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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

North Korea faces a growing food crisis that has left children and elderly people at risk of starvation, a UN investigator said in a report out Wednesday.

Driving the news: Prolonged and strict measures implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19 have worsened conditions in the isolated Asian nation and have lead to "severe economic hardship," per the report.

  • North Korea has enforced aggressive measures, including a full-scale border shutdown and restricting imports of nonessential goods, the report states.
  • Over 40% of the population was already "food insecure" before the pandemic, and a large majority of those people were suffering from malnutrition.

What they're saying: "The COVID-19 restrictions and government vigilance against the pandemic have helped avert a possible health crisis," the report states.

  • "At the same time, prolonged isolation and border closures have resulted in food and other health problems and severe economic deprivation for many people across the country," it added.

Go deeper

Oct 14, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Iowa's health report card

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Iowa lost ground on 95 of the more than 250 measures used to track our progress meeting health goals as part of a five-year statewide initiative, according to a recent report.

  • Yes, but: We improved in 138 measures. (23 haven't changed.)

Why it matters: The initiative is part of a public health benchmark that sets the state's agenda for helping Iowans live longer, healthier and more productive lives.

  • Its results influence how state resources and grants are allocated.
Ben Geman, author of Generate
21 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Democrats' clean power outlook is very muddy

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Here are two big questions as a key Democratic proposal to slash emissions from power generation flounders: how much its demise would sap climate protections, and what might replace it.

Catch up fast: New financial carrots and sticks for utilities to deploy zero-carbon power — the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) — look unlikely to stay in Democrats' big social spending and climate bill.

Colin Powell dies from COVID complications at 84

Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts

Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, died of complications from COVID-19, his family announced Monday. He was 84.

Driving the news: The Powell family said in a statement that he was fully vaccinated. "We want to thank the medical staff at Walter Reed National Medical Center for their caring treatment."