World View: China Will Impose Trade Sanctions on North Korea

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • French troops in Mali close to recapturing Timbuktu from jihadists
  • Kim Jong-un may be about to order the North Korean nuclear test
  • China will impose trade sanctions on North Korea
  • Egypt's President Morsi declares emergency in three cities
  • Italy's Silvio Berlusconi defends the 'good' Mussolini

French troops in Mali close to recapturing Timbuktu from jihadists

A French soldier in Mali (EPA)
A French soldier in Mali (EPA)

Thousands of residents of the city of northern Mali's city of Gao, under jihadist control since last April, turned out to celebrate the invading French and Malian troops, shouting "Liberté!" and "Vive la France!" At he same time, French troops on Sunday captured Timbuktu airport and prepared to recapture Timbuktu as well. As little resistance is expected there as there was in Gao, because the jihadists simply left town when they learned the French were coming. They're hiding out in nearby villages or in their networks of tunnels. The expectation is that the jihadists will be back as soon as the French troops leave. In order to prevent that outcome, the African Union is calling on France, as well as Mali's neighboring African countries, to provide a lot more troops to station in these towns to keep the jihadists out. Guardian and AFP

Kim Jong-un may be about to order the North Korean nuclear test

According to South Korean military sources, North Korean president Kim Jong-un is expected imminently to travel to the planned site of an announced nuclear weapon test, and personally deliver a written order to go ahead with the test. According to a military source,

"Kim Jong Un will likely give an order approving a nuclear test to propagate his political and military achievements as the country’s supreme military commander and use it to consolidate his regime."

Intelligence officials are closely tracking the movements of senior North Korean officials to see if they visit the test site, as this would probably signal that the test is near. Dong-a Ilbo (Seoul)

China will impose trade sanctions on North Korea

As we reported two days ago, an editorial in the Chinese Communist Party's Global Times threatens to "reduce its assistance to North Korea," if the country goes ahead with the announced nuclear weapon test. A new editorial threatens to cut foreign trade and investment from China:

"If North Korea does proceed with a third nuclear test, they will pay a large price economically.

They have made improving the economy a top priority this year and have made public commitments domestically about improving the livelihood of ordinary people.

But North Korea will not be able to make any meaningful improvements in the economy without foreign trade and investment. This now comes largely from China.

It is hard to imagine that foreign investors will be willing to come to North Korea anytime soon if there is a third nuclear test, and especially if the Chinese government supports adding even more sanctions in a new UN Security Council resolution, as would be inevitable in the case of such a provocative action."

The editorial claims that North Korea's middle class has experienced "significant improvements in daily living" recently, but that those gains would be lost after a nuclear test. Global Times

Egypt's President Morsi declares emergency in three cities

Mohamed Morsi (Al-Ahram)
Mohamed Morsi (Al-Ahram)

With seven more deaths on Sunday in clashes between protesters and police, Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi went on nationwide television to declare a state of emergency in three coastal cities, Port Said, Suez, and Ismailia, scenes of major protests and deaths in the last three days.

"If I see the state with its people, institutions and public and private property in danger, I will be forced to do more than this for the interests of Egypt. This is my duty and I will not hesitate when it comes to it."

There will be a curfew in effect from 9 pm to 6 am in all three cities for the next 30 days, starting on Monday.

However, there's a question whether the curfew will be honored in Port Said, where a court sentenced 21 people to death on Saturday for a football (soccer) riot last year. ( "27-Jan-13 World View -- Egypt in crisis after two days of violent clashes") The residents are furious because of the disproportionately high sentences, and because many people believe that the police were complicit in the deaths that resulting from the rioting. On Saturday, Port Said protesters chanted, "Down, down Morsi, down down the regime that killed and tortured us!" And on Sunday, protesters in Port Said reacted with mockery and skepticism to the emergency declaration. According to one protester:

"The people [in Port Said] feel that there was a complete state of collapse especially after riots today, particularly with tear gas being fired into the funerals."

Clashes in several cities are still continuing, as of this writing on Sunday evening ET. Al-Ahram (Cairo) and Al-Jazeera

Italy's Silvio Berlusconi defends the 'good' Mussolini

Left-wing rioters praised Benito Mussolini in the 1930s, claiming that "He may be a dictator, but he kept the trains running on time." However, since he allied himself and Germany with Hitler in World War II, he's been condemned by history as a fascist evil. But now, Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s former prime minister, has triggered outrage with comments defending Mussolini at, of all places, a ceremony commemorating victims of the Nazi Holocaust:

"It's difficult now to put yourself in the shoes of people who were making decisions at that time.

Obviously the government of that time, out of fear that German power might lead to complete victory, preferred to ally itself with Hitler's Germany rather than opposing it. As part of this alliance, there were impositions, including combatting and exterminating Jews. The racial laws were the worst fault of Mussolini as a leader, who in so many other ways did well."

Berlusconi is campaigning for next month's election at the head of a coalition that includes far-right politicians whose roots go back to Italy's old fascist party. After his remarks, a left-wing politician called Berlusconi "a disgrace to Italy." Al-Jazeera


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