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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:05 January 18, 2016

The following is the second summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Monday.

Ruling party chief vows to win April general elections

SEOUL -- The leader of the ruling Saenuri Party apologized Monday for the parliament's failure to do its job as he vowed to win a sweeping victory in the April general elections.

"The 19th National Assembly is being criticized and assessed as the worst parliament ever," Chairman Kim Moo-sung said at a press conference. "I offer a word of apology as the leader of the ruling party."

Popular TV series 'Reply 1988' whets appetite for retro goods, family values

SEOUL -- The success of the TV series "Reply 1988" has translated into a widespread demand for retro goods and family values at a time when empathy between generations is harder to come by.

Set in the 1980s when South Korea underwent major political and economic changes, the series that ended Saturday struck a chord with those yearning for the good old days. Perhaps more importantly though, it managed to captivate younger generations with a storyline and characters they could identify with.

U.S. envoy demands amending bill on foreign law firms

SEOUL -- Mark Lippert, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, on Monday demanded Seoul amend a bill on permitting foreign law firms to run joint ventures in the country.

The Foreign Legal Consultant Act, currently pending in the parliament, is designed to allow law firms from the United States, Australia, Canada and the European Union to operate joint ventures in South Korea as part of the country's free trade agreements with the U.S. and the E.U. to open the legal market.

Mother of Taiwanese K-pop singer hopes flag controversy will end soon

BEIJING -- The mother of a 16-year-old Taiwanese K-pop singer, who was apparently forced to apologize for waving the island's flag, has told Taiwanese media that she hopes the situation will ease and her daughter can "sing and dance pleasantly again."

The K-pop singer, Chou Tzu-yu, waved Taiwan's national flag on a South Korean entertainment TV program in November.

Top N. Korean general seen as new point man on S. Korea: sources

SEOUL -- A top North Korean military official, thought to be behind the North's deadly attacks on South Korea in 2010, is believed to have been tapped as a party secretary handling inter-Korean affairs, parliamentary sources said Monday.

Gen. Kim Yong-chol, who has been leading the North's reconnaissance bureau, is likely to replace Kim Yang-gon, who died in a car accident in late December, as the secretary in charge of affairs with South Korea at the Workers' Party, the sources said.

(LEAD) U.N. halts training program for N. Korean diplomats: source

SEOUL -- The United Nations has suspended a major training program for North Korean diplomats in response to Pyongyang's recent nuclear test, an informed source here said Monday.

The U.N. planned to invite a group of North Korean diplomats to the disarmament-related program set for late this month.

Seoul shares end almost flat on China rebound

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks closed nearly flat on Monday after falling as much as 1.3 percent in morning trade, as China's stock rout took a breather. The Korean won gathered ground against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 0.42 point, or 0.02 percent, to end at 1,878.45. Trade volume was moderate at 273 million shares worth 4.06 trillion won (US$3.35 billion), with losers beating winners 428 to 386.

Finance minister urges preemptive action against China risks

SEJONG -- South Korea's finance minister called Monday for preemptive measures to block any fallout from economic uncertainties including a Chinese slowdown.

"Earlier than expected, external downside risks stemming from China are drawing nearer," Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho was quoted as telling a meeting of senior ministry officials.

Multicultural group to lodge complaint over idol's apology

SEOUL -- A private multicultural organization said Monday it will file a complaint later this week with the national human rights watchdog against an entertainment agency chief who reportedly forced a 16-year-old Taiwanese K-pop singer to apologize for waving the island's flag.

The Center for Multicultural Korea (CMCK) in Seoul denounced Park Jin-young, chief of JYP Entertainment, for allegedly forcing the young girl to make the apology, which it calls a "serious racial discrimination and human rights infringement."

S. Korea says massive spam emails traced to China's northeast

SEOUL -- Massive spam emails sent to South Korean public organizations were traced to an internet network in northeast China that officials said was behind a cyberattack on South Korea's nuclear power operator.

Kang Sin-myeong, the National Police Agency Commissioner-General, said the Internet Protocol address used to send the spam emails is registered in the northeastern province of Liaoning that borders North Korea.

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