Tuesday, February 23, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
New Uzbekistan on the way of ongoing reforms
Last year the Uzbek people has celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Independence. During last 5 years the large-scale creative and improving work is being carried out on the idea “New Uzbekistan”. Human rights protection is considered one of the priorities of our state policy. Today the country has a stable political system that meets the modern criteria of democracy and human rights, and the legislative, executive and judicial authorities at all levels are actively working to strengthen respect for human rights and to promote human rights education throughout the country. But the most important is that the Uzbek society maintains respect for the principles of the Rule of law and human rights.
NIKOM strives to spread “K-Medicine” to the world, following K-Pop, K-Food
"The National Institute for Korean Medicine Development (NIKOM) wants to contribute to the creation of a new Korean Wave culture and the development of the K-cultural industry by discovering, modernizing, and industrializing Korean Medicine." said President Jeong Chang-hyun of NIKOM. In an exclusive interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985, President Jeong said, “We will spare no effort to help mankind redefine values for life and acquire a healthy way of life through the routinization and popularization of Korean Medicine.
Celebrating the 23rd International Mother Language Day
The embassy and KNCU organized a discussion meeting and a cultural event at UNESCO Hall(11F) in Seoul to mark the occasion. About 200 people, including diplomats and journalists, attended the meeting and cultural event hosted by the embassy and the Korean Cultural Center. In opening remark by H.E. Mr. M. Delwar Hossain, Ambassador of Bangladesh to the Republic of Korea, he said: “Bangladesh is home to 27 small ethnic communities speaking 42 etho-languages Only 10 of these languages have orthography or script About 15 laguages are now endangered at varying gegres A couple of languages are spoken by less than 50 people and have no orthography Scenario in other parts of the world seems to be similar, if not worse According to experts, 50% of the 7,000 languages currenly spoken in the world may not survive at the turn of the century.
Gov't Begins Cash Payouts for COVID-Stricken Small Businesses
Cash payouts for small business owners who incurred losses in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic will begin Wednesday. The Ministry of SMEs and Startups said that three-point-32 million small merchants will each receive three million won in relief money from Wednesday as the National Assembly passed an extra budget bill on Monday that included the provision. Eligible enterprises must have started business before December 15 of last year and are in operation as of January 17 of this year with annual sales below three billion won. Restaurants, cafes and indoor sport facilities, which were subject to the business curfew, may receive the payouts without providing any documentation proving lost revenue.
Overseas Voting for Presidential Election Begins
Overseas voting for the 2022 presidential election started on Wednesday in over 100 countries, continuing for six days until February 28. According to the National Election Commission, overseas voters will be able to cast their ballots at 177 diplomatic offices and 219 polling stations across 115 countries between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The number of eligible overseas Korean voters is estimated at about 226-thousand. Absentee voting will not, however, take place in Ukraine due to the escalating tensions there involving Russia. To vote, citizens must provide photo identification, such as a passport or resident registration card.
Ex-Lawmaker Kwak Indicted for Bribery Linked to Development Scandal
Former lawmaker Kwak Sang-do has been referred to trial on charges of bribery related to the Daejang-dong land development scandal. Prosecutors indicted the former opposition lawmaker on Tuesday on charges of accepting bribes from an asset management firm at the center of the scandal. The firm allegedly transferred the funds to his son, whom it employed, under the guise of severance pay. He faces three charges, including bribery and violation of the Public Fund Act. Kwak reportedly received five billion won from Hwacheon Daeyu in April of last year in return for helping the company form a consortium with Hana Bank related to the development project.
Moon says Ukraine's sovereignty must be respected
President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that Ukraine's sovereignty must be respected and South Korea will join efforts for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Moon made the remarks during a National Security Council meeting convened after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of troops to two breakaway regions in Ukraine after recognizing their independence. "Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected," he said. "Countries around the world must come together and work for a swift and peaceful resolution to the situation in Ukraine.
