Headline, January 27, 2022
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Headline, January 27, 2022
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2022.01.27 15:25
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Thursday, January 27, 2022

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

The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
Ven. Hyangdeok receives Voluntary Service Medal from U.S. President

Venerable Chief Abbot Hyangdeok of the Cheonman-sa Buddhist Temple in Ulsan received a Voluntary Service Medal from the President of the United States of America. The Medal was presented in a ceremony hosted by Korea Nobel Foundation at the Center Mark Hotel in Seoul on Jan. 19, 2022. The citation is known to be awarded only to American citizens. Ven. Hyangdeok received this citation as an honorary citizen of California, and Secretary-General Yoo Jae-ki of the Korea Nobel Foundation delivered it directly to Ven. Hyangdeok at the ceremony on that day. Statistics in South Korea show that there are some 7.62 million Buddhist believers in South Korea and in the past (2005) they were known to total 10.73 million. It means that at the time every third person in Korea was a Buddhist believer considering the fact that the population then is estimated at 30 million.

 

Embassy of Ukraine hosts photo exhibition, “Exploring Ukraine through Money”

A special exhibition entitled, “Exploring Ukraine through money: from the Kyiv Rus to the Euromaidan,” opened in the capital of the Republic of Korea, Seoul, on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ukraine and the Republic of Korea (celebrated on February 10, 2022). The project was realized by the Bank of Korea with the support of the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Korea, the National Bank of Ukraine and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. The exhibition is being held at the Bank of Korea Money Museum, situated in the center of Seoul and receiving more than 2 million Korean and foreign visitors each year.

 

FACO Boseong Branch is the root of Boseong arts and culture

Seo Jeong-mi was inaugurated as the third chairman of the Boseong Branch of the Federation of Artistic & Cultural Organization of Korea (FACO) in a ceremony held at the auditorium of the Boseong Social Welfare Center on April 2, 2021. The inauguration ceremony was simplified in compliance with the COVID-19 quarantine guidelines. Delivering an inauguration speech, Chairman Seo Jeong-mi said, "I will make Boseong Branch the center of arts and culture in Boseong-gun where artists and residents will unite.” On that day, Chairman Seo received 300 kg of rice and daily necessities as the congratulatory presents and showed a beautiful good deed by donating them to neighbors who need help.

 

 

                                                                                                             

KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/service)

JCS: N. Korea Fires Unidentified Projectile toward East Sea

The Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS) said Thursday that North Korea fired an unidentified projectile toward the East Sea earlier in the day. The JCS announced it in a text message to reporters at around 8:05 a.m. but details have yet to be disclosed.  Military authorities are reportedly analyzing the launch, such as the range and type of projectile.  The launch comes just two days after the regime launched two projectiles presumed to be cruise missiles. It also marks the North's sixth provocation this year, including four rounds of ballistic missile tests. The military usually discloses launches to the media quickly when it detects a ballistic missile.

 

Lee Pledges Political Reforms, Yoon Underlines Value of National Identity

The ruling Democratic Party(DP) presidential candidate pledged vast political reforms, while his main opposition People Power Party(PPP) rival called for a clear understanding of national identity for national security. At party headquarters on Wednesday, DP candidate Lee Jae-myung announced that he will form a united government to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and appoint talented people regardless of party faction or age. Lee said he plans to launch the youngest Cabinet in history, consisting of ministers in their 30s and 40s overseeing the areas of science and technology, environment, energy, artificial intelligence(AI) and digitization. The DP candidate also said he would consider receiving public and parliamentary recommendations in naming his prime minister.

 

Court Grants Injunction, Halting Holiday TV Debate between Lee, Yoon

A Seoul court has granted an injunction sought by minor People's Party presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo to stop the three main terrestrial broadcasters from airing a debate featuring only the contenders of the top two political parties. The Seoul Western District Court on Wednesday ruled that KBS, MBC and SBS should not exclude Ahn from their televised debate. Ruling Democratic Party's(DP) Lee Jae-myung and main opposition People Power Party's(PPP) Yoon Suk Yeol had previously agreed with the broadcasters to hold the one-on-one debate either on Sunday or Monday. While the court recognized the broadcasters' autonomy in hosting debates under the election law, it ruled that there must be some limitations to the selection of participants, noting the importance of the debate’s impact on campaigns.


