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Soyuz capsule docks with international space station
21 October 2016 - A Soyuz space capsule carrying astronauts from Russia and the United States has docked with the International Space Station after a two-day voyage. The docking took place smoothly Friday and the crew entered the space laboratory after a lengthy procedure to open its hatches. The mission is set to last four months. (more)

Yemen: UN envoy announces restoration of nationwide cessation of hostilities
18 October 2016 - On 17 October, the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, announced a plan for the resumption of a comprehensive cessation of hostilities in the war-torn Gulf nation. Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed welcomed the restoration of the cessation of hostilities, and he called on all Yemeni parties, the region, and the international community to encourage full respect for the cessation of hostilities and to ensure that it leads to a permanent and lasting end to the conflict. (more)

Give peace a chance: Colombia extends ceasefire with rebels
13 October 2016 - President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Thursday (October 16) that he is extending a ceasefire with Colombia's largest rebel movement in a bid to give more time to efforts to save a peace deal rejected by voters. Santos said in a televised address that he was extending by two months the ceasefire with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia until December 31. (more)

Colombia revives stalled peace talks with ELN rebels
10 October 2016 - Colombia's government and rebels from the National Liberation Army have agreed to revive a stalled peace effort, providing a boost to President Juan Manuel Santos [after] voters' shocking rejection of a deal with the much-larger FARC guerrilla group. The rebels and government officials said Monday (October 10) that formal peace talks would begin October 27 in Ecuador. In a brief statement from Venezuela, whose socialist government is co-sponsoring the peace process, the guerrilla group known as the ELN committed itself to freeing two captives it has been holding for months before the talks begin. Additional unspecified humanitarian actions on both sides would also take place. (more)

The Brits helping refugees help Britain
10 October 2016 - . . . people across the UK are harnessing the skills of refugee chefs, journalists, and nurses. Britain's referendum decision to leave the EU was seen in some quarters as a damning verdict on immigration. But while some see incomers as a threat and a drain, others recognise that many refugees come with skills, ambitions, and ideas that should not be wasted. (more)

Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos awarded Nobel Peace Prize for bid to end half-century conflict
7 October 2016 - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his efforts to end a half-century of civil conflict in his nation, despite Colombian voters' shocking rejection of the peace deal just days ago. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it made the decision because of Santos's landmark efforts to halt one of the world's longest-running conflicts -- Marxist rebels battling government forces since the 1960s. The prize, which was first awarded in 1901, is the most prestigious of the series of awards endowed by the Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel. (more)

Colombia peace vote: FARC to pay reparations to war victims
2 October 2016 - Hours before Colombia's polls open for a vote on whether to ratify the historic FARC peace deal, the Marxist guerrilla group announced it would pay reparations to victims of Latin America's longest-running armed conflict. Last week, the Colombian government and the rebel group signed a peace treaty to end the 52-year conflict that had rattled the region. The historic deal, which came with a major apology from the rebel group to 'all the victims of the conflict,' now awaits approval from Colombian voters. (more)

Colombia embarks on path to peace with historic accord
27 September 2016 - After a half-century of combat . . . Colombians have embarked on a new, but difficult path to settle their political differences with the signing of a historic peace accord between the government and leftist rebels. President Juan Manuel Santos removed from his lapel a pin shaped like a white dove that he has been wearing for years and handed it over to his former adversary, who fastened it to his own shirt. (more)

Colombia, FARC sign historic peace deal ending long conflict
26 September 2016 - Colombia's government and its largest rebel movement signed a historic peace accord Monday in an emotional ceremony that seeks to put an end to a half-century of combat and put the war-weary nation on the path to reconciliation. President Juan Manuel Santos and Rodrigo Londono, leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, signed the agreement before a crowd of 2,500 foreign dignitaries and special guests, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. (more)

Hopes high about 'once in a lifetime' chance to reunify Cyprus
24 September 2016 - The prospect of a breakthrough ending the decades-old division of Cyprus could be delivered at a much-anticipated meeting between the leaders of the island's two estranged communities. Reunification hopes are expected to be reinvigorated on Sunday when the president, Nicos Anastasiades, who heads Greeks in the south, and Mustafa Akıncı, who heads Turks in the north, hold talks in New York with the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon. That the meeting is taking place at all is a breakthrough in itself. (more)

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

Dr David Leffler: An Unthwartable Counter-terrorism Defense
20 October 2016 - Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) is an advanced human resource-based military technology which produces a powerful peace-creating influence, neutralizing the buildup of stress in the national collective consciousness that fuels terrorism, war and crime. Scientific research has documented this effect created by groups practising Transcendental Meditation and its advanced techniques. When large assemblies of civilian IDT experts gathered during the years 1983 to 1985, terrorism-related casualties decreased 72 per cent, international conflict decreased 32 per cent, and overall violence was reduced in nations without intrusion by other governments. The current article featuring IDT's evidence-based military application appears in such publications as: African Prime News, African Herald Express, and Ghana Star; The Daily Guardian, Philippines; Vietnam's Asia Defense News; and Hirportal, Hungary. (more)

