North Koreans in misery as cash is culled
Shops and markets in North Korea have been closed and all cash transactions frozen after the Government’s shock announcement of a devaluation of its currency in an effort to crack down on the country’s burgeoning free-market economy.
In the capital, Pyongyang, yesterday only the few shops and restaurants permitted to trade in foreign currencies – patronised by the privileged elite and the city’s small foreign population – were open for business. All other enterprises and services based on cash, including markets, long-distance bus services, barbers’ shops, saunas and bath houses, were suspended until the revaluation of the won is completed next week.
There were reports of public outrage and confusion after the announcement of the measure, which requires North Koreans to swap existing won notes for new ones at an exchange rate of one to 100 – effectively knocking two zeroes off their value. Because of a cap of 100,000 won per family (£475 at the official exchange rate), anyone with significant holdings of cash will have their savings wiped out.
“Loud sounds of weeping in every house have not ceased since the news was released,” a South Korean website quoted an inhabitant of Sinuiju, a city on the border with China, as saying. “Weeping and fighting between couples has not stopped anywhere. The atmosphere of the city is terrible now.”
The website, dailynk.com, said that one elderly couple had killed themselves in North Hamgyong, a province adjacent to the Chinese border across which much illegal trading is carried out. It also reported anxiety among local officials that the currency revaluation would provoke civil unrest.
Many parents ask why they are saving the samples
AUSTIN (KXAN) – When Andrea Beleno was expecting her first child, she never dreamed his blood would become the focus of a federal lawsuit.
Neither did the other families who are suing the State of Texas to protect the medical privacy of their children.
Each year, more than 400,000 babies are born in Texas. State law mandates that before newborns leave the hospital, his or her heel will be pricked and five drops of blood are collected.
Two weeks later, their pediatrician collects another five drops of blood. The blood cards are submitted to the Texas Department of State Health Services as part of the Newborn Screening program. One or two drops are used to screen for a list of serious medical conditions.
The parents are not objecting to the screening. They object to what the state is doing with the leftover blood samples.
Beginning in 2002, the State began saving the leftover specimens, unbeknownst to parents and without their consent.
“It made me really mad that nobody asked me if they could keep my sons DNA,” said Andrea Beleno.
Her son’s DNA was among millions of banked samples stored at Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health.
“It makes me suspicious and I think there’s really no reason for the state to have a database of the blood of and the DNA of every single person who has been born here,” said Beleno. “There’s no legitimate reason for that.”
So many new developments: which story do we pick? Maybe best to summarise, instead. After all, it’s not like you’re going to find much of this reported in the MSM.
1. Australia’s Senate rejects Emissions Trading Scheme for a second time. Or: so turkeys don’t vote Christmas. Expect to see a lot more of this: politicians starting to become aware their party’s position on AGW is completely out of kilter with the public mood and economic reality. Kevin Rudd’s Emissions Trading Scheme – what Andrew Bolt calls “a $114 billion green tax on everything” – would have wreaked havoc on the coal-dependent Australian economy. That’s why several opposition Liberal frontbenchers resigned rather than vote with the Government on ETS; why Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull lost his job; and why the Senate voted down the ETS.
2. Danes caught fiddling their carbon credits. (Hat tip: Philip Stott) Carbon trading is the Emperor’s New Clothes of international finance. It was invented by none other than Ken Lay, whose Enron would currently be one of the prime beneficiaries in the global alternative energy market, if it hadn’t been shown to be (nearly) as fraudulent as the current AGW scam. It is a licence to fleece, cheat and rob. Still, jolly embarrassing for the Danes to get caught red handed, what with their hosting a conference shortly in which the world’s leaders will try, straight-faced, to persuade us that carbon emissions trading is the only viable way of defeating ManBearPig. ‘People don’t trade carbon because they are good people,’ exclaims Patrick Birley, the chief executive of the ICE European Climate Exchange
3. Hats off to The Daily Express – the first British newspaper to make the AGW scam its front page story.
The piece was inspired by another bravura performance by Professor Ian Plimer, the Aussie geologist who argues that climate change has been going on quite naturally, oblivious of human activity, for the last 4,567 million years.
Australian conservatives have shown the way by dumping the party leader who was in favour of massive carbon taxes and replacing him with one who stated last month that AGW is “crap.”
This makes Malcolm Turnbull, the suddenly-ex-leader of Australia’s Liberal party, the first major political victim of the Climategate furore. And his replacement Tony Abbott, the first politician to reap the benefits of the world’s growing scepticism towards ManBearPig. Of the three candidates, he was the only one committed to delaying the Australian government’s proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
The trouble began last week when Australia’s opposition Liberal party began haemorrhaging frontbenchers, all of them preferring to lose their jobs than be railroaded by their leader into voting with the Government on Kevin Rudd’s new carbon tax.
