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Yonhap News Summary

All News 16:55 May 01, 2020

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

(LEAD) N.K. defector claims he is '99 pct' sure that N. Korean leader died

SEOUL -- A North Korea defector elected as a lawmaker in South Korea claimed Friday that he is "99 percent" sure that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un died after surgery amid speculation over his health.

Unconfirmed reports about Kim's ill health have mounted since he has not appeared in public for nearly three weeks. News reports described Kim as being in "grave danger" after surgery or hiding out at a coastal resort to escape the coronavirus pandemic.

(LEAD) N.K. leader out of public eye for 20th straight day

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un remained out of public view for the 20th straight day Thursday amid persisting speculation about his health and who will take over the nuclear-armed communist nation after him.

Kim was last seen in state media on April 11 presiding over a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers' Party. State media have since carried reports about him handling state affairs, such as sending messages to foreign leaders, but no photo or video of him has been released.

(2nd LD) S. Korea sees single-digit virus cases for 3rd day, urges vigilance during holiday

SEOUL -- South Korea recorded new daily coronavirus infections in the single digits for the third day in a row Friday, but health authorities called for people to comply with social distancing guidelines during the holiday.

South Korea confirmed nine new coronavirus infections, bringing the nation's total to 10,774, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement.

Samsung maintains top spot in Q1 smartphone market despite virus pandemic

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. maintained the top spot in the global smartphone market in the first quarter of 2020, data showed Friday, although it sold fewer devices as the new coronavirus pandemic weighed down sales around the globe.

The South Korean tech giant sold 58.3 million units of smartphones in the January-March period, taking up 21.2 percent of the global market, according to the data compiled by industry tracker Strategy Analytics.

(LEAD) Firefighting helicopter with 7 aboard crashes

SEOUL -- A firefighting helicopter with seven people aboard crashed Friday into Mount Jiri in the southern region of South Korea, seriously injuring two people.

The chopper crashed into the Cheonwangbong Peak of the mountain in Sancheong County, South Gyeongsang Province, around 12:07 p.m., according to the fire authorities.

Special law for furloughed workers meant to back negotiation team for SMA talks: ministry

SEOUL -- A newly enacted law providing financial support for furloughed South Koreans employees with the U.S. Forces Korea would strengthen the hands of South Korean negotiators in defense cost sharing talks with the United States, a defense ministry official said Friday.

Around 4,000 employees were placed on unpaid leave starting April 1 amid the protracted stalemate in a new Special Measures Agreement (SMA) that stipulates how much Seoul would pay for the upkeep of the 28,500-strong USFK.

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