From inside North Korea: Sides must ease up on rhetoric

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionPYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea’s capital city is awash in propaganda.Posters depicting missiles, some striking the U.S. Capitol, hang along major streets.In recent days, a million civilians, including high school students, factory workers and older men who long ago completed their military service, have signed up at the government’s request to fight the United States, if needed.“The situation on the Korean Peninsula is on the eve of the breakout of nuclear war,” Choe Kang Il, a senior Foreign Ministry official told me and three New York Times colleagues during a visit last week.Does that mean war is inevitable? “I think it depends on the attitude of the United States,” he replied.There is no sign of any unusual military mobilization in Pyongyang or along the perpetually tense border with South Korea to suggest imminent conflict. U.S., North Korean and South Korean soldiers stand duty as usual at the Demilitarized Zone separating the sides since the 1950-53 Korean War, and tourists, as well as journalists like us, still visit there. I most wanted to learn whether the North Koreans were open to nuclear talks with the United States and what it might take to get a deal.In the 1990s, the two sides reached an agreement that froze the North’s plutonium program for eight years and made progress on missile limits.But these initiatives fell apart in the George W. Bush administration, and today North Korea has at least 20 nuclear weapons and missiles that soon might be able to reach the continental United States, a level of technological prowess that President Donald Trump has said he won’t tolerate.In Choe’s telling, North Korea was driven to become a nuclear power in self-defense against the United State’s “nuclear blackmail,” sanctions, history of confrontation, and affront to the sovereignty and dignity of the state.The North must establish “a balance of power” to hold Washington at bay, finally replace the Korean War armistice with a permanent peace treaty and focus attention on economic development, he said.Therein seemed to be the answer to my question of whether and under what circumstances the North would be open to talks.Only when Washington makes a “bold decision” to end its military exercises with South Korea, halt sanctions and cease moves that diplomatically isolate North Korea can a dialogue between the two countries bear fruit, he added. Our interviews have persuaded me that it is also imperative for Washington to ease up on the rhetoric.Trump’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly last month crossed a line for many North Koreans because it made the fight deeply personal, disparaging Kim as “rocket man” and threatening to “totally destroy North Korea,” a country of 26 million people.The Trump administration insists there can be no talks until the North halts missile and nuclear tests for an unspecified period.Hence, stalemate, and a dangerous one.Allowing the shouting match and muscle-flexing on both sides to gather momentum can come to no good.Carol Giacomo, a member of The New York Times Editorial Board, is a former diplomatic correspondent for Reuters in Washington and covered foreign policy for the international wire service for more than two decades. Yet as Washington and Pyongyang confront each other over the North’s advancing nuclear weapons capability, the warlike rhetoric is escalating and, with it, the risk of conflict.After four days in North Korea, I am not at all sure that this standoff will end well.It was unsettling to hear ordinary North Koreans talk of war with calm acceptance and buy their government’s propaganda happy talk about certain victory over the United States.We also heard some people say that while they hate the U.S. government, they harbor no ill will toward Americans and would prefer to live in peace.One woman was nearly in tears describing her mixed feelings about the United States.I have been writing about North Korea since 1992, when President George H.W. Bush’s administration held the United States’ first meeting with Pyongyang since the Korean War to discuss what was then an incipient nuclear program. I had long wanted to visit.What made it possible now is that North Korea, the world’s least transparent country, has decided to embark on a charm offensive, inviting major U.S. news organizations on separate visits this year to learn more about its economic and political goals.center_img Our trip has not been without some risk, given the way the American student Otto Warmbier, who was detained in Pyongyang after allegedly trying to steal a poster, fell into a coma under circumstances that remain mysterious and died days after being returned to the United States.While I and the other Times journalists were invited by the Foreign Ministry (The Times paid all expenses), the diplomats don’t control the security services, and our attempts to report have been a balance between trying to get the most authentic information we can (a struggle) and not running afoul of security.Two government minders accompanied us except when we were in our rooms.We were allowed to visit a silk factory, the science and technology complex (computers are connected to an internal intranet, not the internet), an elite high school and an anti-American war museum, as well as an amusement park, restaurants and a dolphinarium — evidence of Kim Jong Un’s efforts to allow citizens of Pyongyang, where the elite live, opportunities for fun.Our requests to see the three remaining U.S. detainees were refused.Despite such controls, there have been some moments of spontaneous humanity.After dinner one night, a senior official led me briefly in ballroom dancing on the sidewalk outside a restaurant. More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Island discovery has early investors stepping up