                                                                                                               

 

Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)

N. Korea fires unidentified projectile toward East Sea: S. Korean military

North Korea fired an unidentified projectile toward the East Sea on Thursday, South Korea's military said, in Pyongyang's sixth such launch this year. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) announced the launch in a text message sent to reporters. It did not elaborate. Pyongyang apparently test-fired at least two cruise missiles from an inland area Tuesday following four reported rounds of weapons tests, including hypersonic missile launches on Jan. 5 and 11. The recent bouts of the North's saber-rattling came as the United States has been stepping up sanctions pressure amid a protracted deadlock in its nuclear negotiations with the recalcitrant regime.

 

Broadcasters propose four-way presidential debate on Jan. 31 or Feb. 3

The three main broadcasters proposed Wednesday the four main presidential candidates hold a TV debate either on Jan. 31 or Feb. 3 after a court ruled against it being held one-on-one between the two leading contenders. The ruling Democratic Party (DP) said KBS, SBS and MBC offered to jointly host the debate from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Jan. 31 or on Feb. 3 in a notice sent to the four political parties affiliated with each candidate. The broadcasters asked that the parties respond by 6 p.m. Thursday, it said. The DP and main opposition People Power Party (PPP) previously proposed a debate between their respective nominees, Lee Jae-myung and Yoon Suk-yeol, that would have been aired by the three broadcasters Sunday or Monday.

 

Courts grant requests to stop TV debate between Lee, Yoon
Two courts on Wednesday ruled in favor of minor presidential candidates Ahn Cheol-soo and Sim Sang-jeung, respectively, in lawsuits they filed to stop TV stations from hosting a televised debate exclusively between the top two mainstream rivals. The Seoul Western District Court said the country's three major broadcasters -- MBC, KBS and SBS -- should not exclude Ahn of the People's Party from their TV debate for presidential candidates. In a separate suit launched by Sim of the Justice Party, the Seoul Southern District Court also ruled that the TV networks cannot proceed with the debate without Sim's participation.

 

                                                                                  

 

The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)

Seoul faces conundrum over option of North Korea preemptive strike

If South Korea faces an imminent attack from nuclear-armed North Korea, what is the most viable military option to defend the country and prevent incalculable and irreparable damage? Seoul-based experts say South Korea would have no option but to consider launching a preemptive strike, although the anticipatory use of force would come with a certain price. That price could far outweigh potential gains, experts say. But the bigger problem is Pyongyang‘s mounting artillery, missile and nuclear threats that not only make a preemptive strike plan more indispensable, but also restrain Seoul’s preemptive strike capabilities.

 

‘Tech-driven flexibility’: What are Lee Jae-myung’s plans for pandemic?

South Koreans can expect a mellower third year of the pandemic, enabled by greater use of technology, with Lee Jae-myung in charge, according to the frontwoman for the Democratic Party of Korea presidential candidate’s COVID-19 response team. Rep. Shin Hyun-young, who is leading the ruling Democratic Party of Korea’s COVID-19 emergency response headquarters, told The Korea Herald that “Lee Jae-myung will make the most of technology to allow for a flexible response to the pandemic that doesn’t strain people’s lives like we have so far.”

 

Companies fret over new industrial accident law

South Korean companies are fretting over a new industrial safety law that goes into effect Thursday, voicing concerns over the law’s lack of clarity and “excessive penalties” to hold CEOs accountable for fatal industrial accidents.  According to the Serious Accident Punishment Act, which targets companies with more than 50 employees, business owners or management held responsible could face a criminal penalty of a minimum one-year prison term or fines of up to 1 billion won ($835,000) for fatal industrial accidents under circumstances where safety measures are deemed insufficient.

