North Korea apologizes for shooting of South Korea official

The death of a goverment employee was an unfortunate event that should never happened, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said. Troops reportedly shot the man more than 10 times as part of coronavirus control measures.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued an apology Friday over the shooting of a South Korean government official.

In comments carried by South Korean news agency Yonhap, Kim said he was “greatly sorry,” and expressed his hope that “confidence between the two Koreas” was not damaged.”

Military officials from the South say that troops interrogated, shot and then burned the body of a government employee found in North Korean waters earlier this week. Seoul said the man may have been trying to defect.

The 47-year-old, an official from the South Korean Fisheries Ministry, had been reported missing from a government boat near the disputed sea boundary between the rival countries.

North Korea said more than 10 shots were fired at the man “intruding into the North’s waters” as part of strict measures to prevent a coronavirus outbreak, according to Yonhap. The North said it had burned the floating object carrying the man, but not his body.

Read more: What’s driving North Korea’s aggression toward the South? 

‘Unfortunate’ incident

The South’s national security adviser told a briefing that Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in had exchanged personal letters. Kim was “very sorry” for “disappointing” President Moon and called the incident “unexpected” and “unfortunate,” the official said.

Read more: North Korea and coronavirus: Hide-and-seek with the world

It is extremely unusual for a North Korean leader to issue an apology to the South.

Seoul had condemned its rival over the incident on Thursday.

“Our military strongly demands North Korea provide explanations and punish those who are responsible,” South Korean General Ahn Young Ho said at a press briefing.

nm/rt (AFP, Reuters)

Get to Know Your Favorite Podcasts Even Better With New Polls Feature

Ever wish you could communicate directly with your favorite podcast hosts—maybe to share who you think their next guest should be, or weigh in on a debate that took place during the episode? Now, you may just get your chance. Spotify is testing a new Polls feature that gives podcasters the opportunity to ask their audience questions within the app. Both the host and listeners will be able to see the responses in real time, opening up an entirely new way for creators and listeners to interact.

Through Polls, listeners can share feedback and opinions as requested by the show’s hosts, who can use that information to better connect with their fans in future episodes—whether it’s discovering what topics listeners want more of, or learning about the type of guests they love to hear from. You can find the poll at the bottom of the episode page for any podcasts where the feature is activated, or on the episode’s Now Playing page.

Note: Responding to a Poll is completely optional and your answer remains anonymous. If you participate, you’ll be able to see how your response stacks up to other respondents. During the testing phase, this feature will be available on select podcasts for 90% of users across all markets on iOS and Android devices. 

Ready to give it a try? Starting today, we will be rolling Polls out on a number of episodes of Spotify Originals and Exclusives, like The Rewatchables, Incredible Feats with Dan Cummins, Crime Countdown, and more.

Deuxmoi: The Mystery Gossip Queen Exposing Celebs During the Pandemic

Leonardo DiCaprio loves having sex with his headphones on. A Real Housewife runs a NXIVM-style diet program. Jay Cutler is dating “White Power Barbie.” Vince Vaughn is quite rude to his fans. And Senator Lindsey Graham goes maskless in airports. I owe all of this juicy gossip to Deuxmoi, a highly addictive Instagram account that’s become the go-to source for celebrity tea-spilling during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, providing a light tonic of sorts to our daily doomscroll.

“People are home and looking for another entertainment outlet,” Deuxmoi tells The Daily Beast. “If there was no quarantine, it wouldn’t have grown at all.”

And grown it has. The account, run by an anonymous young woman in New York City, has swelled from 45,000 followers at the beginning of lockdown to around 234,000 and rising. Deuxmoi (“a made-up French word”) began in 2013 as a lifestyle account featuring interviews with local entrepreneurs but things took a sharp turn on March 18, when the poster, who works a full-time job, fired off a message to her IG audience.

“It was the last day of work [in the office], and I said, ‘Hey guys—send me your celeb stories.’ And it took off from there,” she recalls.

Deuxmoi acts as a celeb-gossip repository of sorts, curating tips sent in from onlookers via Instagram DM or its online submission portal—typically a sneaky picture of a celeb in the wild or a spicy anecdote—that are then posted to Instagram Stories. Dozens of these items are shared on the Story a day (from approximately 200 submissions), creating a narrative effect. Typical posts include shots of celebs dining at NYC or L.A. restaurants; celeb couples walking the streets; stories of celebs being either nice or mean to their fans or coworkers; celeb hook-up tales; and of course, famous people partying. The result is a fascinating window into the pandemic lives of the rich and famous, at a time when the actual paparazzi have been sidelined.

