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(LEAD) S. Korea to grant Ban merit for contribution to nation

All Headlines 14:55 January 10, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Cabinet approved a plan to confer one of the highest orders of merit on former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his contribution to enhancing national stature, officials said Tuesday.

Ban, who is set to return to his home country Thursday after serving as the U.N. helmsman for a decade, is to receive the Order of Mugunghwa, a national merit named after the Rose of Sharon, Korea's national flower.

The decision was approved during a Cabinet meeting headed by Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn.

A total of 12 figures will receive merits, including Ban.

The Cabinet also approved other sets of laws, including allowing the environment minister to take broader control of quarantine-related matters to better cope with the latest outbreak of avian influenza.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. (Yonhap)

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