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Hang on to your cash. This dash to digitise payments is dangerous

14 Sep

Published in The Guardian, written by Brett Scott who  is a campaigner and former broker:

“In granting financial corporations complete control over the money system, our every economic interaction ends up logged in their databases for analysis. ”

Do we want this?



I copied this Article in “theguardian”, Australia edition, from Monday, 4 September 2017

5 Sep

I find of special interest the figures about military spending in this article:

South Korea holds live-fire drills and warns of more launches by North

South Korea has carried out a simulated attack on North Korea’s nuclear test site in a huge show of force after Pyongyang detonated what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb.

Seoul has also approved the complete deployment of a US anti-missile system in another sign it intends to address North Korean provocations with reminders of its own military firepower, while keeping the door open to dialogue.

South Korean intelligence officials said there were indications that the North was preparing to test fire another ballistic missile, though they did not say when they believed the launches would take place.

The army and air force drills, held at an undisclosed location on Monday morning, involved launching ballistic missiles in a simulated strike against North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site – the scene of Sunday’s controlled detonation of what Pyongyang claimed was a powerful hydrogen bomb capable of being loaded on to an intercontinental ballistic missile.

South Korean forces conducted the drill alone, but further joint exercises are planned with the US in an attempt to remind the North of the firepower ranged against it, according to South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff.

In addition, Seoul and Washington are considering the deployment of a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, strategic bomber and other military hardware to the Korean peninsula in response to Sunday’s test.

Monday’s live-fire drills were held hours after James Mattis, the US defence secretary, said there would be a “massive military response” if North Korea threatened the US or any of its allies.

“Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam or our allies, will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming,” he said after meeting Donald Trump and his national security team.

Mattis added: “We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea. But as I said, we have many options to do so

Could North Korea trigger a nuclear war?

Switzerland, which has troops deployed in the demarcation zone between South Korea and North Korea, offered to help as mediator in the crisis, including by hosting ministerial talks. “It is really time now to sit down at a table,” Swiss president Doris Leuthard said. “Big powers have a responsibility.”

In a sign that South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, is hardening his stance towards Pyongyang, his government approved additional deployments of a controversial US missile defence system, possibly as early as this week.

Moon had initially opposed the introduction of terminal high-altitude area defence, or Thaad, which had been agreed to by his conservative predecessor Park Geun-hye.

He appears to have dropped his objections in light of North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear tests, and a dramatic rise in tensions on the peninsula since he took office in May.

Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Korea national diplomatic academy in Seoul, said Sunday’s nuclear test had convinced Moon to respond with a show of military might.

“He is getting tougher and tougher because the nuclear test showed that North Korea is moving closer to the ‘red line’,” Kim told the Guardian. “Moon will be flexible, but he knows that this is not the time for talks with North Korea.”

That red line would be crossed if Pyongyang perfected a long-range missile with the ability to carry a nuclear warhead to the US mainland, Kim said, adding that North Korea’s emergence as a genuine nuclear state would increase pressure on Seoul and Tokyo to develop their own nuclear deterrents.

“The US’s ability to defend Japan and South Korea is at the core of its alliances in the region, but if North Korea becomes a de facto nuclear state, then those countries would face pressure to develop nuclear deterrents independent of the US,” he said.

North Korea’s military spending is less than 1.3% that of the US


North Korea

$299 per person



South Korea

$860 per perso


$44bn per person


$346 per person



$118 per person


US annual defence budget

$1,817 per person


The first two Thaad batteries went operational, amid widespread opposition, in the central village of Seongju in late April. The deployment of a further four batteries was suspended pending the outcome of an environmental impact assessment.

South Korea’s environment ministry had approved Thaad’s “temporary” deployment after a government assessment concluded that the system’s powerful X-band radar posed no danger to the environment or the health of local people.

The new launchers will also be deployed in Seongju, about 190 miles ((300km) south of Seoul. Each Thaad battery comprises six launchers and a radar system. China has angrily opposed Thaad deployments, saying the system’s powerful radar could be used to spy on its missile programme and so represents a threat to its national security.