Deuxmoi says that she doesn’t post the location photos in real time, because she’s “not trying to create mass hysteria or trying to put anyone in danger whatsoever,” and though she insists that the account is “not trying to shame anyone,” there does appear to be a social-responsibility element to the IG tabloid proceedings. She typically notes whether a celeb was spotted going maskless—as in the case of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who was caught without a mask at an airport (“The person said that he was asked to put a mask on—and refused,” notes Deuxmoi), or if they’ve been flouting any and all COVID-19 guidelines, like Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, who was spotted multiple times partying maskless with groups of people in the Hamptons before (and after) he came down with the coronavirus.

“He was in Florida, he was in Nantucket, then he was in the Hamptons, and he was in the city, so who knows how many people he spread it to,” says Deuxmoi. “And he was definitely out in public before his ‘quarantine’ was over. And the mask was hanging off his face.”

According to Deuxmoi, Adam Sandler, Hugh Jackman, Drew Barrymore, and Julianne Moore are known as the nicest celebs to their fans and coworkers—although the most angelic is none other than Harry Styles, who has been the subject of tons of positive stories and not a single negative one—while Vince Vaughn and Anna Kendrick are the most prickly. Certain celeb regulars are given nicknames, e.g. Leonardo DiCaprio is known as “Headphones Dino Bones,” owing to two of his favorite pastimes: sex and collecting dinosaur fossils.

It’s about having sex with the headphones on—and I’ve gotten so many DMs about that…

“It’s about having sex with the headphones on—and I’ve gotten so many DMs about that,” she offers, adding, “I’m just posting what people are sending in. I don’t control what celebrities people see or interact with, and I don’t think some people get that.”

The lion’s share of the celeb content on Deuxmoi is of the dining out and hand-holding variety. And yet, in addition to exposing celebs behaving badly during the pandemic, she’s also shed light on a pair of famous celeb diets—Tanya Zuckerbrot’s F-Factor and ex-Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Teddi Mellencamp’s “ALL IN by Teddi—that have been accused of endangering women.

Toward the start of the pandemic, Deuxmoi conducted an open call, asking her followers for crappy work stories.

“This community of women started reaching out to me,” she says, relaying horror stories about the F-Factor Diet. Then, another woman shared her terrible experience with ALL IN by Teddi, saying it restricted her to a 500-calorie-a-day regimen replete with an “accountability coach” who administered penalties for lapses. Deuxmoi published damning text messages between the woman and her “accountability coach” that went viral, aided by the signal boost of influencer Emily Gellis, who took up the mantle and crowdsourced many other people’s troubling episodes with F-Factor and ALL IN.

“I got a lot of the same messages she did, and she’s just taken it to the next level. But that’s not my job,” says Deuxmoi. “I try to remind everyone that my account is ‘for entertainment purposes only,’ and if something good comes out of it, great, but I’m not trying to crusade against anything.”

There is, of course, the question of legality. Deuxmoi’s account regularly posts ass-covering disclaimers, and its Instagram bio reads, “Statements made on this account have not been independently confirmed. This account does not claim any information published is based in fact.”

Thus far, she hasn’t received any legal threats from celebs.

“I had one publicist, one reality star, and two people who dated offspring of celebrities reach out. That’s it,” she maintains.

It hasn’t been easy balancing a full-time job and her increasingly popular IG. Deuxmoi typically gets up around 8:30 a.m. to check her tips and feed; goes into the office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; works the account from 6:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., with small breaks for dinner or Real Housewives; and goes to bed at 2:30 a.m.

“I’m exhausted right now,” she tells me. “It’s hard when people are constantly sending you information—especially information that’s relevant to the news. You want to post that stuff right away.”

And Deuxmoi is hoping all her posting will soon pay off.

“I’d love to monetize it due to all the hours I’ve poured into it for free,” she explains. “I’m working on a premium platform that will have more information for my followers, and merch, which people ask for all the time. But who knows? This might all go away tomorrow.”