first_imgThe home at 93 Cotterill Ave, Bongaree.The hidden appeal of Bribie Island has been discovered by investors, says First National Bribie Island agent, Alaine Scarman.Ms Scarman said the sale of 93 Cotterill Ave, Bongaree for $455,000 on October 23 showed how great returns and growth potential had driven demand.The three-bedroom home was purchased by an investor and has been rented for $410 per week.Ms Scarman said while investors had stepped up, retirees were still the dominant Bribie buyer type.More from newsLand grab sees 12 Sandstone Lakes homesites sell in a week21 Jun 2020Tropical haven walking distance from the surf9 Oct 2019Inside the home at 93 Cotterill Ave, Bongaree.“As Bribie is becoming more renowned as a quality place to retire to, people are actually buying now while prices haven’t gone too far out of reach. They’ll rent it in the interim and then when they retire they freshen it up and move in,” she said.“We do have a high rental demand — we don’t have any problems with vacancy on Bribie,” Ms Scarman said.Ms Scarman said the market between September and Easter always saw inquiries ramp up.“Visitors come here for a holiday and turn around and purchase an investment property,” she said.“This year it’s going to be very sad because there aren’t as many properties available.”last_img read more

Keane: I’m not finished yet

first_img Press Association Keane said: “Of course there are. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think that. “Has the Galaxy helped me? I’m not too sure. I think I’ve helped myself because of the way I keep myself and the hunger and the desire that I have. “It’s okay having the ability, but if you don’t have the hunger and the desire, wanting to play and wanting to still be the best and wanting to still score goals, you’re not really going to do too much. “I still have that and I have always had it since I made my debut the first day, and nothing has changed since then. “I’ll stop playing and stop scoring goals when literally I can hardly walk. That’s how much I love playing, it’s fairly simple.” Keane’s pre-eminence in Irish football history is remarkable – Niall Quinn remains in second place in the all-time goalscoring list, and he managed 21 – and while some have questioned his ability to maintain his standards into his footballing dotage, he has little doubt that he can still hack it. However, he admits he cannot quite believe how quickly time has passed since he collected his first cap in Olumouc in the Czech Republic in March, 1998. Keane said: “It’s gone quickly, very quickly. Too quickly.” Robbie Keane is certain he still has international goals to score as he approaches the twilight of his glittering career. The 34-year-old LA Galaxy striker will hope to win his 139th senior cap for the Republic of Ireland in Sunday night’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland. It is 17 years since the then teenager first pulled on the green jersey he has worn with such pride ever since but despite having swapped the intensity of the Barclays Premier League for the emerging MLS, he is convinced there are more goals to come on top of his record tally of 65. Retirement, however, is not on Keane’s mind just yet, but the process of making it to another major finals tournament very definitely is. Victory over Poland on Sunday evening would leave Ireland firmly in the race to do that, and might also provide a response to some of the team’s critics. Former assistant manager Liam Brady is the latest to suggest the nation simply does not have the players to compete at the highest level. Asked if the game was an opportunity to rebut that notion, Keane said: “Hopefully that will be the case. We certainly have the players, there’s no question about that. “We have got a lot of quality players in the team and inside that camp, we certainly know that and are well aware of that. “We know that we are quite capable of putting a performance on against anybody so regardless of what anyone else says, we believe we can go against Poland tomorrow and get three points.” last_img read more

