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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:05 April 09, 2020

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

(3rd LD) S. Korean schools resume classes online as virus woes linger

SEOUL-- Gu Ja-ho began his first day of school as a middle school senior on Thursday -- at home.

He sat in front of a desktop at his home in the central Seoul neighborhood of Jongno at 8:20 a.m. as his classmates joined him online for an introductory class on remote learning and copyrights.

He took home economics, physical education and music classes online throughout the morning, with a 10-minute recess between each lesson.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks hike 1.6 pct on eased coronavirus woes

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks rose more than 1 percent on Thursday on hopes that coronavirus infections around the globe are nearing a peak. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 29.07 points, or 1.61 percent, to 1,836.21.

Ministry, universities discuss students' demand for refunds

SEOUL -- South Korean officials and universities on Thursday began to discuss how to meet students' growing calls for refunds over disruptions in schools caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Most universities delayed the start of the new semester by two weeks last month and are running online classes to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Students have filed petitions and held rallies, saying their right to learn has been violated and demanding schools refund their tuition.

S. Korea to suspend visa exemptions for 90 countries starting Monday

SEOUL -- The government will suspend visa-free entry and visa waiver programs for 90 countries imposing entry bans on South Koreans from Monday next week as part of efforts to curb the coronavirus inflow from overseas, officials said Thursday.

Along with the planned suspension of visa exemptions, all 90-day visas that were issued before April 5 of this year have become invalid, according to the joint press release by the foreign and justice ministries.

U.S. Amb. Harris remains 'energized' to continue to serve: embassy

SEOUL -- U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris remains "energized" to continue to serve in the job as there is no better place to serve as ambassador than South Korea, his embassy said Thursday, after a news report that he's planning on leaving.

"Ambassador Harris serves at the pleasure of the president. He remains energized to continue to serve the United States. As he has said frequently, 'There is no better place to serve as U.S. Ambassador, and no better partner and ally for the United States, than the Republic of Korea,'" an embassy spokesperson said.

5G smartphone sales to hit 8.4 million units in S. Korea this year: report

SEOUL -- Sales of 5G smartphones are expected to reach 8.4 million units in South Korea this year, a report showed Thursday, as handset manufacturers are racing to release more affordable devices that support 5G.

According to market tracker Counterpoint Research, 5G smartphones are estimated to account for 48 percent of South Korea's total smartphone sales this year. Last year, 5G-capable phones made up 28 percent of the total smartphone sales here.

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