Fridays for Future protests — live updates

School students around the world have returned to the streets for a global day of climate action. It’s the first Fridays for Future strike since the coronavirus pandemic forced activists to move their protests online.

  • Students in Asia and Australia have kicked off protests
  • Climate strikes are planned in more than 3,000 locations around the world
  • Activist Greta Thunberg has vowed to keep up the pressure “for as long as it takes”

All times in GMT/UTC  

06:57 Protests are set to take place in more than 450 cities and towns across Germany.

Several thousand people are expected to attend a sit-in at Berlin’s Brandenburg gate, with organizers urging demonstrators to keep their distance and wear masks.

Protesting cyclists are also expected to ride through the capital in groups.

A planned rally at Munich’s Theresienwiese  — home of the famed Oktoberfest — has been capped at 500 participants.

Read more: Opinion: Global climate strikers take on inactive leaders

06:35 Students across Asia — from Japan and South Korea to the Philippines and Bangladesh — are joining the climate strike.

These South Korean protesters, wearing face masks to protect themselves from coronavirus infection, gathered near the government complex in Seoul to make their voices heard: 

Protesters wearing face masks to protect themselves from coronavirus infection

05:55 Students across Australia kicked off Friday’s day of climate action, with more than 500 events across the country.

“The pandemic hasn’t slowed us down,” 17-year-old Sydney protest organizer Veronica Hester told the German press agency dpa.

Climate protesters march through Sydney's city center

The student protest in Sydney’s city center was much smaller than the huge crowds seen in last year’s strikes

Gatherings were limited to smaller groups in line with COVID-19 rules. 

In Sydney’s city center, protesters chanted “The youth are rising! No more compromising!” and waved held up posters urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison to move away from coal and gas and invest in clean energy.

Climate activist Ambrose Hayes rides on a barge in Sydney Harbor

Climate activist Ambrose Hayes, 15, rides on a barge in Sydney Harbor as part of a protest against investment in gas

05:45 The coronavirus pandemic came as a blow for climate protesters, forcing them to move their activism online.

Although students are returning to the streets, Friday’s global strike is taking place with strict social distancing and hygiene measures in place, and won’t come close to last year’s mass demonstrations. Will the Fridays for Future movement be able to bounce back after the pandemic? Read more here. 

05:30 Young people in cities around the world are joining a global strike for the climate. 

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who began the school strike movement known as Fridays for Future, tweeted: “We will be back next week, next month and next year. For as long as it takes.”


“Thank you, marshals!” BMW Motorsport and ILN thank the marshals at the Nürburgring 24 Hours.

50 years of the Nürburgring 24 Hours (GER), 50 years since the first overall victory for BMW. The fact that this year’s event on the Nordschleife is able to celebrate these two special anniversaries is largely down to the support of the marshals. Through their voluntary work around the circuit and their passion for the Nürburgring, they have been instrumental in ensuring that there has been a 24-hour race since 1970. To recognise their commitment, BMW Motorsport and Interessengemeinschaft Langstrecke Nürburgring (ILN) presented around 1000 marshals with a gift package as a gesture of gratitude ahead of the race weekend.

Representing the marshals was Walter Hornung, Nürburgring 24 Hours Race Director and board member Sport of ADAC Nordrhein, who received one of the gift packages from Dirk Adorf (GER). Adorf is not only a member of the board of ILN, but also mentor to the BMW Junior Team, which also attended the presentation as further representatives of BMW Motorsport. Dan Harper (GBR), Max Hesse (GER) and Neil Verhagen (USA) will make their debut in the 24-hour race this weekend.

The package contains useful items for the marshals, such as a BMW Motorsport cap and rain cape. As well as additional BMW Motorsport fan items, each package also includes a personal letter of thanks from BMW Group Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. In this letter he said “The fact that this race has been going for half a century, and a BMW team has celebrated victory on 19 occasions during this time, is largely thanks to you. Your commitment as volunteers and your passion for the Ring are what makes it possible to stage this race.”

Adorf said at the presentation: “All the marshals are big motorsport enthusiasts and take extra time off to be here this weekend, and to take up their positions around the circuit whatever the weather. It is a tough job that demands an awful lot of passion from all involved. As such, BMW Motorsport and ILN felt it was very important to thank the marshals. The same goes for me, Dirk Adorf the racing driver. I thank you all for going out there and ensuring the safety of us drivers.”

