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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 January 23, 2017

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

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(2nd LD) Samsung says faulty battery was main cause of Galaxy Note 7 fires

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Monday its monthslong probe into what caused some Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to catch fire has established that faulty batteries were the main problem, not the smartphone's hardware design or software.

"Our investigation, as well as investigations completed by three independent industry organizations, concluded that the batteries were found to be the cause of the Note 7 incidents," Samsung said in a statement.

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(2nd LD) Acting president defends THAAD as 'self-defense measure incomparable to any other'

SEOUL -- South Korea's Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday mounted a strong defense of the plan to deploy a U.S. missile defense system to the Korean Peninsula, saying it is a "necessary self-defense measure incomparable to any other."

His remarks came amid mounting concerns over a series of recent steps China has taken against South Korean businesses, entertainers and other sectors in apparent retaliation for the planned installment of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on the peninsula.

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Park's lawyers request 39 more witnesses for impeachment trial

SEOUL -- President Park Geun-hye's lawyers requested Monday that 39 more witnesses appear at her impeachment trial in what critics saw as a delaying tactic.

The request came during the eighth hearing at the Constitutional Court where a trial has been under way to determine whether to uphold Park's impeachment over an alleged corruption scandal involving her friend Choi Soon-sil. Both Park and Choi have refuted all charges raised and are demanding a fair trial to determine what is really behind the supposed wrongdoings.

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Two N.K. missiles on mobile launchers could either be Rodong or part of KN-08 or KN-14 ICBMs: U.S. expert

WASHINGTON -- The two missiles that North Korea is believed to have readied for possible test-firing could be either part of the KN series intercontinental ballistic missiles or the Rodong medium-range missile, a U.S. expert said.

Officials in Seoul said last week that South Korea and the United States have picked up signs that the North placed the two missiles, less than 15 meters long, on mobile launchers in an indication that Pyongyang could carry out a threatened ICBM test earlier than expected.

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Moon boasts solid lead in opinion poll among presidential contenders

SEOUL -- Moon Jae-in, a front-runner presidential candidate from the liberal bloc, stood as the top contender in a local opinion poll, despite former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's efforts to expand his presence after returning home.

According to the data compiled by RealMeter last week, Moon held an approval rating of 29.1 percent, approaching the 30 percent level. The study was conducted on 2,520 South Koreans with a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

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N.K. leader visits funeral altar to mourn aviation body's head

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a funeral altar for the head of the country's aviation agency, expressing condolences over his death, Pyongyang's state media said Monday.

On Sunday, the North's leader paid his respects to Kang Ki-sop, director-general of the General Administration of Civil Aviation and alternate member of the ruling party's central committee, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

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S. Korea to revise health insurance system to relieve burden on low-income people

SEOUL -- South Korea is pushing to revise its national health insurance program to halve the fees for low income earners in an effort to make health care more affordable, officials said Monday.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare released a revision to the national health insurance system, subject to parliamentary endorsement, that will be adopted in three stages for a total of nine years.

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S. Korean baseball club signs ex-big league pitcher

SEOUL -- South Korean baseball club NC Dinos said Monday they've signed former big league pitcher Jeff Manship.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) inked the pitcher to a one-year deal worth US$1.8 million, including an option for $100,000.

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Reigning S. Korean baseball MVP becomes highest-paid foreign player

SEOUL -- The reigning MVP in South Korean baseball became the highest-paid foreign player ever on Monday.

The Doosan Bears in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said they've re-signed right-hander Dustin Nippert for US$2.1 million. The 35-year-old is the first foreign player in the KBO to surpass $2 million in annual salary since the league opened the doors for imports in 1998.

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(Yonhap Feature) S. Koreans eye Asian Winter Games as rehearsal for PyeongChang 2018

SEOUL -- With the first Winter Olympics in South Korea about a year away, the country's medal hopefuls are gearing up for a continental competition next month as their dress rehearsal.

Sapporo, Japan, will host the 2017 Asian Winter Games, starting on Feb. 19. This will be the eighth edition of the multisport competition.
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