 

                                                                                    

 

The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)

North Korea fires unidentified projectile toward East Sea: South Korean military

North Korea fired an unidentified projectile toward the East Sea on Thursday, South Korea's military said, in Pyongyang's sixth such launch this year. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) announced the launch in a text message sent to reporters. It did not elaborate. Pyongyang apparently test-fired at least two cruise missiles from an inland area Tuesday following four reported rounds of weapons tests, including hypersonic missile launches on Jan. 5 and 11. The recent bouts of the North's saber-rattling came as the United States has been stepping up sanctions pressure amid a protracted deadlock in its nuclear negotiations with the recalcitrant regime.

 

Fed plans to raise rates starting in March to cool inflation

The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it will begin a series of interest-rate hikes in March, reversing pandemic-era policies that have fueled hiring and growth ― and stock market gains ― but also stubbornly high inflation. Chair Jerome Powell said at a news conference that inflation has gotten ''slightly worse'' since the Fed last met in December. He said raising the Fed's benchmark rate, which has been pegged at zero since March 2020, will help prevent high prices from becoming entrenched. Seeking to calm fears that higher rates might hurt the economy, Powell said the central bank can manage the process in a way that prolongs growth and keeps unemployment low. ''I think there is quite a bit of room to raise interest rates without threatening the labor market,'' he said.

 

Omicron surge sparks distrust in vaccine

Korea saw the number of daily coronavirus infections surpass 10,000 for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic, driven up by the highly transmissible Omicron variant. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said Tuesday's tally stood at 13,012, including 12,743 local transmissions, breaking the all-time record of 8,571 daily infections set the previous day. Of the total cases, 8,154 were reported from Seoul and its surrounding areas, with 3,110 cases in Seoul, 4,184 in Gyeonggi Province and another 860 in the western port city of Incheon. The highly contagious Omicron variant took over as the dominant coronavirus strain last week, less than two months after it was first identified in the country on Dec.1.

 

                                                                                                               

 

Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
COVID Infections Surpass 10,000

Daily coronavirus infections surged to a record 10,312 as of Wednesday morning due to the rapid spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant. More than a half of them or some 8,278 cases were in the Seoul metropolitan area with 4,221 in Gyeonggi Province, 3,178 in Seoul and 879 in Incheon. The average over the past week stood at 7,127 a day, up 68.4 percent compared to the previous seven days. The surge has led to a sharp increase in people being quarantined at home but not necessarily in serious cases or deaths. As of Monday, 32,505 people were self-isolating at home, up from 21,610 on Jan. 20. Health experts warned the current lockdown and quarantine measures will not be sufficient to curb soaring infections which would peak just after the Lunar New Year.
 

Korea to Evacuate Citizens from Ukraine
The government plans to evacuate some Korean residents from Ukraine starting this week as the threat of a Russian invasion increases. According to Korean expats there, the Korean Embassy held an emergency meeting in Kyiv on Monday and decided to evacuate 50 citizens including children, students and senior citizens. Around 800 Korean nationals live in Ukraine. One Korean resident there said, "Some of them have already started to pack up. They're going to board planes to Korea until next week." The government is evacuating 15 Korean households in total who live close to the border with Russia, where military clashes are most likely to happen. They will be moved to Kyiv first.
 

Did Seoul Miss Another N.Korea Missile Launch?
North Korea fired two projectiles that are presumed to be long-range cruise missiles on Tuesday morning. It was the regime's fifth missile provocation this year and the first show of force since it threatened to resume nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile testing on Jan. 20. The Joint Chiefs of Staff here called a press briefing only after media outlets already covered the launch and about six hours after the missiles were fired. "It's customary to let the public know only about the North's firing of ballistic missiles," a military spokesman claimed. The JCS added it cannot make public "their exact launch site, range, and the direction in which they were fired" for the purpose of protecting the surveillance assets of South Korea and the U.S. But there is speculation that the military here actually failed to detect them.

                                                                                                

HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)

S. Korea could see 30,000 COVID-19 cases per day by next month

As the Omicron variant continues to spread in Korea, the number of daily cases has exceeded 9,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The surge in new cases is prompting concerns that daily case numbers could reach up to 200,000 by March. Although health authorities are planning on shifting to the Omicron response system after the extended Lunar New Year holiday, some say the system should be implemented as soon as possible while also refining testing methods and at-home treatment options given the sharp increase in cases.