Moon and Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, will push hard for further sanctions against North Korea when the UN security council meets later on Monday.

Abe told Moon in a phone call on Monday that Sunday’s nuclear test was “a head-on challenge to the international community”, according to Japan’s deputy chief cabinet secretary, Yasutoshi Nishimura.

Abe said the international community should bring the “strongest possible pressure” to bear on Pyongyang, including additional sanctions. He said Japan would urge China and Russia to do more to pressure the North Korean regime to halt its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes.

Moon said South Korea vowed to maintain a strong bilateral security alliance with the US to counter provocations from the North, after Trump chastised Seoul for talking about “appeasement” towards Pyongyang.

That description is likely to have caused consternation in South Korea, where officials have maintained that they are combining economic and military pressure while not ruling out dialogue – essentially the stance being taken by Washington.

The US has reiterated that it is “100%” committed to defending South Korea and Japan – where it has tens of thousands of troops – under bilateral security treaties.

On Sunday, Trump hinted that Washington and Seoul were drifting apart on how to deal with the North Korean threat. The South, he tweeted, “is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing”.

Patrick Cronin, an Asia expert with the Center for a New American Security, said Trump’s comment was probably “intended to stiffen the spine of an ally”.

“I think Washington is very serious about showing some unexpected resolve,” Cronin told the Associated Press. “We need our ally and we need to remain ironclad. But at the same time, we can’t afford South Korea to go weak in facing down this growing danger.”

South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said land-based Hyunmoo-2A missiles and SLAM-ER long-range missiles fired by F-15K fighter jets had hit designated targets in the East Sea, the Korean name for the Sea of Japan.

Under an agreement with the US, South Korea is banned from developing ballistic missiles with a range of more than 800km (497 miles) and a payload exceeding 500kg (1,102lb).

Seoul is reportedly seeking double the warhead weight limit, according to media reports. The JoongAng newspaper quoted a spokesman at the presidential Blue House in Seoul as saying the two countries had agreed “in principle” on the need to improve South Korea’s missile defences.

Need something explained?Let us know which of these questions we can answer for you.

Nuclear Ban Treaty as a matter of human survival

5 Sep

Please go to the above page  and find out what can and must be done towards a Nuclear Ban Treaty! I absolutely agree that indeed human survival is at stake. Do we want that humans can survive or do we not care? That is the question.


Human Flow review – Ai Weiwei’s urgent look at the scale of the refugee crisis

2 Sep

Gorgeous shots in Greece, Calais and elsewhere, many filmed from drones, create a visual tone poem that proves both epic and highly human

“The international co-productions of the mid-20th century often boasted myriad shooting locations in far-flung places. Who would have guessed the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei would pick up where moguls such as Sam Spiegel left off.

Ai’s new film, Human Flow, while certainly epic in scope, is not exactly meant as entertainment. This is an urgent, deep soak in the current refugee crisis. There has been no dearth of documentaries about this topic, but this one comes closest to understanding the totality of the issue. . . . .”

I copied the above from The Guardian


‘My Brothers and Sisters in the North’ –

30 Aug

Telling the North  Korean Story

A new film made by Sung-Hyung Cho attempts to give outsiders an insight into life in North Korea. The director, who even had to give up her South Korean nationality to shoot the film, spoke to DW about the project.


Cho Sung-hyung

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cho Sung-hyung
Sung-Hyung Cho.jpg

Cho Sung-Hyung (right) and Minister-presidentof Schleswig-Holstein Peter Harry Carstensenpresented the T-Shirt of her documentary “Full Metal Village”.
Born Cho Sung-Hyung
Busan, South Korea
Residence Germany
Occupation Director, editor, film maker and professor
Years active 1990–present
Known for Full Metal Village

Cho Sung-hyung (born 1966) is an award-winning German, film maker, director, editor and professor living and working in Germanywith South Korean roots. She was born in Busan and grew up in Soeul and got German citizenship in 2016 due her documentary My brothers and sisters to the North.

