“Disapproving of the June 15 Joint Declaration is an Anti-Unification Action”

first_img AvatarKim So Yeol North Korea tries to accelerate building of walls and fences along border with China News By Kim So Yeol – 2008.07.09 3:59pm Facebook Twitter RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR News Entire border patrol unit in North Hamgyong Province placed into quarantine following “paratyphoid” outbreak center_img News SHARE The North Korean Workers Party mouthpiece “Rodong Shinmun” stated on the 8th that to disapprove of the June 15 Joint Declaration or the October 4 Agreement is both anti-unification and separatist, so a struggle against such attitudes and activities must be undertaken. The editorial, “Our fatherland will thrive according to the great Supreme Leader’s intent,” stated that “The South Korean government has been driving inter-Korean relations into a serious crisis by publicly disapproving of the June 15 Joint Declaration and the October 4 Agreement. We will struggle against that in order to crack down on Southern anti-unification and separatist maneuvers. The newspaper emphasized for the domestic audience that, at the same time as pointing out that this year is the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the North Korean regime, “We have to strengthen the national defense around the People’s Army.”It continued that “We have to bring about a revolution in the development of the people’s lives through encouraging the basic and light industry fields. We have to ride over this barrier with the great strength of the revolutionary military spirit.”However, in Tuesday’s editorial international trends and U.S. related issues were not mentioned. There are signs that North Korea is running into serious difficulties with its corn harvest News “Disapproving of the June 15 Joint Declaration is an Anti-Unification Action”last_img read more

Why Phased Reunification Is Impossible

first_imgAnalysis & Opinion Why Phased Reunification Is Impossible By Daily NK – 2012.05.25 11:20am Pence Cartoon: “KOR-US Karaoke” Analysis & Opinion Analysis & Opinion Analysis & Opinion RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORcenter_img Facebook Twitter At some point, the North Korean people are going to see South Korea as the absolute benchmark for its standard of living, given that it is a country inhabited by fellow Koreans and which it may eventually unify with under one flag. If North Korea does not begin to see the same standard of living as is enjoyed in the South, people will quickly begin to regard themselves as poor. Accordingly, if the regime cannot deliver progress which suggests a quick upswing toward such standards of living, it may take just as little time for that public displeasure to turn its attention on the regime itself.The majority of North Korean citizens will always see the Kim Jong Eun system as a descendant of the Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il reigns, times which presided over economic collapse, food shortages, political crimes and human rights abuses, so even if the current government were to strike a compromise with South Korea, the public would demand accountability for the actions of previous rulers. Preparations for gradual unification would necessitate a spike in inter-Korean exchanges and contacts, however the prospect of bearing responsibility for the legacy it has been left with is a serious threat for the current regime to consider, and one that no doubt plays on its mind a fair bit.On the other hand, if the regime were to simply pursue exchanges with the South while continuing its Orwellian policy of state surveillance then it might be somewhat easier to maintain its authority. That level of supervision would be impossible to carry out on the same scale employed by Kim Jong Il though, considering the number of skilled workers and businesspeople who would be routinely visiting North Korea for work, and evidence of government corruption and human rights abuses would be exposed for the world to see on a much grander scale than they are now.Many people are aware of the reality in North Korea and are under no misconceptions about the character of the regime. It is worth remembering though that many others have never seen the videos, leaked official documents and other materials which prove the human rights abuses of the Kim Dynasty, and that others still sympathize with the regime under some mistaken belief that the human rights situation has been exaggerated.With that in mind, increasing the level of exchanges between North and South Korea would provide a platform by which to uncover documentary evidence about the regime’s activities which would be impossible to cast doubt over. We already know that people who are accused of damaging portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are severely punished. However, if for example the real names of people who had been punished for such offenses (up to 10 years in some cases) or official documents concerning their cases were made public to the outside world, the effects of this would be enormous. It would be difficult for both sides of politics to ignore in South Korea, conservatives and left-wingers alike; the latter of which, it should be said, have a tendency to overlook the faults of the regime.In the end, the more North Korea opens itself up to exchange with South Korea, the more it is going to face pressure from the South to improve its human rights situation. If the North Korean elite yielded to that pressure and eased the policy of suppression it would become harder to maintain internal stability and order. Like it or not, therefore, South Korea’s amazing tale of economic growth and democratic progress is a perceived threat to North Korea, and with that being the case, economic aid from South Korea can be no fix-all; long-term survival for the regime is only possible by continuing a policy of national isolation, controlling information and the politics of terror.Those who have ultimate authority over the direction of policy in North Korea are well aware of the above facts. The way they see it, holding summit talks aimed at phased unification would be mass political suicide, so while the idea of unification through gradual talks looks an attractive proposition on the surface, it is nothing more than an impractical illusion. The only scenario that can truly bring about unification is change from within North Korea.I feel I should point out that I am in favor of the individuals and groups who work tirelessly to facilitate inter-Korean exchanges and contacts in the hope that one day unification will become a possibility. The efforts of such people go a long way in spreading knowledge about life outside North Korea, and give a chance for the nation’s people, including low- and mid-level bureaucrats, to see South Korea as it truly is. Irrespective of any subjective motivation, those efforts do weaken the authority of the North Korean dictatorship and help increase the influence of the only people who can truly bring about the change required for Korean unification. Tracking the “unidentified yellow substance” being dried out near the Yongbyon Nuclear Center Is Nuclear Peace with North Korea Possible? SHARE AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] last_img read more

