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Foreign ministers of Japan, China, South Korea likely to meet next week: media
17 August 2016 - Japan, China, and South Korea are in talks to hold a meeting of their foreign ministers next week, despite rows between Tokyo and Beijing over China's maritime expansion in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, a Japanese daily said on Wednesday, 17 August. The foreign ministers' meeting is expected to lay the groundwork for a three-way summit Tokyo is set to host this year. (more)

Thailand, Singapore, and Japan least miserable on Earth: Bloomberg Misery Index
14 August 2016 - Thailand, Singapore, and Japan are three of the world's least miserable nations, thanks to falling prices and low unemployment. That's according to a Misery Index compiled by Bloomberg which combines the cost of living with the strength of the job market. The Misery Index gives the Land of Smiles (Thailand) a score of 1.11 per cent, which is the best -- or least miserable -- for all 74 economies surveyed by Bloomberg. (more)

New Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank starts building a green future
1 July 2016 - People watched closely when China launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) last year. AIIB's president and senior executives reassured the audience at its first annual general meeting and seminars this week that green will be the hallmark of AIIB, and laid out three criteria for its projects: financially sustainable, environmentally benign, and socially acceptable. The four projects AIIB approved by the Board at this week's meetings claim to bear the green label: an electricity distribution system upgrade and expansion project in Bangladesh, a national motorway project in Pakistan, a slum upgrading project in Indonesia, and a road improvement project in Uzbekistan. (more)

Tiger countries agree to preserve big-cat habitats
15 April 2016 - Countries with wild tiger populations have agreed to do more to protect tiger habitats that are shrinking drastically because of deforestation and urban sprawl, conservationists said Friday, 15 April. Representatives from the 13 Asian countries with tigers, meeting this week in New Delhi, issued a resolution acknowledging that the forests in which tigers live are inherently valuable themselves and worthy of protection. (more)

World's wild tiger count rising for first time in more than a century
10 April 2016 - The world's count of wild tigers roaming forests from Russia to Vietnam has gone up for the first time in more than a century, with 3,890 counted by conservation groups and national governments in the latest global census, wildlife conservation groups said Monday, 11 April. The tally marks a turnaround from the last worldwide estimate in 2010, when the number of tigers in the wild hit an all-time low of about 3,200, according to the World Wildlife Fund and the Global Tiger Forum. (more)

South Korea, Japan, China education ministers meet for 1st time
30 January 2016 - The education ministers of South Korea, Japan, and China on Saturday held the first three-way meeting among the countries that often spar over how their wartime past is described in textbooks. The ministers agreed to hold their gatherings annually and expand student exchanges and partnership programs between universities as well as elementary, middle, and high schools. (more)

Southeast Asia summit to launch regional economic community
20 November 2015 - Southeast Asian leaders gathered Friday for a weekend summit at which they will formally create a unified economic community in a diverse region far larger than the European Union or North America, with hopes of competing with China and India. The 10 leaders in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will sign a declaration on Sunday establishing the ASEAN Economic Community, originally envisioned in 2002. The ASEAN summit will also include separate meetings with China, South Korea, India, Japan, and the United States. On Sunday, those five countries along with the 10 ASEAN countries and Australia, New Zealand, and Russia are to meet in the so-called East Asia Summit to discuss regional and global issues such as terrorism, the migrant crisis, and cyber security. (more)

South Korea, Japan, China leaders agree to mend strained ties
1 November 2015 - The biggest result of the first meeting of South Korean, Chinese, and Japanese leaders in more than three years? More meetings. But for three Northeast Asian economic and diplomatic heavyweights who spend a huge amount of time bickering over history and territory, the agreement for more dialogue at Sunday's rare summit was a significant step forward. (more)

