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The Canadian who spent C$1.5m to rescue more than 200 Syrian refugees
6 January 2017 - Appliance firm CEO Jim Estill is behind an ambitious scheme to resettle 58 families in Guelph, Ontario, and galvanised hundreds of residents to help. ... The result is a full-scale operation -- staffed by volunteers and bolstered by a deluge of donations -- that offers the refugees everything from job training to English-language classes. (more)

Syrian band brings music of Aleppo to Berlin
2 January 2017 - Instead of bombs there were beats. Guitars took over for guns. And there were cheers, not screams. But Aleppo was never far from the minds of the band Musiqana and the crowd at its record release concert in Berlin. 'I didn't know if I should cry or be happy,' said Samaa Hijazi, a 20-year-old medical student has been in Germany about five years but grew up in Syria. 'I was thinking about the times my father sang these songs. I sang them together with my brother. And they are all still in Syria.' Lead singer Abdallah Rahhal, 28, is an Aleppo native, and the band's music is the city's version of Arab Tarab, a traditional Arab music often referred to as 'musical euphoria,' with emotional and poetic lyrics. (more)

Eight charts that show 2016 wasn't as bad as you think
30 December 2016 - Deaths in conflict have fallen (slightly), emissions have not risen for a third year, and fewer people are dying from disease. Carbon is flatlining, and our planet has breathing space. . . . What is more, this plateau in emissions is taking place against a background of quickening economic growth, showing that increasing prosperity and lifting people out of poverty need not come at the expense of the climate. (more)

How to fight Boko Haram? Open a school
16 December 2016 - Religious leaders fearful of Islamist threat believe giving girls free weekend lessons will counter spread of militancy. As a military campaign against Boko Haram continues in northern Cameroon, leaders of the country's biggest mosques in the south are deploying another weapon to ensure that the Islamist insurgency doesn't spread: education for girls. (more)

Afghan brothers develop drone to clear landmines
14 December 2016 - As young boys growing up on the outskirts of the Afghan capital, Mahmud Hassani and his brother Massoud [were] inspired ... to develop a drone prototype to detect and destroy landmines. Their invention was on Wednesday (14 December) featured in the NT100, a list by Britain-based charity Nominet Trust of innovations that use technology to tackle major world problems. Mahmud Hassani, who lives in the Netherlands along with his brother, said their drone prototype was up to 120 times cheaper and 20 times faster than traditional mine clearing techniques. (more)

'They're a lot like us': Program pairs inmates, wild horses
23 November 2016 - Jail inmates and wild horses are helping each other learn to adapt through a California program aimed at preparing both for society. Inmates at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in rural Elk Grove spend 40 hours a week training mustangs that federal land managers gather from overpopulated areas in 10 Western states. The training program south of Sacramento is one of six nationwide, with the others at the federal level. Sacramento County officials say theirs is the first within a local correctional facility. (more)

The Nigerian school for orphans and victims of jihadists
17 November 2016 - In a region where social bonds have been fractured by Boko Haram insurgency, the Future Prowess school is an unlikely model of cohesion. It consciously and publicly welcomes both the orphans of jihadists -- and the children of civilians and soldiers killed by the jihadists. (more)

How a Canadian app is helping refugees find food, clean water and medical care
16 November 2016 - A big issue for humanitarian organizations is finding an efficient and effective way to get up-to-date information to refugees and other aid groups. Now, a new web app, created by Canadian tech startup PeaceGeeks, in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), aims to bring all this information together in one place to make it easier for refugees to find what they need. The app, called Services Advisor, is available in both English and Arabic, and can be accessed using a smartphone or computer. (more)

Revealed: The world's happiest, safest, and richest countries
4 November 2016 - The Global Prosperity Index, published each year by the London-based Legatum Institute, ranks 149 of the world's nations according to nine key sub-indices -- but with a whopping 104 different 'variables'. The usual suspects -- GDP, security and quality of healthcare and education -- are all accounted for, but there are more intriguing considerations too. It all adds up to a remarkably thorough pecking order of the world's happiest, safest, most free and prosperous countries. And the results for 2016 are in. (more)

The 25 richest, healthiest, happiest, and most advanced countries in the world
3 November 2016 - The Legatum Institute, a London based research institute released on Thursday its 10th annual global Prosperity Index, a huge survey that ranks the most prosperous countries in the world. The organisation compared 104 variables to come up with its list. The variables are then split into nine subindexes: economic quality, business environment, governance, education, health, safety and security, personal freedom, social capital, and natural environment. (more)

