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Quality of fake 'supernotes' found in Seoul fan suspicions that North Korea is forging $100 bills

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - December 11, 2017 - 5:10am

Suspicions are growing that North Korea has resumed forging $100 dollar bills that are so realistic that they are virtually indistinguishable from genuine currency. It took a team of forgery specialists at South Korea's KEB Hana Bank to confirm that a single $100 bill found at a branch in Seoul in November was a fake. The discovery has triggered alarm because authorities have no idea how many similar "supernotes" - named because they are so similar to real banknotes - are now in circulation. While previous "supernotes" were dated either 2001 or 2003, the new forgeries are dated 2006 and are even more sophisticated in the ink, the printing processes and the material that they use. The forgeries also change colour when they are viewed from a different angle, just as genuine notes should, while the slightly rough texture of the note has also been accurately copied, a spokesman for Hana Bank told South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper. The quality of the forgeries has immediately led to suspicion falling on North Korea, which has a track record of forging foreign banknotes in order to earn hard currency for the regime. Pyongyang is also in increasingly dire need of funds as international sanctions imposed due to the regime's ongoing development of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles begin to bite. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un visiting Mount Paektu in Ryanggang Province Credit:  AFP "It seems that whoever printed these supernotes has the facilities and high level of technology matching that of a government", Lee Ho-jung, a bank spokesman said. "They are made with special ink that changes colour depending on the angle, patterned paper and Intaglio printing that gives texture to the surface of a note". Another bank source told The Hankyoreh newspaper, "To print supernote-level forgeries, you need a minting corporation-level production line in place, which costs hundreds of billions of won. "This makes if difficult for ordinary criminal organisations to produce them". Earlier versions of supernotes have been around for at least 15 years, with US government officials estimating in 2006 that as much as $250 million worth of fake $100 bills could be in circulation worldwide. Case study | Counterfeit cash in the UK In recent years, Pyongyang appears to have scaled back its forging operation, which is reportedly overseen by the shadowy Division 39, although that may have changed given the pressure that the regime is now under. In the past, North Korea was believed to distribute the bills overseas through criminal groups and by transporting them abroad through the diplomatic pouch to embassies from where they could be slipped into circulation. In December 2011, the Irish High Court dismissed an application from the US to extradite Sean Garland, the alleged chief of staff of the Official Irish Republican Army, in connection with passing fake supernotes. Mr Garland had been observed travelling to Moscow and visiting the North Korean embassy in the company of a number of former KGB officials. Fake notes were later allegedly smuggled into Ireland and the UK and exchanged for pounds or other currencies.


Inside The Voucher Schools That Teach L. Ron Hubbard, But Say They’re Not Scientologist

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - December 11, 2017 - 4:02am

CLEARWATER, Fla. ― It was a weekday afternoon here in early December, and a gaggle of kids outside of Clearwater Academy International were playing with a ball, their laughter and shouts filling the air.


Serial Killer Taunts Police In New Letter, Claims There Are More Victims

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - December 11, 2017 - 2:04am

A convicted serial killer sent a letter to a South Carolina newspaper claiming police hadn’t found all of his victims ― and he’s not planning to help them.


Venezuela's Maduro Has Disqualified His Opposition From the Next Presidential Election

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - December 10, 2017 - 8:44pm

As the President of Venezuela consolidated his party’s hold on power this weekend, he dealt another blow to the country’s main opposition groups by disqualifying them from next year’s bid for the presidency.


Two killed as plane crashes into house in San Diego

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - December 10, 2017 - 6:15pm

Local media report the plane crashed into the home in the Clairemont neighbourhood at around 4.40pm local time on Saturday. The single-engine, six-seat Beech BE36 Bonanza had taken off from Montgomery Field airport around half a mile from the crash site. The pilot and a passenger were taken to hospital with burns and two passengers died at the scene, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.


Nobel Peace Prize Winner Warns That Nuclear War Is One 'Tantrum Away'

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - December 10, 2017 - 5:01pm

Total nuclear destruction is “only one impulsive tantrum away,” this year’s Noble Peace Prize winner warned while accepting the award for an international anti-nuclear weapons campaign.


Swedish PM condemns attempted arson attack at synagogue as three arrested

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - December 10, 2017 - 3:34pm

Three people were arrested early on Sunday after an attempted arson attack at a synagogue in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, prosecutors said. There were no reports of injuries and the fire did not reach the synagogue or an adjacent meeting house where Jewish youths had gathered when the attack took place late on Saturday, Swedish media reported. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a statement he was outraged by the attack.


Israel, Turkey leaders trade insults over US Jerusalem decision

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - December 10, 2017 - 2:19pm

Relations between Israel and Turkey took a bitter turn Sunday as their leaders traded accusations of involvement in terrorism, days after the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would fight against the controversial declaration, describing Israel as a "terrorist state" that kills children, in a speech in Istanbul. Hours later Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back, calling his counterpart a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers and supports terrorists, during an official visit to Paris.


Hannibal Buress Arrested For Disorderly Intoxication In Miami

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - December 10, 2017 - 1:53pm

Hannibal Buress was arrested in Miami on Saturday on charges of disorderly intoxication, People reported.


California's Thomas Fire Now Ranks Among Largest In State History

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - December 10, 2017 - 1:33pm

The Thomas Fire, one of five destructive blazes currently burning in California, now ranks as the tenth largest wildfire on record in the state.


Southern California: Elevated fire danger remains this week despite less wind

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - December 10, 2017 - 1:32pm

Locally windy conditions will keep the fire danger elevated across Southern California through Thursday as air quality concerns mount.


The Latest: Israeli PM urges approval of Jerusalem decision

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - December 10, 2017 - 11:46am

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on the fallout from the U.S. decision to declare Jerusalem Israel's capital (all times local):


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