PROGRAM NOTES 02/01/13- This weeks show features stories from NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, RADIO DEUTSCHE-WELLE, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, AND THE VOICE OF RUSSIA.

From JAPAN- A UN disarmament conference is being held in Japan. The nuclear regulatory authority in Japan has drawn up new power plant safety guidelines for earthquakes and tsunami. Full scale construction has begun on another solar power plant, this one with 340,000 photovoltaic panels. Reporters Without Borders has published its annual report on press freedom- Japan plunged in the rankings because of a lack of transparency over the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Israeli jets intruded into Syrian air space and dropped bombs, though as this goes to press the scope and targets are unclear.

From GERMANY- A bit more on the Israeli bombings in Syria. Germans are paying a surcharge on their electrical bills to finance the use of renewable energy sources. Thousands took to the streets of Paris to support a bill that will legalize same-sex marriage and adoption. The military chief of Egypt has warned that the political crisis could lead to the collapse of the state.

From CUBA- The Obama administration is abandoning his promise to shut down Guantanamo Bay prison. The Obama administration is intensifying its investigation of government officials accused of leaking information about a major cyber weapons operation against Iran. At a Holocaust memorial, former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi praised Mussolini for everything but his anti-semitism. The UN and a European Union delegation have expressed concerns about Israeli crimes in the West Bank.

From SPAIN- Israeli authorities have refused to cooperate with the UN investigating settlements and boycotted an annual review. The Spanish government reiterated that it will not recognize Catalan moves towards sovereignty. In Guatemala, a former military general must stand trial for genocide of indigenous Mayans. French and Malian troops have retaken many parts of northern Mali seized by Islamist militant troops.

From RUSSIA- The US has been training troops in Mali for several years to tackle militant threats- according to Amnesty International some of these Malian troops have been committing human rights abuses like summary killings of civilians, along with torturing them. The New York Times is reporting that AFRICOM is preparing to establish a US drone base in Niger.

"Mussolini never killed anyone. Mussolini used to send people on vacation in internal exile."
--Silvio Berlusconi