See inside the Rendlesham Peace Palace - a one-of-kind architectural feat for Britain: East Anglian Daily Times
16 October 2016 - The organization teaching Transcendental Meditation in the UK is celebrating the inauguration of its first Maharishi Peace Palace in Rendlesham, a Suffolk village. The Peace Palace is Britain's biggest building constructed using a set of principles taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - and sits at the centre of similarly designed, east-facing homes in Rendlesham's Garden Village - one of the largest Vedic Architecture settlements of its kind in the world. Richard Johnson, Rendlesham resident and national director of the Transcendental Meditation Programme in England, says: 'The building is about creating peace for the individual and society. Maharishi wanted buildings to be dedicated to that cause.' (more)

David Lynch receives the 2016 Namaste Award
7 October 2016 - Yoga Gives Back is a non-profit organization with a mission to mobilize the global yoga community to empower women and children in India. YGB bestowed its 2016 Namaste Award to filmmaker David Lynch for his foundation's work bringing Transcendental Meditation to children in inner-city schools, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, the homeless, and women and girls who are victims of violence. The Namaste Award recognizes special people who have gone beyond the practice and teaching of yoga to incorporate noble humanitarian service, which helps make the world a better place. A motto of the organization's fundraising campaign is: 'For the cost of one yoga class, you can change a life.' (more)

The Huffington Post: Meditate for peace and heal the planet
3 October 2016 - Elaine Gavalas, writing for The Huffington Post, reported on a 2016 study published in SAGE Open that found group practice of Transcendental Meditation was linked to decreased homicides and violent crime in the US during the 2007-2010 study period. Scientists theoretically predicted that the square root of 1 per cent of the US population (about 1,725 people) meditating together would create a nationwide positive effect. Statistical and independent analyses showed the rising trend of U.S. homicides during 2001-2006 was reversed during the 2007-2010 study period. Other variables were ruled out such as the economy, demographics, and law enforcement. (more)

Stacey Hurlin reports from Greek refugee camps - TM could help give peace of mind
20 September 2016 - Stacey Hurlin, a Greek American, mother, educator, artist, and an activist; could not sit by while the refugee crisis escalated with boat arrivals to the Greek islands, which started in early 2015. She left for Greece where she facilitates donations, supplies, and often simply listens to the stories told by refugees. As asylum seekers go through the complex, and mostly discouraging, process of delays, misinformation, and paperwork, stress levels are high in the camps. To date, 60,000 are waiting. Stacey says, ' . . . these camps are filled with educated, intelligent, skilled people. Everyone I have met sincerely wants to get on with their life - to be productive, to provide for their family.' She calls for Transcendental Meditation to be made available in the camps, citing extensive research showing relief from traumatic stress and the peace-keeping qualities of people practicing the technique together, saying that 'peace of mind is the basis of all peace.' (more)

Transcendental Meditation: A solution for peace in South Sudan
4 September 2016 - Transcendental Meditation is an 'innovative science-based tool available to produce inner peace as a means of reducing the anger and violence ravaging South Sudan, Africa and other highly stressed regions worldwide. Inner peace is contagious. It spreads and has the potential to create societal peace . . . ' write scientists, concerned by the UN vote to send in more troops in an attempt to quell violence in South Sudan. They conclude that initiatives employing TM as a method to reduce PTSD and violence as peacemaking tool are the only solutions producing results. Presenting these evidence-based research findings in their OpEDNews article are Dr David Leffler, executive director at the Center for Advanced Military Science, Dr R Keith Wallace, founding president and professor of physiology at Maharishi University of Management, and David Shapiro, founding president of African PTSD Relief. (more)

Maharishi Vedic Architecture: The sun's early light
3 September 2016 - Not only did the ancient Vedic texts of Sthapatya Veda, which detail how to create ideal structures, stipulate an east-facing main entrance as the most auspicious and life-supporting direction for a dwelling to face, but ancient Egyptian structures, North American Indian structures, and even the oldest Christian religious structures stipulated the east and the rising sun as the proper direction for building orientation. When the sun is rising in the east its influence dispels darkness and brings a fresh wave of nourishing light as it falls on the front entrance of a Maharishi Vastu house. This is an important aspect of living 'in Vastu' and homeowners speak of the nourishing, 'silent harmony' of their lives: 'I have lived here now for four years and each day it is a blessing to be here. The happiness I feel is like no other I have ever experienced - deep, unshakable and contagious.' (more)

Transcendental Meditation: The organizing power of cosmic intelligence
20 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
7 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)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Colombia in unchartered territory with peace deal's defeat
2 October 2016 - After a stunning referendum defeat for a peace deal with leftist rebels, Colombians are asking what comes next for their war-torn country, which like Britain following the Brexit vote has no Plan B to save an accord that sought to bring an end to a half century of hostilities. The damage from Sunday's vote is still sinking in. Instead of winning by an almost two-to-one margin as pre-election polls had predicted, those favoring the accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia lost by a razor-thin margin, 49.8 percent of the votes to 50.2 percent for those against the deal. (more)

