Kim Jong Un Makes 1st Public Appearance In Nearly Three Weeks: State Media Report

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made his first public appearance since speculation about his health began last month, cutting the ribbon at the opening of a fertilizer factory, KCNA reported Saturday.

Kim “attended the ceremony” on Friday and “all the participants broke into thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah!’” when he appeared, the Korean Central News Agency said.

36yrs old Kim Jong-un is the 3rd Supreme Leader of North Korea-

He also inspected the facility and was “briefed about the production processes,” the report said.

Kim “said with deep emotion” that his grandfather Kim Il Sung and father Kim Jong Il “would be greatly pleased if they heard the news that the modern phosphatic fertilizer factory has been built,” KCNA added.

Kim has not made a public appearance since presiding over a Workers’ Party politburo meeting on April 11, and the following day state media reported on him inspecting fighter jets at an air defense unit.

Conjecture over his health had grown since his conspicuous no-show at April 15 celebrations for the birthday of his grandfather Kim Il Sung, the North’s founder — the most important day in the country’s political calendar.

A top security advisor to South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said less than a week ago that Kim was “alive and well,” downplaying rumors that he was ill or incapacitated.

The advisor, Moon Chung-in, told CNN that Kim had been staying in Wonsan — a resort town in the east of North Korea — since April 13, adding: “No suspicious movements have so far been detected.”

Daily NK, an online media outlet run mostly by North Korean defectors, has reported Kim was undergoing treatment after a cardiovascular procedure last month.

Citing an unidentified source inside the country, it said Kim, who is in his mid-30s, had needed urgent treatment due to heavy smoking, obesity and fatigue.

Soon afterwards, CNN reported that Washington was “monitoring intelligence” that Kim was in “grave danger” after undergoing surgery, quoting what it said was an anonymous US official.

US President Donald Trump appeared to confirm that Kim was alive earlier this week. Trump refused to comment Friday on Kim’s reported re-emergence.

Previous absences from the public eye on Kim’s part have prompted speculation about his health. The North is extremely secretive, and doubly so about its leadership.

Kim’s father and predecessor Kim Jong Il had been dead for two days before anyone outside the innermost circles of North Korean leadership was any the wiser. In 2014, Kim Jong Un dropped out of sight for nearly six weeks before reappearing with a cane.

Days later, the South’s spy agency said he had undergone surgery to remove a cyst from his ankle.

AFP

COVID-19 | British PM Boris Johnson Taken Into Intensive Care

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was on Monday admitted to intensive care after being hospitalized with coronavirus, with foreign minister Dominic Raab to take over his duties “where necessary”, his Downing Street office said.

“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the prime minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital,” said the Downing Street press release.

“The PM has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to deputize for him where necessary,” it added.

The prime minister was moved in case he needed to use a ventilator, the government added.

Johnson was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital in London on Sunday with a temperature and a cough after testing positive for coronavirus on March 27, becoming the most high-profile world leader infected with the disease that has spread rapidly across the globe.

The 55-year-old had been self-isolating in his Downing Street flat but on Sunday evening was driven to a nearby state-run hospital on the advice of his doctor.

Officials said it was a “precautionary step” but questions had earlier been raised about whether the Conservative leader could still run the country.

The British government was criticised for initially refusing to follow other European countries in requiring people to stay home as the virus spread.

And Johnson himself said in early March that he was still shaking hands with people.

But two weeks ago he ordered a nationwide lockdown and Britain is now in the grip of a serious outbreak.

Over 50,000 cases and more than 5,000 deaths have been recorded so far, with a latest daily toll of 439.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, have both been infected with coronavirus, although they have since recovered.

In response to the crisis, Queen Elizabeth II made a rare public address on Sunday night, evoking the spirit of World War II and urging Britons to stay united.

“We will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again, we will meet again,” she said.

– Working non-stop –

Housing minister Robert Jenrick told BBC television that the prime minister had been working “phenomenally hard” during the crisis, adding that he would be finding it “very frustrating” to be ill.

Johnson is not known to have any underlying health issues, although he has struggled with his weight, but some questioned if he should have taken more time off.

Junior health minister Nadine Dorries, who also had coronavirus but has recovered, added: “Many with #COVID19 are felled by fatigue/temperature and use isolation to sleep and recover.

“Boris has risked his health and worked every day on our behalf to lead the battle against this vile virus.”

Sarah Vine, a newspaper columnist and wife of senior cabinet minister Michael Gove, added: “Boris has worked non-stop throughout his illness — and now we see the result.”

– Persistent symptoms –

US President Donald Trump said he was “hopeful and sure” Johnson would recover, calling the prime minister “a friend of mine” and a “great leader”.

Johnson’s pregnant partner, Carrie Symonds, moved out of Downing Street after some staff fell ill. But she said on Saturday she had just spent a week in bed with symptoms, although she has not been tested.

Johnson’s spokesman would not confirm a report in The Times newspaper reported that the prime minister had been given oxygen treatment.

“Doctors will be monitoring important vital signs such as oxygen saturation,” said Rupert Beale, group leader at the cell biology of infection laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute.

He said they would also check Johnson’s blood to “see what the immune response to the virus looks like and to assess liver and kidney function”, and may also perform an electrocardiogram to check the heart.

AFP

Coronavirus | Italy’s Death Toll Surpasses China, hitting 3,405

Italy’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has risen to 3,405, surpassing the 3,245 fatalities reported in China.

The death toll rose by 14.3 per cent from Wednesday, the Italian Civil Protection Agency says in its daily bulletin, also reporting a 14.9-per-cent hike in the total number of contagions, to 41,035.

Italy surpass China as death toll rise to over 3400 via https://9jas.com/coronavirus-updates/

Recoveries are up by 10.3 per cent to 4,440, while the number of intensive care patients – a closely watched figure given the shortage of hospital beds – has risen by 10.7 per cent, to 2,498.

Lombardy, which surrounds Milan, remains the region worst hit by the outbreak, with nearly 20,000 cases and 2,168 deaths. Lazio, the region that includes Rome, reports 823 cases and 38 deaths.

Russia Parliament Passes Reforms Allowing Putin to Be President For Life

Russia’s lower house on Wednesday passed constitutional reforms in their final reading that include the possibility of President Vladimir Putin extending his rule for another two terms.

A total of 383 State Duma lawmakers voted in favor of the package of constitutional amendments, with 43 abstentions and none against.

Putin

The measures must now be approved by the upper house Federation Council and be put to a public vote scheduled for April 22.

Putin announced the package of reforms in January, then repeatedly denied they were meant to extend his grip on power as he approaches the end of his fourth and final presidential term in 2024.

However, on Tuesday another amendment was introduced that would reset presidential terms, making it possible for Putin to run again if the constitutional court allows it.

The changes “are not just justified… they plan… for the strategy of the development of the country,” Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said after Wednesday’s vote, Russian agencies reported.

Other additions to the constitution include guarantees for pension payouts and minimum salaries, and giving parliament additional power to nominate the head of government.

They also give the president additional powers to fire judges in the country’s higher courts and to reject laws passed by parliament.

(AFP)