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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 December 17, 2020

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

(2nd LD) S. Korea inching closer to toughest virus curbs, as daily virus tally tops 1,000 for 2nd day

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases surpassed the 1,000 mark Thursday for the second day in a row as an alarming increase in cluster infections across the country continued, prompting health authorities to seriously consider adopting the toughest virus curbs.

The country added 1,014 more COVID-19 cases, including 993 local infections, raising the total caseload to 46,453, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

S. Korea extends advisory against overseas travel amid pandemic

SEOUL -- The foreign ministry on Thursday extended the special advisory recommending against traveling overseas for another month amid the prolonged coronavirus pandemic.

The advisory calls for South Koreans not to go abroad unless the trip is essential and for those staying outside of the country to take extra precaution. The measure will be effective until Jan. 16 and can be extended again.

(LEAD) Top prosecutor seeks court injunction against disciplinary measure

SEOUL -- South Korea's chief prosecutor will file for an injunction in a Seoul court Thursday to halt the two-month suspension of his duty, his lawyer said.

Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl is protesting against the justice ministry's disciplinary measure, sanctioned by President Moon Jae-in, in connection with multiple accounts of "ethical and legal misdeeds."

S. Korea, U.S. extend $60 bln currency swap deal by another 6 months amid pandemic

WASHINGTON/SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States have agreed to extend a US$60 billion bilateral currency swap agreement by another six months in an effort to help ease market uncertainties amid a global resurgence of coronavirus infections, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board (FRB) said Wednesday.

In late March, the Bank of Korea and the U.S. Federal Reserve signed the bilateral currency swap facility to help ease financial market jitters caused by the pandemic.

(LEAD) UN passes N. Korean human rights resolution for 16th consecutive year

WASHINGTON -- The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday adopted a resolution calling for improvements to human rights conditions in North Korea.

The resolution marks the 16th of its kind since 2005.

Random testing finds 68 COVID-19 cases in 2 days in capital area: PM

SEOUL -- The government's ongoing random testing has identified nearly 70 cases of COVID-19 in the greater Seoul area in a span of two days this week, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Thursday, calling on citizens to voluntarily visit testing centers to stem the spread of the disease.

In a bid to preemptively find "hidden infected people" through random testing, the government installed temporary coronavirus testing facilities at about 150 locations in the capital area, including Seoul Station, on Monday. Those random testing centers are to operate for three weeks.

Former U.S. nuclear negotiator says N. Korea's ultimate goal is to secure regime

SEOUL -- A former U.S. nuclear negotiator said Thursday that Washington needs to push for normalizing relations with North Korea and make efforts to sign a peace treaty that ends the 1950-53 Korean War, as Pyongyang's ultimate goal is to secure its regime and leadership.

Joseph DeTrani also said during a virtual seminar that recognizing North Korea as a nuclear weapons state is not a "viable option" because such recognition would facilitate an arms race and cause instability in the region.

Hyundai JV, Lyft to launch driverless U.S. robotaxi services in 2023

SEOUL -- Motional, the Hyundai Motor-Aptiv joint venture, said Thursday it has partnered with U.S. ride-sharing firm Lyft Inc. to launch driverless robotaxi services in major U.S. cities in 2023.

Motional said it plans to deploy fully autonomous vehicles, which are based on the Korean automaker Hyundai Motor's platform, in Lyft's ride-sharing network in the United States.

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