H/t reader squodgy:
“Worldwide shipping is in dire straits.
We have seen the BDI (the index of future shipping capacity bookings) trundling along at the lowest level for over three years now.
and Nautilus (http://www.marinelink.com/news/bankruptcy-container371718)
have filed for bankruptcy as global trade grinds to a halt.
A.P. Moller, the biggest Container Ship Company in the world with all those blue MAERSK LINE ships we see everywhere, have been investing in 18000TEU giant ships of late.
One would really think they more than anyone would see the slump coming.
But quite obviously they are lacking in responsible management. But no.
So it shouldn’t come as a shock to read this….
“Worse than the one following the Global Financial Crisis.”
New orders received by Chinese shipyards – now infamous for undercutting competitors and sinking into bankruptcy – have plunged 58.5% so far this year through October, compared to last year, according to shipping industry data provider BIMCO, cited by the Nikkei. At South Korean shipyards, which include the three largest in the world, orders have plunged 84.2%; at Japanese shipyards, 90%.
They all focused on large dry-bulk vessels, tankers, and containerships. But this year, orders for tankers globally plunged 80% and for container ships 84%. Continue reading »
H/t reader squodgy:
“Now in view of the BDI, Caterpillar, Truck orders and so on, this was inevitable, and about two years overdue.
I still don’t understand why these geniuses didn’t see the writing on the wall when it was obvious five years ago that economic growth was unsustainable.
Global overcapacity, plunging demand, and a price war
In the first quarter, South Korean shipbuilders saw their orders collapse by 94.1% to 170,000 compensated gross tons (CGT), compared to the prior year. In terms of dollars, orders collapsed 94% from $6.5 billion in Q1 2015 in to just $390 million.
North Korea has been searching for one of its submarines that has been missing for days off its east coast as tensions mount in the region, where U.S. and South Korean troops staged a big amphibious landing exercise today,
The submarine may be adrift under the sea or have sunk, perhaps after a technical problem during an exercise, CNN quoted U.S. officials with intelligence of secret U.S. monitoring of the North’s activities as saying.
* * *
Punjab authorities have closed down schools from Jan 26 to 31 because of biting cold, a private TV channel reported.
Life is almost paralysed by the biting cold in nine upazilas of the district. The poor are burning hay and fallen leaves to keep them warm.
Nine deaths believed to stem from hypothermia reported in Bueng Kan, Nakhon Phanom, Tak, Rayong and Udon Thani provinces.
Along with severe cold
In addition, the accompanying low temperatures have caused disasters for farmers across the nation.
Buffaloes have recently died due to the extremely cold weather.
Guangzhou residents were excited Sunday to observe snow falling in their subtropical city for the first time in 88 years.
Schools light bonfires, army readies help
People and livestock in upland areas of northeastern Laos are struggling with the freezing cold.
Okinawa’s main island in southwestern Japan gets its first measurable snowfall in history.
In the south, sleet fell on Amami Oshima Island for the first time since 1901. Residents there usually enjoy temperatures of around 17 degrees Celsius this time of year.
On Tuesday, North Korea announced it had “successfully” tested a hydrogen bomb.
According to Kim Jong-Un, the test was necessary because America is “a gang of cruel robbers” hell bent on waging nuclear war. “This is a self-defensive step for reliably defending the peace on the Korean Peninsula and regional security from the danger of nuclear war caused by the U.S.-led imperialists,” Kim said. Continue reading »
– Global Trade In Freefall: South Korea Exports Crash Most Since 2009 (ZeroHedge, Sept 1, 2015):
While the market’s attention overnight was focused on China’s crumbling manufacturing and service PMI, data which was already hinted in the flash PMI reports earlier in August, the real stunner came not from China but from South Korea, which last night reported an unprecedented 14.7% collapse in exports, far worse than the -5.9% consensus estimate, and more than 4 times worse than July’s 3.4%. The number is critical because not only do exports account for about half of South Korea’s GDP but because it also happens to be the first major exporting country to report monthly trade data. That makes it the perfect barometer of global trade flows, or as the case may be, the canary in the global trade coalmine. It also confirms what we reported just one week ago when we said that “Global Trade Is In Freefall.”
