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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:00 February 10, 2021

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

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(2nd LD) New virus cases at 6-day high ahead of long Lunar New Year holiday

SEOUL -- South Korea reported a spike in daily coronavirus cases Wednesday as clusters of infections continued to emerge, with health authorities urging people to avoid family gatherings during the Lunar New Year holiday.

The country added 444 more COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, including 414 local infections, raising the total caseload to 81,930, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

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(LEAD) S. Korea approves AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine for all adults

SEOUL -- South Korea's drug safety agency on Wednesday approved the vaccine for the novel coronavirus by AstraZeneca for all adults, including those aged 65 and older, amid efficacy controversies.

The vaccine developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant and Oxford University is the first to be granted approval in the country, with inoculations expected to start on Feb. 26.

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Korean Air wins 1st approval for Asiana acquisition

SEOUL -- Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's biggest carrier, said Wednesday it has obtained its first overseas approval for its planned acquisition of smaller rival Asiana Airlines Inc.

Korean Air received the first approval from Turkey last week after it submitted documents last month to antitrust authorities in eight countries and the European Union to proceed with the deal to acquire Asiana to compete with global carriers, a company spokeswoman said over the phone.

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Discriminatory personnel blacklist nonexistent within Moon administration: Cheong Wa Dae

SEOUL -- Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday that the current administration under President Moon Jae-in has not produced nor operated a discriminatory personnel blacklist, in reaction to the conviction of a former minister for alleged unlawful intervention in personnel decisions at state-run companies.

On Tuesday, former Environment Minister Kim Eun-kyung was sentenced to two years and six months in prison in the so-called environment ministry blacklist case, after a court found her guilty of power abuse and obstruction of business.

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Foreign ministry vows stern measures after embassy officials implicated in assault of staff

SEOUL -- South Korea's health authorities said Tuesday they have identified 26 more cases of COVID-19 variants, vowing to step up monitoring on foreign arrivals to better detect potential cases.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said 24 people were confirmed to have been infected with the variant from Britain, while one person was infected with the South African variant and another with the one from Brazil.

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USFK to ease antivirus restrictions except in greater Seoul area next week

SEOUL -- The U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Wednesday it will ease antivirus restrictions for most areas except for Seoul and some surrounding regions, starting Monday, allowing its members to dine at restaurants and conduct off-base activities.

The Health Protection Condition (HPCON) level will be adjusted by one notch to the second-lowest level of "Bravo" from "Charlie" for USFK areas I and III and the Seongnam district, effective Monday at 7 a.m., according to the U.S. military.

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Paternity leave increases 23 pct in 2020: gov't data

SEOUL -- The number of men going on paternity leave jumped 23 percent last year from the previous year, reflecting cultural and policy changes, the labor ministry said Wednesday.

The total number of private sector workers requesting paternity leave stood at 27,423 last year, more than double the number in 2017 (12,042), the ministry said.

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Discrimination, hatred against trans people 'serious' in S. Korea: watchdog

SEOUL -- Many transgender people in South Korea have experienced discrimination and hatred in everyday life, a survey by the state human rights watchdog showed Wednesday.

A total of 591 transgender aged 19 or above took part in the survey on the discrimination they have experienced under nine criteria, including daily life, education and employment, conducted by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea over six months from May of last year.

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