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Yonhap News Summary

Politics 13:31 January 20, 2021

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

(2nd LD) Ex-President Park tests negative for COVID-19 after being exposed to patient

SEOUL -- Former President Park Geun-hye, now serving a 22-year prison term on corruption convictions, tested negative for COVID-19 on Wednesday after coming into contact with an infected person, the Ministry of Justice said.

According to the ministry, Park came into close contact with a prison officer diagnosed later with COVID-19 while traveling by bus to a medical facility on Monday outside the Seoul Detention Center, where she has been imprisoned since March 2017.

Public sector's job additions largest-ever in 2019

SEOUL -- Jobs offered by the government and state-run companies grew by the largest-ever in 2019 on the back of a state policy to increase hiring in the public sector, data showed Wednesday.

A total of 2.6 million people were employed in 2019 by the public sector, up 151,000, or 6.1 percent, from the previous year, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

(LEAD) New virus cases rise from low plateau 1 year after COVID-19 outbreak

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases hovered around 400 for the third straight day Wednesday as the country struggles to further slow down the third wave of the pandemic with an enhanced social distancing scheme.

The country added 404 more COVID-19 cases, including 373 domestic infections, raising the total caseload to 73,518, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

(LEAD) Additional bird flu case confirmed, total now at 68

SEOUL -- South Korea's agricultural ministry Wednesday confirmed yet another highly pathogenic bird flu case traced to a farm, with the total caseload of confirmed infections reaching 68.

The latest confirmed case of the malign H5N8 strain of avian influenza came from an egg farm in Eumseong, 131 kilometers south of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

(LEAD) Moon names Chung Eui-yong as new foreign minister: Cheong Wa Dae

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in has picked Chung Eui-yong, former director of national security at Cheong Wa Dae, as his new foreign minister, Moon's office announced Wednesday.

He also nominated Hwang Hee, a ruling Democratic Party (DP) lawmaker, as culture minister and Kwon Chil-seung, another DP lawmaker, as SMEs and startups minister in a partial Cabinet reshuffle, according to Chung Man-ho, senior presidential secretary for public communication.

Marking 1-yr fight against coronavirus, PM vows full effort to overcome it

SEOUL -- Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Wednesday the government will continue all-out efforts to end the COVID-19 crisis, a year after South Korea confirmed its first infection case.

Chung pledged to place top policy priority on turning 2021 into the "original year" of overcoming the pandemic and thanked the people for related cooperation so far.

Samsung's chip R&D spending 2nd-largest in 2020: report

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. was the industry's second-largest spender on semiconductor research and development (R&D) last year, a report showed Wednesday, as the South Korean tech giant tries to beef up its presence in the non-memory sector.

Samsung, the world's top memory chipmaker, spent US$5.6 billion on chip-related R&D in 2020, up 19 percent from a year earlier, according to the McClean Report released by industry tracker IC Insights.

Naver to acquire storytelling platform for 653.3 bln won

SEOUL -- South Korea's internet conglomerate Naver Corp. said Wednesday that it will acquire Canadian entertainment platform operator Wattpad Corp. in a stock transaction valued at 653.3 billion won (US$593.6 million).

The Toronto-based storytelling platform provides stories through its flagship app. It is a community of more than 90 million people globally who spend over 23 billion minutes a month engaged in original stories.

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