Germany to clamp down on North Korea's Berlin operations

Located downtown next to the gated North Korean embassy Cityhostel Berlin offers beds for as little as 16 euros a night

Located downtown next to the gated North Korean embassy Cityhostel Berlin offers beds for as little as 16 euros a night

The German government said Wednesday that it was taking steps to prevent them being used to generate cash for the rogue state.

The new measures, drawn up between the Chancellery and three other ministries, aims to stop North Korea's embassy in Berlin from operating a hostel and congress center on its premises as a source of foreign currency, the German Foreign Ministry said late Tuesday.

According to media reports, the rooms in City Hotel Berlin cost 17 euros ($18) per night.

But it turns out the hostel is more interesting than its exterior suggests: The building is owned and leased out by North Korea. "Parts of the embassy were vacated as relations between Germany and North Korea soured following Germany's reunification in 1990", according to The Washington Post. It's not far from iconic landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate, and while online reviews complain of dodgy WiFi and broken windows, the hostel offers "good value for your money", as one traveler recently remarked. German media reported that rent on the building runs into the tens of thousands of euros each month.

"All in all it's an OK place to stay, if you don't mind the North Korea connection, but it's not our cup of tea", wrote one visitor.

Oil prices edge up in anticipation of extended crude output cut
Brent for July settlement was 5 cents lower at $49.29 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Seven million barrels is roughly two days of oil imports into Japan, the world's fourth-biggest importer.

The resolution says "all Member States shall prohibit the DPRK from using real property that it owns or leases in their territory for any objective other than diplomatic or consular activities".

During the Cold War, North Korea had a sprawling diplomatic compound in East Germany represented by some 100 diplomats.

"Those of you who oppose N. Korea policies may not want to stay here", warned another.

German State Secretary Markus Ederer stressed the German government persistently put United Nations - and EU-imposed sanctions against the North into practice in order to pressure Pyongyang to give up its nuclear development and return to the negotiating table, the daily said.

The UN sanctions must be implemented to the letter, he said, "so it is especially important that we act to cut off the activities funding the nuclear programme".

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