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Positive Trends
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Croatia eyes solar power in bid to curb energy imports
18 November 2017 - Thanks to its exposure to the Mediterranean sun and the pristine Adriatic Sea, Croatia secures almost 20 percent of its gross domestic product from tourism -- but in stark contrast, it has practically neglected electricity production from solar power. The government is drafting a new strategy aimed at reducing energy imports which is likely to be completed next year. 'I set myself a target to promote solar power in that context as much as possible,' an official involved in the work ... told Reuters. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, Croatia ... could develop 3,200 megawatts (MW) of solar power by 2030... (more)

Jordan switches on world's largest solar plant in refugee camp
17 November 2017 - Jordan has switched on the world's largest solar plant inside a refugee camp, providing renewable energy to nearly 80,000 Syrians, the United Nations refugee agency said on Monday (13 November). The 12.9 megawatts solar plant at Zaatari refugee camp, on the border of Jordan and Syria, will allow families to run a fridge, TV, fans, and lights in their shelters, and recharge their phones to maintain contact with others abroad, UNHCR said. The 15 million euro ($17.50 million) project, funded by the German government ... (more)

Twenty countries join global alliance to phase out coal by 2030
17 November 2017 - Twenty countries and two U.S. states have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030, environment ministers said on Thursday (16 November). Coal is responsible for more than 40 per cent of global emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. (more)

Germany, Britain inject $153 million in Amazon climate change fight
14 November 2017 - Germany and Britain will provide a combined $153 million to expand programs to fight climate change and deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, according to a statement from the Brazilian government on Tuesday (14 November). For the first time, the program will grow to include the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil's top producer of soy beans, where the rapid expansion of soy and beef farms have made it a hotspot for deforestation. (more)

Syria formally joins Paris climate agreement: U.N.
14 November 2017 - Syria has formally jointed the 2015 Paris deal aimed at slowing climate change, the United Nations said on Tuesday, leaving the United States as the only country opposed to the pact. Syria, racked by civil war, and Nicaragua were the only two nations outside the 195-nation pact when it was agreed in 2015. Nicaragua's left-wing government, which originally denounced the plan as too weak, signed up last month. (more)

Japanese Prime Minister Abe hails 'fresh start' to Japan-China ties after Xi meeting
11 November 2017 - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed a 'fresh start' to the relationship between the countries after a meeting that saw them agree to work more closely on North Korea. ...Ties between China and Japan, the world's second- and third-largest economies, have been plagued by a long-running territorial dispute over a cluster of East China Sea islets. (more)

Saudi Arabia says remains committed to climate accord
11 November 2017 - Saudi Arabia remains committed to the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, the energy minister for the world's top oil exporter said on Saturday, 11 November. Khalid al-Falih's statement came as almost 200 countries started talks in Germany to bolster a global climate accord .... 'For our part, the kingdom will remain committed to maintaining our national contributions on taking climate actions that would also enable sustainable development in line with Saudi Vision 2030,' Falih said. (more)

UK 'will support' neonicotinoid pesticide ban
9 November 2017 - An extended ban on controversial neonicotinoid pesticides will be supported by the UK, Environment Secretary Michael Gove says. The UK has previously resisted tighter restrictions on the pesticides, saying there was insufficient evidence. Mr Gove says that's no longer the case. 'The weight of evidence now shows the risks neonicotinoids pose to our environment, particularly to the bees and other pollinators which play such a key part in our [British Pound] 100bn food industry, is greater than previously understood,' said Mr Gove. (more)

US: Arkansas pushes ahead with summertime ban on Monsanto, BASF weed killers
8 November 2017 - An Arkansas regulatory body voted on Wednesday [8 November] to bar the use of a weed killer critical to Monsanto Co's seed sales for a second consecutive summer, ratcheting up a standoff after the company sued the state to prevent restrictions on the product. The Arkansas State Plant Board plans to prohibit sprayings of products containing a chemical known as dicamba between April 16 and October 31, 2018, after an estimated 3.6 million acres of U.S. crops suffered damage linked to the herbicides this year. A state legislative subcommittee must approve the ban before it becomes official. (more)

5 things to know about Bonn climate summit
4 November 2017 - Climate change is back on the agenda with a global climate conference kicking off Monday in the German city of Bonn. Five things to know about the U.N. conference known as COP23, which runs from November 6-17. Up to 25,000 people are expected to attend the talks, which will be presided over by Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji -- the first time that a small island nation will be at the helm of a major international climate conference. Participants will include diplomats from 195 nations ... (more)


