Headlines, December 30, 2020
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Headlines, December 30, 2020
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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

 

Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today

The Korea Post (http://www.koreapost.com/)
Moon makes changes realizing mistakes such as support for unpopular justice minister
President Moon Jae-in apologized to the nation on the Christmas Day on Dec. 25, 2020 for causing the nation ‘inconvenience and confusion’ over the suspension of duties of Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl, which was initiated and carried out by Minister of Justice Madam Choo Mi-ae.
According to Presidential Spokesman Kang Min-seok, President Moon stated that he respected the decision of the court on Dec. 24 ruling that Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl return to his post.
Yoon won the injunction against the Justice Ministry's decision to suspend his duties for two months over a series of alleged misdeeds, including surveillance of the judiciary.

'Styler' of LG Electronics gains high popularity overseas
“Styler,” a steam clothing care system of LG Electronics, is gaining high popularity overseas with its differentiated TrueSteam technology. LG Electronics said on Dec. 28 that Styler's overseas sales increased by more than 50 percent this year compared to last year.
The electronics company introduced Styler in Korea for the first time in 2011 and expanded it to more than 20 countries, including the U.S., Russia, the U.K., Italy, China, and Japan. Sales in some countries, including Russia, more than doubled this year compared to last year.
As customers' interest in health and hygiene is increasing overseas, Styler is playing a role in promoting LG Electronics' steam home appliances. LG Styler is a steam home appliance with patented TrueSteam technology.

KB Kookmin Bank unveils a local ad featuring BTS in Indonesia
KB Kookmin Bank has released a local advertisement in Indonesia. The bank said on Dec. 29 that the advertising model is BTS, a global superstar who has been working with KB Kookmin Bank since 2018.
The ad video showed KB Kookmin Bank's bold ambition to become a "Star of Indonesian Finance" that reflects everywhere it needs finance as a strong partner in Indonesia.
BTS's "Dynamite," which topped the Billboard singles chart for eight consecutive weeks, was used in the ad video as the background music to express Indonesia's rapidly rising dynamic.
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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
S. Korea Reports 1,050 New COVID-19 Cases
South Korea reported one-thousand-50 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, raising the country's combined total to nearly 60-thousand.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency(KDCA) said that the new infections raised the country's accumulated caseload to 59-thousand-773. The nation has added an average of one-thousand-33 cases a day over the past week.
Of the new cases detected throughout Tuesday, one-thousand-25 were local transmissions, while 25 were imported. More than 700 cases came from the capital region, including 383 in Seoul, 274 in Gyeonggi Province and 48 in Incheon.

Cold Snap Grips S. Korea
A severe cold snap gripped the nation on Wednesday, with cold wave advisories issued for inland areas of the central and southern region.
According to the Korea Meteorological Administration(KMA), morning lows in Seoul plunged to minus ten-point-six degrees Celsius and to minus 20-point-five degrees in Cheorwon, Gangwon Province.
Afternoon highs are also forecast to remain below zero across the nation, down more than ten degrees from the previous day. The cold wave is expected to continue for a while after letting up briefly on Friday.

N. Korea Decides to Hold Party Congress in Early January
North Korea said it has decided to hold a rare congress of the ruling Workers' Party early next month. The North's official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) said on Wednesday that the decision was made at the party's politburo meeting the previous day.
The Eighth Party Congress, which comes five years after the previous one in 2016, is expected to be held between January 1 and 10.
The KCNA said the politburo meeting examined and confirmed the qualifications of the delegates and proposals for forming the presidium, members of the platform and secretariat of the planned party congress.
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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
New virus cases above 1,000 for 2nd day, toughest virus curbs eyed
South Korea's new coronavirus cases stayed above 1,000 for a second straight day Wednesday as the government is mulling the toughest distancing rules to curb the pandemic.
The country added 1,050 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,025 locally transmitted infections, bringing the total caseload to 59,773, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The daily infections fell slightly from 1,046 cases a day earlier amid the stricter Level 2.5 virus curbs in the greater Seoul area, which were extended earlier by one week until Sunday.

Moderna agrees to supply vaccines for 20 mln to S. Korea from Q2 2021: Cheong Wa Dae
U.S. biotech company Moderna has agreed to supply new coronavirus vaccine doses for 20 million people to South Korea starting in the second quarter of next year, Cheong Wa Dae announced Tuesday.
The agreement was reached in a videoconference between President Moon Jae-in and Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel held Monday, according to the South Korean presidential office.
The volume is double the amount that the government had initially sought to secure from the American biotech firm through negotiations. The time frame of provision has also been sped up from the initial goal of receiving vaccines starting from the third quarter.

