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North Korea

Joining Richardson, Google's Schmidt Begins "Personal" Visit To North Korea

ASSOCIATED PRESS, REUTERS, YONHAP NEWS (South Korea)

Worldcrunch

PYONGYANG - Google Chairman Eric Schmidt became the highest profile American corporate executive ever to visit North Korea, arriving Monday on a mission led by former US Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, the Associated Press reports.

Richardson, also a former governor of the state of New Mexico and frequent diplomatic "firefighter," has visited North Korea many times in the past; thus it is Schmidt's presence that is garnering much attention, though Google presented it as a “personal” visit, not directly linked to the Internet search giant. Still, there have thus far been no further details about why Schmidt has made the trip.

Richardson said in an interview on Friday that he had contacted the family of Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American tour guide detained in the country, and promised them he would discuss his situation with the North Korean authorities.

Bill Richardson interviewed on CNN From Youtube expand=1]

Washington was not pleased with the mission. Reuters quotes an anonymous official as saying the always tense relations between the two countries were worse than usual following North Korea's recent missile test: “We are in kind of a classical provocation period with North Korea. Usually their missile launches are followed by nuclear tests.”

Pyongyang's view on the standoff, as reported by the South Korean news agency Yonhap news, were summed up in a North Korean newspaper articles that stated: “Washington will use the invasion of North Korea as a springboard for its broader plan to conquer the world.”

Still, the same source noted that the North Korean Central News Agency overhauled its propaganda website in anticipation of Schmidt’s visit. Perhaps North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is a geek at heart.

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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