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Britain says 'stars beginning to align' on Cyprus unification
19 November 2015 - Momentum towards ending Cyprus's four-decade-old partition is building, and now is the right time for Greek and Turkish Cypriots to do a deal, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Thursday. 'The stars are beginning to align, but of course there are some very challenging issues,' Hammond said after talks in the island's capital with the leaders of both communities. Cyprus, a former British colony, was ethnically split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 following a brief Greek Cypriot coup. (more)

'People want to help': Scottish town prepares to host Syrian refugees
14 November 2015 - Shopkeepers in the resort town of Rothesay on the isle of Bute, off Scotland's handsome Argyll coast, are more used to catering for the summer ice cream trade. This weekend, they are busily preparing to welcome 15 Syrian families when the first of at least three charter flights touches down in Scotland early next week, bringing the first tranche of refugees to arrive in the UK before Christmas as part of the government's promise to take in 1,000 people by the end of the year. (more)

It's a wonderful life: Scotland's holiday isle prepares to greet its first Syrian refugees
14 November 2015 - The winter's first hailstorm and iced rain cocktail greeted visitors disembarking from the Gourock to Rothesay ferry on Friday morning. In the next week or so, 15 Syrian refugee families, fleeing bombs and bullets in their homeland, will make the same crossing, seeking security, compassion and the Arabic for winter woollies. The families, including up to 50 children, are among a first large group of refugees who will begin arriving in Scotland this week. (more)

Foes at war, WWII vets from UK, Japan shake hands
12 November 2015 - In 1944, the two men were in northeastern India as foes, fighting one of harshest battles of World War II between Japan and Britain. More than 70 years later on Thursday, they shook hands and sipped tea in Tokyo. Later Thursday, three former Australian prisoners of war, also here for a government friendship program, reached out to younger Japanese to share their stories. Japan has apologized for its harsh treatment of Allied prisoners of war, and the Foreign Ministry has since 2010 invited former POWs from the U.S., Australia, and Britain to visit under friendship programs. (more)

A China-Taiwan handshake, 66 years in the making
7 November 2015 - It was just a handshake. Just two prosperous-looking men in dark suits walking across a hotel meeting room to say hello. But, of course, it wasn't. It was highly choreographed political theater, a gesture that had been discussed and negotiated for more than two years. And now, the leaders of China and Taiwan, two rivals whose hatred for each other had once seemed poised to draw the world into nuclear war, were shaking hands and smiling for hundreds of cameras. For decades, that handshake had seemed impossible. (more)

Presidents of China, Taiwan meet for 1st time, shake hands
7 November 2015 - The leaders of China and Taiwan met Saturday for the first time since the formerly bitter Cold War foes split amid civil war 66 years ago, and though no concrete agreement resulted, both hailed the meeting as a sign of a new stability in relations. (more)

Timeline of China-Taiwan relations leading to historic meet
7 November 2015 - China and Taiwan have been separately ruled since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s, but China claims sovereignty over the island and insists the two sides eventually unify. They have in recent years set aside that dispute to build trust and sign economic cooperation deals, and their Presidents met for the first time Saturday. A timeline of relations as the two sides have moved gradually over the past 36 years from outright hostility to face-to-face meetings: (more)

China President visits Vietnam as 2 sides seek to mend ties
5 November 2015 - Leaders of China and Vietnam agreed Thursday to limit their differences and maintain peace and stability, as the two Communist neighbours attempt to repair ties strained over territorial disputes in the South China Sea. (more)

Iran starts taking nuclear centrifuges offline
2 November 2015 - Iran has begun shutting down uranium enrichment centrifuges under the terms of a deal struck with six world powers in July on limiting its nuclear program, Tehran's atomic energy chief said on Monday during a visit to Tokyo. (more)

Mongolia, between big neighbours, seeks permanent neutrality
2 November 2015 - Sandwiched between China and Russia, landlocked Mongolia has long tread a middle path, maintaining a balance between Moscow and Beijing while referring to the U.S. and other remote allies as 'third neighbours'. Now, with a wealth of mineral resources set to transform its largely agrarian economy, Mongolia is moving to cement that even-handed status by adopting permanent neutrality as a safeguard against outside dominance. (more)