Overseas voting kicks off in presidential election
Overseas voting in the March 9 presidential election kicked off Wednesday for a six-day run, the election watchdog said. A total of 226,162 overseas South Korean nationals, who are registered as absentee voters, will be eligible to vote at 219 polling stations set up by 177 overseas missions in 115 countries between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day, according to the National Election Commission. Voting will not take place at the South Korean Embassy in Ukraine, however, given the escalating security crisis. After overseas voting closes, sailors will cast their ballots aboard their ships from March 1-4.
S. Korea reports over 150,000 daily COVID-19 cases for 1st time
South Korea's new COVID-19 infections surpassed 150,000 for the first time Tuesday amid the fast spread of the omicron variant across the country. According to health authorities and local governments, a total of 158,005 cases had been confirmed nationwide as of 9 p.m., up 60,070 from 97,935 posted the same time the previous day. The previous daily high was set last Friday at 109,823. The total number for Tuesday is expected to rise further, as daily cases are counted until midnight and announced the following morning.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Moon says Ukraine’s sovereignty must be respected
Amid mounting fears of a Russian incursion into Ukraine, President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that Ukraine’s sovereignty must be respected and Korea will actively participate in peace efforts for the nation.“Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial preservation must be respected and peaceful solutions should be actively sought through dialogue,” Moon said, presiding over an unscheduled joint meeting of the National Security Council and the Foreign Economic Security Strategy Council after the Kremlin ordered Russian troops into separatist-held parts of eastern Ukraine on Monday.
Market volatility escalates on Ukraine worries
Market volatility escalated Tuesday on news that Russia ordered troops into separatist-held eastern Ukraine, dragging down the nation’s stock indexes as well as virtual assets and sparking concerns that the geopolitical unrest is likely to expand short-term uncertainty in the financial market. The benchmark Kospi ended lower Tuesday as investors raced to dump risky assets, falling to 2,706.79 points, down 1.35 percent or 37.01 points from Monday’s closing.
Can the Korean won become a reserve currency?
Presidential nominee Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea claimed that the South Korean won is close to becoming a reserve currency, a comment that was immediately met with a huge uproar and mocked. During a presidential debate Monday, Lee said he is aware of a report that South Korea is close to seeing its local currency become a reserve currency like the US dollar, which will enable the country to increase its budgetary spending and raise the national debt level without worries.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Rival candidates seek different strategies to mend ties with Japan
South Korea's relations with Japan, its closest neighbor geographically with the exception of North Korea, have been put to the test under the Moon Jae-in administration after sinking to an unprecedented low. Two leading presidential candidates, Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP), have presented starkly contrasting views of the causes of soured relations and how the two countries can mend the frayed ties. The two sides also revealed significant differences in their diagnosis of the current South Korea-Japan relations.
Defying West, Putin orders troops to Ukraine rebel regions
President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into two Moscow-backed rebel regions of Ukraine on Monday, defying Western threats of sanctions in a move that could set off a potentially catastrophic war with Kyiv. Earlier, the Kremlin leader recognized the independence of two rebel-held areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine, paving the way for an operation to deploy part of the potential invasion force he has massed around the country. In two official decrees, Putin instructed the defence ministry to assume "the function of peacekeeping" in the separatist-held regions.
Moon's renewable energy push faces backlash
The Moon Jae-in administration's drive to increase the use of solar, wind and other renewable energy has been facing resistance from farmers, fishermen and environmental activists after spawning a range of side effects, according to critics, Tuesday. Fishermen are protesting the installation of wind power generators in the sea citing harm to the marine ecosystem and endangering their livelihoods. In addition, solar power generation facilities have been extensively installed in fields and on mountains, leading to opposition from residents of those areas for damaging the natural environment. Experts pointed out that the government is trying to forcefully increase the proportion of renewable energy in line with its plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
COVID Pills Made Available for More People
All Koreans over 40 who suffer from underlying diseases are now eligible for Pfizer's COVID pill Paxlovid. The government on Monday said it decided to change the age threshold from 50 to 40 for patients with compromised immune systems and some underlying diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney problems, asthma, cancer and obesity. Health authorities analyzed the recovery patterns of 364 COVID-19 patients who were given Paxlovid late last month. Most took the drug for five days but 12 had to stop taking the drug because of fever, changes in the ability to taste food, muscle aches and increased heart rate. None died.
