سوار توقع اتفاقية مع شركة الخطوط السعودية للتموين

الرياض، المملكة العربية السعودية25 أغسطس / آب 2022 /PRNewswire/ — وقعت سوار و هي شركة سلع إستهلاكية سعودية تركز على الحلول الجاهزة للأكل, اتفاقية رسمية مع شركة الخطوط السعودية للتموين.  ستشهد الإتفاقية تعاون الشركتين معاُ على حلول غذائية لمختلف القطاعات بما في ذلك قطاع أعمال الشركات.

Siwar CEO, Mr Loaye Al-Nahedh and SACC CEO, Mr Wajdy Al-Ghabban

يستمر سوق الأغذية الجاهزة للأكل و الموفرة للوقت في النمو في المملكة العربية السعودية, وقد أبرزت الأبحاث التي أجرتها سوار أن المستهلكين منفتحون لفكرة شراء وجبات مجمدة و جاهزة للأكل, مع الإهتمام بالمذاق والتنوع والجودة والسعر المناسب بإعتبارها أهم محركات الإختيار .

بالإضافة إلى ذلك، فإن سوق الخدمات الغذائية للشركات ينمو أيضًا ,حيث تتطلع الشركات إلى تحقيق التوازن بين الإختيار والجودة مع خيارات مرنة وبأسعار معقولة.

وتعليقًا على الإتفاقية، قال لؤي الناهض، الرئيس التنفيذي ومؤسس سوار :

“يسعدنا أن نواصل علاقتنا مع شركة الخطوط السعودية للتموين ونتطلع إلى شراكة إستراتيجية حيث يمكننا الجمع بين خبراتنا الفريدة وتعزيز مكانتنا في السوق “.

تستمر مجموعة منتجات سوار في التوسع و تشمل حالياً الوجبات و الحلويات, و التي تتوفر في أسواق التجزئة في جميع أنحاء المملكة العربية السعودية, و عبر موقع سوار الإلكتروني و تطبيق الهاتف المحمول و مكائن البيع الذاتية ” شيف ان بوكس”.  

Siwar Foods Logoعن سوار : نحن شركة سعودية تركز على إعادة تعريف قطاع الأغذية “الموفرة للوقت” في المملكة العربية السعودية والمنطقة. استنادًا إلى نموذج أعمال مرن، نعمل مع كبار الموردين لجلب أفضل النكهات من جميع أنحاء العالم إلى أسواقنا. توفر مجموعة منتجاتنا المتنوعة للعملاء الطعام الجاهز للأكل, حيث تجمع بين التنوع والمذاق والجودة والتكلفة المناسبة. هدفنا أن تساعد منتجاتنا المستهلكين على عيش حياة أفضل، دون المساومة على ما هو مهم بالنسبة لهم. نحن نخدم قطاعي الشركات وكذلك المستهلكين من خلال أسواق التجزئة, عبر الإنترنت و مكائن البيع الذاتية “شيف ان بوكس”, وهي الأولى من نوعها في المنطقة. من خلال إلتزامنا بالإستدامة ونهج الأعمال الصديق للبيئة، فإننا نفخر بالتوافق مع رؤية 2030 .

 https://siwar.com/

 Yusuf Jehangir; yusuf.jehangir@siwar.com;+966 (0) 53 331 6701

Photo –  https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1885518/Siwar_SACC.jpg
Logo –  https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1837821/Siwar_Foods_Logo.jpg

EB-5 Industry Leaders, USCIS Agree to Joint Settlement of Two Lawsuits

EB-5 stakeholders ensure all previously approved regional centers maintain authorization moving forward

WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Multiple EB-5 industry stakeholders have entered into a settlement agreement with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) that protects EB-5 investors and re-authorizes previously approved regional centers, effectively signaling the EB-5 program is fully back in business.

