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Durante 15 dias, o repórter Luiz Carlos Azenha viajou com a equipe do “Jornal da Record” pelo Maranhão, produzindo a série de reportagens “Terra das Águas”.
Serão 5 matérias, de hoje a sexta, mostrando aspectos pouco conhecidos de um estado cheio de contrastes e repleto de belezas naturais. A equipe foi desde a base de lançamento de foguetes de Alcântara até as cachoeiras de Carolina, hoje transformada em um novo polo de turismo.
Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carlos Nery
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Monday paid tribute to his late father and grandfather to mark the 62nd anniversary of what it claims is its victory in the 1950-53 Korean War, the North’s media said.
Accompanied by senior military officials, the North’s young leader visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun at midnight where the embalmed bodies of his father, Kim Jong-il, and grandfather Kim Il-sung lie in state, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
The armistice that ended the Korean War was signed on July 27, 1953, leaving South and North Korea technically in a state of war.
The North has designated the date as “Victory Day” to celebrate what it claims is its victory against the United States during the war.
“The participants vowed to achieve national reunification, a long-cherished wish by the two leaders, by winning a war against U.S. imperialists,” the KCNA said.
On Saturday, Kim urged young North Koreans to inherit the spirit of defending their country shown by fallen soldiers and war veterans at the 4th National Conference of War Veterans in Pyongyang.
Kim’s move to stress patriotism seems to be aimed at solidifying unity from the old generation to the younger one and easing jitters stemming from Kim’s reign of terror, experts say.
He also offered a rare show of respect to Chinese veterans as they helped North Korea in the Korean War.
It is unusual for Kim to extend respect to Chinese veterans as the North’s relations with China have been seriously strained following the North’s nuclear test in 2013. (Yonhap)
The Korea Herald
Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo urged North Korea Sunday to come forward for talks, saying all pending issues can be resolved through dialogue.
North Korea has spurned the South’s proposals for government-level talks amid tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea has instead demanded the resumption of a joint tour program to its scenic Mount Kumgang, which was suspended in 2008 following the shooting death of a female South Korean tourist there.
“What we’re saying is that we should find a way to resume the Mount Kumgang tours by meeting and holding dialogue,” Hong said during an interview with state broadcaster KBS.
The minister stressed that Seoul needs a guarantee from Pyongyang that it will ensure the safety of South Korean tourists.
“The two Koreas should meet and resolve various pending issues, be it through high-level contact or working-level talks,” he said.
Hong also pledged to do his best to arrange another reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, saying it is “an important and urgent” humanitarian issue.
On next month’s visit to Pyongyang by former first lady Lee Hee-ho, he expressed caution about sending her as a special envoy of the government, saying the visit will be private. (Yonhap)
The Korea Herald
North Korea used billboards to advertise its state firms during an international soccer competition in Pyongyang last month, indicating that the communist state is employing a capitalist tool to advance its economic interests.
The North’s official Korean Central Television recently broadcast a preliminary regional competition between the North and Uzbekistan for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. During the broadcast, it showed ads for several North Korean firms selling Korean ginseng, construction materials and information technology.
During a 2009 competition in Pyongyang for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, no advertisements for North Korean firms were seen, although the North allowed South Korean and Japanese sponsors of the match — including Samsung, Hyundai and Toshiba — to advertise their brands.
Analysts said that the communist state seems to use the advertisements for multiple purposes including improving its international image of an economic backwater.
“The ads during the match are obviously a very good opportunity for the North to show to the outside world that it also has various corporate entities that are thriving,” said Chang Yong-seok, a senior analyst at Seoul National University’s Institute for Peace and Unification Studies.
“Thus, in terms of the political aspect, the North may want to use the advertisements to improve its image, largely associated with abject poverty.”
Chang added that the advent of commercials is also connected to the increased autonomy in the management of state corporations.
The North has allowed state firms to use their profits, left after meeting its state production quotas, to increase their production efficiency and interests, which might have triggered competition among them and raised the need for commercials, he pointed out.
Cho Bong-hyun, a senior researcher at the Industrial Bank of Korea, noted that the unusual ads appear to underscore Pyongyang’s efforts to attract foreign investments and shore up its debilitated economy.
“Recently, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered state firms to focus on exports and improve the quality of their goods. Kim appears to be more active to produce some tangible economic gains and in that process, we now see these ads,” he said.
“To show that his regime is faring well, he needs to show some economic achievements. But state firms do not seem to be performing well. Thus, there seems to be the need for ads.”
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Korea Herald
North Korea appears to be constructing a building at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex, where conventional high explosive components of a nuclear weapon can be assembled or stored, a U.S. research institute said.
The building includes five cells, and satellite imagery taken on July 21 shows that these cells may be used to assemble or store conventional high explosive components of a nuclear weapon, the website 38 North said in a report.