Average Wage Earners Make W3.2 Million a Month
The average Korean wage earner made W3.2 million a month before taxes at the end of 2020, but men still earned substantially more than women (US$1=W1,192). Men made 1.5 times more than women, while employees of big conglomerates earned twice as much as workers in small companies. People in their 40s earned the most with W3.93 million, followed by those in their 50s (W3.71 million), 30s (W3.44 million), 20s (W2.29 million) and over 60 (W2.17 million). Statistics Korea data show that the average monthly wage stood at W3.2 million as of December, 2020, up 3.6 percent from 2019. But some 27.9 percent of salaried workers earned between W1.5 million and W2.5 million a month and 24.1 percent made less than W1.5 million.
Korean Conglomerates Snap up Ex-U.S. Gov't Officials
Korean companies are falling over themselves to hire former U.S. government officials for the sake of their real or perceived connections in high places, especially in marketing. The most prominent recent case is a former U.S. ambassador to Seoul who has no business experience. LG has hired Joseph Hagin, a former deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2008 and for President Donald Trump from 2017 to 2018, as co-president of its new office in Washington. Hagin is to take charge of lobbying the U.S. government and Congress. With LG's new office, all of the top four Korean conglomerates -- the others are Samsung, Hyundai, and SK -- now have offices in the U.S. capital.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
What do young S. Koreans think of candidates’ anti-China politics? We asked, they answered
On Feb. 14, the Hankyoreh kicked off a debate on the topic “Korea-China relations: How should we resolve things?” on its interactive online discussion forum for young voters. Right out of the gate, the discussion became heated. If China’s ‘culture project’ [attempts to claim other countries’ culture as its own] continues, we’re going to need to show our resolve with a ‘no China’ movement. We young people have to band together and drive Chinese games out of the gaming market and reduce our consumption of Chinese food and ‘made in China’ items,” wrote Yu Su-jin.
Sea of masks makes guarding presidential candidates tough
Presidential candidates Lee Jae-myung and Yoon Suk-yeol were on the campaign trail Friday, waving to and exchanging fist bumps with supporters as they made their way through the crowds in separate corners of the country. Closely attached to these smiling candidates and their staff, however, were men wearing earpieces, dressed in black suits with stony expressions. Although it wasn't easy to navigate through the large crowds of supporters, these men in black didn’t take their eyes off their respective candidates and teams, even for a moment..
Crisis in Ukraine and the Korean Peninsula on the brink of the unknown
Speaking about Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Friday, US President Joe Biden pronounced, “As of this moment, I’m convinced he has made the decision” to invade Ukraine. The remark came at a point when concerns that the Russian military swarming the Ukrainian border would soon begin its offensive were at their peak. There were even rumors about when and how the Russian military would invade Ukraine. So, on Friday, Biden finally commented on Putin’s “decision.” He said, “We have reason to believe that the Russian forces are planning to and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week — in the coming days.”
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Number of severe COVID cases in Korea increase 57% weekly
The number of severe COVID-19 cases in Korea is accelerating as the number of confirmed cases have exceeded two million. As of midnight on Monday, the number of severe patients being treated stands at 480, which is 57% higher than the previous week (306 as of Feb. 14). Based on data from four data estimation services, three of the data agencies predicted that the number of severe patients would exceed 1,000 by early March, according to the health authorities. Some predict that the figure would go up to 2,500.
Ahn visits hometown Busan for campaign
Ahn Cheol-soo, presidential candidate of the People Party who recently withdrew to merge campaigns with Yoon Suk-yeol of the main opposition People’s Power Party, visited his hometown of Busan on Tuesday as his first destination for his campaign trip outside of the Seoul metropolitan area. “We want change of government, not change of corruption. I will change everything,” said Ahn. Ahn’s two-day visit to Busan, Ulsan and South Gyeongsang areas focused on reaching out to the residents, he stressed that change of government would be meaningless if our lives did not get better.