The settlement affects two cases: Behring Regional Center LLC, et al. v. Mayorkas, et al., No. 3:22-cv-2487-VC (N.D. Cal.) and EB5 Capital, et al. v. DHS, et al., No. 3:22-cv-3948-VC (N.D. Cal.). The plaintiffs include EB-5 regional center operators: EB5 CapitalCanAm EnterprisesCivitas Capital GroupGolden Gate GlobalPine State Regional Center, and EB-5IC’s member – Behring Regional Center, and industry organization Invest in the USA (“IIUSA”).

The key stipulations of the settlement – which can be read in its entirety here – are as follows:

  • Previously authorized regional centers retain their authorization.
  • Previously authorized regional centers must file a Form I-956 (a previously filed I-956 will meet this requirement) by December 29, 2022, along with the filing fee to maintain authorization.
  • Previously authorized regional centers need not wait for approval of their Form I-956 and may immediately file I-956Fs (exemplars).
  • If, after filing a form I-956F, a regional center does not receive a formal receipt notice within ten calendar days of delivery to USCIS, an investor may use other forms of proof of the I-956F filing in their I-526E petition, such as a lock box receipt, cashed check, or credit card charge provided by the regional center to the investor.
  • The failure of a previously approved regional center to file a Form I-956 application or amendment will not, standing alone, be a basis for USCIS to deny an investor’s I-526 or I-829 petition.
  • USCIS will update its website, forms, and instructions to conform to the terms of the settlement agreement.

The settlement comes in the wake of legal action taken to protect the EB-5 industry from USCIS’ decision earlier this year. After the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 went into effect in March, USCIS announced that all previously approved regional centers (those authorized by USCIS before the enactment of the Integrity Act) were categorically deauthorized. The Court determined that USCIS’ action almost certainly committed legal error and would have severely harmed the EB-5 industry while leaving EB-5 investors in limbo. While all parties involved have agreed to the settlement, it is not a final settlement until approved by the court.

Judge Chhabria’s grant of a nationwide preliminary injunction, and USCIS’ subsequent agreement to a reasonable settlement, enables the EB-5 Regional Center program to move forward contributing to the U.S. economy and creating American jobs,” said Ron Klasko of Klasko Immigration Law Partners. “Judge Chhabria’s thorough and well-reasoned decision provided the essential impetus for USCIS and the EB-5 industry to work constructively in reaching an agreement,” said Paul Hughes of McDermott Will & Emery. 
“We hope this marks the beginning of a new era of cooperation between USCIS and the EB-5 industry,” commented Laura Reiff of Greenberg Traurig. “This settlement ushers in a regional center program that provides the entire EB-5 ecosystem with the stability and certainty needed to ensure an optimal program,” stated Jeff Campion from EB-5IC. 

The EB-5 Program has an overwhelmingly positive impact on the U.S. economy. Between 2008 and 2021, the EB-5 program helped generate $37.4 billion in foreign direct investment to create and retain U.S. jobs for Americans at no cost to the taxpayer.

EB5 Capital provides qualified investors from around the world with opportunities to invest in job-creating commercial real estate projects to obtain U.S. permanent residency, as well as private equity investments and secondary passports. For more information, follow EB5 Capital on LinkedIn and visit www.eb5capital.com.

Contact:
Juline Kaleyias, VP Business Development
media@eb5capital.com

Casio lance EDIFICE avec la même peinture authentique que celle utilisée pour l’écusson rouge de Honda

Modèle de collaboration avec Honda Racing

TOKYO25 août 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Casio Computer Co., Ltd. a annoncé aujourd’hui le lancement du EQB-2000HR, son tout dernier modèle en collaboration avec Honda Racing dans la ligne de montres EDIFICE basée sur le concept de la marque, « Vitesse et intelligence ». La même peinture authentique utilisée pour l’écusson rouge qui apparaît sur les voitures Honda Racing est utilisée sur le cadran de la montre.

EQB-2000HR

Prenant comme modèle de base l’EQB-2000, dont le boîtier s’inspire des bras de suspension des voitures de course de formule, la nouvelle EQB-2000HR est un chronographe solaire haute performance doté des fonctions Mobile Link et dont la couleur reprend la teinte frappante utilisée par Honda pour son écusson rouge.

