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'Please stop!', Pope Francis makes plea for peace
29 July 2014 - Pope Francis made an emotional plea for peace on Sunday in an impromptu addition to comments delivered at his weekly Angelus address in Saint Peter's Square. With his voice appearing to crack with emotion, the Pope broke off from his scripted remarks to make a direct appeal for fighting to end. 'Please stop!, I ask you with all my heart, it's time to stop. Stop, please!' (more)

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars sing to heal wounds of war
29 July 2014 - It's a long way from the refugee camps of Africa to Poland's balmy Baltic coast, but for Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, the message is still the same. With his socially-conscious lyrics, band leader Ruben Koroma hopes that his music can help uplift people and detraumatize them. Appearing at Poland's Globaltica World Cultures Festival last weekend, they delivered a typically vibrant, energetic, and uplifting show. It has been a remarkable journey for the band formed in a Guinean refugee camp during Sierra Leone's 1991-2002 civil war. Their first album was recorded in tin-roofed shacks in a Freetown shantytown -- a process depicted in a 2005 documentary film. Koroma's message is one of peace. (more)

Central African Republic's rebels sign cease-fire
24 July 2014 - Representatives of the Muslim and Christian factions battling in Central African Republic signed a cease-fire agreement on Wednesday in neighbouring Republic of Congo. The ceremony was carried live on the Republic of Congo's state television. A civilian transitional government is now tasked with organizing national elections by February although violence is still raging in the country's provinces. (more)

Qatar, Saudi rulers meet for Gaza cease-fire talks
23 July 2014 - For the first time since an unprecedented diplomatic rift among Gulf powerhouses, Qatar's emir flew to Saudi Arabia late Tuesday in a surprise visit and met with King Abdullah to discuss cease-fire efforts in the Gaza Strip. The meeting brought together two influential Arab brokers backing different cease-fire initiatives. Saudi Arabia is supporting an Egyptian cease-fire initiative that Israel accepted but Hamas rejected. Qatar, on the other hand, is the main conduit of Hamas conditions for a cease-fire that include guarantees for the lifting of a seven-year blockade of Gaza, enforced by Israel and Egypt. (more)

Putin: Russia will facilitate plane investigation
22 July 2014 - President Vladimir Putin says Russia will do 'everything in its power' to facilitate an investigation into the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crash. The Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down and crashed in rebel-held eastern Ukraine Thursday, 17 July. (more)

World stocks rise as Ukraine plane tensions ease
22 July 2014 - World stock markets rose Tuesday as tensions over the downing of a passenger jet in Ukraine eased after pro-Moscow separatists released a train packed with bodies and handed over the aircraft's black boxes. (more)

Honouring Nelson Mandela's legacy, UN pledges acts of kindness and goodwill
18 July 2014 - On Nelson Mandela International Day, the United Nations pledged to promote acts of kindness and goodwill and uplift poor and underdeveloped communities worldwide. 'For the past five years, we have come together to celebrate the life and spirit of a unique individual who touched the entire world -- Nelson Mandela -- the Madiba,' General Assembly President John Ashe said during a special event at UN Headquarters. In 2009, the Assembly declared 18 July 'Nelson Mandela International Day' in recognition of the former South African President's contribution to the culture of peace and freedom. Today's is the first observance since Mr Mandela's passing last December. (more)

Crime falls 14 per cent in England and Wales to reach lowest level in 33 years
17 July 2014 - A record 14 per cent fall in the last 12 months has taken crime levels in England and Wales to their lowest level for 33 years, according to the Office for National Statistics. Crime has fallen across most types of offences, according to the authoritative crime survey of England and Wales with the largest falls in the 12 months to March including a 20% drop in violent crime, a 17% fall in criminal damage, and a 10% fall in theft. (more)

Mali peace talks start in Algiers after prisoner swap
16 July 2014 - Mali's government and rebels held peace talks in Algiers on Wednesday in an effort to end decades of uprisings by northern tribes, though the government said at the start it would refuse to discuss any demands for full autonomy. Algeria's government said it had helped broker a prisoner swap to build confidence at the start of the talks -- 45 civilians and troops from the government in exchange for 42 members and sympathisers of rebel movements. (more)

Peace talks aim at restoring calm in Mali's north
16 July 2014 - International negotiators, Malian officials, and Tuareg separatists are holding peace talks aimed at restoring stability in northern Mali. The Algerian capital is hosting peace talks, which started Wednesday, involving Malian government representatives, six Tuareg groups, and officials from the UN African Union, regional group ECOWAS and the European Union. (more)