As a salute to all the volunteers around the circuit, the BMW M6 GT3 run by BMW Team Schnitzer and the BMW M2 CS Racing Media Car will be among those to bear the message ‘Danke, Marshals’ this weekend.

Trump Campaign Uses Russian Footage in Ad—Again

An advertisement for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign emphasizes that he is the only candidate whose economic plan will be “made in the USA”—but part of the ad itself was made in Russia.

Eight seconds into Trump’s latest ad boosting his work on the economy, wordily titled “We built the greatest economy in world history and now we’re doing it again!”, the spot cuts from standard images of factory workers in hard hats and children playing in fields to a conveyor belt with cardboard boxes digitally superimposed with the label “MADE IN USA.”

That animation, according to a review of Shutterstock, was actually made—along with “MADE IN IRAN” and “MADE IN UAE” versions—by Russia-based photographer and illustrator Novikov Aleksey.

The Trump campaign, which did not respond to a request for comment about the source of the footage, has previously run into trouble with the use of B-roll in its digital and on-air advertisements. In the same advertisement as the Russia-sourced animation, Trump uses footage of an Illinois steel plant that laid off hundreds of workers in the spring, according to a report in Vice News.

Earlier this month, an online advertisement that ran over the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and asked Americans to “support our troops” included stock footage and images of Russian fighter jets and military weapons. In August, the campaign used altered images of Democratic opponent Joe Biden to show him “isolated” in the “basement” of his home in Delaware

Coronavirus makes ‘modern slaves’ of ship crews, UN told

Long trapped on ships by COVID-19 travel curbs, 400,000 seafarers are desperate for crew changes, a special UN meeting has been told. The global ITF union warns that fatigue could lead to accidents and oil spills.

Shipping sector unions and executives, joined by UN chief Antonia Guterres, on Thursday urged governments hesitant over coronavirus risks to grant freer “essential” travel to crews needing to visit home, rest up and seek fresh assignments.

Stuck on board since early 2020 due to interlinked issues such as coronavirus-induced trade slowdowns, many had been left feeling like “second-class citizens,” Captain Hedi Marzougui told a video conference on the fringe of the UN General Assembly, coinciding with World Maritime Day.

“Not knowing when or if we would be returning home [had] put severe mental strain on my crew and myself,” said the Tunisian-born captain, whose family lives in Florida.

The UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that 60,000 cargo ships maintain at least 80% of global trade at sea. Handling all that normally are some 2 million merchant seafarers, often working 12 hour shifts.

In July, the IMO described the pandemic-induced situation as a “humanitarian crisis” with at least 300,000 mariners stuck on board, unable to benefit from crew changes. 

And, maritime welfare charities warned of severe mental health risks.

Situation ‘escalating’

During Thursday’s remote-link conference, Stephen Cotton, secretary general of the London-based International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said some crews had become “forced labor.”

The situation was “escalating” and “nearly 400,000 seafarers are now way beyond their tour of duty,” said Cotton, saying it risked turning into a form of “modern slavery.”

Some had been on board “for longer than a year” and their fatigue posed added risks of accidents, such as oil spills and deaths at sea, he said.

ITF seafarers’ chair David Heindel added that tempers were “rightly running high.”

‘Red tape and bureaucracy’

Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), blamed “red tape and bureaucracy” for crew-change delays.

Border guards and local port officials in some countries, said Platten, were being overzealous in blocking seafarers from even coming ashore.

In May, the ICS and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said 100,000 merchant seafarers needed to swap out monthly “to ensure compliance with international maritime regulations protecting safety, health and welfare.”

But global coronavirus travel restrictions had left flights to repatriate or relocate marine personnel “unavailable.”

While cruise companies in recent months chartered flights to get their seafarers home, many crews on merchant vessels have even had to extend contracts, say experts. 

Some had been at sea for over 17 months consecutively, noted the website Marine Insight on Thursday, 

Others, unemployed, waiting

ITF chief Cotton accused world governments of allowing the crew change crisis to “deepen” — instead of striving for practical solutions — six months into the coronavirus pandemic.

Another 400,000 seafarers were waiting at home, unemployed, unable to replace their colleagues onboard, he said.

ipj/rt (AP, Reuters)

LEO Pharma strengthens global leadership team with appointment of new Executive Vice President, Global Therapeutic & Value Strategy

LEO Pharma A/S today announced that Becki Morison will join the Global Leadership Team as Executive Vice President, Global Therapeutic & Value Strategy, effective October 1.

