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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:28 January 11, 2021

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

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Moon's approval rating dips to 35.5 pct: Realmeter

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in's job approval rating has dropped to 35.5 percent, while the proportion of those critical of his leadership has hovered above 60 percent, a poll showed Monday.

In the five-day tracking survey by Realmeter of 2,513 voters nationwide from last Monday, his approval rating fell 1.1 percentage point to 35.5 percent from a week earlier.

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(LEAD) S. Korea's exports fall 15 pct in first 10 days of Jan.

SEOUL -- South Korea's exports declined 15.4 percent on-year in the first 10 days of January, customs data showed Monday, amid the prolonged fallout from the new coronavirus outbreak.

The country's outbound shipments stood at US$11.2 billion in the Jan. 1-10 period, compared with $13.2 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

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(3rd LD) N. Korea crowns leader Kim Jong-un as party's general secretary

SEOUL -- North Korea has endorsed leader Kim Jong-un as the general secretary of the ruling Workers' Party at its ongoing congress, state media said Monday, in an apparent move to tighten his grip on power.

The election took place at the sixth-day session of the party's eighth congress in Pyongyang on Sunday, following the North's revision of party rules to reinstate the secretariat system that was scrapped in 2016, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

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Unfair, ineffective social distancing rules must be revised: PM

SEOUL -- Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Monday that social distancing rules that are considered either unfair or ineffective must be changed, suggesting that authorities may soon revise the state-mandated distancing scheme to address growing complaints among small business owners.

"While mandating strict adherence (of distancing rules) in high-risk areas, bold revisions should be made on measures that are either unfair or ineffective," Chung said during an interagency meeting on the COVID-19 response held at the Seoul City Hall.

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Record 11.85 tln won paid in unemployment benefits in 2020 amid pandemic

SEOUL -- A record 11.85 trillion won (US$10.79 billion) was paid in unemployment benefits last year amid the business challenges of COVID-19, government data showed Monday.

According to the Ministry of Employment and Labor, the government paid more than 956 billion won in job-seeking benefits in December, bringing the yearly total to 11.85 trillion won.

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(LEAD) Moon says all S. Koreans will be given free COVID-19 vaccines

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in said Monday that the government will provide all South Korean people with free-of-charge COVID-19 vaccines in phases starting next month.

"(The government) will make sure that all of the people will be inoculated free of charge in accordance with priorities," he said in his New Year's address, assuring that inoculation will begin in February.

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Korean director Im Sang-soo to make Hollywood debut

SEOUL -- South Korean director Im Sang-soo, whose latest feature "Heaven: To The Land of Happiness" was selected by Cannes last year, will make his directorial debut in Hollywood, a production company here said Monday.

He will take the helm of "Soho Sins," co-produced by U.S. production studio 2W Network Entertainment, according to Yeolmae Entertainment.

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(2nd LD) Signs detected of N. Korea staging military parade in Pyongyang late Sunday: JCS

SEOUL -- South Korea's military said Monday that it has detected signs indicating that North Korea carried out a military parade in time for a ruling party congress in Pyongyang late Sunday.

The North has been holding the eighth congress of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang since Tuesday, and the possibility has been raised that it could stage a military parade on the occasion.

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Demotion of N.K. leader's sister at party congress raises questions over her status

SEOUL -- The demotion of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's powerful sister at an ongoing party congress is raising questions over whether it signals any change in her status in the top echelons of power.

During the sixth-day session of the party's eighth congress in Pyongyang on Sunday, Kim Yo-jong, the leader's younger sister, was not listed as a member nor as an alternate member of the party's politburo, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

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