Industrial output rises, but consumption falls for 2nd month in Nov.
South Korea's industrial output rose in November from a month earlier on improving exports, but consumption declined for the second straight month amid a resurgence in new coronavirus cases, data showed Wednesday.
The nation's overall industrial production increased 0.7 percent in November from the previous month, compared with a 0.1 percent on-month fall in October, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. Compared with a year earlier, the industrial output fell 0.6 percent in November.
Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries gained 0.3 percent on-month, as production of chips and display panels increased, helping the country post robust exports.
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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
New virus cases above 1,000 for 2nd day, toughest virus curbs eyed
South Korea's new coronavirus cases stayed above 1,000 for a second straight day Wednesday as the government is mulling the toughest distancing rules to curb the pandemic.
The country added 1,050 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,025 locally transmitted infections, bringing the total caseload to 59,773, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The daily infections fell slightly from 1,046 cases a day earlier amid the stricter Level 2.5 virus curbs in the greater Seoul area, which were extended earlier by one week until Sunday.

NK leader helms politburo meeting to prepare for party congress in early January
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a politburo meeting of the Workers' Party and decided to hold a party congress early next month, state media reported Wednesday.
The politburo meeting, held Tuesday, "examined and made confirmation as to the qualifications of the delegates" and "proposals for forming the presidium, members of the platform and secretariat of the 8th Congress of the Party," according to the Korean Central News Agency.
It also adopted a decision on holding the congress in early January, KCNA said without specifying the date. North Korea has said that it will hold a party congress for the first time in more than four years in January at which it will unveil a new economic development scheme.

Industrial output rises, but consumption falls for 2nd month in Nov.
South Korea's industrial output rose in November from a month earlier on improving exports, but consumption declined for the second straight month amid a resurgence in new coronavirus cases, data showed Wednesday.
The nation's overall industrial production increased 0.7 percent in November from the previous month, compared with a 0.1 percent on-month fall in October, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea. Compared with a year earlier, the industrial output fell 0.6 percent in November.
Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries gained 0.3 percent on-month, as production of chips and display panels increased, helping the country post robust exports.
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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
New virus cases above 1,000 for 2nd day
South Korea's new coronavirus cases stayed above 1,000 for a second straight day Wednesday as the government is mulling the toughest distancing rules to curb the pandemic. The country added 1,050 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,025 locally transmitted infections, bringing the total caseload to 59,773, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
The daily infections fell slightly from 1,046 cases a day earlier amid the stricter Level 2.5 virus curbs in the greater Seoul area, which were extended earlier by one week until Sunday.
South Korea's daily cases have hovered around 1,000 for the past week due mainly to mass cluster infections. Twenty people have died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 879, with the fatality rate of 1.47 percent.

First reported US case of COVID-19 variant found in Colorado
The first reported U.S. case of the COVID-19 variant that's been seen in the United Kingdom has been discovered in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday, adding urgency to efforts to vaccinate Americans.
The variant was found in a man in his 20s who is in isolation southeast of Denver in Elbert County and has no travel history, state health officials said. Elbert County is a mainly rural area of rolling plains at the far edge of the Denver metro area that includes a portion of Interstate 70, the state's main east-west highway.
Colorado Politics reported there is a second suspected case of the variant in the state according to Dwayne Smith, director of public health for Elbert County. Both of the people were working in the Elbert County community of Simla. Neither of them are residents of that county _ expanding the possibility of the variant's spread throughout the state. The Colorado State Laboratory confirmed the virus variant, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was notified.

Year-end award shows under fire for inadequate preventive measures against COVID-19
Major broadcasting networks are facing blistering criticism for pushing ahead with their year-end award ceremonies despite the raised social distancing level in the wake of the worsening COVID-19 situation in Korea.
The organizers announced earlier that the events would be held in accordance with the government-imposed preventive measures by having no live audience, installing glass shields and establishing social distancing among participants.
But with the successive confirmed cases among celebrities and other workers in the entertainment industry as well as the rise in the number of asymptomatic infections, the public is questioning whether the ceremonies with multiple attendees gathered in enclosed spaces are justified.
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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Global COVID-19 tally exceeds 80 million, meaning 1 in 100 people have become infected
On Dec. 27, the global tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose above 80 million. That means the disease has spread to at least one of every 100 people around the world in the year since the pandemic began.
According to COVID-19 statistics provided by Johns Hopkins University, there were 80.33 million cases and 1.75 million fatalities as of Dec. 27. In effect, 1.02% of the global population has contracted COVID-19, assuming a global population of 7,834,870,000 people, as estimated by Worldometer.
Nearly a year has passed since the World Health Organization was informed of an unidentified form of pneumonia on Dec. 31, 2019.