Trouvant ses racines dans le design de la RA271 – une voiture de course Honda qui fut la première participation d’un constructeur automobile japonais à une course de F1™ en 1964 – l’insigne rouge Honda est un symbole de l’esprit de course de la société qui apparaît exclusivement sur ses voitures Type R, qui délivrent de la vitesse, parmi les voitures disponibles dans le commerce. La même peinture authentique utilisée pour cet écusson rouge est employée pour colorer le X au centre du cadran de la montre, le faisant apparaître comme une icône symbolique pour obtenir un design de montre saisissant et puissant.

EQB-2000HREn outre, le logo Honda Racing Corporation « HRC », qui a été mis à jour cette année, est placé à 3 heures sur le cadran, et un logo commémorant le 60e anniversaire de la création du circuit de Suzuka en 1962 par Honda est gravé sur le fond du boîtier.

Le bracelet est en Alcantara, un matériau 100 % italien qui offre une excellente durabilité et respirabilité, ainsi qu’une sensation de confort, et qui est également utilisé dans l’habitacle des voitures Honda Type R. Ces éléments, ainsi que d’autres caractéristiques de conception spéciales, expriment la passion pour la course automobile qui est inhérente à la vision du monde de Honda.

X on dial with paint used for the red Honda badge

Pour plus d’informations : https://www.casio.com/intl/news/2022/0825-eqb-2000hr/

  • Alcantara est une marque déposée d’Alcantara S.p.A.

Photo : https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1877193/image_1.jpg

Photo : https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1877195/image_2.jpg

Photo : https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1877194/image_3.jpg

Nikkiso Clean Energy & Industrial Gases Group Fecha Vários Contratos de Estação de Abastecimento de Hidrogênio na Califórnia e na Coreia do Sul

TEMECULA, Califórnia, Aug. 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — O Nikkiso Clean Energy & Industrial Gases Group (“CE&IG”), parte do grupo de empresas da Nikkiso Co., Ltd (Japão), tem o orgulho de ter fechado vários contratos de fornecimento de mais de 12 Hydrogen Fueling Stations (Estações de Abastecimento de Hidrogênio – HFS) para clientes na Califórnia e na Coreia do Sul. Essas estações, destinadas a entrar em operação entre o quarto trimestre de 2023 e o segundo trimestre de 2024, são de abastecimento de veículos leves, pesados e de células de combustível de trânsito que precisam de abastecimento de H35 e H70.

“Como membro embaixador da California Fuel Cell Partnership (Parceria de Célula Combustível da Califórnia – CaFCP) e líder em tecnologia criogênica, a Nikkiso é fundamental para a conexão do ecossistema de hidrogênio e avanço da agenda de energia limpa”, disse Peter Wagner, CEO da Nikkiso CE&IG.

“Temos prazer em oferecer produtos comerciais e técnicas flexíveis e escaláveis onde nossos clientes mais precisam de nós: do fabricante do equipamento às soluções turnkey de EPC”, disse Joseph Pak, Presidente da Nikkiso Integrated Cryogenic Solutions.

Os pedidos de compra têm um valor de quase US$ 60 milhões. A Nikkiso dedicou mais de 150.000 pés2 (14.000 m2) de área útil para a as estações de produção em massa de abastecimento de hidrogênio em Murrieta, CA, Escondido, CA, Busan, Coreia do Sul e Neuenbürg, Alemanha. Todas as estações estarão em conformidade com os requisitos de conteúdo local, incluindo a Buy America Act (Lei Comprar na América) do mercado de Hub de Hidrogênio dos EUA.

Com esses projetos de estações de hidrogênio, o Grupo Nikkiso visa expandir ainda mais seus negócios relacionados ao hidrogênio, fortalecendo sua participação na cadeia de suprimentos de hidrogênio e expansão para o mercado global.