Japan, China, South Korea hope to thaw relations with summit
30 October 2015 - They've stayed apart for more than three years, divided by antagonisms dating back to before World War II. Now the leaders of Japan, South Korea, and China hope to find political common ground despite those differences at their upcoming three-way summit. Trade ministers from the Northeast Asian economic powerhouses met Friday, presumably to ensure the leaders will have something to show for their meeting Sunday in South Korea's capital, Seoul. Japanese officials say they hope to make progress on economic, environmental, and other issues. (more)

ADB says to double funds for Asia-Pacific climate mitigation by 2020
25 September 2015 - The Asian Development Bank said on Friday it will double to $6 billion a year by 2020 its financing of projects to help Asia-Pacific countries mitigate the impact of climate change. The ADB said South Asia could lose 8.8 percent of its annual gross domestic product by 2100, while Southeast Asia could lose 6.7 percent of its GDP a year, if it fails to combat the effects of climate change. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Southeast Asia: Maharishi Vastu schools, homes, and Peace Palace under development
17 July 2013 - In several countries in Southeast Asia--Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar--schools, homes, and other buildings including a Maharishi Peace Palace are being developed and built, designed according to Maharishi Vastu architecture. In Thailand alone about 5,000 square metres of Vastu buildings are under construction this year. (more)

India, Nepal: Universities learn about integration of modern science and health care with ancient Vedic Science
28 January 2013 - During the first stage of his Total Health World Tour, Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, was invited to speak in a graduate and faculty seminar at Apeejay Stya University, a large private university dedicated to science, research, and technology in Delhi. India. He went on to address a conference on 'Integrative Medicine for the 21st Century for Nepal' at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. (more)

Buddhist monks in Asia learn Transcendental Meditation with support from Japan
24 December 2011 - Over the last nine years several thousand Buddhist monks in southeast Asia have been learning the Transcendental Meditation Programme. Japan has played an important role in the project's continuing success, through the leadership of Reverend Koji Oshima, a Buddhist monk from Japan, and also through the generous support of many Japanese people. (more)

Thousands of Buddhist monks in Asia learn Transcendental Meditation
31 October 2011 - More than 3,000 Buddhist monks in 100 monasteries throughout Southeast Asia have learned the Transcendental Meditation Technique, as a result of the work by a revered Japanese Buddhist monk, Reverend Koji Oshima, who is a longtime TM practitioner and certified TM teacher. According to Rev Oshima, the Buddhist monks appreciate the simplicity, effortlessness, and profound experience of transcendence, which is gained almost immediately after starting Transcendental Meditation practice. (more)

Asian nations applying Maharishi's technologies of consciousness
3 September 2011 - In Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal, interest is rising in applications of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's programmes and technologies of consciousness in education, health, agriculture, and world peace. (more)

Buddhist monk in Japan brings Transcendental Meditation to monks in Thailand and Sri Lanka
10 July 2011 - For the last eight years, an initiative that originated with a Buddhist monk in Japan has been bringing Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's technologies of consciousness to monks in other Asian countries. Since 2003, 4,000 Buddhist monks have been inspired to learn the Transcendental Meditation Technique--1,500 in Sri Lanka, and 2,500 in Thailand. (more)

Women and girls' Consciousness-Based programmes flourishing in Asia and Pacific
19 January 2011 - Consciousness-Based programmes for women and girls in education and health are proving popular in many countries in Asia and the Pacific region. (more)

Global Mother Divine Organization reports achievements in Asia
23 July 2010 - Reports from many Asian nations--including Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Taiwan, and Vietnam--were featured during the Global Mother Divine Organization's Third International Congress. The organization has been very active in each country, with projects and initiatives in Total Knowledge Based, Consciousness-Based programmes for women and girls. These are often being accomplished with the support of newly qualified Teachers of the Transcendental Meditation Programme--who in some cases are the first such Teachers in their countries. (more)

Global Country of World Peace programmes bringing Transcendental Meditation to Vietnam and Laos
13 June 2010 - Interest in Transcendental Meditation and Consciousness-Based Education is rapidly growing in Vietnam, and new avenues are also developing in the Lao People's Democratic Republic to help make Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's programmes widely available. (more)