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

Preventing Paris type terrorist attacks by reducing stress
16 November 2015 - The military of any country can prevent terrorism by deploying a proven, advanced human resource-based military technology, an expert in this field explains. Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) is a statistically-validated approach. Military field tests and 23 peer-reviewed studies show it quickly, effectively, and efficiently ends turmoil--with measures including reduced conflict, terrorism, and crime rate. Specially trained IDT Prevention Wings of the Military function as societal coherence-creating military units, reducing national and cross-border collective stress through group practice of Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programmes. (more)

Maharishi: The human body is made of consciousness
20 October 2015 - When asked if consciousness is 'primary or secondary', Maharishi Mahesh Yogi explains that 'there is a line of balance where outside and inside both meet together, and that is the reality . . . . in the ultimate analysis, both are together. And that is total life. Consciousness and physiology together, both are total. But in the world when the body is seen to be primary, we have to explain to the people that it is consciousness which is primary. And give them the experience of consciousness.' Maharishi's comments are featured in an excerpt from a series of weekly global press conferences, published recently in Enlightenment: The Transcendental Meditation Magazine. (more)

The Huffington Post: Are you living only three of the seven states of consciousness?
2 October 2015 - People often ask, 'Is there more to life?' writes Ann Purcell, author of The Transcendental Meditation Technique and the Journey of Enlightenment. She explains that beyond the three commonly experienced states of consciousness--waking, dreaming, and sleeping--are four higher stages of human development described by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Founder of the Transcendental Meditation programme. 'Journeying to the silence of your mind and passing through the gate of transcendental consciousness' during TM practice, she explains, 'you will start to unfold your cosmic potential.' (more)

Joining hands to create peace in Israel and the Middle East
29 September 2015 - 'Transcendental Meditation in Israel, adopted by one or two per cent of the population of the country, and the attitude of the enemies around will change.' In a 1976 interview for Israeli TV, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi referred to recent research showing reduced crime rate in '1%' cities in the US. Now 50 demonstrations and 23 studies published in peer-reviewed journals have confirmed that group practice of TM and its advanced programmes by the square root of 1% of a population reduces violence and conflict and creates coherence and peace for the whole society. One study, published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, was conducted in 1983 at the peak of the Lebanon war. On days when the number in a group in Israel practising these peace-creating technologies of consciousness was high, war deaths in neighbouring Lebanon dropped by 76% and other indicators of social stress declined in Israel. (more)

Creating world peace on the International Day of Peace and every day
21 September 2015 - Today, 21 September, is the day designated by the United Nations and observed around the world as the 'International Day of Peace' or 'World Peace Day'. For this annual observance, the UN 'invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.' Organizations teaching Transcendental Meditation worldwide are upholding the ultimate value of this theme--simply by continuing what they've offered every day for many years: the TM programme. This natural, effective technology of consciousness has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, violence and conflict and create peace for the individual and society. Creating world peace is not the reason most people give for why they want to learn to meditate. Yet this was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's goal when he first introduced Transcendental Meditation in 1958. (more)

Maharishi Vastu architecture - promoting good fortune
9 September 2015 - A home that promotes health, family harmony, peace and abundance is a Fortune-Creating 
home. Maharishi Vastu architecture ensures that a building or community will have only nourishing influences on its occupants. (more)

An ideal way to protect Nigeria from internal and external threats: Nigerians Report
8 September 2015 - Recently a string of terrorist attacks have occurred as Nigeria has struggled to build a functional and coherent response. 'Fortunately, there is a science-based approach to create societal coherence that can protect Nigeria from both internal and external threats. It is called Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) because it assures invincibility, peace, and even economic progress, to the nation and the military that employ it,' writes Dr David Leffler, Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS), USA, in a recent article published in Nigerians Report. 'Invincible Defense Technology is a proven, state-of-the-art, non-violent military solution.' (more)

Institute for Excellence in Africa: Consciousness-Based solutions to critical problems
3 September 2015 - The Institute for Excellence in Africa was founded to identify and implement proven, prevention-oriented, forward-looking solutions to critical national, continental and global problems facing Africa. A key to change is the development of individual and collective consciousness so that it displays full creativity, intelligence and harmony. Without this fundamental awakening of human potential, the provision of mere economic assistance, infrastructure, and social systems will not be effective in solving the problems of poverty, sickness, conflict, and suffering found throughout Africa. The initiatives the Institute promotes include not just sustainable organic agriculture; natural prevention-oriented healthcare; balanced and fair economic development; and cultural integrity--but most importantly, Consciousness-Based Education to awaken the full potential of every individual. (more)

