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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:31 September 21, 2020

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

(LEAD) Students in greater Seoul return to school as virus slows, learning gap widens

SEOUL -- Students in Seoul and its surrounding area returned to school for in-person learning Monday as new coronavirus cases have declined recently.

The measure, which will remain effective until Oct. 11, was introduced following the relaxed social distancing guidelines amid a recent drop in new coronavirus cases. It also reflects worries over the widening learning gap.

(2nd LD) New virus cases under 100 for 2nd day; untraceable cases still hurdle in virus fight

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases stayed below 100 for the second consecutive day Monday in what could be a sign of a slowdown in new infections, but the continued high number of untraceable cases and sporadic clusters pose challenges to the country's virus fight.

The country added 70 more COVID-19 cases, including 55 local infections, raising the total caseload to 23,045, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

(LEAD) ROTC general tapped as Army chief of staff for 1st time

SEOUL -- Ground Operations Command chief Gen. Nam Yeong-shin was tapped as the new Army chief of staff, the defense ministry said Monday, marking the first time that a general hailing from the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) has risen to the Army's top job.

Nam will succeed Suh Wook, who took office as defense minister last week, and will be the first ROTC general to lead the Army since its founding in 1948. So far, the top Army job has been held by generals hailing from the Korea Military Academy.

Moon to hold meeting on reforming prosecution, police, state spy agency

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in will have a meeting later Monday to devise a strategy for his administration's push for reforming South Korea's prosecution service, police and state intelligence agency, the first Cheong Wa Dae session of its kind in 1 1/2 years.

Among major agenda items are plans to launch a non-prosecution unit to specialize in probing corruption among high-level government officials and introduce an autonomous police system as part of efforts to grant more investigative authority to police, according to an official.

(LEAD) Exports rise 3.6 pct in first 20 days of September

SEJONG -- South Korea's exports rose 3.6 percent on-year in the first 20 days of September, thanks to a sharp gain in exports of semiconductors, customs data showed Monday.

The nation's outbound shipments stood at US$29.6 billion in the Sept. 1-20 period, up $1.02 billion from a year ago, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

Iran, N. Korea resumes long-range missile cooperation: report

SEOUL --- Iran and North Korea have resumed long-range missile cooperation in a project that includes the transfer of "critical parts," Reuters reported, citing an unnamed senior U.S. official.

The official did not offer detailed evidence on the joint work, but the remark reinforces speculation over the North's weapons proliferation activities amid its economic woes stemming from biting international sanctions.

National cemeteries to close during Chuseok holiday to prevent virus spread

SEOUL -- South Korea's national cemeteries will be closed during the upcoming Chuseok holiday to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, the veterans affairs ministry said Monday.

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 4, visits to 11 national cemeteries across the country will be restricted, according to the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

GC Pharma to speed up clinical trials of COVID-19 plasma therapy

SEOUL -- South Korea's biotech company GC Pharma will soon begin advanced clinical trials of its plasma therapy treatment for the novel coronavirus both locally and globally, company officials said Monday.

The plasma therapy, known as GC5131, is a type of hyperimmune globulin drug that uses blood plasma taken from people who have fully recovered from COVID-19 infections. It is considered one of the earliest treatment options.

Seoul city to install hanok-style, high-tech bus stops

SEOUL -- The Seoul city government said Monday it has decided to adopt the design of hanok, or traditional Korean houses, for high-tech bus stops in the capital.

The design, titled "Beauty of Korea," centers on adopting the signature curves of hanok for the city's "smart shelter" bus stops, according to the Seoul city government. The design was selected in a public vote.

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