Sep 21

Probably out of ‘tradition’! ROFL!

- Hilarious: Ron Paul: ‘Why Do Central Banks Hold Gold?’ Ben Bernanke: ‘Tradition’

Got PHYSICAL gold (and silver!)?

Gold (and silver!) is money, the real money of the elitists, everything else is just worthless paper.

Protect your assets!


- Central Banks Net Buyers of Gold for First Time in 20 Years (Financial Times, Sep. 19 2011):

European central banks have become net buyers of gold for the first time in more than two decades, the latest sign of how the turbulence in the currency and debt markets has revolutionized the bullion market

The purchases are minuscule compared with the size of the global gold market, but highlight a remarkable turnaround from a wave of heavy selling by European central banks.

The role of central banks in the gold market will be a central topic of debate at the annual London Bullion Market Association conference, the largest gathering of the gold industry, in Montreal this week.

The switch from large selling to buying has helped propel the gold price more than 25 percent higher so far this year, hitting a nominal record of $1,920 a troy ounce this month. The shift in Europe comes as central banks in emerging markets are also loading up on gold.

Mexico, Russia, South Korea and Thailand have all made large purchases this year, in a move to reduce their exposure to the dollar. Globally, central banks are set to buy more gold this year than at any time since the collapse of the Bretton Woods system 40 years ago – the last time the value of the dollar was linked to gold.

Continue reading »

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Sep 11

- US Military Plane Forced Down By North Korean Electronic Attack (AFP,  Sep. 2011):

SEOUL – A US military reconnaissance plane came under electronic attack from North Korea and had to make an emergency landing during a major military exercise in March, a political aide said Friday.

The aide said the plane suffered disturbance to its GPS system due to jamming signals from the North’s southwestern cities of Haeju and Kaesong as it was taking part in the annual US-South Korea drill, Key Resolve.

The incident was disclosed in a report that Seoul’s defense ministry submitted to Ahn Kyu-baek of parliament’s defense committee, the aide to Ahn said.

Spokesmen for the defense ministry and US Forces Korea declined to comment.

Jamming signals — sent at intervals of five to 10 minutes on the afternoon of March 4 — forced the plane to make an emergency landing 45 minutes after it took off, the aide quoted the report as saying.

The signals also affected South Korean naval patrol boats and speedboats, as well as several civilian flights near Seoul’s Gimpo area, according to the report.

Continue reading »

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Aug 05

See also:

- Swiss National Bank Intervention Epic Fail #2


- Global Currency Wars Enter New Stage; Brazil Calls Off Truce, South Korea Reviews “All Possibilities”, Philippines Threatens “Prudential Limits” (Global Economic Analysis, August 04, 2011):

Fighting the Fed has reached a new stage: all out currency wars.

The Fed is desperate to tank the US dollar to stimulate exports and further fuel a stock market that is clearly back in bubble territory. However, central bankers in other countries have had enough.

Japan and Switzerland intervened heavily in the forex markets on Wednesday. Other countries, fed up with Fed policies and a weak dollar now threaten to do the same.

For a recap Wednesday’s intervention news, please see

What’s next is already at hand: Currency Wars Enter ‘New Stage’

“We seem to be entering a new stage of the currency wars where it’s not just the emerging markets that are responding to broad dollar weakness,” said Callum Henderson, global head of currency research at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore, who has written books on currency markets. “Expect much more intervention in the future and further acrimony in terms of how the U.S. dollar is doing.”

Here are some highlights from the article. Continue reading »

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Jul 28

- South Korean scientists create glowing dog: report (Reuters, Jul 27, 2011):

South Korean scientists said on Wednesday they have created a glowing dog using a cloning technique that could help find cures for human diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, Yonhap news agency reported.

A research team from Seoul National University (SNU) said the genetically modified female beagle, named Tegon and born in 2009, has been found to glow fluorescent green under ultraviolet light if given a doxycycline antibiotic, the report said.

Continue reading »

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Jun 16


Added: 16.06.2011

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May 22

I have ‘some’ great difficulty to buy that they have really eaten vegetables and fruits from Fukushima and here is why:

I ate Hu Jintao’s dinner; China’s president, and the rest of the politburo eat only organic food:

A stone’s throw from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square is Zhongnanhai, the walled compound where China’s top leaders live.

