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‘Grave incident’ leads to North Korea quarantine breach

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North Korea leader, Kim Jong Un.

North Korea has experienced a COVID-19 quarantine breach.

According to state-run media, North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un says a “grave incident” took place. The incident reportedly led to failed organisational and scientific measures to contain the virus. But no further details have emerged about the quarantine breach.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) news agency says Jong Un noted the “ignorance, incompetence and irresponsibility of the cadre”. Top North Korean officials have allegedly lost their jobs over the incident.

Vaccine sharing

North Korea has not reported any COVID-19 cases to the World Health Organisation (WHO). But the United States and Japan contest these claims.

The nation has also not received any vaccine doses through the global COVAX initiative. North Korea is supported through the initiative as a “low income” economy.

The initiative seeks to “ensure that people in all corners of the world get access to COVID-19 vaccines… regardless of their wealth”.

Earlier this month, South Korea pledged US$ 200 million to support lower-income economies through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment.

“An early expansion of vaccine supply is the most necessary short-term prescription to ensure equitable access to vaccines.”

MOON JAE-in, south korea’s president

South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-in says US$ 100 million will be allocated this year, and a further US$ 100 million will be available next year.

An isolated nation

North Korea currently ranks low on political freedom. But the nation has taken further steps to isolate itself during the pandemic.

North Korea has closed the border with China, its biggest trading partner. North Korea also currently has a small delegation of health officials that report to the WHO.

In 2018, the WHO reported that North Korea has a “triple burden of disease”. This means the nation has a backlog of common infections; undernutrition and maternal mortality; and the emerging challenges of non-communicable diseases.

Author

  • Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

Global Politics

Biden battles on – Trump Turmoil deepens

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As Washington prepares to take its summer break, President Biden continues to battle on the policy and program fronts he has led since Inauguration Day

On his agenda?

  • Ending the pandemic
  • Restoring the economy
  • Pursuing voting rights
  • Social equity
  • Racial justice
  • Gun control
  • Confronting climate change
  • And restoring America’s leadership in the world

In each area, there is progress – and challenges

With 70% of Americans now vaccinated, the Delta strain is hurting, with infections accelerating to significant levels – but the vaccines work. 

This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated

of the 164 million Americans who are inoculated, 99.9% have not tested positive for Covid

Fewer people still are hospitalized or dead.

The renewed push to get as many as possible protected is now being augmented by mandates from governments and businesses that their employees are to get the jabs as a condition of employment.  (This may prove ultimately to be the key for the last mile of protection here in Australia.)

What about the economy?

Employment is up, the economy is growing at over 6%, and wages are increasing, with $15 per hour the new norm in many businesses.

Child poverty is being cut in half, but employment is still not back at pre-Covid levels. Millions who are behind in their rent face possible eviction in the coming weeks.

While Biden has campaigned strongly on protecting voting rights, ending police violence, gun control, greater access to education and tackling global warming, no legislation on those fronts has yet been enacted. 

On a foreign front – under Biden’s leadership, America is absolutely back with US alliances strong across Europe and Asia

U.S President Joe Biden, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, talk during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Mikhail Metzel/Pool Photo via AP)

However, there is turmoil in Afghanistan, prospects have dimmed for a renewed nuclear agreement with Iran, relations with Russia are testy, tensions with China are as intense as ever, and there is no dialogue with North Korea.

In Washington, the toughest tests of Biden’s legislative program are pending right now 

He is applying all the lessons learned from his and President Obama’s first term in working his Democrats and those Republicans who are willing to win his policies on infrastructure, education, climate, and health care. 

Biden knows that his presidency is in the balance.

As Biden battles on, the man he defeated, Donald Trump, continues to spread turmoil and division.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Trump will not countenance any blame or responsibility for the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 – an attack intended to stop the certification of Biden’s electoral victory. 

Trump’s hold over the Republican Party, and especially the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, upended the formation of a bipartisan independent commission to examine the threat to democracy posed by Trump.  

Trump is determined to remain a potent force in the party, and the decider of its future. 

He has raised more money this year than anyone else – over $100 million – and supplicants journey to his homes to pay tribute and seek favour.  

Trump is hardly invincible. There are chinks in his cladding.  His preferred candidate for a House seat in Texas lost to another Republican Trump declined to endorse. 

Damning notes from the Justice Department show Trump’s intense pressure on the Acting Attorney General to declare the election corrupt; he refused.

The Biden Justice Department has ruled that Trump’s tax returns have to be turned over to Congress.  Trump attacked the Republicans supporting the bipartisan infrastructure deal with Biden – but the agreement is holding.

In this Washington summer, Biden is steady at the helm, but the waters are choppy.  And Trump keeps making waves whenever he plunges into the pool.

Author

  • Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

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Global Politics

Love Actually in real life – Brits unite with U.S vaxxed travellers

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At 4 am local time, Britain officially opened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from both the US and EU, allowing friends and family to reunite after months apart

LONDON’S HEATHROW AIRPORT

The border restrictions apply to all of the countries on the UK’s so-called “amber list” – except for France which is suffering from a recent uptick in Covid-19 infections.

Travellers wanting to arrive in Britain will be required to take a test prior to departure as well as another swab on the second day after touching down.

Since July 19, all people in who were vaccinated in the U-K have been able to travel freely to and from amber nations – but these new laws open the borders up to travellers who were vaccinated in other countries.

It follows major airline companies welcoming the changes to border restrictions, saying it will provide a much needed boost to the aviation and travel sector.

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Global Politics

Less than 1% of fully vaxxed Americans ending up in hospital

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A new US based study on Covid-19 has found that less than one percent of fully vaccinated Americans experience a breakthrough infection

UKRAINE – 2020/04/29: In this photo illustration the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases world map by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) seen displayed in internet on a pc screen. The number of the COVID-19 coronavirus confirmed cases in the United States exceeded one million and exceeded three million in the world, according of COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The federal government data from the Centre for Disease Control says vaccinated people have a 0.004 percent chance of ending up in hospital with Covid-19 and it’s an even lower figure when it comes to developing severe illness which results in death.

Out of 163 million vaccinated citizens, only around 6,000 have experienced a severe breakthrough Covid-19 infection

The statistics are a promising sign on the road to normalcy as many nations continue to open up and move into a post-pandemic world.

The analysis also found that more than 90 percent of current Covid-related hospitalisations and deaths are being recorded in unvaccinated people.

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