North Korea restored dormant communication hotlines with South Korea in a small, fragile reconciliation step Monday in an apparent hard push to win outside concessions with a mix of conciliatory gestures and missile tests.
It’s obscured how largely the move will enliven ties between the Koreas, as Pyongyang has a history of using the hotlines as a bargaining chip in dealings with Seoul. It often unilaterally suspended them before reactivating them when it needed better ties with Seoul
North Korean liaison officers answered phone calls by their South Korean counterparts over a set of cross-border government and military channels on Monday morning for the first time in nearly two months.
“Long time no talk. We’re very pleased because the communication channels have been restored like this. We hope that South-North relations will develop into a new level,” a Seoul official said during a phone conversation with his North Korean counterpart over one channel, according to a video released by South Korea’s Unification Ministry.
Increase in US rates could ‘throw cold water’ on global economic recovery: IMF chief
"Higher US interest rates could make it more expensive for countries to service their dollar-denominated debt"
Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has said that interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve could “throw cold water” on already weak economic recoveries in certain countries.
Georgieva, speaking via videoconference at The Davos Agenda virtual event on Friday, said an increase in US rates could have significant implications for countries with higher levels of dollar-denominated debt.
She said it was therefore “hugely important” that the Fed was clearly communicating its policy plans to prevent surprises. Higher US interest rates could make it more expensive for countries to service their dollar-denominated debt.
On a panel moderated by CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore, Georgieva said the IMF’s message to countries with high levels of dollar-denominated debt was: “Act now. If you can extend maturities, please do it. If you have currency mismatches, now is the moment to address them.”
She added that her biggest concern is for low income countries with high levels of this debt, highlighting that two-thirds were now either in “debt distress” or in danger of falling into it — that’s twice as many as in 2015.
‘Losing some momentum’
The IMF expects the global economic recovery to continue, Georgieva said, but stressed that it was “losing some momentum.”
As such, she suggested that a New Year’s resolution for policymakers should be “policy flexibility.”
“2022 is like navigating an obstacle course,” she said, given risks such as rising inflation, the Covid-19 pandemic and high debt levels. The IMF warned in December that global debt hit $226 trillion in 2020 — the largest one-year rise since World War II.
With regards to inflation, Georgieva stressed that the problem is country specific. Prices are rising at startling speeds in a number of countries: euro zone inflation hit a record high of 5% in December, the U.K. inflation rate hit a 30-year high in the same month and the U.S. consumer price index rose at its fastest pace since June 1982.
“That country specificity is what makes 2022, in a way, even more difficult than 2020,” Georgieva said.
“In 2020, we had similar policies everywhere because we were fighting the same problem — an economy in standstill. In 2022, conditions in countries are very different, so we cannot anymore have the same policy everywhere, it has to be country specific and that makes our job in 2022 so much more complicated.”
Ukraine dispute: US, Russia agree to continue talks despite no breakthrough in FMs meeting
Russia doesn't want Ukraine to be part of NATO
GENEVA: The top US and Russian diplomats made no major breakthrough at talks on Ukraine on Friday but agreed to keep talking to try to resolve a crisis that has stoked fears of a military conflict.
After the talks in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned of a "swift, severe" response if Russia invades Ukraine after massing troops near its border and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was still waiting for a written response to demands for security guarantees.
But both said they were open to further dialogue, and Blinken saw grounds to hope that mutual security concerns could be addressed.
"Based on the conversations we've had -- the extensive conversations -- over the past week and today here in Geneva I think there are grounds for and a means to address some of the mutual concerns that we have about security," Blinken said.
He described the talks as "frank and substantive" and told reporters that Russia now faced a choice.
"It can choose the path of diplomacy that can lead to peace and security, or the path that will lead only to conflict, severe consequences and international condemnation," Blinken said, adding that diplomacy would be preferable.
"We've been clear - if any Russian military forces move across Ukraine's border, that's a renewed invasion. It will be met with swift, severe and a united response from the United States and our partners and allies."
Lavrov said the ball was in Washington's court.
Describing the meeting as open and useful, he said Moscow would understand whether talks were on the right track once it had received a written response to its sweeping security demands from the United States.
