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North Korea blew up a liaison office in Kaesong which was used for talks with South Korea

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North Korea blows up liaison office with South Korea

North Korean state media reported that the four-story building, located in the city of Kaesong on the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, was “totally destroyed by” a huge explosion “at 2:50 pm local time.

A wisp of black smoke rose above the site visible from the side of the South Korean border shortly afterwards.

The liaison office has been closed since January 30 due to a new coronavirus pandemic, according to the South Korean Unification Ministry. South Korean staff have not been to the building since, the ministry said.

But its destruction is very symbolic, and may mark a turning point in relations between two countries that have committed to a “new era of peace” less than three years ago.

Pyongyang has issued a number of threats against Seoul in the past few days. The latest is a a statement published by North Korean state media Tuesday which said Pyongyang had begun an “intensive retaliation campaign” in response to a plan by a group of defectors to use balloons to send anti-North Korean leaflets north of the DMZ.

North Korea claimed the leaflet violated an agreement reached by Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in 2018 at their first summit, when the two leaders agreed to stop “all hostile acts and eliminate their means, including broadcasting through loudspeakers and distribution. leaflets. “Along the border with them. It is illegal for most North Koreans to consume information that is not approved by the country’s powerful propaganda machine, and that can have dire consequences.

The liaison office was reopened and renewed as part of the agreement to help the two Koreans communicate, but the future was thrown into doubt last week when North Korea announced it would cut off all communications with South Korea, including hot telephone lines intended to directly connect leaders the two countries, in response to the leaflet.

“Recent brave foolish actions undermine the dignity of our highest leadership,” the statement published in KCNA Tuesday read.

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“The world will clearly see what severe punishment our people will impose on the South Korean authorities and how they will remove human waste from the earth.”

Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s sister and perhaps the second most powerful person in the country, demanded the South Korean government punish the defectors, whom he called “traitors,” “human trash” and “trash” who dared to hurt the absolute . the prestige of our Supreme Leader represents our country and its extraordinary dignity, “according to a statement brought by North Korea’s KCNA news agency on Saturday.

Kim also hinted in the statement that North Korea’s liaison office would be destroyed in several ways.

“Before long, the tragic view of a useless North-South joint liaison office that will completely collapse will be seen,” he said according to a statement on Saturday.

It was not clear if there was anyone inside the building, as Pyongyang said last week that it had completely cut off communications with South Korea.

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Domestic consumption rises and supports Portugal’s GDP growth

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Domestic consumption rises and supports Portugal's GDP growth

Despite inflation, private household consumption increased between July and September this year. This increase allowed the Portuguese economy to continue growing in the third quarter. The growth was 4.9% compared to the same period last year.

The past few months have confirmed a trend towards sharp inflation and rising costs such as mortgage payments for those with mortgages. Difficulties that are currently forcing families to consume less than a year ago. But, compared to the second quarter of 2022, from July to September this year, private consumption increased by 1.1%. Domestic demand supported the slight growth of the Portuguese economy recorded in the third quarter.

Even with the fall in exports and investment, GDP grew by 0.4% compared to the previous quarter and by 4.9% compared to the same period last year. The numbers that need to be produced to ensure that 2022 ends with a booming economy, even during a downturn and international uncertainty.

This instability still does not affect the unemployment rate, which remained at 6.1% in October. Compared to September, the number of unemployed has decreased by 2,000. The active population has also declined and there are still 285,000 people who are not considered unemployed but are out of the labor market or only work a few hours a week.

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5-star hotels lead the way in the restoration of Portuguese tourist sites

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5-star hotels lead the way in the restoration of Portuguese tourist sites

In October, the number of overnight stays in 5-star hotels increased by 15.9% compared to the same month in 2019, which, according to additional information, namely from the DMC (Tourist Inception Agency), is associated with a strong increase in tourism from the United States. states.

Information published today by INE indicates that in October, compared to the same month before the pandemic, the number of overnight stays in tourist establishments in Portugal increased by 6.2%, with the strongest increase in hotels, at 8.2%. in which, therefore, 62.1% is concentrated. overnight stays.

