When Mr Kim passed his economic plan in 2016, the North's economy grew 3.9 percent, according to estimates by the South Korean central bank, the Bank of Korea. This was the highest value since a devastating famine in the late 1990s.
When the United Nations tightened sanctions, the north's economy contracted 4.1 percent in 2018, and exports to China fell 86 percent.
North Korea's economy rebounded slightly over the past year, growing 0.4 percent as Pyongyang invented ways to ease the pain of sanctions, such as smuggling banned cargo across the Chinese border or between ships on the high seas.
The coronavirus outbreak>
frequently asked Questions
Updated August 17, 2020
Why does it help to stand three feet away from others?
- The coronavirus spreads mainly through droplets from your mouth and nose, especially when you cough or sneeze. The C.D.C., one of the organizations using this measure, bases its six-foot recommendation on the idea that most of the large droplets that people make when they cough or sneeze fall within six feet of the ground. But six feet has never been a magical number that guarantees complete protection. For example, sneezing, according to a recent study, can trigger droplets that are far farther than two meters away. It's a rule of thumb: it is best to stand six feet apart, especially when it's windy. But always wear a mask even if you think they are far enough apart.
I have antibodies. Am i immune now?
- As of now, this seems likely for at least a few months. There have been appalling reports of people apparently suffering from a second attack of Covid-19. However, experts say these patients may have a protracted course of infection, with the virus taking a slow toll weeks to months after initial exposure. People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may only last in the body for two to three months, which may seem worrying, but that's perfectly normal after an acute infection subsides, said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it is highly unlikely to be possible in a short window of time after the initial infection or make people sick the second time.
I am a small business owner. Can I get relief?
- The stimulus packages passed in March provide help to millions of American small businesses. Eligible companies and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and freelancers. Some larger companies in some industries are also eligible. The assistance offered, administered by the Small Business Administration, includes the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. But a lot of people haven't seen any payouts yet. Even those who have received help are confused: the rules are draconian and some are stuck on money that they cannot use. Many small business owners get less than expected or hear nothing at all.
What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?
What will the school look like in September?
- Many schools are unlikely to return to a normal schedule this fall, which will require online learning, makeshift childcare, and stunted work days to continue. California's two largest public school districts – Los Angeles and San Diego – announced on July 13 that classes will only be held remotely this fall, citing concerns that the rise in coronavirus infections in their areas is too great Poses risk to students and teachers. Together, the two districts enroll around 825,000 students. They are the largest to date in the country, abandoning plans for a partial physical return to classrooms when they reopen in August. For other districts, the solution is not an all-or-nothing approach. Many systems, including the largest in the country, New York City, are developing hybrid plans where some days are spent in classrooms and some days online. There is still no national guideline on this. So check regularly with your city school system to see what's happening in your community.
That year, the coronavirus forced the country to close the border with China, which accounted for more than 90 percent of the north's foreign trade. According to the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul, North Korea's exports to China fell to $ 27 million in the first half of this year, a drop of 75 percent from a year earlier. Imports from China fell 67 percent to $ 380 million.
Iran is hit early and hard by the virus and is in the middle of a second wave.
The Iranian Ministry of Health announced Wednesday that it had reached 20,000 deaths from the virus, but health experts inside and outside Iran – and even members of the Iranian parliament – suggest the number could be many times higher.
To understand what was going on, Farnaz Fassihi, who covers Iran for The Times, answered some urgent questions and painted a picture of an outbreak that is still out of control.
How is the situation in the country?
It is very bad. It's in the middle of a second climb that is worse than the first in March. Most of the provinces, including the capital Tehran, are “red zones”. Doctors say hospitals and I.C.U. Beds are full. At the same time, there are some restrictions on public gatherings, but they are generally open for business.
Even according to the government, cases are increasing. What happened?
They opened too early. When the virus first hit the country, they were closed for just two weeks during the New Year break in mid-March. They didn't meet any of the benchmarks when they reopened. There is no contact tracking. There is no quarantine.
What do the Iranians feel?
In the first few months, people were very scared. They isolated themselves and stayed home and did not send their children to school even when schools were still open. But I think as time goes on, like in many places, we see people becoming more ruthless.
There is also a nuanced dynamic here. This is a government that has been telling people what to do, how to dress, how to behave for 40 years – and the attitude of many people is to always oppose what the government says. So when there is a pandemic and the government tells them, "Stay home, wear a mask," they say, "No. We don't trust you. And you don't tell us what to do."
So I think the challenge of containing a pandemic can be greater for Iran than for other countries as the government is dealing with 70 million people whose standard method is to oppose it.
The U.S. Virgin Islands stop tourism as cases rise.
The U.S. Virgin Islands are stopping tourist visits for a month, shutting down unneeded stores, and restoring home-stay orders as they grapple with some of the highest case numbers per capita in the U.S.
The area, which includes the Caribbean islands of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas, has recorded 165 cases in the past seven days as of Thursday, bringing the total to 869 cases.