Saddam Hussein ends this year where he began it, in a jail cell awaiting prosecution for crimes against humanity. But he may be relieved to hear that the delay is for his own good. "This is going to be, probably, the trial of the century, and we have to get it right," said Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie. "We can't suddenly try and sentence him to either life in prison or whatever, execute him 100 times as some people want to do."
His countrymen may also have noticed that life at the end of 2004 looks very similar to life at the end of 2003. This time last year, Iraq was under U.S. military occupation, awaiting the arrival of democracy and gripped by violent turmoil. Today, likewise--despite the death of some 880 American service members this year.
For the world as a whole, inertia was the rule. At the moment, the global advance of freedom and democracy is stalled. Rarely in recent years has there been so little forward progress.
The bad news is that in 2004, according to the human rights group Freedom House, the world added only one new free country--the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which is home to just 68,000 people. The good news is that the world didn't lose any free countries.
Source : http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2004-12-23/news/0412230182_1_president-vladimir-putin-freedom-house-free-countries