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

A small number of people practising Transcendental Meditation can produce an orderly, harmonious influence for the whole society - Maharishi, 1975
12 January 2017 - Today organizations teaching Transcendental Meditation in many countries held an annual conference celebrating the achievements of the worldwide programmes founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. On this day in 1975, Maharishi inaugurated the dawn of a new era of harmony and peace in society that would come to full fruition through the adoption of his technologies of consciousness by even a small percentage of the population. 'The personal advantages of Transcendental Meditation are so enormous,' Maharishi said, noting the growing body of scientific research validating these effects including more orderly brain functioning, reduced stress, and better health. Now researchers had found that in cities where only 1% of the population practised TM, this orderly, harmonious influence was reflected in improved social trends, particularly decreased crime. 'There are enough intelligent people in the world who will start Transcendental Meditation for their own individual benefit, even not believing in the process,' Maharishi said. But when they begin the practice, brain functioning begins to become more orderly, 'and that influence will radiate in society, and the whole society will become better and better and better'. (more)

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's comments to the press - Christmas, 2002
25 December 2016 - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi replies to a question from the world press on the Vedic nature of Christ's words, 'Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and all else will be added unto you.' - 25 December 2002, MERU, Netherlands. (more)

Maharishi University of Management: Students place in national mediation tourney
24 December 2016 - Three students from Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa competed in the National Undergraduate Mock Mediation Tournament last month in Arlington, Texas. The tournament, sponsored by the International Academy of Dispute Resolution, hosted teams from universities much larger than MUM, including Boston University, the University of Texas at Dallas and Arlington, Holy Cross, and the University of San Diego. The MUM team took seventh place in two categories. The academy's mission is to encourage society to resolve differences and disputes in a more sensitive and compassionate manner, and to promote peace and civility in human behavior. MUM delegate Mirah Dumasia said, 'Mediation is a very useful skill which facilitates a conversation between both sides, and it creates a safe environment to express each side's problems with the other and to come to a resolution that both sides are happy with.' (more)

Maharishi Vastu architecture: New, ground-breaking books
22 December 2016 - Enlightened Real Estate, written by successful real estate investor Barry B. Scherr, is one of two new books related to Maharishi Vastu architecture. It challenges the contemporary wisdom as to the purpose of real estate, proposing that the built environment should re-establish the lost connection between inner consciousness and the world around us. 'Although we are becoming more alert, aware, and connected, the environment is lagging far behind,' states a review in the current Maharishi Vastu newsletter. 'This book presents a new way to live in and think about the built environment.' The author comments that the book 'gives a new vision for the potential of real estate to help people improve their daily routine, reduce stress, traffic, and pollution, and ultimately gain the time needed to focus on more meaningful priorities like interpersonal relationships and enlightenment'. (more)

Exploring parallels between initiatives of Prince Charles and Maharishi's knowledge and technologies to create a better world
8 December 2016 - A new series of articles explores striking parallels between the principles set forth by Prince Charles of the UK in his book, Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, and the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Most people know of Maharishi as the teacher who brought Transcendental Meditation to the world, but 'very few know the full depth and breadth of Maharishi's vision and detailed designs to create a vastly better world', writes author Ann Purcell. Harmony reveals the extent of Prince Charles' leadership in many innovative projects that aim to make a beneficial impact, based on his central theme that humankind needs a transformative change of perception, to a holistic view of our relationship with nature - 'a unified worldview that was prevalent in all ancient cultures'. Part I in this series discusses Prince Charles' 'Sustainability Revolution' and 'Sustainable Urbanism' initiatives in light of Maharishi's revival of Vedic architecture, designed to bring individual life in harmony with natural law, reflecting the principle 'As is the atom, so is the universe; as is the human body, so is the cosmic body.' (more)

On Veterans Day - Remembrance Day: Transcendental Meditation helps veterans overcome PTSD
11 November 2016 - Operation Warrior Wellness (OWW), a division of the David Lynch Foundation, offers the Transcendental Meditation-based Resilient Warrior Program, a simple, easy-to-learn, evidence-based approach to relieving symptoms of PTSD and major depression and developing greater resilience to stress. Since its launch in 2010 in the USA, the OWW initiative has partnered with leading veterans service organizations and VA medical centers to deliver the Resilient Warrior Program to veterans, active-duty personnel and military families in need. The initiative also partners with military colleges to create a new generation of more resilient officers. (more)

UK's first Maharishi Peace Palace - creating peace for the individual and peace for society
7 November 2016 - News media continue to feature Britain's first Peace Palace, most recently in a video report on ITV News. The building, inaugurated last month in Rendlesham, Suffolk, will offer programmes and courses founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The Peace Palace and its surrounding residential development were designed in accord with ancient principles of Maharishi Vedic Architecture to promote peace and happiness for those who visit the building and in the environment. Richard Johnson, national director of the Transcendental Meditation programme in the UK, points out that Maharishi's central objective was to promote peace for the individual and the society. Mr Johnson says, 'We want to create peace on the level of consciousness on a deeper level so that it creates bliss in society and internationally', noting scientific research demonstrating this effect when sufficient people practise Transcendental Meditation. (more)

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
15 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
5 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)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

