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Yonhap News Summary

All Headlines 13:30 September 28, 2016

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

Anti-graft law officially sets sail in S. Korea

SEOUL -- A much-debated anti-graft law has officially kicked off in South Korea, calling for workers in certain sectors who should maintain higher ethical standards to refrain from receiving any gift priced beyond a legal ceiling.

Under the Kim Young-ran Law, people working for the government, media outlets and schools are banned from receiving meals priced higher than 30,000 won (US$27), gifts exceeding 50,000 won, and congratulatory and condolence money over 100,000 won.

Bodies of crew members recovered from chopper crash: S. Korean Navy

SEOUL-- South Korea's Navy said Wednesday it has recovered the bodies of all three crew members who were aboard a chopper that crashed into the sea off the country's east coast earlier this week.

The Navy found one body at 12:21 a.m. and another at 4:28 a.m. Wednesday, after the first was pulled from the water at around 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, Navy officials told reporters. It said a remotely operated underwater vehicle was used for the search operations.

Yonhap, IRNA open joint photo exhibition in Tehran

TEHRAN -- South Korea and Iran's leading news agencies opened a joint photo exhibition in Tehran Tuesday, highlighting the countries' growing ties in culture, sports, politics and business.

The exhibition, co-hosted by South Korea's Yonhap News Agency and the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), features more than 100 photos illustrating the two nations' rich cultures, history and people-to-people exchanges.

(LEAD) U.S. focusing on cutting off N. Korea's income from coal trade, labor exports: Russel

WASHINGTON -- The United States is working hard with South Korea and Japan to cut off sources of income for North Korea, including coal trade and labor exports, the top State Department official in charge of Asian affairs said Tuesday.

Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs, made the remark in a written statement submitted to a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, saying the three countries are cooperating closely to curb Pyongyang's nuclear programs.

(LEAD) Park urges unity among central, local governments to tackle national challenges

GOYANG -- President Park Geun-hye on Wednesday urged unity among central and provincial governments to tackle a host of national challenges together, saying the nation has sufficient capabilities to "reach a summit" beyond the travails.

During the opening ceremony of a fair on regional development, Park also stressed the need for parliament to swiftly pass a bill on building regulation-free zones, which she said will help nurture strategic industries, create jobs, boost investment and strengthen national competitiveness.

S. Korean households' excess funds shrink in Q2

SEOUL -- Excess funds held by South Korean households fell sharply in the second quarter due to increased spending and debt repayment, while local companies saw their shortage of funds dwindle, central bank data showed Wednesday.

Excess funds held by local households, including nonprofit organizations, came to 13.7 trillion won (US$12.4 billion) as of end-June, compared with 24.3 trillion won from three months earlier, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

S. Korea, Netherlands agree to launch working holiday program

SEOUL -- South Korea and the Netherlands have signed a deal to launch a working holiday program this week to give their younger people a chance to work and travel in the other country for up to one year, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

The agreement was reached Tuesday between South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and the Netherlands' agriculture minister Martijn van Dam in Seoul, according to the ministry.

Uganda defense chief to visit S. Korea for bolster military ties

SEOUL -- Uganda's defense chief will visit South Korea this week to discuss ways to bolster military ties between the two countries, military officials said Wednesday.

Edward Katumba Wamala, chief of Uganda's defense forces, will meet with Defense Minister Han Min-koo and Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Chairman Lee Sun-jin during his stay in Seoul from Thursday to Sunday, the JCS said in a statement.

S. Korea to employ new laser weapon system to bring down N.K.

SEOUL -- South Korea will develop or purchase a new laser air defense weapon to bring down small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sent by North Korea, military officials said Wednesday.

"Amid growing worries about possible terror attacks by North Korea's unmanned drones, we are planning to secure a high-precision weapon which can detect, trace and hit a small aircraft," a defense official told Yonhap News Agency.

Gov't offers 84 pct of earmarked support to Kaesong complex firms

SEOUL -- South Korea said Wednesday it has handed out 84 percent of support funds earmarked for local firms that operated factories in the now-shuttered joint industrial park in North Korea to help cover their financial losses.

The government has offered 438.5 billion won (US$399.8 million) out of about 500 billion won in state funds to South Korean companies that had factories at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, according to Seoul's unification ministry.

(LEAD) (Yonhap Feature) Meet Jeju's female divers in annual festival

JEJU ISLAND -- "Honey, go further to the left. There is nothing but sand where you are," a man in sunglasses shouted to his wife taking part in a conch-harvesting competition for "haenyeo" aspirants on South Korea's southern island of Jeju on Saturday.

"Haenyeo (Sea Women)" in Korean refers to female divers who make their living harvesting marine products by hand from the ocean floor.

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