The U.S. government is using threats and intimidation to coerce tiny Switzerland into changing its laws and handing over the names of Americans suspected of avoiding U.S. taxes using Swiss banks.

Switzerland has long been a nation that provides an excellent example of how to thrive in a world full of political conflicts and corrupt politicians. The nation is not a federation, like America or Canada, in which a central government has dominant power and the state or provincial governments are subordinate. Switzerland is, instead, a confederation. The cantons retain a high degree of constitutional autonomy — much more than any other affluent industrial democracy in the world.

Ethnic violence is rocking Kyrgyzstan. Uzbek citizens of the central Asian nation are alleging atrocities committed against them by Kyrgyz gangs roaming those parts of their nation in which ethnic Uzbeks form a significant part of the nation. The death toll so far stands at 117 killed with many more homes burned and Uzbeks injured. This is particularly curious because Uzbekistan has almost five times as many people as Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan has twice the land area as Kyrgyzstan.

The New York Times on June 14 quoted a statement from General David Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) that there could be as much as $1 trillion in mineral deposits in Afghanistan, including significant deposits of lithium, an alkaline metal with numerous industrial applications, including lithium batteries.

AP reported statements from NATO leaders on June 11 declaring that the alliance had “regained the initiative” in the Afghan war, along with promises that the gains could result in a handover of security responsibilities to Afghan authorities by the end of 2010.