Sobre o Nikkiso Clean Energy & Industrial Gases Group
A CE&IG da Nikkiso faz parte do grupo de empresas Nikkiso Co., Ltd. A Nikkiso Co. é uma empresa pública de US $ 1,4 bilhões. A CE&IG é composta por cinco unidades funcionais distintas: Bombas Criogênicas (ACD, Nikkiso Cryo), Sistemas de Processo (Cosmodyne), Sistemas de Troca de Calor (Cryoquip), Serviços Criogênicos (com 20 instalações globais) e Soluções Criogênicas Integradas (fornecendo gerenciamento centralizado de desenvolvimento de produtos e de projetos). Em 2020, a CE&IG expandiu ainda mais sua capacidade com a aquisição da antiga Divisão de Combustíveis Alternativos da GP-Strategies. Esta adição estabelece mais uma grande instalação de fabricação no sul da Califórnia. Reconhecida como líder do mercado em design, engenharia, fabricação, construção e manutenção de infraestrutura criogênica, esta instalação oferece recursos internos completos, desde engenharia e licenças até fabricação, construção e manutenção.

Há mais de 50 anos a Nikkiso é líder na indústria de Energia Limpa com a mudança para um mundo mais saudável. Com a nossa tecnologia de abastecimento de hidrogênio, a Nikkiso tornou-se líder na revolução do hidrogênio em evolução, incluindo um projeto na primeira instalação de abastecimento de LH2 do mundo. Para mais informação, visite www.NikkisoCEIG.com.

Para mais informação, visite www.nikkisoCEIG.com e www.nikkiso.com.

CONTATO COM A MÍDIA:
Anna Quigley
+1.951.383.3314
aquigley@cryoind.com

Nikkiso Clean Energy & Industrial Gases Group remporte plusieurs contrats de stations de ravitaillement en hydrogène en Californie et en Corée du Sud

TEMECULA, Californie, 25 août 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Nikkiso Clean Energy & Industrial Gases Group (« CE&IG »), qui fait partie du groupe d’entreprises Nikkiso Co., Ltd (Japon), est fière d’avoir remporté plusieurs contrats visant à fournir plus d’une douzaine de stations de ravitaillement en hydrogène (« HFS ») à ses clients en Californie et en Corée du Sud. Ces stations, qui devraient être opérationnelles entre le T4 2023 et le T2 2024, couvrent les stations de ravitaillement pour les véhicules utilitaires légers et lourds, ainsi que les véhicules de transport en commun à pile à combustible, qui ont besoin d’une distribution de H35 et H70.

« En tant qu’ambassadeur membre du California Fuel Cell Partnership (« CaFCP ») et chef de file de la technologie cryogénique, Nikkiso joue un rôle clé pour connecter l’écosystème de l’hydrogène afin de faire progresser le programme portant sur l’énergie propre », a déclaré Peter Wagner, PDG de Nikkiso CE&IG.

« Nous sommes ravis de proposer des offres commerciales et techniques flexibles et évolutives, là où nos clients ont le plus besoin de nous : du fabricant d’équipements aux solutions EPC clés en main », a ajouté Joseph Pak, président de Nikkiso Integrated Cryogenic Solutions.

Les bons de commande ont une valeur combinée de près de 60 millions de dollars des États-Unis. Nikkiso a dédié plus de 14 000 m² (150 000 pi²) d’espace au sol pour produire en masse des stations de ravitaillement en hydrogène à Murrieta et à Escondido en Californie, à Busan en Corée du Sud et à Neuenbürg en Allemagne. Chaque station sera fabriquée pour se conformer aux exigences de contenu local, y compris la loi Buy America Act pour le Hub Hydrogène du marché américain.

En commençant avec ces projets de stations d’hydrogène, le groupe Nikkiso vise à étendre davantage son activité liée à l’hydrogène en renforçant sa participation à la chaîne d’approvisionnement en hydrogène et en s’étendant sur le marché mondial.

