North Korea, Bolivia Lead The Headlines

Bolivia: Headed For A Fall?
It is more than likely that Bolivia’s President Evo Morales will handily win reelection next week, but Mac Margolis writes that the nation’s economic and social welfare policies are setting it up for a fall – and a potentially dangerous one.

Margolis believes Morales’ heavy investment into welfare and soft loans has created a “populist time bomb” because having spent more than the government has saved, inflation will soon begin to rise.

“If inflation rises, banks will have to eat the difference, setting up a crisis. Now the commodities boom is waning. Natural gas prices are falling while Brazil and Argentina, Bolivia’s biggest clients, both in recession, are tapping their own reserves,” he writes.

And, he notes:  Private capital has balked and investment dropped to a paltry 17 to 18 percent of gross domestic product. If commodity prices drop further, Bolivia’s fortunes will follow.

Rumors Rampant After North Korean Leader Misses Celebrations Unpredictability is a hallmark of the regime in North Korea, but rumors are at a fevered pitch since its leader Kim Jong Un hasn’t been seen in public for five weeks and was notably absent from Friday’s Workers’ Party celebrations.

“Although the North Korean news media did not call attention to Mr. Kim’s absence, the country’s main state-run newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, suggested that he was ill. It carried an article saying that pro-North Korean figures from abroad had sent Mr. Kim baskets of flowers for the anniversary and that ribbons attached to the flowers “wished for Marshal Kim Jong-un’s good health,” The New York Times reports.

From A Boy To A Suicide Bomber
BBC Magazine reports on how Blerim Heta went from a young boy playing in Kosovo to becoming a suicide bomber and loyalist to the jihadist cause.

Social Media Platforms Provide Treasure Trove Of Intelligence Daniel Byman and Jeremy Shapiro write in The Washington Post on the intelligence value of social media and how the Islamic State’s social media presence is a source of intelligence.

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