US: FBI data show increase in murder, violent crime in 2015
26 September 2016 - The number of murders reported by local law enforcement agencies jumped by more than 10 percent in 2015 from the year before, according to crime data released by the FBI on Monday. Violent crime overall rose by 3.9 percent, though the total was still lower than levels from five and 10 years ago, in 2011 and 2006, the FBI said. (more)

Syria diplomacy: A US-Russia deal unravels and war revs up
23 September 2016 - In a New York hotel room earlier this week, Russia thought it was close to a deal with the U.S. to revive a cease-fire deal for Syria. Regardless of the differing accounts, the fallout from the failure was severe. By Thursday afternoon, as [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry and [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov met with more than a dozen European and Arab foreign ministers, Russia was helping Syria's government launch a fresh offensive on the already besieged city of Aleppo. The week's breakdown in the diplomacy on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly occurred as violence in Syria accelerated. Several high-profile and deadly attacks suggested the war could be entering a darker phase. First, an errant U.S. strike on a Syrian military contingent killed dozens. Then, four medics were killed in a bombing raid, presumably by Syria or Russia. The 5 1/2-year war has killed as many as a half-million people, contributed to Europe's worst refugee crisis since World War II, and allowed IS to emerge as a global terror threat. (more)

Documentary charts the dangers of deforestation
20 September 2016 - A new documentary thriller, Death by A Thousand Cuts, explores how the fate of forests in two neighbouring countries has exacerbated social conflict, xenophobia, poverty, and even resulted in multiple murders. '[Haiti and the Dominican Republic] share the island of Hispaniola, but have starkly different trajectories, in large part, related to how they have managed their natural resources,' said Jake Kheel, co-director of the documentary, which won the Jury's best documentary prize at the Seattle film festival. (more)

US: Donald Trump Jr compares Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles
20 September 2016 - Donald Trump Jr has used a Twitter post to liken Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles [a candy] and suggest that America should not accept any. (more)

Aid trucks hit by air strikes as Syria says ceasefire over
19 September 2016 - Air raids hit aid trucks near the city of Aleppo on Monday, a monitoring group reported, as the Syrian military declared that a week-long ceasefire was over. The attacks were carried out by either Syrian or Russian aircraft, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that there had been 35 strikes in and around Aleppo since the truce ended. (more)

From independence to starvation in the world's newest nation, South Sudan
13 September 2016 - Tens of thousands of people in conflict-ridden South Sudan are at risk of dying from starvation with many living in swamps and surviving on water lilies following renewed violence, a senior aid worker has warned. The hunger crisis comes amid continuing instability and violence in the African country that attained independence from Sudan five years ago with renewed fighting hampering relief supplies. Here are some key facts and figures about the on-going conflict which is nearly three years long despite a formal peace accord last year, and has resulted in as many as 100,000 deaths and the displacement of 2.5 million people. (more)

How Libya is slowly becoming 'Somalia on the Mediterranean'
13 September 2016 - On 15 September 2011 David Cameron flew into a newly liberated Tripoli with the then President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, to be mobbed by rebels grateful for NATO airstrikes that had helped them secure victory over Muammar Gaddafi. Back then, optimism was in the air. In rebel camps, coffee bars, hotels already jammed with foreign businesspeople -- even amid the shattered concrete ruins of Gaddafi's giant Bab al-Azizia compound -- the talk was of progress. Back-of-the-envelope calculations showed Libya would undoubtably have the brightest future of any of the emerging Arab Spring states. It had Africa's largest oil reserves and only 6 million souls to share it. Democracy was on the way. What could go wrong? As it turned out, everything. (more)

US: Chicago homicides hit 20-year high as gun violence spikes
1 September 2016 - Chicago recorded its deadliest month in two decades in August, part of a sharp rise in gun violence in the nation's third-largest city this year. Chicago police said Thursday that 90 people were killed last month, a 66 percent increase over August 2015. There were 472 shooting victims -- an average of more than 15 people per day. The city once had some of the nation's strictest gun-control laws, but many are no longer on the books. Last year, the police department said it confiscated nearly 7,000 illegal guns. Here's a look at what's happening in Chicago: (more)

Factbox - Colombia takes grim count of war that drove millions from homes
25 August 2016 - Colombia's government and rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced late on Wednesday (24 August) they had reached a final peace accord to end a 52-year-old guerrilla war, bringing an end to one of the world's longest conflicts. The deal still needs to be voted on in a plebiscite. More than a quarter of Colombia's 47 million people have suffered in some way as a result of the war involving rebels, right-wing paramilitary groups, and government troops. Here are eight humanitarian consequences of Colombia's war. (more)

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