– North Korea Declares State Of War After Argument Over Loudspeaker Spirals Out Of Control (ZeroHedge, Aug 20, 2015):
Kim Jong-un has declared a state of war following an escalation of hostilities across the DMZ. Here’s Xinhua:
The top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un has ordered the country’s frontline combined forces to enter state of war from 5pm (0830 GMT) Friday. the official KCNA news agency reported Friday, the official KCNA news agency reported early Friday. Continue reading »
– MERS virus spreading across Asia, South Korea fails to contain outbreak (RT, June 11, 2015):
Hong Kong issued a red alert and advised against traveling to South Korea, where an epidemic of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is gaining pace. The virus is spreading despite attempts to contain the outbreak.
In Korea, the number of infected people passed 100 this week, reaching 122 on Thursday. Tenth patient died from the disease, health officials said on Thursday. Most of the victims are elderly patients with other health problems unrelated to the virus. Over 3,250 people remain in quarantine. Continue reading »
– Bank Of Korea Unexpectedly Cuts Interest Rate To Record Low 1.75%, 24th Central Bank To Ease In 2015 (ZeroHedge, March 11, 2015):
The currency war salvos just keep on coming. Moments ago the BOK unexpectedly (the move was predicted by just 2 of 17 economists polled by Bloomberg) cut its policy rate from 2.00% to a record low 1.75%, in what is clearly a full-blown retaliation against the collapse currency of its biggest export competitor, Japan, whose currency has cratered to a level that many in South Korea believe has become a direct subsidy for its competing exports. As such the only question is why the BOK didn’t cut earlier. And following the surprise rate cut by Thailand earlier today, the “surprise” South Korean rate cut means there are now 24 easing policy actions by central banks in 2015 alone.…
– South Korean Institute Discovers ‘Mystery Plants’ from Imported GMOs (Sustainable Pulse, Jan 24, 2015):
The reason genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have sparked such fears in South Korea isn’t just about safety issues without clear facts, or irrational labeling practices. While South Korea has been emerging as the world’s second biggest importer of GMO crops, mystery plants have been taking root all over the country. The genetically modified (GM) crops that are growing in South Korean soil are a major issue in a country with a government ban on their cultivation. They stand as a stark signal that fears of imported GMOs disrupting the local ecosystem are already becoming a reality.
Source: english.hani.co.kr By Choi Sung-jin
A National Institute of Ecology (NIE) monitoring report on the effects of GMOs on the natural environment, acquired on Dec. 30 by the Hankyoreh, showed GM corn and cotton discoveries across the country in 2013. Corn was found in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province; Gimje, North Jeolla Province; and Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province. Cotton was found in no fewer than fifteen locations. Continue reading »
– NYTimes: Doctors want ban on thyroid cancer screenings — “A tsunami of thyroid cancer… Stop the diagnosis… We need to actively discourage early detection” — WSJ: Judge rules nuclear reactors causing thyroid cancers — Study: Fukushima-related tumors can spread very fast, must be closely monitored (ENENews, Nov 7, 2014):
New York Times, Nov. 5, 2014 (emphasis added): To the shock of many cancer experts, the most common cancer in South Korea… is now thyroid cancer, whose incidence has increased fifteenfold in the past two decades. “A tsunami of thyroid cancer,” as one researcher puts it… Cancer experts agree that the reason for the situation in South Korea and elsewhere is not a real increase in the disease. Instead, it is down to screening… “It’s a warning to us in the U.S. that we need to be very careful in our advocacy of screening,” said Dr. Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society… some doctors, including Dr. Hyeong Sik Ahn of the College of Medicine at Korea University in Seoul, the first author of the new paper, have called for thyroid cancer screening to be banned… Thyroid experts in the United States are calling for restraint in diagnosing and treating tiny tumors… Dr. R. Michael Tuttle… said the best way… was to “stop the diagnosis… decrease screening” Continue reading »
– Our Imperial Rulers Are Deranged: Leon Panetta’s Memoir Proves It (David Stockman’s Contra Corner, Oct 15, 2014):
Want proof of the craziness of US foreign and military policy? Just turn to Leon Panetta’s Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace, wherein the former Secretary of Defense and longtime Democratic party hack congressman recounted a 2010 conversation with the top commander of US troops stationed in South Korea, who told him:
“If North Korea moved across the border, our war plans called for the senior American general on the peninsula to take command of all U.S. and South Korea forces and defend South Korea – including by the use of nuclear weapons, if necessary. I left our meeting with the powerful sense that war in that region was neither hypothetical nor remote but ever-present and imminent.” Continue reading »
– S. Korea returned 20 t of Japanese marine products for Cs-134/137 contamination / Not from Fukushima area (Fukushima Diary, Aug 23, 2014):
On 8/21/2014, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of South Korea announced they retuned 20 t of Japanese marine products from January to July in 2014.
