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Blackstone boss Steve Schwarzman talks charity, business and life advice

first_imgHe is particularly perplexed by the downward push in interest rates across Europe. Private equity does not have a reputation for giving away money: on the contrary, it is an industry known for its hard-headed obsession with turning a profit though buying companies and selling them on. He greatly enjoys everything he does, he says – although writing his new book was an exception. “I hated it. I find writing a real struggle, because every word has to be precisely chosen, every sentence has to have the right structure. You can’t keep correcting yourself as you’re talking, like you can in a video.” The Wall Street veteran, now 72, has made a swathe of mega-donations in recent years including $100m to the New York Public Library, $100m to establish a scholarship programme for Chinese students, $150m to Yale University, $350m to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and most recently, a £150m gift to Oxford University which the institution said was its biggest donation “since the renaissance”. Monday 14 October 2019 5:35 pm whatsapp However, he is cautious in his comments. Takeover titan and Blackstone boss Steve Schwarzman talks charity, business and life advice Sitting in his London office, on a tour to promote a new book, he stresses he does not fit the usual idea of a philanthropist as a rich man simply seeking to unload his cash. Yet Schwarzman, whose guiding business principle is “never lose money”, sees no contradiction between his firm’s relentless pursuit of profit and his own habit of giving plenty of it away. “Not particularly” he replies with a wry smile. whatsapp “I don’t even understand what a negative interest rate is,” he says. But even being the top dealmaker at an investment banking giant was not enough for Schwarzman’s appetite, so he founded Blackstone with former Lehman chairman Pete Peterson in 1985. The book, What It Takes, an autobiography-cum-business self-help guide, details his rise from modest beginnings in Philadelphia to the top of the financial world. From an early age Schwarzman was ambitious, urging his father to expand his curtains and linens store across the state (to no avail – it seems his dad was happy with the status quo). Sebastian McCarthy He thinks that Europe’s struggling economies could bear the brunt of negative growth. And with that, he’s off for more interviews. Through snapping up struggling firms on the cheap and offloading them several years down the line for a whopping profit, the company has built up nearly $550bn in assets under management. His own fortune is variously estimated at anything from $12bn to $18bn. On the morning we meet, he has already been up since 4.30am, having just landed from the South of France to cram in a day of book-promoting media interviews before heading over to Washington. But he is showing no sign of fatigue; indeed, his hectic schedule seems to reflect his seemingly boundless energy, remarkable for a man in his eighth decade. Share I ask him how they square up – how can Blackstone employees, for example, learn from failure without losing a packet? “You don’t have to experience loss personally,” he says, “to be indoctrinated to the realisation that bad things can happen.” “What you’re trying to do is create something that will really address societal problems,” he says. “The definition of the solution is the most important thing. It’s not the conventional concept of philanthropy where there’s some affluent person looking to get rid of money. The money comes at the end. He went on to study at Yale and Harvard Business School, after which he joined Lehman Brothers where he quickly rose to prominence as the firm’s young star of mergers and acquisitions. At the end of his book, Schwarzman gives a series of tips or rules for business, two of the most prominent of which are “don’t lose money” and “failure is the best teacher”. Like many observers of the financial markets, Schwarzman sees a global slowdown but does not think the major powerhouses across the world will all enter into recession. “I find I get involved in everything I do, sometimes for ten years or more. I end up with very large commitments.” Read more: Climate activists target bankers during second week of protests There is the strong sense that, for Schwarzman, philanthropy is less about giving and more about working; he relishes his crammed lifestyle of business and charity (and advising heads of state from time to time, including President Trump, whose Strategic and Policy Forum he chaired). A few days before we meet, Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has said he wants to abolish billionaires. “I was thinking the other day – what would I do with a lot of money? Would I give it to somebody and let them charge me for giving them they money or just buy a warehouse, get a bunch of security guards and just leave it there?” So it comes as something of a surprise to find that the boss of the world’s biggest private equity company, Steve Schwarzman of Blackstone, is also one of the world’s biggest philanthropists. Having once likened President Obama’s tax rises to Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland, the dealmaker is wary of putting his foot in the wrong place and won’t talk about Trump. He insists they can, because everything that is done in his company is reviewed each week by the people at the top, and potential failures can be spotted early on. “There is a chance that Europe could be in recession and the UK, depending on what happens with Brexit.” Does Schwarzman agree with the policy? Read more: Trio win economics nobel prize for work on poverty It’s about as political as Schwarzman will get. by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeDaily FunnyFemale Athlete Fails You Can’t Look Away FromDaily FunnyNoteableyJulia Robert’s Daughter Turns 16 And Looks Just Like Her MomNoteableyPast Factory4 Sisters Take The Same Picture For 40 Years. Don’t Cry When You See The Last One!Past Factorybonvoyaged.comThese Celebs Are Complete Jerks In Real Life.bonvoyaged.comMisterStoryWoman files for divorce after seeing this photoMisterStoryYourDailyLamaHe Used To Be Handsome In 80s Now It’s Hard To Look At HimYourDailyLamazenherald.comDolly Finally Took Off Her Wig, Fans Gaspedzenherald.comJournalistateTeacher Wears Dress Everyday, Mom Sets Up CamJournalistateDefinitionThe Funniest Yard Signs EVER WrittenDefinitionlast_img read more

