Liu XiaoboChinese dissident Liu Xiaobo may not have the name familiarity in the West of a man such as Barack Hussein Obama, but as of today the two men now share at least one thing in common: The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded them its famous Peace Prize.

The Pakistani government and the public seem to be trying their best to achieve the top ranking amongst the most corrupt countries of the world. According to 2010 perception survey conducted by the Transparency International, Pakistan stands as the seventh most corrupt of the Asian Pacific countries and as the 34th most corrupt country in the world.

China has declared that so-called “House Christians” are a cult and must be suppressed. The State Administration for Religious Affairs, which is the Communist watchdog agency in China responsible for supervising religious activity, claims 7 million members in its Three Self-Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and Pew Research estimates that there are 70 million Chinese Protestants who worship in their own home churches, ungoverned by the state. There is a similar split between state "catholicism," with about 5 million Chinese, and 12 million who follow traditional Catholic belief in the religious primacy of the Pope.

As many as 16 people lost their lives on December 8, while 31 others sustained injuries, in the first suicide attack during the commencement of the Islamic month Muharam-UL-haram in the Tirah Valley of the Kohat district of Pakistan, almost 150 kilometres away from the capital Islamabad.

KremlinAmong the secret U.S. diplomatic cables released recently by WikiLeaks are several from Moscow, Tel Aviv, and other capitals expressing concern over the connections between, and rising influence of, the Russian and Israeli mafias around the world. The extent of their control over certain governments was also noted, with one expert describing the existence of “virtual mafia states” among former Soviet republics.