Each day the finest ingredients from all over China are delivered to the chefs in Zhongnanhai, by the Central State Organ for Special Food Supply.

Hu Jintao, China’s president, and the rest of the politburo get to eat specially-selected organic produce and wash it down with Red Robe tea, which only grows on a couple of bushes in Fujian.

Zhu Yong Lan, the head of the special food supply department, said no pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, growth hormones, pollution, artificial additives, preservatives, or genetic modification would ever make its way into the food eaten in Zhongnanhai, a rare feat in a country where the label “organic” is sometimes rather loosely applied.

No one else in China can eat this forbidden food. The only foreigners who taste it are guests at state banquets.

And it really doesn’t matter whether they have eaten Fukushima produce or not, but if you eat it you will suffer greatly from it.



(In the photo, from the left: Fukushima Governor Sato, Japan’s PM Kan, Korean President Lee, and Chinese Premier Wen.)

Japan’s PM Kan Forced Chinese and Korean Counterparts to Eat Fukushima Vegetables and Fruits:

It was not enough for Prime Minister Kan to make the Emperor and Empress of Japan visit Fukushima, have them eat Fukushima food and bring some back home as souvenirs for the imperial household that has small children (including the future emperor of Japan).

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Korean President Lee Myung-bak had to go along with Kan, visit Fukushima, and do the obligatory “It’s so delicious it is safe” performance by eating cherries and cucumbers grown in Fukushima to counter “baseless rumors” that the food may be contaminated with radioactive materials. (Radiation is a rumor, and safety is a religion in Japan among TPTB, in case you haven’t noticed.)

They are in Japan for the trilateral summit (which by itself irks a growing number of Japanese, but that will be another post).

From Asahi Shinbun (10:29PM JST 5/21/2011):

21日午後、3人の首脳は福島市内の県営あづま総合体育館を訪れた。菅首相が温首相と李大統領に近付いて「福島県産の野菜があります」と手招きし、アスパラガスやトマト、イチゴが並んだ長机の前へ。3人はサクランボをほおばり、キュウリをかじった。

On the afternoon of May 11, the three premiers visited one of the evacuation shelters (a large gym run by the prefectural government) in Fukushima City. Prime Minister Kan approached Premier Wen and President Lee and invited them over to the table where the vegetables and fruits produced in Fukushima were displayed. There were asparagus, tomatoes, strawberries. The three sampled cherries and ate cucumbers.

李大統領は名取市で犠牲者に献花、黙祷(もくとう)した後、「すべての韓国国民が私に温かい心を伝えてくれと言った。(震災直後に秩序を守った)日本国民の節制された姿と勇気には世界が驚いた」と記者団に語った。

President Lee dedicated flowers and prayed for the earthquake and tsunami victims in Natori City, and said “All citizens of Korea have told me to convey their deep sympathy to the Japanese. The courage and the stoicism of the Japanese people (after the quake/tsunami) has so impressed the world.”

Well, I wish they hadn’t been so orderly and stoic. For their stoicity and perseverance, many of them are still living in shelters, sleeping on a floor of a gym and other cavernous public halls, partitioned by cardboard.

I have nothing more to say about this silly performance by old men eating Fukushima vegetables, other than: “When these people say it’s safe, don’t buy, don’t eat.”

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Apr 07

And again the propaganda kicks in that those radiation levels are minute and safe.

I told you several times before that a radioactive particle inhaled or ingested becomes 1 billion times worse than outside your body.

There are no safe limits!

Yet, nobody seems to care about American schoolchildren:

- Radioactive Iodine-131 In Rainwater Near San Francisco 18,100% Above Federal Drinking Water Standard

- California: Radioactive Iodine-131 In Rainwater 181 Times Above Drinking Water Standards, Has Also Been Detected In Multiple Milk Samples, While US Gov Has Still Not Published Any Official Data On Japan Disaster

- US Government Responds to Fukushima by Trying to Raise Radiation Limits, EPA Pulls 8 Of 18 Radiation Monitors Out Of CA, OR And WA


Citizens arm themselves with umbrellas, raincoats, boots


Parents have their children use umbrellas on their way home from school at Shinyongsan Elementary School, central Seoul, Thursday, amid fear of “radioactive rain.” The authorities said the amount of radioactive material in the rain was negligible.