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

Vedic Living in a Modern World: International conference at Maharishi University, USA, 31 July - 3 August
30 July 2014 - The Eleventh World Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES) conference is coming to Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa, USA on Thursday, 31 July through Sunday, 3 August. This is the first time such a large and diverse group of Vedic scholars has come together on the campus to explore the relevance of ancient Vedic knowledge in today's world. Topics will include Yoga, natural medicine, higher states of consciousness, and reflections on the various Vedic texts. The main plenary talks will be webcast live. (more)

World Association for Vedic Studies to hold 11th international conference at Maharishi University of Management, USA
21 July 2014 - The World Association for Vedic Studies (WAVES) conference is the largest and most prestigious academic conference on Vedic Studies, and they have chosen to host their 11th international conference at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, USA. More than 100 Vedic scholars and thought leaders from around the world will come together at MUM, 31 July - 3 August, for a seminal conference, 'Vedic Living in a Modern World'. (more)

The ancient art of nourishing life from the inside
18 July 2014 - Why do people meditate? Those who practise Transcendental Meditation know it's not just for the experience they have during the 20-minute practice of the technique, as enjoyable as this can be. It's because the practice brings substantial rewards--after meditation. Transcendental Meditation is a preparation for more successful activity, for the development of consciousness, and for greater fulfilment in life. (more)

Celebrating the Vedic tradition of knowledge: 'The world is my family' - Maharishi
12 July 2014 - On 12 July, the organizations of the Global Country of World Peace in many countries participated in the festival of Guru Purnima, the full moon day in July which honours the great teachers of the Vedic tradition of knowledge--the source of the many programmes and technologies of consciousness, including Transcendental Meditation, brought to the world over 50 years by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. On this occasion in July 2007, Maharishi said, 'The world is my family has been the inspiration from all time, and we are experiencing today, the world is my family on the highest level, on the pinnacle level of invincibility characterizing real lasting freedom in affluence, integrity, coherence, all positivity, perfect health, long life.' (more)

Women invited to join third 'virtual meeting' in 2014 conference call series - 29 June
28 June 2014 - Sunday, 29 June is the date of the third in a series of six telephone conferences for women being held throughout this year. All women are invited to join in this bimonthly 'virtual global assembly' and learn how women can become a powerfully nourishing agent for positive change in the world by awakening the nourishing power of consciousness within. The next women's conference call will feature a discussion on the topic of shifting our world view in order to redesign our destiny. (more)

Interview in Algerie Patriotique: 'Three experts explain post traumatic stress disorder from terrorism and war'
27 June 2014 - An extensive, wide-ranging interview was published today in Algerie Patriotique, in which three experts discuss post-traumatic stress (PTS), its causes and devastating physical and emotional effects in many millions of people across Africa, including in Algeria. Dr David Leffler, Dr Atmane Kouider, and David Shapiro also bring out findings of recent published research showing rapid, substantial decreases in PTS symptoms in African war refugees who have learned the Transcendental Meditation technique. The interview probes deeply the timely implications of this research--in particular the potential of large-scale adoption of Transcendental Meditation as a simple, cost-effective, evidence-based solution--not only to alleviate individuals' suffering, but also to reduce and ultimately prevent societal stress from erupting in violence and war. This is the aim of an initiative sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation and African PTSD Relief. (more)

Proven approach to stop sectarian violence in Iraq
23 June 2014 - With regard to growing sectarian violence in Iraq, President Barack Obama recently said, 'I don't rule out anything,' and 'my national security team is looking at all the options.' He should consider Invincible Defense Technology (IDT), a scientifically-validated approach to effectively, efficiently, and quickly end the turmoil, writes Dr David Leffler in an editorial published today in The Hill, a top US political website widely read by Washington policymakers. This IDT approach to reducing stress and violence is already part of the training of America's future commanders at Norwich University, and has been field-tested by foreign militaries. It is validated by 23 peer-reviewed studies carried out in both developed and developing nations in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Independent scientists and scholars endorse it, based on 25 years of research. (more)

10,000 Women Initiative: Women invited to join third 'virtual meeting' in 2014 conference call series - 29 June
18 June 2014 - The third in a series of six telephone conferences in the 2014 10,000 Women Initiative will be held Sunday, 29 June. All women are invited to join in this bimonthly 'virtual global assembly' and learn how women can become a powerfully nourishing agent for positive change in the world by awakening the nourishing power of consciousness within. The next women's conference call will feature a discussion on the topic of shifting our world view in order to redesign our destiny. (more)

A statistically tested way to stop terrorism and boost Iraq's economy
14 June 2014 - NBC News reports that U.S. President Barack Obama said ''I don't rule out anything,'' and ''my national security team is looking at all the options'' with regard to the rapidly growing unrest in Iraq. Even if The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is defeated, the problem of terrorism will not likely be solved for long, particularly if Iraq's economy does not improve, write the authors of an article that has been reprinted in many countries. Obviously, it is a dangerous time in Iraq. There is a scientifically-validated approach--known as Invincible Defense Technology--validated by 23 studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, that has been statistically proven numerous times to decrease and prevent violence and terrorism. If President Obama really means that he will not rule anything out, then he should request that Iraq establish Preventive Wings of the Military to ease high tensions and prevent further terrorism and war. If they promptly act, Iraq could create lasting peace, boost its economy and gain international prestige. (more)

