Last I was there it was sweet-nothings in the ear....
Seoul, Tokyo strike ‘comfort women’ deal
That didn't excite me, sorry.
"Asian leaders face fury on brothel pack" by Jonathan Soble New York Times December 30, 2015
TOKYO —President Park Geun-hye of South Korea and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan had long cultivated reputations as hard-liners in their countries’ recurring battles over history.
While Park had demanded Japan do more to atone for its 35 years of colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula, the apparently sudden change of course by Park and Abe has left some feeling betrayed and analysts said it carried unequal political risks, with Park facing a fiercer backlash, in part because the surviving women themselves said they had no voice in shaping the diplomatic deal.
Then who did -- and why?
“Which country do you belong to?” Lee Yong-su, 88, shouted at Lim Sung-nam, the first vice foreign minister of South Korea, as he entered a shelter for the women in Seoul, a visit arranged by Park’s government as part of a damage-control effort, according to the Yonhap News Agency. “You could have at least let us know what kind of deal you were striking with Japan.”
Only 46 Korean women who said they had been forced to work in the brothels are still alive, and they are reported to object that the money offered by Japan did not take the form of official reparations, which would carry an acknowledgment of legal as well as moral responsibility, but instead were presented as a humanitarian contribution.
And although the two governments did not see the amount paid as being as important as putting the issue to rest, many found the $8.3 million — roughly $180,000 per survivor — insulting.
“That’s really stingy,” said Lee Sung-yoon, a professor in Korean studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “You know what you get for a personal injury lawsuit after spilling hot coffee on yourself in America?”
He continued: “Victims of systematic and widespread rape or, in today’s parlance, crime against humanity, deserve much more than that.”
The two governments may be hoping that pragmatic considerations outweigh opposition. The agreement was welcomed by the United States, for whom both South Korea and Japan are vital allies. All three countries are eager to improve security cooperation.
Okay. This deal was pushed by the U.S. so that South Korea and Japan would move closer together. That raises the question of what military action the U.S. is contemplating in the region, doesn't it?
"Cracks appear in Japan-South Korea deal on war-time sex slaves" by Anna Fifield Washington Post December 31, 2015
TOKYO — Opposition on both sides is threatening to derail it.
‘‘It’s remarkable how quickly a ‘final and irreversible’ agreement seems to be crumbling from both ends,’’ said John Delury, an international relations expert at Yonsei University in Seoul.
Yes, how remarkable that the publics in both countries are rejecting this deal that looks like it is being forced down their throats by the U.S. (if you read through all the code$peak propaganda).
Although the numbers are highly contentious, independent historians have concluded that as many as 200,000 women and girls - from occupied countries, including Korea, China, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations - were coerced by the Japanese Imperial Army to work as sex slaves during the war.
Although Japan officially apologized and set up a fund for the surviving women in the mid-1990s, South Koreans have been incensed by comments made by associates of Shinzo Abe, who returned as Japan’s prime minister three years ago. They have downplayed the numbers and suggested the women were simply prostitutes, enraging South Koreans, many of whom believe Japan has not properly atoned for its colonial actions.
The resulting tensions had seen relations between Japan and South Korea, the United States’ two key allies in Asia, plumb new depths.
But while Washington has welcomed the deal as a harbinger of better relations between its allies, the deal quickly proved controversial here.
Something about the removal of the statue causing all the fuss (uh-huh).
In Japan, Abe’s conservative government has been sharply criticized since the prime minister posted a photo on Facebook of himself toasting the year with his advisers, while in South Korea, the victims and their supporters have been sharply critical, but the general public seems more willing to accept the deal. Almost 51 percent of the respondents to a Realmeter poll said they disapproved of the agreement, while 43 percent supported it....
Oh, they still disapprove but more willing to accept. Whatever!
NYT, WaPo, whose next?
"Kim Yang Gon, at 73; N. Korea’s top official on S. Korea relations" by Hyung-Jin Kim Associated Press December 31, 2015
SEOUL — North Korea’s top official in charge of relations with South Korea died in a traffic accident, the country’s state media announced Wednesday, potentially dimming the prospect for ties between the rival countries. He was 73.
This fits a pattern. Wherever peace seems likely to break out, something happens -- be it India-Pakistan, Iran, wherever!
Kim Yang Gon, head of the United Front Department at the ruling Workers’ Party, died Tuesday morning, the Korean Central News Agency reported. It said a state funeral will be held Thursday but gave no further details about his death.
While North Korea’s road conditions are poor, the lack of detail helped feed speculation in South Korean media that Mr. Kim’s death was suspicious, though South Korean officials declined to comment. Similar speculation arose in past years following reported traffic deaths of high-level North Korean officials. It is almost impossible to verify what is happening among the North’s secretive, authoritarian ruling elite.