How is Transcendental Meditation different from other forms of meditation?
25 August 2015 - Considering different forms of meditation, author and Transcendental Meditation teacher Ann Purcell writes, 'I was extremely fortunate to learn Transcendental Meditation 42 years ago. The reason I like TM and have stayed with it all of these years is that it is easy, and does not require any effort. In my very first meditation, I sank to the most peaceful silence I had ever experienced.' Trying to control the mind requires effort and creates strain; the TM technique 'allows the mind to naturally settle down to quieter levels. Because those quiet levels are extremely charming, the mind will automatically stay there. . . . Such a technique effortlessly leads the mind to transcendence: inner wakefulness along with pure silence.' (more)

South Africa: New Maharishi Vastu home near Johannesburg
13 August 2015 - A new home was recently completed near Johannesburg, South Africa, which was designed and built according to principles of Maharishi Vastu architecture. Photos of the beautiful building are featured on the website and in an album on the organization's page on Facebook. (more)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Armed vigilantes in Burundi's capital expose deepening crisis
23 November 2015 - As darkness falls, vigilantes armed with automatic rifles emerge to patrol the streets of Bujumbura, a city plagued by killings and violence as Burundi's crisis deepens. A Reuters photographer followed one unit last week. It is the first time a foreign journalist has been allowed to follow such a group, securing images from Bujumbura that will stoke international worries about a new conflict erupting in a nation where an ethnically charged civil war ended just a decade ago after 300,000 people were killed. The region remains haunted by the 1994 genocide in next-door Rwanda, in which 800,000 people, mostly members of the Tutsi minority and moderates among majority Hutus, were massacred. Burundi has the same ethnic mix. (more)

Stranded migrants block railway, call hunger strike
23 November 2015 - Moroccans, Iranians, and Pakistanis on Greece's northern border with Macedonia blocked rail traffic and demanded passage to western Europe on Monday, stranded by a policy of filtering migrants in the Balkans that has raised human rights concerns. Hundreds of thousands of migrants, many of them Syrians fleeing war, have made the trek across the Balkan peninsula having arrived by boat and dinghy to Greece from Turkey, heading for the more affluent countries of northern and western Europe, mainly Germany and Sweden. Last week, however, Slovenia, a member of Europe's Schengen zone of passport-free travel, declared it would only grant passage to those fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and that all others deemed 'economic migrants' would be sent back. That prompted others on the route -- Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia -- to do the same, leaving growing numbers stranded in tents and around camp fires on Balkan borders with winter approaching. (more)

Iran says sentences Washington Post reporter and bureau chief Rezaian to prison
22 November 2015 - An Iranian court has sentenced Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian to a prison term, the state news agency said on Sunday quoting the judiciary spokesman, a case that is a sensitive issue in contentious U.S.-Iranian relations. Jason Rezaian, 39, is the paper's Tehran bureau chief and has both U.S. and Iranian citizenship. The Washington Post said last month that the verdict, issued soon after Iran raised hopes of a thaw in its relations with the West by striking a nuclear deal with world powers including Washington, was 'vague and puzzling'. In the indictment, Iranian authorities said Rezaian had written to U.S. President Barack Obama and called it an example of contacting a 'hostile government', the Post said. (more)

Syria fighters may be fueled by amphetamines
22 November 2015 - Islamic State fighters may be fueled not only by ideological fervor, but also by a black-market amphetamine popular in the Middle East. One 19-year-old fighter named Kareem, who said he fought alongside ISIS for more than a year, last year told CNN's Ivan Watson, 'They gave us drugs, hallucinogenic pills that would make you go to battle not caring if you live or die.' CNN is unable to verify whether he was telling the truth, but a U.S. official says it is believed that some jihadist fighters are using the drug Captagon, an amphetamine pill that can cause a surge of energy and a euphoric high. In addition to reportedly taking the drug themselves, militants in Syria on both sides of the fighting may also be profiting from the production and trafficking of the pills. Captagon is a widely used stimulant throughout the Middle East, according to U.N. reports. (more)