The specific reading was not published, but the ministry comments they detected Cs-134/137 from the returned products.
S. Korea banned imports from Fukushima prefecture and 7 adjacent prefectures last September, so this 20 t of returned marine products are not from the main contaminated regions in Japan. They announce it was 20 t of 9,300 t marine products in total. Continue reading »
– Ebola Panic Reaches New Highs: Korean Bar Bans “Africans” (ZeroHedge, Aug 18, 2014):
With race-relations in American at a boiling point, it is perhaps worth a glance at Asia for some context. As Media Equalizer’s Brian Maloney reports, one restaurant in South Korea is refusing to serve black people due to fears over Ebola! As he concludes: imagine the uproar were this sign to appear anywhere in the US…
As Maloney adds,
Given that many American soldiers stationed in Korea are African-American, it’s hard to believe this isn’t generating more attention here at home. Continue reading »
– S. Korean ‘comfort women’ for US military sue state for forced prostitution (RT,June 29, 2014):
A group of South Korean former “comfort women”, who worked in state-controlled brothels for the US military after the 1953 Korean War, has filed a suit demanding compensation from the authorities for forced prostitution.
It’s the first time that such legal action has been taken regarding the brothels, or “special areas” that were sanctioned by the South Korean government, The Asahi Shimbun media outlet reported.
The women are seeking 10 million won ($9,850) for being made to serve as “US military comfort women” after the Korean War ended in 1953. Continue reading »
– Korea’s Premier Poultry Research Center Decimated (Science, March 5, 2014):
A new, deadly H5N8 strain of avian influenza penetrated the biosecurity defenses of a National Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) campus, prompting authorities to cull all of the facility’s 11,000 hens and 5000 ducks.
The devastating loss could set back poultry experiments at the NIAS lab for 2 years. “It will likely to take up to 95 weeks to fully rebuild [the flocks] and resume normal research,” says Kim Sung-Il, head of the contingency team at the Rural Development Administration, which oversees NIAS. Kim adds that the institute, which studies breed improvement and animal husbandry techniques, will reconstitute its flocks from birds kept at other facilities.
A wild goose that died of the virus was found 10 kilometers from NIAS’s Suwon campus, near Seoul, on 1 February. The entire NIAS staff went to work disinfecting and shoeing away wild birds at the three centers that keep poultry. Despite those efforts, 30 ducks were found dead on 2 March at the Cheonan campus, 85 kilometers south of Seoul. The next day, authorities confirmed the cause of death as H5N8 avian influenza. NIAS immediately initiated culling, which was completed on 4 March.
