North Korea Seeks Harmony As US Mired In Discord

North Korea Pledges More Peaceful Path, But Doubts Remain
North Korean president  Kim Jong-un called reunification with the South as one of his long-term goals. Kim also expressed a willingness to engage in more discussions with both Japan and South Korea on the intergovernmental level.

However, he also told viewers in a televised speech that producing more weapons was the way to reduce confrontation – a sign that reflects the regimes commitment to its nuclear program.

Deal On Fiscal Cliff Reached
The Senate voted in the early hours of the new year on an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff. Seen by many as a less-than-attractive deal, it will prevent the nation from the edge, but also could slow down an already-stagnant economy.

Failure Of Leadership Greater Threat To Economy
David Rohde writes in The Atlantic that the government, in fact, is the United States’ greatest economic weakness.

Rohde points to estimates that the U.S. economy will grow by just 1 percent in the first quarter of 2013, a third of the 3.1 percent posted in the third quarter of 2012 and the fiscal cliff debate as signs the government is holding back the economy by fostering uncertainty.

The view that an inability to govern could be a greater threat to the economy is shared by Dustan Prial. In his Fox Business News column, Prial says the long-running fiscal cliff debacle “makes this point clearer than the fact that all U.S. business owners will enter the new year uncertain about their 2013 tax status. The same goes for foreign companies that do business in the U.S., as well as all individual U.S. taxpayers. Which is to say just about anyone who plans on buying or selling anything in the U.S.”

New Year, Old Violence In Syria
The military forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did not rest to ring in 2013, instead they continued the armed offensive against rebels in the capital of Damascus.

European Central Bank Faces Three Challenges In 2013
Neil Unmack argues in a Reuters News article that ECB President Mario Draghi will have to confront three main challenges in the next year to foster recovery in Europe.

His first goal will be to bring Spain on board in terms of accepting the ECB’s intervention and not to begin slowing down on reform implementation.

He must also move forward on “the creation of the euro zone’s single banking supervisor, which should be up and running in 2014 and will operate under the ECB’s general authority. The supervisor will have to overcome domestic vested interests, and spot troubles before they happen.”

Lastly, he asserts, Draghi needs to sdemonstrate his leadership by pursuing policies that will “boost growth” in real terms as opposed to simply giving lip service to austerity and “structural reforms.”



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