On the second story, it's interesting that the U.S. favors Japan getting a UN Security Council permanent seat but not Germany. I mean, Germany comes totally clean on all its sins of WWII (the reason why it's not on), whereas Japan continues to whitewash its own far too much. Hmmm. Wonder if Germany's opposition to the Iraq War has anything to do with this, as in "forgive Russia, ignore Germany, punish France."
He's also got an interesting post about world again, kicking off with Japan and 'elder sourcing'. If you're interested in the demographics and economic implications of aging in a global context, you should check it out.