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Christmas 1914: The day even WWI showed humanity
20 December 2014 - With British and German forces separated only by a no-man's land littered with fallen comrades, sounds of a German Christmas carol suddenly drifted across the frigid air: 'Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht' ('Silent Night, Holy Night'). Then, during that first Christmas Day in World War I, something magical happened. Soldiers who had been killing each other by the tens of thousands for months climbed out of their soggy, muddy trenches to seek a shred of humanity amid the horrors of war. Hands reached out across the narrow divide, presents were exchanged, and in Flanders Fields a century ago, a spontaneous Christmas truce briefly lifted the human spirit. (more)

Canada hosted secret meetings between Cuba and US
17 December 2014 - Canada hosted about seven meetings between the US and Cuba that helped lead to President Barack Obama's announcement Wednesday that the two countries will establish full diplomatic relations, a senior Canadian government official said. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada did not play a role in the discussions themselves. Senior US officials said Canada was 'indispensable' in hosting the majority of the secret talks, and Obama thanked Canada earlier Wednesday. (more)

Colombian rebels announce unilateral cease-fire
17 December 2014 - Colombian rebels at peace talks with government representatives in Cuba have announced an indefinite, unilateral ceasefire as long as military units don't attack them. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) made the announcement in a communique published on its Twitter account Wednesday. (more)

Cubans cheer historic renewal of US relations
17 December 2014 - Bells tolled in celebration and teachers halted lessons midday as President Raul Castro told his country Wednesday that Cuba was restoring relations with the United States after more than a half-century of hostility. (more)

Key dates in US relations with Cuba
17 December 2014 - Following are key events in US-Cuba relations from the start: Fidel Castro's rebels take power as dictator Fulgencio Batista flees Cuba on 1 January 1959. The United States soon recognizes the new government. But relations begin to sour as Americans criticize summary trials and executions of Batista loyalists. (more)

President Obama: US re-establishing relations with Cuba
17 December 2014 - President Barack Obama announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba on Wednesday and declared an end to America's 'outdated approach' to the communist island in a historic shift aimed at ending a half-century of Cold War enmity. 'These 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked,' President Obama said in remarks from the White House. 'It's time for a new approach.' (more)

US, Cuba plan restored relations after 50 years of hostility
17 December 2014 - The United States plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba more than 50 years after they were severed, a major policy shift after decades of hostile ties with the communist-ruled island, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday. Announcing the end of what he called a 'rigid' policy of isolation of Cuba that had been ineffective, President Obama said the United States planned to move toward normal ties and would open an embassy in Cuba. (more)

IllRideWithYou: Aussies offer support to Muslims
15 December 2014 - Some Australian social media users sent a message of solidarity to Muslims as the Sydney cafe siege went on for almost a day, offering to accompany anyone who felt intimidated on public transit. The Twitter hashtag (hash)IllRideWithYou had been used more than 90,000 times by early Tuesday, as tweeters tried to allay fears of anti-Islamic attacks on Australia's streets. (more)

Flights between Serb and Croat capitals to resume
11 December 2014 - Air Serbia says it will resume flights between Belgrade and Zagreb on Friday after a 23-year break. Flights between the Serbian and Croatian capitals were discontinued in 1991 because of the war between the two former Yugoslav republics. (more)

Colombian government, rebels restart suspended peace talks
10 December 2014 - The Colombian government and leftist FARC guerrillas on Wednesday restarted peace talks that had been suspended over the rebel capture of an army general who has since been released. President Juan Manuel Santos has said he would like to reach a comprehensive accord by the end of 2015. Any agreement would then be put before Colombian voters for approval. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Joining the Universal Peace Corps: Transforming the world from within, Part I
18 December 2014 - Cynthia E. Johnson, a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation programme, writer, and graduate of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, explores the question, 'Can we possibly transform this world of ours, on a large scale, for the better?' She explains that there are three sources we can turn to for knowledge: wisdom of the sages, both ancient and contemporary; modern science; and our own experience. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi calls these the 'Three Eurekas'. (more)

Ten most useful videos on Transcendental Meditation
11 December 2014 - Here are ten most useful videos on the Transcendental Meditation technique. The clips range from personal testimonials to videos of groups of practitioners, covering both the essence and the effects of daily practice. (more)

The 'Dear Prudence' story
7 December 2014 - Prudence Farrow Bruns -- made famous by the Beatles song 'Dear Prudence' -- has devoted her life to teaching Transcendental Meditation. Over the past 46 years, she's instructed thousands of people in the TM technique throughout the United States and Canada. 'The years of meditating have enriched my life so much,'' Prudence said. 'We need a better world. We need people to be more conscious, to be more evolved. And expanding the mind, like TM does, is absolutely vital to bring about stronger people. If you can strengthen people inside, you've changed the world.'' (more)

My story: breaking down barriers for women and children
2 December 2014 - Feeling burnt-out and powerless, Tish Lara was prepared to walk away from social work forever. Intrigued by the happiness encountered at the David Lynch Foundation, she joined DLF's Woman's Initiative division, began Transcendental Meditation, and soon found herself feeling drastically more peaceful, excited and optimistic about life. (more)

Protecting Turkey: How to confidently achieve and maintain Middle East stability
19 October 2014 - Dr David Leffler, Executive Director at the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS) in Fairfield, Iowa writes that 'a statistical guarantee of stability, based on empirical evidence, is only attainable with the advanced military technology, Invincible Defence Technology (IDT).' He adds, 'a scientifically-validated defence strategy would protect Turkey by preventing hostility and conflict before they arise both within and outside the country.' (more)

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)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