NK Propaganda “Embraces Wandering Child”

first_img Uriminzokkiri, a major North Korean propaganda website targeting South Korea, yesterday asserted that recent ‘re-defector’ Park In Sook (aka Park Jung Sook) is living happily with her son in Pyongyang, and it’s all thanks to the generosity of the Party.In an article entitled, “Wandering Child Comes Back,” Uriminzokkiri asserted, “Park Jung Sook could not overcome her temporary difficulties and betrayed her country, kind neighbors, and relatives, tumbling into the path of crime. However, our country did not condemn her sins, but took her into its loving embrace with great mercy so that she could live again.”It continued, “The motherland was truly a caring mother. Park In Sook was even given a luxury apartment in the middle of Pyongyang, where she is allowed to live with her son, who attends Kim Won Kyung Pyongyang Music University.”“It is an old saying that anyone who betrays their country cannot be forgiven, but a child is forgiven of its sins,” it concluded. “The country will welcome them with a warm embrace, so that the child does not feel withered.”North Korean domestic educational propaganda is also likely to employ the case in future attempts to dissuade people from defecting, by both implying the difficulties of living abroad and noting the boundless compassion of the Kim regime. However, defector testimony suggests that Park’s family, with a senior member having experienced South Korean society for six years, will actually be put under strict surveillance and is likely to face a difficult future. News AvatarMok Yong Jae NK Propaganda “Embraces Wandering Child” By Mok Yong Jae – 2012.07.02 3:31pm News There are signs that North Korea is running into serious difficulties with its corn harvest RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORcenter_img News Entire border patrol unit in North Hamgyong Province placed into quarantine following “paratyphoid” outbreak Facebook Twitter News SHARE North Korea tries to accelerate building of walls and fences along border with Chinalast_img read more

