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In eastern Congo's Virunga National Park. mountain gorilla population rebounds
2 August 2015 - In Virunga National Park, Africa's oldest national park, the iconic mountain gorilla population, the largest in the world, has rebound to almost 1,000 after dipping to an all-time low of 250 in the 1980s. (more)

Harvard University helps organize Congo economic forum
9 January 2015 - Economists from around the globe are gathering in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a forum on boosting economic growth in the African country as large as Western Europe. More than 300 participants are coming together for the conference organized in partnership with Harvard University. (more)

Environment campaigner surprised and delighted by her success as oil firm pulls out of Congo park
14 June 2014 - UK Actress Anna Friel has said she was still 'completely in shock' at the unexpected decision last week of British oil and gas company Soco to pull out of exploration plans in Africa's oldest national park, something she has been campaigning for on behalf of the wildlife charity WWF. In what is one of the greatest successes by wildlife conservationists in many years, several groups had been campaigning against the Soco presence, especially after the DRC government indicated it was likely to give the company permission to drill. Last-minute mediation between WWF and Soco led to a joint statement being issued, just as Friel was planning a Trafalgar Square demonstration against any drilling in the area, home to the last remaining mountain gorillas in the world. (more)

UN applauds decision by oil firm to halt exploration in DR Congo national park
12 June 2014 - The United Nations agency that advocates for the protection of irreplaceable natural and cultural resources has welcomed as 'a step in the right direction' the decision of British oil company Soco to halt oil exploration in ecologically rich but endangered Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). (more)

Virunga Park oil hunt in DR Congo halted
11 June 2014 - The hunt for oil is to be halted in Africa's oldest national park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a UK-based oil firm has said. Virunga National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to more than 200 endangered mountain gorillas. Soco International made the concession after the WWF filed a complaint that the company was violating good business practice guidelines. The world conservation group has now agreed to drop its case against Soco. (more)

Democratic Republic of the Congo: 100 rebels turn in weapons in eastern Congo
30 May 2014 - More than 100 fighters from a feared armed group in eastern Congo handed over their weapons in a ceremony in the country's violent North Kivu province on Friday, officials said. The president of the Rwandan Hutu rebel group known as the FDLR, Victor Byiringiro, said the move was aimed at contributing to peace in the region. (more)

Democratic Republic of the Congo's fragile forests watched over with online map
25 April 2014 - The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is home to the second largest tropical forest on Earth. Now an online digital mapping system called Moabi is letting people view how the land is being used, to help protect the area from over-exploitation. Launched on 22 April, Moabi overlays maps of the DRC, built as part of the crowdsourced mapping project OpenStreetMap, with information from the country's government on where activities like mining, drilling, forestry, agriculture and road-building are planned. The system shows where such usage overlaps with areas of forest that the UN protects as part of its REDD project, which pays regional governments to keep tracts of forest intact. (more)

Democratic Republic of Congo province poised to start certified 'conflict-free' tin exports
19 April 2014 - Democratic Republic of Congo's tin producing North Kivu province may begin exports of certified 'conflict-free' minerals as soon as next week after the roll-out of a new barcode tagging scheme, the head of the regional division of mines said. North Kivu is at the heart of Congo's production of tin and coltan -- used in electronic devices such as mobile phones and video game consoles. Local traders, who have stockpiled minerals since 2012 without a means to export them, say they are committed to keeping supply chains clean. (more)

Congo signs peace deal with M23 rebels
13 December 2013 - The Congolese government signed a peace deal on Thursday with the M23 rebels it had been fighting until they laid down their arms last month, ending weeks of wrangling over the terms of an agreement. 'Today the DRC (Congo) government and M23 have respectively signed declarations reflecting the consensus reached during the Kampala Dialogue on steps necessary to end the armed activities of the M23,' said a joint communique on 13 December. (more)