Living in the 'home' of all knowledge
13 June 2014 - 'One intriguing phenomenon reported by those who have had glimpses of enlightenment is the experience of direct knowledge of reality that comes from within consciousness, as distinct from our usual modes of learning through the senses and intellectual concepts,' writes Cynthia E. Johnson in a recent essay that includes several accounts, both historical and contemporary, expressing 'this phenomenon of direct knowledge'. (more)

10 Short Summaries of Top Stories

Israeli Arabs caught in the middle of Gaza war
27 July 2014 - Facing the threat of rocket fire along with the rest of Israel, residents in a central Israeli Arab town have found themselves caught in the middle between Jewish neighbours and their fellow Palestinians who are dying in growing numbers in the Gaza Strip. The people of Tira, a town of some 25,000 people known for their warm relations with nearby Jewish communities, have Jewish friends, speak Hebrew fluently and are largely integrated into Israeli society. But with relatives in Gaza and the West Bank, they also empathize with the Palestinians. That internal strain becomes especially hard during times of violence, and tensions have risen since the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants began on 8 July. 'The Jews look at us like Arabs and the Arabs look at us like Jews,' said Ahmad Nasser, 21. 'We are in the middle.' The markets in Tira are usually packed on the weekend with Israeli shoppers. But business has slowed down to a trickle in the weeks since the conflict began, perhaps because Israeli-Arab relations have soured or simply because no one feels like going out in such times, said Mohammed Abdulchai, 52. He said the war has been bad for business, with the fear of rockets shared by everyone. (more)

Ukraine: Fighting intensifies near MH17 crash site
27 July 2014 - Ukrainian armed forces mounted a major onslaught against pro-Russian separatist fighters Sunday in an attempt to gain control over the area where a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed earlier this month. Reports of the intensifying unrest prompted a postponement of a trip to the site by a team of Dutch and Australian police officers that had planned to start searching for evidence and the remaining bodies. In Washington, the State Department released satellite images which it says show that Russia has fired rockets more than seven miles (11 kilometers) into eastern Ukraine. The images, from the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, show blast marks from where rockets were launched and craters where they landed. They are said to show strikes between 21 and 26 July. Ukraine's National Security Council said that government troops have encircled Horlivka, a key rebel stronghold, and that there had been fighting in other cities in the east. Horlivka lies around 20 miles (30 kilometers) north of the main rebel-held city of Donetsk. (more)

UN warns of alarming malnutrition rates in Somali capital
27 July 2014 - The United Nations has reported alarming rates of malnutrition in the Somali capital where aid agencies cannot meet the needs of 350,000 people due to insufficient funds, drought, and conflict. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the Somali government had compared the situation to the run-up to a 2011 famine that killed 260,000 people. The United Nations has sought to improve its early warning mechanisms after its failure to spot indications of crisis in 2010 was blamed for the scale of the famine that followed in a nation torn apart by years of conflict. 'Alarming rates of malnutrition have been observed among displaced communities in Mogadishu,' OCHA said in a report released at the weekend, citing a study by a unit of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization. It said aid agencies were unable to meet the needs of 350,000 people who had fled to Mogadishu, saying the aid organizations faced a shortage of funds and violence in the capital that could restrict deliveries. (more)

Afghan attacks continue as vote count stops
26 July 2014 - Attacks across Afghanistan, including hundreds of Taliban fighters swarming police checkpoints across the south, killed at least 15 people Saturday, officials said, as a recount in the country's presidential election halted before a major holiday. The Taliban attacks focused on Kandahar province, where Taliban fighters killed six police officers -- including a district police chief -- in assaults on some 15 checkpoints, said Dawa Khan Menapal, a spokesman for the provincial governor. Menapal said reinforcements later arrived to combat the Taliban fighters and the combat continued into Saturday night. In a blow to hoped-for peace talks, the Taliban's reclusive leader warned Friday that a bilateral security pact allowing thousands of US troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond the end of this year will mean more fighting. Mullah Mohammad Omar called on both Afghan presidential candidates not to sign the agreement. (more)

More internally displaced in Ukraine as fighting continues - UN
26 July 2014 - A total of up to 230,000 people have been displaced by fighting in the Ukraine, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday. The Ukrainian Red Cross issued an appeal on Thursday to push for more help for those who were affected by fighting in the areas of Luhansk, Donetsk, and Crimea. Ukraine descended into a bloody conflict after mass protests in March overthrew Russian-backed former president Viktor Yanukovich, who opposed stronger political and economic cooperation with the European Union in favour of closer ties to Russia. This led to upheaval in the country's ethnic Russian east, which prompted aggressive intervention from Russia and, eventually, to its annexation of Crimea. (more)