Sanctions galvanize train smuggling operations

first_img By Daily NK – 2016.07.07 2:03pm North Korea Market Price Update: June 8, 2021 (Rice and USD Exchange Rate Only) There are signs that North Korea is running into serious difficulties with its corn harvest NewsEconomy News Facebook Twitter RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Cross-border trains are currently one of the most durable conduits for contraband goods in the face of heightened global sanctions targeting North Korea. For this reason, train attendants are actively leveraging their position within the current political climate to accumulate massive profits by turning a blind eye to smuggled products.“The Pyongyang-Beijing cross-border trains, which make stops in Sinuiju and Dandong, have emerged as an extremely reliable vehicle for the distribution of smuggled goods, thereby conferring a corresponding degree of influence to train attendants,” a source from North Pyongan Province told Daily NK in a telephone conversation.The attendants typically charge traders anywhere from 300 to 600 RMB (390,000 to 780,000 KPW) per box of goods, tailoring the price points to reflect the cargo’s significance. “Sometimes this means traders find themselves paying hundreds of dollars,” she explained. Certainly, train attendants were engaged in smuggling operations long before the UN adopted the strongest-ever sanctions against North Korea followed by standalone packages levied by individual nations. Such pressure has merely motivated them to build on their past experience ushering in forbidden imports for significant financial rewards.The higher stakes and therefore bigger gains means competition to land a railroad attendant position is heated; many are rejected in spite of the significant sums of money they offer high-ranking managerial cadres to bring them into the fold. And business is booming. As the list of banned products grows longer, so do the number of trade workers scrambling to sidestep the regulations by lining the pockets of train attendants, who grow “bolder by the day,” according to the source.“Now they’ll pocket fees offered up by middlemen to distributing dollar notes, top-shelf liquor, and other restricted items,” she said, explaining that this process is enabled by the fact that often times these ‘customers’ include cadres, the most powerful of whom are said to use intimidation to bypass fees altogether.Team managers stand to make the most from these illicit transactions, the source asserted, noting, “Attendants must get the green light from managers on which goods to let slide through and then kick back a portion of the profits.” However, the profit window for attendants is limited. These coveted positions are swapped out every two to three years to hedge against losing well-oiled smuggling systems to a law enforcement clampdown. Nevertheless, the duration is “sufficient enough to provide them with enough money to live on for the rest of their lives,” said a source privy to North Korean affairs in China. center_img News News AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] Sanctions galvanize train smuggling operations SHARE US dollar and Chinese reminbi plummet against North Korean won once againlast_img read more

North Korean women’s soccer team paraded in the cold for Party…

first_img AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] Analysis & Opinion Facebook Twitter SHARE RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Welcome crowds gathered at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang on December 6 to congratulate the North Korean women’s soccer team who won the FIFA U-20 Women’s Soccer World Cup. North Korea beat France 3-1 in the final match in Papua New Guinea on December 3. The North Korean team previously won the Women’s World Cup in 2006.After the welcoming ceremony at the airport, an entourage of cars was waiting for the team members, with the authorities preparing a celebration for their victory by mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people in Pyongyang. It is not unusual for the regime to hold such a parade, with similar events having been held several times this year to congratulate those responsible for the nuclear tests and missile launches, as well as winners of sports competitions.Celebration in the cold weatherHowever, it was unusually cold on the day of the parade. On December 6, the temperature in Seoul was less than 3 degrees (Celsius) above zero, which was 10 degrees lower than the day before. In some parts of Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, a cold wave watch was announced. This suggests that the weather in North Korea was similar at the time. According to the weather forecast of December 6 reported by Korean Central TV on December 5, the highest temperature in Pyongyang was expected to be 3 degrees above zero, with a low of minus 5 degrees. Given that the highest temperature was similar to Seoul’s forecast, it is likely that Pyongyang would have been at least as cold as Seoul. North Korea’s under-20 women’s soccer team were paraded through the streets of Pyongyang in a flower-covered vehicle on December 6, celebrating their World Cup win. Photo=KCTV screenshot Analysis & Opinion North Korean women’s soccer team paraded in the cold for Party propagandacenter_img Analysis & Opinion Pence Cartoon: “KOR-US Karaoke” Tracking the “unidentified yellow substance” being dried out near the Yongbyon Nuclear Center By Daily NK – 2016.12.12 4:38pm Is Nuclear Peace with North Korea Possible? Analysis & Opinion The vehicles mobilized for parade were convertibles with open tops, to allow the team members to interact with the cheering Pyongyang citizens. The team members had to ride through the streets of Pyongyang facing cold winds while sitting in the convertibles, wearing only a single jacket over their suits. The length of their skirts as seen on TV was at about knee level, with all members tightly clutching a large North Korean flag, seemingly more due to the cold than for patriotism.The parade appeared to have gone on for quite some time, with darkness falling by the time the athletes arrived at Mansudae Hill to place wreaths at the statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Emphasis on sports, typical of dictatorial regimesDictatorial regimes typically tend to place an emphasis on sports. Sports can induce enthusiasm amongst the population, which helps distract them from the absurdity of the dictatorship under which they live, and helps sweep up patriotic fervor. The intent of the North Korean regime to hold such an extensive parade for the winning team can be understood in this context.*Views expressed in Guest Columns do not necessarily reflect those of Daily NK.last_img read more

