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President Obama to remove Cuba from state sponsor of terror list
14 April 2015 - President Barack Obama will remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, the White House announced Tuesday, a key step in his bid to normalize relations between the two countries. The terror designation has been a stain on Cuba's pride and a major stumbling block for efforts to mend ties between Washington and Havana. (more)

In historic face to face, Obama, Castro vow to turn the page (+ AP video)
11 April 2015 - President Barack Obama and Cuba's Raul Castro sat down together Saturday in the first formal meeting of the two country's leaders in a half-century, pledging to reach for the kind of peaceful relationship that has eluded their nations for generations. Obama and Castro sent shockwaves throughout the hemisphere in December when they announced the plan for rapprochement. (more)

President Obama meets President Raul Castro in highest-level US-Cuba talks in decades
11 April 2015 - US President Barack Obama met Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday in the highest-level talks between the two countries in more than 50 years, and the two men agreed to push ahead on improving relations after decades of hostility. ‎The Presidents met in Panama where both were attending the Summit of the Americas. (more)

US and Cuba: from Cold War hostilities to a historic meeting
11 April 2015 - US President Barack Obama held talks with Cuban President Raul Castro during a regional summit in Panama on Saturday, the first meeting between the leaders of the two countries for more than 50 years and a landmark encounter as the two countries move to set aside decades of Cold War hostility. Here are some key events in U.S.-Cuba relations in the last half-century: (more)

China, Viet Nam pledge peaceful resolution for sea dispute
8 April 2015 - China and Viet Nam have pledged to look for a peaceful resolution to their dispute in the South China Sea via talks, following a meeting between China's President and the head of Viet Nam's Communist Party, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday. Neither country should do anything to 'complicate or expand' the dispute in order to ensure peace and stability in the sea, the statement added. (more)

Iran, world powers reach initial deal on reining in Tehran's nuclear programme
2 April 2015 - Iran and world powers reached a framework agreement on Thursday on curbing Iran's nuclear programme for at least a decade, a step towards a comprehensive accord that could end 12 years of brinkmanship, threats, and confrontation. (more)

Nuclear deal: World powers, Iran reach crucial framework
2 April 2015 - After marathon negotiations, the United States, Iran, and five other world powers announced an agreement Thursday outlining limits on Iran's nuclear program to block it from developing atomic weapons and directing negotiators toward a final accord this summer. The United States and Iran each hailed the framework, reached by weary but upbeat diplomats after a week of intense diplomacy in Switzerland that capped 18 months of negotiations. Speaking from the White House, President Barack Obama called it a 'good deal' that would address concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions. (more)

China says it agrees with India to maintain border peace
25 March 2015 - China and India have agreed to maintain peace and tranquillity along their Himalayan border while they work on resolving a long-festering boundary dispute, China's foreign ministry said after talks in New Delhi. China's foreign ministry said in a statement released on Monday both countries would build on the results of previous negotiations and push forward in 'the correct direction'. (more)

Switzerland: Lowest number of murders since records began
23 March 2015 - Switzerland registered the lowest number of murders (41) since records began in 1982. Compared to 2013, there were 8.5% fewer criminal acts, 16.8% less drugs violations, and 4.7% less offences involving the law on foreigners in 2014. Homicides last year were 29% down on 2013 (56) and well below the highest recorded number in a single year (110 in 1990). The rate of murder in 2014 was 0.5 per 100,000 citizens compared to 1.6 in 1990, according to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. (more)

Japan, China, South Korea hold ministerial talks
21 March 2015 - The foreign ministers South Korea, China, and Japan met in Seoul on Saturday for talks focussed on reducing regional tensions caused by their territorial and historical disputes. The three top diplomats met after a series of bilateral meetings for the first formal talks since April of 2012. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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UK: Construction to begin on Maharishi Peace Palace in Rendlesham, Suffolk
10 April 2015 - The laying of a foundation stone has paved the way for construction work to begin on the Maharishi Peace Palace in Rendlesham, Suffolk, England. The 22,000 sq ft (2,044 sq m) development will be the centrepiece of Rendlesham's Maharishi Garden Village. Dr Peter Warburton, Chairman of the Maharishi Foundation UK, said: 'As its name suggests, the Peace Palace will be dedicated to creating peace and harmony for the individual and society by offering practical programmes to develop the full potential of life.' (more)

