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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 September 29, 2016

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

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(2nd LD) Lotte Group chairman avoids arrest over corruption allegations

SEOUL -- The chief of the embattled South Korean retail giant Lotte avoided arrest Thursday as a Seoul court rejected a prosecutors' request for a warrant to formally arrest him over embezzlement and breach of trust charges.

The Seoul Central District Court turned down the request, saying it's difficult to recognize the need for arresting the 61-year-old chairman, Shin Dong-bin.

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(2nd LD) Main opposition demands Saenuri return to audit

SEOUL -- South Korea's main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea said Thursday the ruling party must end its boycott and return to the National Assembly unconditionally amid the paralysis of the regular audit.

Rep. Woo Sang-ho, the Minjoo floor leader, said the party cannot hold negotiations with Saenuri due to trust issues, and that the ruling party must make a decision to end the strike by itself.

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(LEAD) (Yonhap Interview) S. Korea to consider probing N.K. human rights abuses in third countries: agency chief

SEOUL -- A new South Korean agency that will document North Korea's human rights abuses is considering a move to probe the North's rights violations in third countries, including labor export practices, its head has said.

The Center for North Korean Human Rights Records that opened Wednesday has started to investigate and collect data on North Korea's human rights abuses in accordance with a new law aimed at improving Pyongyang's dismal treatment of its people.

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S. Korean economy to grow 2.3 pct this year: think tank

SEOUL -- South Korea's economy is projected to expand 2.3 percent this year, slowing from last year's 2.6 percent growth, largely due to an ongoing corporate revamp drive and tepid domestic demand, a private think tank said Thursday.

According to the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI), Asia's fourth-largest economy will see its growth further decelerate to 2.2 percent next year.

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S. Korean shares gain on OPEC deal

SEOUL -- South Korean shares traded higher late Thursday morning, boosted by energy-related stocks after a deal by OPEC to reduce oil output.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 15.85 points, or 0.77 percent, to 2,068.91 as of 11:20 a.m.

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(Yonhap Feature) Travel back in time in Gunsan

GUNSAN, South Korea -- This weekend take a trip back in time in the historical city of Gunsan as citizens and visitors gather to honor Korea's struggle against Japanese colonial rule.

The city of 280,000 is a vivid and poignant reminder of the oppression of the colonial period (1910-45), with everything from a bakery to a former bank building bearing traces of the past.

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(2nd LD) Russel: U.S. asks countries to downgrade or sever diplomatic ties with N. Korea

WASHINGTON -- The United States has asked countries around the world to "downgrade or sever" diplomatic and economic relations with North Korea in the wake of Pyongyang's fifth nuclear test, a senior State Department official said Wednesday.

"North Korea views diplomatic meetings and visits as important markers of its international legitimacy. This month, we instructed our embassies around the world to ask host governments to condemn the test and take further additional actions to downgrade or sever diplomatic and economic ties," Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said.

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(LEAD) U.S. actively investigating more Chinese firms for dealings with N. Korea: State Department official

WASHINGTON -- The United States is actively investigating additional Chinese companies over dealings with North Korea after imposing the first-ever sanctions on a Chinese firm earlier this week in connection with Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, a senior State Department official said Wednesday.

"We're investigating. The Treasury and State are investigating a number of companies around the world," Daniel Fried, the department's coordinator for sanctions policy, said during a Senate hearing in response to a question whether additional Chinese firms are under investigation.

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(END)

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