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(LEAD) Entertainment, sports circles suspend, tone down events over ferry sinking

All Headlines 17:55 April 17, 2014

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; ADDS movements among sports leagues in last 6 paras)

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- In an expression of condolences to the victims of a ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, entertainment and sports circles on Thursday canceled or toned down most of their promotional activities scheduled for later in the week.

K-pop artists, major television networks and film agencies postponed their promotional events for new songs, TV shows and films, saying it would not be proper to hold these events at a time when the entire nation is in grief.

The confirmed death toll reached nine in the sinking, which is believed to be one of the country's deadliest offshore accidents as there are 287 people still unaccounted for amid growing fears they are trapped inside the sunken ship.

Hours after the accident was reported, EXO, a popular boy band, called off media interviews scheduled for Thursday ahead of the release of its second mini-album "Overdose."

It remains unclear whether the group will perform in music programs run by major television networks as planned later this week.

Girl group Apink, which planned to hold a special event for fan club members on Saturday, also indefinitely postponed the event.

"We made the decision as we were unable to sing and dance before our fans as many people continue to suffer from the ferry sinking," the group told reporters through its management agency. "We'll announce the rescheduled date and venue of the event later," it added.

The film industry also canceled all VIP previews, press conferences and other promotional events planned for the week. The films affected included "The Fatal Encounter," a Korean historical thriller starring actor Hyun Bin; "Make Your Move," South Korean pop superstar BoA's English-debut film; Hollywood animated film "Rio 2"; and the Korean romance film "Obsessed."

The nation's major TV stations were no exception.

SBS canceled its plan to hold a news conference to promote a new weekend drama series on Thursday and postponed the broadcasting of the drama's first episode until a week from Saturday.

"We sincerely hope all the missing people return home safely," the crew of the series said in a press release.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said it will ask its teams to minimize the use of loudspeakers and to cancel cheerleaders' performances during their games this weekend.

The K League, which operates the nation's top two professional football leagues, said it has told all 22 clubs in those leagues to refrain from running promotional events and holding cheering performances during their weekend matches.

A second-division match scheduled for Sunday in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, has been postponed. Most of those that remain missing in the accident are students from a high school in Ansan.

Elsewhere, the Korea Minting, Security Printing and ID Card Operating Corp. (KOMSCO) postponed a promotional event with figure skater Kim Yu-na from Thursday to next Tuesday. The KOMSCO was to unveil commemorative medals for the former Olympic figure skating champ.

Athletes based in South Korea and abroad took to Twitter to send their condolences. Ryu Hyun-jin, a starting pitcher of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Major League Baseball (MLB), wrote, "I hope everyone will return safely to their family."

Jorge Cantu, a former major league outfielder currently playing for the Doosan Bears in the KBO, tweeted, "My condolences to all those families that lost their loved ones in this tragic ferry accident here in South Korea."


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