"I can't tell you if we're on the right track or the wrong track. We'll understand this when we receive the American response on paper to all the points in our proposal," Lavrov said.
Russia's demands include a halt to NATO's eastward expansion and a pledge that Ukraine will never be allowed to join the Western military alliance.
Blinken said he expected to share with Russia "our concerns and ideas in more detail and in writing next week" and said he and Lavrov had "agreed to further discussions after that".
Russia and the United States could hold another meeting next month to discuss Moscow's demands for security guarantees, Russia's RIA news agency quoted a source in the Russian delegation as saying.
'LET'S NOT GET AHEAD OF OURSELVES'
Lavrov said Russia had worries of its own, "not about invented threats, but real facts that no one hides - pumping Ukraine with weapons, sending hundreds of western military instructors".
Asked about the possibility of a summit between President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden, Lavrov was circumspect.
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves, President Putin is always ready for contacts with President Biden, it's clear these contacts need to be seriously prepared," he said.
Washington’s hopes of building a united front of opposition to Moscow were complicated by U.S. President Joe Biden's comments at a news conference on Wednesday in which he suggested that allies might be divided on how to respond to a "minor incursion" by Russia into Ukraine.
Before Friday's meeting, Blinken swung through Europe to try to shore up U.S. allies' commitments to hit Russia with economic sanctions if it goes ahead with an invasion of Ukraine.
In Kyiv on Wednesday, Blinken assured Ukraine of U.S. support. Blinken, before meeting German, French and British officials in Berlin on Thursday, said Russian President Vladimir Putin could order an invasion imminently.
Blinken’s deputy, Wendy Sherman, and Lavrov’s deputy, Sergei Ryabkov, also met in Geneva last week, without a breakthrough.
Nadal beats Khachanov, qualifies for 4th round in Australian Open
Olympic runner-up Khachanov had lost all seven previous meetings with 2009 Australian Open champion Nadal but briefly looked capable of mounting a comeback
MELBOURNE: Sixth seed Rafa Nadal dropped his first set at this year's Australian Open but still powered through to the fourth round with a 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-1 defeat of Karen Khachanov on Friday.
The Spaniard, seeking to claim a record 21st Grand Slam title in the absence of great rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, was sensational as he took a two-set lead.
But Khachanov, seeded 28th, threw caution to the wind in the third set, stalling Nadal's charge with some ferocious hitting.
Olympic runner-up Khachanov had lost all seven previous meetings with 2009 Australian Open champion Nadal but briefly looked capable of mounting a comeback.
Nadal seized back control with a break of serve at the start of the fourth, however, and with the clock having ticked past midnight on Rod Laver Arena he finished it off in a hurry.
Nadal, who has reached the last-16 in Melbourne for the 15th time in 17 appearances, will face another Russian, 18th seed Aslan Karatsev, or Frenchman Adrian Mannarino next.
"I played a great player tonight and happy that this was my best match since coming back," the 35-year-old Nadal, who missed the second half of 2021 with a foot injury, said on court.
"I've been going through some tough times in the last year but night's like tonight mean everything."
With Federer still injured and nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic deported after a visa row, Nadal has a chance to edge ahead of that duo with whom he shares the record for most men's Grand Slam titles.
After routine wins against 66th-ranked American Marcos Giron and German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in rounds one and two, Khachanov represented a step up in class for Nadal despite the Russian having only ever won one set off the Mallorcan.
Nadal was primed though and won 12 of the first 13 points to stamp his authority all over the court.
Khachanov had no answer to Nadal's intensity and managed to win only one point on Nadal's serve in the opening set.
Nadal broke serve at the start of the second set but Khachanov won an incredible point in the fourth game, picking himself off the floor to crunch a backhand winner and then winning another incredible rally to earn a break point.
He could not convert that and Nadal immediately broke in the next game on his way to a two-set lead.
Khachanov began to hit closer to the lines and with more menace in the third set, which he took after breaking the Nadal's serve for the first time for a 3-1 lead.
Nadal simply found another gear though, firing a stunning backhand winner to break Khachanov's serve, and spirit, in the second game of the fourth set.
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Present regime and dengue!
The repetition of history and the hidden sciences!
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