North Korean leader berates officials over typhoon preparations

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends an emergency meeting to discuss disaster prevention efforts against Typhoon Lingling on Friday, September 6, 2019. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
Updated 07 September 2019

North Korean leader berates officials over typhoon preparations

  • Typhoon Lingling is expected to make landfall in the North on Saturday afternoon
  • Many in positions of authority were ill prepared, the North’s KCNA news service reported

SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has berated officials for their “easygoing” attitude to the approach of Typhoon Lingling, state media reported.
The powerful storm is expected to make landfall in the North on Saturday afternoon after passing off the coast of South Korea, according to Seoul’s Korea Meteorological Association.
Kim convened an emergency meeting on Friday and said “dangerous circumstances” caused by the typhoon were “imminent,” but that many in positions of authority were ill prepared, the North’s KCNA news service reported later that day.
Officials in the North “remain unchanged in their attitude and helpless against the typhoon, unaware of its seriousness and seized with easygoing sentiment,” Kim said during the meeting, according to the KCNA report.
In South Korea, more than 270 flights were canceled and power outages in over 30,000 homes have been reported, while public parks and zoos were closed for the weekend after heavy rain and strong winds on Saturday.
Seoul’s weather authorities also warned of landslides and flooding, and advised the public to stay indoors.
Kim said efforts to minimize damage from the typhoon in North Korea would be an “enormous struggle,” adding that its army should “remain loyal to its sacred duty” of ensuring its citizens’ safety.
The impoverished and isolated North is vulnerable to natural disasters, especially floods, due in part to deforestation and poor infrastructure.
At least 138 North Koreans were known to have died after torrential rain triggered major floods in 2016, the United Nations said at the time.
More than 160 people were killed by a massive rainstorm in the summer of 2012.


China reports 36 new COVID-19 cases

Updated 01 April 2020

China reports 36 new COVID-19 cases

  • Chinese health commission said all but one of the new cases was imported from abroad
  • China has recorded a total of 81,554 cases of COVID-19 and 3,312 deaths from the disease

BEIJING: China’s National Health Commission on Wednesday reported 36 new COVID-19 cases, one day after announcing that asymptomatic cases will now be included in the official count.
The commission said all but one of the new cases was imported from abroad, while seven more deaths from the disease had been reported over the previous 24 hours. The commission did not say if any of the new cases were asymptomatic but on Tuesday reported that, of a total of 1,541 asymptomatic cases now being isolated and monitored for symptoms, 205 had come from overseas.
The move to disclose the number of asymptomatic cases comes amid scrutiny of China’s reported figures, which previously only included people who exhibited symptoms. While the proportion of people who have contracted the virus but remain asymptomatic is currently unknown, scientists say these “carriers” can still pass COVID-19 onto others who do end up getting sick.
As China’s domestic outbreak has largely abated, some questioned whether the country’s failure to count asymptomatic cases would lead to a resurgence of infections. China, where the virus was first detected in December, has recorded a total of 81,554 cases of COVID-19 and 3,312 deaths from the disease.