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Chatter: Kerry warns North Korea

US Secretary of State John Kerry is in South Korea for talks about its increasingly bellicose neighbor, Cyprus needs (even more) money, Russia isn't happy to star on Washington's new human rights blacklist, and behold, the deadly beaver.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

Kerry's all over Korea. US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Seoul this morning for talks with his South Korean friends about... well, you know what.

As the Pentagon confirms that North Korea is likely capable of firing a nuclear-armed missile, Kerry said the US would defend itself and its allies if necessary. North Korea would not be accepted as a nuclear power, he insisted, and a peaceful Korean Peninsula means one "free of nuclear weapons."

For all the talk of bombs, the chances of North Korea winning an actual war are slim and Pyongyang knows it. And yet, without firing a single shot, the government has already managed to inflict significant economic harm on South Korea. There's already a war going on, experts tell GlobalPost, and it's North Korea's psywar.

Cyprus needs more money. Euro-zone finance ministers meet in Dublin today to finalize the island's EU-IMF bailout, which it turns out will cost even more than thought – some 5.5 billion euros more, to be precise.

The Cypriot president says he will appeal to the EU to make up the difference, though grumblings indicate that Brussels is unwilling to stump up any more than the 10 billion euros it has promised. Which leave Cyprus scrambling to raise the shortfall on top of the 13 billion euros it has already committed to find as a condition of securing the EU's loan. Bailouts don't come cheap, least of all for those that receive them.

WANT TO KNOW

If your name's on the list, you're not coming in. The US government is expected to today release the so-called Magnitsky List, its register of Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses and subject to Washington's sanctions. It's named for Sergei Magnitsky, the Russian lawyer who died in suspicious circumstances in a Moscow jail cell shortly after accusing some of Russia's highest government officials of untold corruption.

Predictably, Moscow isn't happy. Russia has already threatened to compile a tit-for-tat list of its own that will bar more than 100 Americans from its shores, and today, the Kremlin warned that the US list's publication would have "a very negative effect" on relations between the two world powers. Blessed are the whistleblowers?

Jeeves 2.0. In these times of economic trouble, Britain has one export it can rely on: butlers. As the rich get richer in the UK and beyond, the global demand for top-notch manservants is the highest it's been at any time in the past 50 years – and their 21st-century employers want them to be equally au fait with an iPad as they are with the silver polish.

GlobalPost catches up with the new breed of British butler. Spoiler alert: it's nothing like Downton Abbey.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Now for a public safety announcement: never photograph a beaver. This lesson comes courtesy of an extremely unfortunate Belarussian, who was attacked and killed by one of the beasts during a fishing trip. The victim reportedly approached the beaver for a photo opp, only to get bitten in the thigh and rapidly bleed to death.

Terrifyingly, this cautionary tale isn't even the first: in the US state of Virginia last December, there were two instances of rabid beaver attacks in one week alone. Be afraid. Beaver-y afraid.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-kerry-warns-north-korea