They are describing America and the ma$ters for which they are running cover, not North Korea! Beyond that, think of the GALL!
Here we have a media in this country that covers up such things. Think Michael Hastings first, whatever happened there, and then think of all the strange and untimely 'suicides' and such in the bank fraud cases and other such sensitive matters like 9/11. Can go back to the astronomical odds regarding JFK witnesses being offed over a period of five years after the assassination. You would have a better chance at winning Saturday's Powerball, folks. That's not coincidence; that's conspiracy.
Anyhow, this slop war propaganda -- in an obituary, no less -- is why I'm so turned of the the American war pre$$ these days.
Before his death, there had been no signs that Mr. Kim was engaged in any major factional feuding with other officials. He was among officials who most frequently accompanied North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, during his inspection visits to army units and factories, a strong indication that he was one of the leader’s trusted aides.
Now I would like to raise another point, one which will not broached by the Mockingbird media: the North Korean security screen suffered deep penetration by the CIA. The death is suspicious. That likely means it was some wet work assassination disguised as an accident.
Keep in mind my theory and thought for later.
Wednesday’s KCNA dispatch described him as the leader’s ‘‘closest comrade-in-arms and steadfast revolutionary comrade’’ who had made ‘‘dedicated’’ efforts to push for unification with South Korea.
(This blog editor's heart sinks lower seeing another peace effort sabotaged; however, he knows the world knows now and it fills him with hope)
Analysts in Seoul say strained ties between the rival Koreas could continue following the unexpected death of Mr. Kim, who had long handled relations with South Korea. KCNA did not say who would replace him. Earlier this month, the rival Koreas ended rare high-level talks without any agreement.
‘‘I worry that we cannot avoid long suspension of a dialogue between South and North Korea’’ following Mr. Kim’s death, said Cheong Seong-chang, an analyst at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea.
Gee, who would want to slow down peace talks?
In August, Kim Yang Gon attended marathon talks at the Korean border that defused a military standoff triggered by land mine explosions blamed on North Korea that maimed two South Korean soldiers. The two Koreas subsequently resumed their first reunions of families separated by war since early 2014, but hopes of improved ties subsided after this month’s inter-Korean talks failed to reach any breakthrough.
Well, at least some people are happy.
South Korean Unification Minister Hong Yong Pyo sent condolences Wednesday, according to Hong’s ministry. South Korea has previously offered similar condolences when senior North Korean officials died.
Kim Yang Gon visited South Korea in 2009 to pay his respects to the late President Kim Dae Jung, who held the first inter-Korean summit with Kim Jong Il in 2000. He was believed to have played a key role in arranging a second summit in 2007. Most rapprochement agreements signed after the two summit talks remain stalled or have never been implemented after animosities flared again between the rivals.
Now for the ejaculation:
North Korea says it conducted successful hydrogen bomb test
Okay, given the above I'm thinking the North Koreans are feeling a bit threatened. That's why they did this, if in fact they did what is claimed in my war pre$$.
"North Korean leader talks war but doesn’t comment on nukes" by Kim Tong-Tyung Associated Press January 01, 2016
[Throughout its post-WW II history, North Korea attacked no other nation, threatens none now, will respond appropriately to defend its national security like other nations. America wages endless wars of aggression against one country after another. Its imperial agenda threatens world peace. Its nuclear weapons put humanity’s survival at risk. Provocations force North Korea to protect its national security by all means possible, including having a nuclear deterrent - Washington along with its Asian and European allies condemned North Korea’s test, calling it a grave provocation, a threat to international peace and security - ignoring their full responsibility for stoking world tensions, risking possible nuclear war. Bashing North Korea diverts attention from humanity’s real threat - US-led NATO’s hegemonic agenda, targeting all independent nations for regime change, waging endless wars of aggression, risking nuclear annihilation. America is the problem, not North Korea.] --sjlendman
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in an annual New Year’s speech Friday that he was ready for war if provoked by ‘‘invasive’’ outsiders, but he stayed away from past threats involving the country’s nuclear weapons and long-range missile ambitions.
His comments stuck to well-worn propaganda meant to lift his image for the elite residents of one of the world’s poorest, most closed countries, and could be read as an attempt to keep ties with rivals Washington and Seoul from getting worse so he can try to turn around a miserable economy and further solidify his leadership.
We have a guy seeing out his last year over here -- God forbid it is not his last-- who is suffering the same problem and has a whole ma$$ media apparatus to help him.
While largely repeating the daily propaganda in state-controlled media, Kim’s words will be pored over by analysts for hints about the country’s intentions for the coming year.
Noting the pot-hollering-kettle crap of has become that, yeah.
There is little public information about the inner workings and policy goals of North Korea’s government, which considers democratic South Korea and its ally the United States its enemies and is pursuing a long-range missile that could carry a nuclear warhead to America’s mainland....
