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North Korea Seeks UN Aid While New Leader Makes Diplomatic Debut



PYONGYANGNorth Korea has requested immediate aid from the United Nations, including food supplies, after being hit by devastating floods last month.

The aid also includes fuel and clean water to avoid diseases, as wells have been strongly damaged by the floods. UN officials in Pyongyang said the need for aid was urgent after visiting flood-hit parts of the country to assess damage, reports BBC News.

According to North Korean state media, at least 119 died and tens of thousands of people were left homeless, mostly in the northwestern part of the country.

Natural disasters more severely affect the communist nation, which has suffered for decades from chronic food shortages, economic mismanagement, and growing isolation from the international community because of its nuclear weapons and missile programs, reports Bloomberg.

Meanwhile North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un made his diplomatic debut on Thursday as he hosted a Chinese Communist Party delegation for the first time since he replaced his late father as First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea in April.

Pyongyang and Beijing intend to maintain high-level contacts, strengthen party-to-party exchanges and boost practical cooperation.

The UK Foreign Office has also confirmed that the mystery man on the photographs which went viral last week showing Kim Jong-un on a rollercoaster ride was a junior member of the British Embassy in Pyongyang.

Taken during a visit to a newly opened theme park in Pyongyang, the photographs were issued as part of what appears to be a publicity drive by North Korea's new leader, who is promoting a youthful and upbeat image that contrasts with the grim militarism of Kim Jong Il, his father, reports The Guardian.

Britain is one of the few Western countries to hold an Embassy in the authoritarian state.

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New Study Finds High Levels Of Anti-LGBTQ+ Discrimination In Buddhism

We tend to think of Buddhism as a religion devoid of commandments, and therefore generally more accepting than others. The author, an Australian researcher — and "genderqueer, non-binary Buddhist" themself — suggests that it is far from being the case.

Photo of a Buddhist monk in a Cambodia temple, walking away from the camera

Some Buddhist spaces can be highly heteronormative and show lack of understanding toward the LGBTQ+ community

Stephen Kerry

More than half of Australia’s LGBTQIA+ Buddhists feel reluctant to “come out” to their Buddhist communities and nearly one in six have been told directly that being LGBTQIA+ isn’t in keeping with the Buddha’s teachings.

These are some of the findings from my research looking at the experiences of LGBTQIA+ Buddhists in Australia.

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

I’m a genderqueer, non-binary Buddhist myself and I was curious about others’ experiences in Australia since there has been no research done on our community before. So, in 2020, I surveyed 82 LGBTQIA+ Buddhists and have since followed this up with 29 face-to-face interviews.

Some people may think Buddhism would be quite accepting of LGBTQIA+ people. There are, after all, no religious laws, commandments or punishments in Buddhism. My research indicates, however, this is not always true.

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