From parents of kindergartners to office workers, the entire nation was gripped by concerns over “radioactive rain,” Thursday, when traces of radioactive material were detected in rainwater on Jeju Island.

The authorities went all out to allay public fears, but the detection, albeit minuscule, made people nervous as they braced themselves for rainfall nationwide. They went to schools and offices armed with umbrellas, raincoats and boots.

The Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS) said radioactive iodine and cesium were found in rainwater collected in the early morning at a checkpoint on the island. The concentration level of iodine-131 was 2.02 becquerels per liter (Bq/l), that of cesium-137, 0.538 Bq/l, and that of cesium-134, 0.333 Bq/l.

KINS officials said the levels were too low ― almost negligible ― to pose any serious health risks. “Even if a person drinks 2 liters of such rainwater every day for a year, the exposure concentration level will be 0.037 millisievert (mSv), far lower than the 1 mSv government safety standard,” a KINS official said.

Continue reading »

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Apr 03

Remember when the G7 stepped in to valiantly sell yen when the Japanese currency was threatening to take out all of Wall Street with its hundreds of billions in wrong way carry trades? Well, it seems that today’s bizarre sell off in the dollar was due to that particular plan crashing and burning, with Korea defecting from the pact first, and selling its $7 billion in USD acquired in the process of bailing out Japan. It seems it is fair game to buy the Yen once again. From a trading desk:

USD getting spanked today is Bank of Korea selling $7Bn USD it bought during the coordinated USDJPY intervention, and buying GBP and EUR with it. I can understand why they would get rid of the USD, but why buy GBP and EUR with it???? Either way, goes to show how useful it is to do an intervention, they drop the reserves 2 weeks after… we’ll be back to square 1 in no time if everybody follows suit!

Remember – he who defects first and all that jazz…

(and yes, if $7 billion can move the EURUSD by 180 pips, we dread to see what the actual carry unwind instead of just impairment would look like).

Continue reading »

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Feb 20



Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) — South Korea’s Financial Services Commission suspended the business of four local savings banks for six months from today due to a liquidity crunch.

The four banks are Bohae Mutual Savings & Finance Co. and three subsidiaries of Busan Savings Bank — Jungang Busan Savings Bank, Busan II Savings Bank, and Jeonju Savings Bank, the financial watchdog said in a statement today.

“They have suffered a bank run” after the recent suspension of two other banks, the FSC said in a statement after a meeting at 7:30 a.m. today. “We concluded that they will not be able to meet demand for withdrawals, eventually hurting depositors’ interests and credit order.”

Busan Savings Bank and Daejeon Mutual Savings Bank were ordered to halt operations for six months from Feb. 17 due to soured construction project loans. The commission is tightening scrutiny of smaller mutual savings banks, with a plan to buy as much as 3.5 trillion won ($3.1 billion) worth of deteriorating loans made to builders and developers.

Continue reading »

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Feb 20

This doesn’t fit with the current perception that East Asian economies are sturdy from a growth and financial perspective.

South Korea’s JoongAng Daily reports on a crisis among savings banks, and the fears of a run-on-the-banks that engulfs the entire industry.

More than a thousand customers lined up in front of the Busan II Savings Bank located in Busan yesterday as soon as the nation’s financial regulator announced a six-month business suspension of Busan Savings Bank and its affiliate Daejeon Mutual Savings Bank.

The line formed by depositors extended about 100 meters (328 feet) from the door of Busan II Savings Bank. “You won’t be allowed to withdraw your money if you are just standing there without a queue ticket number,” a bank employee told the crowd using a microphone.

The government is doing its best to calm people, but it’s not working:

“I’ve saved 40 million won ($35,810) over my whole life. That money was going to be used for my grandson’s marriage but I cannot trust these people [bank employees] saying that I am guaranteed to get my money back,” said Cho So-young, 79.

