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Positive Trends
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France: EDF announces big push into solar, sees cost at 25 billion euros
11 December 2017 - French state-owned utility EDF announced on Monday (11 December) plans for a big push into solar energy in France that is likely to cost around 25 billion euros as the government tries to meet its climate goals. Speaking a day before Paris hosts a climate summit, , the company's CEO said EDF aimed to build 30 gigawatt (GW) of solar capacity from 2020 to 2035 ... France wants to reduce the share of nuclear in power generation from 75 percent today to 50 percent by around 2035 and wants to massively boost renewables investment. (more)

Senegal opens new international airport with economic hopes
7 December 2017 - Senegal's new international airport was opening its runways Thursday [7 December] as the West African country hopes to become a travel hub for the region. The airport, with an estimated cost of $575 million, is five times larger than the old one. It is expected to see 3 million passengers in its first year. A number of cities in West Africa are competing to be the region's air hub including Lome, Togo, which is the base of operations for ASKY Airlines, and Abidjan, Ivory Coast. (more)

US: New York Governor announces $3.5 million in funding for EV adoption support initiatives
3 December 2017 - The Governor of New York State, Andrew M Cuomo, has announced the availability of $3.5 million in new funding for those pursuing means of increasing the rate at which plug-in electric vehicles are adopted; those pursuing the price reduction of electric vehicle charging station installation and operation; and those pursuing ways of using electric vehicles to improve the resiliency of the grid. The new funding is intended to help in the achievement of the New York State governor's goals to slash the state's greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 (as compared to 1990 levels). (more)

US: New York claims country's largest solar project dedicated to a ski resort
1 December 2017 - The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), and Borrego Solar have announced the completion of Gore Mountain Ski Resort's 5.3 MW solar array in Washington County, New York. According to NYSERDA, the state-backed project represents the largest solar installation dedicated to a ski resort in the nation and supports Governor Andrew Cuomo's goal to have 50 percent of New York's electricity come from renewable sources by 2030. (more)

Germany to invest 1 billion euros in lowering air pollution
30 November 2017 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the federal government will provide 1 billion euros (1.2 billion dollars) to cities and towns across the country in 2018 in an effort to make traffic more environmentally friendly. The funds are to be invested among other things into electric buses, electric charging stations, and a more environmentally friendly traffic infrastructure. (more)

French President Macron makes renewable energy push in power-starved Africa
29 November 2017 - French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday inaugurated West Africa's largest solar energy plant in Burkina Faso and pushed for French companies to be the preferred partners to develop future renewable power projects on the continent. Across sub-Saharan Africa, more than 600 million people live without electricity. (more)

French, Polish leaders start to mend strained ties
23 November 2017 - French President Emmanuel Macron and Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo took a first, key step Thursday (23 November) toward mending differences that are weighing on the whole European Union. After talks in Paris, the two leaders remained at odds over their main dispute -- workers from Eastern Europe posted by their employer in richer EU countries -- but said they were looking for compromise. (more)

Donors pledge $2 billion to help hurricane-hit Caribbean recover
22 November 2017 - With thousands left homeless by hurricanes in Caribbean island farming and fishing communities, international donors have pledged more than $2 billion to support rebuilding efforts. Hurricane Irma, packing winds of 185 miles (298 km) an hour, ravaged a series of small islands in the northeast Caribbean in early September, followed by Hurricane Maria. Tourism-reliant Dominica and the two-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda were hardest hit, and require billions of dollars in long-term aid to recover, experts said. (more)

US: Missouri city opens largest solar farm in the state
19 November 2017 - A city in southwest Missouri has opened the largest solar farm in the state. The Springfield News-Leader reports that the new Nixa Solar Energy Farm started providing power this month. City officials predict that the array's 33,000 panels will be able to provide about 9 percent of the city's power needs. (more)

Croatia eyes solar power in bid to curb energy imports
17 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)


