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More International news in brief - Mystery over N. Korean leader fuels health rumours

Published:Tuesday | September 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.


SEOUL, (AP): North Korea's authoritarian leader makes no public appearances for three weeks, skipping a high-profile event he usually attends. An official documentary shows him limping and overweight and mentions his "discomfort". What follows is a smorgasbord of media speculation about what's eating Kim Jong-un.

Maybe it's gout, unidentified sources tell South Korean reporters, or diabetes, or high blood pressure. A thinly sourced British report says the Swiss-educated dictator has been laid low by a massive cheese addiction. A headline in Seoul offers up the possibility of a common South Korean obsession: fried chicken and beer.

So what's going on? Maybe not much.

As is always the case, much more than what's seen publicly is happening behind the well-guarded scenes with North Korea's number one. But just the fact that Pyongyang acknowledges that Kim is ailing suggests that he may not be suffering from anything particularly serious. The hugely micromanaged state media, for instance, were tight-lipped when Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, suffered major health problems late in his rule.

Judge sentences man to prison for online abuse


LONDON (AP): A judge has sentenced a 33-year-old man to 18 weeks in prison for sending menacing messages to a lawmaker who had supported a campaign to place author Jane Austen on a British banknote.

District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe found Peter Nunn of Bristol guilty of sending indecent, obscene or menacing messages for retweeting Twitter posts that threatened rape and murder.

The case grew out of the successful Austen campaign. The campaign prompted abuse on Twitter from trolls, online bullies who send abusive messages.

Lawmaker Stella Creasy was targeted for supporting the campaign championed by feminist Caroline Criado-Perez, who also was targeted by trolls. Creasy said yesterday's sentence of Nunn is a "step forward in recognising the distress and fear online harassment can cause."

Nearly a decade on, Soufriére Hills volcano remains active


BRADES, (CMC): The Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) says the Soufriére Hills volcano remains a source of hazards even as it acknowledged that pyroclastic flows and surges are now less likely than a year ago.

But the MVO, in a statement, warned residents and visitors alike to the overseas British territory that every precaution should be taken since hazards could occur "at any time with little or no warning".

The Soufriére Hills volcano, which is described as a typical subduction volcano, had its first historic eruption in 1995, resulting in the then capital, Plymouth, as well as a large sector of the southern part of the island, including its former airport, ,devastated by pyroclastic flows and remaining buried beneath a thick layer of ash and mud.

In the statement, the MVO said that over the past year, the Soufriére Hills volcano has shown no significant changes in its behaviour.