All told, five savings banks have been put on watch for inadequate capital. They’re being bailed-out by larger institutions:

The state-run Korea Finance Corporation and four commercial banks – Woori, Kookmin, Shinhan and Hana – have decided to inject 2 trillion won of emergency liquidity into the savings bank sector.

Continue reading »

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Feb 18

The videos are a flashback and a must-see.

More about Ron Paul:

- YAF Kicks Out Ron Paul

- Rep. Ron Paul of Texas Wins CPAC Presidential Straw Poll Again

- Rep. Ron Paul: Next US Crash Will Be Comparable To That Of Soviet Union, QE2 Is A ‘Total Failure’ And The Fed Is A ‘Central Planning Cartel’

- Ron Paul 2012 – Can you Hear us Now?

- Ron Paul: ‘Is the Gold Really There? Who Owns It?’


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Jan 09

South Korea said on Friday it had culled over one million animals, mainly pigs and cattle, to contain foot-and-mouth outbreaks that are threatening to keep pushing up prices of beef and pork in Asia’s No. 4 economy.


South Korea have killed 1.1 million animals or about eight per cent of the total number of pigs and cattle in the country Photo: ALAMY

A net importer of beef, pork and chicken, South Korea is also fighting against rising cases of bird flu.

Hundreds of thousands of authorities have been working day and night to slaughter the animals, and vaccinating more than 1.2 million animals, mostly cattle, the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

The outbreaks since last November have led prices of beef and pork to climb in South Korea and might lead to more imports of beef from the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

“Beef supply is getting instable as slaughter places are shut down and transferring animals are blocked due to foot-and-mouth disease,” a separate statement from the ministry said.

“Beef prices are expected to continue rising through a high-demand season of Chinese New Year holidays,” it added, referring to the country’s biggest holidays from Feb. 2 to 6.

Retail prices of beef and pork on Thursday soared 10 and 11 per cent respectively from Wednesday, the ministry said.

Continue reading »

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Jan 03

South Korea, already battling a serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in livestock, yesterday confirmed an outbreak of bird flu at poultry farms.

The H5N1 avian influenza virus has been detected in ducks in the city of Cheonan, South Chungcheong province, and in chickens in the city of Iksan in North Jeolla province, the Agriculture Ministry said.

It said that in response the authorities have culled affected poultry and quarantined duck and chicken breeding farms in affected areas.

The government has raised the bird flu alert to “caution” from “attention”, while its foot-and-mouth disease alert remained at the highest level, the ministry added. So far, 540,000 pigs, cattle and other livestock have been culled.

South Korea has no human cases of the high-severity bird flu strain. It has had three outbreaks of the virus at poultry farms in the past 10 years, the ministry said.

Continue reading »

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Dec 20

Related articles:

- North Korea says it will strike South if drill goes ahead (Reuters):

SEOUL/BEIJING (Reuters) – North Korea said on Friday it would strike again at the South if a live-fire drill by Seoul on a disputed island went ahead, with an even stronger response than last month’s shelling that killed four people.

- North Korea threatens South with nuclear war (Independent):

North Korea warned today that US-South Korean co-operation could bring nuclear war to the region.

- Nuclear War Between Koreas: Brought To You By The US Government



South Korean troops geared up today for artillery drills on a border island shelled by North Korea last month despite Pyongyang’s threat to retaliate again, as Russia and China expressed concerns over rising tensions on the divided peninsula.

The North warned yesterday that it would strike even harder than before if the South went ahead with its planned drills. Four people died last month in the North’s attack on Yeonpyeong Island near the tense sea border.

The US supports South Korea, saying the country has a right to conduct such a military exercise. However, Russia’s Foreign Ministry expressed its “extreme concern” yesterday over the drills and urged South Korea to cancel them to prevent a further escalation of tensions.

China, the North’s key ally, also said it is firmly opposed to any acts that could worsen already-high tensions on the Korean peninsula. “In regard to what could lead to worsening the situation or any escalation of acts of sabotage of regional peace and stability, China is firmly and unambiguously opposed,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement today.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said today that marines would go ahead with the drills as scheduled and that the military was ready to respond to any possible provocation.

