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A high-profile North Korean diplomat stationed in Cuba has defected to the South, Seoul's spy agency has confirmed to the BBC.

The political counselor is believed to be the highest-ranking North Korean diplomat to escape to South Korea since 2016.

The diplomat defected in November, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) said.

Details about defections of North Koreans often take months to come to light as the defectors must take courses on South Korean society before they are formally integrated.

His work reportedly involved stopping Havana from forging official diplomatic ties with Seoul. However, in February, the two governments did establish official relations, in what was seen as a setback for Pyongyang.

"Every North Korean thinks at least once about living in South Korea," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

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Six people, including a policeman, have been killed and 28 others injured in a rare shooting attack near a Shia Muslim mosque in Oman's capital, Muscat, police say.

The three attackers were also killed by security forces during the incident in the al-Wadi al-Kabir area on Monday night, according to a statement.

Police gave no details about the identities of the victims and gunmen, or the motive. But Pakistan said four Pakistanis were among those killed in a "terrorist attack" on the Imam Ali Mosque. India also said one of its citizens was killed.

The Sunni Muslim jihadist group Islamic State (IS) says three of its members were involved in the attack.

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European politicians and diplomats had already prepared for changes to their relationship with the US in the event of a second Donald Trump presidency.

Now that the Republican candidate has chosen Ohio Senator JD Vance as his running mate, those differences appear even more stark on prospects for the war in Ukraine, security and trade.

A vocal critic of US aid to Ukraine, Mr Vance told this year’s Munich Security Conference that Europe should wake up to the US having to “pivot” its focus to East Asia. 

"The American security blanket has allowed European security to atrophy," he said.

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The bodies of six people were found Tuesday in a luxury hotel in downtown Bangkok and their deaths may have been caused by poisoning, police and officials said. 

Bangkok police chief Lt. Gen. Thiti Sangsawang identified the dead as two Vietnamese Americans and four Vietnamese nationals, and said there were three males and three females. Investigators said the bodies were foaming at the mouth, an officer from the Lumpini police station said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release information.

The victims had booked several rooms at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel under seven names, and some were staying on a different floor from the room where they were found dead, Thiti said. Police are still looking for the seventh person included in the booking, Thiti said at a news conference at the hotel.

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European Council president responds to Hungarian PM’s note about his “peace missions.”

European Council President Charles Michel has reprimanded Viktor Orbán over the Hungarian leader’s self-declared “peace missions” to KyivMoscowBeijing and Washington.

In a letter to Orbán seen by POLITICO, Michel says the “rotating Presidency of the Council [in Hungary’s hands since July 1] has no role in representing the Union on the
international stage and received no European Council mandate to engage on behalf of the
Union.”

Michel adds that he “made this clear even prior to your visit to Moscow and this was subsequently reiterated by High Representative [Josep] Borrell in his statement of 5 July.”

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The Attal administration will now serve as a caretaker government until a new prime minister is appointed.

Governing France is about to get much harder for Emmanuel Macron.

The French president on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and his government, the Elysée said in a statement, officially starting a transition period during which the outgoing administration plays the role of caretaker government until a new executive is appointed

The statement added that Macron urged "all Republican forces" to reach an agreement in order to end this transition period "as soon as possible."

This transitory period has never lasted more than nine days — but these are unprecedented times in France.

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Brussels has reacted to Viktor Orban's "peace mission" to Moscow by snubbing Hungary's six months as European Council president. It will only send civil servants, not Commissioners, to meetings chaired by Hungary.

The executive arm of the EU in Brussels is partially boycotting Hungary's six-month stint holding the bloc's rotating presidency, in response to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's self-styled "peace mission" that he embarked on after taking up the position at the start of the month. 

In the first days of Hungary's presidency, Orban visited KyivMoscowBeijing, and Washington for a NATO summit, and then Donald Trump in Florida.

The trip to Kyiv was Orban's first since Russia's invasion, despite Hungary bordering Ukraine.

He called the trip a peace mission and tried to portray himself as one of the "very few" EU and NATO heads of government still able to hold productive talks in Moscow and negotiate with all sides.

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A top Russian tank touted by Russian President Vladimir Putin as the "world's best" has suffered at least 100 losses in the war in Ukraine, according to open-source information.

The losses were recorded by Oryx, an open-source intelligence site that relies on visual evidence to confirm and track war losses on both sides. More T-90Ms may have also been lost in combat but not recorded. Business Insider was unable to independently verify the information.

Losses, per the site's analysis, include destroyed, damaged, and captured vehicles.

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Five poultry workers from a farm in northeast Colorado have bird flu, state and federal health officials reported Sunday. Four of the cases have been confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and one is presumptively positive for H5N1, also known as avian influenza, and is pending confirmation.

The disease was contracted while working at a "commercial egg layer operation," the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a statement Sunday.

On Friday, when only three cases were confirmed, the CDC said they worked "at a poultry facility experiencing an outbreak of the H5N1 virus that is circulating in wild birds and has been causing multistate outbreaks in dairy cows and poultry."

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Clarence Thomas has struck again.

To his impressive list of recent supreme court victories – abolishing the right to an abortion, eradicating affirmative action, undermining federal regulations, and more – the ultraconservative justice can now add thwarting the criminal prosecution of Donald Trump for hoarding classified documents.

On Monday, Judge Aileen Cannon astonished the judicial world by dismissing the case. She did so based on a widely discredited legal argument that the special counsel who brought the prosecution, Jack Smith, had been improperly appointed.

The argument, initially aired by the former US president’s lawyers, had received scant support in judicial circles, given that stretching back a quarter of a century it has been repeatedly rejected by the courts. But there was one jurist who encouraged Cannon to pursue such contrarian thinking: Thomas.