Morison joins LEO Pharma from Eli Lilly, where she was VP, US Immunology. Prior to that, she held several leadership positions in the US, Australia as well as in the United Kingdom and the Nordics. In addition to her international experience, Morison has a proven track record in building and growing innovative pharmaceutical franchises in different therapeutic areas including orphan diseases.

“Becki Morison’s broad knowledge in immunology, dermatology and specialty pharma will help us to strategically develop our innovative portfolio and execute global launches of best or first-in-class medicines, which is essential to reach our ambition of becoming a global leader in medical dermatology,” said Catherine Mazzacco, President and CEO of LEO Pharma.

Morison succeeds Patrice Baudry, who will take over responsibility for establishing LEO Pharma’s rare disease presence.

“Patrice Baudry’s medical background and his experience in building strong value propositions for our medicines, as he did successfully for our thrombosis business, will be vital in establishing LEO Pharma in rare dermatologic diseases,” Mazzacco continued.

About LEO Pharma

The company is a leader in medical dermatology with a robust R&D pipeline, a wide range of therapies and a pioneering spirit. Founded in 1908 and owned by the LEO Foundation, LEO Pharma has devoted decades of re-search and development to advance the science of der-matology, setting new standards of care for people with skin conditions. LEO Pharma is headquartered in Denmark with a global team of 6,000 people, serving 92 million patients in 130 countries. For more information about LEO Pharma, visit

Fox’s Judge Nap: ‘I Would Have Indicted All Three’ Cops in Breonna Taylor Case

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano diverged from the consensus opinion of his colleagues on the Breonna Taylor decision, saying Thursday that he would have personally “indicted all three” police officers involved in her death.

After a Kentucky grand jury decided not to charge any of the three Louisville Metro police officers with killing Taylor during a botched late-night raid on her apartment, Fox News hosts and pundits quickly defended the lack of charges, essentially calling it an unfortunate “tragedy” that couldn’t be helped.

Napolitano, however, saw things just a bit differently.

During an interview on The Daily Briefing, host Dana Perino brought up the widespread and fiery protests over the decision, noting that only one officer was charged with wanton endangerment for blindly firing into another apartment.

“Obviously the protesters are very upset and there are facts that perhaps they didn’t understand or the law is not satisfactory to them,” she continued. “Where do you think we are?”

After acknowledging that protesters will not be satisfied as the officers aren’t going to be charged with murder, Napolitano then took issue with the grand jury’s interpretation of the law.

“The law that permits the police to return fire and to defend themselves does not permit them to shoot blindly, aimlessly where they can’t see the target and they don’t even know or what they’re shooting at,” he said. “Which is how this innocent woman Breonna Taylor got killed.”

The three plainclothes police officers were executing a “no-knock” warrant late at night at Taylor’s apartment as part of a drug investigation linked to her ex-boyfriend. Taylor’s current boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot once at the officers after they broke down the door, resulting in them returning fire and hitting Taylor six times. While the police insist they announced themselves prior to entering, Walker contends he did not hear them say “police.”

“I would have indicted all three of them and let them assert their affirmative defenses at the time of trial,” Napolitano continued. “But that’s not what happened and that’s just me. There are legitimate beefs about this in the streets.”

The veteran jurist went on to say that the task force announced by the Kentucky attorney general to look at potential reforms should target police immunity, adding that officers “should not be immune when they break the law.” He also called for the prosecutors and judge to release all the evidence and transcripts from the grand jury so the public can see everything that was considered in the case.

Brazil: Rio postpones carnival over coronavirus

For the first time in over 100 years, the famous street parade has been suspended. The celebration was due to be held in February and officials have not yet set a new date.

Rio de Janeiro’s world famous carnival parade will not take place in February 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced Thursday.

“We came to the conclusion that the event had to be postponed,” said Jorge Castanheira, the president of the group that organizes the annual parades, the Independent League of Rio de Janeiro Samba Schools (LIESA).

“We just can’t do it in February. The samba schools won’t have the time or financial and organizational resources to be ready,” he said.

Brazil currently has the second-highest coronavirus death rate in the world.

More to come…

lc/rt (AP, AFP)