– China Slams Abe’s “Malicious Slander”; Warns Japan Is “Doomed To Failure” (ZeroHedge, Dec 15, 2013):
Overnight rhetoric in Asia became increasingly heated when China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “strong dissastisfaction” at the slanderous actions of Abe’s Japanese government over the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and the “theft and embezzlement” of the Diaoyu Islands. “Japan’s attempt is doomed to failure,” China warned ominously and as we highlight below, a reflection on the possible rational reasons for China and Japan to go to war over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands highlights the seriousness of the ongoing brinksmanship in the East China Sea. If a war is fought over these long-contested islands, it will have an eminently rational explanation underlying all the historical mistrust and nationalism on the surface. War in the East China Sea is possible, despite the economic costs.
The ‘triangle’ of doom in the East China Sea…
Q: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held in Japan recently – especially during the ASEAN summit, accusing China to unilaterally change the status of the East China Sea, East China Sea, said China’s air defense identification zone designation is improper for the high seas against the freedom of overflight, asked China to revoke the measure. What is your comment? Continue reading »
– South Korea Unveils It’s Own Air Defense Zone, Overlapping China’s And Japan’s (ZeroHedge, Dec 8, 2013):
As fear and nationalism rise in Japan (and Abe’s grip on the people founders amid falling approval ratings and underperforming economic indicators such as GDP tonight), so another party has joined the debacle in the East China Sea. As NHK World reports, South Korea has officially announced that it will expand its air defense identification zone, making it partially overlap those of Japan and China. The game of chicken over small islands (and submerged rocks!) in the middle of nowhere continues…
The ‘triangle’ of doom in the East China Sea…
South Korea has officially announced that it will expand its air defense identification zone, making it partially overlap those of Japan and China.
South Korea’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that the expansion will go into effect on December 15th.
The move comes after China established its air defense zone over a wide area of the East China Sea last month. Continue reading »
– Preparing for a North Korean Collapse (The Diplomat, Oct 31, 2013):
A report by Bruce Bennett and the RAND Corporation has brought attention to one of the most important issues for international politics. Ironically, despite being a region of vital interest within American foreign policy, there has been very little public discussion of what to do in the event of government collapse in North Korea. Bennett’s timely report provides a series of vital contributions to the discussion and further outlines the lack of preparation in political, social, economic and military terms. Yet beyond the critical end game for the Korean peninsula are deeper questions concerning how any international force might respond. Specifically, how can the U.S. and Republic of Korea effectively mobilize regional powers with their differing security and development goals?
Will Major Ed Dames’ predictions in regards to Korea come true???
The world’s foremost remote viewing teacher, Edward A. Dames, Major, U.S. Army (ret.) is a decorated military intelligence officer and an original member of the U.S. Army prototype remote viewing training program. He served as the training and operations officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency’s psychic intelligence (PSIINT) collection unit, and currently serves as executive director for the Matrix Intelligence Agency, a private consulting group.
– North Korea warns of ‘merciless firing’ against South Korea (AFP, Oct 21, 2013):
Seoul — North Korea on Monday warned of “merciless firing” against the South if it goes ahead with a reported plan to develop shells to carry anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.
The South’s Joong-Ang Ilbo newspaper reported last week that South Korean troops were developing non-explosive hollow shells capable of carrying such leaflets deep into North Korean territory. There has been no official confirmation.
South Korean activists including defectors from the North already regularly launch anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border by balloon, despite the North’s Korean threats to shell the “human scum” involved.
– N. Korea Puts Troops on Alert Over US-Led Military Drill (VOA News, Oct 8, 2013):
North Korea has placed its military on alert and warned of “disastrous consequences” in response to a planned U.S.-led military drill near the Korean peninsula.
A North Korean military spokesman told state media all troops have been ordered to “keep themselves ready to promptly launch operations at any time.”
South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok confirmed North Korea’s military has been placed on high alert.
– South Korea shows off new missiles designed to hit North (Reuters, Oct 1, 2013):
South Korea showed off on Tuesday new missiles designed to target North Korea’s artillery and long-range missiles and vowed to boost deterrence against its unpredictable neighbor.
