WHEN a new year arrives, people often make their respective wish lists. As we leave behind the past year, we look forward for a better life, a better world. Here is my wish list for 2010.

The World. World peace, as a contestant in a beauty pageant would say. Truly, world peace remains on top of most people’s wish list for 2010. The hottest spot is still the Middle East where the US maintains a strong military presence to secure the region from terrorists and other elements. The other hot spots are Russia, which continues to hold on to its former satellite states; South America, where anti-US sentiment remains high; and North Korea, which keeps its neighbors at bay with threats of developing nuclear weapons.

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US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have yet to make an impact on a global scale, as instability remains to be the buzzword. Runners-up for attention are the need for momentum for a free trade environment and the required significant concessions to address climate change.

United States. When the US sneezes other nations catch cold.

Though seriously challenged as the foremost nation in the world, the US is still acknowledged as the most powerful country, not just militarily but also in other fields. It has slowly regained respect with its people-minted president, Barack Obama.

So far, the Obama magic continues to put a spell on the world as exemplified by the Nobel Peace award given him, though he did little to attain it, even saying in his acceptance speech that he will send more troops to fight for peace. But he did well in addressing the economic crisis, castigating Wall Street’s high-paid executives and pouring federal money to ailing financial and auto companies.

If President Obama keeps himself focused on his diplomacy and in managing the economy, the US may do well in the rest of world.

Asia. Two of the most progressive economies in the world are China and India. The two helped keep the world afloat in the harsh economic climate. The successful staging of the Olympics in Beijing saw the arrival of China as an economic power, while India’s acquisition of the iconic Jaguar and Jeep brands is definitely a solid statement of its rebirth as a Jewel in Asia.

The wish of most people in Asia is that the economies of China and India will continue to grow in 2010. Their growth will impact on the rest of Asia, more so, with establishment effective last Jan. 1 of the Free Trade Area involving China and Southeast Asia.

Philippines. The Philippines got much attention in 2009 with calamities and massacres, among others. President Gloria Arroyo has failed to regain the respect of the people with serious charges hurled against her throughout her term. She may have parried impeachment moves by her critics but then nobody takes her seriously anymore.

So the election come May will introduce a new leader that could bring about a fresh start for the country. But that is dependent primarily on the how serious voters choose their president. The latter is a wish, likewise.

Cebu. I’ve been physically absent from Cebu for the past four years, but from the accounts given to me by friends, Cebu has progressed in terms of infrastructure; but then again the problems that go with development has grown as well.

There is much to be desired from the warring politicians of the province and the city-–and their continuing squabble will do little to improve the situation.

There is a need for attitude change among the present leaders, otherwise there may have to be change of leaders, so timely as the election is just around the corner.

I have a personal wish list that each one of you will continue to enjoy life with your family, your friends and your neighbors.