Frontpage words - Dec 04, 2009

Olivia Chavassieu
Olivia Chavassieu |

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North Korea won swap 'sparks panic'

by Agencies in Seoul

SCMP, photo page A1, December 4, 2009

Understand the headline

- the won is North Korea's national currency -

- a swap is a financial term used when one stream of cash flow is exchanged against another stream -

- to spark panic means to cause fear -

2. North Korean authorities have threatened merciless punishment

- fierce, pitiless, severe, harsh -

... for citizens defying new currency rules

- resisting -

... that have reportedly wiped out their savings

- destroyed -

3. The regime informed citizens [...] that it would redenominate its national currency

- change the value of -

4. The news sent residents [...] to the black market

- an illegal market in which currencies are bought and sold in violation of rationing or controls; the black market often sets a price for foreign exchange that is several times the official one. ...

... to convert hoarded bills into US dollars and yuan

- secret / hidden supplies of -

5. The overhaul of the won,

- reevaluation -

... the most drastic in 50 years,

- extreme -

... appears aimed at curbing runaway inflation

- the spiralling prices of goods and services -

... and clamping down on the street markets

- crackdown -

... that have sprung up in the tightly controlled nation

- appeared suddenly -

6. the move had a broader goal: to pave the way for Kim Jong-li...

- prepare the way and make things easier -