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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:00 January 23, 2017

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

S. Korea hints at approval for women football players' possible visit to N.K.

SEOUL-- South Korea said Monday international guidelines would be a key factor in deciding whether to approve the South's women football players' move to attend AFC Women's Asian Cup qualifying matches to be held in North Korea.

At last week's drawing, South Korea were grouped with North Korea, Uzbekistan, Hong Kong and India in Group B for the AFC Women's Asian Cup qualifying matches, all of which will be held in Pyongyang in April. South Korean players will have a match with their North Korean counterparts on April 7.

Energy firms set to provide hefty bonuses on record profits

SEOUL-- South Korea's energy firms are set to provide hefty year-end bonuses to their employees as they posted record profits last year, industry sources said Monday.

Employees at SK Energy and S-Oil said they expect up to 1,200 percent of their basic salaries in productivity bonuses as the operating profits of the companies last year far exceeded those filed in the previous year when 850 percent was paid.

Ex-minister says ex-presidential chief of staff orchestrated artist blacklist

SEOUL-- South Korea's ex-culture minister said Monday a former presidential chief of staff was behind the creation and management of a blacklist of cultural figures deemed critical of the government.

Yoo Jin-ryong, who served as the minister from March 2013 to July 2014, made the remark as he appeared before the office of a special prosecutor's team to undergo questioning over the alleged blacklist to deny dissident artists state support.

More than half of S. Koreans bought lottery tickets at least once in 2016: survey

SEJONG -- More than half of South Koreans have bought lottery tickets at least once last year amid the deepening economic slump, a survey showed Monday.

According to the survey of 1,000 people by the finance ministry in November last year, 55.9 percent said they have made a lottery ticket purchase within the last 12 months, slightly down from the previous year's 56.5 percent.

S. Korea to use K-pop, foods, regional festivals to attract tourists

SEOUL -- South Korea said Monday it will develop tour programs featuring Korean foods, lodging at traditional Korean hanok houses, Korean pop content and regional festivals to attract more foreign tourists this year.

In a news conference to explain this year's business plans, Chung Chang-soo, president of the Korea Tourism Organization, said the KTO plans to increase the number of hanok lodging facilities, develop temple and Korean royal court cuisine restaurants, and create luxury cruise and medical tour programs.

IU, Jang Ki-ha split up after 3 years of dating

SEOUL-- Singer IU and Jang Ki-ha, the leader of band KIHA & The Faces, have split up after a three-year relationship, their management agencies said Monday.

Fave Entertainment and Drdr AMC, which represent IU and Jang, respectively, confirmed the breakup of the two popular singers.

N.K. reconfirms independent foreign policy amid launch of Trump administration

SEOUL -- North Korea on Monday reaffirmed its independent foreign policy based on nuclear power amid a new complicated international situation created by the launch of the Trump administration.

"It's our unchanged foreign policy to guard the peace in the world as well as on the Korean Peninsula by continuously strengthening self-defense power and pre-emptive strikes centered on nuclear power," the Rodong Sinmun, a daily of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said.

Culture ministry apologizes over 'blacklist' allegations

SEJONG -- The culture ministry made a public apology and vowed to make efforts to prevent a recurrence of the blacklisting of artists critical of the government that led to the arrest of top policymakers and their deputies.

"We feel terrible and shameful that the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism caused any problems in the fairness of the government's support of the culture-arts scene over the list of artists excluded from public support. (The ministry) is supposed to defend the freedom and creativity of artistic expression," Song Soo-keun, the first vice culture minister who currently acts as minister, said during a news conference.

(LEAD) 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 tribute 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). It did not reveal when or why Kang died.

New type of cyberattacks to rise in 2017: report

SEOUL -- New types of cyberattacks linked to Internet of Things (IoT) devices against key government agencies and social infrastructure-related facilities are likely to increase this year, a report showed Monday.

According to the report by the state-run Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA), a series of so-called distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on infrastructure systems through IoT-enabled devices may occur just ahead of a presidential race in the country.

(3rd 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.

(LEAD) U.S. eggs hit Korean shelves after quarantine procedures

SEOUL -- Lotte Mart said Monday it has begun selling U.S. eggs as they finished quarantine and hygiene procedures over the past weekend after being brought in a week earlier.

The eggs are part of 100 tons of eggs flown here from the United States on Jan. 14 on a Korean Air freighter to help ease a supply shortage as more than 30 million chickens have been culled across the country since the outbreak of avian influenza in November.

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