World View: Japan Deploys Anti-Missile Systems After North Korean Threats

World View: Japan Deploys Anti-Missile Systems After North Korean Threats

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Japan deploys anti-missile systems after North Korean threats
  • Slovenia denies that it needs a bailout
  • Cyprus scandal deepens over big withdrawals prior to bank shutdown
  • Donor nations pledge $3.6 billion in aid to Darfur

Japan deploys anti-missile systems after North Korean threats

North Korea’s shrill, belligerent threats continued on Tuesday, as thegovernment warned all foreigners to leave the country immediatelybecause of an approaching war. Nobody really has any clue what toexpect from the North Koreans in the next few days, but the hope isthat it won’t be anything worse than a new missile test. Nonetheless,Japan is preparing for the worst and is deploying Patriotanti-missile air defense units to defend against possible North Koreanmissile strikes. Japan has already deployed Aegis destroyers in theSea of Japan to monitor the possible launch of North Korean ballisticmissiles. Japan Times

Slovenia denies that it needs a bailout

A new report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation andDevelopment (OECD) says that Slovenia faces an immediate bankingcrisis, with non-performing loans making up 14% of bank balance sheetsin Slovenia, and that emergency action must be taken immediately.According to the report: 

Slovenia has been hit hard by a boom-bust cycle,compounded by reform backlogs and the euro area sovereign debtcrisis. The reduction of public and private sector indebtedness issignificantly weighing on growth amid tight financial conditions,growing unemployment and stalling export performance. Althoughimportant reforms have been adopted in 2012 and early 2013,additional and far-reaching reforms are needed as soon as possibleto restore confidence and head off the risks of a prolongeddownturn and constrained access to financial markets. 

Slovenia is facing a severe banking crisis, driven by excessiverisk taking, weak corporate governance of state-owned banks andinsufficiently effective supervision tools…

Potential growth has fallen significantly since the outset of thecrisis. Boosting potential growth requires structural reforms, butthe political economy of reform remains difficult, notably becauseit has been easy to use a referendum to veto a law. The ongoingdiscussion in Slovenia on ways to introduce stricter criteria onthe use of referendums is hence welcome. Competition in theproduct market is not vibrant enough — notably as state ownershipis large and the Competition Authority has been lacking resources– to facilitate economic adjustment. The labour market is notsufficiently flexible although an improvement is expectedfollowing the adoption of a recent reform aimed to reducesignificantly labor market dualism.

So it sounds like Greece, Cyprus, and various other troubledcountries. The state owns too many businesses and pays labor unionmembers too much money, and it has borrowed too much money to supportgovernment expenses. The OECD is demanding that banks and otherpublic assets be sold off and privatized, a suggestion that’s alwaysbeen wildly popular in other troubled countries. 

Slovenia’s prime minister, Alenka Bratusek, denies that a bailout isrequired, saying that “The new government is determined to doeverything in its power to solve its problems by itself.” However,what she says is totally meaningless since, as we’re all well aware,country leaders always lie repeatedly about needing a bailout, andalways continue doing so until just a moment before they actuallyrequest a bailout. OECD andGuardian (London)

Cyprus scandal deepens over big withdrawals prior to bank shutdown

Six thousand individuals and legal entities withdrew tens of millionsof euros in cash from Cyprus’s banks and sent it abroad in the periodfrom March 1-15, just days before the banks shut down and levied 60%or more on large deposits. 

The Parliament’s Ethic Committee began aninvestigation and demanded that the Cyprus central bank hand over alist detailing transfers of more than 100,000 euros for the past year. However, the central bank failed to comply, according to an MP, DemetrisSyllouris: “It was with great disappointment and anger that, whenwe opened the envelope, we realized it contained data for only 15days even though we had asked for a year. This kind of behavioris unacceptable.”

Syllouris also raised concerns that even the 15 day list wasincomplete. The economy in Cyprus continues to worsen after thebailout agreement, and the finger-pointing and name-calling areexpected to become vicious. Reuters and Kathimerini (Athens)

Donor nations pledge $3.6 billion in aid to Darfur

A donor conference meeting in Doha, Qatar, has pledged $3.6 billionover six years to finance the development of Darfur. The pledgesinclude $500 million from Qatar, $35 million from the EU, $16.5million from Britain, $1 million from Chad, and so forth. The pledgesare, in my opinion, a total joke because the pledges from similarconferences in the past are almost always completely forgotten as soonas the conference ends. 

Darfur is like a terminally ill patient, semi-conscious in bed, wherehe’s being kept alive by dozens of tubes attached to his body,delivering and removing various fluids. 

Darfur’s civil war began as low-level violence in the 1970s as afairly standard conflict between farmers and herders. What alwayshappens is that the herders’ animals trample on the farmers’ crops,and then the farmers build fences to block the herders’ animals. Theviolence worsened over the years, and the conflict transitioned to agenerational crisis war in 2003, with the light-skinned “Arab”Janjaweed militia herders slaughtering the dark-skinned “non-Arab”farmers. That’s when the United Nations “discovered” Darfur, andlaunched a donation-based program to protect the farmers from theherders. So the farmers were moved into huge refugee tent camps wherethey became entirely dependent on aid and donations from foreignentities. The financial crisis has reduced donations, andstarvation is widespread in the Darfur refugee camps. 

As I’ve been writing for years, a generational crisis war is anelemental force of nature, and has to reach a climax. At some point,the Janjaweed militias will return to finish the job, slaughtering therefugees like fish in a barrel. That will finally end the Darfur war.AFP

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