The following is the first summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Thursday.
(LEAD) Top court upholds 20-year prison term for ex-President Park
SEOUL -- The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a 20-year sentence for former President Park Geun-hye in a high-profile corruption case, closing the yearslong saga that gripped the country and ultimately removed her from office in 2017.
In the sentencing hearing over an appeal filed by prosecutors against a ruling in July that reduced Park's prison term, the country's highest court maintained the ruling, including a fine of 18 billion won (US$15 million) and the decision to clear Park of extortion and part of abuse of power charges.
PM warns of strong measures against virus response interference amid church outbreak
SEOUL -- Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Thursday warned of stern measures against those who interfere with the government's antivirus measures, amid growing concerns over a recent COVID-19 outbreak at a church facility spreading throughout the country.
"While most religious facilities are actively participating in state antivirus measures, the public has become alarmed after an outbreak at BTJ Center for All Nations has spread throughout the country," Chung said during an interagency meeting on the COVID-19 response held at the government complex in Sejong, 120 kilometers south of Seoul.
(2nd LD) New virus cases in 500s for 3rd day in sign of letup in infections
SEOUL -- The number of new coronavirus cases in South Korea stayed in the 500s for the third consecutive day Thursday, in yet another sign that the third wave of the pandemic has passed a peak on the back of tighter virus restrictions.
The country added 524 more COVID-19 cases, including 496 local infections, raising the total caseload to 70,728, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
S. Korea to boost capabilities to counter N.K. missile threats: defense ministry
SEOUL -- South Korea will further boost its military capabilities to counter North Korea's short-range missile threats, the defense ministry said Wednesday, after Pyongyang vowed to bolster its nuclear arsenal amid a deadlock in negotiations with the United States.
Wrapping up an eight-day congress of the ruling Workers' Party on Tuesday, the North's leader Kim Jong-un called for enhancing the country's "nuclear war deterrent" and building "the most powerful military strength."
(LEAD) N.K. holds performance to celebrate party congress, no mention of military parade
SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has attended a mass art performance held to celebrate the recently concluded party congress, state media said Thursday.
The performance took place on Wednesday, a day after the North wrapped up the eighth congress of its ruling Workers' Party, which was held for more than a week since its opening on Jan. 5, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Vice FM calls for Qatar's support for release of seized S. Korean ship, crew
SEOUL -- First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun called for Qatar's support for the swift release of a South Korean ship and its crew detained by Iran during his meetings with top Doha officials this week, Seoul's foreign ministry said Thursday.
Choi made the appeal when he met separately with Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, deputy prime minister and foreign minister, and Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, minister of state for foreign affairs, to discuss bilateral issues in Doha on Wednesday (local time), according to the ministry.
Most Koreans adopt wait-and-see attitude toward coronavirus vaccination: poll
SEOUL -- Nearly two-thirds of South Koreans think they will wait to see how the coronavirus vaccine is working for other people before getting the jab, a poll showed Thursday.
A survey of 1,094 adult Koreans across the nation, taken by Seoul National University, showed 67.7 percent of respondents taking a wait-and-see attitude toward COVID-19 vaccination.
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