Aussie blog hero Andrew Bolt has the blow-by-blow details. Particularly stirring is his description of how the Liberals’ newly elected leader Abbott – the Mad Monk as the libtard MSM is already calling him – takes the floor and tells like it is about the ETS (Australia’s equivalent to Cap And Trade).
Already the lines are potent – real fighting words from the Liberals at last: Rudd’s great green tax “is really an energy taxation scheme.” In fact, it is “a $120 billion tax on the Australian public, and that is just for starters.” Power prices will go up, for instance. “We just can’t wave that through the Parliament.”
To the public, Rudd’s scheme is “a great big tax to create a great big slush fund… run by a giant bureaucracy”. Already Rudd has overseen “a waste of money … worse than Whitlam”.
Too bloody right mate! (As they say in Australia where “bloody” isn’t a swear word s0 I’m allowed to use it as much as I like.)
“We are strong and persistent.”
No, Dubai is weak and dependent. Dubai is broke and has already been bailed out twice by Abu Dhabi and this would be the third time, but … Abu Dhabi will not race to bailout Dubai
“They do not understand anything.”
That was before, now even the most stupid investors do understand!
Dubai has been built ‘on sand’. The dream behind Dubai is artificial and meaningless.
Dubai’s dream is backed by nothing. Dubai is an illusion. I told you in 2008 about the plans of the elite to “drive the Arabs back into the desert” and that Dubai will go bust.
This is the same elite that governs the Fed and controls the entire US government. They will also destroy the US dollar and turn the US into a Third World country if they are not stopped now.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, today criticised international investors’ reaction to the Emirate’s debt crisis, claiming: “They do not understand anything.”
The defiant ruler, whose Government yesterday washed its hands of Dubai World, the state-owned conglomerate that owes $59 billion (£35.8 billion), also said: “We are strong and persistent.”
The exchange rate between old and new currencies is 100 to 1
In an alleged bid to curb inflation and suppress its growing black market, North Korea implemented a currency revaluation on Monday, according to Yonhap, the South Korean news agency.
The exchange rate between old and new currencies is 100 to 1, with the old denomination of 1,000 won notes being replaced by 10 won notes.
It is the first time in 17 years that the hermit kingdom has revalued its currency and the effect in the capital was instant. “Many people were taken aback and confused,” said one source to Yonhap. “Those were were worried about their hidden assets rushed to the black market to swap them for dollars or Chinese yuan. The yuan and the dollar jumped,” he added.
“When the news spread in the jangmadang (markets), people panicked,” reported the Daily NK newspaper, quoting a source in the North Eastern province of North Hamkyung. Another source, in the Western city of Sinuiju, on the border with China, told the paper: “Traders gathered around currency dealers. Chaos ensued when currency dealers tried to avoid them.”
A spokesman at the British embassy in Seoul said that North Korea had given verbal notice to foreign missions in Pyongyang on Tuesday and that it was already hard to use the old notes. “We have heard from the British embassy in Pyongyang that it has become difficult to exchange North Korean currency in shops in Pyongyang since yesterday,” he said.
Officially the North Korean won trades at 135 to the US dollar.
‘Just a drill’
|Mossad does not give uniformed police advance notice of training sessions|
A trainee spy for Israel’s secret service agency Mossad was arrested by Tel Aviv police while taking part in a training operation, media reports say.
The young trainee was spotted by a female passer-by as he planted a fake bomb under a vehicle in the city.
He was only able to persuade police he was a spy after being taken in by an officer for questioning on Monday.
The authorities have refused to comment on the story although Israeli media outlets have expressed their surprise.
‘Just a drill’
Mossad does not tell local uniformed police about its training exercises.
The country’s commercial Channel 10 said it hoped the agency’s operatives were “more effective abroad”, AFP news agency reported.
– Obama: ‘I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am President, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.’
Change you can believe in!
|There are 68,000 US soldiers based in Afghanistan|
President Barack Obama is to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and deploy them within six months, US officials have said.
Mr Obama will make the much-anticipated announcement as part of a speech to the nation at West Point military academy.
He is also expected to lay out a rough timeframe for how long the main US military mission will last.
The US currently has 68,000 troops in Afghanistan, with foreign forces overall totalling more than 100,000.
The new troops are expected to focus on tackling the Taliban in the volatile southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan.
Looting the taxpayer again!
There is no recovery.
This is the Greatest Depression.
Angela Merkel alarmed by worsening credit crisis
“We are in a very critical situation,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel in her weekly radio address. “We are going to discuss with leaders of the financial institutions what can be done to head off a credit crunch.”
The move comes days after the Bundesbank revealed that German banks face a further €90bn (£82bn) of likely write-downs over the next year.
Leaders of the new coalition are to meet industrialists and bankers tomorrow to thrash out an emergency plan. The proposals include a €10bn scheme to purchase toxic securities from banks. The idea is anathema in Germany and faces stiff opposition from Mrs Merkel’s Bavarian and liberal partners.
The renewed sense urgency follows a flurry of warnings from economists and business groups over the risks of a credit contraction.