Life is difficult in North Korea but there is no famine and some cross-border shipments may resume soon, Russia's ambassador in Pyongyang said, a week after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared the country was facing a "worst-ever situation." Kim last week urged ruling party officials to wage another “Arduous March” of work and sacrifice, linking the current economic crises to a period in the 1990s of famine and disaster. Russia's ambassador, one of the few foreign envoys in the country, said that while it was unclear exactly what Kim meant the current situation could not be compared to that period.
Swiss drugmaker Novartis has signed a deal to make ingredients for Roche's Actemra treatment that is being repurposed for people with COVID-19, the company said on Thursday. The arrangement is the third transaction signed by Novartis following agreements with BioNTech and CureVac to make therapies for other firms to help fight the pandemic. Actemra is a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis which is also being tested in various clinical trials to treat COVID-19 associated pneumonia.
* Russian rouble drops more than 1% on reports of U.S. sanctions * Euro hits four-week top to dollar with U.S. yields subdued * Commodity-linked Aussie and kiwi reach three-weak peaks * Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E By Hideyuki Sano and Kevin Buckland TOKYO, April 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar sank to a new four-week low versus major peers on Thursday as Treasury yields pulled back from last month's surge, with investors increasingly convinced by the Federal Reserve's arguments that interest rates will stay low for some time. The Russian rouble sank more than 1% to 76.65 per dollar on reports the U.S. will announce sanctions on Russia as soon as Thursday for alleged election interference and malicious cyber activity.