PROGRAM NOTES 12/14/12- This weeks show features stories from SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, the VOICE OF RUSSIA, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, CHINA RADIO INTERNATIONAL, and NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN.

From SPAIN- The Italian Prime Minister Monti has decided to resign and waiting in the wings is Silvio Berlusconi- the result is a serious blow to the Italian economy. The EU received the Nobel Peace Prize, which brought criticism from many. Egypt will go forward with a constitutional referendum. The so-called Friends of Syria have agreed to recognize the Syrian opposition, though many doubts remain about some of the opposition groups.

From RUSSIA- More about the recent history of the Syrian opposition, whose members are clearly not average citizens who rose up against an oppressive regime.

From CUBA- The Syrian government denies many of the victories claimed by the opposition, saying that they are attempts to influence the media. Venezuelan president Chavez is recovering from his fourth surgery for cancer. At the Climate Change Conference in Doha there were no new commitments by the US to reduce carbon emissions.

From CHINA- A more in depth report on the lack of action at the Climate Change conference. China now has the largest and fastest growing share of wind and hydro power, along with large growth in solar energy. Israel has deployed Special Forces to Syria to track chemical weapons.

From JAPAN- North Korea launched a rocket to put a satellite in orbit, evoking criticism from many other nations. A US government agency expects China to economically overtake the US by 2030. The Japanese government has declared a town near the Fukushima disaster to be "unsuitable to live in" for an indefinite time. The anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd has bought a vessel for its campaign in the Antarctic- it was formerly owned by the Japanese meteorological agency.

"The real Italian anomaly is not Silvio Berlusconi but communist prosecutors and communist judges in Milan who have attacked him again and again since he entered politics...In absolute terms, I am the most legally persecuted man of all times, in the whole history of mankind, worldwide."
--Silvio Berlusconi