Israel rejects ceasefire plan, source says, as death toll nears 850
25 July 2014 - Israel has rejected international proposals for a ceasefire in its fight against Islamist militants in Gaza, a government source said on Friday, but US Secretary of State John Kerry said no formal proposals had yet been put forward. Mediators hope that a truce could come into force ahead of a Muslim festival that starts early next week, but they have struggled to resolve seemingly irreconcilable demands from Israel and Hamas-led fighters, locked in conflict since 8 July. As diplomacy faltered, the fighting raged on. Gaza officials said Israeli strikes killed 55 people on Friday, including the head of media operations for Hamas ally Islamic Jihad and his son. They put the number of Palestinian deaths in 18 days of conflict at 844, most of them civilians. Militants fired a barrage of rockets out of Gaza, triggering sirens across much of southern and central Israel, including at the country's main airport. No injuries were reported, with the Iron Dome interceptor system knocking out many of the missiles. (more)

Gaza bloodshed deepens as airlines shun Israel
23 July 2014 - Gaza fighting raged on Wednesday, displacing thousands more Palestinians in the battered territory as US Secretary of State John Kerry said efforts to secure a truce between Israel and Hamas had made some progress. In a blow to Israel's economy and image, American aviation authorities extended a ban on US flights to Tel Aviv for a second day, spooked by rocket salvoes out of the Gaza Strip, with many other global airlines also avoiding the Jewish state. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, speaking in Qatar, praised the group's fighters, whom he said had made gains against Israel and said he supported a humanitarian truce but a ceasefire would only be acceptable in exchange for easing Gazans' plight. Adding to the pressure on Israel, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said there was 'a strong possibility' that it was committing war crimes in Gaza, where 692 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting. She also condemned indiscriminate Islamist rocket fire out of Gaza and the United Nations Human Rights Council said it would launch an international inquiry into alleged violations. (more)

Ukraine, Russia never further apart
21 July 2014 - Even the most mild-mannered Ukrainians, known for their long-suffering tolerance born of a history of occupation and conflict, have turned on, if not all their neighbours in Russia, one in particular: Russian President Vladimir Putin. 'Putin should understand that it's enough already. This is not a conflict between Ukraine and Russia. It is an international conflict,' Ukraine's usually quietly spoken prime minister, Arseny Yatseniuk, told a news conference. For many Russians, the feeling is mutual. Since the street protests in Kiev that ousted a pro-Russian president in February, Russia has branded Ukraine's new rulers as fascists. It now says Kiev is being run by US leaders bent on bringing Russia to its knees. Marriages between Ukrainians and Russians have become tense, families divided, and one couple on the verge of marriage called it off after arguing whether Putin was in the wrong or the right, acquaintances said. (more)

Palestinians killed in Israeli attack on Gaza suburb: witnesses
20 July 2014 - At least 62 Palestinians were killed on Sunday in Israeli shelling of a Gaza neighbourhood that left thousands fleeing for shelter to a hospital packed with wounded, Palestinian witnesses and officials said. The Israeli military said militants from Gaza's dominant Hamas group responded with anti-tank missiles and heavy weapon fire in some of the bloodiest fighting since Israel launched its Gaza offensive 13 days ago. A two-hour 'humanitarian ceasefire' in the area, agreed by both sides at the request of the International Committee of the Red Cross, broke down in minutes with each side blaming the other. Witnesses said the Israeli attack was the fiercest they had seen since the 1967 Middle East war, when Israel captured Gaza. Thousands fled Shejaia, some by foot and others piling into the backs of trucks and sitting on the hoods of cars filled with families trying to get away. Several people rode out of the neighbourhood of 100,000 in the shovel of a bulldozer. (more)

South Sudan ceasefire under threat as rebels, govt troops clash
20 July 2014 - South Sudanese rebels and government soldiers clashed in the northern town of Nasir on Sunday, adding to fears that a shaky ceasefire agreement signed in May could totally collapse. Rebel spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said troops loyal to Riek Machar, South Sudan's former vice president, launched an assault on the government-held town and 'at dawn liberated Nasir'. South Sudan army spokesman Philip Aguer confirmed there was fighting but said the rebels were not in full control of Nasir, a small town 30 km from the Ethiopian border in the oil-rich Upper Nile State. Nasir has changed hands several times since fighting broke out in the capital Juba between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and troops backing Machar in mid-December, quickly spreading across the country. The violence, triggered by a power struggle between the two men, has often followed ethnic faultlines, pitting Kiir's Dinka against Machar's Nuer. (more)

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