She received a BA in Mass Communications Studies from Yonsei University. In 1990, Cho moved to Marburg in Germany to pursue a MAin art history, media studies and philosophy at the University of Marburg. She continued with post-graduate studies in Theater Film and Media Sciences at Goethe University Frankfurtand a course in electronic images at Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach am Main.[1] Between 2004 and 2007 she had taught Editoring, Documentary and Dramaturgyat SAE Institute and was between 2008 and 2009 an assistant lecturer at the Technical University of Darmstadt; in 2010 as an assistant professor. Since 2011, Cho teaches as regular professor The Art of Film/Movie Making at the University for Visual Arts of Saar in Saarbrücken, Germany. [2]

Cho was an assistant editor for the German television series Ein Fall für zwei, also working on documentaries and music videos. Her documentary Full Metal Village received the Hessian Film Award in 2006 and the Max Ophüls Prize and was named best documentary by the Guild of German Art House Cinemas in 2007.[1] In 2016, Cho had filmed and was starring in the documentary Meine Brüder und Schwestern in Nordkorea – other international titles: Meine Brüder und Schwestern im Norden [3]My brothers and sisters to the North [4]. She was the first South Korean director who was allowed to visit North Korea after Korean Warwithout being charged for treason by South Korea, because she has a German passport. She gave up South Korean citizenship and took the German one just for making this documentary and getting a visa and the permission of shooting from North Korea.[5]

Selected filmography[1][edit]

Directoring and editoring[edit]

  • Full Metal Village (2006)
  • Home from Home (2009)
  • 11 Freundinnen (2011)
  • Endstation Der Sehnsuchte (2012)
  • Far East Devotion – Love Letters from Pyongyang (2015)
  • Two Voices From Korea (2015)
  • My brothers and sisters to the North (2016)

Just editoring[edit]

  • Freudenhaus (2001)
  • Verirrte Eskimos (2003)
  • Parzifal in Isfahan (2004)



  • 2006: Schleswig-Holstein Film Award for Full Metal Village
  • 2006: Hessian Film Award for Full Metal Village
  • 2007: Max Ophüls Award for Full Metal Village as first documentary ever
  • 2007: Guild of German Art House Cinemas Award for Full Metal Village
  • 2007: Award for advancing of upcoming artists of the DEFA Foundation


  • 2007 Golden Eye Award Zurich Film Festival for Full Metal Village


Berlin’s Sprayer Granny

29 Aug

Berlin’s “sprayer granny” has been purging her city of racist propaganda for 30 years, one flyer at a time

“If I don’t do it, who will?”

“The first time I removed a sticker, I felt so good that I had done something,” Irmela Mensah-Schramm says.

“Mensah-Schramm—who looks like a kindly grandmother, with her white hair and smiling face—has been physically assaulted by neo-Nazis, threatened with fines by authorities, and derided by those around her, but still she looks for hateful stickers on letterboxes, road signs, and lampposts. She photographs them, and either scrapes them off or sprays over them. Her eagle eye notices stickers that most passers-by never spot. . . . . . . . ”



An Essay By Anne Applebaum

26 Aug

An Essay By Anne Applebaum in SPIEGEL ONLINE

A Test of Maturity

“Germany Must Abandon Its Military Reluctance and Lead

Germany enjoys high regard around the world. But with American power weakening and authoritarian powers rising, the country needs to abandon its military reluctance and finally lead in Europe.”

“Anne Applebaum, 53, is an historian and respected expert on Russian affairs. She received the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for her book “Gulag,” about Soviet labor camps. She writes regularly for The Washington Post and Foreign Policy and is married to former Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski.”

She says in her essay: “Trump may be an aberration, but he does reflect a very real American exhaustion, and real American doubt about the worth of the trans-Atlantic alliance. ” I say, but what about the people in America who have the real power?

I also wonder, whether she studied the Putin speeches and what she might respond to these?