Why are department stores expanding their VIP programs in the COVID era?
The gaudy decorations adorning the facades of South Korean department stores at the end of the year set the mood for Christmas. It’s no secret that the department stores spend a pretty penny on those decorations.
But that money isn’t spent in vain. Given the huge demand for presents at the end of the year, December is the most profitable month for department stores. That’s one reason the industry is nervous right now. If the government raises social distancing measures to Level 3, disease control regulations would force retail outlets to close.
Meanwhile, department stores have been reportedly going to great lengths to increase their number of VIP customers. Why would they be doing that at a time when people are minimizing their in-person shopping?

3 factors behind the Blue House’s vaccine fiasco
For several days now, the Blue House has been responding testily to criticism that it was too slow to secure supplies of COVID-19 vaccines. On Dec. 22, Blue House officials released a document detailing how South Korean President Moon Jae-in had given instructions to develop and secure a supply of vaccines and treatments no fewer than 13 times since April. And then on Dec. 23, they publicly refuted media reports claiming that the Blue House had taken a hands-off approach with the vaccine task force.
Even considering that some criticism has been excessive and some claims have been incorrect, the Blue House’s response probably won’t be enough to ease public concerns. In the end, the crux of the problem is that Koreans don’t have access to a vaccine yet, while people in other countries do. So where and how did things go wrong?
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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Korea Secures 10 Million More Moderna Vaccines
Korea has secured 20 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from U.S. biotech giant Moderna that will be available here from the second quarter of 2021.
The government had originally negotiated only 10 million doses with Moderna. But after an outcry here over the government's failure to secure timely supplies, President Moon Jae-in spoke by video call for half an hour on Tuesday night with Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel and secured another 10 million doses.
Cheong Wa Dae spokeswoman Kang Min-seok said Bancel told Moon that he will do his best to send the vaccines quickly and that the contract could be signed before the end of this year.

Available Jobs for Graduates Dwindle
The employment rate for university graduates declined last year while the employment gap between men and women widened.
The employment rate of those with bachelor or higher degrees fell 0.6 percentage point to 67.1 percent. According to the Ministry of Education on Monday, 323,038 graduates or 67.1 percent of them found jobs last year.
The latest study was conducted among 550,354 graduates who received their diplomas between August 2018 and February 2019.

Coronavirus Fails to Dent Oversupply of Hairdressers
Over 4,000 hair salons went out of business nationwide from January to September, but hope springs eternal and another 5,600 opened.
There has long been an oversupply of hair salons because they are relatively cheap and easy to set up and require no great entrepreneurial creativity.
According to a report by KB Bank released last month, there has been a 28-percent increase in the number of hair salons in the last decade, and as of September there were 110,000 in operation. That is one hair salon for every 469 people, compared to one for every 5,000 in the U.S.
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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Kim Yo Jong set to be second-in-command of N. Korea
It has been reported that the South Korean government is paying close attention to Kim Yo Jong, the first Deputy Director of the Workers' Party of Korea, as the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his closest aide is likely to be appointed as a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee at the eighth Congress of the Workers' Party to be held in January next year.
Once Kim who was appointed as a candidate member of the Political Bureau to the surprise of many in 2017 becomes a member of the bureau at the age of 33, she will become the clear second-in-command of North Korea, rather than having influence in the background. The South Korean government believes that Kim Jong Un who established a one-man governance system at the seventh Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea in 2016, five years into his rule, will try to reinforce the governance system of the Workers’ Party led by the Kim brother and sister of the ”Mount Paektu Bloodline” at the next year’s party congress, the 10th year of his rule.

