* Have Al Qaeda in Iraq been effectively defeated? STRATFOR is cautious about predicting that, but the conclusion I draw from reading their article is — yes.
* A Chinese Navy helicopter was likely ignoring orders when it flew towards a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer several weeks ago. Nothing would aggravate Japan-Chinese relations more than if a Chinese helicopter was to engage or collide with a Japanese ship — anti-Japanese and anti-Chinese would flare up on both sides of the water.
* Bill Emmot warns that Europe’s economy is the sick man of the world, and they need to kick Greece out of the euro to warn other reprobates (Spain, Portugal, others…) that they face the same fate if they pursue unorthodox financial and economic policies.
* Tim Torlot, the British Ambassador in Yemen was the target of an unsuccessful suicide bomber. The ambassador and the British must have a pretty poor risk analysis in place — his private life had attracted unwelcome attention in Yemen following revelations that he moved his pregnant mistress, a US journalist, to the official ambassadorial residence. Torlot has been the ambassador since 2007.
* The US has released a list of 13 “countries of particular concern” that violate religious freedom. This includes all eight countries named last year — Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan — plus five newcomers: Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.
* In an issue that gets to the root of the previous CA post and discussion on the origins of religion, chimpanzees in a certain community have been observed carrying around and caring for the bodies of dead children.
* Newsflash! Japan-US ties are strained! In other breaking news, sky still blue.