spainLabor-market regulations and high taxes associated with hiring workers typically lead to high unemployment figures. Not least was this the case in many European nations before reforms began being implemented during the middle of the '80s and onward.

EU flagOn 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.

KlausVaclav 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.

mexicoIn 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.

gaza stripThe 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.