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Yonhap News Summary

All News 14:46 June 15, 2017

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


Pyongyang says it released detained American on humanitarian grounds

SEOUL -- North Korea said Thursday that it has recently released long-detained American college student Otto Warmbier on humanitarian grounds.

North Korea sent the University of Virginia student back to his home country on Tuesday for humanitarian reasons in accordance with a decision by the country's central court, the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said Thursday.


Lotte founder likely to lose board seat at key affiliate

SEOUL -- The founder of South Korean retail giant Lotte Group is expected to lose his seat in the boardroom of a crucial affiliate in the conglomerate's governance structure, media reports said Thursday.

The board of directors of Tokyo-based Lotte Holdings Co. is known to have decided not to propose the extension of Shin Kyuk-ho's tenure as a board member for their meeting later this week, according to local media reports.


S. Korea, U.S. hold 1st forum on pending economic issues

SEOUL -- South Korean and U.S. business groups on Thursday held a forum to discuss pending economic issues and cooperative measures amid concerns Washington may become more protectionist going forward, organizers said.

At the gathering arranged by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea (AMCHAM), experts and business leaders from the two countries analyzed the Korea-U.S. free-trade agreement as a "reciprocal and win-win" deal.


Scientists develop new drug treatment for cancer

SEOUL -- A group of South Korean medical researchers developed a new type of anti-cancer immune material derived from a plant, the science ministry said Thursday, opening up new treatment opportunities for patients.

The team, led by Lee Chang-hwan of Ulsan University, developed the new substance made from the plant named rehmannia that can selectively destroy tumor cells, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning said. The substance has shown potential for attacking brain cancer, it said.


(LEAD) S. Korea's capital city expected to lose 1.1 mln in population by 2045

SEJONG -- South Korea's capital city of Seoul will face the steepest decrease in population over the next 30 years amid the country's chronic low birth rate and rapid aging, government data showed Thursday.

The number of residents in Seoul is predicted to reach 8.81 million in 2045, down 1.13 million, or 11.3 percent, from 9.94 million tallied in 2015, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.


S. Korean firms' Q1 sales up 7.9 pct on recovering oil prices

SEOUL -- South Korean companies' combined sales jumped 7.9 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier helped by recovering oil prices and improved exports, central bank data showed Thursday.

The on-year sales growth rate for domestic companies -- an indicator of a company's growth -- turned around from a 2 percent contraction in the first quarter of last year, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said in a statement.


(3rd LD) President hints at appointment of FM nominee despite opposition

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in urged the opposition parties Thursday to again consider his nominee for new foreign minister and give their blessing, saying that is what the people want and that he is ready to do what people want.

"I will follow the people's command. I ask the opposition parties to also respect what the people wish," the president said in a weekly meeting with his top secretaries.


Hostel inside N.K. Embassy in Germany still in operation: report

SEOUL -- A hostel inside the North Korean embassy compound in Germany has been in operation despite a German government ban on the building's commercial lease, a news report said Thursday.

The Cityhostel Berlin, which rents part of the embassy property, was taking reservations by phone and Internet on Wednesday, according to Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA).


(LEAD) Bomb blast suspect made explosive out of spite against professor: police

SEOUL -- The suspect in a nail bomb blast that injured a university professor this week told police Thursday that he committed the crime out of spite against the teacher who scolded him severely.

Police have detained a 25-year-old student, only identified by his surname Kim, for sending a parcel bomb to the professor's office at Yonsei University in western Seoul on Tuesday.


(LEAD) S. Korea to take appropriate market stabilizing measures

SEOUL -- South Korea said Thursday that it will tighten monitoring of the local financial market and take immediate measures to stave off any fallout from the latest U.S. rate increase.

"We will get fully prepared to minimize the adverse impact of the U.S. rate hike," Vice Finance Minister Ko Hyoung-kwon said at a financial policy meeting in Seoul. "The government will keep close tabs on the market and take stabilizing measures in a timely manner."


(2nd LD) S. Korean Navy to hold Dokdo defense drill

SEOUL -- South Korea's Navy announced Thursday that it will conduct an exercise this week on defending the country's easternmost islets of Dokdo.

The two-day training to kick off later in the day is part of efforts to defend Dokdo from the possible aggression of "outside forces," the Navy said.

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