Did you get that, American?
Better preempt the Korean, although I thought it was going to be an Iranian bomb they never had as the narrative.
Some observers had predicted that Kim would avoid overly provocative statements because the county wants to improve relations with South Korea and also China, its most important economic and strategic ally. Ties between North Korea and China have been cool since Kim took power in 2011, but seemed to improve when a senior Chinese official attended a high-profile military parade in Pyongyang in October.
I can see why my print copy cut that. Sort of wrecks the whole thing.
Kim said he was open to talks with anyone truly interested in ‘‘reconciliation and peace’’ on the Korean Peninsula, and ready to ‘‘aggressively’’ work to improve ties with the South. But a far larger part of his speech on North Korea’s state TV was devoted to criticism of Seoul’s approach to inter-Korean talks and its alliance with Washington.
Rodman was pilloried for such things.
He vowed to improve North Korea’s struggling economy and living standards, and also called for the military to advance its technologies to develop more ‘‘diversified attack means.’’
Did he lift that from an Obummer speech?
Analysts say Kim likely wants a push for tangible diplomatic and economic achievements before a convention of the ruling Workers’ Party in May, the party’s first since 1980, when he is widely expected to announce major state policies and shake up the country’s political elite to strengthen his position.
The rival Koreas have shown mixed progress in reconciliation efforts since stepping away from a military standoff in August, which started when land mine explosions that Seoul blamed on Pyongyang maimed two South Korean soldiers. The countries ended rare high-level talks last month with no breakthroughs.
Didn't even want to give that print part but it came with the web additions.
And the explosion after the tensing:
"Condemnation, doubt greet North Korea’s H-bomb announcement" by Foster Klug Associated Press January 07, 2016
SEOUL — North Korea’s declaration that it had tested a hydrogen bomb for the first time was greeted with widespread condemnation — but also skepticism — as world powers vowed Wednesday to punish the impoverished and defiant nation with new international sanctions.
The isolated country’s fourth nuclear test since 2006 was a ‘‘reckless challenge to international norms of behavior and the authority of the UN Security Council,’’ said Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of Britain.
Of course, Britain's program is just a deterrent.
Talk about double standards and distortions!
The council met in an emergency session and called the test ‘‘a clear violation’’ of its resolutions. It agreed to start work immediately on a resolution for new sanctions.
The international community must respond with ‘‘steadily increasing pressure’’ and rigorous enforcement of existing measures, said Samantha Power, the US ambassador.
What is odd here is that her nation used nuclear weapons against the Japanese.
What an odious creature is she.
And remember, this is coming out at a time when Kim Jong Un just had a close peace adviser meet with death under suspicious circumstances. Think he is sending a message back saying better not try to kill me or invade my land?
Four rounds of UN sanctions have aimed at reining in the North’s nuclear and missile development, but Pyongyang has ignored them and moved ahead with programs to modernize its ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
Of course, when Israel does such things that's okay.
The last sanctions resolution in 2013 was co-sponsored by the United States and China, and both countries will be key to an agreement on a new one. Whether any new sanctions can slow North Korea’s nuclear program, however, remains to be seen.
There was a burst of jubilation and pride in North Korea’s capital of Pyongyang, where a TV anchor said Wednesday’s test of a miniaturized hydrogen bomb had been a ‘‘perfect success’’ that elevated the country’s ‘‘nuclear might to the next level.’’
Honestly, they should feel that way regardless of what you and I think of nuclear deterrence. That is quite an achievement for a small little nation like North Korea.
A successful test would mark a major and unanticipated advance for the North’s still-limited nuclear arsenal and push its scientists and engineers closer to their goal of building a warhead small enough to place on a missile that can reach the US mainland.
Okay, I'm scared now.
But an early analysis by the US government was ‘‘not consistent with the claims that the regime has made of a successful hydrogen bomb test,’’ White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
He added that nothing has happened in the last 24 hours to change Washington’s assessment of Pyongyang’s technical or military capabilities. The United States is still doing the work needed to learn more about the North’s test, he added.
Actually, they missed Russia getting the bomb, China getting the bomb, Israel getting the bomb, Pakistan getting the bomb, India getting the bomb, so I'll grain of salt that.
The last thing I'm believing is U.S. intelligence promoted by a pre$$ that is an arm of U.S. intelligence.
‘‘We’re trying to run down their assertion,’’ Vice President Joe Biden told a local TV station in Virginia. ‘‘We are determining whether the claim is accurate.’’
Hours earlier, South Korea’s spy agency said it thought the estimated explosive yield from the blast was much smaller than what even a failed hydrogen bomb detonation would produce.
So it was a bluff?
