SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korean rapper Iron, disgraced by a string of assault and other scandals, was found dead at an apartment in Seoul on Monday, police said. Iron, whose real name is Chung Heon-chul, was found bleeding and lying on the grass by an apartment guard around 10:25 a.m. before being transported to hospital and pronounced dead, police said. Police opened an investigation into the exact cause of his death. The 28-year-old Iron gained fame after becoming a semifinalist in the third season of cable music channel Mnet's hip-hop audition program "Show Me the Money" in 2014. Iron was briefly detained last month for allegedly assaulting his 18-year-old roommate with a baseball bat at his home in the central Seoul ward of Yongsan. The roommate was reported to be Iron's student, who was living at his home to learn about music. In 2018, Iron was sentenced by a court to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, for punching his girlfriend in the h
SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- D.O., member of K-pop boy band EXO, has completed his mandatory military service and was officially discharged Monday. D.O., whose legal name is Doh Kyung-soo, was recently on his final leave and was discharged without having to return to his base, according to the military's COVID-19 guidelines, according to SM Entertainment. In a handwritten note posted on fan community Lysn, the 28-year-old thanked fans for waiting and said he will do his best in upcoming activities. D.O., who enlisted in July 2019, is the second EXO member to complete mandatory military service. Band member Xiumin was discharged last month. Members Chen and Suho are serving their terms. firstname.lastname@example.org
SEOUL, Jan. 24 (Yonhap) -- The music video for "Dynamite," the historic BTS song that topped the Billboard's main singles chart last year, has earned 800 million YouTube views, the band's agency said Sunday. YouTube views for "Dynamite" hit 800 million views at 12:26 p.m. on Sunday, becoming the septet's sixth music video to reach the milestone, according to Big Hit Entertainment. The feat came just a month after it earned 700 million views, it added. "Dynamite," an upbeat disco-pop track that was sung in English, has rewritten history in many ways. It earned the seven-piece band its first career No. 1 on the Billboard's main singles chart and stayed there for months. The septet also received its first Grammy nomination in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category with "Dynamite." The awards ceremony is slated for March 14 (U.S. time). Upon its release, the music video for the hit song earned 101 million views in just 24 hours, setting a record as the most-watched musi
SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean diplomat has defected to South Korea while serving as the acting chief of mission at the country's embassy in Kuwait, a source said Monday. Ryu Hyun-woo, who had served as the embassy's charge d'affaires since Ambassador So Chang-sik was expelled from Kuwait after a U.N. resolution was adopted in 2017, entered South Korea, along with his family, according to the source. Further details were not available, including the timing of the defection. But a media report earlier said that Ryu appears to have defected to the South in September 2019, about two months after Jo Song-gil, the acting ambassador to the North's embassy in Italy, entered the country after disappearing in late 2018. Some presumed that Ryu is a son-in-law of Jon Il-chun, who once served as the head of Office 39, an organization known to be the "personal safe" of North Korean leaders used in managing secret funds and procuring luxury goods. Ryu reportedly decide
SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases bounced back to over 400 again on Monday due to a large-scale cluster infection linked to a religious training facility, as the country is set to decide whether to extend or lower its toughest-ever virus curbs this week. The country added 437 more COVID-19 cases, including 405 locally transmitted infections, raising the total caseload to 75,521, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). The figure was up from 392 on Sunday. Last week, the daily infections reached 392.6 on average. The rebound came amid an ongoing cluster infection at a religious educational facility in the central city of Daejeon, 164 kilometers south of Seoul, where 127 confirmed cases had been reported as of Sunday. In South Korea, the third wave of COVID-19 infections reached its peak on Dec. 25, with the daily new cases touching a record high of 1,241. Later this week, health authorities plan
SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- A North Korean propaganda media outlet has mentioned Joe Biden's election as U.S. president for the first time over the weekend, though official state media have stayed mum on his administration. DPRK Today, one of the North's propaganda websites, made the mention of Biden on Saturday, citing a report from Jaju Sibo, a pro-unification online media outlet in South Korea. "The U.S. Congress failed to declare Biden as the president on this day and had to confirm Biden as the winner the following day," DPRK Today said, referring to the insurrection at the Capitol on the day Congress was set to certify Biden as the new president. This marks the first time a North Korean media outlet has mentioned Biden's victory since he won the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 7 (Washington time). North Korean media outlets had remained mum on the issue even when its closest ally Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of congratulations to Biden on Nov. 25.
(ATTN: RECASTS headlines, lead; ADDS more info in paras 5-6; photo) SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases bounced back to over 400 again on Monday due to large-scale cluster infections linked to religious training facilities, as the country is set to decide whether to extend or lower its toughest-ever virus curbs later this week. The country added 437 more COVID-19 cases, including 405 locally transmitted infections, raising the total caseload to 75,521, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). The figure was up from 392 on Sunday. Last week, the daily infections reached 392.6 on average. The rebound came amid an ongoing cluster infection at a religious educational facility in the central city of Daejeon, 164 kilometers south of Seoul, where 127 confirmed cases had been reported as of Sunday. Another religious educational facility in Gwangju, 329 kilometers south of Seoul, reported 23 virus cases last weekend.
SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court has allowed the import of lifesize dolls, saying such sex toys for personal use do not corrupt public morals. According to the Seoul Administrative Court on Monday, it has recently overturned a decision by Gimpo International Airport's customs office to block the import of a mannequin. In January 2020, a local company tried to import one sex doll from China through the airport in Gimpo, western Seoul. But the gateway's customs authorities put the entry on hold, saying that the material would harm public morals. It took legal action against the decision as its petition to the Korea Customs Service has been shelved. "We don't see this item as explicitly depicting body parts or sexual conduct that it gravely damages or distorts human dignity," the administrative court said in its ruling. "It is not an example of materials that corrupt public morals." It said sex toys are used in a personal area and the state should not interfer
(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 4-7) SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- State and local health authorities remained on heightened alert Monday as a new coronavirus outbreak at an unauthorized missionary school reported over the weekend has infected more than 120 students and faculty. The number of infected people at IEM School, an unauthorized Christian missionary training school in Daejeon, 164 kilometers south of Seoul, stood at 127, according to health authorities. The outbreak was first reported on Saturday. The school is a boarding facility that recruits teenagers aged 16 to 18 to primarily train them as international Christian missionaries, although they also teach general curriculum, such as Korean, English, math and science. The school is operated by a missionary society called IM. According to authorities, the small living space relative to the number of students was critical to the fast speed of transmissions. According to the Daejeon city government, the 120
(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in last 3 paras; ADDS photo) SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea aims to get 70 percent of its population inoculated by September and start the first vaccination next month, with so-called "herd immunity" here predicted to be created by November, health authorities said Monday. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) announced a set of core tasks for this year, which includes providing free COVID-19 vaccines to all nationals to form herd immunity by November. The government has already secured COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate 56 million people under the World Health Organization's global vaccine COVAX Facility project and separate contracts with four foreign drug firms. Also, the government is close to signing a contract to secure additional new coronavirus vaccines for 20 million people from U.S. drug manufacturer Novavax Inc. The vaccine program will be more than enough to vaccinate the country's population of 52 m