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NightWatch 20120730

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NightWatch

For the night of 30 July 2012

China-North Korea: Senior Chinese and North Korean party officials met in Pyongyang on Monday, according to official North Korean media outlets. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Wang Jiarui, head of the Communist Party of China's International Department, arrived in Pyongyang on Monday and later held talks with Kim Yong Il, a secretary of the Korean Workers' Party's Central Committee.

The two officials "informed each other of their party activities and exchanged views on boosting the traditional friendly and cooperative relations between the two parties and countries and on other matters of mutual concern," KCNA said without providing further details.

Comment: The Chinese delegation might be arranging a visit to Beijing by young Kim, as suggested in some South Korean analyses, but the Chinese certainly want to learn more about the political situation in North Korea. An exchange of high level military delegations is the next likely step.

Syria: The US warned Syrian opposition forces not to completely disband Syrian President Bashar al Assad's security and government apparatus if al Assad is killed or forced from power, according to U.S. officials.

Comment: Those formulating policy on Syria hope to avoid the administrative disaster in Iraq that followed from the dismantling of the Ba'ath Party government in Baghdad. Syria is not Iraq and the two situations are not even remotely comparable. The US has no forces in Syria so the Syrian opposition will do as it chooses.

Egypt: Update. Newly appointed Prime Minister Hisham Qandil stated on Monday that he has filled 70 per cent of Cabinet seats, and would present his list to President Mursi. He also said he would announce his new cabinet on 2 August.

Spain: For the record. According to data released by the National Statistics Institute on 27 July, unemployment levels in Spain rose to 24.63 percent of the workforce in the second quarter, rising from 24.4 percent. The figure amounts to more than 5.7 million people without jobs.

The unemployment figure for people under the age of 25 rose to 53 percent, from 52 percent in the previous quarter. The unemployment figure is double the EU's average and the highest reported across the euro area.

Comment: The youth unemployment rate is such that Readers should expect public disorders. It will take Spain half a generation to make up for the lost jobs.

End of NightWatch for 30 July.

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