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


Defector says thousands of Islamic State fighters left Raqqa in secret deal
7 December 2017 - A high-level defector from Kurdish-led forces that captured the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State has recanted his account of the city's fall, saying thousands of IS fighters -- many more than first reported -- left under a secret, U.S.-approved deal. Talal Silo, a former commander in the Syrian Democratic Forces ... told Reuters in an interview that the number of fighters who were allowed to go was far higher and the account of a last-ditch battle was a fiction designed to keep journalists away while the evacuation took place. At the time there were conflicting accounts of whether or not foreign Islamic State fighters had been allowed to leave Raqqa. The BBC later reported that one of the drivers in the exodus described a convoy of up to 7 km (4 miles) long made up of 50 trucks, 13 buses, and 100 Islamic State vehicles, packed with fighters and ammunition. (more)

West Coast crisis leads to rise in US homeless population (+ AP video)
6 December 2017 - The nation's homeless population increased this year for the first time since 2010, driven by a surge in the number of people living on the streets in Los Angeles and other West Coast cities. Increases are higher in several West Coast cities, where the explosion in homelessness has prompted at least 10 city and county governments to declare states of emergency since 2015. City officials, homeless advocates and those living on the streets point to a main culprit: the region's booming economy. Rents have soared beyond affordability for many lower-wage workers ... The numbers in the report back up what many people in California, Oregon and Washington have been experiencing in their communities: encampments sprouting along freeways and rivers; local governments struggling to come up with money for long-term solutions; conflicts over whether to crack down on street camping and even feeding the homeless. (more)

Siemens, Trimble, Moody's breached by Chinese hackers, U.S. charges
27 November 2017 - U.S. prosecutors have charged three Chinese nationals affiliated with a cyber security company in China with hacking into Siemens AG, Trimble Inc, and Moody's Analytics to steal business secrets. An indictment unsealed on Monday (27 November) in federal court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, charged the three with launching 'coordinated and unauthorized' cyber attacks between 2011 and 2017. ... Two U.S. government officials told Reuters that Guangzhou Bo Yu, also known as Boyusec, is affiliated with China's People's Liberation Army Unit 61398, and that most if not all its hacking operations are state-sponsored and directed. (more)

EU officials say UK Brexit stance chaotic in leaked document
23 November 2017 - European officials see Britain's performance in Brexit negotiations as confused and chaotic, a leaked Irish government document says. One quoted Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Jakub Durr as saying 'he felt sorry for British ambassadors around the EU trying to communicate a coherent message when there is political confusion at home.' Ian Forrester, a British judge at the European Court of Justice, reportedly bemoaned 'the quality of politicians in Westminster' during a meeting in Luxembourg, and wondered whether the British public would come to view Brexit as 'a great mistake.' (more)

UK budget sees economy wilting under Brexit pressure
22 November 2017 - Britain's Treasury chief (Philip Hammond) has outlined cautious spending plans to a nation bracing for the shock of leaving the European Union, amid a stream of worsening of economic forecasts that hampered room for giveaways. Philip Hammond revealed the deteriorating outlook in his annual budget speech to Parliament on Wednesday (22 November), with slowing growth and a stubborn deficit . . . Hammond, who has been nicknamed 'Eeyore' because of his cautious approach, had been under pressure to appear upbeat about the economy's prospects after Brexit. And though Hammond did his best to put a happy stamp on things ... the part of his speech he himself described as 'economicky' revealed the painful truth. The economy is slowing. (more)

Mugabe leaves legacy of economic ruin, upheaval in Zimbabwe
21 November 2017 - From widely acclaimed liberator of his nation to despotic dictator, Robert Mugabe's 37-year rule of Zimbabwe has been one of Africa's most controversial and influential. Wily and ruthless, the 93-year-old Mugabe outmaneuvered his opponents for decades but was undone by his own miscalculation in his final weeks in power. He blundered when he sidelined his right-hand man in order to position his wife, Grace, as his successor. He didn't anticipate that the fired vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, would swiftly and skillfully depose him. For years Mugabe inspired other leaders across the continent to emulate his tactics and extend their rule by manipulating the constitution and suppressing opposition through violence and intimidation. (more)

'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)

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