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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:33 August 13, 2020

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

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New virus cases above 50 for 2nd day, local infections at over 1-month high

SEOUL -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases stayed above 50 for the second consecutive day Thursday as domestic infections, mostly traced to sporadic clusters, jumped to an over one-month high.

The country identified an additional 56 virus cases, including 47 local infections, raising the total caseload to 14,770, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

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(LEAD) Lotteria case raises alert over additional infections in greater Seoul area

SEOUL -- A new cluster infection traced to a meeting of managers at fast-food franchise Lotteria has sparked fresh concerns over the new coronavirus further spreading in Seoul and surrounding areas.

At least 11 employees who attended a meeting at a Lotteria franchise in the eastern Seoul ward of Gwangjin on Aug. 6 have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday evening. Eight of them were Seoul residents.

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Main opposition takes first lead over ruling party in 4 yrs in Realmeter opinion poll

SEOUL -- The main opposition party has surpassed the ruling party for the first time in nearly four years in Realmeter's weekly approval poll, the agency said Thursday, citing public anger over the Moon Jae-in administration's failure to curb housing price hikes.

The favorability of the United Future Party (UFP) rose 1.9 percentage point to 36.5 percent in the three-day survey of 1,507 voters nationwide through Wednesday, while support for the DP dropped 1.7 percentage point to 33.4 percent. The margin of error is plus and minus 2.5 percentage points.

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(LEAD) N.K. defector-turned-lawmaker says U.S.-N.K. summit unlikely before Nov. election

WASHINGTON -- A North Korean defector-turned-lawmaker said Wednesday that he doesn't believe a U.S.-North Korea is summit is likely before the U.S. presidential election in November.

Thae Yong-ho, former North Korean deputy ambassador to Britain and now a member of South Korea's National Assembly, also questioned the likelihood of a major provocation by the North within that timeframe.

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Gov't calls for doctors to pull back nationwide strike

SEJONG -- The government on Thursday urged doctors to cancel their nationwide strike slated for this week, warning that it will take stern actions if the walkout leads to any harm and disruptions to patients.

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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Seoul gov't bans Liberation Day rallies

SEOUL -- The government of Seoul said Thursday it issued no-assembly orders for 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 banned 26 civic groups from holding 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.

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SuperM to make live performance debut of new song on U.S. television

SEOUL -- K-pop band SuperM will present the live performance debut of its upcoming song "100" on U.S. television network ABC, the group's agency said Thursday.

The seven-piece boy band's live performance of "100" will be aired on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Aug. 20 (local time), according to SM Entertainment. The track will be released Friday.

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Facilities at N.K. nuclear complex may be damaged by flood: U.S. think tank

SEOUL -- Significant flooding has happened along a river near North Korean's Yongbyon nuclear complex, and facilities at the complex could have been damaged, a U.S. monitoring website said Thursday.

The website 38 North, a think tank monitoring North Korea, made the analysis based on satellite imagery from Aug. 6, saying that "water had reached the two pump houses that service the reactors" at Yongbyon nuclear complex.

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Foreign ministry neither confirms nor denies senior Chinese official's plan to visit Seoul

SEOUL -- The foreign ministry neither confirmed nor denied a media report Thursday that a senior Chinese ruling party official plans to visit South Korea next week to cement relations between the two countries amid rising Sino-U.S. geopolitical tensions.

Yang Jiechi, a Politburo member of the Communist Party of China, could travel to Seoul as early as next week, though the date of his visit has yet to be finalized, a local daily, the Hankook Ilbo newspaper, reported, citing a source from South Korea's ruling bloc.

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About 60 pct of N. Koreans face food insecurity: U.S. Department of Agriculture

SEOUL -- About 60 percent of North Korea's population are facing food insecurity as the global coronavirus pandemic appears to be taking a toll on the country's food supplies, a U.S. Department of Agriculture report showed Thursday.

According to the report by the department's Economic Research Service, 59.8 percent of North Korea's population or some 15.30 million people in the country remain "food-insecure."

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S. Korea to supply 360,000 homes in Seoul by 2028

SEOUL -- South Korea will gradually provide a total of 360,000 housing units in Seoul by 2028 as part of its broad home supply plan to stabilize the real estate market, the transport ministry said Thursday.

The government plans to supply the homes mainly to underprivileged people in the capital city by developing state-owned properties and promoting redevelopment and reconstruction projects, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement.

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