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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:10 December 27, 2018

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

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Prosecution panel demands 'severe' penalty for ex-Cheong Wa Dae inspector

SEOUL -- The prosecution's internal review board on Thursday called for heavy punishment for one of its investigators under scrutiny over a string of alleged professional misconduct while working at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

The call for strong disciplinary action came after a monthlong review of Kim Tae-woo, an investigator at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office.

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N.K. official misquoted as calling for unification under Pyongyang's terms

SEOUL -- North Korean Vice Railway Minister Kim Yun-hyok briefly raised the eyebrows of conservatives in South Korea as he was misquoted as saying the Koreas should seek unification through a "federation," a formula long considered part of Pyongyang's attempt to communize the Korean Peninsula.

The misquoting happened when Kim delivered a celebratory speech during a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for a project to modernize North Korean railways and connect them to those in the South under a summit agreement between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

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(LEAD) N. Korea faces serious humanitarian challenges as sanctions hamper medical supplies: Pyongyang official

SEOUL -- Health situations in North Korea are "extremely worrying" as multilayered global sanctions on its regime are taking a toll on the country's medical supplies, a North Korean Red Cross official has said.

Ri Ho-rim, secretary general of North Korea's Red Cross, made the remarks carried in a statement recently issued by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on its website.

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Conscripts' limited off-base activity to be permitted

SEOUL -- Starting next year, South Korea's rank-and-file soldiers will be allowed to go off base after work for several hours up to twice a month, in a policy change aimed at creating a more "liberal and creative" barracks culture, the defense ministry said Thursday.

The ministry also plans to ease restrictions on vacation destinations for troops after consultations with provincial governments and representatives of local communities, in a way that does not negatively affect their readiness posture.

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(2nd LD) Daewoo Shipbuilding fined US$9.6 mln for violating subcontract law

SEJONG -- South Korea's antitrust watchdog said Wednesday that it has fined Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. 10.8 billion won (US$9.6 million) for violating laws on subcontracting as it referred the company to prosecutors for further investigation.

The world's second-biggest shipbuilder by sales is accused of not having delivered contract documents to 27 subcontractors before they began their work, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said.

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Service sector sales up 7.4 pct in 2017

SEJONG -- South Korea's service sales rose 7.4 percent in 2017 from a year earlier due to robust sales in electronic goods and a boom in the real estate market, government data showed Thursday.

The combined sales of local service firms totaled 2,041 trillion won (US$1.81 trillion) last year, compared with 1,900 trillion won in 2016, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

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(Yonhap Feature) N.K. defectors expand presence on YouTube amid inter-Korean thaw

SEOUL -- Dressed in a Santa Claus costume, Kang Na-ra appeared no different from other YouTubers as she stood in front of a video camera for a Christmas special clip, except that she was going to talk about Christmas in her former communist homeland: North Korea.

"Now there are so many defector-YouTubers that I have to find something new and interesting. Me being a defector is not enough," she said in a recent interview with Yonhap News Agency, pointing to the red costume she had prepared.
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