Saturday December 7, 2019
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Face Mask of Kim Jong-un Stirs Controversy

Kim has led North Korea since the death of its former dictator, his father Kim Jong-il, in 2011

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Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-un face mask stirs controversy.

A South Korean fashion and cosmetics firm has stirred controversy with a facial mask featuring Kim Jong-un prompting many stores to pull the product of the shelves.

The so-called “nuke masks” were created by 5149, a South Korean fashion and cosmetics company. It said it has sold more than 25,000 “unification moisture nuclear masks” since June, the BBC reported.

Many South Korean stores, though, halted the sales amid a public backlash and concerns over the masks’ legality.

In South Korea it is illegal to speak favourably of the North Korean government, though the law is rarely enforced.

Dozens of Koreans have posted pictures of themselves on social media with the masks, which cost 4,000 won, the BBC said.

Propaganda-style slogans claim the masks contain mineral water from Mount Paektu, the sacred, active volcano, which is the birthplace of Dangun, founder of the first Korean kingdom more than 4,000 years ago, according to Korean mythology.

“Personally, I don’t like merchandise promoting a certain political agenda,” Irene Kim, a South Korean skincare expert, told the South China Morning Post.

“A few years ago, North Korea was the largest threat to our country… Kim Jong-un was seen as a dictator and a tyrant who would stop at nothing to disrupt world peace, now he’s become the face of a popular face mask,” she added.

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un.

The North Korean leader and his regime have been criticised by the UN for “systematic, widespread” human rights abuses.

Both North and South Korea are still technically at war, but leaders from both countries attended talks this year over denuclearisation.

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In an interview with the New York Times, 5149 CEO Kwak Hyeon-ju said she wanted the masks to celebrate the “once in a lifetime” Korean summits held earlier this year.

Kim has led North Korea since the death of its former dictator, his father Kim Jong-il, in 2011.

The country’s communist regime has been criticised by the UN and human rights groups for “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations”. (IANS)

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This Face Mask Can Prevent Apnoea at Night

Here's a face mask that can help combat sleep apnoea, snoring

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Apnoea while sleeping
A face mask is found by researchers to combat apnoea and improve sleep. Lifetime Stock

Researchers have found that a night time face mask can improve energy levels and vitality in people who suffer from the condition sleep apnoea, which is associated with snoring and breathing problems at night.

The mask – called a CPAP machine – is currently recommended only to those people whose sleep apnoea is moderate to severe.

For the study, published in the journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, the researchers from Imperial College London picked over 200 patients from 11 National Health Service (NHS) sleep centres across the UK, and investigated the use of the treatment for mild cases of sleep apnoea.

“We are seeing increasing cases of sleep apnoea, and in a wide range of patients. Although the condition was previously thought to mainly affect overweight men, we now know it also strikes post-menopausal women, the elderly, and even children,” said study lead author Mary Morrell.

Snoring apnoea
The CPAP machine can prevent snoring due to apnoea. Lifetime Stock

“Around 60 per cent of all cases of sleep apnoea are classed as mild, but until now we didn’t know whether a CPAP would be helpful to these patients,” Morrell added.

Sleep apnoea affects over one billion adults globally, and causes the airways to become too narrow during sleep, causing people to briefly stop breathing many times throughout the night.

It can also trigger loud snoring, and cause frequent awakening from sleep, and subsequent daytime sleepiness.

According to the researchers, one treatment is a mask that fits over the nose or mouth called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which gently pushes air into the mouth and throat, keeping the airways open.

Although previous trials have found a CPAP machine to improve symptoms of moderate to severe cases of the condition, this is the first large trial to find that mild cases of sleep apnoea can also be treated with this technology.

Combat apnoea
Sleep apnoea affects over one billion adults globally. Lifetime Stock

In the study, 115 patients were asked to use the CPAP for three months, while 118 received standard care for mild sleep apnoea, which includes advice on improving sleep and avoiding anything that can exacerbate the condition, such as drinking alcohol before bed.

The research revealed those who used the CPAP machine had an improvement of 10 points on a so-called vitality scale, compared to those who received standard care.

The vitality scale assesses a range of factors such as sleep quality, energy levels and daytime sleepiness.

The researchers also saw improvements in a number of additional factors among the patients who used the CPAP, including fatigue, depression, and social and emotional functioning.

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“Currently the NHS doesn’t routinely offer CPAP machines to cases of mild sleep apnoea, but our research suggests this treatment should now be considered,” said study first author Julia Kelly. (IANS)