Katsuya OkadaJapanese 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.

As climate-change chicken littles gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark (temperature a balmy 41 degrees on Tuesday), there was one traditional aspect missing from the otherwise festively adorned cobblestone streets. This year, in respect of the United Nation’s “neutral” posture vis-a-vis religion, the Foreign Minister of Denmark has ordered that all Christmas trees be removed from the capital’s streets throughout the duration of the COP15 Climate Summit.

As self-described “world leaders” gather in Copenhagen to lecture the Earth’s population about carbon-dioxide (plant food) emissions, international news reports have revealed that the COP15 Climate Summit ringleaders are arriving in the Danish capital on hundreds of carbon-spewing private jets and riding around in more than 1,200 gas-guzzling limousines once there.

MinaretAs reported previously, the November 29 decision by the citizens of Switzerland to amend their constitution and ban the future construction of minarets led to an immediate firestorm of reaction from the Muslim world. The constitutional change does not have any effect on the four minarets that have already been built within Switzerland, nor does the action restrict the ability of Muslims in Switzerland to practice their religion. But a substantial majority of the Swiss people clearly understood that the building of minarets is not only a religious matter — but it has political implications, as well.

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.