LVMH propels Arnault scion to head up Tag Heuer watches

PARIS (Reuters) – LVMH (LVMH.PA) on Thursday said that Frederic Arnault, one of the younger sons of the luxury goods group’s billionaire boss, would take over running watch brand Tag Heuer, joining his siblings in taking on bigger roles within the conglomerate.

The Arnault family controls just under half of LVMH, which was vastly expanded through acquisitions under CEO Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man, and owns fashion labels such as Louis Vuitton and also champagne and jewellery brands.

Frederic Arnault, 25, will step up at Tag Heuer as of July 1, the company said. He had previously worked at the label, but with a focus on developing its digital activities, at a time when watch brands are struggling to re-invent themselves for a younger clientele and face falling demand.

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Campaign site flooded with petitions over death of elephant who ate pineapple filled with firecrackers

Nearly two million people have signed petitions calling for action over the death of a pregnant elephant who reportedly ate a pineapple filled with firecrackers in India.

Campaign site Change.org says more than 1,200 petitions sprang up in less than a day expressing outrage over the elephant’s death in the southern state of Kerala.

The incident has captured attention around the world, with people from the US, UK, France and Australia starting petitions on the issue.

The elephant had ventured into a village near Kerala’s Silent Valley Forest in search of food.

It is not known when or where she became injured, but she was found standing in the Velliyar River by forest officers on 27 May.

Despite efforts to help her, she died while still standing in the water.

A spokesperson from Kerala Forest Department previously told Sky News that farmers place food filled with the explosive devices on the edges of their fields to keep wild boars away.

He said the elephant had been “unfortunate” and “unlucky”.

An investigation has been launched and “several suspects” are being questioned over the incident.

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Coronavirus: Pandemic ‘gripping the Amazon’ as people ‘die in their beds’

In Manaus, the largest city in the Amazon rainforest, people are dying in their beds. 

They are trying to lift the coronavirus lockdown across Brazil – people teem the streets, the traffic noise is deafening, the markets are full, but the body count keeps growing.

The COVID-19 pandemic is gripping the Amazon and it is spreading.

Brazil has the second highest number of cases in the world, behind the US, with more than 584,000 – and 32,548 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the virus.

We joined a body collection in Sao Jorge, one of the worst hit neighbourhoods.

Family and friends crammed the streets as the SOS Funerals undertakers van negotiated its way through the narrow alleys of what is basically a slum.

SOS is paid by the city to pick up the poorest dead. Nobody in Sao Jorge can afford a proper funeral.

We could see the body of Afonso de Souza through the door to his breeze block single room.

Teary eyed friends told me he was really popular in the community but had a drink problem. They do not know what he died of – the point is, they never will. Afonso’s body, like hundreds of others, will never be tested.

The undertakers are used to this now. They have been collecting the dead in huge numbers for weeks.

Sixty bodies a day has now become 40 a day, but that is over double the normal numbers in a country where poverty and disease are part of everyday life, and death.

Dressed in full hazmat suits, they brought a simple coffin into his home and loaded him up. Friends and family helped carry the body to their vehicle – another victim, another family, another community hit by the pandemic.

Manaus is a remote city in the heart of the Amazon. Nobody drives to get here. You come by plane or more likely boat.

Despite its remoteness, despite the vastness of the Amazon, the rainforest and its river did nothing to protect its people from the virus as it swept through and actually still is.

There are no funeral corteges for these poor people, no hearses. Mini vans take the bodies to the COVID cemetery on the outskirts of the city.

We followed through in torrential rain. The funeral van struggling through waterlogged roads, huge plumes of spray soaking our windscreen as we left the city and entered the rainforest.

The Taruma Cemetery is huge and well established, but this is where coronavirus victims come.

Outside the gates – only three members of families of victims are allowed inside – relatives look through the fences of the cemetery trying to spot the funeral taking place. They stand in small groups, often crying, often hugging each other.

If there is a backlog of burials, and there often is, the coffins are offloaded into refrigerated lorries. The work of the SOS team is done, they have more work elsewhere.

We did not know what to expect in the cemetery. What we saw was a vast area of newly dug graves, grave diggers in hazmat suits digging more graves and tending to those holding the bodies of the dead. It is exceptionally grim.