Extremists in Nigeria lining up elderly and shooting them
20 December 2014 - Islamic extremists in northeast Nigeria are turning their guns on elderly people, killing more than 50 this week in a new tactic that has instilled more fear in areas the militants call an Islamic caliphate. Residents from five villages say people too elderly to flee Gwoza local government area are being rounded up and taken to two schools where the militants open fire on them. In separate attacks Friday, witnesses said Boko Haram struck at Damagum and Mamudo towns in Yobe state, bombing government buildings, the police station, and military barracks. (more)

Iraq's Shiite fighters desert over shortages
20 December 2014 - Abu Murtada al-Moussawi answered the call last summer from Iraq's top Shiite cleric to help save the country from the Islamic State group, but after less than three months on the front lines he and several friends returned home because they had run out of food. 'The government's negligence toward us has created bitterness among the volunteer fighters risking their lives in order to protect the country,' said Hassan Saleh, owner of a cafe in Sadr City, who took part in battles against the IS group north of Baghdad in September. (more)

Top news of 2014 left public grasping for answers
20 December 2014 - From Ukraine to the Middle East, from the Ebola threat to racial tensions in the United States, many of the top news stories fed into a growing sense of frustration. Many of this year's biggest stories were rooted in far-flung locales, but their impact kept rippling. That was certainly the case with the conflict over Ukraine, stretching back to President Victor Yanukovych's ouster in February. When Russia filled the vacuum by grabbing the Crimean peninsula and working with militants bent on taking more territory from the western-leaning government, it set off a standoff reminiscent of the Cold War. In 2014, Ukraine kept a lasting place in the headlines but was hardly an exception. Violence in the Middle East once again took command of the headlines, sometimes in ways that shocked even a public numbed by the region's tense history. In late October, Peter Foley, an Australian coordinating the hunt for the vanished Malaysia Airlines jet, faced questions about its direction. 'We are in for the long haul,' Foley said. He was referring only to the searchers and their role in trying to bring resolution to a singular conundrum. But he could just as well have been speaking about the challenges raised by any one of numerous news events in 2014, a year when making sense of the headlines required patience, but did little to reward it. (more)

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnap 172 women, children in Nigeria
19 December 2014 - Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped 172 women and children and killed 35 other people on Sunday during a raid on the northeast Nigerian village of Gumsuri, residents said on Thursday. Although no one has claimed responsibility, the attack bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, which abducted more than 200 women in April from a secondary school in Chibok, only 24 km (15 miles) from this latest attack. The abductions have increased in frequency this year. (more)

More air strikes near eastern Libyan oil port and border to Tunisia
17 December 2014 - Libya's recognized government conducted air strikes against rival government forces trying to seize major oil ports in the east and against targets in the west on Monday, witnesses said. Libya has had two governments and parliaments since a group called Libya Dawn seized the capital Tripoli in August. The recognized Prime Minister, Abdullah al-Thinni, was forced to withdraw to the east. Both sides are allied to brigades which helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and now vie for political power and a share of the vast oil reserves in a conflict Western powers fear might tear apart the North African country. (more)

UN Sahel envoy says Libya turmoil could destabilize neighbours
17 December 2014 - The United Nations special envoy to the Sahel region said on Monday talks to resolve a crisis in Libya had stalled and warned several countries in the region risked being destabilized unless it was resolved quickly. Libya has two governments competing for legitimacy since a group called Libya Dawn seized Tripoli in August, forcing the internationally recognized Prime Minister, Abdullah al-Thinni, to the eastern city of Tobruk, spurring fears of a civil war for control of the country's vast oil reserves. (more)

A look at the Pakistani Taliban militant group
16 December 2014 - A look at the Pakistani Taliban, a militant organization that has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar. Known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, it is headed by Mullah Fazlullah, a militant commander who claimed responsibility for trying to kill education activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012. The teenager survived the shooting and won the Nobel Peace Prize. Here is a look at the Taliban militant group: (more)

Russia's sinking economy becoming a global threat
16 December 2014 - Russia's suddenly escalating financial crisis risks spilling beyond its borders and endangering parts of the global economy. With economies in Europe, Japan, China, and Latin America already ailing, fresh threats have emerged from Russia's shriveled currency, its move to dramatically boost interest rates, the damage from plummeting oil prices, and Western sanctions over Russia's action in Ukraine. The alarming 10 per cent drop in the ruble over the past two days has amplified the economic turmoil in Russia. Investors fear that Russia may default on its foreign debt obligations -- a move that would inflict hundreds of billions in losses on lenders abroad. Some analysts also worry that tensions will further escalate between Russia and the United States and its European allies that imposed the sanctions. The White House upped the pressure Tuesday when President Barack Obama committed to approving additional sanctions. Few see President Vladimir Putin as backing down. (more)

Taliban assault on Pakistan school leaves 141 dead
16 December 2014 - In the deadliest slaughter of innocents in Pakistan in years, Taliban gunmen attacked a military-run school Tuesday and killed 141 people -- almost all of them students -- before government troops ended the siege. The massacre of innocent children horrified a country already weary of unending terrorist attacks. Even Taliban militants in neighboring Afghanistan decried the killing spree, calling it 'un-Islamic'. (more)

Australia: Sydney siege ends; 3 dead, including gunman
15 December 2014 - The deadly siege began in the most incongruous of ways, on a sunny Monday morning inside a cheerful cafe in the heart of Australia's largest city. An Iranian-born gunman burst in, took 17 workers and customers hostage, and forced some to hold a flag with an Islamic declaration of faith above the shop window's festive inscription of 'Merry Christmas'. It ended after midnight with a barrage of gunfire that left two hostages and the gunman dead, four others wounded, and a nation that has long prided itself on its peace rocked to its core. (more)

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