 

PPP breathes sigh of relief after acquittal of Yoon’s mother-in-law

On Tuesday, a South Korean appeals court acquitted the mother-in-law of Yoon Suk-yeol on charges of defrauding the government during the establishment of a healthcare facility. The acquittal of the woman, only identified by her surname Choi, clears away much of the baggage weighing down Yoon, who is running for president on the conservative People Power Party (PPP) ticket. Members of the PPP expressed relief that some of the liabilities surrounding Yoon have been dealt with before the extended holiday for the Lunar New Year. Yoon Gang-yeol, a senior judge at the Seoul High Court, cleared Choi on charges of violating the Medical Service Act and committing fraud under the Act on the Aggravated Punishment of Specific Economic Crimes. That overturned a conviction in a district court that had sentenced Choi to three years in prison.

 

S. Korea’s 11-year high economic growth is good, but challenges lie ahead

The South Korean economy grew 4% last year — its highest rate in 11 years. This growth was the result of painstaking efforts by various economic actors, including the government and companies as well as individual households, amid the unprecedented catastrophe of COVID-19. But in terms of the average growth rate for the past two years, we have yet to recover to pre-COVID levels. Moreover, we face not only continued uncertainties with the pandemic this year, but also a host of other obstacles including economic slowdowns in the US and China, long-term inflation trends, and financial austerity.

 

                                                                                    

 

The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)

Argument for retirement of 86 group’ falls on deaf ears

Despite ruling Democratic Party of Korea leader Song Young-gil’s announcement to not run for the next general elections, the ‘argument for the retirement of 86 group’ – referring to those who entered college in the 80s and were born in the 60s – is not garnering attention. While there is no more movement for an additional announcement to give up on running a presidential election, there are differing opinions within the ruling party regarding the argument. The essence of the argument is to withdraw the old system of vested rights,” Kim Jong-min, the member of the Democratic Party of Korea who first publicly suggested the argument, said during an interview with MBC Radio on Wednesday.

 

Drug smuggling via international mail sharply increases

Smuggled drugs seized by South Korea’s customs agency hit a record high of 1,272 kilograms last year, the amount enough to be administered one dose each to an entire population. The spike in drug smuggling is considered to be attributable to prolongation of COVID-19 and overseas travel restrictions, as a result of which drug smugglers have turned to express cargo and international air mail. The South Korean customs authority announced on Tuesday that a total of 1,054 cases of drug smuggling were caught, weighing 1,272 kilograms, the largest in size since the customs office opened. The number of drug smuggling cases increased by 51% and the amount of seized drugs up by 757% compared to the previous year.

 

Going to prison in case of election loss’ is not about me,’ says Lee

The presidential candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea Lee Jae-myung said it was not about him when he said he would be sent to prison in case of election loss. The People Power Party criticized Lee for changing his words. Regarding the ‘prison’ statement during an interview with YTN on Monday, which has become controversial, Lee said it was his way of expressing concerns about the reopening of the Republic of Prosecution if Yoon Suk-youl, the presidential candidate of the People Power Party, wins. He added that it was not about himself. He meant he was worried about the prosecution gaining power, including Yoon, rather than about his personal matters.
                                                                                                 

 

The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)

We’re in for a Massive Wave of Over 10,000 Cases: 13,012 New Daily Cases of COVID-19

The Central Disease Control Headquarters announced that as of midnight January 26, they have confirmed 13,012 new cases of COVID-19 from the previous day. This was the first time that authorities confirmed over 10,000 cases in one day, another record high. Among the newly confirmed cases, 12,743 were transmitted in the local community, while 269 cases entered the country from overseas. A regional analysis of cases contracted in the local community showed that 64.0% (8,154) of the cases occurred in the Seoul metropolitan area with 3,110 cases confirmed in Seoul, 4,184 in Gyeonggi, and 860 in Incheon. Authorities also confirmed 548 cases in Busan, 664 in Daegu, 392 in Gwangju, 366 in Daejeon, 142 in Ulsan, 76 in Sejong, 158 in Gangwon, 243 in Chungcheongbuk-do, 417 in Chungcheongnam-do, 293 in Jeollabuk-do, 284 in Jeollanam-do, 438 in Gyeongsangbuk-do, 531 in Gyeongsangnam-do, and 51 in Jeju.

