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The government of Japan and the communist dictatorship ruling mainland China announced a landmark agreement this week to facilitate trade between the two powers without using the U.S. dollar, relying instead on the Japanese yen and the Chinese yuan.

Leonard Leo, Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), warned in a video interview with Terry Jeffrey at CNSNews.com that despite the long-term U.S. military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, Christianity may well be wiped out in the region because, as CNSNews put it, of "severe and persistent persecution of Christians there" by Muslims.

On Monday, Gordon Chang, the author of The Coming Collapse of China and regular contributor at Forbes.com, was interviewed on Yahoo’s Daily Ticker, where he observed, “If you look at all of [China’s] indicators, they all point down.”

North Korea’s official government-controlled media announced that the country’s “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-Il, died on Saturday at age 69 from “physical and mental overwork.” A teary-eyed TV anchorwoman claimed, “It is the biggest loss by the party … and it is our people and nation’s biggest sadness … [but we must] change our sadness to strength and overcome our difficulties.”

On  Monday, President Obama, with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (left), announced that American forces had helped create a “new Iraq.” During a closed-door meeting after the public gathering with Maliki, Obama told reporters: “People throughout the region will see a new Iraq that’s determining its own destiny, a county in which people from different religious sects and ethnicities can resolve their differences peacefully through the democratic process.”

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