Sebastian Payne: Kim Jung Un is a brutal leader. Few would dispute that he rules one of the most repressive and inhumane regimes on the planet. But is he mentally unstable? Or just ruthless? The US seems to have decided the former is true, but the latter could be more likely. Judging by his actions over the past year, Mr Kim knows exactly what he is doing.
Philip Stephens argues in his column that the louder Donald Trump shouts about the North Korean leader’s instability, the more plausible his claims that a nuclear programme is a necessary insurance policy. The two presidents have traded petty insults but Philip argues that Mr Kim now has everything he wants. He has outsmarted Mr Trump at almost every turn.
There is not, however, any good ending to this stand-off and the risks of conflict remain high. North Korea could easily overplay its hand. The US could launch a pre-emptive attack. But there are no good military options. China will not want to risk the collapse of the regime through sanctions. So for now, it looks as if Pyongyang will get its missiles and all of the geopolitical risks that entails.
Regime change at the Fed
Gillian Tett says Jay Powell, the new chair of the US Federal Reserve, does not seem like a natural dove and may not ride to the rescue if equities tumble. As Mr Powell once put it, it’s “not the Fed’s job to stop people from losing money.”
The republic of Australia
I argue that instead of building closer ties with Brexit Britain, Oz is more likely to become a republic — particularly after the Queen exits the world stage. But the Commonwealth is looking for a new leader and salvation may be at hand if Prince William steps in.
Productivity in the bedroom
Marco Hafner argues that the UK needs to get more sleep in order to improve its productivity. Research shows that thousands of working days are lost due to insufficient sleep. More than six hours of sleep might be what the country is dreaming of. – Financial Times