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World View: Latvia Becomes 18th Nation to Adopt the Euro Currency

World View: Latvia Becomes 18th Nation to Adopt the Euro Currency

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • N. Korea’s Kim Jong-un struggles for stability, purging ‘factionalist elements’
  • Palestinian ambassador to Czech Republic dies in freak explosion
  • Latvia becomes 18th nation to adopt the euro currency

N. Korea’s Kim Jong-un struggles for stability, purging ‘factionalist elements’

Kim Jong-un giving New Year's day speech (AP)
Kim Jong-un giving New Year’s day speech (AP)

In his typically shrill speech to the North Korean people on NewYear’s Day, the child dictator Kim Jong-un appeared to be respondingto numerous national and international concerns about his government’sstability, describing as removing “factionalist scum” the execution ofhis uncle and mentor Jang Song-thaek:

“Our party’s timely, accurate decision to purge theanti-party, anti-revolutionary and factionalist elements helpedgreatly cement unity of the party and the revolution andstrengthened our solidarity by 100 times. …

It is necessary to establish stringent revolutionary disciplineand order in all domains of the revolutionary struggle andconstruction work.”

He pledged a crackdown on “any sort of alien ideology and decadentlifestyle.” By referring to his uncle as “factionalist elements,”he’s hoping to reverse the loss of respect among the North Korean forhaving killed a family member, in a culture where family is extremelyimportant. Furthermore, the word “factionalist” seems to indicatethat there was a power struggle, and he hoped that executing Jangwould help “greatly cement unity.”

Although most reasons given in the press for the execution of Janghave referred to corrupt deals involving sales of coal and otherresources to China, South Korean analysts say that the Kim’s fury atJang was far more personal in nature:

  • Jang was supposed to be Kim’s mentor, but Jang did not show respect for Kim, clapping his hands half-heartedly at Kim’s speeches, and even wearing the same kind of suits as Kim, so as to imply equality.
  • Jang had a previous relationship with Ri Sol-ju, Kim’s wife, before Kim even met her. Jang had established the Unhasu Orchestra, in which Ri was a singer. Kim fell for her, but was uncomfortable with her relationship with Jang.

It’s Jang that maintained good relations between N. Korea and China.From the Chinese perspective, Kim is too young to be a partner, andJang provided a bridge. Some Beijing officials may actually have beenin a panic after Jang’s execution. Channel News Asia and Korea Times

Palestinian ambassador to Czech Republic dies in freak explosion

The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic Jamal Al Jamal, 56,was killed in Wednesday in a freak explosion when he attempted to openwhat was evidently a booby-trapped safe. The safe had been located inthe old Palestinian embassy in Prague, and hadn’t been opened in atleast 20 years. The safe had been moved to the new PalestinianEmbassy which wasn’t yet officially open. The ambassador hadofficially assumed his post on October 11, 2013. It was not known whythe safe had been booby-trapped. Prague Post

Latvia becomes 18th nation to adopt the euro currency

Say goodbye to the lat currency
Say goodbye to the lat currency

Latvia rung in the new year by becoming the 18th country to join theeurozone, which uses the euro as its currency. The Latvian people,with a large ethnic Russian minority, are mostly opposed to theconversion to the euro currency. This will be the fourth currency forLatvia in the last 22 years. During the Soviet era, Latvia’s currencywas the Russian ruble. When Latvia became independent, it firstadopted a new Latvian ruble and then, a year later, adopted thepre-World War II lat currency. Many Latvians are extremely reluctantto give up their lats for euros, because they’re well aware thatGreece and other eurozone countries have gone through major financialand currency crises. However, the supporters of the euro say thatthis time it’s different. Bloomberg and BBC

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