Bethel police arrest man positive for COVID-19 for violating self-isolation

first_imgCoronavirus | SouthwestBethel police arrest man positive for COVID-19 for violating self-isolationOctober 23, 2020 by Greg Kim, KYUK – Bethel Share:Nora Guinn Justice Complex, the state courthouse in Bethel. (Dean Swope/KYUK)Last week, for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic, Bethel police arrested a person who tested positive for COVID-19 positive for being out in public. Police were enforcing a state order.On Oct. 16, Bethel resident Buck Bukowski was running an errand on his lunch hour at the AC grocery store when all of sudden, he watched a wild police chase unfold right before him.“A guy goes running by me running really fast, and he kept looking around, looking behind him,” Bukowski said.Bukowski said that the man started running toward the Alba’s and Subway parking lot, but was stopped short. A chase occurred, and officers eventually caught him behind the United Pentecostal Church.“They wrestled him down and got handcuffs on him,” Bukowski said. “And they said this guy was COVID positive.”Bukowski said that police told him the man was not in quarantine and that was why they were arresting him. On Oct. 19, Police Chief Richard Simmons confirmed Bukowski’s story in a phone interview with KYUK.“Obviously this is not something we’ve done before. And it’s actually not something that’s done, basically, very often at all,” Simmons said. “Long story short, we have a gentleman in the community who has some other issues going on. He’s got a couple mental problems and he’s partially homeless. He came back with a positive test. And of course, you know, the expectation is you go and lock yourself up for a little bit, and take care of yourself and get over it. And do what the doctor orders. Well, he didn’t. And so he forced the COVID team over at YKHC to deal with the State Department of Health to get an order for this guy, to get an actual court order.”Tiffany Zulkosky, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation’s vice president of communications,  wrote in an email that YKHC lets the state know if they are aware that an individual is willfully refusing to quarantine or unable to quarantine. The state can then issue an emergency administrative isolation order. Simmons said that Bethel police were called late on Oct. 15 to serve this order.“Thursday, the 15th, we were able to find him and get him over there to YKHC. Shortly after we dropped him off, he decided to leave,” Simmons said.So the search was on again. Police located him a second time on Oct. 16, which is what Burkowski witnessed. Because the man violated his self-isolation a second time, Simmons said that there were more consequences.“Once a person is issued an order from the Department of Health like that it’s actually a misdemeanor to disregard it,” Simmons said.So the police transported the man to jail to wait for his arraignment.“And for just the night, he spent the night over there, but they have a quarantine room and all that stuff,” Simmons said. “They’re set up for that.”Simmons said that the police officers who were involved in the arrest rotated off shift, took a shower, changed uniforms and disinfected their vehicles. But he said that they don’t have the luxury of quarantining after their exposure to the virus.“We don’t have the staff to do it,” Simmons said. “And we have not seen a decrease in calls since COVID has hit in this community. So needless to say, we still have to, you know, we still have to handle the normal domestic assaults and the violence, and then the standard property crimes that happen daily in this community.”With the amount of exposure to the community police officers have, and with the case count in Bethel climbing, Simmons said that it’s no surprise that five out of 10 officers in his department have been infected with COVID-19 at some point.He said that one officer is currently infected and in self-isolation. Three officers came down with the virus in August, and Chief Simmons himself caught the coronavirus while traveling to Bethel to take this job in July. He said that he self-isolated before coming to work and didn’t observe any symptoms.“They were nonexistent,” Simmons said. “Which again is what makes it so dangerous, because you can be sick, and you can be passing it and not know it. And that’s why we test regularly with the police department.”As for the individual who required an emergency administrative isolation order, YKHC said that as of Oct. 21, that person has successfully remained in quarantine since the weekend.KYUK contacted the Bethel Winter House because the police chief said that the infected man was partially homeless. Winter House President Jon Cochrane said that the shelter temperature checks all its guests and encourages them to participate in YKHC’s free testing without an appointment, which is offered on Wednesdays in Bethel.Share this story:last_img read more