The ballistic Hyeonmu-2, with a range of 300 km (190 miles), and the Hyeonmu-3, a cruise missile with a range of more than 1,000 km (620 miles) were put on public display for the first time in a rare South Korean military parade.
– South Korea Is Latest To Suspend US Wheat Imports In Aftermath Of Monsanto Rogue Wheat Discovery (ZeroHedge, May 31, 2013):
The global Monsanto genetically modified wheat scandal is getting worse.
As a reminder, recently news broke out that a rogue genetically modified strain of wheat developed by Monsanto, had been found in an Oregon field late last month. But while modified food has long been a diet staple, this particular breed was the first discovery of an unapproved strain, and what made things worse is the lack of any information how the rogue grain had escape from a field trial a decade ago. As Reuters reports, “even after weeks of investigation, experts are baffled as to how the seed survived for years after Monsanto had ceased all field tests of the product. It was found in a field growing a different type of wheat than Monsanto’s strain, far from areas used for field tests, according to an Oregon State University wheat researcher who tested the strain.”
The USDA was quick to deny any suggestion of public danger:
The USDA said the GM wheat found in Oregon posed no threat to human health, and also said there was no evidence that the grain had entered the commercial supply chain.
But the discovery threatens to stoke consumer outcry over the possible risk of cross-contaminating natural products with genetically altered foods, and may embolden critics who say U.S. regulation of GMO products is lax.
This is compounded by the still fresh memory of the glaring and repeated lies by the Japanese government in regards to the Fukushima explosion, making some wonder just how far the government is willing to go to cover up potential threats if the alternative is widespread panic. Continue reading »
– North Korea suspends last project with South, Putin cites Chernobyl (Reuters, April 8, 2013):)
North Korea suspended its sole remaining major project with the South on Monday, after weeks of threats against the United States and South Korea, as Russian President Vladimir Putin said any nuclear conflict could make Chernobyl look like a fairy tale.
Reclusive North Korea’s decision to all but close the Kaesong industrial park coincided with speculation that it will carry out some sort of provocative action – another nuclear weapons test or missile launch – in what has become one of the most serious crises on the peninsula since the end of the Korean War in 1953.
Tension has been rising since the United Nations imposed new sanctions against the North in response to its third test of a nuclear weapon in February. Pyongyang has been further angered by weeks of joint military exercises by South Korean and U.S. forces and threatened both countries with nuclear attack.
Putin said conflict on the peninsula could cause greater devastation than the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
“I would make no secret about it, we are worried about the escalation on the Korean peninsula, because we are neighbors,” he told a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a visit to a trade fair in Germany.
“And if, God forbid, something happens, Chernobyl which we all know a lot about, may seem like a child’s fairy tale. Is there such a threat or not? I think there is… I would urge everyone to calm down… and start to resolve the problems that have piled up for many years there at the negotiating table.”
I guess there are many who are monitoring this situation very closely now, because of Major Ed Dames’ predictions:
YouTube Added: 24.01.2013
Former military Major in charge of remote viewing, Ed Dames, discusses predictions of coming events.
– North Korea Says It Enters “War” Against South Korea, And North Korea Kaption Kontest (ZeroHedge, March 29, 2013):
Ordinarily this would be Good Friday humor (unless we are very wrong, and it turns out to be Good Friday Global Thermonuclear War) because when one cries wolf a few too many times, this is what happens (from Yonhap):
North Korea announced Saturday that it has entered a state of war against South Korea.
In a special statement, the North said it will deal with every inter-Korean issue in a wartime manner.
– S.Korea border island calm despite N.Korea threat (AFP, March 17, 2013):
SEOUL — Residents of a South Korean island closest to the tense sea border with North Korea have shrugged off a warning from Pyongyang urging them to flee ahead of “thunderous attacks”, an official said on Sunday.
The North’s official website, Uriminzokkiri, told residents of five islands south of the border to leave, warning of “devastating consequences” if recent cross-border tension escalates into a full-scale conflict.
“The wisest choice when the fire of thunder rains down on you is running afar,” it said in an editorial published late Friday.