South Korean lawmaker Lee Cheol Woo said he was told in a briefing by the National Intelligence Service that Pyongyang may not have conducted a hydrogen bomb test given the relatively small size of the seismic wave reported.
An estimated explosive yield of 6.0 kilotons and a quake with a magnitude of 4.8 (the United States reported 5.1) were detected, Lee said he was told.
So what was it, a HAARP?
That’s smaller than the estimated yield of 7.9 kilotons and 4.9-magnitude quake reported after a 2013 nuclear test, he said, and only a fraction of the hundreds of kilotons that a successful hydrogen bomb test would usually yield. Even a failed hydrogen bomb detonation typically yields tens of kilotons, the intelligence service told Lee, who sits on Parliament’s intelligence committee.
A miniaturized hydrogen bomb can trigger a weak quake, but only the United States and Russia have such weapons, Lee cited the intelligence service as saying.
Like something that could be planted in a city and used for a false flag (or to drop WTC towers into their own footprints?).
While also noting the quake was likely too small for a hydrogen bomb test, Jaiki Lee, a professor of nuclear engineering at Seoul’s Hanyang University, said the North could have experimented with a ‘‘boosted’’ hybrid bomb that uses some nuclear fusion fuel along with more conventional uranium or plutonium fuel.
Washington and nuclear experts have been skeptical of past North Korean claims about hydrogen bombs, which are much more powerful and much more difficult to make than atomic bombs.
A confirmed test would further worsen already abysmal relations between Pyongyang and its neighbors and lead to a strong push for tougher sanctions.
I suppose that's the gamble Kim Jong Un felt he needed to take to preserve his life.
Despite the doubt, there was still high-level concern in Seoul and elsewhere.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter spoke by phone with his South Korean counterpart, Han Min-Koo, and they agreed a North Korean nuclear test would be an ‘‘unacceptable and irresponsible provocation,’’ according to Carter’s spokesman, Peter Cook.
Cook said Carter reaffirmed the US treaty commitment to defend South Korea, which he said includes ‘‘all aspects of the United States’ extended deterrence’’ — an allusion to a longstanding US promise to defend South Korea with nuclear weapons if necessary.
The North Koreans are being SET UP!
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing ‘‘firmly opposes’’ such a test and was monitoring the environment on its border with North Korea near the northeastern region where Pyongyang has conducted its nuclear tests.
That all they have to say about it? Certainly they could offer confirmation, etc? Why ask them in the next-to-lat paragraph?
It could be weeks before the true nature of the test is confirmed by outside experts, if they are able to do so at all.
Is it possible that there never was an explosion and all this is nothing but war-pushing lies?
Related: UN chief hopes for North Korea visit
Well, not now.
He's going to go to South Africa instead:
"North Korean diplomat expelled from South Africa for rhino horn trade" Associated Press December 23, 2015
JOHANNESBURG — A North Korean diplomat was expelled after he was arrested on a charge of illegal rhino horn trading, a spokesman for South Africa’s Department of International Relations said Wednesday.
The North Korean official was arrested in neighboring Mozambique in May on charges related to rhino horn smuggling, spokesman Nelson Kgwete said. The North Korean, who was not identified, was driving a car with a South African diplomatic registration.
Officials at the North Korean Embassy informed their South African counterparts that the diplomat was sent home on Dec. 11, Kgwete said.
The North Korean Embassy in South Africa declined to comment. ‘‘We don’t know about that. It’s none of your business,’’ said a man at the embassy in Pretoria, who refused to be named....
Looks like the diplomat was trying to find some aphrodisiacs.
As usual, they don't work:
"South Africans seek leader’s recall" New York Times News Service December 17, 2015
JOHANNESBURG — Thousands marched in major cities across South Africa on Wednesday to demand the resignation of President Jacob Zuma after an important government appointment last week that raised widespread concerns about his handling of the nation’s economy.
Protesters in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, and elsewhere called on the governing African National Congress to recall Zuma, whose tenure as president has been marred by a series of scandals and corruption, but the party has stood by him so far.
Yeah, turns out rule under black elites is no better than that of whites; is worse, in fact.
Last week, Zuma abruptly fired Nhlanhla Nene, his well-respected finance minister, who had clashed with the chairwoman of the state-owned South African Airways, Dudu Myeni, an ally of Zuma’s.
Zuma named David van Rooyen, a low-profile lawmaker, as Nene’s successor. But he was forced to replace van Rooyen with Pravin Gordhan, a former finance minister, four days later, after investors expressed concern about the independence of South Africa’s treasury and its currency, the rand, dropped sharply.
On Wednesday, Moody’s became the latest credit rating agency in recent days to lower its outlook on South Africa’s debt, from stable to negative.
When the bankers lose confidence in you they are sending you a message. It's time to go.
Time for me to go.
UPDATE: Dunkin’ looks to expand into South Africa