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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:55 September 29, 2016

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

(LEAD) N. Korea combines 2 units managing leader's coffers into one: Seoul

SEOUL -- North Korea is presumed to have combined the ruling party's two units handling its leader Kim Jong-un's governing funds into one, a Seoul government official said Thursday.

North Korea is projected to have kept intact Office 39 of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) as the special unit managing state coffers while eliminating Office 38, according to an official at Seoul's unification ministry.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks hit this year's high on OPEC deal, foreign buying

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks rose to the highest level of the year Thursday as investors cheered a deal by OPEC to cut oil output. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 15.66 points, or 0.76 percent, to close at 2,068.72. Trade volume was moderate at 411 million shares worth 4.3 trillion won (US$3.91 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 470 to 332.

S. Korea, U.S. senior diplomats agree on collaboration for swift N. Korea sanctions

SEOUL -- Senior diplomats from South Korea and the United States have agreed to work closely to swiftly adopt a new round of sanctions on North Korea over its latest nuclear test, the foreign ministry in Seoul said Thursday.

In Washington on Wednesday, South Korea's deputy foreign minister for multilateral and global affairs Choi Jong-moon held a High-Level Disarmament and Nonproliferation Consultation with Rose Gottemoeller, the U.S. under secretary of arms control and international security.

(LEAD) N. Korean soldier crosses border to defect to S. Korea: military

SEOUL -- A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea on Thursday after crossing the border bisecting the two Koreas, Seoul's military said.

"He crossed the military demarcation line (MDL) in the middle eastern sector at around 10 a.m. and defected to the South," Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a statement.

(LEAD) Court rules abolition of state bar exam constitutional

SEOUL -- South Korea's Constitutional Court on Thursday upheld the planned abolition of the state bar examination next year, paving the way for a full implementation of the U.S.-style law school system.

In a 5-4 vote, the judges ruled that the National Bar Examination Act, which stipulates the repeal of the state bar exam at the end of 2017, does not violate the Constitution.

(LEAD) S. Korea's elderly population ratio hits record high in 2015: data

SEJONG -- The ratio of senior citizens aged 65 and over in South Korea rose to an all-time high in 2015, underscoring the trend that the country's population is aging at a fast pace, government data showed Thursday.

According to the data by Statistics Korea, 6.57 million, or 13.2 percent of the country's population of 49.7 million, excluding foreigners, is aged 65 or older, which is far higher than the 11 percent tallied in 2010.

S. Korea expects Japan to do more to settle sexual slavery issue: ministry

SEOUL -- South Korea expects Japan to do more to soothe Korean victims of its wartime sexual enslavement, the foreign ministry here said Thursday amid lingering resistance to a bilateral agreement to settle the issue.

"(The government) expects the Japanese side to take additional emotional measures to console the comfort women victims' wounds," Cho June-hyuck, spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a regular press briefing.

CJ CGV fined for awarding lucrative deal to chairman's brother

SEJONG -- South Korea's antitrust watchdog said Thursday that it has imposed a fine of 7.17 billion won (US$6.5 million) on CJ CGV, the country's largest cinema chain, for awarding a lucrative deal to its affiliate headed by the younger brother of CJ Group Chairman Lee Jay-hyun.

The Fair Trade Commission also said it has referred CJ CGV to the prosecution for further investigation.

(3rd LD) Park attends ceremony celebrating construction of synchrotron radiation facility

POHANG, South Korea -- President Park Geun-hye attended a ceremony to mark the establishment of a facility for a powerful light source in the southern port city of Pohang on Thursday, offering her encouragement to researchers and construction workers.

The fourth-generation "synchrotron radiation" facility in the city, some 360 kilometers southeast of Seoul, is expected to pave the way for enhanced research on medical treatments, new drugs, artificial synthesis and new materials among others, experts said.

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