Wind power now the cheapest electricity to produce in the UK as the price of renewable energy continues to drop

first_img Wind power now the cheapest electricity to produce in the UK as the price of renewable energy continues to drop whatsapp Wednesday 7 October 2015 2:02 pm Onshore wind power is now cheaper to produce than fossil fuels in the UK and Germany – the first time this has been recorded in a G7 economy.The cost of wind power has been dropping rapidly in recent years, and the transition is now complete as the renewable has become more cost-efficient than fossil fuels like gas and coal. Onshore wind in the UK is estimated to cost an average of $85 per megawatt-hour for the second half of 2015, making it “fully cost-competitive” even without government subsidies, according to Luke Mills, analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance:Onshore wind and solar photovoltaics are both now much more competitive against the established generation technologies than would have seemed possible only five or 10 years ago.In comparison, combined-cycle gas and coal both cost an average of $115 in the UK.Germany has experienced a similar trend, and in the second half of the year onshore wind is expected to cost $80 per megawatt-hour, against $118 for gas and $106 for coal.On a global scale, however, coal is still the cheapest form of electricity to produce in both the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region, but the cost of wind and solar power is dropping across the board.Seb Henbest, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said this was “helped by cheaper technology but also by lower finance costs. Meanwhile, coal and gas have got more expensive on the back of lower utilisation rates”. by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeMoneyPailShe Was A Star, Now She Works In ScottsdaleMoneyPailPost FunKate & Meghan Are Very Different Mothers, These Photos Prove ItPost FunSwift VerdictChrissy Metz, 39, Shows Off Massive Weight Loss In Fierce New PhotoSwift VerdictComedyAbandoned Submarines Floating Around the WorldComedyMaternity WeekA Letter From The Devil Written By A Possessed Nun In 1676 Has Been TranslatedMaternity Weekzenherald.comMeghan Markle Changed This Major Detail On Archies Birth Certificatezenherald.comGameday NewsNBA Wife Turns Heads Wherever She GoesGameday NewsBridesBlushThis Is Why The Royal Family Kept Quiet About Prince Harry’s Sister BridesBlushEquity MirrorThey Drained Niagara Falls — They Weren’t Prepared For This Sickening DiscoveryEquity Mirrorcenter_img Show Comments ▼ Share Clara Guibourg whatsapplast_img read more

News / K+N reports tough first quarter, with turnover and profits down, but stays bullish

first_imgK+N Kuehne + Nagel (K+N) is one of the first major forwarders to report Covid-impacted results, so is likely to act as something of a marker for others in what will undoubtedly be a tough quarter.The Swiss group admitted that volumes declined sharply in its first quarter, with net turnover down 6.2%, gross profit down 5.1% and earnings down 23.2% at Sfr139m ($142.7m).“The coronavirus pandemic is an immense global challenge,” said Dr Detlef Trefzger, chief executive. “Industrial production and trade volumes weakened significantly.” “In this situation, Kuehne + Nagel maintained its operational performance, closely managed a number of specialty businesses and won new customers. In the case of basic commodities and pharmaceuticals, transport volumes were maintained at a respectable level.”.In sea freight, the company said, it was affected “at an early stage”. However, exported perishables from Latin America and reefer shipments, which included pharma, “developed well”. But volumes in teu were down 6.2% year on year.Net turnover in sea freight fell by 6.9% to Sfr1.7bn, while gross profit was down 9.9% to Sfr344m. Ebit fell by 29.5% to Sfr79m.In air freight, the large number of cancelled passenger flights affected results as capacity dropped about 60% in just a few weeks. However, there was also a drop in demand – although, inevitably, short -term charters for pharma and time-critical saw bigger demand. As a result, volumes fell 9%, while net turnover dropped 6.8% to Sfr1.1bn, while gross profit fell 5.8% to Sfr307m and ebit dropped 11.3% to Sfr71m.Road Logistics saw volumes in Europe drop from March onwards, while North America experienced a fall in intermodal volumes. Only e-commerce and pharma were unaffected. Net turnover fell 4.2% to Sfr863m, gross profit fell 1.4% to Sfr281m and ebit fell 29.2% to Sfr17m.But the greatest fall in ebit was in contract logistics, which dropped 34.6%, as automotive and retail saw demand fall. Net turnover fell 6.1% to Sfr1.2bn, gross profit was down 4%.All K+N business units were affected by negative currency impacts. But the forwarder said it had not experienced any “major disruptions to its operations”.It said: “While demand in certain industries such as pharma, healthcare, hi-tech and e-commerce has increased, volumes of some other industries, especially automotive and perishables reduced significantly.“In China, the major part of production has resumed, but the overall progression of the Covid-19 pandemic remains volatile and difficult to predict.”It noted that “the impact on business growth and profitability cannot be quantified at this stage as it depends on the duration and severity of the pandemic”.However, K+N said that outside the coronavirus, it had made some progress: it acquired Rotra and Joebstl, which had been “integrated as planned”, and its performance in Asia was “encouraging”, with more demand for its digital platform, eTrucknow.Other digital platforms, including AirLOG, also saw progress, and its CO2-neutral sea initiatives, which see all emissions from less-than-containerload (LCL) shipments offset, remained in demand with customers.Dr Trefzger said: “Our company will face major challenges in the coming months, but is well-positioned in view of its customer proximity, agility and digital offerings. A high level of liquidity characterises the company’s solid financial strength.”K+N described its results as “resilient”, but Loadstar Premium chief Alessandro Pasetti noted: “If it was this bad for K+N, what about all the other 3PLs?“And core free cash flow isn’t as good as promoted at the top of the analyst presentation. I thought Q1 might have been mildly stronger, but it was broadly in line – we all know Q2 is when it’s going to be really painful.”You can find out more on Loadstar Premium here.You can see K+N’s full results here, and its analyst conference presentation here.center_img By Alex Lennane 27/04/2020last_img read more