Guyana Girls Academy set for July

first_imgFIFTY young aspiring female footballers are set to benefit from a football training programme, the Guyana Girls Academy (GGA), a new football program created by Guyanese-American coach Colin Wilson.The GGA inaugural camp will take place from July 25th – July 28th in Georgetown, from 09:30hrs to 17:00hrs each day. The four-day camp is for girls’ ages 7 to 11 years old.According to Wilson, the idea behind the programme is to create a football academy that develops, trains, and educate girls to compete at a collegiate, professional, and international level, as well as to ignite a strong women’s football culture that will continuously fuel the Guyana Women’s National Team programme.The camp will show young girls the technical, tactical, physical, and mental aspects of the game. Each participant will receive a camp uniform. Parents are encouraged to register this month to reserve their place at the camp.The GGA is working with the support and collaboration of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and the National Sports Commission (NSC).Wilson played competitive football for ten years. He has been involved in coaching for nine years and was a certified referee for five years.He currently holds a United States Soccer Federation National C Coaching License and a United States Soccer Federation National Youth License. Wilson also holds a National Soccer Coaches of Association of America Advanced National Diploma and Level 2 Goalkeeper Diploma.Otis James, one of the coordinators here, is urging parents to register their children. He said the programme is a first and it would be a great opportunity for the young females.Persons interested in getting their children involve could contact James on 668-2014.last_img read more

Sir Hilary says new CWI leadership will have to grapple with crucial reforms

first_imgKINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – Prominent Caribbean academic, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, believes whoever wins today’s Cricket West Indies (CWI) presidential elections, faces the challenge of undertaking critical governance reform of the regional body, regaining the trust of stakeholders and implementing a visionary structure to move West Indies cricket from “awful to awesome”.In a statement entitled ‘Present Crisis and Future of West Indies Cricket’ carried live on UWI TV, Sir Hilary said CWI had now become a “backward institutional system” after rejecting the opportunity for reform through the Patterson Report, closing the Barbados-based High Performance Centre, and creating “greater acrimony” among critical stakeholders like business, government and universities.Sir Hilary, a former CWI director, was speaking ahead of the highly anticipated showdown between incumbent Dave Cameron and former St Kitts and Nevis government minister, Ricky Skerritt, for the position of CWI president.“Other countries that have been faced with systemic decline in their performance have opted to restructure their governance model and engage in a period of strategic planning within the stakeholder grouping,” pointed out Sir Hilary, the University of the West Indies Vice-Chancellor.“The Patterson Report sets out very clearly the path forward for West Indies cricket to enable the emergence of our cricket culture. The governance reforms embedded in the Patterson Report, however, have been rejected.“It’s a report that calls for greater accountability in the management of West Indies cricket, in the leadership of West Indies cricket. It calls for greater transparency. It calls for the removal of cliques and cabals and it calls for the recognition that cricket is the public good in our Caribbean world.”He continued: “Unfortunately, what we have seen in recent years is that reform has been stalled and greater acrimony is developing within the stakeholder community that represents the basis of excellence.“The old mentality is digging in while the goose that laid the golden egg is dying. It is clear to all of us that CWI is not as accountable as we would wish; the public has been calling for greater transparency and a greater type of accountability within the leadership.”Sir Hilary outlined 10 points with which the new CWI administration needed to grapple, among these, “developing and not dividing the young talent … embracing and not alienating investors in West Indies cricket … deepening accountability and not to deepen a lack of transparency in the stakeholders network … and a commitment to reform and not resist new visions of governance”.He also urged CWI to “promote and not marginalise nor degrade the genius of our indigenous legends”, in reference to involvement of the iconic former players in cricket development.Sir Hilary also pointed to the value of the now-defunct High Performance Centre (HPC), which he said provided the environment “to produce the ideal West Indian cricketer for the 21st century”.The HPC, based at the UWI Cave Hill Campus, ceased operations last year after CWI pulled the plug.“We are the only global cricket institution that has no high performance centre,” Sir Hilary lamented.“We saw what happened when our players did so well in England in recent years, and returned home – no academy to help them resolve their technical and emotional problems. In that sense, we are a backward institutional system.“In all of the countries that are competitive, they have built their academies within the learning environments of the universities. This is what England did back in the 90s … in India, in Australia this is the norm but in the West Indies, CWI continues to see the learning environment as a problem.“We have heard the statement: ‘we’re here to produce cricketers, not professors’, and indication of a lack of understanding within the cricket environment.”Cameron, who was elected president for the first time in 2013, is bidding for a fourth successive two-year term, along with vice-president Emmanuel Nanthan.However, he has received a strong challenge from Skerritt, also a former Windies team manager, who has as his running mate, St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association president, Dr Kishore Shallow.Sir Hilary, who did not endorse a candidate, said West Indies’ resurgence on the field rests heavily on the quality of leadership which will emerge from CWI in coming years.“We are clear about the fact that the decline of our performance especially at the Test level is complex (and) intellectually deep-rooted but what we are clear about is that the movement from awful to awesome has to take place at the level of leadership, on the field and in the management,” he stressed.“We have to get rid of the old mentality, we have to embrace knowledge. We have to embrace information because we’re looking to produce the ideal West Indian cricketer for the 21st century.”last_img read more