Overworked, injured, and underfed: North Korea’s youth shock troops

first_img RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR SHARE Hamhung man arrested for corruption while working at a state-run department store Today’s guest served from 1979-1987 as a Speed Battle Youth Shock Trooper in North Korea. Jo Chung Hee will offer his testimony regarding the labor exploitation that he experienced while serving the regime. Can you please introduce yourself? I am from Pyongsong City in South Pyongan Province. In February 2011, I escaped North Korea, and entered South Korea one month later. You worked as a shock trooper for about 10 years. Can you start by telling us some background information about North Korea’s Shock Troops? The Speed Battle Shock Troop was established on May 16, 1975. At the time, the country was experiencing an economic downturn, so Kim Jong Il introduced the idea of shock troops as a way to address the problems. The shock troops were ordered to assist state construction projects and were sent to work on projects all over the country, including North Korea’s famous monuments. North Koreans are at least 17 years old when they graduate from Middle-High School. After graduation, most students are immediately placed in a college prep school, a shock troop unit, a military unit, or a job. You must have known that being a shock trooper would be difficult. I’m curious why you ended up going down that path.  Most people go to the army or university when they graduate. But there are some people who have little choice but to become shock troopers. People like me – who are ethnic Koreans from Japan or their offspring – are regarded as part of the hostile class. Those in the hostile class are banned from entering university and are not sent to the military. It’s a form of discrimination. Everyone knows how hard it is to be a shock trooper. Nobody wants to go. I didn’t have much of a choice.  Where was the unit that were you assigned to? The region for each unit isn’t fixed. We get dispatched all over the country, depending on where we’re needed. For example, I was mobilized to participate in group construction at Pyongyang’s People’s University, Kwangbok Street, and a television factory in the Taedong River region. The shock troops are organized like the military. I was assigned to the First Brigade of the Speed Battle Central Youth Shock Troops. Usually, there are 14 brigades. Today, each province has its own Youth Shock Troops, composed of 11 or 12 brigades. In total, there are about 40,000-50,000 shock troopers throughout the country.  Working for so many years on such laborious construction projects must have been extremely strenuous. Yes. An incident from 1979 comes to mind. We were dispatched that summer to a small island in the Taedong River in Pyongyang City. Kim Jong Il ordered the construction of a villa on the island. Our brigade had five squads, and I was in the second squad. The second squad received a good evaluation, so we were ordered to work on the villa. Our squad was told to complete the foundation within a week. So we worked tirelessly without sleep for a week straight. Because the construction had to be a secret, we weren’t given heavy equipment. We only had shovels and pickaxes and were told to get to work.      Our squad had about 300 people. Can you imagine 300 people working under such conditions without sleep for a week? We had breaks that only lasted about 5-10 minutes. We weren’t allowed to sit. We just stood around and took a drink of water. The only time we were allowed to sit was during mealtimes. We were so exhausted that we could hardly drink water. We just wanted to use that time to try and catch up on sleep, but we were told to finish our meals and get back to work.  After a week of carrying on like this, we finished construction of the foundation. Up until that time, we actually had no clue what kind of construction we were doing. At the final stages of the job, however, Workers Party partisans came and fed us bread and candy. Only then, did they tell us what it was – a villa for Kim Jong Il. Before that, we were given a bulgogi party to celebrate the completion of the foundation. But none of us could eat; instead, we collapsed and slept. What was the daily workload like for the shock troops?In the summer, we woke up at 5:30-6:00 AM for morning work and exercise. After this, we were given some time to read the paper and eat breakfast. Even eating breakfast was done in the military style – we had to line up and sing songs. If we didn’t sing or line up properly, we had to run laps around the track. That’s the kind of hardship we underwent just for a bowl of rice. After breakfast comes morning inspection. They look at our clothes and tools to see if they pass the standards. Our clothes were North Korean-style. It was closer to an exercise outfit than a military uniform. After that, we sent to work from about 9am until noon. For lunch, I thought we would get an hour to eat, but we only got about 30 minutes. The food was given out in containers. Female workers would portion the food and hand it out so we could quickly eat it right at the construction site. The meal was usually a rice ball, which was packed and had bits of vegetable in it. After we finished lunch, we went back to work. We were supposed to finish our assignments by 7pm. But we were sometimes given assignments after that. On some occasions they wouldn’t feed us dinner until 10pm. On other occasions, they would withhold the food until we finished our work around midnight. That happened often. Did you get enough to eat? Considering you were participating in such grueling labor, one would think you’d need to eat an awful lot. The national daily allowance was officially 700 grams. But not everyone received the full amount. There were various