Global Mother Divine Organization celebrates bright year of achievements in Asia
14 March 2010 - Throughout Asia, ladies, mothers and girls are enjoying courses and programmes of the Global Mother Divine Organization, which was inaugurated in many countries across the continent during the past year. (more)


Flops
Short Summaries of Top Stories


South China Sea ruling won't stop plundering of ecosystem, experts say
13 July 2016 - An international tribunal's ruling that China has caused severe harm to coral reefs and endangered species in the South China Sea will not stop further damage to an already plundered ecoystem, scientists and academics said. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on Tuesday, 12 July that China did not have historic rights to the South China Sea and that it had breached Philippine sovereignty by endangering its ships and fishing and oil projects in the energy-rich waters. (more)

Behind pomp of APEC summit, crushing poverty endures
19 November 2015 - Just a few miles from the gleaming venue hosting President Barack Obama and other world leaders sits Manila's slum of slums on a mountain of trash, a potent reminder to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation bloc that the globalization agenda it promotes has left many behind. President Benigno Aquino III (Philippines) has vowed to fight poverty and corruption during a six-year term that ends in June. His government says poverty levels have decreased a few notches under his watch. Aquino and his officials, however, acknowledge that poverty remains a formidable dilemma. (more)

Up to 6,000 Rohingya, Bangladeshi migrants stranded at sea
11 May 2015 - Hundreds of migrants abandoned at sea by smugglers in Southeast Asia have reached land and relative safety in the past two days. But an estimated 6,000 Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar remain trapped in crowded, wooden boats, migrant officials and activists said. With food and clean water running low, some could be in grave danger. The conditions at home -- and lack of job opportunities -- have sparked one of the biggest exoduses of boat people since the Vietnam War. (more)

Asbestos pushed in Asia as product for the poor
12 August 2014 - At a conference in the Indian capital, executives say the asbestos industry saves lives and brings roofs, walls, and pipes to some of the world's poorest people. A largely outlawed scourge to the developed world, asbestos is still going strong in the developing one, and killing tens of thousands of people each year. In India, the world's biggest asbestos importer, it's a $2 billion industry with double-digit annual growth, at least 100 manufacturing plants and some 300,000 jobs. The International Labour Organization, World Health Organization, the wider medical community and more than 50 countries say the mineral should be banned. Asbestos fibers lodge in the lungs and cause many diseases. The ILO estimates 100,000 people die every year from workplace exposure, and experts believe thousands more die from exposure outside the workplace. But one could say manufacturers have gone back in time to defend their products. The Indian asbestos lobby's website refers to 1998 WHO guidelines for controlled use of chrysotile, but skips updated WHO advice from 2007 suggesting that all asbestos be banned. The lobby also ignores the ILO's 2006 recommendation to ban asbestos, and refers only to its 1996 suggestion of strict regulations. (more)

Tiger, tiger, dying out - a majestic animal on its knees
27 July 2014 - Tigers once covered a vast stretch of Asia. They could be found in the tip of India, all the way across to Bali and even into eastern Turkey. Now they survive in a few pockets, primarily in India, South-east Asia, and here in Russia's eastern Primorsky region. Worldwide numbers are estimated at little more than 3,000. In every one of these locations, they are under mortal threat. A key reason is depressingly predictable: the demand for exotic animal parts. Partly this is for traditional medicines that have no recognised medicinal value. It is also for tiger pelts and tiger-bone wine seen as exotic luxury items. In Russia, local hunters can receive £10,000 for a dead tiger from the middlemen who smuggle it to the black markets across the Chinese border. In the 1940s, Russia had been the first country to grant the tiger full protection and an effective conservation effort allowed its numbers to grow. The collapse of the USSR saw that end almost overnight. Rangers' salaries were not paid, leading to their abandoning their posts, and Chinese traders looking for tiger parts moved north across the newly opened border. Illegal loggers also took their chainsaws to vast stretches of Korean pine forests, felling trees for the Asian markets. This decimated parts of the tigers' habitat and reduced the number of deer and wild boar that the big cats feed on. (more)