Brussels under serious threat after Paris attacks
21 November 2015 - Heavily armed police and soldiers patrolled key intersections, subways were closed, and many stores shut their doors in Belgium's capital Saturday as the government warned of a threat of Paris-style attacks. At least one suspect from the deadly Paris attacks is at large and was last seen crossing into Belgium. Prime Minister Charles Michel said the decision to raise the threat alert to the highest level was taken 'based on quite precise information about the risk of an attack like the one that happened in Paris ... where several individuals with arms and explosives launch actions, perhaps even in several places at the same time.' (more)

Paris attacks rooted in Brussels bring question: Why Belgium
21 November 2015 - The family homes of the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks and one of the suicide bombers stand only a few blocks apart in the Belgian capital's Molenbeek neighborhood. After a string of attacks in recent years linked to its grimy streets in central Brussels, a key question arises: Why Belgium? The tiny nation renowned for beer, chocolates, and the comic book hero Tintin is now suddenly infamous for Islamic extremism -- and the easy availability of illegal weapons. Belgium has a central location in Europe; few border controls; a common language with prime jihadi target France; and a political divide between French and Dutch speakers that has long created bureaucratic disarray in justice and security. From the Prime Minister down, there is widespread acknowledgment of a complicated and disjointed national structure that hampers the fight against extremism. (more)

3,500 have died this year crossing the Mediterranean, desperate to reach Europe
20 November 2015 - Sandy and grimy, the watches, cell phones, family photos, $100 bills, and passports from Pakistan, Syria, and Sudan are the tattered possessions of migrants who died at sea. They offer a glimpse into the lives of a few of the 3,500 people who have died this year crossing the Mediterranean, desperate to reach Europe. The Africa-Italy route is the deadliest, recording more than 80 percent of the total Mediterranean migrant deaths in 2015. Italy has taken in more than 140,000 people amid the biggest immigration crisis Europe has seen since World War Two. Escaping war, persecution, or severe poverty, migrants pay from $1,200 to $1,600 to smugglers, according to Sicilian prosecutors, in a gamble to reach Europe in unseaworthy boats overloaded to maximize profit. (more)

At least 27 dead after Islamists seize luxury hotel in Mali's capital
20 November 2015 - At least 27 people were reported dead on Friday after Malian commandos stormed a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako with at least 170 people inside, many of them foreigners, that had been seized by Islamist gunmen. The former French colony has been battling Islamist rebels for several years, and the jihadist group Al Mourabitoun, allied to al Qaeda and based in the deserts of northern Mali, claimed responsibility for the attack in a tweet. By late afternoon, ministerial adviser Amadou Sangho said that no more hostages were being held. The raid on the hotel, which lies just west of the city center near government ministries and diplomatic offices, came a week after Islamic State militants killed 129 people in Paris, raising fears that French nationals were being specifically targeted. (more)

Kentucky refugee case highlights worries over Syrians in US
19 November 2015 - From a Kentucky college town, two Iraqi refugees plotted to send sniper rifles, Stinger missiles, and money to al-Qaida operatives waging an insurgency back home against U.S. troops. The scheme was foiled, but the case has left jitters about whether extremists might slip in among Syrian refugees resettling in the U.S. Their plan unraveled when they teamed up with an FBI informant, leading to their 2011 arrest. But their plotting in a middle-American city of 61,000 has given ammunition to opponents of allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. following the deadly attacks last week in Paris. (more)

Migrants fear Paris attacks have multiplied their woes
19 November 2015 - At the tender age of 16, Ahmad Fawad has three fears: He fears the Taliban gunmen who killed his family members in Afghanistan. He fears that once-welcoming European countries are shutting the doors after the carnage in Paris. And he fears that the very extremists who attacked his family at home are moving alongside him in the flow of humanity bound for Europe. As four Balkan nations launched partial border closures Thursday, Fawad's concerns were echoed along the trail that has brought hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty into Europe this year. Migrants interviewed by The Associated Press voiced sympathy for the 129 victims of the Paris attacks along with hope that European nations won't let fear of extremists change their own societies. (more)

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