bulava intercontinental nuclear missile on Wednesday and will perform two more test launches in October and November, the head of its naval forces said. The armed forces have boosted their military training and test drills since the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which Russia considers in its traditional sphere of influence. The 12-metre long Bulava, or mace, has undergone numerous tests, some successful, and can deliver an impact of up to 100 times the atomic blast that devastated Hiroshima in 1945. Naval Commander-in-Chief Admiral Viktor Chirkov said the test launch had been carried out from the White Sea and that the test missile had hit its target in Russia's far east. (more)

New UN rights boss warns of 'house of blood' in Iraq, Syria
8 September 2014 - The new UN human rights chief urged world powers on Monday to protect women and minorities targeted by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, saying the fighters were trying to create a 'house of blood'. Jordan's Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, the first Muslim to hold the position, called for the international community to focus on ending the 'increasingly conjoined' conflict in the two countries, and abuses in other hotspots from Ukraine to Gaza. Islamic State's Sunni Muslim fighters have over-run large parts of Syria and Iraq since June, declaring a cross-border caliphate. The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council last week agreed to send a team to investigate killings and other abuses carried out by the group on 'an unimaginable scale'. Zeid, Jordan's former UN ambassador and a Jordanian prince, described Islamic State in his maiden speech to the Council as 'takfiris' -- hardline Sunni militants who justify killing others by branding them apostates. 'Do they believe they are acting courageously? Barbarically slaughtering captives? ... They reveal only what a Takfiri state would look like, should this movement actually try to govern in the future, said Zeid who succeeds Navi Pillay in the Geneva hotseat. (more)

Northern Nigeria: ruined lives
7 September 2014 - Thousands have died in the violence in Nigeria's northeast between Boko Haram insurgents and the security forces, with no end in sight to the bloodletting. Bombings and shootings by the Salafist group have been countered by extra-judicial murder by the army and the police, documented by local and international human rights groups. After five years of insurrection, Boko Haram now holds towns in the state of Borno; last week leader Abubaker Shekau announced a self-declared caliphate. IRIN talked to a group of mothers and widows in Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, who have lost sons or husbands in the expanding violence. Haja Kalu Shatima's husband, a civil servant, was killed in 2009, in the early days of the crisis. Boko Haram ambushed the 14-seater minibus he was travelling in; only two people survived the attack. 'My life has really changed, but thank God we're still alive,' said the mother of seven. She struggles to make ends meet with a job in local government during the day, and a petty trade business in the evening. Her children receive free education through one of the few schools still open in the state, run by a local lawyer and philanthropist. Fatima Usman's husband was kidnapped last year by Boko Haram from his shop. A few days later she heard he had been killed. She has no idea why he was targeted. 'He was somebody who never made trouble.' Now she lives with her parents and relies on relatives to help support her and her three children. (more)

Success of Salvador gang truce: Stronger gangs
7 September 2014 - In communities across El Salvador, the Mara Salvatrucha and their arch rivals, the 18th Street Gang, are de facto rulers. A truce declared two years ago briefly tapered their bloody gang war, but the ceasefire had an unintended consequence: It gave the gangs breathing room to grow even stronger. Now, violence is on the rise again. This wasn't what was expected when gang leaders reached a truce in March 2012. Observers hailed the agreement as the start of a new era of peace for El Salvador, a model to be followed by other countries. Last year, the two bands agreed to make the town of Ilopango one of the country's first 'violence-free zones'. Mass graves still are dug up in Ilopango, filled with young people who were killed even during the truce. Restaurants and other businesses pay extortions. Residents who cross enemy gang territory risk getting killed. Spreading fear and ruling with near impunity, the gangs are one of the top reasons behind the record exodus of unaccompanied minors who have overwhelmed United States Border Patrol agents since last October. Mauricio Arriaza, San Salvador's municipal police chief, said he doubts that even the highly touted reduction in violence was real. 'We're sure, without a doubt, that the gangs continued assassinating and burying their victims in unmarked graves,' he said. Israel Ticas, a forensic investigator who excavates mass graves, said the true results of the truce are still being uncovered. (more)

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