At the bottom of a hill, families wait beneath a canopy to protect themselves from the incessant rain.

When it is their turn, they take their paperwork to a man who paints the name of the family member on a simple blue wooden cross.

They wait for a tractor and trailer to pull up beside the families and the cemetery staff hoist the coffins on to a flat bed.

It is silent but for the sound of mechanical diggers gouging out more graves from the mud.

Once loaded the tractor moves off followed by a morbid, sobbing, heartbreaking procession to the burial site.

The coffins are lowered into a newly dug pit. It is a mass grave. The coffins laid side by side.

Sticks pushed into the earth indicate where each coffin can be identified from six feet higher.

Wooden rectangles are later placed above the bodies so the family will forever more have somewhere to come to pay their respects and mourn.

Above the muddy pit, the families film on their phones – cry, throw flowers and hug each other. Then the work to cover the coffins begins. A huge digger picks up mounds of mud and moves to the grave side.

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Germany forces all petrol stations to provide electric car charging

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany said it will oblige all petrol stations to offer electric car charging as part of a sweeping 130 billion euro ($146.26 billion) economic recovery plan, boosting electric vehicle demand which has been hampered by consumer concerns over refuelling.

Germany unveiled the incentives as part of a broader stimulus plan which included staggered taxes to penalise ownership of large polluting combustion-engined sports utility vehicles.

Customers have been concerned about the limited operating range of electric cars, a factor which has hampered demand. Converting Germany’s 14,118 petrol stations would provide a significant boost to electric vehicle demand.

In Germany, electric cars made up only 1.8% of new passenger car registrations last year, with diesel and petrol cars accounting for 32% and 59.2% respectively.

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Of the 168,148 new registrations in May, only 5,578 or 3.3% were electric cars according to German vehicle agency KBA. A further 51.1% were petrol powered, 31.6% were diesel cars and 17.6% were hybrid or plug-in hybrid cars.

As of March 2020, Germany had only 27,730 electric car charging stations according to BDEW, Germany’s association for the energy and water industry.

To make electric cars a mass market phenomenon, at least 70,000 charging stations and 7,000 fast charging stations are required, according to the BDEW.

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‘Permission to kill’ condemned in Duterte drug war

Thousands of people have been killed amid “near impunity” for offenders in the war the Philippines has waged on illegal drugs since 2016, the UN says.

Its report levelled heavy criticism at President Rodrigo Duterte’s government.

His drugs crackdown has been marked by high-level rhetoric that can be seen as “permission to kill”, the report said, urging an independent investigation.

The administration has in the past rejected all criticism of its policies and denies the killings are illegal.

Official figures show more than 8,000 people were killed in the war on drugs since Mr Duterte took office in 2016. Other estimates put the figure three times as high.

The report found that most victims are young poor urban males and that police, who do not need search or arrest warrants to conduct house raids, systematically force suspects to make self-incriminating statements or risk facing lethal force.

What does the report say?

The 26-page report, prepared by Michelle Bachelet, the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, examined nearly 900 written submissions from human rights defenders, journalists, trade unionists and the Duterte administration.

In one section, the report said the police’s key policy note contained “ominous” and “ill-defined language” such as “neutralising” suspects, and that coupled with “rhetoric at high levels calling for the killings of drug offenders”, it was taken as a permission by the police to kill.

“In the context of the campaign against illegal drugs, there has been near impunity for such violations.”

According to the UN, statements from the highest levels of government had “risen to the level of incitement to violence” and “vilification of dissent is being increasingly institutionalised.”

The report suggests that “the human rights situation in the Philippines is marked by an overarching focus on public order and national security, including countering terrorism and illegal drugs” and that this was “often at the expense of human rights, due process rights, the rule of law and accountability”.

What does the Duterte administration say?

It is not the first time his government has been criticised for its brutality in cracking down on drugs and crime.

But so far the Duterte administration has always rejected allegations of wrongdoing and when the UN voted to launch its investigation, Manila branded the probe as a “travesty”. According to the UN report, there has been only one conviction for murder despite thousands having been killed.

Rodrigo Duterte won the presidency on a platform of crushing crime and fixing the country’s drugs crisis. Despite the many killings he remains very popular in the country.

