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The US authorities have been accused by North Korea of “literally mugging” its diplomats at a New York airport.

A spokesman for North Korea said the country’s officials had been “robbed” of a diplomatic package at John F. Kennedy Airport on June 16.

According to North Korea’s state news agency KCNA, the incident proved the US was a “lawless gangster state”.

The White House – which considers “solving” the North Korea crisis a priority – has yet to comment.

Image source Wikimedia

The North Korean diplomats were reportedly returning from a UN conference on disability rights when the incident – branded by KCNA as an “illegal and heinous act of provocation” – took place.

The news agency said: “The international community needs to seriously reconsider whether or not New York, where such an outrageous mugging is rampant, is fit to serve as the venue for international meetings.”

This alleged incident marks the latest addition to a catalogue of increasingly strained tensions between the two countries.

Last week, North Korea released American student Otto Warmbier, more than a year after he had been sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor.

Otto Warmbier was in a coma, showed no understanding of language, and had extensive brain tissue loss.

North Korea said Otto Warmbier’s coma was caused by botulism and a sleeping pill he took after his trial last year.

However, US doctors disputed this, while Otto Warmbier’s father said: “Even if you believe their explanation of botulism and a sleeping pill causing the coma – and we don’t – there’s no excuse for a civilized nation to have kept his condition secret and to have denied him top notch medical care.”

North Korea had accused Otto Warmbier – who had been on a tour of North Korea – of stealing a propaganda sign, claims disputed by those who were with him on the trip.

An FAA computer glitch grounded hundreds of flights into and out of New York and Washington on August 15.

The technical glitch, at an air traffic centre in Leesburg, Virginia, caused delays of nearly three hours in some cases.

A spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said later that it had resolved the issue.

Planes would be able to take off normally by about 16:00 EDT, the FAA said.

The affected airports are among the busiest in the United States, especially in the summer holiday months.FAA computer glitch August 2015

Among those hit by the glitch were Washington’s Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport, as well as New York’s LaGuardia and JFK International Airport.

The FAA said the problem is not believed to be caused by any accident or hacking.

According to the agency, the fault was with a computer system known as ERAM which is used at 20 air traffic control centers around the US that handle high-altitude air traffic.

The system was installed earlier this year but was already years behind schedule.

“The FAA is continuing its root cause analysis to determine what caused the problem and is working closely with the airlines to minimize impacts to travelers,” the agency said in a statement.

Flight tracking service FlightAware reported that about 400 flights had been delayed or cancelled across affected airports.

New York’s JFK airport has started to implement the Ebola screening measures on Saturday, October 11.

The recent outbreak has killed more than 4,000 people.

Passengers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – the worst-hit countries – will have their temperatures taken and have to answer a series of questions.

Checks at O’Hare in Chicago, Newark, Washington’s Dulles and Atlanta’s airport will begin in the coming days.

This comes after the first person died of Ebola in Texas on Wednesday, October 8.

Thomas Eric Duncan had travelled to the US from Liberia, and was only diagnosed with the disease once he arrived in Dallas.

The latest figures released by the World Health Organization (WHO) show the number of deaths attributed to the haemorrhagic fever has risen to 4,033.

The vast majority of the fatalities – 4,024 – were in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The screening measures at JFK are starting on Saturday, with border agents checking for signs of illness such as high temperatures.

New York’s JFK airport has started to implement the Ebola screening measures on Saturday, October 11

New York’s JFK airport has started to implement the Ebola screening measures on Saturday, October 11 (photo Getty Images)

Passengers from the three African nations will also be asked about their travel details before leaving for the US and also if they have been in contact with anyone suffering from Ebola.

If they answer “Yes” to any questions or are running a fever, a representative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will intervene and provide a public health assessment.

Factsheets will be distributed to travelers with information on symptoms of Ebola and instructions to call a doctor if they become ill within three weeks.

There are currently no scheduled direct flights from the three countries to the US, with most passengers from Africa travelling via Europe.

All passengers travelling from airports in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia are already being screened for symptoms when they depart.

JFK and the four other airports account for 90% of air travelers arriving in the US. As many as 160 people enter the US from the worse-affected countries each day.

“There is no cause for alarm,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier, adding that the city was “particularly well prepared”.

“Physicians, hospitals, emergency medical personnel are trained in how to identify this disease and how to quickly isolate anyone who may be afflicted.”

To test the readiness of New York, people pretending to display Ebola symptoms – the so-called “simulated patients” – have been walking into hospital emergency rooms to see if there were any weaknesses in the new system.

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