codes and regulations that they used to change the amount. So in actuality they gave us about 580 grams per day. When divided up, that is less than 200 grams per meal. There were some occasions when we were also provided with soup at lunch, but the rice was put in the soup the previous day, so it was all soggy by the time we ate it. We could use up all the energy in the soup within an hour. So the shock troops really have to use their own ingenuity to fill their stomachs. In the fall, we would ransack fields that we passed by. We stole every bit of food we could get our hands on. We would also grab farm animals and wildlife to eat. How much was your monthly salary? When I entered the shock troops, I received approximately 56 KPW. At that time, laborers were receiving about 80 – 100 KPW. That means that I got about half the going rate. Of course, our clothing and food was provided, so this accounts for some of the difference, but it was such a small amount that we couldn’t possibly save much. After the July 1st Measures were implemented [in 2002], our pay went up to 1,000 – 2,000 KPW. The problem was that the cost of living was also rising, and necessities like rice cost 5,000 per kg, so we still couldn’t afford much. Even though they provided us with some food, in reality, it wasn’t that much different from starving. The quantity was meager and the quality was low.   When you worked on large construction projects, what kind of equipment were you given? The shock troops work without any special construction equipment. We had to use our own strength. We were sent to sites with nothing but spades and pick axes. The construction companies working alongside us brought proper equipment to the site, but only their workers were allowed to use them. Sometimes the equipment would vary slightly depending on the job. For apartment buildings and the Grand People’s Study House [central library in Pyongyang], we were given spades, pick axes, hammers, burlap sacks, and various plastering tools. But most of the time, we were using our hands to do the job.    Did they provide the proper safety equipment? We had safety helmets, but they were made of woven plants. They began to fall apart after just a few days of use. We were given new helmets once a year. No one could survive if a large rock fell on their head while wearing one of those. On the other hand, company commanders and higher-ranking officers were given plastic hardhats. That made it easy for anyone passing by to distinguish the company commanders from the normal recruits. Later, shock troopers began to die in large numbers, so a safety monitor was assigned. But all that person did was blow a whistle and yell out which way to run when the soil collapsed and things came crashing down around us.       Were there any accidents that you particularly remember? The ground is frozen in the winter, making it very hard to dig. During those times, we had to dig deeper. One time when we were digging, the ground beneath us began to shift. The two shock troopers who were at the bottom of the hole got buried under the dirt and died. Now that I think about it, two normally healthy young people should have been able to crawl out of it. But they were both suffering from malnutrition.     For those injured or killed on a worksite, is there any treatment available or compensation given?Originally, North Korea was set up to have free medical treatment. So if we got hurt, they did send us to the hospital. But the hospitals were in a sorry state, so it was hard to get proper treatment. I went into the shock troops with a friend. He was the eldest son in his family, so they were expecting big things of him. His father served in the Vietnam War and was designated a war hero. One day, my friend’s legs were severed while working on a construction job. They took him to the hospital, but they didn’t have any blood there, so they couldn’t give him proper treatment.  My friend was type B, and luckily enough, I was as well. So I donated a good amount of blood to him. However, in the end, it wasn’t enough to save him. Before he closed his eyes, he called out my name and said, “I’m going to die before I can even get married.” What really infuriated me was the fact that the story published about my friend’s death in the Rodong Sinmun [North Korea’s party-run publication] had his dying words changed to, “Please finish the construction of the railroad.” Seeing them use my friend’s death as propaganda really made me seethe with anger. If you were unable to finish a construction job inside the allotted time, what happened? We never failed to reach a construction goal. We did whatever was necessary to accomplish the mission. We always tried to finish one day earlier than we were instructed to. On occasion, we worked on 24-hour rotations to make that happen. We had to finish, even if it meant not sleeping for a week, or even ten days. Our top commanders pushed us to use whatever means necessary to do so. If you could go back in time to your 17-year old self, would you choose to go into the shock troops again? I sometimes wonder myself how I was able to live such a life for 10 years. Sometimes I dream about the shock troops. I don’t have any other nightmares except for these. I’ve gotten much older now and I’ve been in South Korea for quite a bit of time, but I still have bad dreams about the shock troops. I wake up to find my bed is covered in cold sweat.   Facebook Twitter News Ordinary Pyongyang residents have not received government rations since mid-April North Korea Market Price Update: June 8, 2021 (Rice and USD Exchange Rate Only)center_img By Daily NK – 2017.03.17 11:04am News News AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] News Overworked, injured, and underfed: North Korea’s youth shock troopslast_img read more