 

Former Captain of ROKS Gang Gam-chan Demoted from Captain to Commander for Failing to Protect Dead Soldier from Mobbing

Last year, a Navy soldier on the ROKS Gang Gam-chan died after suffering from mobbing by his senior soldiers. The captain, who was the commanding officer at the time, and the executive officer both received severe penalties for failing to protect the victim. It is highly unusual for a commanding officer to be demoted for failing to implement measures to protect soldiers. On January 26, the Navy announced, “On December 20, we enforced severe penalties and demoted Captain A, captain of the ROKS Gang Gam-chan, who was subject to a disciplinary committee last November.” Thus Captain A has been demoted to the rank of commander.

 

Sexual Offense Case Reported Against the Victim’s Wishes: Controversial Military Guideline on Mandatory Sexual Trauma Counseling Report

The Ministry of National Defense instructed civilian counselors to immediately report any incidents of sexual violence to the military when they confirmed such cases. The purpose was to enable quick action by blocking any attempt to conceal such incidents and to separate the victim from her assailant, but it also poses the risk of exposing the victim’s identity, who may not want her case to be known, along with the details of the incident to her unit. It could also further isolate the victim, who may avoid counseling because of such concerns. According to the Kyunghyang Shinmun coverage on January 24, the defense ministry established “Guidelines on Implementing the Victim Support Policy Before Reporting the Case to an Investigative Agency” last August and distributed them throughout the military.

 

                                                                                                

 

Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)

LGES, GM adding 3rd battery plant in US at $2.6bn to boost capacity to 120GWh

South Korea’s LG Energy Solution (LGES) which could immediately become one of the most expensive Korean stocks upon listing on Thursday confirmed third battery joint-venture in the United States with General Motors at a total cost of $2.6 billion. Ultium Cells, a joint venture of LGES and GM announced Tuesday a $2.6 billion investment to build their third plant in Lansing, Michigan. The factory on 2.8 million square foot facility will be built on land leased from GM. Site preparation will begin this summer for completion in late 2024, it said.

 

Seoul to adjust FX dealing system to bid for upgrade to MSCI developed index

South Korea is studying to lengthen foreign exchange trading hours and allow offshore dealers to directly trade currencies in the local FX market as part of efforts to upgrade Korean shares to the developed category on the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) index. During a ministerial meeting for external economic policies on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said the government is adjusting FX trade hours and rules to enable greater access by foreign institutions without risking market stability.

 

KDIC tapping stakeholders to sell remaining 5.8% in Woori Financial Group

State-run Korea Deposit Insurance Corp (KDIC) has tapped financial stakeholders in Woori Financial Group to divest the remaining 5.8 percent government stake in the lender rescued with 12.8 trillion won ($11 billion) in the wake of 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis. Eugene Private Equity and other funds that bought combined 9.33 percent stake in December last year have been asked whether they were up for buying additional stake through institutions that last managed the sale. The extra shares would be offered through a competitive auction as in the past sales or in after-trade block sale depending on demand.


                                                                                                                  

 

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 Heraldwww.smh.com.au

Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com

Bogota Free Planet http://bogotafreeplanet.combfp@bogotafreeplanet.com

El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english

Andes http://www.andes.info.ec/en

Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net

The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com

LSM.lv http://www.lsm.lv/en

The Baltic Times http://www.baltictimes.com lithuania@baltictimes.com, estonia@baltictimes.com, editor@baltictimes.com

El Pais http://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html

Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net

Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com

Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
                                                                                                               

 

The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.

Azerbaijan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR8CBpcQ4WM

Sri Lanka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hByX92Y2aGY&t=22s

Morocco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfFmp2sVvSE

And many other countries.
 

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