“We have a right to conduct our own military drills,” a Joint Chiefs of Staff officer said.

Continue reading »

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Dec 17

Thousands of South Korean men too busy to date are finding solace in a new piece of technology – an iPhone application that offers lonely souls a virtual girlfriend.


The application – devised by South Korean company Nabix – attracted 80,000 downloads a day during the initial free launch period Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Honey It’s Me! application enables users to interact with the voice of a twenty-something virtual girlfriend called Mina.

The application allows singletons to receive four video calls from Mina a day as well as a shower of love messages from a selection of 100.

A Korean model posed for the video calls and recorded an array of “girlfriend” comments, which range from “Are you still sleeping? Time for breakfast!” to “Good night, sweet dreams”.

The application – devised by South Korean company Nabix – attracted 80,000 downloads a day during the initial free launch period and currently costs a daily fee of £1.26 ($1.99).

Explaining why he created the device, Kim Yoon-Kak, head of Nabix, said: “I’ve developed this application to console people for their loneliness.” The company is planning to tap into a global market of lonely hearts with new versions to be launched in English, Chinese and Japanese, with an Android version also in the pipelines.

Meanwhile, it appears that the reception of the virtual girlfriend technology in South Korea has been increasingly positive among the numerous men too busy with work to find a real life girlfriend.

One user stated on Twitter: “It’s a blessing for all single men.” Another added: “Mina called me while I was working overtime. This is just great.”

Continue reading »

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Nov 29

North Korea has placed surface-to-surface missiles on launch pads in the Yellow Sea and the reclusive state had moved surface-to-air missiles near frontline areas.

The reports came as the United States and South Korea began joint military exercises in waters west of the Korean Peninsula in the face of opposition by China and threats of “consequences” from Pyongyang.

South Korea also ordered residents of an island shelled by North Korea last Tuesday to evacuate to shelters, according to witnesses.

“They ordered people here to move to shelters saying there is an emergency situation,” the witness said, adding there were no details available.

The North’s official KCNA news agency warned of retaliatory action if its territory is violated.

“We will deliver a brutal military blow on any provocation which violates our territorial waters,” KCNA said.

Continue reading »

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Nov 23

N. Korean artillery attack leaves island ablaze

Pyongyang says South fired first during military drills


YTN television said up to 70 houses were on fire on Yeonpyeong, about 75 miles west of the capital Seoul.

SEOUL — Fires were burning out of control Tuesday after a South Korean island was hit by dozens of artillery shells fired by North Korea.

YTN said at least 200 North Korean shells hit Yeonpyeong island. Most of the shells landed on a South Korean military base there.

South Korea returned fire and scrambled F-16 fighter jets, military officials said. At least one South Korean marine was killed and 13 wounded, the military said.

However, North Korea’s state-run KCNA news service said that South Korea fired first, Reuters reported.

The clash came amid South Korean military drills in the area. North Korea’s military had sent a message to South Korea’s armed forces early Tuesday to demand that the drills stop, but the South continued them, according to an official at South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

During the drills, South Korean marines on the island shot artillery toward southern waters, away from North Korea, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of military rules.

The skirmish also follows high tension over North Korea’s claim that it has a new uranium enrichment facility and just over a month after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il unveiled his youngest son Kim Jong Un as his heir apparent.

Continue reading »

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Jul 24

Pyongyang ramps up the tension over this weekend’s joint US-South Korean wargames in the Sea of Japan

north-korea-threatens-nuclear-war-over-us-south-korean-wargames
South Koreans take a look at the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington at Busan. the ship is about to take part in large-scale military exercises in the Sea of Japan (AP)

North Korea has threatened to use its “nuclear deterrent” in response to planned military exercises by the US and South Korea this weekend.

The regime promised a “retaliatory sacred war” amid increased tensions on the Korean peninsula over the March sinking of a South Korean navy vessel, which Seoul and Washington blame on Pyongyang.

North Korea’s National Defence Commission (NDC), headed by leader Kim Jong-il, issued the threat today for what it called a second “unpardonable” provocation for again being blamed for the incident in which 46 sailors died.

