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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 November 20, 2020

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

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(2nd LD) New virus cases over 300 for 3rd day, greater Seoul area in 3rd wave of outbreak

SEOUL -- Health authorities on Friday urged people to refrain from gatherings and outdoor activities, as the country's daily new coronavirus cases hovered above 300 for the third straight day and the greater Seoul area, home to half of the country's population, is in the third wave of the outbreak.

The country added 363 more COVID-19 cases, including 320 local infections, raising the total caseload to 30,017, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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Virus cases top 30,000 in 10 months, tough battle in store amid resurgence

SEOUL -- South Korea's total virus caseload topped 30,000 on Friday, 10 months after its first confirmed case in late January, and its virus fight is facing another potential wave of outbreaks amid the nearing winter season.

The country reported 363 new COVID-19 cases Friday, including 320 local infections, raising the total to 30,017, according to health authorities. It marked the third straight day that daily virus cases rose by over 300.

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(LEAD) Prime minister asks public to avoid social gatherings amid coronavirus spread

SEOUL -- Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Friday asked the public to refrain from holding year-end social gatherings and nonessential outdoor activities, as South Korea braces for another potential wave of the pandemic, with rising sporadic cluster infections in a number of parts of the nation.

In a televised statement, he said the country's antivirus fight is "facing a crisis."

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(LEAD) Court rules against state health insurer in damages suit against major tobacco firms

SEOUL -- A Seoul court handed down a ruling Friday against the state health insurer in its smoking-related damages suit with three major tobacco companies, citing no direct "legal" links between its increased financial burden and their businesses.

The Seoul Central District Court rejected the compensation request filed by the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) against KT&G Corp., a leading South Korean cigarette producer with about a 63 percent market share, and the local units of two foreign companies -- British American Tobacco and Philip Morris.

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Defying pandemic, BTS set to drop much-anticipated album 'BE'

SEOUL -- K-pop megastar BTS, which has emerged as one of the biggest pop groups in the world, on Friday was scheduled to release its new album "BE," an intimate record of messages the septet wants to share with the world during the pandemic.

The eight-track album, the band's fifth Korean-language studio album, is set to drop at 2 p.m. It kicks off with the lead track "Life Goes On" and ends with the chart-breaking single "Dynamite," which propelled BTS to become the first K-pop act to top the Billboard Hot 100.

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ITC delays final ruling on botulinum toxin strain dispute between 2 Korean firms

SEOUL -- The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) again postponed its final ruling on a dispute over a botulinum toxin strain between South Korean drugmakers Medytox Inc. and Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co., industry officials here said Friday.

A U.S. trade judge was initially scheduled to deliver the final verdict on Thursday (U.S. time) but postponed the date to Dec. 16, they said. The final verdict was already postponed earlier this month.

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(2nd LD) U.S. Treasury adds 2 new companies to N. Korea sanctions list

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Treasury on Thursday added two new companies to its list of entities subject to sanctions on North Korea that seek to prevent the communist state's weapons programs.

They include Korea Cholsan General Trading Corp., a North Korean enterprise based in Pyongyang that operates in Russia, according to the latest update posted on the department website.

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