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


New study: Transcendental Meditation helps women reduce trauma in prison, gain 'self-care for life'
24 August 2017 - Research finds that women are the fastest growing population in U.S. prisons, nearly double the rate of men, and enter prison with high rates of abuse and proportionally more trauma. Fortunately, a 2017 randomized controlled study published in The Permanente Journal found that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique significantly reduced trauma symptoms in female inmates at an Oregon prison. 'Meditating twice a day has helped lessen my stress levels, allowed me to connect to and centre myself at deeper levels, and to retreat, reflect, and problem-solve,' said one inmate. Another said, 'I no longer feel imprisoned. I now feel my freedom from the inside of me.' The TM technique has critical advantages as a mind-body intervention for underrepresented populations, according to Charles Elder, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., author of a companion editorial in The Permanente Journal. (more)

Post-Traumatic Growth: 'Transcendental Meditation has given me the opportunity to live a life that is truly full of purpose, meaning, connection, and service'
1 August 2017 - Suffering from post-traumatic stress (PTS), and finding no relief through treatments provided by the U.S. Veterans Administration, Marine Corps veteran Paul Downs went to Boulder Crest Retreat Facility for veterans in Virginia, which partners with the David Lynch Foundation to offer Transcendental Meditation as part of its programme. One of only five witnesses testifying before the recent U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs' hearing on PTS, Downs said that after just a few weeks of practising TM, he felt less anxious, less angry, more focused, more energized, more directed. 'I gained a connection to self that I didn't have before. I found peace with my past. I realized who I am - and there's no pill for that. . . . It is hard to believe that 20 minutes, twice a day, is exactly what we require. But it is. It works for me, and for thousands of my brothers and sisters. It has given me the opportunity not just to survive on earth, but thrive here - and to live a life that is truly full of purpose, meaning, connection, and service.' (more)

US: Veterans are using Transcendental Meditation to treat PTSD
22 July 2017 - Thousands of veterans have turned to Transcendental Meditation to treat their PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder]. The David Lynch Foundation has worked with US Veterans Administration centres, Army and Marine bases, and veterans' organizations to bring TM to vets and active-duty soldiers, Mother Jones reports. Research has found TM to be effective in reducing PTSD. One veteran, a former Army nurse in Iraq who has been practising TM for four years, says painful memories are still there, but increasingly they seem like a thing of the past. 'Very recently,' she says, 'I've started to feel happiness, which I hadn't felt in years.' (more)

UK Parliament marks International Yoga Day - Prof Tony Nader, MD, PhD honoured with special award
16 July 2017 - The third International Yoga Day was celebrated in the House of Commons, Palace of Westminster, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Indian Traditional Sciences, its Secretariat Amarjeet S Bhamra and the High Commission of India. The event on 10 July was designed to explore the value of introducing Yoga in the NHS (National Health Service). Chief Guest of the event, H.E. High Commissioner Y K Sinha paid tribute to the work of the APPG in introducing Yoga, Ayurveda and other disciplines into the mainstream of public life. Prof Tony Nader, MD, PhD, MARR, head of the worldwide Transcendental Meditation organization, was honoured with a special award, and presented five volumes of Scientific Research on the Transcendental Meditation Programme to Members of Parliament. In his keynote address Prof Nader explained that 'every one of us has within us, built into our very physiology, the essential quality of Yoga, which is unifying.' (more)

U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan gives Maharishi University of Management commencement address: 'We are living in a moment that calls out for you'
4 July 2017 - U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan from Ohio's 13th District delivered the commencement address at Maharishi University of Management, USA, on 24 June. Congressman Ryan has taken a national leadership role in improving access to healthcare, promoting ways to make college more affordable, and expanding renewable energy. He challenged the graduates to find innovative solutions to the seemingly intractable problems facing the world: 'Graduates, we are living in a moment that calls out for you, because you are those rare positive disruptors - creative, open, smart, self-driven, resilient, fearless. You are the modern-day explorers. Your meditation practice will assist you in navigating the turbulent waters of modern society. Your Consciousness-Based Education has prepared you to take your place among those leaders who are redefining the rules and changing the way we all see things. Our nation and the world desperately need you now.' (more)