– North Korea demands apology from South Korea for ‘open declaration of war’ (RT, March 10, 2013):
Recent statements by Seoul have angered Pyongyang to the extent that the latter considers them a cry for war. This follows North Korea’s nullifying all non-aggression pacts and cutting the hotline with its southern neighbor.
According to North Korea’s official news agency KCNA, Pyongyang’s senior official with the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea demanded an apology on Saturday, reacting to the South Korean Defense Ministry’s threat that North Korea “will vanish from earth”, should it choose to strike first. Pyongyang has said that it views the statement as “an open declaration of war.”
– North Korea Forces Await ‘Final Strike Order’ from Kim Jong-un (IBTimes, March 10, 2013):
South Korea vows strong response if provoked
North Korea’s armed forces are reported to be awaiting a “final order” from the country’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un before launching a campaign against South Korea.
Ahead of a ten-day joint computer-simulated drill to be conducted by the US and South Korea on 11 March, the North’s most widely circulated mouthpiece Rodong Sinmun said: “Our front-line military groups, the army, the navy and the air force, the anti-aircraft units and the strategic rocket units, who have entered the final all-out war stage, are awaiting the final order to strike.”
The mouthpiece said the North’s nuclear weapons are also in full readiness.
“Puppet regimes in the US and South Korea will be turned into a sea of fire in the blink of an eye,” said the daily, raising tensions further in the Korean peninsula.
– North Korea scraps armistice, cuts hotline with South following threats (RT, March 11, 2013):
Pyongyang has nullified the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, also cutting a communication hotline with the South on Monday. US-South Korean military drills and fresh UN sanctions against North Korea were cited as reasons for the move.
The Korean armistice agreement has been “scrapped completely,” North Korea’s ruling party official newspaper said on Monday, citing a senior military spokesman.
There was no formal announcement confirming the report, nor has the North Korean government openly declared its hotline with the South cut.
But according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry, attempts to contact the North by telephone at 9am failed. The hotline is used to communicate between Seoul and Pyongyang, which do not have diplomatic relations.
The news comes after the communist state said last week it was ending all non-aggression pacts with South Korea and threatened to sever a hotline with UN forces in the South, at the border truce village of Pammunjom.
– #Radioactive Asia: There Will Be 100 Additional Nuclear Reactors in Asia in 20 Years (EX-SKF, Feb 16, 2013):
As far as Asians are concerned, the Fukushima nuclear accident seems to have encouraged them to embark on new nuclear projects.
They probably look at Japan, and say, “Well their government has said all along there is no bad effect from triple meltdowns and melt-throughs, and people don’t seem to care anyway, so what’s there to lose? Not much.”
– Another S Korea nuclear reactor shut down due to malfunction (Platts, Jan 17, 2013):
Another South Korean nuclear reactor was shut down Thursday due to a malfunction just two weeks after two of three troubled reactors were restarted amid mounting electricity demand due to a prolonged cold spell.
No. 1 reactor at the Uljin nuclear power plant on the east coast, a pressurized water reactor with a generation capacity of 0.95 GW, halted operations at 11:19 a.m. Seoul time (0219 GMT) due to a problem with the reactor’s energy system.
The Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, the state-run operator of nuclear power plants, said there was no immediate danger of any radiation leak. An investigation was currently under way to identify the exact cause of the problem, it said.
– Asian economies turn to yuan (China Daily, Oct 24, 2012):
A “renminbi bloc” has been formed in East Asia, as nations in the region abandon the US dollar and peg their currency to the Chinese yuan — a major signal of China’s successful bid to internationalize its currency, a research report has said.
The Peterson Institute for International Economics, or PIIE, said in its latest research that China has moved closer to its long-term goal for the renminbi to become a global reserve currency.
Since the global financial crisis, the report said, more and more nations, especially emerging economies, see the yuan as the main reference currency when setting their exchange rate.
