PROGRAM NOTES 11/16/12- This weeks show features stories from RADIO DEUTSCHE-WELLE, SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, and NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN.

From GERMANY- Spain is one of the worst hit economies in the EU- here is the story of a town in the south named Marinaleda, where a maverick mayor is seeking a socialist utopia in the midst of financial chaos. The Israeli military has been attacking Gaza with escalating violence since the weekend, in response to Hamas rocket attacks. Israel also fired into Syria to defend the occupied Golan Heights. On Wednesday Israel assassinated the military chief of Hamas and the attacks are increasing as I produce this show on Thursday morning. Anti-austerity demonstrations swept across Europe on Wednesday, with Spain, Portugal, and Italy seeing the most violence.

From SPAIN- After 20 years the so-called "banana wars" are over- the EU and 11 Latin American countries signed an accord on tariffs and preferential treatment on the importing of bananas. Argentina saw the biggest anti-government demonstration in many years. A judge has frozen $19 billion worth of Chevron/Texaco assets over environmental damage claims in Ecuador. Many are calling for a change in the mortgage laws in Spain- currently if one falls behind on payments they are evicted but still liable for the mortgage debt.

From CUBA- The UN General Assembly voted 188-3 for the US to cease its blockade of Cuba. For the first time, voters in Puerto Rico passed a ballot initiative calling for statehood. John Kerry former Presidential candidate and Vietnam veteran is being considered for the Secretary of State position in Obama's new cabinet.

From JAPAN- Xi Jinping has been chosen as the new leader of China's ruling Communist Party. While at a conference in Japan, the Dalai Lama has condemned the Chinese government for repeated human rights violations. An international conference aimed at a nuclear-free Middle East has been postponed due to turmoil in the region.

"We must reconstitute the natural world as the true terrain of politics. We must draw our standards from our natural world, heedless of ridicule, and reaffirm its denied validity. We must honor with the humility of the wise the bounds of that natural world and the mystery which lies beyond them, admitting that there is something in the order of being which evidently exceeds all our competence."
--Vaclav Havel