A new understanding of 'flawless' based on transcending
8 April 2015 - 'Consciousness is fragmented by the dynamics of perception. But when the activity of perception is reduced and the mind transcends its bounded states, consciousness is awake to its wholeness, its infinity. Every woman is infinite consciousness in her nature,' writes Janet Hoffman, national director of the Transcendental Meditation Program for Women Professionals in the USA. 'When our conscious mind becomes accustomed to diving within during the TM technique twice daily, the experience of our unbroken flawless nature starts to be infused into our daily experience after meditation--until it is a permanent feature of life. With that stability and wholeness at the foundation of our experiences, we find that our potential to live life gracefully, successfully and flawlessly is spontaneous. (more)

President Obama, PM Netanyahu, military leaders urged to adopt Invincible Defence Technology: The Daily Mail International (Pakistan)
27 March 2015 - 'According to US President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the US Congress did not offer any ''viable alternatives'' regarding the ongoing negotiations with Iran concerning their alleged quest to obtain nuclear weapons,' writes Dr David Leffler in The Daily Mail International (Pakistan). Actually, he explains, 'neither leader's current strategies offer a scientifically-validated, field-tested means to solve this immediate crisis. Nor do they offer such an approach to rapidly dissipate the rapidly growing perilous instability in the Middle East.' Dr Leffler urges government and military leaders to quickly implement a proven, practicable, non-violent alternative, verified by extensive peer-reviewed research and military field tests: Invincible Defence Technology (IDT), which includes daily practice by specially trained military units of Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programmes to dramatically reduce social stress throughout the region. 'If the US military and/or Israeli military or any other organization intervened with this proven advanced military solution, rising tensions in the Middle East could be rapidly reduced.' (more)

Historic Vedic India conference talks available for online viewing
25 March 2015 - Videos of the main talks from the historic three-day International Conference to Re-Establish Ideal Vedic India, which was held 20-22 February in New Delhi and featured many leading Indian and international scientists and Vedic scholars, are now being made available online. Now 'people everywhere can learn of the scientific foundations and reality of Veda and the practical programmes to create an ideal India and a peaceful, prosperous world,' said Dr Bevan Morris, President of Maharishi University of Management in the USA. Dr Morris led a delegation of distinguished MUM faculty and trustees who participated in the conference. (more)

Tolerance as a state of being
22 March 2015 - As tensions rose in Paris and demonstrations swept western Europe in January, people around the world wondered how to stop religious intolerance and promote peace and goodwill among all people. 'When someone has a strong sense of self, a strong sense of who they are, they don't feel threatened by another person for having a different belief, race or religion, because they experience the connectedness between all beings on a deep level,' writes Linda Egenes. Citing research on Transcendental Meditation, she also quotes Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who said in 1971 that when individuals beginning TM 'start to dive deep within, they begin to feel better and the stresses are less, and life becomes easier and ''help thy neighbor'' becomes an instinct, an inspiration to everyone. . . . so in this way one begins to live their religion. Living the religion is by developing pure consciousness'. (more)

Maharishi: The goal of meditation
19 March 2015 - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, speaking in 1972 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, explained that regular practice of Transcendental Meditation is designed to produce a state of fulness even in dynamic activity. 'We want that the fulfilment gained during meditation--that state of contentment, balanced state of life, home of all knowledge--should not go away when we enter into activity,' Maharishi said. This can be realized over time, he explained, through the regular alternation of deep rest during TM with activity during the day. 'The procedure of alternation of meditation and activity has been designed to produce a permanent state of the physiology which will create and maintain that unbounded awareness in a very natural way, no matter what we're doing.' Excerpts from Maharishi's address are currently featured on the Excellence in Action page of Global Good News. (more)

Faculty of Maharishi University of Management address Delhi conference to re-establish Vedic India
14 March 2015 - Last month Maharishi University of Management President Dr Bevan Morris and nine faculty members and trustees participated in and helped to organize a historic conference to re-enliven the Vedic tradition in India. The International Conference to Re-Establish Vedic India, held 20-22 February in New Delhi, was notable for bringing together government ministers, leaders of Indian spiritual organizations, and leaders of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's worldwide organizations. (more)