Two weeks before Cannon’s stunning dismissal, Thomas essentially prodded her into making the move. In a concurring opinion to Trump v US, the US supreme court ruling awarding the former president immunity over his “official acts” in the lead-up to the January 6 insurrection, the hard-right justice sketched a legal roadmap that Cannon then duly followed.

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The climate crisis is causing the length of each day to get longer, analysis shows, as the mass melting of polar ice reshapes the planet.

The phenomenon is a striking demonstration of how humanity’s actions are transforming the Earth, scientists said, rivalling natural processes that have existed for billions of years.

The change in the length of the day is on the scale of milliseconds but this is enough to potentially disrupt internet traffic, financial transactions and GPS navigation, all of which rely on precise timekeeping.

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The hikers were a father and daughter lost in Canyonlands and a woman who passed out at Snow Canyon state park

Three hikers died over the weekend in suspected heat-related cases at state and national parks in Utah, including a father and daughter who got lost on a strenuous hike in Canyonlands national park in triple-digit temperatures.

The daughter, 23, and her father, 52, sent a 911 text alerting dispatchers that they were lost and had run out of water while hiking the 8.1-mile (13km) Syncline Loop, described by the National Park Service as the most challenging trail in the Island in the Sky district of the south-east Utah park.

The pair set out on Friday to navigate steep switchbacks and scramble through boulder fields with limited trail markers as the air temperature surpassed 100F (38C).

[-] [email protected] 4 points 3 days ago

I used to be the only poster in health, so it’s refreshing to see you post here as well!

[-] [email protected] 3 points 1 week ago

Thanks. I’ve updated the post.

[-] [email protected] 9 points 1 month ago

Thanks treefrog!

[-] [email protected] 25 points 1 month ago

Appreciate the recognition, Flying Squid. And I'll try to make it easier for people who skim.

[-] [email protected] 84 points 1 month ago

The rescue’s reason:

“LDCRF does not re-home an owner-surrendered dog with its former adopter/owner,” Floyd said in her written statement. “Our mission is to save adoptable and safe-to-the-community dogs from euthanasia.”

[-] [email protected] 10 points 1 month ago

From an earlier article referenced by this article:

Drugmakers and the Drug Enforcement Administration, which regulates controlled substances, are pointing fingers at one another for the problem, said Erin Fox, senior pharmacy director at the University of Utah Health. 

Makers of ADHD drugs say they don’t have enough ingredients to make the drugs and need permission from the DEA to make more. The DEA is insisting that drugmakers have not met their quota for production and could make more of the drugs if they wanted. Adderall is a controlled substance regulated by DEA, which sets limits on how much of the active ingredient drugmakers are allowed to produce in a given time frame. Drugmakers must get approval from the DEA before they go over their quotas.

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/adhd-drug-shortage-adderall-ritalin-focalin-vyvanse-rcna137356

[-] [email protected] 23 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Yeah, even Homeland Security acknowledges it too:

“Fundamentally, our system is not equipped to deal with migration as it exists now, not just this year and last year and the year before, but for years preceding us,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in an interview with NBC News. “We have a system that was last modified in 1996. We’re in 2024 now. The world has changed.”

But guess who in Congress don’t want to change that?

The position of Mayorkas and the Biden administration is that these problems can only be meaningfully addressed by a congressional overhaul of the immigration system, such as the one proposed in February in a now defunct bipartisan Senate bill.

“We cannot process these individuals through immigration enforcement proceedings very quickly — it actually takes sometimes more than seven years,” Mayorkas told NBC News. “The proposed bipartisan legislation would reduce that seven-plus-year waiting period to sometimes less than 90 days. That’s transformative.”

These guys:

Now, after a hard-negotiated bipartisan Senate compromise bill has been released, Republicans are either vowing to block it or declaring it "dead on arrival," in the words of House Speaker Mike Johnson.

[-] [email protected] 25 points 2 months ago

Can confirm that Chichén Itzá is now roped off. And Yucatán is now the safest state in Mexico:

Mexico’s lowest-crime region is strengthening its reputation as an oasis of calm in a country roiled by drug killings. Yucatán, the southeastern state known for its Mayan ruins, has a homicide rate more than 90% lower than the national average.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-05-10/how-did-yucatan-become-mexico-s-safest-state

[-] [email protected] 12 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

From the article, it's likely because they live and work in lower income areas:

He said it’s hard to give one reason why Southeast Asians are feeling the brunt of this hate, but he thinks financial status might play a role. A 2020 report by the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center said that all Southeast Asian ethnic groups have a lower per capita income than the average in the U.S.

“It depends on socioeconomics,” Chen said. “Where these people are living, where they’re commuting, where they’re working. That may be a factor as well.”

[-] [email protected] 20 points 2 months ago

What you’re saying tracks with the article as well:

Charlene Harrington, a professor emeritus at the nursing school of the University of California-San Francisco, said: “In their unchecked quest for profits, the nursing home industry has created its own problems by not paying adequate wages and benefits and setting heavy nursing workloads that cause neglect and harm to residents and create an unsatisfactory and stressful work environment.”

[-] [email protected] 9 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

I don’t think so. There are other important parts in the article:

For the first time, the annual event will also involve troops from the Australian and French military. Fourteen other countries in Asia and Europe will attend as observers. The exercises will run until May 10.

The 2024 exercises are also the first to take place outside of Philippine territorial waters

"Some of the exercises will take place in the South China Sea in an area outside of the Philippines' territorial sea. It's a direct challenge to China's expansive claims" in the region, Philippine political analyst Richard Heydarian told DW.

He added that some of the exercises this year will also be close to Taiwan.

This year's exercises have a "dual orientation pushing against China's aggressive intentions both in the South China Sea but also in Taiwan," he added.

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