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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:15 November 16, 2020

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

(LEAD) New virus cases over 200 for 3rd day; stronger virus curbs 'seriously' considered

SEOUL -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases hovered above 200 for a third consecutive day Monday as cluster infections across the country piled up, prompting health authorities to "seriously" consider raising the country's social distancing measures by one notch.

The country added 223 more COVID-19 cases, including 193 local infections, raising the total caseload to 28,769, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

(LEAD) Korean Air to buy virus-hit Asiana, emerge as world's 10th-largest airline

SEOUL -- Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's biggest carrier, said Monday that it will buy its smaller local rival Asiana Airlines Inc. in a deal valued at 1.8 trillion won (US$1.62 billion) that would create the world's 10th-biggest airline by fleets.

Korean Air plans to buy new shares worth 1.5 trillion won to be sold by Asiana, and buy bonds to be floated by the smaller carrier, the company said in a regulatory filing.

(3rd LD) N.K. leader presides over politburo meeting in first public appearance in 25 days

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a politburo meeting of the Workers' Party in his first public appearance in 25 days and discussed nationwide anti-coronavirus measures, state media said Monday.

During the enlarged politburo meeting held Sunday, Kim discussed "COVID-19 and the state anti-epidemic situation and clarified the tasks for the Party, military and economic fields to further tighten the emergency anti-epidemic front," according to the Korean Central News Agency.

With virus resurgence in greater Seoul area, Gangwon Province, tougher distancing rules imminent

SEOUL -- As South Korea's new coronavirus cases are growing at a concerning rate, especially in the greater Seoul area and Gangwon Province, health authorities on Monday further warned the public to brace for more stringent antivirus restrictions.

The country logged 223 new cases on Monday, a third consecutive day with more than 200 new infections. The last time the country saw its new infections passing 200 was on Sept. 2, when it reported 267 new cases, as Seoul and its adjacent cities experienced a spike in COVID-19 infections.

Seoul city begins renovation of landmark Gwanghwamun Square

SEOUL -- The Seoul city government on Monday began renovation of its landmark Gwanghwamun Square, aiming to transform the busy intersection into a verdant public park.

Traffic lanes will be expanded on the east of the square, located in the capital's central Jongno Ward and adjacent to the U.S. Embassy, while a park will replace the lanes to the west, in front of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, the city government said in a press release.

Defense ministry arranging phone talks between Minister Suh, acting U.S. Defense Secretary Miller

SEOUL -- South Korea is in talks with the United States to arrange phone talks between Defense Minister Suh Wook and acting U.S. Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, the ministry said Monday.

Miller took office as the acting Pentagon chief last week after U.S. President Donald Trump fired Mark Esper, just days after his election defeat to former Vice President Joe Biden. Esper was sworn in as secretary of defense in June last year.

(LEAD) S. Korean Im Sung-jae ties for 2nd at Masters, best performance by Asian

SEOUL -- South Korean rising star Im Sung-jae has fallen short of winning his first Masters but still made history at Augusta National Golf Club.

Im tied for second with Cameron Smith of Australia at 15-under, five strokes behind the champion Dustin Johnson, who finished with a record 20-under 268. Johnson carded a 68 while Im and Smith each scored a 69 at the famed Augusta National in Augusta, Georgia, on Sunday (local time). Im had five birdies and two bogeys.

Multiple affiliates to spin off from LG Group: sources

SEOUL -- LG Group is likely to spin off multiple affiliates, people familiar with the matter said Monday, with an uncle of the conglomerate's chief taking the leadership of the spun-off companies.

Koo Bon-joon, an uncle of current LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo and a younger brother of late LG Group chief Koo Bon-moo, is expected to take control of multiple LG affiliates, including LG International Corp., LG Hausys Ltd., and Pantos Co., which are expected to be spun off from the country's fourth-largest conglomerate, the sources said.

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