À propos de Nikkiso Clean Energy & Industrial Gases Group
Nikkiso CE&IG fait partie du groupe d’entreprises Nikkiso Co., Ltd. Nikkiso Co. est une société publique de 1,4 milliard de dollars. CE&IG comprend cinq unités fonctionnelles distinctes : Pompes cryogéniques (ACD, Nikkiso Cryo), Systèmes de traitement (Cosmodyne), Systèmes d’échangeurs thermiques (Cryoquip), Services cryogéniques (via 20 installations mondiales) et Solutions cryogéniques intégrées (fournissant une gestion centralisée des produits et le développement de projets). En 2020, CE&IG a étendu ses capacités avec l’acquisition de ce qui était la Division carburants alternatifs de GP-Strategies. Cet ajout fournit une autre usine de fabrication majeure en Californie du Sud. Reconnue comme un leader du marché dans les domaines de la conception, de l’ingénierie, de la fabrication, de la construction et de la maintenance d’infrastructures cryogéniques, cette installation apporte des capacités internes complètes allant de l’ingénierie et des permis à la fabrication, la construction et la maintenance.

Cela fait plus de 50 ans que Nikkiso est un leader de l’industrie de l’énergie propre et mène le changement vers un monde plus sain. Grâce à notre technologie de ravitaillement en hydrogène, Nikkiso est devenue un leader de la révolution en constante évolution de l’hydrogène, avec notamment un projet sur la première installation de soutage d’hydrogène liquide (LH2) au monde. Pour de plus amples informations, rendez-vous sur le site www.NikkisoCEIG.com.

Pour tout complément d’information, veuillez consulter les sites www.nikkisoCEIG.com et www.nikkiso.com.

Contact auprès des médias :
Anna Quigley
+1.951.383.3314
aquigley@cryoind.com

Casio to Release EDIFICE Featuring the Same Authentic Paint Used in the Red Honda Badge

Collaboration Model with Honda Racing

TOKYO, Aug. 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Casio Computer Co., Ltd. announced today the release of the EQB-2000HR, the latest collaboration model with Honda Racing in the EDIFICE line of timepieces based on the brand concept of “Speed and Intelligence.” The same authentic paint used in the red badge that appears on Honda Racing cars is used on the watch dial.

EQB-2000HR

Taking as its base model the EQB-2000, with case design inspired by the suspension arms on formula race cars, the new EQB-2000HR is a high-performance, solar-powered chronograph with Mobile Link features in a color scheme that features the striking hue Honda has used for its iconic red badge.

With roots in the design of the RA271 — a Honda race car that was the first entry by a Japanese automaker in an F1™ race in 1964 — the red Honda badge is a symbol of the company’s racing spirit that appears exclusively on its speed-delivering Type R cars, among commercially available cars. The same genuine paint used in this red badge is employed to color the X at the center of the watch dial, making it appear as a symbolic icon to achieve a striking and powerful watch design.EQB-2000HR

In addition, the Honda Racing Corporation “HRC” logo, which has been newly updated this year, is positioned at 3 o’clock on the dial, and a logo commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Suzuka Circuit’s establishment in 1962 by Honda is engraved on the case back.

The band features Alcantara, a 100% Made in Italy material with excellent durability and breathability, as well as a comfortable feel, that is also used in Honda Type R car interiors. These and other special design features express the passion for racing that is inherent to the Honda worldview.

X on dial with paint used for the red Honda badge

More information: https://www.casio.com/intl/news/2022/0825-eqb-2000hr/

  • Alcantara is a trademark of Alcantara S.p.A.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1877193/image_1.jpg

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1877195/image_2.jpg

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1877194/image_3.jpg

California Phasing Out Gas Vehicles in Climate Change Fight

California set itself on a path Thursday to end the era of gas-powered cars, with air regulators adopting the world’s most stringent rules for transitioning to zero-emission vehicles.

The move by the California Air Resources Board to have all new cars, pickup trucks and SUVs be electric or hydrogen by 2035 is likely to reshape the U.S. auto market, which gets 10% of its sales from the nation’s most populous state.