UN: Ban welcomes signing of declarations between DR Congo-M23
13 December 2013 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the signing of long-awaited accords between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the M23 rebels it has been fighting until last month, and called on all other armed groups in the country to lay down their weapons and join the political process. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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A foolproof method for preventing terrorism in the Democratic Republic of Congo
8 January 2018 - Currently the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is experiencing a grave humanitarian emergency, with economic deterioration and increasing political instability. Latest African News features Dr David Leffler's presentation of 'a foolproof, simple, and most expedient method for preventing terrorism and increasing stability in DRC'. During these dangerous times, terrorism could quickly end if DRC's military were trained to form what is known in Latin American military circles as a Prevention Wing of the Military - comprised of Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) experts practising the non-religious Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique and its advanced programmes. Scientific research showing measurable decreases in crime, terrorism, and war through IDT has been published repeatedly in peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Conflict Resolution, Social Indicators Research, Journal of Crime and Justice, and International Journal of Neuroscience. (more)

David Shapiro: 'How a Masters in Vedic Science prepared me to help 100 million Africans suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder'
17 May 2016 - David Shapiro, who graduated in 1993 with a degree in Vedic Science from Maharishi University of Management, writes an historic account for the MUM alumni website of his involvement with a landmark study teaching Transcendental Meditation to Congolese refugees suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. His colleagues were Dr Brian Rees, an MD who had five tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq as a Colonel in the US army and who is an expert on PTSD, and Dr Fred Travis, expert in research design and statistics and Chair of the Vedic Science Department of MUM and Director of the Centre for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition. The Journal of Traumatic Stress published the study showing a remarkable recovery rate from traumatic stress among the Congolese practising TM. Dr Shapiro said, 'Our team of scientists and the TM teachers from Uganda were totally astonished!' (more)

Transcendental Meditation brings rapid relief for African war refugees' posttraumatic stress
26 September 2014 - Krista Noble's recent article in New Age Journal, about the African PTSD Relief project, described two scientific research studies showing rapid positive effects of Transcendental Meditation in Congolese refugees suffering from severe posttraumatic stress (PTS). 'We anticipated improvement, but I didn't expect this magnitude of change,' said Col. Brian Rees, MD, lead author of the studies, published in 2013 and 2014 in the Journal of Traumatic Stress. (more)

Study finds improvement in PTSD in just 10 days with Transcendental Meditation
28 March 2014 - Congolese war refugees who learned the Transcendental Meditation technique showed a significant reduction in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in just 10 days, according to a recent study. 'An earlier study found a similar result after 30 days, but we were surprised to see such a significant reduction with this group after just 10 days,' said study lead author Col. Brian Rees, MD, US Army Reserve Medical Corps. (more)

African PTSD study participants gain peace of mind with Transcendental Meditation
19 February 2014 - A refugee of the Congolese civil wars, a traumatized 35-year old mother of five, was among a group of refugees who learned Transcendental Meditation in Uganda. Before learning the effortless technique, her mind was filled with dark, disturbing memories, and she could hardly sleep. After a week of meditating 20 minutes twice a day, she described a completely different state of mind, with increasing relaxation and feelings of great relief from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Her mind and body were more relaxed, and her thoughts were increasingly positive. As with other refugees who learned the practice, the calm and peace she had begun to experience during Transcendental Meditation grew to last throughout the day. (more)

Nonprofit helps Africans recover from post traumatic stress disorder
19 February 2014 - African PTSD Relief, a new nonprofit organization established through the David Lynch Foundation, offers the proven stress-reducing benefits of Transcendental Meditation to Africans suffering from severe post traumatic stress disorder. It is not only the horrors of war, which have beset many millions of Africans, that produce PTSD. It can develop as a result of any traumatic overload on the mind and body. Besides offering participants rapid relief through the experience of transcending in Transcendental Meditation, the new organization is spearheading research documenting the often dramatic effects. This timely undertaking will improve the quality of life for individuals in many countries, while increasing coherence and peace in the whole continent. (more)

Researcher reports on recent studies: Transcendental Meditation reduces PTSD in African war refugees
19 February 2014 - Research on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) dating back to 1985 shows the great effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation, compared to other therapeutic modalities, in decreasing what was then called 'post-Vietnam adjustment' in war veterans. A more recent study found beneficial effects of practising Transcendental Meditation in veterans of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Col. Brian Rees, MD, MPH, US Army Reserve Medical Corps, reported on these and other previous findings as he introduced research recently published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress showing rapid, dramatic reductions in PTSD symptoms in African war refugees who learned Transcendental Meditation. (more)