Pyongyang car wash station turns to prostitution for cash

first_img North Korea Market Price Update: June 8, 2021 (Rice and USD Exchange Rate Only) TAGScorruption SHARE Hamhung man arrested for corruption while working at a state-run department store News AvatarKim Yoo JinKim Yoo Jin is one of Daily NK’s freelance journalists. Please direct any questions about his articles to [email protected] RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR News center_img News North Korean law enforcement recently probed a car wash and disinfection station near Pyongyang after allegations surfaced that it was running a prostitution ring, Daily NK has learned. “The station wasn’t earning as much money as before so the manager turned to prostitution to keep up the station’s profits,” a South Pyongan Province-based source told Daily NK on Monday. “Word got out about the prostitution ring and rumors spread among locals. Then the police got involved and conducted an investigation.” This is the first time that Daily NK has learned of a prostitution ring being operated at a state-run business. Increasingly, North Koreans have opened up massage parlors in their homes or are engaging in covert sex work at saunas and restaurants as economic conditions in the country has worsened.North Korean car wash and disinfection stations are located at the entrance of roads leading into Pyongyang as part of the city’s efforts to control disease and ensure vehicles entering the city are clean. Cars that pass through the stations are thoroughly examined and those deemed “unsanitary” undergo a mandatory wash and/or disinfection. A single wash and disinfection costs drivers USD 4. Frequent visitors to Pyongyang, however, have begun getting their cars cleaned in advance before reaching the stations. Stations have accordingly faced a dip in their profits. What’s more, North Korean truck and van drivers nowadays have less of a need for the stations because they are often accompanied by helpers who keep their vehicles clean.The station facing a police investigation apparently had trouble meeting its USD 2,000 monthly quota set by the state and turned to prostitution to make up its losses. After recruiting prostitutes, station attendants began targeting drivers traveling into Pyongyang from earlier this year. “The station hired pretty women and charged clients USD 20–30 per session,” another Daily NK source in South Pyongan Province said. “Rumors spread about the car wash station running a prostitution ring, but the police didn’t do anything. It was only when locals began complaining that they started an investigation and put a stop to it.”After the authorities investigated the station in early September, the head of the station was called in front of a local party committee and forced to write a self-criticism about his actions.“Locals complained [about the lack of disciplinary action] and said that the head of the station should face more penalties for running a prostitution ring instead of disinfecting and cleaning cars,” the source said. “Ultimately, he was just forced to write a self-criticism. We’ll have to wait and see if he will face further punishment.”*Translated by Violet KimPlease direct any comments or questions about this article to [email protected] Facebook Twitter North Korea hikes “party contributions” Russia-based workers must pay by 30-55%last_img read more

