His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi



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'Black Friday' discounts lift UK retail sales growth to 10-year high
19 December 2014 - British retail sales surged at their fastest annual rate in more than a decade last month, as US-style 'Black Friday' discounts drove record sales growth at electrical and department stores. The Office for National Statistics said the volume of goods bought at British stores last month jumped by 6.4 per cent from November 2013. That was the biggest rise since May 2004. UK consumer spending has been robust throughout 2014, and many economists expect it to continue to support rapid economic growth next year. (more)

Angola Jan-Sept diamond sales rise to $960 mln
19 December 2014 - Angola, the world's fourth largest diamond producer by value, exported around $960 million of the gems between January and September, up from around $860 million in the same period a year ago. Diamonds are Angola's second biggest export earner. (more)

Mozambique economy grew 7.5 pct in 2014 - cenbank
19 December 2014 - Mozambique's economy grew 7.5 per cent this year, a slight increase on the previous year, the central bank said on Wednesday. The gas-rich southern African economy grew 7 per cent last year, according to the African Development Bank. (more)

Rwanda turns to small solar units to expand power access
19 December 2014 - Rwanda is expanding the use of small solar units for remote households and schools to help meet a government target of increasing access to electricity to 70 per cent of the nation by 2018 from just 22 per cent now, officials said. Poor access to power in the African nation has held back the growth needed to haul more people out of poverty but expanding power plants cannot always solve the problem when the grid has a limited reach. Other African nations are also seeking to exploit their solar potential. (more)

US: Songbirds fly coop long before tornadoes arrive in Tennessee
19 December 2014 - Scientists said on Thursday that little songbirds known as golden-winged warblers fled their nesting grounds in Tennessee up to two days before the arrival of a fierce storm system that unleashed 84 tornadoes in southern US states in April. The researchers said the birds were apparently alerted to the danger by sounds at frequencies below the range of human hearing. Local weather conditions were normal when the birds took flight from their breeding ground in eastern Tennessee, with no significant changes in factors like barometric pressure, temperature, or wind speeds. The storm, already spawning tornadoes, was still hundreds of miles away. (more)

Belgrade: Resilient capital finds new energy to rebuild once again
18 December 2014 - In the heart of Belgrade, the vibrant and resilient capital of Serbia, a slow and colourful transformation is taking place. Once ugly and industrial, the historic neighbourhood of Savamala is now blossoming back to life. Belgrade has been destroyed and rebuilt around 40 times. Today Belgrade is stepping up its efforts to rebuild once again. (more)

Five signs America is falling in love with public transit
18 December 2014 - After decades of embracing car culture, experts report growing movement out of the driver's seat and into transit stations. Ridership aboard US public transportation in 2014 is expected to top last year's figures. 2013 saw more riders on public transportation than any year since 1956, according to the American Public Transportation Association. (more)

Global population living six years longer than in 1990: study
18 December 2014 - Global life expectancy has risen by more than six years since 1990 thanks to falling death rates from cancer and heart disease in rich countries and better survival in poor countries. (more)

US jobless aid applications decline to 289,000
18 December 2014 - Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, a sign of solid job security and growing confidence among employers. Hiring is accelerating. In the first 11 months of this year, employers have added 2.65 million jobs. That already makes 2014 the best year for hiring since 1999. Employers added 321,000 jobs in November, the most in nearly three years. (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)

US: New York will move to prohibit fracking
17 December 2014 - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration will move to prevent fracking in the state, citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique. Environmental Commissioner Joe Martens said Wednesday that he was recommending a ban, and Cuomo said he would defer to Martens and Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker in making the decision. Zucker and Martens on Wednesday summarized the findings of environmental and health reviews that concluded that shale gas development using high-volume hydraulic fracturing carried unacceptable risks that haven't been sufficiently studied. (more)

Asian business sentiment rebounds in fourth quarter with India most optimistic
17 December 2014 - Business sentiment among Asia's top companies rebounded in the fourth quarter to the second-highest level in almost three years, a Thomson Reuters/INSEAD survey showed, helped by a stronger US economy and a plunge in oil prices. Indian businesses provided the biggest boost to the index, with companies reporting a maximum score of 100 for the third consecutive quarter. (more)

Thomson Reuters/INSEAD fourth-quarter Asian Business Sentiment Survey - by economy
17 December 2014 - Business sentiment among Asia's top companies rose in the fourth quarter with Indian firms, buoyed by hopes Prime Minister Narendra Modi would live up to his market-friendly reputation, showing the most positive outlook for a third straight quarter. Confidence among companies in Australia was second only to India. Sentiment in China was unchanged, South Korea rebounded strongly, and the outlook index of Taiwanese corporations turned positive in the fourth quarter, jumping from 33 to 71. (more)

Thomson Reuters/INSEAD fourth-quarter Asian Business Sentiment Survey - by sector
17 December 2014 - Business sentiment among Asia's top companies rose in the fourth quarter with builders switching to most optimistic from least just three months earlier due in part to increased new orders, while property developers also showed a rise in sentiment. Sentiment among retailers hit its highest since the survey began in 2009, food firms were their most bullish since early 2013 with most showing higher orders and sales, and sentiment among automakers held steady at a three-year high. Financials outlook steadied. (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)

UK households' optimism over finances hits six-year high - Markit
17 December 2014 - British households were more optimistic in December about their financial prospects in the coming 12 months than at any point in the last six years, a monthly survey showed on Wednesday. The Markit household finance survey's measure of financial well-being for the next 12 months rose to its highest level since the survey started six years ago. (more)

UK unemployment rate at 6-year low of 6 per cent
17 December 2014 - Official figures show Britain's unemployment rate was 6 per cent in the three months to October, its lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis. (more)

US factory production accelerates in sign of economy's strength
17 December 2014 - US manufacturing output recorded its largest increase in nine months in November as production expanded across the board, pointing to underlying strength in the economy. The upbeat factory data joined bullish employment and retail sales reports in suggesting strength in the economy. (more)

Eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah begins
16 December 2014 - Jews are celebrating the eight-day festival of Hanukkah with traditions that commemorate ancient miracles and symbolize triumph over oppression. The holiday began after sundown Tuesday. Hanukkah is also known as the festival of lights, (more)

US teens' use of alcohol, cigarettes at 40-year low, study finds
16 December 2014 - Fewer US teenagers are consuming alcohol or smoking cigarettes than at any time in at least 40 years, according to a national study released on Tuesday. Growing peer disapproval may be a top factor in the drop in drinking and smoking in 2014, according to the study by the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future programme. (more)

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