Moorehaven man seriously injured in Glades County rollover crash

first_imgTwo taken to hospital after Glades County plane crash May 3, 2021 Glades County man arrested for April golf cart hit and run crash June 3, 2021 Advertisement AdvertisementDC Young Fly knocks out heckler (video) – Rolling OutRead more6 comments’Mortal Kombat’ Exceeded Expectations Says WarnerMedia ExecutiveRead more2 commentsDo You Remember Bob’s Big Boy?Read more1 commentsKISS Front Man Paul Stanley Reveals This Is The End Of KISS As A Touring Band, For RealRead more1 comments Man sentenced to life in prison for Glades County murder for hire case May 21, 2021 GLADES COUNTY, Fla. – A 32-year-old Moorehaven man was seriously injured in a rollover crash Saturday on State Road 78 near Marshall Field Road. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the man was driving a van along SR 78 around 11 a.m. when he crossed the centerline and hit a trailer that was being pulled by a 63-year-old Labelle man also driving a van. The 32-year-old ran off the road, rolled over, and hit a fence after crashing into the trailer, troopers said. He was taken to Hendry Regional Medical Center with serious injuries. Advertisement AdvertisementRecommended ArticlesBrie Larson Reportedly Replacing Robert Downey Jr. As The Face Of The MCURead more81 commentsGal Gadot Reportedly Being Recast As Wonder Woman For The FlashRead more29 comments RELATEDTOPICS Glades County to have walk-in vaccinations available on Sunday March 21, 2021 AdvertisementTags: Glades Countylast_img read more

In Pictures: Huge turnout as Pat Critchley launches ‘Bruno’ book in Portlaoise

first_img WhatsApp In Pictures: Huge turnout as Pat Critchley launches ‘Bruno’ book in Portlaoise Facebook Twitter TAGSPat CritchleyPortlaoise Pinterest They came from all over the county – but particularly from Portlaoise and Ratheniska – as Pat Critchley launched his new book Bruno, dedicated to his late friend and neighbour, Will ‘Bruno’ McEvoy, in the Killeshin Hotel on Thursday night.The book is a collection of short stories, yarns and poetry, all told in Pat’s own unique and inimitable style.And the launch, as you’d expect, was a typical good-humoured affair with Pat, MC Connie Conroy, Seamus ‘Cheddar’ Plunkett, Shay Flannery and Paul Marron – AKA Fr Trendy – all making contributions.Coming 11 years after the launch of his much-acclaimed autobiography Hungry Hill this latest publication tells the stories of the many characters that may not have made the cut the last time.There was a book in those stories on its own.After Shay Flannery read the poem The Kettle Flynn Connie Conroy and Cheddar Plunkett – two great friends of Pat’s – chatted on stage before Pat himself was introduced to the crowd.And it was story after story after story from there, with Pat brilliantly recalling the likes of Paddy Dea and his uncles Jack ‘The Barbender’ and Tom Keating.Our photographer Julie Anne Miller was in attendance where she captured a selection of great images.You can check them out in full below.Bruno is available to buy in bookshops in Portlaoise. Home News Community In Pictures: Huge turnout as Pat Critchley launches ‘Bruno’ book in Portlaoise NewsCommunity SEE ALSO – Prime Portlaoise property secured in €1.4million saleSEE ALSO – Books, jerseys, hats – the LaoisToday store is now open Bizarre situation as Ben Brennan breaks up Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael arrangement to take Graiguecullen-Portarlington vice-chair role Laois Councillor ‘amazed’ at Electric Picnic decision to apply for later date for 2021 festival Facebookcenter_img RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Twitter 2020 U-15 ‘B’ glory for Ballyroan-Abbey following six point win over Killeshin Electric Picnic By LaoisToday Reporter – 29th November 2019 Pinterest News GAA WhatsApp Previous articleLaois girl hosting table quiz to raise funds for trip to UgandaNext articleWomen in Sport: Laois and Timahoe Ladies football hero Angela Casey LaoisToday Reporter last_img read more