Federal Reserve pledges to reveal interest rate forecasts

Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Fed warns U.S. financial system remains vulnerable “Despite the recent run of data that points to a pickup in real GDP in the fourth quarter, today’s FOMC meeting minutes show that Fed policymakers are concerned with downside risks to the outlook stemming from ‘strains in global financial markets’, notes RBC Economics, adding, “It is these concerns that are keeping the door to additional policy measures open.” RBC says that the adoption of a new communications policy, which, starting in January, will include forecasts for the Fed funds rate along with projections for inflation and growth, “will provide the Committee the opportunity to best introduce any further measures, such as another round of mortgage bond purchases or the extension of the period of highly accommodative levels of the Fed funds rate target in the event that risks to the outlook start to materialize early this year.” The Fed said that it hopes that including their projections for the fed funds target rate will “help the public better understand the Committee’s monetary policy decisions.” TD Economics says that the these latest improvements to the Fed’s communication strategies are “a testament of Chairman Bernanke’s constant drive for more transparency, but also an attempt to improve the transmission of lax monetary policy into stronger real economic activity in every possible way.” It also expects that the release of these projections “will provide valuable insight into the degree of divergence of FOMC members’ views, as well as a better sense of what ‘exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through mid-2013′ actually means.” “Moreover, participants’ profiles for the target interest rate should also shed some light on when they expect the Fed to start normalizing the size of its balance sheet,” it adds. Not much has changed in the U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s outlook for the economy, but its communications plans have, with the Fed pledging to reveal its interest rate projections — a move that economists are applauding. The minutes from the December 13 Fed meeting were released Tuesday, indicating that the overall economic assessment of the Federal Open Market Committee has “not changed greatly” from its previous meeting. They agreed that economic activity was expanding at a “moderate rate”, and significant downside risks remain. Related news Facebook LinkedIn Twitter James Langton Keywords Interest ratesCompanies Federal Reserve Board BoE predicts best economic year for the U.K. since 1941 Rising interest rates could dampen stimulus impact: PBO read more

Fehr: Encourage clients to stay invested in times of pullback

Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 3:34Loaded: 0%0:00Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently behind liveLIVERemaining Time -3:34 1xPlayback RateChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Craig Fehr read more

Franklin Templeton to acquire majority stake in K2 Advisors

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Keywords Hedge funds Boosting fixed-income returns with liquid alternatives The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012. Beginning in 2016, Franklin Templeton will acquire the remainder of K2 over a multi-year period. K2, co-founded in 1994 by William A. Douglass III and David C. Saunders, is a fund of hedge funds management company with strong risk management, manager selection and asset allocation capabilities. K2 has a multi-team investment process and manager evaluation expertise that has resulted in over 18 years of strong growth and performance that ranks among the leaders in the industry. No changes are planned for the K2 investment management processes. K2 has a global presence with 115 employees in the U.S., U.K., Japan, Australia and Hong Kong, and approximately US$9.3 billion in assets under management as of August 31, 2012. “One of the ways that we have built Franklin Templeton’s global business is by making strategic investments in smaller, highly experienced asset management companies whose expertise complements Franklin Templeton’s global offerings and meets our world-class standards,” said Greg Johnson, CEO of Franklin Templeton Investments., in a release. “This new relationship with K2 is an important step in our overall plan to expand Franklin Templeton’s alternative strategies and solutions platform.” Related news IE Staff Global banks warn of possible losses from hedge fund default Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE: BEN), which operates as Franklin Templeton Investments and is the parent company of Toronto-based Franklin Templeton Investments Corp., has agreed to acquire a majority stake in K2 Advisors Holdings LLC, an independent fund of hedge funds manager. San Mateo, Calif.-based Franklin Templeton said Wednesday that the acquisition of Stamford, Conn.-based K2 will enhance its alternative investments and multi-asset solutions platforms. Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Hedge fund managers discuss Covid-19 playbooks, interest rates read more