The Islamic State of Iraq, a militant umbrella group linked to al-Qaeda, claimed the blame on December 10 for a series of coordinated bombings in Baghdad this week that killed 127 people and wounded more than 500. The group posted a message on its website that it would “uproot pillars of this government and … demolish its corners.”
Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada announced on December 8 that his nation was suspending talks with the United States regarding the status of American military bases in Japan. A particularly difficult issue is the American military presence at Okinawa. Japanese citizens on this island, which is part of the Ryukyu Islands on the southernmost part of the archipelago, have complained that American military personnel increase the crime rate and create environmental problems.
In Dubai, massive banners advertising available space adorn the sides of nearly every building. Hundreds of cranes that just last year were working around the clock now stand idle all day. Unfinished sky scrapers seem almost as common as completed ones. And workers who were recently flooding in from around the globe are now beginning to leave.