“The army and people of the [North] will legitimately counter with their powerful nuclear deterrence the largest-ever nuclear war exercises,” the commission said in a statement run on the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

Pyongyang routinely threatens war when its southern neighbour and the US hold joint military exercises. South Korea’s defence ministry said no unusual North Korean military movements were detected.

Operation Invincible Spirit, which begins tomorrow, will involve 8,000 US and South Korean troops, 200 aircraft and 20 ships, including the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the USS George Washington.

“The more desperately the US imperialists brandish their nukes and the more zealously their lackeys follow them, the more rapidly the [North's] nuclear deterrence will be bolstered up along the orbit of self-defence and the more remote the prospect for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula will be become,” the NDC statement said. Continue reading »

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Jul 13

South Korea has deployed sentry robots capable of detecting and killing intruders along the heavily-fortified border with North Korea, officials said on Tuesday.

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North Korean soldiers look across the Demilitarized Zone towards South Korea Photo: EPA

Two robots with surveillance, tracking, firing and voice recognition systems were integrated into a single unit, a defence ministry spokesman said.

The 400 million won (£220,000) unit was installed last month at a guard post in the central section of the Demilitarised Zone which bisects the peninsula, Yonhap news agency said.

It quoted an unidentified military official as saying the ministry would deploy sentry robots along the world’s last Cold War frontier if the test was successful.

The robot uses heat and motion detectors to sense possible threats, and alerts command centres, Yonhap said.

If the command centre operator cannot identify possible intruders through the robot’s audio or video communications system, the operator can order it to fire its gun or 40mm automatic grenade launcher. Continue reading »

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May 28

Recommended reading:

- Nuclear War Between Koreas: Brought To You By The US Government


south-korean-patrol-vessels-stage-an-anti-submarine-exercise
South Korean patrol vessels stage an anti-submarine exercise Thursday off the western coastal town of Taean.

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — North Korea reacted to a South Korean anti-submarine exercise early Thursday by saying it would meet “confrontation with confrontation” and war with “all-out war,” according to North Korean state-run media.

“Now that the puppet group challenged the DPRK [North Korea] formally and blatantly, the DPRK will react to confrontation with confrontation, and to a war with an all-out war,” according the KCNA news agency.

The news agency referred to South Korean leaders as a “group of traitors” and said they would experience “unheard of disastrous consequences” if they misunderstand North Korea’s will. Continue reading »

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May 26

nuclear-war-between-koreas_brought-to-you-by-the-us-government

Kim Jong-Il has put North Korean troops on combat alert and threatened military action if the South trespasses in its waters as global stock markets freak out at the prospect of a war which, if it occurs, can be blamed on the U.S. government’s history of arming the Stalinist dictator with nuclear weapons.

Korean markets plunged 3.3 per cent overnight as investors were spooked at escalating tensions between the two countries following South Korea’s allegation that the North was responsible for the March 26 torpedoing of one of its warships

Kim Jong-il responded to the charge by putting his military on combat alert, telling them to “prepare for war,” and threatening action if South Korea trespasses in its waters off the peninsula’s west coast.

On Monday, President Obama also told the U.S. military to prepare for conflict as it plans to carry out anti-submarine and other naval exercises with South Korea.

As we have documented, North Korea’s nuclear belligerency was almost exclusively a creation of the U.S. government in that they armed the Stalinist state both directly and indirectly through global arms dealers under their control, namely Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan. While labeling North Korea as part of the “axis of evil,” the U.S. government was enthusiastically funding its nuclear weapons program at every stage.

Both the Clinton and Bush administrations played a key role in helping Kim Jong-Il develop North Korea’s nuclear prowess from the mid 1990′s onwards.

Just as with Saddam Hussein’s chemical and biological weapons program, it was Donald Rumsfeld who played a key role in arming Kim-Jong-Il.

Rumsfeld was man who presided over a $200 million dollar contract to deliver equipment and services to build two light water reactor stations in North Korea in January 2000 when he was an executive director of ABB (Asea Brown Boveri). Wolfram Eberhardt, a spokesman for ABB confirmed that Rumsfeld was at nearly all the board meetings during his involvement with the company. Continue reading »

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May 20

North Korea defied condemnation from the rest of the world over the unprovoked sinking of a South Korean warship, and pledged “all-out war” if any retaliation was taken.