Mind Medicine - Ours Magazine on Transcendental Meditation
3 March 2015 - Soon after learning Transcendental Meditation, the author of a recent article in Ours Magazine describes 'an overarching calm and perceptiveness that gradually, and for the better, inhabits more and more of your being'. Other topics covered in the article range from how TM differs from contemplative and concentrative techniques, to the value of proper instruction from a certified teacher of the technique. (more)

Inmates can find freedom behind bars
23 February 2015 - Since 2009, 225 inmates of Oregon State Correctional Institution in the USA have learned Transcendental Meditation, and staff say the programme has produced significant changes in their mood and behaviour. One participant, Sisi Faupau, found that meditating helped him 'connect with the good in himself'. Practising TM regularly after his release from OSCI, Sisi says he has put prison life behind him. Dr Michael Puerini, the institution's medical director, says, 'I think that TM can really help people broaden their focus. There's something about TM that brings out compassion. I don't know how it works, but it does. And a compassionate person is a healthier person.' (more)

International Conference to Re-Establish Vedic India: 20-22 February, New Delhi
19 February 2015 - Under the joint auspices of the Foundation for Vedic India and Maharishi Veda Vyas Pratishthan, a historic first International Conference to Re-Establish Vedic India is being held in New Delhi from 20 to 22 February. The purpose of the conference is to re-enliven interest in Veda on the basis of the scientific reality that the application of Veda can benefit every area of human life and endeavour. The conference is gathering some of the most distinguished intellectuals, scientists, and scholars from India and around the world on one platform to present the Vedas in a scientific light and truly make India a great lighthouse of peace for the world. (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


A year after kidnap of schoolgirls in Nigeria, hope dwindles (+ AP video)
14 April 2015 - They have been gone a year now, the hundreds of girls abducted by Islamic militants from their school in northeastern Nigeria. The new President Tuesday would not repeat his predecessor's failed promise to find them -- only that they won't be forgotten. Several of the girls' parents have died -- some killed in Boko Haram attacks, some of illnesses like high blood pressure that residents blame on the trauma related to their lost daughters. At least 2,000 women and girls have been abducted by Boko Haram since 2014, forced to become sex slaves and fighters, Amnesty International said Tuesday. Unknown hundreds of boys and young men also have been kidnapped and forced to fight for Boko Haram. Those who refuse are killed. (more)

800,000 children forced from the homes in Boko Haram violence
13 April 2015 - An estimated 800,000 children [have been] forced from their homes by Boko Haram extremists, according to a UNICEF report published Monday. It says the number of refugee children has doubled in the past year, making them about half of all the 1.5 million Nigerians made homeless in the Islamic uprising. The number of children absent from primary school in Nigeria has increased from 8 million in 2007 to 10.5 million -- the highest figure in the world, it says. (more)

Homicides in El Salvador reach record as gang violence grows
9 April 2015 - El Salvador had more homicides in March than any other single month in a decade, a dark milestone that some attribute to the collapse of a gang truce and one that could mark a trend of greater violence to come. Gang-on-gang violence, as well as attacks on police and Salvadorans in general is spiking in what authorities say is an attempt by gangs to pressure the government to negotiate issues raised as part of a 2-year truce that fell apart in 2014. Others see it as a reaction to the new government's iron-fist approach to the country's two major gangs. The truce, negotiated under previous President Mauricio Funes, is credited for a drop in homicides from an average of 14 per day to five over 16 months. Critics of the truce said that gangs were manipulating the homicide count by burying their victims to hide them, although there were no solid numbers to prove that. But Salvadorans in gang-controlled areas said the truce enabled gangs to boost their power and increasingly prey on everyday citizens through extortion and terror. (more)

Suffering rises as militants take over refugee camp in Syria
8 April 2015 - When hundreds of Islamic State militants muscled into the Yarmouk refugee camp last week and planted their black flags amid the charred, blown-out buildings, it was the latest trial for the remaining Palestinians who for two years have endured a suffocating government siege, starvation, and disease. The dire situation in the camp appears certain to deteriorate as the extremist group looks to consolidate its hold and establish a presence near the heart of the Syrian capital. It is a high-stakes fight whose outcome may determine the direction of the civil war around Damascus. The Islamic State group has created a fiefdom in areas straddling the Syria-Iraq border after declaring a self-styled caliphate last year. But prior to the assault on Yarmouk that began April 1, it did not have much of a presence in Damascus. Yarmouk was established in 1957 as a refuge for Palestinians who were forced out of their homes with the 1948 creation of Israel, and expanded with time to include thousands of Syrians as well. Located just minutes from the relative prosperity of Damascus, the camp's name became synonymous with death and starvation -- a place where people brave sniper fire to forage for food, and where children die of malnutrition. (more)

