Just prior to the November 15 Obama visit to China, a front-page article in the New York Times began with the following sobering assessment: “When President Obama visits China for the first time on Sunday, he will, in many ways, be assuming the role of profligate spender coming to pay his respects to his banker.”

U.S. government-controlled VOA news on November 18 cited President Obama's statement that Israel's recent decision to authorize the construction of new settlements in East Jerusalem does not make Israel safer, and could complicate peace efforts. 

In an interview the president had with Fox News in China, he said: "I think that additional settlement building does not contribute to Israel's security. I think it makes it harder for them to make peace with their neighbors. I think it embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous."

Just when they thought they could not be under more surveillance or monitored more often, English people discovered Sunday that inspectors from the Department of Health will soon be permitted almost unrestricted and completely unprecedented entry to the homes of parents whose children are reported to be “at risk.”

The Times of London reported on November 17 that UN and Iranian officials have been engaged in secret negotiations toward an agreement to persuade world powers to lift sanctions against Iran that would and allow Tehran to continue with most of its nuclear program in return for cooperation with UN inspectors.

The United Nations has entered the climate change debate in an interesting way: "There can be no food security without climate security," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the World Summit on Food Security (aka, the "Hunger Summit") in Rome recently. There is an undeniable connection between climate and food production, although throughout most of human history a warm climate has been associated with large food surpluses. Europe, about one thousand years ago, was much warmer than Europe today.