Monday, December 22, 2014
Ah! It is possible to exasperate China.
When a retired Chinese general with impeccable Communist Party credentials recently wrote a scathing account of North Korea as a recalcitrant ally headed for collapse and unworthy of support, he exposed a roiling debate in China about how to deal with the country’s young leader, Kim Jong-un.
… “China has cleaned up the D.P.R.K.'s mess too many times,” General Wang wrote in The Global Times, using the initials of North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “But it doesn’t have to do that in the future.”
Of the government in North Korea, he said: “If an administration isn’t supported by the people, ‘collapse’ is just a matter of time.” Moreover, North Korea had violated the spirit of the mutual defense treaty with China, he said, by failing to consult China on its nuclear weapons program, which has created instability in Northeast Asia.
(Related) They probably would have skipped this anyway.
North Korea skipping UN Security Council meeting
… Instead of a showdown, North Korea says it will not attend Monday's meeting. It accuses the United States and its allies of using the human rights issue as a weapon to overthrow the leadership of the impoverished but nuclear-armed nation. It also calls the dozens of people who fled the North and aided the commission of inquiry "human scum."
(Related) Inevitable, as long as the public (voters) remain interested.
… “Congress should to schedule hearings for the American people to learn if other countries assisted North Korea in this attack, see what series of events led theater owners to self-censor, and to know the full threat of cyber warfare that is facing us,” Kirk said in a statement.
The perfect stocking stuffer?
Kim Jong Un game spoof 'Glorious Leader!' moving forward
The creator of a satirical video game that depicts Kim Jong Un as a gun-toting, unicorn-riding hero has no plans to cancel his zany creation following a cyberattack and threats of violence against Sony Pictures that the FBI has attributed to North Korea.
In fact, "Glorious Leader!" creator Jeff Miller is now more motivated than ever to finish his game.
… The retro-style, run-and-gun game comically puts players in the shoes of a super-powered Kim Jong Un as he battles waves of American drones and soldiers with weapons like a machine gun and bazooka. Miller is planning levels set in such locations as the streets of Pyongyang and atop Paektu Mountain. He's now planning another on the Sony Pictures backlot.
"We want the game to be a topical as possible," said Miller, adding he hasn't received any threats from North Korea or hackers and isn't afraid of any backlash because the game makes Kim Jong Un "look totally awesome."
It looks like the reaction to the Sony breach is mutating. Has the government ever “moved” against hackers, other than issuing arrest warrants?
President Obama should move have moved swiftly against North Korea following a cyberattack on Sony Pictures that has cost the company tens of millions of dollars and caused it to pull its controversial comedy, “The Interview,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Sunday.
(Related) What do they know that we don't know? Is this reality or rhetoric?
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday rejected President Obama’s description of North Korea’s hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment as “cyber vandalism,” saying the attack was “a new form of warfare.”
“I think, again, the president does not understand this is a manifestation of a new form of warfare,” McCain told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “When you destroy economies, [Huh? Bob] when you are able to impose censorship on the world — and especially the United States of America — it’s more than vandalism, it’s a new form of warfare that we’re involved in, and we need to react and react vigorously.”
These are most likely people who made their money before or in spite of Putin. If they stay, they risk having their wealth confiscated to plug holes in the Russian economy. (If they are Putin's pals, then Russia is closer to collapse than I thought.)
Super-Rich Russians Are Fleeing To The UK In Record Numbers
According to Home Office statistics, the number of Russians granted fast-track visas — given to those who will invest at least £2 million ($3.1 million) in the UK — jumped by 69% in 2014, compared with the previous year, The Sunday Times first reported.
… The Times notes a dramatic uptick in visa applications after March, when the first round of western sanctions were placed on Russia over its military action in Ukraine. The ruble's slide and falling oil prices are also to blame for the flight out of Russia.
Under the terms of Britain's Tier 1 Investor visa, recipients can stay for a maximum of 3 years and 4 months with an investment of £2 million or more in UK government bonds or UK-registered companies.
(Related) How bad is it?
Russian ruble's fall: A classic 'currency collapse'
… The fall of the ruble has been swift and devastating. Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics, referred to the currency’s plummet as “an unrecoverable spiral” in a note to clients on Tuesday. He argues that what we are seeing now is a classic “currency collapse,” brought on by both economic factors like sanctions and falling oil prices as well as financial factors like the Russian central bank printing money to help state-owned oil company Rosneft cover its debt denominated in foreign currencies.
What makes the situation in Russia that much worse is that the nation’s companies, both private and state-owned, hold $670 billion in debt denominated in foreign currencies. This debt is about one-third the size of the entire Russian economy, and it will become impossible for Russian companies to service it if the ruble continues to fall.
… The question now is whether the economic pain will convince Russia to back down, or double down, in Eastern Europe. Weinberg, for one, worries that Putin will instruct Russian companies to renege on their foreign obligations. This could spell bad news for banks and investors across Europe and the U.S. that have loaned money to Russian companies, and it could allow Russia’s financial instability to infect other emerging markets and the already shaky E.U. economy.
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In 2004, I left the corporate world and started this tech and how-to blog called Digital Inspiration. I have been blogging for more than 10 years now and lot of things have changed in these years.