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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:22 April 06, 2016

The following is the first summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday.

N. Korea to deploy long-range rocket launchers late this year: defense chief

SEOUL -- North Korea has completed the development of a large-caliber multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) and is likely to deploy it against South Korea starting late this year, Seoul's defense minister here said.

North Korea announced last month that its leader Kim Jong-un inspected what was claimed to be the final test-fire of the 300-millimeter caliber rockets equipped with an accurate guidance system.

(LEAD) N. Korea mobilizing its people ahead of key party event: sources

SEOUL -- North Korea is mobilizing all of its people ahead of a key party congress in May by pressing them to work hard even at night and on weekends, sources said Wednesday.

The North has been pushing its people, including those in Pyongyang, to put in long hours in a bid to achieve short-term goals before the ruling Workers' Party of Korea holds its congress early next month, according to sources familiar with the isolationist country.

S. Korean economy unlikely to face further slowdown: think tank

SEJONG -- The South Korea economy still remains in a protracted slump, but some positive signs in the service sector are likely to reduce the possibility of a further slowdown, a state-run think tank said Wednesday.

"Korea's growth has slowed gradually, but the economy is less likely to witness further weakness," the Korea Development Institute (KDI) said in its monthly evaluation of the country's economic conditions.

Korean Air fires pilot for refusing to work, citing working regulations

SEOUL -- Korean Air Lines Co. has dismissed a pilot for allegedly refusing to fly, though he claims he was following the company's daily working regulations, its labor union said Wednesday, a move feared to deepen a rift caused by prolonged labor disputes at the country's leading flag carrier.

The pilot, who is identified only by his last name Park, was notified of the decision by the company's disciplinary committee on Tuesday, according to the labor union that represents Korean Air's pilots.

LG to sell LTE-powered smartwatch this week

SEOUL -- LG Electronics Inc. said Wednesday it will sell the industry's first smartwatch that runs on the long-term evolution (LTE) network, nearly six months after it was showcased.

The LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition, to be released in South Korea this week, is significant as it does not need to link to smartphones to make phone calls, send massages and use other features that call for network connection.

N.K. cyber capabilities pose serious challenges to U.S.: cyber command chief

WASHINGTON -- North Korea's cyber capabilities pose serious challenges to the United States, the U.S. cyber commander said Tuesday, emphasizing the communist nation has steadily been bolstering its capabilities and has been "quite active" in the cyber domain.

Adm. Michael S. Rogers made the assessment in a statement submitted for a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, saying the North is one of the countries that his command is watching "most closely," along with Russia, China and Iran.

S. Korea in debate about developing own nuclear weapons: CRS report

WASHINGTON -- South Korea is in a debate about developing its own nuclear weapons, despite the United States' assurances to extend its "nuclear umbrella" to protect the Asian ally, a congressional report said Tuesday.

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) also said in the report on U.S.-South Korea relations that such a move by the South could result in a series of negative consequences, including economic sanctions on Seoul and a nuclear arms race in the region.

(Yonhap Interview) Supporting actor for 'Descendants of the Sun' says he 'could have been better'

SEOUL -- South Korean mega hit TV series "Descendants of the Sun" was adapted from the original script "Doctors without Borders" by writer Kim Won-seok.

Kim initially wanted to tell a story about doctors' sacrifice and dedication in war-torn areas. But when Kim Eun-sook, popular for her romantic comedy TV series, joined the team, the soap took a dramatic shift from its original storyline.

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