The following is the first summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Friday.
Watchdog concerned about local assembly's scrapping of human rights ordinance
SEOUL -- South Korea's human rights watchdog voiced regret Friday over the scrapping this week of a disputed ordinance on human rights protection by the assembly of South Chungcheong Province in central South Korea, saying the incident deserves attention from the international community.
The National Human Rights Commission issued a statement that said, "We express strong regret that the assembly has demolished a system and base to protect local residents' human rights by passing a proposal to abolish the ordinance."
(LEAD) EVs to make up quarter of Audi VW sales in S. Korea by 2020
SEOUL -- Audi Volkswagen Korea (AVK) said Friday that 25 percent of all cars it aims to sell in South Korea by 2020 will run on electric power as the German carmaker moves toward a "greener" model lineup.
The announcement to strengthen its electric vehicle (EV) models is in line with the company's broader global strategy and comes as the carmaker has resumed sales here in November after suspending operations following the "diesel gate" emissions cheating scandal. Volkswagen stopped sales in August 2016, and Audi cars followed in March 2017.
Rise in value of Korean won contributes to investment, consumption: report
SEOUL -- The rise in the real value of the South Korean won compared to other major currencies in recent years has lowered import prices and fueled investments in facilities and private sector consumption, a report said Friday.
According to real effective exchange rate (REER) indices compiled by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the exchange rate for the South Korean currency has steadily risen and stood at 123.2 points as of the end of January from 115.34 in April 2015.
Thousands choose to die with dignity after people allowed to forgo treatment: data
SEOUL -- Thousands of terminally ill patients have opted to forgo medical treatment that can prolong their lives since South Korea legalized the right for people to die with dignity, government data showed on Friday.
The law took effect on Feb. 4, months after the National Assembly passed it late last year.
S. Korea confirms venues for Honduras, Bosnia Herzegovina football friendlies
SEOUL -- South Korea on Friday confirmed the venues for the upcoming friendly football matches against Honduras and Bosnia Herzegovina at home.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) said the men's national football team, led by head coach Shin Tae-yong, will take on Honduras at Daegu Stadium in Daegu on May 28 and play against Bosnia Herzegovina at Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, on June 1. Both matches will kick off at 8 p.m.
Sales of masks, cleansers for babies jump amid growing fine dust concerns
SEOUL -- Sales of hand cleansers and laundry detergents for babies have risen sharply amid growing concerns over worsening levels of fine dust in the air, local businesses said Friday.
South Korea has been suffering from worsening air pollution caused by fine dust particles emitted both at home and from China, and by yellow dust from Mongolia during the winter and spring seasons.
Lawmaker grilled in illicit hiring probe
SEOUL -- The prosecution on Friday questioned a lawmaker of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party over allegations that he has peddled influence in the recruitment process for a state-run casino operator.
The Seoul Northern District Prosecutors' Office summoned Yeom Dong-yeol, the party's two-term lawmaker, as a suspect as part of its accelerating probe into the allegedly unfair hiring of new workers at Kangwon Land Inc.
Seoul vows efforts to free detainees in N.K. amid improving inter-Korean ties
SEOUL -- South Korea said Friday it will make efforts to win the release of South Korean detainees in North Korea in the process of making an improvement in inter-Korean ties.
Currently, six South Koreans, including three pastors, are being detained in North Korea on charges of committing what the North called anti-North Korea crimes.
Samsung Electronics to join rights offering of leading shipbuilder
SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday it will participate in the ongoing rights offering of Samsung Heavy Industries Co. by allocating 204 billion won (US$191 million) in funds.
South Korea's top tech giant and the leading company in Samsung Group, the country's largest family-run conglomerate, said through a regulatory filing that it aims to secure an additional 34.7 million shares in the shipyard.
(LEAD) Prosecutors raid Samsung firm over alleged attempt to sabotage unions
SEOUL -- Prosecutors on Friday raided Samsung Electronics Service as they reopened an investigation into allegations that Samsung Group sabotaged the establishment of labor unions in its affiliated companies.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said investigators were sent to the headquarters of the after-sales service arm of Samsung Electronics in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province.
Ex-Park aide given suspended jail term for attempted coercion of CJ Group
SEOUL -- A Seoul court on Friday meted out a suspended jail term to a former economic aide to ex-President Park Geun-hye for collusion in a botched attempt to pressure a senior official of CJ Group to quit in 2013.
The Seoul Central District Court gave Cho Won-dong, Park's former chief economic secretary, a one-year prison term suspended for two years, finding him guilty of having attempted to coerce
(3rd LD) Samsung Electronics operating profit hits record high in Q1
SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday its first-quarter operating profit is presumed to have set another record by rising 57.58 percent from the previous year, apparently on the back of improved performance by its mobile division, with its chip arm also contributing to earnings.
The operating profit was estimated at 15.6 trillion won (US$14.6 billion) for the January-March period, compared with 9.89 trillion won posted a year earlier, the South Korean tech giant said through its earnings guidance report.
U.S. envoy on N. Korea Biegun to visit Seoul this week
(LEAD) Customs seize 63.88 kg of cocaine from cargo at Busan port
(LEAD) Kim Jong-un visits mausoleum of late father to mark 7th anniv. of death
(LEAD) Moon hints at possible slowdown of minimum wage hikes
Moon set to hold 1st extended meeting of economy-related ministers