The outside walls of the cells could be “blow-out panels,” it said.
“Found on high explosive assembly and storage buildings to reduce the level of damage if an HE assembly explodes during assembly or storage, a blow-out panel directs most of the energy outside the structure, so adjacent cells are not damaged,” the report said.
“The energy directed outside is deflected upward by a surrounding earthen berm,” it said.
The recent satellite imagery also showed that construction is continuing at the still incomplete light water reactor site at the Yongbyon complex, 38 North said.
“The construction adjacent to the reactor hall can now be identified as a transformer yard to connect the electricity producing reactor to the grid. The yard appears to be complete, but all the equipment is probably not yet installed,” it said.
“Once finished, the North Koreans will have taken another step towards beginning initial operation of the reactor,” it said.
The report also said that the North’s five-megawatt nuclear reactor, which the communist nation has used to produce plutonium for nuclear bombs, “may not be operating or is only functioning at low power levels.” It said there is “no evidence such as steam or hot water discharge” that would suggest the reactor is operating.
The reactor is believed to have provided Pyongyang with weapons-grade plutonium that the regime used in its three nuclear tests conducted in 2006, 2009 and 2013. The North has also built a uranium enrichment facility that gives Pyongyang a second way of building nuclear bombs in addition to its plutonium program.
The six-party talks aimed at ending Pyongyang’s nuclear program have been stalled since the last session in late 2008. North Korea has called for resuming negotiations without preconditions, but the U.S. has demanded Pyongyang first take concrete steps demonstrating its denuclearization commitments. (Yonhap)
The Korea Herald
North Korea’s economic conditions appear to be improving thanks to a series of economic and agricultural reforms the impoverished communist regime has introduced, a U.S. congressional report said Monday.
The assessment by the Congressional Research Service could suggest the North’s “byeongjin” policy of simultaneously pursuing economic and nuclear development may be working, albeit on a limited scale, though U.S. and South Korean officials have dismissed the policy as a nonstarter.
“Since early 2015, reports have trickled in about modest economic growth in North Korea. A series of tentative economic reforms announced in 2014 appear, according to some sources, to have lifted the living standard for a portion of ordinary North Koreans,” the CRS said in a report.
“The reforms, which appear to apply market principles to some sectors of North Korean business and agriculture, have created opportunities for economic growth in the impoverished country,” the report said.
In North Korean cities, such practices as allowing managers to set salaries and hire and fire workers are permitted while agricultural reforms in the countryside allow for farmers to keep a larger portion of their harvests, the report said.
The agricultural reforms may have contributed to unusually strong harvests in 2013 and 2014, but a drought in mid-2015 threatens to reverse those gains, and the North’s food security situation remains “tenuous,” it said.
Along the border with China, the report said, journalists have reported a bustle of commerce and trade, including scores of labor compounds on the Chinese side that employ North Korean workers in factories, and large-scale construction taking place on the North Korean side.
“Economists caution that these reforms are modest in scale and are far from irreversible, but they may be enough to lift North Korea’s moribund economy from its low base,” the report said.
The Unification Ministry said that the North’s economy seems to have recovered based on the data, but it is questionable whether North Koreans’ livelihoods have improved.
“The North’s economy seems to have gotten better as it has carried out the agricultural reforms and there have been no (severe) natural disasters in recent years,” Jeong Joon-hee, the ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing Monday.
Korea’s central bank said that the North’s economy grew 1 percent last year, slightly slowing from a 1.1 percent on-year gain in the previous year. It posted economic growth for the fourth straight year in 2014 after contracting in 2009 and 2010.
On the North’s internal stability, the report said that leader Kim Jong-un appears to have consolidated power though uncertainty remains about the regime and its priorities, given the opaque nature of the country.
It also noted that 20-30 percent of senior party officials and over 40 percent of senior military officials have been replaced since Kim took power.
“Many analysts interpret this trend as a sign of Kim’s insecurity and argue that the regime might become unstable, as top officials within the regime face more uncertainty with regard to their positions and lives,” the report said.
“On the other hand, the purges may have eliminated potential rivals to Kim’s absolute control over the North Korean state,” it said.
The report said the North’s relations with China have been “unusually poor” since 2013, compared with the pattern over the previous two decades. The souring ties may have spurred the North to expand its relations with Russia, but Moscow is unable to provide the economic ballast that Beijing has traditionally given the North, it said.
“The rhetorical emphasis Chinese leaders now place on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula — reportedly even in meetings with North Korean officials — may suggest that Beijing’s patience could be waning,” the report said.
“In what is viewed by many observers as a diplomatic snub, Chinese President Xi Jinping has had several summits with South Korean President Park Geun-hye but has yet to meet with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.” (Yonhap)
The Korea Herald