The following is the first summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday.
(LEAD) New virus cases in 500s for 2nd day; worst wave of pandemic slowing
SEOUL -- The number of new coronavirus cases in South Korea remained in the 500 range for the second day in a row Wednesday, indicating that the third wave of the pandemic is possibly heading for a marked slowdown after a peak on the back of monthlong tougher virus curbs.
The country added 562 more COVID-19 cases, including 536 local infections, raising the total caseload to 70,212, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
(LEAD) N.K. leader pledges to strengthen 'nuclear war deterrent' as party congress closes
SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for strengthening the country's nuclear capabilities as he addressed the final-day session of the ruling party's rare congress, state media said Wednesday.
North Korea on Tuesday wrapped up the eighth congress of the Workers' Party, which had been held for more than a week since its opening on Jan. 5, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
(3rd LD) Dec. job loss largest in over 2 decades amid pandemic
SEOUL -- South Korea reported the largest job loss in December since 1999 as a resurgence in new coronavirus cases dealt a blow to jobs in the service sector, data showed Wednesday.
For the whole of 2020, the country also shed the largest number of jobs since 1998, when the country was in the midst of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, according to Statistics Korea.
(LEAD) Trial begins for abusive adoptive mother on murder charge
SEOUL -- South Korean prosecutors demanded Wednesday that the adoptive mother who is blamed for the death of a 16-month-old baby girl stand trial on a murder charge.
On the first day of the high-profile case at the Seoul Southern District Court, prosecutors added a murder charge against the adoptive mother, surnamed Jang. She was previously indicted on charges including child abuse resulting in death. The adoptive father was charged with child abuse and neglect.
Former main opposition floor leader declares bid for Seoul mayoralty
SEOUL -- Na Kyung-won, a former four-term lawmaker and ex-floor leader of the main opposition party, declared Wednesday her bid to run in the upcoming Seoul mayoral election.
It marks her second bid for Seoul mayoralty after she lost to late Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon from the liberal side in the by-election in 2011.
State health insurer to seek indemnity from church over virus fiasco
SEOUL -- South Korea' state health insurer said Wednesday that it plans to seek reimbursement from an evangelical church that has emerged as a new hotbed of coronavirus infections for allegedly hindering infection prevention efforts.
The National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) said it would seek reimbursement for treatment costs of COVID-19 patients linked to BTJ Center for All Nations in Sangju, 270 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
(LEAD) N.K. leader's sister slams S. Korea over closely tracking military parade
SEOUL -- The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un harshly criticized South Korea's military for closely tracking its military parade believed to have taken place in Pyongyang to celebrate a rare party congress.
On Monday, Seoul's military officials said signs were detected that the North carried out a military parade in central Pyongyang Sunday night in time for the eighth congress of the ruling Workers' Party, which has been under way since its opening last week.
Legislation on compensating virus-hit small biz picks up steam
Anger mounts over deepfake porn targeting Korean female celebs; more than 330,000 sign petition
Biden's pick for Asia policy likely to seek stronger regional alliances to check China
Iran's oil tanker seizure appears aimed at pressuring S. Korea to unlock frozen assets: experts
S. Koreans feel pinch of rising housing costs amid economic downturn