But for the UN report’s co-author Ravina Shamdasani, positive opinion polls should not be used to justify bloody campaigns like the drug war.

“The government has a duty under its constitution and under human rights law to protect people from human rights violations,” Ms Shamdasani said. “Just because it is popular does not make it right.”

‘Many love Duterte’s strongman style’

Howard Johnson, BBC Philippines correspondent

This hard-hitting report is likely to irk Rodrigo Duterte, but not necessarily change his approach to human rights. After all this is the man who in 2018 told a UN special rapporteur to “go to hell” for allegedly “interfering” in his country’s affairs.

Just this week, with a big majority in Congress, the president secured the passage of a controversial “Anti-Terrorism Act”, cited in the report as potentially risking the erosion of citizens’ constitutional and legal protections.

The government has always insisted Mr Duterte’s actions reflect the will of the people who elected him.

Manila’s liberal elite continue to revile the president’s violent rhetoric, but I’ve also met many people here who love his strongman style.

In January an opinion poll by Social Weather Stations delivered Mr Duterte a net satisfaction rating of 72%.

What has happened in the drug war?

President Rodrigo Duterte launched his anti-narcotics campaign after taking office in 2016 to deal with a rampant drug problem.

“On the basis of information reviewed, the drug campaign-related killings appear to have a widespread and systematic character. The most conservative figure, based on government data, suggests that since July 2016, 8,663 people have been killed – with other estimates of up to triple that number,” the UN report said.

The OHCHR said it ultimately could not verify the number of extrajudicial killings without further investigation.

In December 2018, the country’s Commission on Human Rights (CHR) estimated the number of drug-war killings could be as high as 27,000.

Officially, the police say they kill only in self-defence – for example, during drug-bust operations.

What next?

Following the report, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling for an independent and effective domestic investigation into the allegations.

She also said that, should there be no credible response within the Philippines, her office would support other methods including “international accountability measures”.

The UN human rights office is not the only body investigating the alleged human rights violations in the country. A separate probe is currently under way by the International Criminal Court, also looking into accusations of crimes committed during the war on illegal drugs.

In the absence of thorough investigations into the killings, impunity continues for the perpetrators, the report said.

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CEE MARKETS-Currencies, stocks ease, with eyes on ECB stimulus moves

    BUCHAREST, June 4 (Reuters) - Central European currencies
fell on Thursday, with the crown and zloty leading regional
losses, as investors focused on the European Central Bank's
policy meeting, which is expected to  approve more aid to the
coronavirus-hit euro zone.
    The economic crisis caused by the new virus pandemic had
hammered currencies in the region, which is the main trading
partner of the euro zone, but a new risk-on mood has partly
helped them to recoup a significant part of their losses.
    By 0910 GMT, the Czech crown and the Polish zloty
 fell by 0.6% on the day to as low as 26.73 and 4.44
against the euro respectively.
    Czech National Bank Governor Jiri Rusnok said in a radio
interview on Thursday the crown was likely to stabilise around 
current levels it reached after recent strengthening.
   
    Hungary's forint eased 0.2% and the Romanian leu
edged down 0.1%. 
    Market watchers expect the ECB to increase bond purchases by
500 billion euros, but a key question is whether it will act on
Thursday or hold out until July as a deal on European Union-wide
fiscal support strengthens the case for patience.
    "Trade is pretty sluggish right now. The general focus is
now on the ECB's next policy moves and their timing," said one
dealer in Bucharest. 
    Stocks also fell, with Budapest's leading losses with
a 0.9% decline. MOL and OTP Bank fell 1.74%
and 3.16% respectively.
    Elsewhere, Romania's finance ministry plans to sell 700
million lei worth of 2027 treasury bonds and an additional 500
million lei of 2023 debt.
             CEE        SNAPSHOT     AT                         
             MARKETS                1129 CET            
                        CURRENCIES                              
                        Latest      Previous  Daily     Change
                        bid         close     change    in 2020
 Czech                     26.7300   26.5510    -0.67%    -4.86%
 crown                                                  
 Hungary                  345.5500  344.8000    -0.22%    -4.17%
 forint                                                 
 Polish                     4.4430    4.4100    -0.74%    -4.20%
 zloty                                                  
 Romanian                   4.8370    4.8315    -0.11%    -1.01%
 leu                                                    
 Croatian                   7.5720    7.5715    -0.01%    -1.67%
 kuna                                                   
 Serbian                  117.6100  117.6200    +0.01%    -0.03%
 dinar                                                  
 Note:       calculated from                  1800 CET          
 daily                                                  
 change                                                 
                                                                