And now seven out of 10 economies in the region — including South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand — track the renminbi more closely than they do the US dollar. Only three economies in the group — Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Mongolia — still have currencies following the dollar more closely than the renminbi, said the report, posted on the institute’s website.
The South Korean won, for example, has appreciated in sync with the renminbi against the dollar since mid-2010.
– US gives nod to 800km-range S. Korean missiles (RT, Oct 6, 2012):
The US has permitted its ally South Korea to develop ballistic missiles with more than double the range it was allowed earlier. The proliferation-harming move is meant as a reaction to Pyongyang’s military build-up.
The deal was announced Sunday by Chun Young-woo, top secretary to President Lee Myung-bak for foreign and security affairs of the Korean government, after weeks of expectation. Continue reading »
– China Buys North Korea’s Gold Reserves As South Korea Increased Gold Reserves By 30% (ZeroHedge, Sep 25, 2012):
The IMF reported that various countries continued diversifying into gold in July, some significantly.
South Korean gold reserves rose a sharp 16 tonnes for a 30% increase in total gold reserves.
Paraguay became the latest central bank to begin diversifying into gold. Their gold reserves rose sharply – from a few thousand ounces to over 8 tonnes.
Desperate North Korea has exported more than 2 tons to gold hungry China over the past year to earn US $100 million. Even in tough times during the Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il regimes, North Korea refused to let go of its precious gold reserves.
Chosun media reports that “a mysterious agency known as Room 39, which manages Kim Jong-un’s money, and the People’s Armed Forces are spearheading exports of gold, said an informed source in China. “They are selling not only gold that was produced since December last year, when Kim Jong-un came to power, but also gold from the country’s reserves and bought from its people.”
This is a sign of the desperation of the North Korean regime and also signals China’s intent to vastly increase the People’s Bank of China’s gold reserves.
– Kim warns troops to prepare for ‘sacred war’ during US-South Korea exercises (CNN, Aug 18, 2012):
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told his troops to be vigilant during upcoming training exercises between South Korea and the United States, saying they should be ready to lead a “sacred war,” state media reported Saturday.
Kim’s comments came during a visit on Mu Island with troops who participated in the 2010 shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island, an attack that North Korea at the time said South Korea provoked by holding war games off their shared coast.
“He ordered the service persons of the detachment to be vigilant against every move of the enemy and not to miss their gold chance to deal at once deadly counter blows at the enemy, if even a single shell is dropped on the waters or in the area where the sovereignty of (North Korea) is exercised,” the state-run KCNA news agency reported.
– The Hunt For Red Pyongyang: South Korea On Alert For Naval Attack After “Losing” 4 North Korean Subs (ZeroHedge, April 6, 2012):
Just because the imminent launch of a North Korean rocket along a trajectory which will likely force Japan to strike it down, something which Pyongyang said would be equivalent to an act of war, was not enough, it now appears that South Korea has commenced the hunt for Red Pyongyang or four, as it is now “searching for four North Korean submarines that disappeared after leaving their bases on the tense peninsula.” ABC News reports that “A military source quoted in a South Korean newspaper says up to four North Korean submarines slipped out of port in recent days and have so far avoided detection. The source was also quoted as saying that Pyongyang has stepped up submarine infiltration drills as the weather has warmed.” As a result, “Seoul is now on alert for a possible strike against a South Korean naval ship.” This won’t be the first time a North Korean sub is implicated in potential wrongdoing: “The South accuses the North of using a midget submarine to sink the corvette the Cheonan two years ago, which left 46 South Korean sailors dead.”
Just more posturing, Or will Kim Jong Un force the hand of either Seoul or in a few days, Tokyo? From Al Jazeera:
Japan has completed the deployment of a land-based system of interceptor missiles in preparation for a planned North Korean rocket launch later this month.
The exercise was finalised in Okinawa on Thursday, days after a similar deployment was completed on Monday in Naha, the capital of Okinawa prefecture.
The interceptors would be ready to shoot down any parts of the rocket that veer into Japan’s airspace.