PROGRAM NOTES 12/21/12- This weeks show features stories from CHINA RADIO INTERNATIONAL, NHK WORLD RADIO JAPAN, RADIO DEUTSCHE-WELLE, RADIO HAVANA CUBA, SPANISH NATIONAL RADIO, and the VOICE OF RUSSIA.

From CHINA- Park Geun-hye has become the first woman President of South Korea- she is the daughter of the former dictator/President who was assassinated in 1979. China has issued another call to Japan's new leader to improve relations between the two nations.

From JAPAN- Japan's Liberal Democratic Party won a landslide election and the next Prime Minister will be Shinzo Abe, a significant shift in the political landscape. China is wary of the change, given the disputed islands in the East China Sea. A US court has ordered anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd to stay away from Japanese whaling vessels. The WTO has ruled that Ontario, Canada cannot discriminate against foreign made renewable energy products like solar panels. The German government announced that the shift to the use of renewable energy is going smoothly, with 8 nuclear power plants shut down.

From GERMANY- More on Germany's plans to boost renewable energy. Reporters Without Borders says that 2012 has been the deadliest year for reporters in their history. Greek public sector workers continue to strike. 15 of the 16 members of the UN Security Council called on Israel to cease expansion in East Jerusalem.

From CUBA- The Israeli government announced yet another round of settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank. The Syrian government claims that rebels are using chemical weapons in order to blame the government and justify foreign intervention. Bahrain cracked down on pro-democracy forces.

From SPAIN- The Pope has called for a new economic model and ethical marketing. The EU recommended that Spain make further cuts to pensions. Catalonians are very upset with a federal reform calling for all students to be taught in Spanish, not in regional languages. Both the Conservative and Progressive forces in Catalonia agreed to hold a referendum on secession from Spain.

From RUSSIA- A new civil war is on the verge of breaking out between the north and the south in Iraq- Exxon oil company is about to drill for oil in a disputed region which will trigger a new war for oil.

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."
--Arundhati Roy