Annacarty win West battle

first_imgEire Og Annacarthy were three points winners over Clonoulty Rossmore in the West Senior Hurling Campionship last night.A Ronan O Brien goal before half time meant Eire Og went in 1-7 to 0-8 ahead at the break.Clonoulty fought back in the second half but a late John O Neill goal wasn’t enough to save them as Eire Og Annacarthy ran out 1-17 to 1-14 winners in the end. Photo © Tipp FMlast_img

Paintsil may be spiritually under siege – Berekum Arsenal Boss

first_imgThe CEO of Berekum Arsenal, Alhaji Yakubu Moro has said he believes the Deputy Captain of the Black Stars, John Paintsil has been bedeviled by people who want his downfall.Alhaji Moro whose team nurtured Paintsil into stardom was speaking to the recent news about John Paintsil alleged assaults on wife, and allegations that he attempted suicide.“It came as a surprise to me because Paintsil is the shy type, very calm and hardly would you see him argue in public,” Alhaji Moro noted.He said: “I think now that he is a big star, those who envy him are using spiritual means to divert his ways and he needs to pray hard.”News about Paintsil’s suicide attempt stems from a message he posted on his BBM status saying “I will rest in peace…goodbye loved ones” shortly before he collapsed on Tuesday and was rushed to the Ghana-Canada Hospital.Soon after he was discharged from hospital, Paintsil’s BBM status changed to “That was close. Thanks guys.” It is not yet clear what caused his collapse but he was revived by medical officers and released from hospital shortly after.Paintsil’s family has since denied reports that the he attempted suicide, and his Media Relations Adviser, Ebenezer Aidoo also debunked the suicide rumors, saying the star suffered “exhaustion and dehydration”.Adom News also probed allegations Paintsil faked the collapse as a mere ‘PR gimmick’ to win public sympathy, but family sources pleaded for privacy.Paintsil is expected to report to the Legon Police Station and sign a bond to be of good behavior.last_img read more

