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Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category

Gold, Korea and bombs in Boston

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That’s quite a day today. First the price of gold continued to tumble, falling from around $1600 an ounce a couple days ago to 1360 as of now – the fastest, most violent and mostly unexplained drop in precious metals since about 30 years or so.

Later today, another threat of (nuclear) war from still-crazy North Korea, proclaiming:

N. KOREA SAYS RETALIATORY ACTION TO START WITHOUT NOTICE
N. KOREA TO START MILITARY ACTIONS IMMEDIATELY

Of course, today is also former “president” Kim Il-sung birthday and at least according to The Guardian there are for some reason no parades and other festivities. Since NK is kinda famous for their stupidly pompous parades and show of military force, there might actually be something to it… So let’s wait and see.

And a few moments later, reports come in from multiple explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line. Multiple dead, dozens wounded, chaos everywhere and half the US is once again shitting their pants they might be under some kind of terrorist attack. Than again, I guess 2-3 bombs set off during a public event like this make it a terrorist attack.

Now… is it homegrown terrorism by some lone wolf, a group of American nutjobs, the usual suspects from the middle east doing it for religious reasons or maybe it was actually a state-sponsored attack? An asymmetric kick-off by North Korea? Let’s wait and see – I just hope it isn’t the last one.

Written by mo

April 15th, 2013 at 9:30 pm

US amassing strategic bombers near North Korea

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Aw, shit… If initial reports by enthusiast plane spotters and aviation aficionados are correct, it looks like the US military is taking the latest threats by North Korea a bit more serious than the broader public knows.

According to The Aviationist, the latest addition to the US presence in the region apparently includes seven B-1 Lancer long range bombers. And according to some amateur radio interceptors possibly even the E-6 Mercury airborne command and control planes… used for “providing command and control of U.S. nuclear forces should ground-based control become inoperable”

That is after a show of force by having two B-2 stealth bomber drop dummy bombs on a bomb-range near the DMZ, deploying anti-ballistic missile defense and F-22 Raptors to Guam, while North Korea moves (long-range) missiles to the coast. And of course pretty much announcing a nuclear attack on the US a few days earlier.

As if mankind didn’t face enough problems already – reanimating the cold war era? Really?

Written by mo

April 5th, 2013 at 11:48 pm

North Korea approves nuclear strike on US

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Boy, that escalated quickly.
I mean, that really got out of hand fast…


SEOUL — The North Korean army said Thursday it had final approval to launch “merciless” military strikes on the United States, involving the possible use of “cutting-edge” nuclear weapons.

In a statement published by the official KCNA news agency, the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) said it was formally informing Washington that reckless US threats would be “smashed by… cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means”.

“The merciless operation of (our) revolutionary armed forces in this regard has been finally examined and ratified,” the statement said.

North Korea had threatened a “pre-emptive” nuclear strike against the United States a month ago, and last week the supreme army command ordered its strategic rocket units to combat status for strikes on the US mainland and US bases in Guam and Hawaii.

“The moment of explosion is approaching fast,” Thursday’s statement said, adding that a war could break out on the Korean peninsula “today or tomorrow”.

read more…

Following earlier today’s quote by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

WASHINGTON — North Korea’s threats and recent actions represent a “real and clear danger” to the United States as well as its allies South Korea and Japan, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday.

“They have nuclear capacity now, they have missile delivery capacity now,” Hagel said after giving a major strategy speech at the National Defense University, calling Pyongyang’s “bellicose dangerous rhetoric” problematic.

“We take those threats seriously, we have to take those threats seriously,” he added. “We are doing everything we can, working with the Chinese and others to defuse that situation on the peninsula.

“I hope the North will ratchet its very dangerous rhetoric down.”

read more…

In a rare show of force in the region, Washington has deployed nuclear-capable US B-52s, B-2 stealth bombers and two US destroyers to South Korean air and sea space.