Xi rebukes Japan for brutality in China, Koreas
4 July 2014 - The leaders of China and South Korea expressed concern Friday about Japan's recent reinterpretation of its war-renouncing constitution and its re-examination of a past apology for wartime atrocities, a South Korean official said. Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula and occupied parts of China, often brutally, before and during World War II. Many people in China and South Korea still harbour a strong resentment against Japan, and there are concerns in both countries about growing nationalism in Tokyo. Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his South Korean President Park Geun-hye had 'lots of discussions' about Japan, and shared worries about its 'revisionist attitude' and reinterpretation of its constitution to allow its military a larger international role, senior South Korean presidential official Ju Chul-ki told reporters. (more)

Global warming damages corals vital to small islands: UN
5 June 2014 - Global warming is causing trillions of dollars of damage to coral reefs, aggravating risks to tropical small island states threatened by rising sea levels, a UN report said on Thursday. The rise in sea levels off some islands in the Western Pacific was four times the global average, with gains of 1.2 cms (0.5 inch) a year from 1993 to 2012, due to shifts in winds and currents, said the United Nations' Environment Program (UNEP). The study, released to mark the UN's World Environment Day on 5 June, said a warming of waters from the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean was damaging reefs by killing the tiny animals that form corals with their stony skeletons. 'These 52 nations, home to over 62 million people, emit less than one per cent of global greenhouse gases, yet they suffer disproportionately from the climate change that global emissions cause,' said Achim Steiner, head of UNEP. (more)

South Asian arms race raises risk of nuclear war - IISS think tank
12 September 2013 - An arms race in South Asia and Pakistan's development of tactical 'battlefield' nuclear weapons are increasing the risk of any conflict there becoming a nuclear war, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said on Thursday. Noting that Pakistan looks set to overtake Britain as the owner of the world's fifth-largest nuclear weapons stockpile, it urged India and Pakistan to improve their communications to avoid any fatal misunderstandings during a crisis. The think tank cited Pakistan's development of short-range tactical nuclear weapons -- which in theory could be used to stop any conventional Indian armoured advance into Pakistani territory -- as a particular cause of concern. Tactical nuclear arms -- which can be used at close range on a battlefield -- can increase the chance of an escalation, particularly if generals feel forced to use them to avoid them falling into the hands of advancing enemy troops. India has said it will never start a nuclear conflict but has threatened a massive retaliation if Pakistan fires first. (more)

China and India 'water grab' dams put ecology of Himalayas in danger
10 August 2013 - The future of the world's most famous mountain range could be endangered by a vast dam-building project, as a risky regional race for water resources takes place in Asia. New academic research shows that India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan are engaged in a huge 'water grab' in the Himalayas, as they seek new sources of electricity to power their economies. Taken together, the countries have plans for more than 400 hydro dams which, if built, could together provide more than 160,000MW of electricity -- three times more than the UK uses. (more)

Asia driving 'explosion' in global arms trade - study
25 June 2013 - Asian powers are outpacing the United States to become the biggest spenders on defence by 2021 and are fuelling an 'explosion' in the global arms trade, a study showed. The global arms trade jumped by 30 per cent to $73.5 billion between 2008-2012 in spite of the economic downturn, driven by surging exports from China and demand from countries like India, and is set to more than double by 2020, defence and security consultancy IHS Jane's said on Tuesday. Military spending in the Asia Pacific region -- which includes China, India, and Indonesia -- will rise 35 per cent to $501 billion in the next eight years, compared to a 28 per cent fall in US spending to $472 billion over the same period, IHS Jane's said. (more)

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