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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:08 December 16, 2020

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

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(LEAD) Rare COVID-19 cluster of foreign nationals occurs at college dorm

SEOUL -- Twenty-one Vietnamese students living in a college dormitory in a central South Korean city have been diagnosed with COVID-19, local officials said Wednesday, reporting a rare coronavirus cluster of foreign nationals here.

The nation's latest mass infection occurred at Ajou Motor College in Boryeong, a South Chungcheong Province city about 200 kilometers south of Seoul.

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(LEAD) S. Korea speeds up culling of poultry to prevent highly pathogenic bird flu

SEOUL -- South Korea said Wednesday it is speeding up efforts to cull poultry around farms infected with highly pathogenic bird flu amid growing concerns over the virus spreading nationwide.

The country has culled 5.59 million birds as preventive measures since reporting the first farm-related case in late November, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

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NIS chief vows never to meddle in domestic politics

SEOUL -- The head of South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) vowed Wednesday never to meddle in domestic politics after the National Assembly passed a reform bill centering on transferring the agency's anti-communist investigation duties to police.

"Reform of the NIS has been finally completed after unsuccessful attempts by previous governments," NIS Director Park Jie-won said. "Organizations suspected of getting involved in domestic politics have been dismantled and cannot be reinstated anymore."

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Minister promises next steps to complete police reform

SEOUL -- Interior and Safety Minister Chin Young said Wednesday he will quickly take the next steps to implement a series of police reform measures mandated by a new law.

Chin made the remark at a press briefing on the government's plans to reform so-called powerful institutions, such as the prosecution, police and the National Intelligence Service.

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Seoul city to conduct COVID-19 tests on all workers at high-risk facilities

SEOUL -- The city government of Seoul said Wednesday it will conduct COVID-19 tests on all workers at facilities with high risks of virus infections, such as courier companies and nursing homes.

Seo Jeong-hyup, the acting Seoul mayor, announced the plan during an online press briefing, as South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases hit an all-time high.

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N.K. focused on domestic issues ahead of party meeting, but provocations possible at any time: defense chief

SEOUL -- North Korea is focused on economic and domestic issues ahead of a rare party congress set for next month but can undertake provocations at any time, according to South Korea's defense minister and top military commanders Wednesday.

The assessment came during a biannual meeting of top commanders presided over by Defense Minister Suh Wook. It was attended by dozens of high-level military officers and government officials from related agencies, with some participating via a video link due to the new coronavirus.

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Mandatory military service period to be reduced to 18 months by next year

SEOUL -- The defense ministry said Wednesday it will complete reducing the mandatory military service period to 18 months by next year as planned as part of a series of reform projects under way to make the military "smaller and stronger."

During a meeting on defense reform presided over by Defense Minister Suh Wook, officials said the military is on course to cut the service period for Army draftees to 18 months by December 2021, according to the ministry.

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Baseball league announces 2021 regular season schedule

SEOUL -- The South Korean baseball league announced its 2021 regular season schedule Wednesday.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said the new season will begin on April 3, with the 10 clubs each playing 144 games.

(END)

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