Confirmed :Zambia name squad for Ghana

first_imgZambia have announced a strong squad of 26 players for the decisive World Cup qualifier against Ghana next month.Ex Chipolopolo vice captain who was on the technical bench at the 2013 AFCON Chintu Kampamba bounces back together with Thailand based Noah Chivuta.CHAN squadCoach Herve Renard has also named Emmanuel Mbola, James Chamanga and Collins Mbesuma in the team. From the CHAN squad, as expected Bronsin Chama makes the cut and he is joined by Kabaso Chongo and youg Bruce Musakanya.The squad features regulars Kennedy Mweene, Emmanuel Mayuka, Stoppila Sunzu, James Chamanga, Rainford Kalaba and Christopher Katongo. Felix Katongo was however conspicuously missing from the squad.The team will begun camping in Johannesburg, South Africa on Wednesday before traveling to Ghana next week for the crunch game in Kumasi on September 6. Full SquadGoalKeepers: Mweene Kennedy, Munyau Danny, Titima JoshuaDefenders: Munthali Christopher, MUSONDA Joseph, NKAUSU Davies, CHAMA Bronson, SUNZU Stoppila, HIMONDEE Hichani, CHONGO Kabaso, KAMPAMBA Chintu, M’BOLA EmmanuelMidfielders: MTONGA Kondwani, SINKALA Nathan, KALABA Raindford, TEMBO Fwayo, MUSAKANYA Bruce, MULENGA Mukuka, LUNGU Chisamba, CHIVUTA Noah, KATONGO ChristopherStrikers: MULENGA Jacob, MAYUKA Emmanuel, KOLA Roger, MBESUMA Collins, CHAMANGA James.last_img read more

Don Mattingly says Dodgers center-field job is open for competition

first_img“To me in general, young guys don’t do real well sitting on the bench,” Mattingly said. “For Joc to be here, he should be playing a lot. If he’s going to be here in L.A., he should be playing a lot. It’s not going to do him any good to sit on the bench.”Pederson saw limited action in 18 games last September, batting .143. Camp will be an important barometer of his progress at the plate, but his glove might earn him the job.Jansen still unsignedCloser Kenley Jansen is one of four players who will exchange salary arbitration figures with the Dodgers on Friday if he cannot reach agreement on a 2015 contract sooner.Jansen returned from his native Curacao for a workout at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. He did not say whether he is discussing a multi-year or one-year contract at this point.“That’s what you have a good agent for,” Jansen said. “I’ll leave that in Adam (Katz)’s hands.”Jansen saved a career-high 44 games in 49 chances last season, third in the National League. He’ll get a decent-sized raise from the $4.3 million he made in 2014, his first year of arbitration eligibility. The Dodgers haven’t taken a player to arbitration since Joe Beimel in 2007.AlsoGM Farhan Zaidi said in a radio interview that the Dodgers will “definitely be a player” for free agent Yoan Moncada. Moncada, a 19-year-old infielder from Cuba, still hasn’t been cleared to sign with an MLB team by the U.S. government. In the meantime, he’s reportedly drawn wide interest and is expected to command a large signing bonus — a situation that favors large-market teams with money to spend on international prospects. Don Mattingly declared the Dodgers’ center-field job an open competition for spring training Wednesday. Barring injuries, it might be the only position competition in camp.Veteran Andre Ethier is still on the roster. So is the recently acquired Chris Heisey and prospect Joc Pederson, 22, who is considered the team’s center fielder of the future. Who will win out?To hear the Dodgers’ manager tell it, the job might not go to whoever swings the hottest bat in the Cactus League. Mattingly said that improving the club’s defense is among the top priorities, with pitchers and catchers scheduled to report in less than five weeks. “I think we have to be more consistent, especially up the middle,” Mattingly said. “Up the middle was our biggest issue. We were playing different guys at center, short, second — Dee (Gordon) mostly at second — but for the most part not a lot of true consistency through the middle.”The Dodgers committed 107 errors last season, second-most in the National League. Measured by errors, Mattingly’s observation holds up: the middle was a problem.Shortstop Hanley Ramirez committed 16 errors, third-most among National League shortstops. Gordon’s 12 errors tied for second-most at his position. Matt Kemp, who began the season as the Dodgers’ center fielder, tied for second among all NL outfielders with seven errors.Not coincidentally, all three players are gone. While Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick have already been tabbed as the Dodgers’ shortstop and second baseman, center field is still a question mark.The job appears to be Pederson’s to lose. He is already considered by management to be the best defensive center fielder in the organization. If for some reason Pederson doesn’t claim the job outright, he could be tabbed for another season at Triple-A — at least at the outset.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more