But such a radical transformation in what people drive will also require at least 15 times more vehicle chargers statewide, a more robust energy grid and vehicles that people of all income levels can afford.

“It’s going to be very hard getting to 100%,” said Daniel Sperling, a board member and founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California-Davis. “You can’t just wave your wand, you can’t just adopt a regulation — people actually have to buy them and use them.”

Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom told state regulators two years ago to adopt a ban on gas-powered cars by 2035, one piece of California’s aggressive suite of policies designed to reduce pollution and fight climate change. If the policy works as designed, California would cut emissions from vehicles in half by 2040.

More to come

Other states are expected to follow, further accelerating the production of zero-emissions vehicles.

Washington state and Massachusetts already have said they will follow California’s lead and many more are likely to — New York and Pennsylvania are among 17 states that have adopted some or all of California’s tailpipe emission standards that are stricter than federal rules. The European Parliament in June backed a plan to effectively prohibit the sale of gas and diesel cars in the 27-nation European Union by 2035, and Canada has mandated the sale of zero-emission cars by the same year.

California’s policy doesn’t ban cars that run on gas — after 2035 people can keep their existing cars or buy used ones, and 20% of sales can be plug-in hybrids that run on batteries and gas. Though hydrogen is a fuel option under the new regulations, cars that run on fuel cells have made up less than 1% of car sales in recent years.

The switch from gas will drastically reduce emissions and air pollutants. Transportation is the single largest source of emissions in the state, accounting for about 40% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. The air board is working on different regulations for motorcycles and larger trucks.

California envisions powering most of the economy with electricity, not fossil fuels, by 2045. A plan released by the air board earlier this year predicts electricity demand will shoot up by 68%. Today, the state has about 80,000 public chargers. The California Energy Commission predicted that needs to jump to 1.2 million by 2030.

The commission says car charging will account for about 4% of energy by 2030 when use is highest, typically during hot summer evenings. That’s when California sometimes struggles to provide enough energy because the amount of solar power diminishes as the sun goes down. In August 2020, hundreds of thousands of people briefly lost power because of high demand that outstripped supply.

That hasn’t happened since, and to ensure it doesn’t going forward, Newsom, a Democrat, is pushing to keep open the state’s last-remaining nuclear plant beyond its planned closure in 2025. Also, the state may turn to diesel generators or natural gas plants as a backup when the electrical grid is strained.

More than 1 million people drive electric cars in California today. Their charging habits vary, but most people charge their cars in the evening or overnight, said Ram Rajagopal, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University who has studied car charging habits and energy grid needs.

If people’s charging habits stay the same, once 30% to 40% of cars are electric, the state would need to add more energy capacity overnight to meet demand, he said. The regulations adopted Thursday require 35% of vehicle sales to be electric by 2026, up from 16% now.

But if more people charged their cars during the day, that problem would be avoided, he said. Changing to daytime charging is “the biggest bang for the buck you’re going to get,” he said.

Both the state and federal government are spending billions to build more chargers along public roadways, at apartment complexes and elsewhere to give people more charging options.

The oil industry believes California is going too far. It’s the seventh-largest oil-producing state and shouldn’t wrap its entire transportation strategy around a vehicle market powered by electricity, said Tanya DeRivi, vice president for climate policy with the Western States Petroleum Association, an industry group.

“Californians should be able to choose a vehicle technology, including electric vehicles, that best fits their needs based on availability, affordability and personal necessity,” she said.

Some difficulties seen

Many car companies, like Kia, Ford and General Motors, are already on the path to making more electric cars available for sale, but some have warned that factors outside their control like supply chain and materials issues make Californians’ goals challenging.

“Automakers could have significant difficulties meeting this target, given elements outside of the control of the industry,” Kia Corp.’s Laurie Holmes told the air board before its vote.

As the requirements ramp up over time, automakers could be fined up to $20,000 per vehicle sold that falls short of the goal, though they’ll have time to comply if they miss the target in a given year.