T Map Mobility is launched by SK Telecom
SK Telecom spun off its existing mobility business unit and officially launched T Map Mobility on Tuesday as its subsidiary. T Map Mobility will build a comprehensive mobility life platform, ranging from taxi haling, chauffeur service, and shared parking business to flying cars based on its alliance with Uber, the world’s biggest mobility platform. It will accelerate competition for innovations against existing mobility players, such as Kakao Mobility and SoCar, as well as Hyundai Motor Group and others pursuing mobility innovations, such as flying cars.
Based on South Korea’s No. 1 GPS service T Map, the new spin-off company will focus on taxi-hailing, chauffeur service, and shared parking platform; the expansion of T Map Auto, which is an in-car payment system installed in the models of Jaguar Cars, Land Rover, and Volvo; advertisements for insurance-affiliated products on T Map; and in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system. Its mid- to long-term goal is to provide flying car service to travel between Seoul and its nearby region in under 30 minutes.

Music hub to be created in Chang-dong, Seoul
Well-known music channels on YouTube, HIPHOPLE and OPCD, held unique auditions for two months from October where new musicians showcased new pieces sampling beats revealed by famous musicians.
The auditions featuring a new format was titled We Make Music 2020 (WMM 2020). The Seoul metropolitan government and the Dobong district government held the annual auditions for emerging musicians since 2018 but this year’s event was held online to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
New culture complexes focusing on music and new trends are opening up in Chang-dong, Dobong-gu, Seoul. The Seoul metropolitan government announced on Tuesday that public studio Eum and shared office Gongum opened their doors in the area.
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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
New Strain of COVID-19 Confirmed for the First Time in South Korea: Government to Tighten Quarantine
The new strain of the novel coronavirus currently spreading in the United Kingdom has been confirmed in South Korea for the first time. The new COVID variant is reportedly 1.4-1.7 times more contagious than the existing COVID-19 virus. The government decided to tighten quarantine measures to stop the spread of the variant in the nation, and all people entering the country must get tested before they are released from quarantine.
On December 28, the Central Disease Control Center announced that it confirmed the new strain of COVID-19 after the whole-genome sequencing of specimen from three members of a family that entered from the U.K. on December 22. The family was confirmed COVID-19-positive during inspections at the airport when entering the country and were put under quarantine, so there is little concern of the virus spreading to the local community.
However, the Disease Control Center is not ruling out the possibility of contagion in the plane they boarded, and are currently tracing contacts.

Fair Trade Commission Tells Delivery Hero to Sell Yogiyo If It Wants to Acquire Baemin
The Fair Trade Commission told the Germany company, Delivery Hero (DH), which operates the food delivery application Yogiyo to sell Yogiyo within six months if it wants to acquire Baedal Minjok (Baemin). The latest action followed the judgment that if DH owned both Baemin and Yogiyo, the number one and number two food delivery applications in domestic market shares, it would be a monopoly causing consumers and restaurants to suffer bigger damages.
On December 28, the Fair Trade Commission announced that it gave a conditional approval to the corporate merger of DH and Woowa Brothers, which runs Baemin. In a briefing this day, Chairperson Joh Sung-wook explained, “We made the decision to encourage synergy by combining the logistics technology of DH and the marketing capabilities of Woowa Brothers.” Last December, DH signed a contract to acquire approximately 88% of Woowa Brothers shares and applied for a corporate merger at the Fair Trade Commission. At the time, DH evaluated the corporate value of Woowa Brothers at $4 billion (approx. 4.7 trillion won), and this was the biggest merger and acquisition of a domestic Internet company.

One Out of Ten Cases of COVID-19 Were Transmitted at Hospitals and Long-term Care Centers
Clusters of COVID-19 cases are spreading in facilities vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, such as hospitals and long-term care centers. One out of every ten cases of COVID-19 that was confirmed in the last two weeks were transmitted in hospitals and long-term care centers. “Silent transmissions” have also continued, and authorities have been unable to trace the transmission route of three out of ten cases.
According to the Central Disease Control Center on December 27, of the 14,109 cases that occurred in the last two weeks, 10.5% were infected with the virus in hospitals and long-term care centers. This is a big increase compared with the 7.5% in the previous two weeks. The number of such cases has more than doubled from 679 to 1,477.
In a facility for the disabled in Songpa-gu, Seoul, forty cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the last two days. After 6 employees and clients who entered the facility on December 25 were found positive for COVID-19, authorities conducted diagnostic tests of all 181 people in the facility and confirmed 34 more cases. People suffering from mental and intellectual disabilities resided in this facility, closed off from society, and the city of Seoul believes the cluster of transmissions inside first started from an employee.
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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Kakao Mobility adds parking to biz portfolio via My Valet acquisition
Kakao Mobility Corp. under South Korea’s messenger app giant Kakao Corp., has acquired local parking and valet management system app developer My Valet to build up and differentiate its value chain on platform business.
According to multiple sources from the investment banking industry on Tuesday, Kakao Mobility recently purchased a full stake in My Valet for 7 billion won ($6.4 million) and is working on post-merger integration process. My Valet – founded in 2014 – offers parking management and valet parking service through remote system.
Kakao Mobility and My Valet have been in partnership before the latest deal, said an unnamed market official, adding that Kakao Mobility has decided to put the parking app developer under its direct control in a bid to enhance its parking services and create synergy.

