North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has made his first public appearance in nearly three weeks, state media reported Saturday, following intense speculation that the leader of the nuclear-armed nation was seriously ill or possibly dead.The North reported that Kim had attended the opening of a fertiliser factory and released pictures it said showed the leader cutting a ribbon at the ceremony on Friday in Sunchon, north of Pyongyang, although the appearance could not be verified. His absence triggered a series of fevered rumours and unconfirmed reports over his condition, while the United States and South Korea insisted they had no information to believe any of the conjecture was true.Seoul’s unification ministry reacted to Saturday’s report by saying “groundless” speculation about Kim had caused “unnecessary confusion”, calling for more careful consideration in future. Kim’s sudden death would have left Pyongyang facing an unplanned succession for the first time in its history and raised unanswered questions over who would succeed him and take over the North’s nuclear arsenal.China, the North’s key diplomatic ally and main provider of trade and aid, is keen to maintain stability in its neighbour and avoid the possibility of an influx of refugees. North Korea is “at the epicentre of an extremely tense security crisis”, involving “a nuclear standoff where tens of millions of lives are at stake,” Henri Feron, Senior Fellow at the US Center for International Policy, told AFP.”This raises legitimate concerns about the domestic and international instability that his death could cause.”The pictures released by the Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed Kim in his trademark black suit, smiling broadly as he looked around the factory. He was flanked by senior officials — including his sister and close adviser Kim Yo Jong — and showed no outward signs of ill health.As with previous pictures released by the North during the global coronavirus pandemic, Kim was not wearing a mask, unlike the hundreds of workers cheering for him and releasing balloons.The Korean Central News Agency said that onlookers “broke into thunderous cheers of ‘hurrah!'” when Kim appeared.Analysts said Kim could not appear in public wearing a mask as it would make him appear vulnerable to the North Korean people.The North has insisted that it has not seen a single case of coronavirus, although experts say it is unlikely.Kim’s repeated appearances without a mask had led some to speculate that he may have caught the virus.Reporting from inside the isolated North is notoriously difficult, especially on matters relating to its highly secretive leadership.Rumours of ill health The North Korean leader had not made a public appearance since presiding over a Workers’ Party politburo meeting on April 11, and the following day state media reported that he had inspected fighter jets.Daily NK, an online media outlet run mostly by North Korean defectors, had reported that Kim was undergoing treatment after a cardiovascular procedure last month.Citing an unidentified source inside the country, it said Kim — who is in his mid-30s — had needed urgent treatment due to heavy smoking, obesity and fatigue.CNN then reported that Washington was “monitoring intelligence” that Kim was in “grave danger” after undergoing surgery, quoting an anonymous US official.Officials in Seoul had consistently downplayed the reports and a presidential security advisor said that Kim was “alive and well” and staying in the eastern resort town of Wonsan.US President Donald Trump suggested earlier this week that Washington believed Kim to be alive and declined to immediately comment on Kim’s apparent re-emergence.Trump and Kim have met three times, although talks on the North’s nuclear capabilities have long been stalled with no sign of them resuming.Analysts say Kim is likely to make another public appearance in the coming days that will be reported by state media. But Pyongyang “probably won’t explain Kim’s recent absence given the secrecy around the leader’s health and schedule,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Ewha University in Seoul.Previous absences from the public eye on Kim’s part have also prompted speculation about his health.Kim’s father and predecessor had been dead for two days before anyone outside the innermost circles of North Korean leadership was aware.In 2014, Kim Jong Un dropped out of sight for nearly six weeks before reappearing with a cane. Days later, the South’s spy agency said he had undergone surgery to remove a cyst from his ankle.Topics : Rumours about Kim’s health have been swirling since his conspicuous no-show at April 15 celebrations for the birthday of his grandfather, the North’s founder — the most important day in the country’s political calendar.
Petrobras Business & Management Plan (BMT) 2018-2022As of next year, Petrobras will back its E&P operations with USD 68 billion (approx. EUR 59.6 billion) and plans to boost output by putting 13 floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) units in production, seven of which it has yet to order, as reported by our sister site Offshore Energy Today.Petrobras’s 2040 Strategic Plan sees it as an integrated energy company still focused on oil and gas, but with more room for other energy sources to be added to the portfolio until 2040.In the renewables segment, the aim of the strategic plan is for Petrobras to operate in profitable renewable energy businesses, with focus on wind and solar energy in Brazil.Offshore WIND staff Brazilian oil and gas company Petrobras will invest USD 417 million (approx. EUR 365 million) in wind energy, solar energy and biofuels from 2019 to 2023.This has been set out in the company’s new Business and Management Plan (BMP), released on 5 December together with its 2040 Strategic Plan, of which the BMP is an integral part. Petrobras is setting aside a total of USD 84.1 billion (approx. EUR 73.7 billion) for investments during the upcoming five-year period.Source: Petrobras 2019-2023 Business and Management PlanCompared to the massive chunk that will be poured into the company’s core business – exploration and production (E&P) – the planned investment in wind, solar and biofules totalling USD 0.4 billion might not seem much.However, given that in its previous BMP (2018-2022) Petrobras did not outline a specific investment of this kind, the details from the latest plan could mark Petrobras now putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to offshore wind, as well as other renewable energy developments.Namely, the Brazilian oil and gas major informed in August 2018 that it was developing a pilot offshore wind farm off the Guamaré municipality in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, aiming to have the project up and running in 2022.The following month, the company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Norway-headquartered oil & gas and offshore wind player Equinor, under which the two parties agreed to collaborate on the development of offshore wind in Brazil.In July, Petrobras signed an MoU with the French companies Total and Total Eren to analyse a joint business development in solar energy and onshore wind energy segments in Brazil.Even though the earlier BMP did not specify an investment in offshore wind and other renewables, one of the strategic points was to prepare the company for a future based on a low-carbon economy, thus encompassing the company’s recent moves in the sector.The new plan also states Petrobras will be looking at offshore wind power projects over the next decade.Overall, Petrobras’s plans for the following five years are more ambitious than those set out in its 2018-2022 BMP, which comprised a total investment of USD 74.5 billion (approx. EUR 65.2 billion).The previous BMP, which maintained the same level of investments in relation to BMP 2017-2021, had earmarked 81% of the total amount for E&P [around USD 60.3 billion/EUR 52.8 billion].
Area Volleyball Regional ScoresSaturday (10-25)Class 2A @ Forest ParkTecumseh over North Decatur 25-17, 25-17, 25-11. Barr-Reeve over Henryville 25-12, 25-9, 25-17. Championship-Barr-Reeve over Tecumseh 25-15, 25-19, 25-19.Class 3A @ Corydon CentralSilver Creek over Lawrenceburg 25-17, 25-17, 25-14. Evansville Memorial over Vincennes Lincoln 25-18, 25-13, 25-19.Championship-Evansville Memorial over Silver Creek 25-8, 25-20, 26–24.