After an intense pro-European Union tax-funded lobbying campaign warning of disaster, Croatians voted by an almost two-to-one margin to join the troubled EU despite a debt crisis which threatens to sink the region’s single currency and an increasingly authoritarian tone emanating from Brussels.

The nation’s political class furiously prodded voters into backing membership in the supranational regime, threatening economic doom if voters rejected the bid. Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, for example, said voting against the EU “would be like shooting yourself in the foot.”

A liberal Swedish politician has sent a shot over the bow of that country’s home school community. Writing in a Swedish newspaper, with a follow-up posting on her blog, Lotta Edholm (left) of Sweden’s Liberal Party called for changes to the country’s laws that would allow government social workers to more easily take children away from home school families.

In response to rising citizen demand for government transparency and efficiency, this year China plans to defog the secretive workings of the government and ruling Communist Party, a senior official said Wednesday. "In this new year, we will adopt an even more open attitude and even more forceful policies," asserted Wang Chen, a Chinese propaganda official.

IsraelAn explosive report published late last week by the magazine Foreign Policy, citing half-a-dozen current and former U.S. intelligence officers, claimed that spies with Israel’s Mossad agency were posing as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents to recruit terrorists for a covert war against Iran. An Israeli official, however, dismissed the allegations as “nonsense.”

Pal SchmittThe European Commission (EC) on Tuesday threatened to take legal action against Hungary unless it revised its brand new constitution to allow the country’s central bank to operate without interference from the Hungarian government. The EC’s threat requires a response within 30 days.

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