The following is the first summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Friday.
(2nd LD) Samsung unveils Galaxy Note 9 with stronger battery, enhanced stylus
SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. unveiled Friday the Galaxy Note 9 phablet, which is equipped with a new stylus and the best battery and storage among all of its premium devices. The new product could help breathe new life into the company's IT and mobile division.
The company held a showcase event in New York for the new smartphone, which features a 6.4-inch display, with the specs falling in line with most rumors that had circulated in the market.
(LEAD) Samsung shows glimpse on Bixby-powered AI speaker, Galaxy Home
SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. on Friday announced its first artificial-intelligence speaker, the Galaxy Home, in a surprise move during the showcase event of the new Galaxy Note 9 smartphone.
It marked the first time for Samsung to unveil the official name of its much-awaited speaker.
U.S., S. Korea in close contact over N. Korea: State Department
WASHINGTON -- The United States and South Korea are working closely together on their joint response to North Korea, the State Department said Thursday following Seoul's announcement of high-level inter-Korean talks next week.
The Seoul government said the two sides will meet at the border village of Panmunjom Monday to discuss the implementation of April's summit agreement and preparations for a follow-up meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
U.S., N. Korea talk virtually every day: State Department
WASHINGTON -- The United States and North Korea continue to have conversations "virtually every day" in the wake of their leaders' nuclear summit in June, the State Department said Thursday.
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met in Singapore and agreed to work toward the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the U.S.
But skepticism has grown about the implementation of the deal.
N. Korea calls off joint survey on roads with S. Korea
SEOUL -- North Korea has called off a planned joint field survey of cross-border roads for a modernization project, a unification ministry official said Friday.
The North informed the South late Thursday that it wants to postpone the survey, scheduled to start from Friday, but didn't provide reasons, according to the official.
(Yonhap Feature) Sri Lankan expats call for tolerance to end discord over Buddhist temple
SEOUL/ASAN, South Korea -- Venerable Dhammakitti, a Sri Lanka-born monk who recently received South Korean citizenship, said he is extra cautious when wearing his orange Buddhist garment and always seeks to fully cover himself, saying he does not wish to attract unnecessary attention.
"Many South Koreans are unfamiliar with Sri Lankan Buddhism, with some expressing discomfort at the exotic outfit," Dhammakitti told Yonhap News Agency during an interview held amid the scorching summer heat in Seoul. He heads the Korea Sri Lanka Mahaviharaya, a Buddhist temple.
Samsung to start preorders for Galaxy Note 9 Monday
SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday it will start preorders for the special edition of the 512 GB Galaxy Note 9 next week, with the official sales starting in the country on Aug. 24.
As widely expected, the South Korean tech giant said the factory price of the 512 GB edition, whose storage capacity can expand to a whopping 1 TB through a micro SD slot, is set at 1.35 million won (US$1,201).
The preorder for the special edition will start on Monday.
'Along With the Gods 2' tops 8 mln on 9th day of release
SEOUL -- "Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days" surpassed 8 million in attendance on the ninth day of its run, data showed Friday.
The local fantasy film sold 325,141 tickets for a nine-day cumulative of 8,005,116 views on Thursday, according to the computerized tally from the Korean Film Council.
Ex-Samsung Group vice president quizzed in labor union sabotage probe
SEOUL -- A former vice president of Samsung Group's now-disbanded decision-making body was grilled by prosecutors Friday over alleged involvement in a scheme to hamper labor union activities of employees at a Samsung Electronics Co. subsidiary.
The Samsung official, identified only by his last name Kang, is accused of ordering the scheme to sabotage labor union efforts by Samsung Electronics Service employees and receiving reports about the results in 2013, according to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office probing the case.
Private firm pushes to publish N. Korean novels in S. Korea
SEOUL -- A South Korean private enterprise said Friday it will push to publish North Korean novels in South Korea, as part of efforts to stimulate private sector inter-Korean exchanges.
The Seoul-based enterprise, named the South-North Employers Federation of Farming Cooperative for Unification, said that it has reached an agreement with North Korea's Taesongsan Copyright Agency via a Chinese agent to obtain the copyrights to 11 North Korean literary works.
S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases top 16,000 amid omicron wave
(LEAD) S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases top 16,000 amid omicron wave
(2nd LD) S. Korea's daily COVID-19 cases surpass 14,000 amid rapid omicron spread
(3rd LD) S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases top 16,000 amid omicron wave
(3rd LD) N. Korea confirms missile tests, leader Kim visits munitions factory