Connect with us

News

Kim said to unveil ‘tangible change’ plan for North Korea economy | Business and Economy News

Published

on


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has unveiled a plan to bring ‘tangible change’ to stabilise the country’s crippled economy, state media reported.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presented economic plans to senior ruling party officials before an upcoming meeting to review efforts to overcome hardships brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, state media said on Tuesday.

The Korean Central News Agency said Kim held his consultations on Monday in preparation for a meeting of the Workers’ Party’s powerful Central Committee at which officials will discuss state affairs for the first half of 2021. The meeting was set for early June and could take place as early as this week.

Kim’s plans were not specified but were described as intending to bring “tangible change” to stabilising the economy and people’s living conditions.

The North Korean economy has been crippled by decades of mismanagement, United States-led sanctions over Kim’s nuclear weapons programme and the pandemic. South Korean officials say there are no signs North Korea is easing the border controls it imposed at the start of the pandemic or importing more industrial and agricultural materials to boost production.

The Workers’ Party last held a plenary meeting of Central Committee members in February, when Kim ripped into state economic agencies for their “passive and self-protecting tendencies” in setting their annual goals.

Earlier in the year, at the party’s first congress since 2016, Kim urged his people to be resilient in the struggle for economic self-reliance and called for reasserting greater state control over the economy, boosting agricultural production and prioritising the development of chemicals and metal industries. Those sectors have been critically depleted by sanctions and halted imports of factory materials amid the pandemic.

Kim has shown unusual candor in addressing the North’s economic problems in recent political speeches, saying that the country was facing its “worst ever” situation due to COVID-19, sanctions and heavy flooding last summer that decimated crops. He even called for his people to brace for another “arduous march”, a term that had been used to describe a 1990s famine that killed hundreds of thousands.

In a meeting of the Workers’ Party’s political bureau last week, Kim expressed appreciation that a lot of economic works were being sped up thanks to the “ideological enthusiasm and fighting spirit of self-reliance” demonstrated by the party and his people. But he also said there was a need to correct unspecified “deflective matters”, which he said would be discussed at the Central Committee’s plenary meeting.

While North Korea monitoring groups have yet to detect signs of mass starvation or major instability, some analysts say conditions could be aligning for a perfect storm that undercuts food and exchange markets and triggers public panic.

The Geneva-based Assessment Capacities Project, a non-profit that specialises in humanitarian needs assessment, said in May that it considers North Korea to be at high risk of a humanitarian crisis. It said poor economic governance, repressive political measures and an increasing dependence on internal production amid a cutback in imports have negatively impacted the country’s population.

“Chronic food insecurity and limited access to basic services, such as health care and clean water, have left more than 10 million people in need of humanitarian assistance,” the group said.

The economic setbacks have left Kim with nothing to show for his ambitious diplomacy with former US President Donald Trump, which failed to bring sanctions relief to North Korea, and the country has so far ignored calls by the administration of US President Joe Biden to resume dialogue.

Some experts say Kim could use the upcoming Central Committee meeting to address the stalled diplomatic efforts.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

Advertisement

News

Apple Daily could shut ‘in days’ after Hong Kong asset freeze | Freedom of the Press News

Published

on

By


Company adviser says action under security law means it cannot access some $50 million in funds to pay staff and vendors.

Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily will be forced to shut “in a matter of days” after authorities used the national security law imposed by China to freeze the company’s assets as it arrested the paper’s editor and four other directors, an adviser to jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai told Reuters on Monday.

Mark Simon, speaking by phone from the United States, said the company was no longer able to access its funds and would be holding a board meeting on Monday to discuss how to move forward.

“We thought we’d be able to make it to the end of the month,” Simon told the news agency. “It’s just getting harder and harder. It’s essentially a matter of days.”

His comments signal closure is imminent even after Apple Daily said on Sunday the freezing of its assets had left the newspaper with cash for “a few weeks” for normal operations.”

The news comes two days after editor Ryan Law, 47, and chief executive Cheung Kim-hung, 59, were denied bail after being charged under the security law with collusion with foreign forces.

Apple Daily’s editor-in-chief Ryan Law arrives back at the detention centre after he was remanded in custody on Saturday [Lam Yik/Reuters]

Three other senior executives were also arrested last Thursday when 500 police officers raided the newspaper’s offices in a case that has drawn condemnation from Western nations, human rights groups and the chief United Nations spokesperson for human rights.

The three have been released on bail.

Simon told Reuters it had become impossible to conduct banking operations.

“Vendors tried to put money into our accounts and were rejected. We can’t bank. Some vendors tried to do that as a favour. We just wanted to find out and it was rejected,” he said.

Speaking earlier to US news channel CNN, Simon said the company had about $50 million available, but was unable to access the funds.

The publisher has come under increasing pressure since its owner Jimmy Lai was arrested under the national security law last August, which marked the first time the company’s headquarters was raided. Lai, 73, is now jailed and facing trial under the national security law. In May, the authorities also froze some assets belonging to the longtime critic of Beijing has also had some of his assets frozen.

Three companies related to Apple Daily are also being prosecuted for collusion with a foreign country and authorities have frozen HK$18 million ($2.3 million) of their assets.

China imposed the national security law on Hong Kong last June saying it was necessary to restore “stability” to a territory that had been rocked by mass protests in 2019, some of which turned violent.

The broadly-worded law criminalises acts such as subversion, sedition, collusion with foreign forces and secession with possible life imprisonment, but critics have said it is being used to suppress legitimate political debate with dozens of pro-democracy politicians and activists among the more than 100 arrested since it was brought into force.





Source – www.aljazeera.com

Continue Reading

News

Birmingham Classic: Ons Jabeur beats Daria Kasatkina to win first title

Published

on

By


Tunisian second seed Ons Jabeur defeated Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in straight sets to win her first singles title at the Birmingham Classic.

World number 24 Jabeur triumphed 7-5 6-4 against the fourth seed to become the first Arab woman to win a WTA title.

In Berlin, Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova stunned Swiss fifth seed Belinda Bencic to win her first title.

The 22-year-old world number 106 battled back from a set down to win 1-6 6-1 6-3 in her first final.

Victories for Jabeur and Samsonova mean there have now been 10 first-time singles winners on the women’s Tour this year.

Jabeur broke Kasatkina’s serve three times to prevail in the first set, before successive breaks at the start of the second put the 26-year-old in control at 4-0.

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Kasatkina recovered to 4-3, but Jabeur held on to win a singles final at the third attempt.

It was a breakthrough week for Samsonova in Germany, during which she also defeated seventh seed Victoria Azarenka of Belaurus in the semi-final.

World number 12 Bencic won the first five games as she dominated the opening set, but Samsonova matched that feat in the second before completing her comeback with breaks in the first and ninth games in the deciding set.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

Continue Reading

News

Birtukan Mideksa: Ethiopia’s electoral board chairperson

Published

on

By


Restless for change, Ms Birtukan moved back into politics, playing a key role in the formation of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) to present a united front against the EPRDF in the 2005 parliamentary election, which was widely seen as the most fiercely contested poll in Ethiopia’s history, with the opposition claiming that it had been robbed of victory.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

Continue Reading

Trending