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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:00 August 12, 2020

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

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S. Korea, Japan in talks over relaxing coronavirus entry restrictions for businesspeople

SEOUL -- South Korea and Japan are in talks over ways to ease coronavirus entry restrictions for business travelers, a diplomatic source said Wednesday.

Last month, Seoul and Tokyo kicked off diplomatic talks on the relaxation of the restrictions based on the shared view that the countries should allow the entry of businesspeople as long as they do not undermine the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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U.S. to communicate closely with S. Korea on G7 summit: U.S. official

SEOUL -- The United States will communicate closely with South Korea about a Group of Seven summit it plans to host later this year, a senior U.S. official was quoted as saying Wednesday, amid expectations Seoul will be invited to the meeting.

David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for Asia and Pacific affairs, made the remark during a video call with Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Gunn held to discuss topics of mutual concern, according to the foreign ministry.

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Unification ministry launches inspection of N.K. defector groups

SEOUL -- The unification ministry has launched an inspection of civic groups this week, officials said Wednesday, amid criticism the probe targets North Korean defector organizations after tensions with Pyongyang spiked over their sending of propaganda leaflets across the border.

The inspection came a month after the ministry revoked the licenses of two defector groups over their sending of anti-Pyongyang leaflets and said it would launch a probe beginning with 25 civic organizations registered at the ministry, including 13 organizations run by North Korean defectors.

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Doctors to go on strike as planned this week

SEOUL -- Thousands of doctors will stage a nationwide walkout this week as scheduled in protest over the country's medical reform blueprint, and they will not hold talks with the authorities until their demands are met, according to their association on Wednesday.

The Korea Medical Association (KMA), which represents 130,000 doctors, is set to stage a general strike Friday, voicing opposition to the government's plan to foster more physicians.

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Repatriated British man under probe for allegedly taking, spreading photos of Korean women without consent

SEOUL -- A British man has been investigated by the prosecution for allegedly taking illegal photos of Korean women and sharing them on his website, police said Wednesday.

The man, whose identity was not revealed, is accused of taking photos of Korean women without consent in the city's various tourist spots from Aug. 9-18 in 2018 using a small hidden camera. He is also suspected of luring a Korean woman to his place where he was temporarily staying to sexually harass and film her.

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S. Korea's household debt keeps fast growth in July

SEOUL -- South Korea's household debt continued to grow at a fast clip in July amid low interest rates and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, central bank data showed Wednesday.

Outstanding bank loans to local households came to 936.5 trillion won (US$789 billion) as of end-July, up 7.6 trillion won from the previous month, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

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S. Korea's shipping industry recovering from global crisis

SEOUL -- South Korea's marine shipping industry has been gradually recovering from the fallout of an industry-wide crisis roughly five years ago that led to the bankruptcy of a major shipper here, the oceans ministry said Wednesday.

The size of the country's shipping industry was estimated to have reached 37 trillion won (US$31.2 billion) in 2019, growing from 29 trillion won in 2016 amid the global crisis, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

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Gov't to offer discount coupons worth 90.4 bln won in travel, arts, leisure sectors

SEOUL -- The government said Wednesday it plans to distribute discount coupons worth 90.4 billion won (US$76.2 million) in the travel, arts and leisure sectors to resuscitate domestic spending in the areas hit hard by the new coronavirus pandemic.

The culture ministry will offer the coupons in six areas -- lodging, travel, concerts, exhibitions, cinema and sports activities -- to 8.61 million people starting Friday on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Mandatory QR code-based entry log system to be applied to wedding halls

SEOUL -- The mandatory entry log system will be applied to dining places of wedding halls starting next week to prevent further infections of the novel coronavirus in crowded venues in South Korea, health authorities said Wednesday.

Operators of wedding buffets should carry out the quick response (QR) code-based registration and demand that customers scan the codes or leave their personal information starting next Wednesday, according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters.

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10 fast-food franchise employees test positive for COVID-19 in Seoul

SEOUL -- Ten employees working at a local fast-food franchise have tested positive for the new coronavirus, officials said Wednesday, raising concerns over a possibly bigger outbreak.

The Lotteria employees were found to have met at the franchise restaurant near the Gunja subway station in the eastern Seoul ward of Gwangjin between 3:18 and 5:25 p.m. on Aug. 6, according to health authorities and the Seoul city government.

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