                        Latest      Previous  Daily     Change
                                    close     change    in 2020
 Prague                     932.89  927.5300    +0.58%   -16.38%
 Budapest                 36937.69  37317.04    -1.02%   -19.84%
 Warsaw                    1758.90   1766.85    -0.45%   -18.19%
 Bucharest                 8927.32   8981.80    -0.61%   -10.52%
 Ljubljana                  861.34    860.56    +0.09%    -6.97%
 Zagreb                    1669.26   1673.45    -0.25%   -17.26%
 Belgrade    <.BELEX15      676.28    678.37    -0.31%   -15.64%
             >                                          
 Sofia                      456.92    458.87    -0.42%   -19.58%
                                                                
                        Yield       Yield     Spread    Daily
                        (bid)       change    vs Bund   change
                                                        in
 Czech                                                  spread
 Republic                                               
   2-year    <CZ2YT=RR      0.1000    0.0570   +072bps     +4bps
             >                                          
   5-year    <CZ5YT=RR      0.3870    0.0240   +097bps     +3bps
             >                                          
   10-year   <CZ10YT=R      0.7840    0.0700   +114bps     +8bps
             R>                                         
 Poland                                                         
   2-year    <PL2YT=RR      0.2260   -0.0140   +085bps     -3bps
             >                                          
   5-year    <PL5YT=RR      0.7810    0.0170   +136bps     +3bps
             >                                          
   10-year   <PL10YT=R      1.3810    0.0250   +174bps     +3bps
             R>                                         
             FORWARD                                            
                        3x6         6x9       9x12      3M
                                                        interban
                                                        k
 Czech Rep           <        0.27      0.28      0.30      0.34
             PRIBOR=>                                   
 Hungary             <        0.78      0.73      0.68      0.90
             BUBOR=>                                    
 Poland              <        0.26      0.28      0.30      0.27
             WIBOR=>                                    
 Note: FRA   are for ask prices                                 
 quotes                                                 
 *****************************************************          
 *********                                              
 
 (Editing by Larry King)
  

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MORNING BID-Sultans of stimulus

A look at the day ahead from Senior FX Correspondent, Saikat Chatterjee. The views expressed are his own.

The beleaguered U.S. dollar got some respite on Thursday as Wednesday’s ADP jobs survey showed 2.8 million jobs being lost, far short of forecasts of 9 million lost, and the ISM non-manufacturing PMI also beat estimates, though it continues to show a contraction. Neither data set would be considered decent under normal circumstances, but market moves show how starved investors are for any evidence of a turnaround that would justify the current elevated market valuations.

U.S. weekly jobless claims are also expected to recede on Friday, but an analysis of 44 countries by economists at Deutsche Bank put the U.S. economy the second worst in unemployment relative to its 10-year average, behind only Colombia. For currency markets that is a long-term negative for the dollar. But even in the short term, the prospects don’t look good. The latest Reuters poll of over 60 analysts predicts the dollar will weaken over the next six months.

Hopes of more stimulus has widened the chasm between market valuations and the real economy, despite expectations for a slow economic recovery, growing concern over U.S.-China tensions, U.S. civil unrest and rising coronavirus infections. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve widened its municipal liquidity program to include more businesses and Australia offered a stimulus package for construction. Major U.S. stocks ended higher on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq near their record closing highs in February and 10-year U.S. treasury yields approached a two-month high of 0.75%. At a price-to-earnings multiple of 22, valuations for the S&P 500 are at their highest level in more than two decades. Although investors remain surprised at the stock market’s resilience, a case can be made for stretched valuations — the risk-free rate for valuing future streams of corporate cash flows is essentially zero as central banks support virtually every corner of the bond market.