Maharishi School grad posted at US Embassy in Liberia
15 May 2017 - Colette 'Coco' Clark, a 2011 graduate of Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa, USA, has recently been hired by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. Her first posting will be at the U.S. embassy in Liberia, beginning in June. Ms. Clark received a Bachelor of Science in foreign service, summa cum laude, from Georgetown University in 2015 and a Master of Arts in security studies the following year, also from Georgetown. She is proficient in Arabic and has worked for the past two years at the U.S. Department of Justice on legal negotiations between the U.S. government and Middle Eastern countries. (more)

'Results inside correctional facilities with Transcendental Meditation have been simply astounding'
1 February 2017 - In an editorial published this week accompanying two studies on Transcendental Meditation with male and female prison inmates, Dr. Charles Elder, a clinician and researcher with Kaiser Permanente, called for wider use of evidence-based mind-body interventions for prisoners. 'Mind-body interventions can provide the patient with a simple self-help tool that can effectively reduce anxiety, help treat substance abuse, reduce inmate recidivism, and help address a range of medical conditions,' Dr Elder wrote, citing research on Transcendental Meditation that supports these benefits. Rebecca Pak of The Women's Prison Association agrees: 'The results inside correctional facilities . . . with Transcendental Meditation have been simply astounding. If we shifted our focus from punitive responses to interventions designed to improve mental and physical health, we would have much greater impact.' The article reviews research results on Transcendental Meditation in prisons over the last four decades. (more)

Can Blacks and Police Find Inner Peace? Afro.com reports
22 November 2016 - 'If war refugees with PTSD can find rapid relief from stress through Transcendental Meditation practice, how much easier will it be for both police and inner city African-Americans to find inner peace?', write the authors of an article in Afro.com. TM is described as an evidence-based strategy to address the underlying buildup of stress in communities 'that inevitably erupts into violence'. According to recent research, more than 50% of people with PTSD who learn TM are symptom-free in 30-105 days. Police practising TM have found increased stability in stressful situations, better health, and greater resiliency to stress. It is a 'well-documented protocol for reducing stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) . . . . that will prevent and help neutralize this buildup of stress, anger, and violence in individuals and in society as a whole.' (more)

Transcendental Meditation: A resource for reducing stress among law enforcement professionals
19 November 2016 - Dr Martha Batorski, a recognized speaker on the topic of leadership development and stress reduction, calls for the use of healing strategies like Transcendental Meditation to 'reduce the effects of stress on those who serve and protect - male and female - so they may better draw upon inner resources of calm to de-escalate situations and serve as true role models in our society.' 'Policewomen,' she writes in TM for Women, 'have naturally contributed to a new paradigm in law enforcement, bringing qualities to the field . . . that include greater empathy and ability to defuse situations and a larger field of awareness during stressful situations.' With as many as 18 per cent of police officers suffering from PTSD, and a higher rate among policewomen, there is increasing interest in the scientifically proven effectiveness of TM in greatly reducing PTSD symptoms and increasing resiliency to stressful situations. (more)

Transcendental Meditation significantly helps ease trauma symptoms, stress among inmates
8 October 2016 - Researchers have found that Transcendental Meditation significantly reduced trauma symptoms and stress in male prisoners. The study, funded by the David Lynch Foundation and conducted by a team led by Dr Sanford Nidich, was a randomized, controlled trial of 181 Oregon state correctional inmates categorized as 'moderate to high-risk'. One inmate expressed his experience after learning TM: 'As I entered the 24th year behind bars I had come to grips with most of the demons of the past but still felt fragmented. Recently I was given the chance to learn TM. . . . As the weeks passed that sense of fragmentation started to flow into something deeper and new. A quiet that feels so natural and restful that I feel like I've finally come home. To a place where things make sense and I'm just happy. The pains of my life haven't gone away . . . just feels like I've grown beyond them.' The study was published yesterday in The Permanente Journal. (more)


Flops
10 Short Summaries of Top Stories


'Way too little, way too late': Facebook's factcheckers say effort is failing
13 November 2017 - Journalists working for Facebook say the social media site's fact-checking tools have largely failed and that the company has exploited their labor for a PR campaign. (more)

Reuters Exclusive: How Saudi Arabia turned on Lebanon's Hariri
11 November 2017 - From the moment Saad al-Hariri's plane touched down in Saudi Arabia on Friday November 3, he was in for a surprise. There was no line-up of Saudi princes or ministry officials, as would typically greet a Prime Minister on an official visit to King Salman, senior sources close to Hariri and top Lebanese political and security officials said. His phone was confiscated, and the next day he was forced to resign as Prime Minister in a statement broadcast by a Saudi-owned TV channel. (more)

