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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 14:17 January 06, 2021

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

(4th LD) N.K. leader admits economic failure as he opens party congress

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has admitted the failure to meet the country's economic development goals as he opened the ruling party's first congress in nearly five years, state media said Wednesday.

Kim made the acknowledgement in his opening speech for the eighth congress of the Workers' Party, which took place in Pyongyang on Tuesday, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

Seoul detention center reports 66 more COVID-19 cases

SEOUL -- A detention center in southeastern Seoul reported 66 more cases of the new coronavirus following its latest round of mass testing, the government said Wednesday.

According to the justice ministry, the Dongbu Detention Center found 66 more inmates infected with COVID-19 following its sixth mass testing on 429 of its staff members and 338 inmates.

(2nd LD) New cases below 1,000 for 2nd day amid tentative signs of slowdown

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases stayed below 1,000 for the second consecutive day on Wednesday amid signs of a slowdown, while nursing homes and churches continued to be hot spots for virus outbreaks despite extended virus curbs.

The country added 840 more COVID-19 cases, including 809 local infections, raising the total caseload to 65,818, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

S. Korea to provide most of pandemic emergency handouts by Lunar New Year's holiday

SEOUL -- South Korea plans to provide a huge chunk of its emergency handouts to smaller merchants hit hard by the new coronavirus outbreak by the Lunar New Year's holiday in early February, the finance minister said Wednesday.

The country plans to provide 9.3 trillion won (US$8.6 billion) in relief funds to small businesses stung by state-imposed shutdowns over virus cases and the self-employed reeling from the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Samsung's customizable home appliance shipments top 1 million units

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday global shipments of its customizable home appliance products have surpassed 1 million units as the South Korean tech giant expects more sales from overseas this year.

Samsung's Bespoke home appliances reached the milestone 20 months after the company began to manufacture such products.

(LEAD) SK Innovation to issue 'green bond' worth US$1 bln for U.S. battery plant

SEOUL -- SK Innovation Co., a South Korean refinery-to-battery company, plans to issue a green bond worth 1.09 trillion won (US$1 billion) to expand its electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing capacity in the United States, officials said Wednesday.

SK battery America Inc., the Korean firm's U.S. subsidiary, will issue the green bond, a type of financing for eco-friendly projects, later this month to build its second EV battery plant in Georgia, a company spokesperson said.

Public sharply divided over pardons for two ex-presidents in jail: poll

SEOUL -- South Koreans were almost evenly divided on the idea of granting pardons to two former presidents currently in prison for corruption charges, a hotly debated topic recently brought up by the ruling party chief, a survey showed Wednesday.

In a one-day survey by Realmeter conducted on 500 voters nationwide on Tuesday, 47.7 percent of respondents said they were in favor of providing amnesty to Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye, while 48 percent said they were against the idea. The remaining 4.3 percent said they weren't sure.

Korean sci-fi film 'Space Sweepers' to be released next month on Netflix

SEOUL -- South Korean science-fiction blockbuster "Space Sweepers" will be released on Netflix next month, the U.S. media giant said Wednesday.

The film starring Song Joong-ki and Kim Tae-ri will be available to its subscribers in 190 countries on Feb. 5, the company said.

Korean Air shareholders approve proposal to change articles of association for Asiana takeover

SEOUL -- Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's biggest carrier, said Wednesday its shareholders approved a plan to change the company's articles of association to help finance its planned acquisition of smaller rival Asiana Airlines Inc.

In an extraordinary shareholders' meeting, 70 percent of the Korean Air stakeholders voted for the amendment of the articles of association ahead of its 2.5 trillion-won (US$2.3 billion) rights issue plan set for March to sell more stocks aimed at funding the acquisition, the company said in a statement.

Seoul stocks trade tad higher late Wednesday morning

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks trimmed part of their earlier gains late Wednesday morning after breaching the historic 3,000-point mark for the first time in history.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 3.02 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,993.59 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.

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