And then there is the European Central Bank. Pressure is growing on policymakers to deliver more stimulus in the face of a record rate of economic contraction in the first quarter. Interest rates are widely expected to remain unchanged at its deposit rate of minus 0.5%, but many economists expect the 750 billion-euro Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme to rise by 500 billion euros. The German coalition government agreed overnight on a 130 billion-euro fiscal stimulus program for its economy after a recovery fund proposal last week by Europe gave the struggling euro a shot in the arm.

The latest policy actions have resulted in a seven-day winning streak for the euro against the U.S. dollar, a move last seen only in December 2013. The euro’s rise to near 1.08 against the Swiss franc has also eased pressure on the Swiss central bank, whose rate of weekly interventions dropped to its lowest since February.

The dollar’s gains have pushed emerging-market currencies lower with the wider index snapping a four-day winning streak to slip 0.25%. The biggest declines came in South Africa’s rand and Mexico’s peso, both down 0.7%, but both still on track for healthy weekly gains. (Editing by Larry King)

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Kim Jong-un fury: North Korean newspaper issues BIZARRE attack on US

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The international affairs department the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) issued a statement after Mr Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fired another salvo in the war of words with Beijing. Mr Pompeo told Fox News recent actions by the Chinese Communist Party suggest it is “intent upon the destruction of Western ideas, Western democracies, Western values” and “puts Americans at risk”

American liberalism and democracy put the cap of leftist on the demonstrators and threaten to unleash even dogs for suppression

Workers Party of Korea

But a WPK spokesman said Mr Pompeo’s comments on Hong Kong, Taiwan, human rights and trade disputes were “nonsense” and slandered the Chinese leadership.

The spokesman said: “Pompeo, who has been deeply engrossed in espionage and plot-breeding against other countries, has become too ignorant to discern where the sun rises and where it sets.

“Such statements by American leaders are a sign of their concerns about a declining United States.

“Demonstrators enraged by the extreme racists throng even to the White House.

“This is the reality in the US today. American liberalism and democracy put the cap of leftist on the demonstrators and threaten to unleash even dogs for suppression.”

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said it was the first time the WPK international affairs department had issued a statement of its own since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un took power in 2011.

China, Russia and Iran were also quick to taunt Mr Trump over the violent scenes and angry protests that have engulfed the US since the death of George Floyd, an African American man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Chinese officials and state media compared the angry protests to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying Tweeted: “I can’t breathe” – Mr Floyd’s last words which have become a slogan for the protestors.

Fellow ministry spokesman, Lijian Zhao retweeted numerous comments and reports on the protests, including from Russia’s deputy representative to the UN, accusing the US of double standards.

Dmitry Polyanskiy had tweeted: “Why US denies China’s right to restore peace and order in Hong Kong while brutally dispersing crowds at home?”

State media has also taunted President Trump about the violent clashes.

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of nationalist tabloid Global Times, wrote: “US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi once called the violent protests in Hong Kong ‘a beautiful sight to behold.’

“US politicians now can enjoy this sight from their own windows.”

In a series of tweets and editorials over the weekend, Mr Hu and his paper accused the US of hypocrisy.

He said: “Mr President, don’t go hide behind the secret service.

“Go to talk to the demonstrators seriously. Negotiate with them, just like you urged Beijing to talk to Hong Kong rioters.”

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Iran has also goaded the US over the violence and reminded Washington of the statements it released during civil unrest in the Islamic Republic in 2018.

The foreign ministry condemned what it called “the tragic murder of black people and deadly racial discrimination in the United States”.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted: “Some don’t think #BlackLivesMatter.

“To those of us who do: it is long overdue for the entire world to wage war against racism. Time for a #WorldAgainstRacism.”

In another tweet echoing a 2018 statement from Mr Pompeo, Mr Zarif said: “The US government is squandering its citizens’ resources.”

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North Korea warns US is in NO POSITION to criticise China on human rights

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In an article carried by one of North Korea’s main state-run newspapers, the spokesman criticised recent comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Pompeo said recent actions by the Chinese Communist Party suggest it is “intent upon the destruction of Western ideas, Western democracies, Western values” and “puts Americans at risk.”

The WPK spokesman said Pompeo’s remarks on Hong Kong, Taiwan, human rights and trade disputes were “nonsense.”