Personally, I’m just glad I’m not directly in the line of fire between a psychotic country led by a mad man and this planets first and foremost military bully / superpower known for starting endlessly expensive wars mostly for shits and giggles. But that’s just me…

Written by mo

April 3rd, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Another one bites the dust: Kim Jong il

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I guess not everything is bad nowadays – turns out, Kim Jong il (aka Yuri Irsenovich Kim) finally died. According to Reuters:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il died on Saturday on a train trip, a tearful state television announcer, dressed in black, reported on Monday.

The announcer said that the 69-year old had died of physical and mental over-work on his way to give “field guidance”.

He had suffered a stroke in 2008, but appeared to have recovered.

The reclusive state had begun the process of transferring power to his son Kim Jong-un, believed to be in his late 20s.

Then again, nobody knows for sure what will happen next. South Korea put their army on high alert for now, just to be sure.

And just in case you were wondering, exactly how crazy a place North Korea is – the most excellent VICE Guide to North Korea:

Written by mo

December 19th, 2011 at 9:59 am

Posted in Asia

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Unnatural Selection: Missing females in Asia

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There are over 160 million females “missing” from Asia’s population. That’s more than the entire female population of the United States. And gender imbalance—which is mainly the result of sex selective abortion—is no longer strictly an Asian problem. In Azerbaijan and Armenia, in Eastern Europe, and even among some groups in the United States, couples are making sure at least one of their children is a son. So many parents now select for boys that they have skewed the sex ratio at birth of the entire world.

How did this occur? Why are women and girls becoming scarce in Asia and Eastern Europe as those regions develop? And what will happen when the world’s extra boys grow up?

Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men addresses these questions and more—and reveals some unexpected answers. Drawing on extensive reporting in China, India, Vietnam, South Korea, Albania, and other countries, Science magazine correspondent Mara Hvistendahl weaves together the story behind the world’s “missing” women into a riveting narrative. The cast of Unnatural Selection includes everyone from prostitutes, mail-order brides, and militant nationalists to geneticists, activists, and AIDS researchers—along with the California fertility doctors hard at work selling the world’s parents on the latest form of sex selection. But perhaps the book’s most disturbing finding is that the gender imbalance is not, as has often been argued, simply the outgrowth of entrenched sexism. In fact the story of the world’s missing women traces, in part, to the United States.

 

“Yes, it’s a rigorous exploration of the world’s ‘missing women,’ but it’s more than that, too: an extraordinarily vivid look at the implications of the problem. Hvistendahl writes beautifully, with an eye for detail but also the big picture.”
Stephen J. Dubner, coauthor of Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics

Written by mo

November 25th, 2011 at 1:10 am

Posted in Asia

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Current hyperinflation: Argentina, Belarus, Vietnam, Venezuela

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Save Capitalism recently posted an update on the currently most hyperinflationary nations, together with some nice graphs illustrating the misery.

Or to put it in numbers, using Belarus as an example:

Belarus reported consumer price inflation at hyperinflationary levels of 92.3% in October, up from 79.6% in September, and 36.2% in the year to June, according to the National Statistic Committee, meanwhile the government is forecasting 2011 inflation of as much as 39%.

The Bank also said that interest rates on liquidity management operations would also increase, with the overnight deposit rate rising to 30% and the overnight credit rate rising to 60%.  The USD-Belarussian ruble (BYR) exchange rate has doubled on the black market, rising to as much as 7,000 per dollar (approx. 6,000 in July), and currently trades around 8795 (5350 in September) against the US dollar, according to quotes from Yahoo Finance.

Written by mo

November 20th, 2011 at 11:49 pm

India: 32 Rupees ought to be enough

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The Indian government has announced a drop in the number of poor people in the country by massaging the criteria used to measure poverty. By its reckoning, less than a dollar a day is enough to get by

At the current rate of exchange, 32 rupees amount to about 64 cents. Still earning more than that a day? Then stop complaining… </sarcasm>

Written by mo

November 14th, 2011 at 12:54 am

Posted in Asia

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