SEOUL — North Korean state media on Wednesday made no mention of leader Kim Jong Un’s health or whereabouts, a day after intense international speculation over his health was sparked by media reports he was gravely ill after a cardiovascular procedure.
North Korean media presented a business-as-usual image, carrying routine reporting of Kim’s achievements and publishing some of his older, or undated, comments on issues like the economy.
South Korean and Chinese officials and sources familiar with U.S. intelligence have cast doubt on South Korean and U.S. media reports that he was seriously sick, while the White House said it was closely monitoring the matter.
However, on Wednesday one U.S. government source who had previously played down reports that Kim was seriously ill said it was a possibility that was now being looked at closely.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who held unprecedented summits with Kim in 2018 and 2019 in an attempt to persuade him to give up his nuclear weapons, said on Tuesday the reports had not been confirmed and he did not put much credence in them.
“We’ll see how he does,” Trump told a White House news conference. “We don’t know if the reports are true.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday he had nothing to add to Trump’s remarks. “I think it was, we’re watching closely what’s taking place there,” Pompeo told a news conference.
The second-highest ranking U.S. general said he had no intelligence to “confirm or deny” reports about Kim’s health and he assumed he was still in control of North Korea’s military.
“I have no reason not to assume that,” Air Force General John Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a news conference.
Speculation about Kim’s health first arose due to his absence from the anniversary of the birthday of North Korea’s founding father and Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung, on April 15.
Kim is a third-generation hereditary leader who rules North Korea with an iron fist, coming to power after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in 2011 from a heart attack.
Reporting from inside North Korea is notoriously difficult, especially on matters concerning its leadership, given tight controls on information. There have been past false reports regarding its leaders, but the fact Kim has no clear successor means any instability in the nuclear-armed country could present a major international risk.
On Wednesday, the main headlines from North Korea’s state news agency, KCNA, included pieces on sports equipment, mulberry picking, and a meeting in Bangladesh to study North Korea’s “juche” or self-reliance ideology.
The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried older or undated remarks attributed to Kim in articles about the economy, the textile industry, city development, and other topics.
As usual Kim’s name was plastered all over the newspaper. But there were no reports on his whereabouts.
Official media has however continued to report the sending of routine diplomatic letters by Kim, and KCNA said he sent a reply on Wednesday to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, thanking him for a message to mark the birthday of the North Korean leader’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House said it could not confirm Kim’s whereabouts, or whether he had undergone surgery. It said South Korea had detected no unusual activity in North Korea.
‘EXTENDED SILENCE IS UNUSUAL’
Daily NK, a Seoul-based website, reported late on Monday that Kim, who is believed to be about 36, was hospitalized on April 12, hours before the cardiovascular procedure.
The report’s English-language version carried a correction on Tuesday to say the report was based on a single unnamed source in North Korea, not multiple as it earlier stated.
It said his health had deteriorated since August due to heavy smoking, obesity and overwork, and he was now receiving treatment at a villa north of Pyongyang.
“It does look like something is going on, based on the repeated absences of last week,” said Chad O’Carroll, CEO of the Korea Risk Group, which monitors North Korea.
“A health issue seems to be the most logical explanation for all this, but whether or not it’s cardiac-related seems to be too early to tell.”
On Tuesday, CNN reported an unidentified U.S. official saying the United States was “monitoring intelligence” that Kim was in grave danger after surgery.
However, two South Korean government officials rejected the CNN report. China, North Korea’s only major ally, also dismissed the reports.
Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, told Fox News on Tuesday the White House was monitoring the reports “very closely.”
“There’s lots of conjecture going around,” a senior Trump administration official said on condition of anonymity late on Tuesday when asked if there was confirmation of the reports.
North Korea experts have cautioned that while hard facts about Kim’s condition are elusive, his unprecedented absence from the celebrations for his grandfather’s birthday signaled that something may have gone awry.
Thae Yong-ho, a former North Korean deputy ambassador to Britain who defected to South Korea in 2016, said state media’s extended silence was unusual because it had in the past been quick to dispel questions about the status of its leadership. (Reporting by Josh Smith, Sangmi Cha, and Hyonhee Shin; additional reporting by Mark Hosenball, David Brunnstrom, Humeyra Pamuk, Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali in Washington; Writing by Michael Perry and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Alistair Bell)
Saskatoon police officer put on paid leave over 'harmful and offensive' social media posts – Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Article content continued
“I want to assure the public that we take these complaints seriously. We have acted swiftly to address the issue and a thorough investigation will occur.”
The Saskatoon Police Association, the union that represents police officers in the city, said it will not be commenting at this time since the investigation is active.
