Written by: Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate


Kim Jong-un to invite Pope to visit North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will reportedly invite the Pope to visit North Korea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is expected to extend a formal invitation to the Pope on behalf of Mr. Kim, as part of North Korea’s outreach efforts, next week during Jae-in’s Vatican visit. North Korea does not currently have a diplomatic relationship with the Vatican. No Pope has been to North Korea, but Kim Jong-un’s father Kim Jong-il reportedly invited Pope John Paul II to visit in 2000.

The Vatican has not commented on whether it would accept or reject the offer.

With files from Australian Broadcasting Corporation News and The New York Times.


Sierra Leone scraps plans to build airport with China

Sierra Leone has scrapped plans to build a $400 million Chinese-funded airport near its capital, Freetown.

Sierra Leone’s aviation minister, Kabineh Kallon, said in a statement to BBC News that the airport was not needed presently. Instead, the current international airport would be renovated with a possible bridge built to help connect it to Freetown, mentioned Kallon.

China’s ambassador to Sierra Leone, Wu Peng, said to BBC News that he did not see this event affecting future ties between the two countries.

The former president of Sierra Leone, Bai Koroma, had agreed with China to build the new airport before the former lost elections in March. China is the largest infrastructure project financier in Africa today.

With files from BBC News.


Singapore airlines reinstates longest commercial flight

On October 11, Singapore Airlines reintroduced their 16,700km Singapore-Newark flight, which is now considered the world’s longest commercial flight. The flight takes over 17 hours, flying to New Jersey over the Arctic.

The airline had cancelled the Singapore-Newark route in 2004 due to high fuel cost. Ultra-long-haul flights such as this one are now possible due to more fue- efficient planes such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing’s 787-Dreamliner. This cuts down on travelling time, which customers favour.

No economy class seats are available as the planes are outfitted with only premium-economy and business-class seats.

With files from The Straits Times and Global News.


Worldwide C-section rates undergo dramatic increase

A group of studies published in The Lancet has found that the number of caesarean sections (C-sections) performed worldwide has increased almost twofold, from 16 million in 2000 to 29.7 million in 2015.

Researchers believe that 21% of births globally are through C-section. A C-section is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through the abdomen and womb. The World Health Organization has called for a reduction in unneeded C-sections and greater access for women who need it. C-sections generally carry greater risk for mother and child relative to a vaginal birth.

About 26% of deliveries in Canada occur via C-section, compared to about 32% of deliveries in North America overall.

With files from CTV News and BBC News.