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From paper to fuel, North Koreans endure widespread shortages as sanctions take their toll 

From paper to fuel, North Koreans endure widespread shortages as sanctions take their toll There are growing indications that international sanctions are taking a toll in North Korea, with even paper for the country's main publication running short. In additional to the problems facing the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper that serves as the mouthpiece of the regime, Pyongyang’s hard currency reserves are expected to dry up by October, the trade deficit is continuing to widen, and food and fuel are in increasingly short supply.  The head of South Korea’s parliamentary intelligence committee briefed politicians this week on the state of the North’s finances, which have been seriously affected by the freezing of the regime’s accounts overseas and a ban on virtually all exports. Kang Seok-ho, a politician of the opposition Liberty Korea Party, later told Yonhap news that it is clear that the sanctions are having an effect and that Pyongyang’s new-found desire for détente with the South is a direct result of the hardships it faces. Reports from the North are already describing the shortages facing ordinary people as the new “arduous march”, a reference to the famine in the mid-1990s that claimed as many as 3.5 million lives. What is Junche? | North Koreas official state ideology The Chosun Ilbo newspaper has reported that two of the main energy plants that provide power to Pyongyang have been shut down for 10 days so far this year, resulting in shortages and blackouts in parts of the capital.   Coal mines are unable to operate at full capacity due to the shortage of fuel, while any coal that is mined cannot be transported. Imports of coke from China have also been halted, meaning that even the elite of North Korean society are having to put up with no power or heating. Food rations have been cut by half and there is virtually no white rice available and the price of cooking oil has also soared. The print run of the Rodong Sinmun has been cut from 600,000 copies a day to just 200,000 newspapers and home deliveries have been cancelled, the Chosun Ilbo reported. North Korea Imports exports The recent visit to South Korea by a delegation from Pyongyang to the opening of the Winter Olympic Games also inadvertently revealed that North Korean has been cut off from the global satellite communications network for air traffic controllers after it defaulted on payments eight months ago.   Air traffic controllers at Pyongyang’s Sunan International Airport were forced to use a conventional telephone line to inform their counterparts at Incheon International Airport that the flight had departed. Still resisting the international community’s pressure to get rid of its nuclear arsenal and intercontinental ballistic missiles, however, North Korea is going to ever-greater lengths to obtain the money and materiel that it needs to survive. North Korea war puff Chinese and Japanese authorities are cracking down on reports of vessels carrying out illegal ship-to-ship transfers of goods and fuel in the East China Sea, while defectors in South Korea are suddenly receiving messages to send money to the North if they want their relatives they left behind to remain safe.   One defector has said a video was posted on a North Korean propaganda website criticising his escape and threatening his family. In a subsequent phone call, he was told his family was “begging” him to send them 10 million won (£6,650). Others have used middlemen in China to buy rice and send to their relatives in the North, although it is assumed that the money or food does not reach its intended destination.



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Canada to accept bid from Boeing for new fighter jets

Canada to accept bid from Boeing for new fighter jetsCanada said Thursday it was allowing Boeing to submit a bid to replace the country’s aging F-18 fleet, after an earlier trade dispute between the American manufacturer and Ottawa. The announcement came a month after the US International Trade Commission rejected a complaint filed by Boeing against its Canadian rival Bombardier, demanding nearly 300 percent anti-dumping duties on the C Series passenger plane. Boeing, which makes the Super Hornet, is one of five manufacturers invited to submit proposals in spring 2019 for an order of 88 advanced fighter jets, which are to be delivered in 2025, according to a Canadian government statement.



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Chevrolet Bolt wins top 'green car' from Consumer Reports

Chevrolet Bolt wins top 'green car' from Consumer ReportsWASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hyundai Motor Co's Genesis brand topped the annual ranking of new vehicles by influential U.S. magazine Consumer Reports, while General Motors Co's electric Chevrolet Bolt was named top pick for compact green car.



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Chevrolet Bolt wins top 'green car' from Consumer Reports

Chevrolet Bolt wins top 'green car' from Consumer ReportsWASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hyundai Motor Co's Genesis brand topped the annual ranking of new vehicles by influential U.S. magazine Consumer Reports, while General Motors Co's electric Chevrolet Bolt was named top pick for compact green car.



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The Latest: Official: Inmate scream not from execution drugs

The Latest: Official: Inmate scream not from execution drugsSTARKE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on Florida Execution (all times local):



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911 Call From Domestic Disturbance Involving Nikolas Cruz Released

911 Call From Domestic Disturbance Involving Nikolas Cruz ReleasedThe call was placed by family friend Roxanne Deschamps, who took in the suspected killer before the Florida school shooting.



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Trump threatens to pull law enforcement from California

Trump threatens to pull law enforcement from CaliforniaUS President Donald Trump threatened to pull immigration and other federal law enforcement agents from California on Thursday, a warning shot to the country’s richest and most populous state. Complaining that California was not complying with his hardline position on migrants, Trump warned he could cut vital help from Washington and prompt a crime wave. “We are getting no help from the state of California,” Trump continued, claiming the state was protecting members of the violent MS13 gang.



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South Koreans call for skaters to be booted from games

South Koreans call for skaters to be booted from gamesGANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Thousands of South Koreans are calling for two speedskaters to be expelled from the Olympics after they left their slower teammate behind in a race defined by teamwork and walked away as she quietly sobbed at the stadium in one of the most bizarre moments of this year's Winter Games.



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Russia criticizes Western pressure to turn away from Moscow

Russia criticizes Western pressure to turn away from MoscowBELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Russia's foreign minister on Wednesday criticized Western policies toward his country, blasting the European Union for failing to maintain good relations with Moscow despite the divisions over Ukraine and many other issues.



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Iran teams carry plane crash dead down from mountain

Iran teams carry plane crash dead down from mountainEmergency teams on Wednesday began recovering bodies from a plane crash in Iran’s Zagros mountains but the operation had to be suspended due to bad weather, officials said. Search helicopters located the crash site after a break in the weather on Tuesday at a height of around 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) in the Dena range. Helicopters were unable to land but officials said a recovery operation had begun on Wednesday, with emergency personnel carrying bodies on their backs to a road at the foot of the mountain.



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