BBC NEWS, THE GUARDIAN (UK), BLOOMBERG (USA)
PYONGYANG –North 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.
Kim Jong-un was riding on roller coaster with British diplomat. Oddly encouraging. Can't imagine his dad doing that. guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug…— jonathanwatts (@jonathanwatts) Août 2, 2012
Britain is one of the few Western countries to hold an Embassy in the authoritarian state.
The role of the nuclear pact
It's unlikely Ali Khamenei will tolerate the Saudi kingdom's rising power in the region.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in 2020commons.wikimedia.org
Riyadh's warming relations with Israel
If nuclear talks break down, Iran's regime may become more aggressive.
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