Friday, August 29, 2003
Reuters (Paul Eckert and Jonathan Ansfield, "NORTH KOREA CRISIS TALKS END, NEW ROUND PLANNED," Beijing, 08/29/03) and Agence France-Presse ("TALKS END IN ACRIMONY AS NORTH KOREA THREATENS TO BUILD UP NUCLEAR ARSENAL," 08/29/03) reported that six-nation talks on the DPRK nuclear crisis ended in acrimony with North Korea threatening to strengthen its nuclear arsenal unless the US met its demands for a resolution of the standoff. While envoys reached consensus on the need to address the DPRK's security concerns and agreed that more talks were necessary, they failed to set a timetable. The DPRK said its expectations at the three-day talks also involving the PRC, Japan, Russia and the ROK had been "betrayed" by the "hostile" US policy and that a new round of negotiations was endangered. "If our reasonable proposal is turned aside at the talks, we will judge that the US does not intend to give up its attempt to stifle the DPRK by
force at an appropriate time," said a statement carried by the DPRK's official KCNA mouthpiece as talks wound up. "In this case the DPRK cannot dismantle its nuclear deterrent force but will have no option but to increase it."
South and North Korea yesterday reached a landmark agreement aimed at dropping overseas intermediaries and shifting to direct inter-Korean trade. The agreement was included in a nine-point joint press statement released at the end of a three-day inter-Korean economic meeting at a hotel in Seoul.
According to the statement, North Korea also agreed to allow South Korean delegations to visit the communist state to verify that food aid is fairly distributed among those who need it.
Sunshine (now called "peace and prosperity") lives on!
Another peculiar scene with the North Korean cheerleaders unfolded Thursday as they noticed, while riding back from an archery competition, welcome banners with the image of their leader Kim Jong Il in conditions they didn't like.
The women, after demanding that their buses stop, protested in anger and shed tears before taking four banners down and carrying them away. . . .
Then about 30-40 of them ran the 300-500 meters back to where the banners were. Protesting, they pointed out apparent horrors such as that a seal was stamped on Kim Jong Il's image, that the banners were hanging too low, that they were beside a scarecrow and that they had been left to the mercy of the rain and wind.
Several of the women, helping each other, managed to climb up a two-meter tree and pull down the four banners. They rolled them up, making sure to keep the images still visible, and carried them reverently back to the bus, while weeping out loud. About 10 of them also wrested a camera away from a South Korean reporter who was on the scene.
A South Korean police officer who saw the tail end of the spectacle said, "The North Korean supporters were wailing loudly as they got on the bus, like women who had just lost their husbands. People who were at the scene were saying that it was beyond their comprehension, and some even said it gave them the chills."
It is hard to know exactly what to make of this. Fear that simply allowing such desecration of the Dear Leader to continue uncorrected might end up landing them and/or their families in a North Korean gulag? Genuine rage and hurt at such insensitivity toward the figure who is a "contemporary God," "superior to Christ in love, superior to Buddha in benevolence, superior to Confucius in virtue, and superior to Mohammed in justice" and "the savior of mankind"? Now that I think about it, this gives me the chills too.
Sergei Prokofiev's musical fairy tale Peter and the Wolf is popular with children but not with wolf lovers, and two former world leaders -- Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev -- aim to put that right in a new recording.
They have teamed up in a new recording that couples the tale with a contemporary version featuring the same two protagonists but a very different ending.
Prokofiev's version ends with Peter capturing the wolf and leading a triumphant procession to the zoo, paining music-loving environmentalists with romantic visions of wolves in the wild.
In the new version, narrated by former U.S. president Clinton and called Wolf Tracks, Peter again captures the wolf, but this time repents of his act and releases the animal, who howls a grateful goodbye.
"Forgetting his triumph, Peter thought instead of fallen trees, parched meadows, choked streams, and of each and every wolf struggling for survival," Clinton narrates.
Thursday, August 28, 2003
But Kay's report is clearly going to be as political as it gets. And full of funny business. This is a deadly serious issue. But as long as they're approaching it in this way, it merits ridicule.
7. Other small groups of students around campus may typically be seen staring at some item that a faculty member is holding up in front of them.
It may be a microscope slide, a smoldering test tube, a stuffed armadillo, or a ping-pong ball, but it holds some mesmerizing control over all of them. Variation: three or four people are staring at a computer screen while the professor—like the old comic-book character Mandrake the Magician—has frozen everyone with a hypnotic gesture.
In other words, NK can talk, but the US must act-- and this must be true from Step One.
UPDATE: (another) KEVIN AT IA HAS A MEDIA ROUND-UP ON DAY ONE OF THE TALKS
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
A federal judge who was appointed to the bench after being recommended by Mr. Torricelli has assigned him as special master of an environmental cleanup site in Jersey City, a position that allows him to control millions of dollars in contracts and collect an estimated $500,000 a year in administrative fees.Just goes to show in our day and age you can't keep a bad man down.