The board of directors of Saskatoon Pride, in a Facebook post, said Cooper personally contacted the organization to inform it about the posts.
The organization said the posts are not just hurtful to the city’s 2SLGBTQ+ community, but to the entire community, and “are not worthy of someone charged with upholding the law and protecting the community.”
“It is a sad day for Saskatoon that, in the midst of outrage over the racist and criminal acts committed by police against the BIPOC community across the continent and during a month meant to celebrate diversity, inclusion and Pride, there is a member of the Saskatoon police force who would feel that they were entitled to express such bigoted views, while claiming to uphold the law and serve the public,” Saskatoon Pride’s board wrote.
Social media helps solve mystery of lost camera found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek – Globalnews.ca
Brianna Irawan, 13, was extremely happy after finding out on Thursday that her prized underwater camera that had been lost for almost a year had been found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek.
The Williams Lake teen was visiting relatives in Kelowna last year when she lost the camera while jumping into the waterfalls at Mill Creek Regional Park.
“We were on Mill Creek, jumping into the water and I put my camera underneath my clothes,” Irawan told Global News on Friday.
“When I jumped, I forgot about my camera, so I walked back up and then I picked up my clothes and I forgot my camera was underneath and it fell into the water.”
Social media helps solve mystery of lost camera found in Kelowna’s Mill Creek
She went back the creek several times over the next few days, but eventually had to write her camera off to the river gods.
The Fujifilm XP model wasn’t seen again until almost a year later when Calvin Van Buskirk found it caught up in some debris downstream.
“What makes it even more interesting is we found a GoPro there last year. You guys [Global News] were able to get the images and the videos off it within hours it found its way back to its rightful owner,” Van Buskirk said.
Construction crew makes unusual find near Kelowna
It took less than 24 hours for images retrieved from the camera to make their way around social media and back to their owner.
Kyla Irawan, Brianna’s mother, sent a message to Global News on Thursday afternoon through Facebook to say the photos had come from her daughter.
On Friday, Global News returned the camera — still in working order — to Brianna’s uncle, Travis Whiting, who is also Kelowna’s fire chief.
‘This is the craziest thing,’: Lost GoPro owner reunited with camera
The Irawans shared a message of gratitude with Van Buskirk.
“Thank you, Calvin, we totally appreciate your honesty,” said Kyla Irawan.
“Thank you for putting it on Global so I can give my daughter the opportunity to have all those memories back.”
For her part, Brianna said she can’t wait to see her FujiFilm XP model again.
“Soon as I get it, I’m going to transfer the photos” to a computer, she said.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Former UBC basketball assistant coach criticized for social media activity – The Province
Long-time assistant men’s basketball coach Vern Knopp will no longer work next to head coach Kevin Hanson.
The University of B.C. is distancing itself from former assistant men’s basketball coach Vern Knopp following questions about some of his activity on social media.
A Twitter account called Muted Madness pointed out on Thursday that Knopp had hit the like button on a video posted by conservative comedians the Hodge Twins on June 3 that claims the Black Lives Matter movement is a “leftist lie.”
A number of other Twitter users echoed the criticism of Knopp, who served as head coach Kevin Hanson’s volunteer assistant for the past two decades.
Later on Thursday, he shared a comment on his account, which is set to private: “So I never knew some likes to conservative posts would cause this shit storm? However my LIKES are those of mine and have nothing to do with UBC! I had told Coach Hanson months ago that I wasn’t returning to UBC but I just not (sic) made it public, only to my family.”
Reached via direct message on Friday, Knopp said he’d told Hanson about his decision in May as well as some parents on the team, but declined to make further comment.
Later on Thursday, Kavie Toor, UBC Athletics’ managing director, distanced the university from Knopp.
“Vern Knopp’s personal opinions, beliefs and social media endorsements do not represent the ideals and values of the UBC Thunderbirds. Vern Knopp is no longer a member of the Thunderbrids men’s basketball coaching staff,” he tweeted.
On Friday, the university’s athletics department declined to comment further.
The Alma Mater Society, a UBC students’ union, expressed support for the university’s position.
“The AMS is committed to supporting students from the Black community at this time, and we are actively working to develop programming to help combat anti-Black racism at UBC. The sentiments expressed by Mr. Knopp have absolutely no place at UBC, and society in general,” they said in a statement.
“We are encouraged to see that UBC Athletics and Recreation has taken a zero-tolerance approach to this issue.”
On Tuesday, the department shared a message on Twitter from university president Santa Ono.
“As Thunderbirds we join all of UBC in condemning racism in all forms. We are committed to an inclusive and respectful environment where we listen, learn and continue to grow together,” the department said in a tweet.
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