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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:00 August 13, 2020

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

(LEAD) Greater Seoul area at risk of spike in virus cases, local infections at over 1-month high
(ATTN: CHANGES headline, first 2 paras; ADDS more info in paras 6-9, 13-15, last 4 paras, 2nd photo)

SEOUL -- South Korea's health authorities warned Thursday that the greater Seoul area is teetering on the brink of another spike in virus cases, and eased social distancing may be rolled back if the upward trend continues.

The country's new daily coronavirus cases stayed above 50 for the second consecutive day Thursday as domestic infections, mostly traced to sporadic clusters in Seoul and adjacent areas, jumped to an over one-month high.

No more replacements of top Cheong Wa Dae aides, official says

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in has no plans for additional replacements of his top Cheong Wa Dae aides in connection with the collective offers of resignation last week by his chief of staff and five senior secretaries, a key presidential official said Thursday.

"You can say that the (latest round of) personnel affairs over those with the senior secretarial grade and higher has been completed," the official told reporters on the condition of anonymity.

(LEAD) Moon declares 11 more flood-hit areas as special disaster zones
(ATTN: UPDATES with details)

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in designated 11 southern areas, devastated by monsoon-season heavy rains, as special disaster zones Thursday for speedy state assistance for recovery work and the provision of relief funds, Cheong Wa Dae said.

The regions include Namwon in North Jeolla Province; Naju, Gurye, Gokseong, Damyang, Hwasun, Hampyeong, Younggwang and Jangseong in South Jeolla Province; Hadong and Hapcheon in South Gyeongsang Province.

(2nd LD) Big Hit posts estimated sales of 294 bln won in H1, announces concert in Oct.
(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 4-5, 14-15; ADDS photo)

SEOUL -- Big Hit Entertainment, the label-management agency of K-pop giant BTS, announced Thursday that its estimated sales revenue during the first half of 2020 reached 294 billion won (US$244.8 million) on the back of strong album sales and paid online concert revenues.

In a biannual corporate briefing held on YouTube, the company added that its estimated operating profit during the January-June period reached 49.7 billion won. Big Hit said the numbers were subject to an audit before confirmation.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks continue gains for 9th consecutive session on economic rebound hopes
(ATTN: RECAST headline; ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL -- South Korean shares closed a tad higher Thursday, extending gains to a ninth session on institutional and individual buying. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 5.18 points, or 0.21 percent, to close at 2,437.53.

S. Korea's COVID-19 vaccine candidates may start clinical tests this year: KCDC

SEOUL -- South Korea's health authorities said Thursday that clinical trials on three locally developed vaccine candidate materials for novel coronavirus treatment are expected to start within this year.

One subunit vaccine substance and two DNA-based vaccine materials from local pharmaceutical firms are subject to clinical tests on humans this year, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

8 more USFK-affiliated Americans test positive for COVID-19

SEOUL -- Seven more American service members and a Department of Defense civilian contractor tested positive for the new coronavirus upon their arrivals in South Korea, the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Thursday.

Of them, three service members arrived at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on a U.S. government chartered flight while the others arrived at Incheon International Airport, west of the capital, on commercial flights, it said.


(LEAD) Facilities at N.K. nuclear complex may be damaged by flood: U.S. think tank
(ATTN: ADDS image, defense ministry's reaction in paras 5-6)

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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