Seperated Families Are Distressed about Video Conferencing

first_img Is Nuclear Peace with North Korea Possible? Analysis & Opinion Facebook Twitter Seperated Families Are Distressed about Video Conferencing SHARE [imText1]The October 4th Declaration allows for the implementation of periodic reunions for separated families and for the exchange of video letters at the Mount Geumgang Meeting Post. Some welcome the momentary family reunions, and others, especially the members of separated families in North Korea, don’t. ◆ The North will practice absolute censorship on all video lettersUndoubtedly, the National Security Agency of North Korea will censor every video letter to be sent to South Korea. The North Korean authorities might even write, direct, and produce the video letter. A bigger problem lies with those in the North who cannot afford to produce video letters for their families in the South. So far, those North Koreans who had a chance to meet their separated family members living in the South have been individuals who had conformed to or contributed to the North Korean system. It does not matter how they came to North Korea, whether voluntarily or forcefully; in North Korea, these people enjoy decent jobs and income. The badges they wear at the reunions are a display of their social status. However, the families of those who left North Korea for South Korea after the liberation from Japan or the Korean War have long been isolated and persecuted just because they have family members who had gone to the South. Most of them were removed to coal towns, mines or remote mountain villages. Their misfortune even fell upon their direct family members and their children. Therefore, the conditions under which these families live are far worse than for the average North Korean. The North Korean authorities would never show how these people really live. There has been only a small number of cases where these people had a chance to meet their family members living in the South at the reunion. ◆ It is problematic to hold the reunions at Mt. GeumgangMs. Kang (40) met her aunt in North Korea via video conference. “It was worse than not seeing her,” Kang said, “My father, who is over 80 and can neither move nor talk, could not recognize his sister’s voice. It only increased his pining for his family.”“Had my father had a chance to meet his sister in person, he could have held her hand and they could have had a meal together,” Kang said, adding that “after the video conference, his anguish deepened further.”The separated families hope to freely come and go to both the North and the South. However, the 2007 Summit did not even mention the issue of separated families visiting their hometowns. Of separated families on both sides are the few elderly people whose need demands special attention. Before they die, these elderly people want to visit their hometown and meet their families at least once. However, the odds are slim as long as the meeting place is restricted only to the Mt. Geumgang reunion center. AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] Analysis & Opinioncenter_img RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Analysis & Opinion Tracking the “unidentified yellow substance” being dried out near the Yongbyon Nuclear Center By Daily NK – 2007.10.11 11:55am Analysis & Opinion Pence Cartoon: “KOR-US Karaoke”last_img read more

