On January 1, 2009, Slovakia became the first former Soviet-bloc country to adopt the Euro as its national currency. Once the "-slovakia" in "Czechoslovakia," Slovakia, already a member of the European Union, became the 16th nation to join the "Eurozone" on New Year's Day. Its currency, the koruna, will be negotiable only until January 16, at which time the Euro will become the sole national currency.
Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, can drive communists, leftists, Greens, and one-world globalists to near apoplectic fury. However, the popular Czech statesman (finance minister, 1989-1992; prime minister, 1992-1997; president since 2003, reelected 2008) has become a hero to a growing tide of Europeans from Prague to London who are resisting the increasingly oppressive rule by the European Union's bureaucrats in Brussels and the socialist-dominated European Parliament in Strasbourg.
In a feature article, the December 22 issue of Forbes magazine reported that drug cartels are increasingly having their way in Mexico. Assassinations of policemen are on the rise along with kidnappings of the wealthy for ransom money and murders of innocent people for the hideous purpose of demonstrating power. Political leaders who haven't been corrupted have become customary targets. Profits gained by Mexico's drug lords add up to as much as $24 billion annually, most of the funds resulting from sales of cocaine and marijuana in the United States.
The ongoing Israeli attacks on the Palestinian-occupied and controlled Gaza Strip have provoked indignation worldwide, as flare-ups in that corner of the globe usually do. The status of the Palestinian people is perhaps the most vexed problem in geopolitics, and has been since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
New legislation that passed last month in the lower House of Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, is being criticized by opponents who say it is an effort to create a "super police" force. The new law is being dubbed the "Big Brother Law" by the German media, which claims the anti-terror measure could kill press freedom in the European nation. While Prime Minister Angela Merkel's governing coalition and the Interior Ministry insist the law is necessary to guard against international terrorism, journalists, publishers, and media lawyers are gearing up to fight it.