They accused the US Secretary of State of slandering the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

They added: “Pompeo, who has been deeply engrossed in espionage and plot-breeding against other countries, has become too ignorant to discern where the sun rises and where it sets.”

Such statements by American leaders are a sign of their concerns about a declining United States, he said.

The official made reference to the ongoing protests against police brutality.

“Demonstrators enraged by the extreme racists throng even to the White House,” the spokesman said.

“This is the reality in the US today.

“American liberalism and democracy put the cap of leftist on the demonstrators and threaten to unleash even dogs for suppression.”

JUST IN: New York hospital workers cheer on George Floyd demonstrators

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said it was the first time the WPK international affairs department had issued a statement of its own since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un took power in 2011.

The news comes as people worldwide protest the murder of George Floyd.

George Floyd was killed by then Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin after he knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes while detaining him.

However, tensions increased when police were ordered to disperse a group of protesters in Lafayette Square with tear gas and rubber bullets, creating a clear path for Trump to get to St John’s Episcopal Church, where he took photos.

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Bishops in charge of the church were not made aware of the visit.

Many were outraged at the police violence towards protesters fuelled by his visit.

Reverend Gini Gerbasi, from a nearby church in Georgetown, told Religious News Service that when she left briefly to get supplies, armed police began to set off tear gas to expel protesters.

“I was suddenly coughing from the tear gas.

“We heard those explosions and people would drop to the ground because you weren’t sure what it was,” Ms Gerbasi said.

“They turned holy ground into a battleground.”

The nation’s highest-ranking African-American bishop Archbishop Wilton Gregory spoke out against the visit.

The Archbishop released a statement released just before Trump’s visit to the national shrine. 

He said: “I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree.”

Archbishop Gregory has led the Archdiocese of Washington for just over a year.

He said Donald Trump’s actions in posing for photos at religious sites are “reprehensible”

The archbishop, like many claimed that Trump’s actions Monday and Tuesday were all for a photo-op.

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Kim Jong-un’s sister sends propaganda warning to South Korea – ‘Human scum!’

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Kim Yo-jong is officially First Deputy Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department but is thought to be de facto chief of staff and has become more prominent in North Korea in recent months. Ms Kim described the defectors as “human scum” and “rubbish-like mongrel dogs” for betraying Pyongyang according to Korean Central News Agency, the state press bureau. Responding to her intervention, a spokesperson for Seoul’s Ministry of Unification called for the leaflet operation to stop.

Ms Kim threatened that North Korea would back out of a 2018 military agreement and shut down a cross-border liaison office.

However, as talks between her brother and Donald Trump came to a standstill several parts of the agreement to ease border tensions has not yet been acted on.

Pyongyang has continued to test missiles, with several being fired in the direction of Japan.

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the liaison office suspending operations.

Ms Kim warned: “If such an act of evil intention committed before our eyes is left to take its own course under the pretext of ‘freedom of individuals’ and ‘freedom of expression’, the South Korean authorities must face the worst phase shortly.”

No specific individuals were mentioned in the KCNA report.

Two winners in the South Korean legislative elections in April are likely to be of interest to Pyongyang.

Thae Yong-ho, the former North Korean deputy ambassador to the UK, took a seat in the National Assembly representing Gangnam.

Mr Thae is part of the conservative United Future Party.

He defected in 2016.

Cho Myung-chul has been in the assembly since 2012.

Ahead of his victory, Mr Thae said he hoped his running would send a message back to the ruling elite of North Korea.

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He said: “I want to tell them that there is a new way for their future.”

Mr Thae said his defection was as a result of him becoming increasingly aware of the “gruesome realities” of life in North Korea.

He is the highest-ranking official to defect.

With reports circulating of her brother’s death, Ms Kim was touted as the future Supreme Leader of North Korea.

The Kim family has been ruling North Korea since the nation’s foundation after the Second World War.

It was their grandfather Kim Il-Sung who became the first supreme leader.

In March 2019, Ms Kim won a seat at the Supreme People’s Assembly.

Her brother did not stand, but previously represented the 111th Paektusan.

The siblings are thought to have grown close whilst at school in Switzerland.

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