Mt. Geumgang Visitor Shot and Tours Will Stop Starting on the…

first_img SHARE Mt. Geumgang Visitor Shot and Tours Will Stop Starting on the 12th News AvatarJeong Jae Sung News News The South Korean government, as a follow-up measure for the shooting of a South Korean tourist by a North Korea soldier, which occurred on the 11th near the Mt. Geumgang Special Tourist Zone, decided to temporarily halt Mount Geumgang tourism from the 12th until the truth of the case can be closely examined.According to Hyundai Asan, Park Wang Ja (53, female) was shot and died around 5 A.M. on the 11th in the vicinity of a beach inside the Mt. Geumgang Special Tourist Zone in Onjung-ri, North Kangwon Province in North Korea. Park was shot after entering a military protected area, maintained the North. Regarding this, Kim Ho Nyun, a Ministry of Unification spokesperson said in an emergency briefing on this day, “Until the completion of investigations of this incident, the Mt. Geumgang tours will temporarily cease. According to the result of the investigation, an appropriate measure will be taken.”The tourists who currently remain in Mt. Geumgang will return after completing the scheduled itinerary.Spokesperson Kim said, “I am very regretful about the death of our (South Korean) tourist. We will adopt a measure which seeks to closely examine the case and we hope that the North will actively cooperate in verifying the truth as well.”He also relayed, “A joint task force, led by the Vice-Minister of the Unification, will prepare the investigation as well as the follow-up measure.”According to Hyundai Asan, Park, around 4:30 A.M., was walking approximately 1 km towards the Gosung-eup direction (northern direction) from the Geumgang Beach, then crossed the fence of the civilian restricted area and was shot.Visual inspection results showed that Ms. Park was shot in the chest and in the hips, but the cause of death was heavy breathing from the gunshots.Ms. Park reportedly did not run into any unusual situation while passing by the first North Korean Army guard post, but at the second post, was shot after a warning to stop and a warning shot.A Hyundai Asan affiliate said, “Park must have gone for an early morning stroll while staying at a nearby hotel. While walking along the beach, a North Korean soldier ordered, “Stop Now,” after she crossed into a restricted area and a warning shot was fired after that.”“It has been deduced that the soldier fired the shot when Park kept running away.”The North relayed the position, “Park was shot after failing to stop despite several orders to stop and the firing of a warning shot, but she kept approaching the post.”Sokcho Hospital in South Korea which examined Park’s body said, “She must have died from the shot from the rear of her.”Hospital Chief Suh Myung Suk explained, “The cause of death is respiratory failure due to the gunshot wound to the chest. Blood began to clot inside her lung as a result and she seems to have died from respiratory failure and hemorrhage.” Facebook Twittercenter_img By Jeong Jae Sung – 2008.07.13 12:04am News There are signs that North Korea is running into serious difficulties with its corn harvest Entire border patrol unit in North Hamgyong Province placed into quarantine following “paratyphoid” outbreak RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR North Korea tries to accelerate building of walls and fences along border with Chinalast_img read more

WIPO Arouses Divisions in U.S. Leadership

first_img North Korea tries to accelerate building of walls and fences along border with China WIPO Arouses Divisions in U.S. Leadership By Daily NK – 2012.07.25 11:34am AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR News Division have appeared in the U.S. government over the issue of potentially sanctions-busting technology transfers to North Korea by WIPO, a specialized agency under the auspices of the UN, with State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland going directly against a press release from the House Foreign Affairs Committee the same day.According to Nuland, despite “concerns” over alleged wrongdoings by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in sending sensitive technology to North Korea and Iran, the State Department’s initial impression is that “there doesn’t appear to have been a violation of UN sanctions.” However, Nuland added, “This has now been referred to the sanctions committee for them to make their own determination, so we will await the views of the respective UN sanctions committees. We are also seeking more information from WIPO so that we can conclude our own work on whether there was any violation of U.S. law, but we don’t yet have everything that we need in order to make that assessment.”Nuland also made mention of “a number of positive steps” WIPO has taken since the story broke earlier in the year. Her comments emphasized the agency’s cooperation with the investigation, and when asked if she felt “stonewalled” by WIPO, her answer on behalf of the State Department was “We do not. No.”This runs counter to the position of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which, headed by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, has been undertaking its own investigation into possible UN sanction violations.In its own Tuesday press release, the committee announced that a briefing on the subject of WIPO had been cancelled due to a “lack of cooperation” allegedly due to WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry’s refusal to allow senior agency staff members to testify. This inspired committee chair Ros-Lehtinen and ranking opposition member Rep. Howard L. Berman to declare, “By refusing to commission an independent investigation and by obstructing an investigation by the Congress of the United States, whose citizens provide so much of the funds that keep WIPO operating, Director-General Gurry sends the message that he is not committed to transparency, accountability, and reform.”The statement concluded, “We urge Director-General Gurry to change course and immediately allow WIPO personnel invited by the Committee to testify and appear without fear of any form of retaliation for their testimony.” Facebook Twittercenter_img News News News Entire border patrol unit in North Hamgyong Province placed into quarantine following “paratyphoid” outbreak There are signs that North Korea is running into serious difficulties with its corn harvest SHARElast_img read more

How does one transport fruits in a broken infrastructure?

