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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:30 July 31, 2020

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

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(LEAD) Seoul stocks snap four-day winning streak amid COVID-19 uncertainties

SEOUL -- South Korean shares closed lower Friday, snapping a four-day winning streak, as economic uncertainties loom large amid the new coronavirus pandemic. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 17.64 points, or 0.78 percent, to close at 2,249.37. Trading volume was high at about 679 million shares worth some 12.7 trillion won (US$10.7 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 572 to 276.

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NPS seeks to sharply increase overseas investment portfolio

SEOUL -- South Korea's health minister said Friday that the country's state pension fund needs to sharply increase its overseas investment to maximize its returns and diversify risks amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

The National Pension Service's (NPS) assets under management are expected to surpass 1,000 trillion won (US$841 billion) in 2024, with more than half invested in overseas assets, according to Health Minister Park Neung-hoo.

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Victims request special counsel over fatal humidifier sanitizer scandal

SEOUL -- Victims of a deadly humidifier sanitizer scandal that has led to at least 1,553 officially registered deaths called on Friday for a special counsel to investigate relevant government ministries as well as manufacturers who made the products.

"It has been 19 months since the Special Commission on Social Disaster Investigation launched an investigation, and their activity ends in less than five months," members of an organization representing the victims said in a press conference held in front of the commission's office in central Seoul, referring to the panel that was formed under a special act on dealing with social disasters.

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No joke: Reality TV K-pop act rocks music scene while raising questions of fairness

SEOUL -- From its inception, SSAK3, a one-off K-pop team created for MBC TV's weekend variety show "Hang Out With Yoo," was intended to be a silly tongue-in-cheek project, riding on the coattails of the retro boom in today's pop culture landscape.

At best, the co-ed trio, formed of two late '90s-2000s singers -- Lee Hyo-ri of girl group FIN.K.L and male soloist Rain -- and top-billed comedian-emcee Yoo Jae-suk, was expected to offer a dose of wholesome feel-good '90s nostalgia to viewers and, in doing so, a much needed boost in ratings for the TV network currently undergoing a serious financial crunch.

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N. Korea's border closure likely to increase chronic disease mortality: expert

SEOUL -- North Korea's shutdown of borders may help prevent the spread of the coronavirus but is likely to increase the mortality rates of those with chronic illnesses as the border closure could lead to shortages of medicines and other necessities, a professor said Friday.

Lee Yo-han, a public health professor at Ajou University, made the case in a paper carried by the KDI Review of the North Korean Economy magazine published by the state-run Korea Development Institute, saying the border shutdown is expected to affect the operation of local markets known as jangmadang in the North.

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(LEAD) Samsung Heavy's loss widens in Q2 on increased costs

SEOUL -- Major shipyard Samsung Heavy Industries Co. said Friday that its net loss widened in the second quarter from a year earlier due to increased costs stemming from delays in shipbuilding projects

Its net loss came to 704.3 billion won (US$591.2 million) in the April-June period, compared with a net loss of 309.4 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.
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