The information shows that 4-star hotels, where the largest number of beds are concentrated, had 48.9% of overnight stays in October, totaling 2.05 million, which is +7.6% or more than 144.7 thousand than in October 2019.

This was followed by 3-star hotels with 927.3k, but this increase was about half of 5-star hotels, by 7.6% or 65.5k, to 927.3k, and then 5-star hotels with 857. 4 thousand overnight stays, an increase of 15.9%. or 117.6 thousand compared to the same pre-pandemic month.

In contrast to the evolution in these categories, there were 2- and 1-star hotels, in which the number of overnight stays decreased by 2.7%, or ten thousand, to 360.8 thousand.

The cheapest apart-hotels (three and two stars) also saw a decrease in overnight stays, from -20.9% or less than 24.4 thousand, in hotels and farms in Madeira, from -0.4% or less, to about 300, and in tourist settlements, from -7.7. % or less than 17.5 thousand.

At the same time, the number of apart-hotels increased by 1.2%, or 8.5 thousand, to 717.5 million, due to the increase in 5-star hotels by 6.7%, or 6.6 thousand, to 104.9 thousand, and 4-star, by 5.4 thousand% or 26.4 thousand to 519.9 thousand.

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Overnight stays in tourist apartments also increased by 3.2%, or 13.6 thousand, to 437.8 million, local accommodation, by 0.6%, or 5.5 thousand, to 901.2 thousand, and , primarily tourism in rural areas and housing, with an increase of 45.2% or 67.3 thousand to 216.5 thousand people.

The INE data also shows that Portuguese tourist sites were the best in October in terms of overnight stays this year, with peaks achieved by 5-, 4- and 3-star hotels, 5- and 4-star apartment hotels, accommodation . and rural tourism and housing development.

See also:

The US market is already setting new annual records in Portuguese hotels

The Portuguese hospitality industry experienced the best October in terms of number of guests and overnight stays.

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Government approves strategy to combat “Portuguese underrepresentation” in Brussels

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Government approves strategy to combat "Portuguese underrepresentation" in Brussels

This afternoon the Council of Ministers will approve a national strategy to combat what it considers “underrepresentation de Portugal” in European institutions, in particular the European Commission.

“There is a significant shortage of Portuguese, especially those working for the Commission,” explains the Secretary of State for European Affairs in statements to Renaissance🇧🇷 The problem, according to Thiago Antunes, is not limited to middle management: “This is the first time Portugal does not have a CEO in the European Commission”.

The government wants to “correct this imbalance and fight this deficit in order to win.”ability to influence in decisions.” But it is not possible to increase the number of vacancies for the Portuguese, if only because there are no national quotas for employees working in institutions.

To go to Brussels or even work in Portugal on a full-time basis, you need to pass a series of tests prepared by EPSO (European Personnel Selection Office). 🇧🇷These are very difficult competitions.with very concrete evidence,” the official explains.

The strategy will be based on several pillars: training, increasing grants and encouraging the mobility of civil servants. The Portuguese government is going to create a national training center to “better prepare our candidates for competitions”; to bet on “dissemination of opportunities; increase the balls (by quantity and value); and create a statute that allows those who work in the public administration of Portugal to move into the European public administration.

The aim is to achieve “greater representation” in the European Commission in order to have “greater influence” on the decision. Although the strategy is to strengthen the Portuguese presence in Brussels and the employees do not work for Portugal.it doesn’t matter that they are portuguese“, he defends.

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Fruits may not appear early or may not even be measurable. “It will take some time until we see results,” admits the former secretary of state to the prime minister. But the wait does not stop the Portuguese government. “We have to start right now,” Thiago Antunes insists, pointing to the demographic problem among those working in Brussels. “There are a lot of Portuguese who came in at the time of our accession and are now retiring.”

The strategy aims to reverse the cycle of loss of Portuguese representation among the 27. The diploma will be approved this Wednesday in the Council of Ministers.

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