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The salvaged South Korean 1,200-tonne corvette Cheonan (REUTERS)

In the most serious attack for over 20 years, a North Korean torpedo was found to be responsible for the sinking of the Cheonan, a 300-ft South Korean warship, which sank on March 26 with the loss of 46 lives.

An official report, carried out by South Korean investigators together with teams from the United States, Britain, Australia and Sweden, said the evidence pointed “overwhelmingly to the conclusion that the torpedo was fired by a North Korean submarine.” It added: “There is no other plausible explanation.”

South Korea vowed “resolute countermeasures” against the North and is likely to appeal to the United Nations for further sanctions on the rogue state. Continue reading »

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May 05

North Korea has completed deployment of about 50,000 special forces along the border with South Korea, amid high tensions over the sinking of a Seoul warship.

The deployment began two or three years ago and seven 7,000-strong divisions are now in place, an unidentified senior government official told Yonhap news agency.

“The threat that North Korea may infiltrate special forces for limited warfare has become real,” the agency quoted a separate senior defence ministry official as saying.

The defence ministry refused to confirm the Yonhap report, but President Lee Myung-Bak discussed the North’s special warfare capabilities at an unprecedented meeting Tuesday with 150 top officers from all armed services.

At the meeting, Mr Lee hinted strongly that the North was involved in the sinking of a South Korean warship with the loss of 46 lives near the disputed sea border on March 26. Continue reading »

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Jan 04

forbidden-city-in-beijing-on-jan-4-2010
A worker de-ices a walkway at the Forbidden City in Beijing on Jan. 4, 2010. (Bloomberg)

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) — The heaviest snowfall to hit Beijing and Seoul in more than half a century grounded hundreds of planes in the two capitals as temperatures in northern China were set to fall to the lowest in 50 years.

Beijing Capital International Airport canceled more than 500 flights today as of 2 p.m. local time, China Central Television reported. Gimpo Airport in western Seoul grounded 187 flights as of 2 p.m. local time, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said in a statement.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called on local authorities to ensure food supplies, agricultural production and the safety of transportation, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. South Korea mobilized 5,000 soldiers to remove snow from blocked roads, Yonhap News reported today.

Suburban areas of Beijing received more than 33 centimeters (13 inches) of snow yesterday, the Beijing Daily reported. It was the capital’s heaviest daily snowfall since 1951, Xinhua reported.

Among those affected by the weather were Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang and Hong Kong Monetary Authority Chief Executive Norman Chan. Their flight to Beijing last night was delayed by heavy snow and the visit was canceled this morning, Patrick Wong, Tsang’s press officer, said by telephone.

About 90 percent of Beijing’s more than 1,300 flights yesterday were canceled or delayed, according to state broadcaster CCTV. At least three airports in China’s Shandong province were closed today due to the blizzards, it reported.

Schools Closed Continue reading »

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Nov 10

south-korea-admiral
South Korean Rear Adm. Lee Ki Sik speaks in Seoul on Tuesday about the clash of North and South Korean navies

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — North and South Korean naval forces exchanged fire on Tuesday in disputed waters, a South Korean defense official said.

The two Koreas clashed off their west coast, the first such incident in seven years, each blaming the other for the incident.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak convened an emergency security meeting and urged the military to to ensure that the naval clash did not escalate into something greater, Yonhap reported.

Related articles: Navies of 2 Koreas exchange fire (AP)

South Korea issued three verbal warnings to ship from the Communist north once the vessel had crossed a demarcation line late Tuesday morning, said Rear Adm. Lee Ki Sik of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The South Koreans then fired a warning shot but when the North Korean vessel continued southward, the South Koreans opened fire.

The North Koreans returned fire before heading back, their ship damaged in the exchange, Lee said. There were no South Korean casualties, Lee said.

U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit South Korea as part of a trip to Asia beginning Thursday.

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Oct 25

association-of-southeast-asian-nations
Graphic highlighting facts on the 10-member states of the ASEAN national grouping

HUA HIN, Thailand — Asian leaders will pledge to overcome their differences and push towards the formation of an EU-style community as they wrap up an annual summit in Thailand on Sunday.