Africa: Transcendental Meditation helps Congolese refugees with PTSD become asymptomatic
27 April 2013 - A study conducted with Congolese refugees suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) found that Transcendental Meditation (TM) provides profound relief. Said Dr Fred Travis, a scientist assisting with the study, 'What we see is Transcendental Meditation [helped] these individuals in a very trying situation--they not only had the traumatic stress, but were trying to survive and maintain life in Uganda. They were able to find a place to meditate and their TM practice was able to allow them to begin . . . to heal.' (more)

African PTSD Relief Project aims to help thousands of refugees with Transcendental Meditation
27 April 2013 - An initial study of African refugees, though small in scale, found dramatic results: the group that learned Transcendental Meditation felt such great reductions in their PTSD symptoms, that they were considered asymptomatic after just 30 days. With these results, the plan of the African PTSD Relief Project is to work with humanitarian organizations to provide the Transcendental Meditation technique to over 5,000 refugees, scaling up the number in subsequent years. (more)

African PTSD study compares evenly matched groups to find effects of Transcendental Meditation
27 April 2013 - A 4.5-month-long study on the effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Congolese refugees found dramatic results. The impetus for the African PTSD Relief Project and the study originated with Transcendental Meditation teacher David Shapiro, who explained that 'the research design and results . . . provide scientific evidence for TM as a uniquely rapid and sustainable solution for PTSD.' The research looked at two different groups, matched on age, on gender, and also on initial scores on the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Congo ministry says Ebola outbreak worst in nation's history
10 November 2018 - Democratic Republic of the Congo's latest Ebola outbreak is the worst in the country's recorded history with 319 confirmed and probable cases, the health ministry said. This is Democratic Republic of the Congo's 10th outbreak since 1976, when the hemorrhagic fever was first identified in Yambuku, in the Equateur province, the ministry said. (more)

Democratic Republic of Congo declares new Ebola outbreak in eastern province
1 August 2018 - Four people have tested positive for Ebola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo just days after another outbreak that killed 33 people in the northwest was declared over, the health ministry said on Wednesday (1 August). Twenty people have already died from hemorrhagic fevers in and around Mangina, a densely populated town about 30 km (18 miles) southwest of the city of Beni and 100 km from the Ugandan border, the ministry said in its statement, without saying when the deaths occurred. (more)

Seventeen deaths reported in Congo as Ebola outbreak confirmed
8 May 2018 - At least 17 people have died in an area of northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo where health officials have now confirmed an outbreak of Ebola, the health ministry said on Tuesday (8 May). It is the ninth time Ebola has been recorded in the central African nation, whose eastern Ebola river gave the deadly virus its name when it was discovered there in the 1970s, and comes less than a year after its last outbreak which killed eight people. (more)

East Congo militia violence forces 80,000 to flee home, U.N. says
11 July 2017 - About 80,000 people have fled fighting between the Democratic Republic of Congo army and a new rebel coalition, the United Nations said on Tuesday (11 July) joining the millions already uprooted in Africa's worst displacement crisis. Militia violence has intensified across Congo since President Joseph Kabila refused to step down at the end of his constitutional mandate in December, raising fears the country will slide back into the wars at the turn of the century that killed millions. The latest fighting broke out in South Kivu province's Fizi territory, in the eastern part of the country. (more)

Conflict forces more people to flee homes in Congo than in Syria
22 May 2017 - Conflict has forced at least 1.5 million people to flee their homes within the Democratic Republic of Congo this year -- more than triple the number uprooted within Syria and five times the number within Iraq, an aid group said on Monday, 22 May. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warned that ethnic violence was escalating in the central African country, which saw the world's highest level of new displacement last year. (more)

