North Korea fired shots across its border with South Korea — just hours after Kim Jong Un made his first public appearance since rumors of his death., Business Insider – Business Insider Singapore

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North and South Korean forces briefly exchanged fire across the warring nations’ troubled border Sunday, just hours after Kim Jong Un made his appearance in public for several weeks after rumors of his possible death.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a Sunday statement that at 7.41 a.m. local time that multiple shots were fired from the North Korean side of the border towards a guard post in the south.

The incident took place in the demilitarized zone between the two countries, near the city of Cheorwon, which is on the South Korean side of the border.

South Korean military personnel said they responded to the shots by returning “two rounds of gunfire and a warning announcement according to our manual,” according to the BBC.

Officials went on to say that they did not believe that the shots were an official provocation as they came from farmland and it was a foggy morning.

“In absence of vision [for the target] and in the fog, would there be an accurate provocation?” – the official said, according to Reuters.

The approximate location of where the gunfire incident happened.

The incident on the fiercely defended border came the morning after North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un appeared to make a first outing in public in several weeks, following widely circulated rumors that he was gravely ill or possibly even dead.

North Korean state media released images of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, making his first public appearance after weeks of speculation about his health and whereabouts.

Kim attended the completion ceremony of a fertilizer plant north of the capital, Pyongyang on Saturday, marking his first public appearance since April 11, photos published by official state media outlets appeared to show.

Business Insider has not confirmed the authenticity of the images, or whether they were actually taken on Saturday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the completion of a fertilizer plant, together with his younger sister Kim Yo Jong, in a region north of the capital, Pyongyang, in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 2, 2020.

As well as rumors of his death, it has also been speculated that Kim’s absence was down to him having heart surgery. Footage of Kim during his outing in Pyongyang Saturday appeared to show a black circular mark on his wrist, which some media outlets speculated is a sign he has had surgery.

Senior officials in South Korea said that they do not believe this is the case.

“There were speculative reports that Chairman Kim underwent a surgery citing some difference to his walk,” a senior official said, according to Reuters.

“We have reasons to believe that there was no surgery, but cannot disclose such details.”

A screenshot from a Mail Online video pointing to the supposed needle mark on Kim's wrist.

As Kim appeared to reemerge after his period of absence from public life – which some have linked to possible fears about the North Korean leader contracting coronavirus – Britain’s Daily Mirror reported that there are fears he could embark on a campaign of executions and military brinkmanship as a means of reasserting his strongman image.

The newspaper reported that Kim is “likely to order a ‘wave of public executions’ and fresh nuclear threats against the West to re-establish credibility after being off grid for weeks.”

The Mirror cited an unnamed western security source as saying: “I believe we could expect a violent taking out of any perceived threat amongst Kim’s inner-circle.”

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So much for saying you want a quiet life, Meghan Markle | Stuff.co.nz

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COMMENT: ​So Meghan Markle is reportedly attending the Met Gala in May. Because where better to celebrate your newfound privacy and “space” than at “the Oscars of the East Coast”, “the Super Bowl of red-carpet events”?

What could be more perfectly suited to anyone fleeing “intense scrutiny” and “commoditisation” than a mega-bash to which anti-commodification activist Kim Kardashian once turned up dressed in a nude-effect wet-look dress? A celebrity Pavlova, where the 225 photographers will take an estimated 50 shots a minute, before blasting millions of images out into the ether? Although why this is more appealing than a royal visit to the Mumbles Lifeboat station in South Wales is anyone’s guess.

Anthony Devlin
Has Meghan Markle lost the sympathy of the public?

According to sources at the weekend, Markle is to leave Prince Harry at home for the night, so “she can establish herself once more in Hollywood”, apparently attending the Met Gala with Vogue’s editor, Edward Enninful. This makes about as much sense as a woman who craves the quiet life asking her LA agent to find her a leading role in a superhero film, “something that pays big” – which is exactly what one Sunday paper claims Markle has done.

As the Sussexes fly back to Britain to complete their final engagements as working members of the Firm – and face the Royal family for the first time since The Statement, the petulant Instagram post from a fortnight ago in which they whined about being made to drop the “SussexRoyal” brand despite there being nothing legal to stop them using it – the pair may have no choice but to brazen it out.

I’m not sure the Sussexes will understand just how colossal a miscalculation that statement was. After all, you have a young man and his wife turning on a 93-year-old grandmother at one of the toughest moments of her life. You have them disregarding the pain and sadness prompted by Prince Philip’s ill health, Prince Andrew’s involvement with a paedophile and her beloved grandsons falling out – all because they have a brand to promote. Is there any way back from that?

Had you asked me a month ago, I would have said yes. Despite the acts of clumsiness and the missteps we’ve witnessed over the past two years, I would still have said yes. So they invited a bunch of A-listers that they’d only met once to their wedding. How many of us would do the same if we knew George and Amal would actually come? Was their dispensing of certain royal traditions really so bad? The insistence on Archie’s christening remaining private and the setting up of their own “breakaway” website?

Harry has always been his own person. At this point, one could still push a convincing narrative that these two were “breathing new life” into an outdated institution.

But the precise moment the couple began to lose the public’s sympathy wasn’t when they chose the hospitality of a billionaire in Vancouver Island over that of the Queen at Christmas, or indeed when they decided to make the desired “break from royal duties” permanent. No – that moment can be charted back to a lament the misty-eyed Duchess of Sussex made in the ITV documentary charting the couple’s African tour last year: “Not many people have asked if I’m OK.”

Because that single sentence managed to eclipse everything the couple were in southern Africa to highlight – from the 1,000 minefields that have yet to be cleared in Angola, to the abject poverty in Malawi and HIV-hit children in Botswana – and make it all about Markle.

Prince Harry Meghan Markle met with crowds when they visited Auckland.

It may be unfair to blame Meghan any more than Harry for these recent missteps. But one thing is certain: neither the words nor the sentiments in The Statement appear to be those of a happy young couple, revelling in the joy of each other and their nine-month-old baby.

And I worry that something is unravelling behind the scenes. Because if their intention were really to enjoy a quiet life, why would they care about a title that can only ever be used for professional profit and status?

Why would the team of LA-based agents, lawyers and publicists be necessary and the showbusiness parties and blockbuster film roles so appealing?

You don’t need those things or grand branding to live a serene and peaceful life. But solid family relationships? They’re essential.

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