Little hope of peace talks as renewed fighting looms in South Sudan
10 November 2017 - As fresh fighting looms in South Sudan with the onset of the dry season, there is little chance of peace talks to end a war that has already killed tens of thousands of people and created Africa's largest refugee crisis, diplomats and analysts said. South Sudan's war began in late 2013 between soldiers of President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his former vice president, Riek Machar, a Nuer, devastating the country's swampy northeast. (more)

'We still need to eat': Tech boom creates working homeless
8 November 2017 - In the same affluent, suburban city where Google built its headquarters, Tes Saldana lives in a crowded but tidy camper she parks on the street. ... Many of the homeless work regular jobs, in some cases serving the very people whose sky-high net worth is the reason housing has become unaffordable for so many. The surge in homelessness has prompted at least 10 local governments along the West Coast to declare states of emergency, and cities from San Diego to Seattle are struggling to come up with immediate and long-range solutions. San Francisco is well-known for homeless tent encampments. But the homeless problem has now spread throughout Silicon Valley, where the disparity between the rich and everyone else is glaring. (more)

Amid booming economy, homelessness soars on US West Coast
8 November 2017 - A homeless crisis of unprecedented proportions is rocking the West Coast, and its victims are being left behind by the very things that mark the region's success: soaring housing costs, rock-bottom vacancy rates, and a roaring economy that waits for no one. All along the coast, elected officials are scrambling for solutions. (more)

Paradise Papers: Tycoon made $41m from 'people's fund'
7 November 2017 - An entrepreneur charged with managing the oil wealth of the struggling African state of Angola was paid more than $41m in just 20 months, leaked documents reveal. The payments were made via a complex web of companies set up in the offshore jurisdiction of Mauritius. Jean-Claude Bastos also used his position to help set up large investment deals he stands to further profit from, the Paradise Papers show. ...The leak offers an unprecedented view into what happened to the management fees after being paid into Mr Bastos' company. (more)

Bernie Sanders warns of 'international oligarchy' after Paradise Papers leak
6 November 2017 - US senator warned that leak of documents exposing offshore tax havens show 'rapid movement' toward a group of billionaires controlling the global economy. Senator Bernie Sanders has warned that the world is rapidly becoming an 'international oligarchy' controlled by a tiny number of billionaires, highlighted by the revelations in the Paradise Papers. In a statement to the Guardian in the wake of the massive leak of documents exposing the secrets of offshore investors, Sanders said that the enrichment of wealthy individuals and companies in tax havens was 'the major issue of our time'. (more)

Revealed: how Nike stays one step ahead of the taxman
6 November 2017 - Money paid for trainers in shops moves in and out of Europe, to Caribbean and even to entities not officially based anywhere. This is a company that stays one step ahead of its rivals. And one step ahead of the taxman, too. Thanks to documents in the Paradise Papers, it has been possible to piece together the schemes and structures that have helped Nike over the past decade. (more)

Paradise Papers leak reveals secrets of the world elite's hidden wealth
5 November 2017 - The world's biggest businesses, heads of state and global figures in politics, entertainment and sport who have sheltered their wealth in secretive tax havens are being revealed this week in a major new investigation into Britain's offshore empires. The details come from a leak of 13.4m files that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive -- and the complex and seemingly artificial ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth. [Revelations have included]: How Twitter and Facebook received hundreds of millions of dollars in investments that can be traced back to Russian state financial institutions; Aggressive tax avoidance by multinational corporations, including Nike and Apple; The secret loan and alliance used by the London-listed multinational Glencore in its efforts to secure lucrative mining rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo ... (more)

What are the Paradise Papers and what do they tell us?
5 November 2017 - The leak of 13.4m documents shows the scale of the offshore empire and involves everyone from the Queen to Facebook. The Guardian is one of 96 media partners in the project. A total of 381 journalists from 67 countries have been analysing the material. What are the Paradise Papers? The name refers to a leak of 13.4m files. Most of the documents -- 6.8m -- relate to a law firm and corporate services provider that operated together in 10 jurisdictions under the name Appleby. Last year, the 'fiduciary' arm of the business was the subject of a management buyout and it is now called Estera. There are also details from 19 corporate registries maintained by governments in secrecy jurisdictions -- Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Cook Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Labuan, Lebanon, Malta, the Marshall Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vanuatu. The papers cover the period from 1950 to 2016. (more)

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