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People watch a broadcast of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on April 21. Photo: Ung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korean state media claimed on Friday that Kim Jong-un made a public appearance at a fertilizer factory in Suncheon, following two weeks of speculation about the dictator's health and whereabouts.

Where it stands: Kim's appearance has not been independently verified. North Korea state media released photos, shared by South Korean Yonhap news, allegedly of the dictator in Suncheon on Friday. His last public appearance was on April 11.

The backstory: The rumors began after Kim missed North Korea’s most important annual ceremony on April 15, marking the birthday of his grandfather and the regime’s founder, Kim Il-sung.

  • Then came a smattering of uncorroborated reports that Kim was ill or even dead, perhaps following emergency heart surgery.
  • South Korea and China downplayed the reports, but the Trump administration said it was monitoring them and Trump himself hinted he had intelligence about Kim's condition.

The bottom line: This is a clear rebuttal from the regime of claims Kim is in grave danger. But the doubts won't fully be quelled without more evidence.

Go deeper: What to make of Kim Jong-un's disappearance

Go deeper

Aug 10, 2020 - Health

97,000 children test positive for coronavirus in two weeks

A boy has his temperature checked as he receives a free COVID-19 test in South Los Angeles in July. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

At least 97,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 in the final two weeks of July and there's been an estimated 338,000 cases involving kids in the U.S. since the pandemic began, a new report finds.

Why it matters: The report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association comes as schools and day cares look to reopen in the U.S.

Aug 10, 2020 - World

Azar conveys Trump's "strong" support for Taiwan during historic visit

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar speaks as Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen looks on during his visit to the Presidential Office in Taipei on Monday. Photo: Pei Chen/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar praised Taiwan during a visit Monday for being a "vital partner, a democratic success story, and a force for good in the world."

Why it matters: The highest-level visit by a U.S. cabinet official to Taiwan since 1979 shows the increasing importance of the island state, which China considers to be part of its territory. It comes at a time of heightened tension between the Trump administration and the Chinese government.

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

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