The new rules approved by the air board say that the vehicles need to be able to travel 150 miles (241 kilometers) on one charge. Federal and state rebates are also available to people who buy electric cars, and the new rules have incentives for car companies to sell electric cars at a discount to low-income buyers.

But some representatives of business groups and rural areas said they fear electric cars will be too expensive or inconvenient.

“These regulations are a big step backwards for working families and small businesses,” said Gema Gonzalez Macias of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.

Air board members said they are committed to keeping a close eye on equity provisions in the rules to make sure all California residents have access.

“We will not set Californians up to fail, we will not set up the other states who want to follow this regulation to fail,” said Tania Pacheco-Warner, a member of the board and co-director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at California State University-Fresno.

Source: Voice of America

North Korea Sees Suspected COVID-19 Cases After Victory Claim

North Korea on Thursday said it found four new fever cases in its border region with China that may have been caused by coronavirus infections, two weeks after leader Kim Jong Un declared a widely disputed victory over COVID-19.

North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said health workers were conducting genetic tests on the samples taken from four people in Ryanggang province who exhibited fevers to confirm whether they were caused by the “malignant epidemic.” The North often uses that term, along with “malignant virus,” to describe COVID-19 and the coronavirus.

Authorities immediately locked down the areas where the fever cases emerged and plan to maintain tight restrictions and quarantines until health workers determine the cause of the illness.

KCNA said health authorities were giving extra attention to the cases because none of the four patients had a history of coronavirus infections.

The country’s emergency anti-virus headquarters dispatched “talented epidemiological, virology and test experts to the area” and is taking steps to “trace all persons … connected with the suspect cases, and persons going to and from the relevant area and keep them under strict medical observation,” KCNA said.

North Korea said there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases in any part of the country since Aug. 10 when Kim declared victory over the virus, just three months after the country acknowledged an outbreak.

Even as he ordered preventive measures eased, Kim called for vigilance and the maintaining of tight border controls to prevent the virus from reentering the country. Ryanggang province is one of the border areas where North Korean officials for years struggled to clamp down smuggling activities with China.

An official from South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said Seoul isn’t ruling out the possibility that the virus could reemerge in the North.

“North Korea may additionally report on the situation, including whether the fevers were confirmed as COVID-19, and we would need to wait for that before making judgments,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity during a background briefing.

While Kim claimed that the country’s success against the virus would be recognized as a global health miracle, experts believe the North has manipulated disclosures on its outbreak to help him maintain absolute control. The victory statement signals Kim’s aim to move to other priorities, including a possible nuclear test, experts say.

After admitting to an omicron outbreak of the virus in May, North Korea reported about 4.8 million “fever cases” across its mostly unvaccinated population of 26 million but only identified a fraction of them as COVID-19. It claimed just 74 people have died, which experts see as an abnormally small number considering the country’s lack of public health tools.

Kim’s declaration of victory over COVID-19 during a national meeting in Pyongyang was followed by a combative speech from his powerful sister, who said Kim had suffered a fever himself while steering the anti-virus campaign and laid dubious blame against South Korea while vowing deadly retaliation.

North Korea claims that its initial infections were caused by anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets and other items carried across the border by balloons launched by South Korean activists, a claim the South has described as “ridiculous” and unscientific.

Outside experts believe it’s more likely that the virus spread when the North briefly reopened its border with China to freight traffic in January and surged further following a military parade and other large-scale events in its capital, Pyongyang, in April.

There are concerns that the threats by Kim’s sister portend a provocation, possibly a nuclear or missile test or even border skirmishes.

Some experts say the North may try to stir up tensions as South Korea and the United States hold their biggest combined military training in years to counter the growing North Korean nuclear threat. The Ulchi Freedom Shield exercise, which involves aircraft, tanks and warships, continues in South Korea through Sept. 1.

Diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang to defuse the nuclear standoff has stalled since 2019 over disagreements in exchanging crippling U.S.-led sanctions against the North for the North’s denuclearization steps.

Source: Voice of America