Korea’s industrial activity rebounds in Nov, consumption in the doldrums
South Korea’s consumer spending stayed subdued for the second straight month in November while production and investment activities recovered on global electronics and IT component demand.
The seasonally adjusted mining and manufacturing output in November inched up 0.3 percent from a month ago after a 1.1 percent fall in October, Statistics Korea reported Wednesday. Against a year ago, it gained 0.5 percent.
Factory operation averaged 73.8 percent in November, similar to the previous month. Inventory levels fell 1.2 percent on month and 1.3 percent on year. Auto output plunged 8.8 percent, was offset by a 7.2 percent gain in semiconductors and 7.4 percent rise in electronic components, such as OLED display panels for smartphones and TVs.

Kia Motor’s labor union accepts wage freeze terms after pandemic-ridden year
Labor union of Kia Motors Corp. agreed to a salary freeze for the first time in 11 years and settle collective bargaining before the year ends, joining its bigger Hyundai Motor in peaceful labor settlement within the year.
Of the total 29,262 unionized workers, 27,050 participated in a vote on the final wage term tentatively agreed between Kia Motors’ union leaders and the company. About 58.6 percent or 15,856 voted in favor of the deal including a freeze in base wage, bonus compensation worth 150 percent of monthly wage, 1.2 million won ($1,080) in Covid-19 relief support and 1.5 million won worth market vouchers per person. Opposing votes accounted for 42.3 percent or 11,429.
The workers also agreed on a collective bargaining deal, with 55.8 percent of approval and 42.3 percent of disapproval. The last time Kia settled a wage freeze deal was in 2009 in the wake of a global financial crisis.

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What’s ticking around the world at this second?
See what the world media around the world have to report:

USA Today  www.usatoday.com  aallman@gannett.com
The New York Times  www.nytimes.com  inytletters@nytimes.com
Wall Street Journal  www.wsj.com  support@wsj.com  service@wsj-asia.com
Financial Times  www.ft.com  ean@ft.com
The Times  www.thetimes.co.uk  help@timesplus.co.uk
The Sun  www.thesun.co.uk  talkback@the-sun.co.uk
Chinese People's Daily  www.people.com.cn  kf@people.cn
China Daily  www.chinadaily.com.cn  circulation@chinadaily.com.cn
GwangmyeongDaily  www.gmw.cn  webmaster@gmw.cn
Japan's Yomiuri   www.yomiuri.co.jp  japannews@yomiuri.com
Asahi   www.asahi.com  customer-support@asahi.com
Mainichi   www.mainichi.jp
Le Monde  www.ilemonde.com
Italy LaRepubblica   www.quotidiano.repubblica.it  vittorio.zucconi@gmail.com
Germany Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitung   www.faz.net  anzeigen.ausland@faz.de
SüddeutscheZeitung   www.sueddeutsche.de  forum@sueddeutsche.de
Australia Brisbane Times  www.brisbanetimes.com.au  syndication@fairfaxmedia.com.au
Sydney Morning Herald   www.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports  www.colombiareports.com
Bogota Free Planet  www.bogotafreeplanet.com  bfp@bogotafreeplanet.com
El Universal  www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Andes  www.redaktionstest.net/andes-info-ec/
Ecuador Times  www.ecuadortimes.net/
The Jordan Times  www.jordantimes.com/
LSM.lv  www.lsm.lv/
The Baltic Times  www.baltictimes.com lithuania@baltictimes.com, estonia@baltictimes.com, editor@baltictimes.com
El Pais  https://english.elpais.com/
Philippine Daily Inquirer  www.inquirer.net/
Daily News Hungary  https://dailynewshungary.com/
Budapest Times  www.budapesttimes.hu/
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The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.
Azerbaijan:
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR8CBpcQ4WM
Sri Lanka:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=hByX92Y2aGY&t=22s
Morocco:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfFmp2sVvSE
And many other countries.
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