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BBC NEWS, THE GUARDIAN (UK), BLOOMBERG (USA)

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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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Economy

Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

in the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading – and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

Protesters on Thursday in the German state of Thuringia carried Russian flags and signs: 'First our country! Life must be affordable.'

Martin Schutt/dpa via ZUMA
Stefanie Bolzen, Philipp Fritz, Virginia Kirst, Martina Meister, Mandoline Rutkowski, Stefan Schocher, Claus, Christian Malzahn and Nikolaus Doll

-Analysis-

In her State of the Union address on September 14, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, issued an urgent appeal for solidarity between EU member states in tackling the energy crisis, and towards Ukraine. Von der Leyen need only look out her window to see that tensions are growing in capital cities across Europe due to the sharp rise in energy prices.

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In the Czech Republic, people are already taking to the streets, while opposition politicians elsewhere are looking to score points — and some countries' support for Ukraine may start to buckle.

With winter approaching, Europe is facing a true test of both its mettle, and imagination.

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