Human rights issues, border disputes and signs of apathy over a meeting that was twice delayed by protests have at times marred the gathering of leaders from a region that contains more than half the world’s population.

But plans to increase the region’s global clout by building closer ties eventually dominated the three-day meeting of Southeast Asian nations along with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Heads of state at the Thai beach resort of Hua Hin will sign a raft of agreements Sunday on boosting economic and political integration and cooperating on subjects including climate change and disaster management.

Japan’s proposal for a so-called East Asian community will be up for further discussion, after Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said the region should “have the aspiration that East Asia is going to lead the world.”

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is also set to restate its commitment to create its own political and economic community by 2015.

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Oct 08

The Philippines is intervening to prop up the US dollar. That is a good one. :-)

The Philippines should have bought gold and silver, instead of very expensive toilet paper.


us-dollar

SINGAPORE — The U.S. dollar continued to tumble against most Asian currencies Thursday, prompting a wave of foreign-exchange intervention by central banks in South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and Thailand seeking to limit damage to their export industries.

Traders said the dollar selloff is unlikely to fade soon, given the prospect for a long period of low U.S. interest rates to support a sluggish U.S. economy and increasing signs central banks in Asia will begin tightening monetary policies in the months ahead.

Surprisingly strong employment data in Australia bolstered speculation the Reserve Bank of Australia — which Tuesday became the first among Group of 20 central banks to raise rates — will deliver another increase before the end of the year. The news pushed the Australia dollar up sharply, and intensified buying of Asian currencies against the U.S. dollar.

“Investors need little encouragement to extend selling of dollars, but received two further green lights today in the form of ongoing weak U.S. consumer credit and a stunningly strong Australian employment report,” said Patrick Bennett, a strategist with Societe Generale.

The U.S. dollar’s downside against Asian currencies is “being slowed by intervention, but consolidation or rallies are opportunities to establish or add to shorts,” he said.

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May 29

US and South Korean forces raised their military alert level today, a day after North Korea renounced the 55-year-old truce on the peninsula and threatened war if its ships are searched for weapons of mass destruction.

Three days after North Korea carried out an underground nuclear test, the US-South Korea combined forces command moved its level of surveillance to the second-highest level on its scale of five, the highest since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006.

Meanwhile, the North’s state media accused the allies of plotting an attack, and warned that small incidents could have disastrous consequences. “The northward invasion scheme by the US and the South Korean puppet regime has exceeded the alarming level,” the Workers’ Newspaper said in an editorial. “A minor accidental skirmish can lead to a nuclear war.”

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May 27

North Korea has threatened to respond with a ‘powerful’ military strike against its southern neighbour if Seoul takes part in a US-led initiative to intercept shipments suspected of being involved in the building of weapons of mass destruction.


Source: YouTube


Related article: North Korea Threatens Armed Strike, End to Armistice:

May 27 (Bloomberg) — North Korea threatened a military response to South Korean participation in a U.S.-led program to seize weapons of mass destruction, and said it will no longer abide by the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War.

“The Korean People’s Army will not be bound to the Armistice Agreement any longer,” the official Korean Central News Agency said in a statement today. Any attempt to inspect North Korean vessels will be countered with “prompt and strong military strikes.” South Korea’s military said it will “deal sternly with any provocation” from the North.

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May 27

north-korean-soldiers
North Korean soldiers walk along the banks of the Yalu River near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong May 27, 2009. REUTERS/Jacky Chen

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is taking security measures as a precaution against the possibility tension over North Korea could escalate into nuclear war, news agencies quoted officials as saying on Wednesday.

Interfax quoted an unnamed security source as saying a stand-off triggered by Pyongyang’s nuclear test on Monday could affect the security of Russia’s far eastern regions, which border North Korea.

“The need has emerged for an appropriate package of precautionary measures,” the source said.

“We are not talking about stepping up military efforts but rather about measures in case a military conflict, perhaps with the use of nuclear weapons, flares up on the Korean Peninsula,” he added. The official did not elaborate further.

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