Gov’t says COVID-19 will become endemic with Omicron
South Korean health authorities said the spread of the Omicron variant will mark the beginning of a COVID-19 endemic. “We are in the early stage of the transition to an endemic management system while continuing to monitor the risk level of the omicron variant. We still have a long way to go, but we’re on our way out of the woods,” Park Hyang, the head of the quarantine division at the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters, said at a regular briefing on Tuesday.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Lee Jae-myung Says “Talking to Yoon Seok-Youl Was Like Talking to a Wall” and “Sim Sang-jeung Is Leftist.” What about Ahn Cheol-soo?
On February 21, Lee Jae-myung, the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party of Korea described his argument with People Power Party candidate Yoon Seok-youl during the third TV debate the previous evening and said, “Honestly, I felt like I was talking to a wall.” He described the Justice Party candidate Sim Sang-jeung as a person who had a strong leftist idea that raising taxes was justice. Lee was more favorable toward Ahn Cheol-soo, the People’s Party candidate, claiming that Ahn conformed to the shift of an era that he mentioned.
Lee Jae-myung Pledges to Increase Domestic Investment of the Pension Fund and to Abolish the Securities Transaction Tax
On February 21, Democratic Party of Korea’s presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung pledged, “I, Lee Jae-myung, who properly knows the market, will protect the ‘ant investors’ and create new opportunities.” This day, Lee wrote a post on his social media account titled, “A Crisis Is an Opportunity: I Will Make Proper Changes to the Stock Market” and said, “If we can turn the crisis into momentum, we can completely change our country’s current stock market into something new.” Lee Jae-myung shared his diagnosis of the current situation and said, “Unfavorable external factors, such as the risk of war in Ukraine and predictions of an interest rate hike in the U.S., are fueling the anxiety in our stock market.
“I Will Uphold the Noble Wishes of Ahn Jung-geun” Ahn Cheol-soo Announces He Will Resume Presidential Campaign
On February 21, Ahn Cheol-soo, the presidential candidate of the People’s Party asserted his determination to resume his election campaign after announcing his visit to the Ahn Jung Geun Memorial Museum. This day, on social media, Ahn wrote, “On a cold windy morning yesterday, I went to the Ahn Jung Geun Memorial Museum in Namsan Mountain, Seoul,” and further elaborated, “As I was walking out of the memorial, I vowed once again to uphold the noble dying wishes of Ahn. I will resume my presidential campaign with the mind that I am starting over.”
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
In-game, payment NFTs categorized as crypto-assets subject to regulation
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) used in games and payment platforms meet the definition of crypto-assets, a Korean think tank said in a report, raising expectations of potential protection of NFT investors in a regulatory framework. An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects with unique properties like art, music, in-game items and videos and can be under only one ownership at a time that is secured by the blockchain technology, a distributed public ledger that records transactions.
Korea’s FTC orders streamlining in KAL-Asiana routes in return for M&A approval
South Korea`s antitrust watchdog granted the mega-merger of Korean Air Lines and Asiana Airlines to create a monopoly in full-service air transport on the condition of surrender in some of their overlapping slots and flight license over the next 10 years to ensure fair competition. The Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) on Tuesday okayed the 1.8 trillion won ($1.5 billion) marriage through Korean Air Lines’ purchase of 63.88 percent stake in smaller debt-ridden Asiana Airlines in return for “structural” streamlining by sharing some of their slots and flight permits with other players.
Seoul to expedite $83.6 bn in trade financing in H1 to stop trade deficit streak
The South Korean government will expedite 100 trillion won ($83.6 billion) in trade financing to stop the country’s firs trade deficit streak since early 2008 due to soaring commodity prices. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Finance on Tuesday hosted a meeting to promote exports with trade agencies and industrial organizations from major 12 sectors, including semiconductor and automobile. The meeting comes as Korea is expected to extend the trade deficit streak to the third consecutive month in February. Exports have been keeping up robust double-digit growth since March last year, but imports largely from spike in energy and commodity prices brimmed over outbound shipments to cause a trade deficit from December.
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Le Monde www.ilemonde.com
Sydney Morning Heraldwww.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com
El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com
Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
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