Targeted assistance needed for DRC's former child soldiers
3 July 2014 - Recent high profile moves against militia commanders in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have done little to stem child recruitment into armed groups, and much more needs to be done to prevent it, stop re-recruitment, and rehabilitate victims. A former commander of a Mai-Mai militia, operating in the North and South Kivu provinces, told Donatien Nduwimana, the author of a 2013 study on reintegration of child soldiers: 'Children are available as they have nothing else to do, they are extremely obedient to orders, they make few demands, which are easy to satisfy.' According to William Lifongo, child protection adviser and deputy chief of MONUSCO's Child Protection Section, boys and girls 'were persuaded to join. They joined because they were promised education; they were promised jobs; they were promised military rewards within the groups. Some of them said they joined because that was the way to protect themselves; they thought that this was a way of finding security around them.' The government has initiated a number of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programmes over the years, with limited success. 'A large number of current rebel fighters have been through demobilization programmes, only to be re-recruited by rebel groups. Many found no alternative livelihood. Their former leaders pressured them to re-join, or they were prompted to do so by continuing insecurity in their home areas,' noted a paper on Congolese armed groups published by the Rift Valley Institute and the Usalama Project. (more)

Poachers massacre 68 elephants in Congo park
13 June 2014 - One of Africa's oldest national parks is under attack 'from all fronts,' its director said Friday after 68 elephants were slaughtered in two months by poachers, some of whom shot them from helicopters. Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is under constant assault by renegade Congolese soldiers, gunmen from South Sudan, and others. And this is just a slice of the poaching carnage: international wildlife regulators say 20,000 elephants were killed in Africa alone in 2013. The Johannesburg-based African Parks group, which manages Garamba, said since mid-April, the 5,000-square kilometre (1,900-square mile) park has faced an onslaught from several bands of poachers who have already killed 4 per cent of its elephants. 'The situation is extremely serious,' Garamba park manger Jean-Marc Froment said in the statement. 'The park is under attack on all fronts.' Conservationists say a thriving ivory market in Asia is helping to fuel the worst poaching epidemic of African elephants in decades. (more)

Brazzaville expelling tens of thousands Congolese nationals
26 May 2014 - UN officials on Monday demanded a halt to the expulsion of tens of thousands of Democratic Republic of Congo's citizens from neighbouring Congo Republic and called for an investigation into allegations of human rights violations. A UN statement said that over 130,000 Congolese nationals have been ejected from Brazzaville, capital of Congo Republic, since the start of April and that it has received reports of physical abuse and sexual violence on those being expelled. The government in Brazzaville says the operation, dubbed the 'slap that hurts' in the local Lingala language, is targeted at cleaning up city streets and putting an end to criminal gangs. Democratic Republic of Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende has repeatedly stressed that Congo Republic has a sovereign right to manage its internal affairs but that those arriving in Kinshasa told stories of abuses and mistreatment. 'I heard numerous testimonies of victims of gross human rights abuses and cruel treatments,' said Martin Kobler, the head of the UN mission to Democratic Republic of Congo, after visiting a camp near Kinshasa that is processing arrivals. (more)

Credible reports of Congo's defeated M23 rebels regrouping - UN
13 January 2014 - Congolese rebel group M23 appears to be regrouping just two months after the Tutsi-led insurgency was defeated by Congolese troops and UN peacekeepers, the top UN official in the Democratic Republic of Congo said on Monday. Martin Kobler told the UN Security Council there were 'credible reports of emerging M23 activities in Ituri in northeastern Congo' and called on the Congolese government to speed up the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-M23 fighters, who ended their 20-month revolt in November. 'At the same time, I call upon the governments of Uganda and Rwanda to do everything possible to prevent M23 elements from sheltering or training troops on their territory. We should tolerate no military re-emergence of the M23,' he said. Kobler told reporters after briefing the council that 'there might be a danger of renewed military infiltration of the country' by M23. (more)

Congo's army accused of abuse as rebels regroup in Rwanda - UN experts
16 December 2013 - Recently defeated M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo have continued to recruit in neighboring Rwanda while the Congolese army has been involved in human rights abuses and corruption, according to a confidential UN report. 'The Group has documented that M23 received continued support from Rwandan territory,' the UN Group of Experts said in its final report to the UN Security Council's Congo sanctions committee, which was seen by Reuters on Monday. The independent expert panel also accused armed groups and the Congolese army of an array of human rights abuses, and profiting from illegal mining operations in resource-rich eastern Congo. (more)


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