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Archive for the ‘Korea’ Category

Ron Ben-Yishai:Pyongyang has the edge

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Op-ed: North Korea’s belligerent policy of brinkmanship backed by vast military superiority.

North Korea is currently facing major domestic distress. The sanctions imposed on it and its agricultural difficulties have led to serious hunger, the UN reports. Yet instead of suspending its nuclear program and ballistic missiles and resuming talks with the US, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea (which promised generous aid in food and fuel,) Pyongyang is attempting to extort them via war threats and provocations. This, in essence, is the backdrop for the grave incident where the communist country shelled a South Korean island not too far from the two Koreas western border. Read the rest of this entry »


Written by Theophyle

November 25, 2010 at 9:07 am

Rise of the Online Autocrats

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It turns out that the enemies of free expression are adept at the Internet, too.

By Evgeny Morozov [*]

The tweets started arriving in August, and they did not mince words. One of the first accused the South Korean government of being “a prostitute of the United States.” The Twitter account, under the name “uriminzok,” or “our nation,” seemed to be part of a sprawling North Korean digital operation that included a Facebook account (registered as a man interested in “meeting other men,” but solely for “networking purposes”) and a series of YouTube videos meant to celebrate the might of the North Korean military. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

October 3, 2010 at 11:00 am

The Economist Corner – essential readings VIII

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World economy

Fear returns

Governments were the solution to the economic crisis. Now they are the problem. May 27th 2010 – From The Economist print edition.

IT’S not quite a Lehman moment, but financial markets are more anxious today than at any time since the global recovery took hold almost a year ago. The MSCI index of global stocks has fallen by over 15% since mid-April. Treasury yields have tumbled as investors have fled to the relative safety of American government bonds. The three-month inter-bank borrowing rate is at a ten-month high. Gone is the exuberance that greeted the return to growth (see article). Investors are on edge.

What lies behind these jitters? New nervousness about geopolitical risk, with tensions rising in the Korean peninsula, has not helped. But that comes on top of two wider worries.

One is about the underlying health of the world economy. Fears are growing that the global recovery will falter as Europe’s debt crisis spreads, China’s property bubble bursts and America’s stimulus-fuelled rebound peters out. The other concerns government policy. From America’s overhaul of financial regulation to Germany’s restrictions on short-selling, politicians are changing the rules in unpredictable ways. And the scale of sovereign debts has left governments with less room to counter any new downturn; indeed, many of them are being forced into austerity. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

May 28, 2010 at 10:10 am