Al-Shabab militants kill 147 at university in Kenya
2 April 2015 - Al-Shabab gunmen rampaged through a university in northeastern Kenya at dawn Thursday, killing 147 people in the group's deadliest attack in the East African country. The masked attackers armed with AK-47s singled out non-Muslim students at Garissa University College and then gunned them down without mercy, survivors said. Others ran for their lives with bullets whistling through the air. Four militants were slain by security forces to end the siege just after dusk. Most of the 147 dead were students. (more)

Islamic State seizes vast Damascus refugee camp
1 April 2015 - Fighters proclaiming allegiance to Islamic State seized most of a vast camp for Palestinian refugees on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria's capital, on Wednesday, a bid to capture the group's first major foothold close to President Bashar al-Assad's seat of power. Until now they did not have a major presence in the area around the capital, where insurgents have mainly been loyal to other groups. Mirroring the way Islamic State has grown elsewhere in Syria, its fighters seized control of areas of the camp from other insurgents, helped by rebels from the rival al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front who switched sides, a political activist in the area said. (more)

Ancient Petra sees few visitors as Jordan tourism declines
31 March 2015 - It's high season in Petra, the ancient city hewn from rose-colored rock and Jordan's biggest tourist draw. Yet nearby hotels stand virtually empty these days and only a trickle of tourists make their way through a landmark canyon to the Treasury building where scenes of one of the 'Indiana Jones' movies were filmed. Petra's slump is part of a sharp decline in tourism as Jordan's economy pays a price for regional turbulence. A quick recovery appears doubtful as neighboring Syria and Iraq sink deeper into violence and Islamic State militants continue to control large areas of both countries. 'We are not optimistic for 2015,' said Ahmad Amarat, manager of the 95-room Kings' Way Hotel near Petra, which closed four months ago after an average occupancy rate of 28 percent for 2014, compared to 95 percent in 2010. The tourism troubles are just one of a series of challenges Jordan's economy has faced since the outbreak of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, even though the kingdom experienced little unrest. (more)

Boko Haram kills 41, prevents hundreds voting in Nigeria
28 March 2015 - Boko Haram extremists killed 41 people, including a legislator, and scared hundreds of people from polling stations in the northeast, but millions voted across Nigeria Saturday in the most closely contested presidential race in the nation's history. All the Boko Haram attacks took place in northeastern Nigeria, where the military Friday announced it had cleared the Islamic extremists from all major centers, including the headquarters of their so-called Islamic caliphate. (more)

Terror attack in Tunisia a fresh blow to tourism industry
20 March 2015 - The terror attack in Tunisia that killed 21 people is a fresh blow to the North African nation's tourism industry, which has been struggling since the country's revolution of 2011. Tourism to Tunisia plunged after the revolution in 2011 led to the overthrow of an authoritarian president and augured the so-called Arab Spring. The country has set forth on a democratic path since but the number of tourists never fully recovered. And yet 2015 began with promise for Tunisian tourism. National Geographic Traveler listed Tunis on its top 20 destinations for 2015, citing its 'cultural energy,' festivals, and yes, the Bardo museum, known for antiquities. (Foreign tourists scrambled in panic Wednesday after militants stormed the Bardo museum in Tunisia's capital and killed 19 people.) (more)

Islamic State claims responsibility for Tunisia attack (with AP video)
19 March 2015 - The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Thursday, 19 March, for the attack that killed 21 people at a museum. But Tunisian authorities said the two slain gunmen had no clear links to extremists, and analysts said existing militant cells are merely being inspired by the group, rather than establishing its presence across North Africa. Confronted with a poor economy, young Tunisians have disproportionately gone abroad to fight with extremist groups in Libya, Syria, and Iraq, including some affiliated with the Islamic State. Upon their return home, some may have decided to carry out attacks on their own. The deaths of so many foreigners will damage Tunisia's tourism industry, which draws thousands of foreigners to its Mediterranean beaches, desert oases, and ancient Roman ruins. The industry had just started to recover after years of decline. (more)

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