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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 August 12, 2020

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

Appellate court affirms suspended jail term for former labor leader in illegal protest case

SEOUL -- An appellate court on Wednesday upheld a lower court's ruling of a suspended prison sentence for a former head of a militant labor umbrella group indicted for masterminding assaults on police during outdoor rallies from 2018-19.

The Seoul High Court sentenced Kim Myeong-hwan, former chairman of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), to 2 1/2 years in prison, suspended for four years, and ordered him to complete 160 hours of community service. The sentence is the same as what was handed down by a lower court in January.

S. Korean drama, film productions receive mixed Q2 results amid COVID-19 pandemic

SEOUL -- South Korea's major entertainment firms have posted mixed earnings reports for the second quarter, as the novel coronavirus pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on each sector.

Studio Dragon, a drama production company owned by entertainment giant CJ ENM, seems to be the biggest winner for the April-June period, during which people were asked to stay at home and enjoyed TV shows or binge-watched Netflix.

Civic groups asked to cancel Liberation Day rallies in Seoul

SEOUL -- The government of Seoul said Wednesday it will not permit massive Liberation Day rallies planned by various civic groups in central parts of the capital, citing fears of coronavirus transmission.

The Seoul metropolitan government said it has officially asked 14 civic groups to cancel their plans to hold rallies throughout central Seoul on Saturday, which coincides with the annual Liberation Day, a national holiday to celebrate the end of Japan's 36-year colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula in 1945.

Hyundai gives name Motional to autonomous vehicle JV with Aptiv

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's biggest carmaker by sales, said Wednesday it has given the name Motional to its US$4 billion joint venture with Ireland-based self-driving technology startup Aptiv.

In March, Hyundai set up the 50:50 joint company with Aptiv, to be headquartered in Boston, in order to test fully autonomous vehicles for ride-hailing services later this year.

(LEAD) KT launches subscription-based cloud game service

SEOUL -- KT Corp., a major South Korean telecom operator, said Wednesday it launched a subscription-based game streaming service, joining other telecom operators to capture the local cloud game market.

The service, named GameBox, streams PC and console games on smartphones using cloud technology and offers around 100 games at launch, including the popular first-person shooter Borderlands 3, according to the mobile carrier.

Showers expected for S. Korea as record-long monsoon persists

SEOUL -- While heavy rains that have killed more than 30 in South Korea have eased, showers were expected for most parts of the country Wednesday as the country's monsoon season continued for 50 days.

Showers measuring 20 to 80 millimeters, accompanied by thunder and lightning, were forecast for most parts of the country later in the day, with the exception of the eastern coastal area, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

HDC, Kumho still sparring over breakthrough in stalled Asiana deal

SEOUL -- HDC Hyundai Development Co. and Kumho Industrial Co. are still divided over a meeting to find a breakthrough in the stalled deal over Asiana Airlines Inc., industry sources said Wednesday.

The HDC-led consortium signed the deal in December to acquire a 30.77 percent stake in Asiana from Kumho Industrial, a construction unit of Kumho Asiana Group, as well as new Asiana shares to be issued and Asiana's six affiliates, for 2.5 trillion won (US$2.2 billion).

Celltrion's coronavirus test kits hit U.S.

SEOUL -- South Korean biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion Inc. said Wednesday that its two kinds of diagnostic kits for the novel coronavirus began sales in the United States.

A point-of-care antigen testing (POCT) kit, dubbed "Sampinute," co-developed by local health care firm BBB, was commercialized following emergency approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Celltrion said.

(2nd LD) Top N.K. official visits flood-hit area, calls for quick rehabilitation

SEOUL -- A top North Korean official visited a flood-hit county in the country's western area, calling for stepped-up efforts to quickly rehabilitate the damage caused by recent heavy downpours, state media said Wednesday.

Pak Pong-ju, vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission, toured various places, including a co-op farm, in Taechong-ri of Unpha County in North Hwanghae Province and learned "in detail about flood damage and the rehabilitation," according to the Korean Central News Agency.

Doosan Heavy inks 220 bln won deal to build waste-to-energy plant

SEOUL -- South Korea's top power plant builder, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., said Wednesday that it has signed a 220 billion won (US$185.6 million) deal to build a power plant using waste in Poland.

Under the deal with Polish energy company Dobra Energia, Doosan Heavy and its German affiliate, Doosan Lentjes, will build the plant in Olsztyn, 200 kilometers north of Warszawa, the capital city of Poland, Doosan Heavy said in an emailed statement.

(2nd LD) Moon taps former Gangwon vice governor as new communication secretary

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in named Chung Man-ho, former vice governor of Gangwon Province, as his new senior secretary for public communication on Wednesday, Cheong Wa Dae said.

He also tapped Yoon Chang-yul, an official at the Office for Government Policy Coordination, as senior secretary for social policy, according to presidential spokesman Kang Min-seok.

New daily virus cases spike to over 50 on church-linked infections

SEOUL -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases spiked to above 50 on Wednesday, as an uptick in church-traced infections shows no signs of a letup.

The country identified an additional 54 virus cases, including 35 local infections, raising the total caseload to 14,714, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

EU probes Polish support for LG Chem's plant expansion

SEOUL -- The European Commission said it has launched an in-depth investigation into Polish support of 95 million euros (US$111.5 million) to South Korean chemical giant LG Chem over its expansion of its battery cell production facility for electric vehicles (EV) in Poland.

In 2017, LG Chem decided to invest more than 1 billion euros in the expansion of its production capacity of lithium-ion cells and battery modules and packs for electric vehicles in its existing plant in Wroclaw, southwestern Poland.

S. Korea identifies 2 more Korean War soldiers from remains

SEOUL -- South Korea has identified the remains of two soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War after the remains were either recovered from a former battle site on the inter-Korean border or repatriated from North Korea, the defense ministry said Wednesday.

The late Bae Suk-rae's remains were excavated from Arrowhead Ridge, a former battlefield inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas, after he was killed in 1953 about two weeks before a cease-fire treaty was signed.

Trump suggests N.K. leader expected war with U.S.

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump suggested Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had expected to go to war with the United States before the two engaged in nuclear diplomacy.

Trump, speaking to radio show host Hugh Hewitt, was talking about China when he suddenly turned to Iran and North Korea and repeated the familiar claim that the U.S. would be at war with the North had he not been elected president.

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