U.N. warns of famine risk in Somalia amid worsening drought
17 January 2017 - Somalia risks slipping back into famine, the United Nations, said on Tuesday, as worsening drought has left millions without food, water, or healthcare in a country crippled by decades of war. ... Famine last struck pockets of Somalia in 2011, killing 260,000 people. It was caused by drought, conflict, and a ban on food aid in territory held by [the Islamist militant group] al Shabaab . (more)

After 2016 campaign, more Americans consider Russia a threat: Reuters/Ipsos poll
13 January 2017 - Americans are more concerned than they were before the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign began about the potential threat Russia poses to the country, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Friday [13 January]. The January 9-12 survey found that 82 percent of American adults, including 84 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans, described Russia as a general 'threat' to the United States. That's up from 76 percent in March 2015 when the same questions were asked. (more)

Turkey's tourism takes big hit after extremist attacks
7 January 2017 - The once bustling Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is astonishingly quiet. The shops and restaurants in the city's trendy Istiklal Street are all but empty of foreign customers and the hotels in the upscale Nisantasi district are nearly deserted. Turkey's economy is suffering in the face of a string of extremist attacks -- including the nightclub massacre of New Year's revelers, most of them foreigners -- and uncertainty following the failed coup in July against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that saw more than 270 people killed. There was a time when tourism in Turkey was red hot, climbing from 10.5 million visitors in 2000 to 36.2 million people in 2015, making it the sixth-most visited destination in the world. Istanbul, the country's most popular tourist destination for foreigners, has been the biggest target for extremists. (more)

Turkey faces more turmoil as violence continues
2 January 2017 - The deadly New Year's attack on a ritzy Istanbul nightclub has brought more turmoil to Turkey and shown how the conflict in neighboring Syria easily can spill over to threaten Europe's stability. The assault that happened in the second hour of 2017 bookended another holiday season terror in Europe -- the December 19 attack at a Christmas market in Berlin. Both IS-linked assaults were carried out with the simple, low-tech approach that seems to be gaining favor with extremists. This is the reality facing Europe as the Islamic State group loses territory in Syria and Iraq, but maintains followers, returning fighters and sleeper cells in the West eager to launch attacks. Turkey, which shares a large, porous border with Syria, is an appealing target because it is a NATO ally of the United States that has attacked IS positions in both Syria and Iraq. And it is relatively easy for IS sympathizers to infiltrate Turkey and to move around in densely populated urban areas. (more)

Russia, Pakistan, China warn of increased Islamic State threat in Afghanistan
27 December 2016 - Russia, China, and Pakistan warned on Tuesday that the influence of Islamic State (IS) was growing in Afghanistan and that the security situation there was deteriorating. . . . Officials in Kabul and Washington have said that Russia is deepening its ties with Taliban militants fighting the government, though Moscow has denied providing aid to the insurgents. (more)

A look at Palmyra, the historic Syrian city retaken by IS
11 December 2016 - A look at Palmyra, the archaeological gem that Islamic State fighters retook Sunday from Syrian troops in a major advance after a year of setbacks in Syria and neighboring Iraq. A desert oasis surrounded by palm trees in central Syria, Palmyra is also a strategic crossroads linking the Syrian capital, Damascus, with the country's east and neighboring Iraq. Located 155 miles (215 kilometers) east of Damascus, the city was once home to 65,000 people before the Syrian civil war began. . . . (more)

Militants retake ancient city of Palmyra from Syrian forces
11 December 2016 - Islamic State militants recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from Syrian troops Sunday, according to both sides in the battle, scoring a major advance after a year of setbacks in Syria and neighboring Iraq. In winning back Palmyra, the extremist group appeared to be taking advantage of the Syrian and Russian preoccupation with Aleppo, timing its attack to coincide with a major government offensive to capture the last remaining opposition-held neighborhoods in the northern city. (more)

Russia intervened to help Trump win election: intelligence officials
10 December 2016 - U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help President-elect Donald Trump win the White House, and not just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, a senior U.S. official said on Friday. U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed that as the 2016 presidential campaign progressed, Russian government officials devoted increasing attention to assisting Trump's effort to win the election, the U.S. official familiar with the finding told Reuters on Friday night, speaking on condition of anonymity. (more)

CIA says Russia intervened to help Trump win White House: Washington Post
9 December 2016 - . . . Citing U.S. officials briefed on the matter, the Washington Post said [US] intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including the chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, to WikiLeaks. The officials described the individuals as people known to the intelligence community who were part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and reduce Clinton's chances of winning the election. (more)

Fears for refugees health in Kenya as food aid rations halved
6 December 2016 - Food rations to more than 400,000 refugees in Kenya have been halved due to severe funding shortages, and existing supplies will run out completely at the end of February, the United Nations said on Tuesday. Kenya hosts 434,000 refugees from 21 countries, mainly from war-torn neighbouring South Sudan and Somalia, in two overcrowded camps on its northern borders. (more)

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