first_img North Korea tries to accelerate building of walls and fences along border with China RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] This is “NK Market Trends,” bringing youweekly updates on the North Korean economy. This week we sat down with reporterKang Mi Jin to discuss the latest trends; but first, let’s take a look at howthe jangmadang [market] has been doing. We’ll begin by providing a rundown on theprice of rice, the currency conversion rates, and the cost of other goods inNorth Korean markets. The price of 1 kg of rice was 5,150 KPW in Pyongyang,5,200 KPW in Sinuiju and 5,500 KPW in Hyesan. The USD was trading at 8,200 KPWin Pyongyang and Sinuiju, and 8,155 KPW in Hyesan. Moving along, the cost of 1 kg of corn kernels was 2,000 KPW in Pyongyang and Sinuiju and 2,300 KPW in Hyesan. One kgof pork was selling at 14,000 KPW in Pyongyang and Sinuiju and 15,000 KPW inHyesan. Gasoline was trading at 9,300 KPW per kg in Pyongyang and Sinuiju andat 8,500 KPW per kg in Hyesan. Finally, 1 kg of diesel fuel was selling at5,100 KPW in Pyongyang and 5,300 KPW in Sinuiju, and 5,500 KPW in Hyesan. Thishas been a rundown on North Korea’s latest market prices. 1. We’ve caught word that residents arepurchasing lots of watermelon as a way to combat the summer heat. Can youexplain the situation to us in a bit more detail? Yes, the average temperature in North Koreathese days is hovering around 30 degrees Celsius. Ice cream and watermelon isthe best for cooling off, isn’t it? In South Korea, preserving cool fruits andrefreshing drinks is easy because refrigerators are widely owned items, butthat’s not the case in North Korea. This means access to frosty treats is thatmuch harder. These days, the temperature swings from about 22 degrees to 35degrees.  It’s unfortunate that residents have such a tough time getting ahold of a cool beverage or fruit on such scorching days.  According to aninside source at the market, one watermelon is going for about 13,000 KPW rightnow. 2. My word. That seems like an awfully highprice when you consider the low income of most residents…. That’s absolutely correct. The price of onekg of rice in the Yanggang Province Market is 5,500 KPW, which means you couldbuy two kgs of rice for the cost of a single watermelon. This puts it out ofthe reach of normal folks.  Watermelons are grown in greenhouses and areavailable all year round in South Korea,  but North Koreans have to buyimported watermelons from China that are preserved by being inserted into holesin the ground. The price gets pushed up so high because importers take theircut and there’s also an import duty. There is a limit to the fruit that isstored in this manner, so this lack up supply also increases the price. 3. Outside of watermelons, what is thesituation like for other fruits? The price of one pineapple at the HyesanAgricultural market is 10,000 KPW. Of course, this is a pricey purchase, atroughly the cost of two kg of rice. Pears go for about 10,000 KPW for one kg,or approximately four pears. Even though it’s brutally hot and the residentsare working extremely hard, most fruit is simply outside the price range ofmost residents. Heat is bearable, but hunger is harder to tolerate. So theresidents invest in grains and other more economical foods. Bananas go for about 2,500 KPW a piece. Aninformant told us that because of their prohibitive cost, bananas are usuallyreserved for special occasions only.  We also hear that bananas areoccasionally present at meetings, or bought from vendors deep in the mountainsfor the Chuseok holiday or a wedding. I once visited my father’s tomb toperform ancestral rites and happened to see one resident offer up a banana tohis ancestor, only to eat it whole (peel and all) moments later. A source hasinformed us that most residents are familiar with the word banana, but mosthave not had the chance to actually try one. Ever since trade with China was invigoratedin the early 2000s, bananas and other exotic fruits began to turn up in themarket. Before that, people did not really encounter them. Hence, the storyabout the gentleman who ate the peel. Since they are so expensive, most peoplecan’t afford them and vendors tend to stick with offering regional fruits suchas apples, pears, and churi. I guess you wouldn’t know what churis are, right? They call them jadu (plums) here in South Korea. 4. Refrigeration facilities are old news inSouth Korea, and most people here are now totally accustomed to reaching intothe fridge at their convenience. Given that refrigerators are out of the pricerange of most residents, I’m interested to learn about what kinds of methodsare used to preserve foods. Because of this insufficiency, NorthKoreans have become expert in the art of using nature to do the job of moderntechnology. There are cold springs that flow in mountainous regions. Digging ahole and putting watermelon or other foods in the ground there is an excellentway to preserve them. Oriental melons grew particularly well in YanggangProvince, where I come from.  I would get some of these melons from alocal farm, put them in a plastic bag, and even sprinkle a little spring waterin there. That’s another way to preserve fruit. But you have to be careful. Ourhouse’s yard had a fence. Inside this fence was a spring well with fresh waterso occasionally people would stop by to get some water. One day, when I was outto work I noticed all my oriental melons had disappeared. I assume that apasserby went for water, saw the juicy melons, and couldn’t resist.   