North Korea Hails ‘Good Results’ On COVID as Fever Cases Pass 2 Million

North Korea said Friday it was achieving “good results” in its fight against its first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak, as the number of people with fever symptoms rose past 2 million.

A wave of COVID infections, which North Korea first confirmed last week, has fanned worry about a lack of medical resources and vaccines in the isolated country heavily sanctioned for its nuclear weapons program.

North Korea has not responded to offers from its old enemies, South Korea and the United States, to send help, a South Korean official said.

South Korea’s new president, Yoon Suk Yeol, and U.S. President Joe Biden, who arrived in South Korea on a visit Friday, are expected to discuss help.

North Korea reported 263,370 more people with fever symptoms, and two more deaths, taking its total fever caseload since late April to 2.24 million as of Thursday evening, including 65 deaths, according to its KCNA state news agency.

North Korea lacks COVID testing capacity and it has not specified how many of those people with fever have been confirmed to have contracted COVID.

Despite the caseload, the North has said farming continues and factories are working. It is also planning a state funeral for a retired general.

“Even under the maximum emergency epidemic prevention situation, normal production is kept at key industrial sectors and large-scale construction projects are propelled without let-up,” KCNA reported.

“Good results are reported steadily in the ongoing anti-epidemic war,” it said.

The U.N. human rights agency has warned of the “devastating” consequences of COVID for North Korea’s 25 million people, while World Health Organization officials worry an unchecked spread could lead to the emergence of deadlier new variants.

But North Korea said on Wednesday its outbreak was taking a “favorable turn.”

‘Consultations’

Officials in South Korea say it is hard to draw conclusions, partly because it is not clear how North Korea is calculating the number of fever and COVID patients.

Cases of fever reported by the government have declined in the capital, Pyongyang, but risen in rural provinces.

But Martyn Williams, a researcher at the U.S.-based 38 North monitoring group, said North Korea’s figures were unlikely to give an accurate account of what is going on, either through error or deliberate manipulation.

“I doubt they represent the exact picture,” he said on Twitter.

South Korea and the United States have both offered to help North Korea fight the virus, including sending aid, but have not had a response, South Korea’s deputy national security adviser said.

But the allies, who North Korea denounces as its main enemies as it justifies its development of nuclear weapons and missiles, would likely be North Korea’s last resort in seeking help, said South Korean legislators who were briefed by its main security agency on Thursday.

South Korea’s foreign minister, Park Jin, told parliament Yoon and Biden would discuss help for North Korea when they meet Saturday.

“South Korea and the United States are continuing consultations on providing humanitarian assistance, especially over COVID-19, to the North,” Park said.


Після ракетного удару на Одещині є запах аміаку, але «нічого страшного» – Кім

Якого саме населеного пункту Миколаївщини це стосується, голова ВЦА не уточнив


Командир «Азова»: важкопоранені бійці отримали допомогу, процес щодо вивезення тіл загиблих триває

«Важкопоранені отримали необхідну допомогу, їх вдалося евакуювати з подальшим обміном і доставкою на територію, підконтрольну Україні»


За свободу дитини вимагали розвіддані: СБУ звільнила з російського полону сина військової ЗСУ

Російські військові вимагали у матері дані щодо розташування військових об’єктів в обмін на свободу її сина.


Boeing Crew Capsule Launches to Space Station in 2nd Test 

Boeing’s crew capsule rocketed into orbit Thursday on a repeat test flight without astronauts, after years of being grounded by flaws that could have doomed the spacecraft.

Only a test dummy was aboard. If the capsule reaches the International Space Station on Friday and everything else goes well, two or three NASA test pilots could strap in by the end of this year or early next for the company’s first crew flight.

It’s Boeing’s third shot at the high-stakes flight demo.

At least this time, Starliner made it to the proper orbit, quickly giving chase to the space station. But the all-important rendezvous and docking loomed.

Starliner’s first test flight in 2019 was stricken by software errors so severe that the capsule ended up in the wrong orbit and had to skip the space station. The spacecraft came close to being destroyed as ground controllers hastily cut short the mission.

After dozens of safety fixes, Boeing returned a different capsule to the launch pad last summer. Corroded valves halted the countdown, resulting in another round of repairs.

The drawn-out test flight program has cost Boeing about $600 million.

“We’re not going to fly (crews) unless we feel like we’ve bought down the risk,” NASA space operations chief Kathy Lueders stressed on the eve of liftoff.

Boeing is seeking redemption as it attempts to catch up with SpaceX, NASA’s other contracted taxi service. Elon Musk’s company has been flying astronauts to and from the space station for two years and delivering cargo for a full decade.

Eager to reduce its high-priced dependency on Russia for crew transport, NASA hired Boeing and SpaceX to launch astronauts to the space station after the shuttle program ended in 2011. That’s why it’s so important for Boeing’s Starliner to succeed, said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

“We always, in this case, want to have a backup,” Nelson told The Associated Press hours before liftoff.

Different in looks but similar in function to SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, Boeing’s fully automated capsule will attempt to dock at the space station on its own. Station astronauts will be ready to steer the capsule by remote control, if necessary.

Starliner will spend close to a week at the space station before aiming for a touchdown in the New Mexico desert.

NASA has yet to finalize which astronauts will be on the first Starliner crew. The program is so far behind that the original three have stepped aside. The leading candidates gathered at Cape Canaveral for the evening launch of Starliner atop United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket.

“We’re thrilled for this because the next one is us,” said astronaut Butch Wilmore.

Besides Rosie the Rocketeer — a space-age version of World War II’s Rosie the Riveter — the capsule is carrying groceries and spacewalking gear for the seven station residents. U.S. spacewalks have been on hold since an astronaut’s helmet took on water in March. NASA is sending up extra absorbent pads for use in helmets, in case an emergency spacewalk is required as the investigation continues.

Boeing also is flying mementos from historically black colleges and universities and tree seeds similar to those Apollo astronauts took to the moon that became so-called moon trees here on Earth.

 


Abortion Rights Rollback in US Could Ripple Across Globe

The right of American women to have an abortion will be severely restricted if the Supreme Court reverses its 1973 decision to legalize the procedure. VOA’s Veronica Balderas Iglesias spoke to activists on three continents and found grave concern about what impact a U.S. ruling overturning Roe v. Wade could have around the world.
Videographer/Video editor: Veronica Balderas Iglesias


Російські війська не змогли перерізати трасу на Бахмут – Кириленко

Один із населених пунктів, із якого рухалися російські війська, звільнений, додав голова області


Київ вимагає від німецького телеканалу виправити мапу з «російським» Кримом

Як заявили в Представництві президента АРК, мапа може трактуватися як «визнання на міжнародному рівні незаконної окупації та спроби анексії» Криму


Pentagon Declassifies Evidence of UFOs

The U.S. Defense Department declassifies evidence of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. One Mars rover ramps up while another winds down, and a look behind the phenomenon of a “blood moon.” VOA’s Arash Arabasadi brings us The Week in Space.


Армія РФ намагається приховати кількість загиблих під час бомбардування драмтеатру в Маріуполі – міськрада

«Вчора та сьогодні тіла загиблих вивозили декілька разів вантажівками в бік Старого Криму. Територію розчистки охороняють і не дають доступу місцевим»