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World View: North Korea Positions More Missile Launchers on East Coast

World View: North Korea Positions More Missile Launchers on East Coast

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • North Korea positions two more missile launchers on east coast
  • Hunger strike at Guantanamo grows among prisoners
  • The assumptions for the Cyprus bailout are ‘patently ridiculous’
  • Heavier fighting flares on the Syria / Lebanon border

North Korea positions two more missile launchers on east coast

North Korean child dictator Kim Jong-un and wife Ri Sol-ju
North Korean child dictator Kim Jong-un and wife Ri Sol-ju

North Korea continues to build up an arsenal of missile launchers longthe east coast, apparently ready to launch missiles. In early April,the North Koreans moved two mid-range missiles and seven mobilemissile launchers to the east coast. The speculation was that theywould conduct missile tests on April 15, the 101st anniversary of thebirth of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung. However, it now turns outthat launchers for two shorter-range Scud missiles were moved to theeast coast in the last few days, and appears to be prepared to launchseveral missiles as a show of force. This would trigger a newinternational crisis, even if the missiles landed in water. And itwould trigger military retaliation if any American, South Korean orJapanese assets were put at risk. America has threatened to shootdown any North Korean missile, and the North Koreans have responded bythreatening war if that happens. Yonhap (Seoul)

Hunger strike at Guantanamo grows among prisoners

The number of prisoners at Guantanamo prison taking part in a hungerstrike has grown by 32 in just the last few days. 84 prisoners, overhalf of the 166, are now participating. Of those, 16 are now beingforce-fed, though no lives are in danger according to the Pentagon.The strike began on February 6, when the inmates claim that prisonofficials searched their Korans for contraband, and has been growinginto a general hunger strike since then. AFP and Independent (London)

The assumptions for the Cyprus bailout are ‘patently ridiculous’

Comments by several economists indicate that the assumptionsunderlying the recent European bailout of Cyprus are unrealistic,which should not be a surprise to any regular readers.

According to Megan Greene, chief economist at Maverick Intelligence:

“The underlying growth assumptions for the Cypriotbailout this year are hugely overly optimistic. Senior members ofthe ministry of finance in Cyprus admitted to me that they’d bequite pleased if the Cypriot economy only contracted by around 9%this year. With GDP falling more sharply than expected, Cypruswill fall behind on its fiscal targets, and as it implements evermore austerity measures to play catch up, will go deeper intodepression. This bailout program ensures Cyprus will either need asecond bailout or a debt restructuring in a year or two, with thelatter more likely.”

Note that the assumption that Cyprus’s economy would contract by 9%is “hugely overly optimistic.” That’s very unpleasant reading.

According to Stephanie Hare, senior analyst for Western Europe atOxford Analytica, the assumptions for Ireland, Portugal and othertroubled European economies are also optimistic:

“The viability of the latest Cypriot rescue is highlyquestionable: forecasts of a deep recession this year (nearly9.0%) and in 2014 (nearly 4.0%) may prove optimistic, while theprojection that Cyprus will return to growth thereafter ispatently ridiculous. Other euro-area bailout recipients remainenmired in debt, high unemployment and recession — one reason whyEU leaders agreed last week to grant Ireland and Portugal an extra7 years to pay back their bailout loans. Efforts by the EU/ECB/IMF’troika’ to be positive are requiring ever-increasing contortion,including the tolerance of fiscal slippage, extended loanmaturities, and debt write-offs. Risks remain high (Portugal couldstill require further assistance and Slovenia remains vulnerable)while the lack of growth throughout the region augers poorly forits long-term prospects.”

These analyses continue to be consistent with the GenerationalDynamics prediction that the world is headed for a major panic andfinancial crisis. Kathimerini

Heavier fighting flares on the Syria / Lebanon border

Areas held by al-Qaeda linked Sunni Islamist rebels on both sides ofthe Syria/Lebanon border were attacked on Sunday by combined forces ofSyria’s president Bashar al-Assad, combined with Shia militias ofIran-backed Hizbollah. Saturday’s attack was the first by Syrianforces deep inside Lebanon. The al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front inSyria threatened to “move the battle into Lebanon” if the Hizbollahbacked offensive continues. Reuters

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