5. We’ve talked about how pineapples andwatermelons are too expensive for most residents to buy. But I wonder if thereare any cheap fruits that are top sellers in the market. Good point. I’ve also considered that. Iagree that it would maximize profits to focus on the fruits that fly off theshelves. I imagine such a sight brings a smile to the vendors’ eyes.   6. As you well know, South Korea’s goodsdistribution networks are highly developed, so it is easy for people to buywhat they want when they want. We’ve received reports that it would be noexaggeration to say that North Korea’s distribution networks are in a state ofparalysis. Given the sorry state of North Korea’s infrastructure, how are goodsmove about? Yeah, that’s definitely the case. NorthKorea’s energy shortages and blackouts are chronic. And we have an abundance oftestimonies that indicate the transportation system is truly paralyzed. Forthose that want to take the train, it is necessary to pack a few day’s worth offood and stick it out for a multiday ride, even though the distances are not sogreat. A lot of vendors have reported that their foodstuffs went rotten beforethey even got to market because of the train delays. In 2005, I tried to buy fish at Kim Chaekand ride a train to Hyesan in order to sell them at market. Even though my bagswere about 50 kgs, it’s sometimes preferable to walk because the trains were sounreliable. I was forced to stay in one place for three days to wait for theelectricity to resume. I had about 180kg worth of fish at that time, so even ifI wanted to walk, it wouldn’t have been practical. Once the luggage is over 50kg it’s best to either stick it out or try to walk to a nearby city with morereliable electricity. These days, ‘servi-cha’ are all the rage. Inside reportssuggest more residents use ‘servi-cha’ than trains. It’s a bit more expensivethan a train ticket, but it’s faster, more reliable, and there’s less chance offoodstuffs spoiling in transit.  7. Which fruits are doing really well at themarket these days? These days a special North Korean fruitcalled “baeksalgu” is in season and selling really well. This “more sweet thansour fruit” is produced in North Hamgyeong Province’s Hwei-ryang area. It is atype of apricot. Because of its popularity, the fruit has been designatednatural monument number 439. Baeksalgu is soft, so it easily rots, but overripefruits can either be canned or used to make alcohol. Normally one kg ofbaeksalgu goes for about 12,000 or 13,000 KPW. Because it is in season thesedays, baeksalgu is selling even better than apples.   8. So from what you’ve told us so far, itseems that residents hoping to buy one kg fruit will need to spend theequivalent of two kg of rice. That means that fruit must be considered a walletbreaking purchase for most residents, no? That’s absolutely the case, but residentsreadily pay the steep price because they’re quite fond of fruit. Sometimesresidents opt to go and pick wild berries and fruits from mountainous regions.In Yanggang Province, there is a berry called “Mae-jeot.” It’s a sweet and sourberry. There are also wild strawberries and raspberries. In this way, theycompensate for the expensive price of fruits in the market. When I lived inNorth Korea, I used to take daily trips to the mountain to pick wild berries.In those kind of mountainous areas, it’s hard to grow fruit, so we mostly atewild berries. Autumn blueberries will also soon be available. Wild berries tendto grow from June to October, so this is a huge help for residents who lovefruits but don’t have the cash to spare. 9. The baeksalgu fruit that you mentionedearlier: is that only produced in Hwei-ryeong? Yes, from what we understand baeksalgu is producedin Hwei-ryeong in Hamgyeong Province. That area produced about 70% of the totalbaeksalgu yield. A special variety called the Changhyori is much cherished bythe people and had been designated at natural monument number 439. 10. It seems apparent to me thattransporting native fruits from their place of production to other regions forsale would increase their price. Have we seen that effect in the market? That’s absolutely true. So we do in factget a lot of regional variation on the cost of these goods. The vendors usetheir skills at reading market conditions to make subjective judgments aboutwhat an appropriate sales price is. After all, transport costs need to bereflected in the final price in order for the traders to make a profit. Beforesetting their prices, vendors sometimes take a look at the price of similarproducts in the market. More often than not, there are runners and wholesalersin the market. Wholesalers sell in bulk to the runners, who sell direct to thecustomer. So, really it is the wholesalers who incorporate transportation costsinto the price. Of course, they are looking to optimize their profits all thetime.  This is true for all products, not just fruit. SHARE By Daily NK – 2015.07.31 9:57am Facebook Twitter News center_img Hamhung man arrested for corruption while working at a state-run department store News News Ordinary Pyongyang residents have not received government rations since mid-April News How does one transport fruits in a broken infrastructure?last_img read more