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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 February 18, 2021

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

(LEAD) U.S. review of N. Korea policy will address cyber threats: Price
(ATTN: UPDATES with additional details, remarks from Price, more background)

WASHINGTON -- The ongoing review of U.S. policy toward North Korea will also take into account cyber threats posed by the country, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said Wednesday.

Ned Price said the U.S. is well aware of "disruptive cyber attacks" committed by the North.

(2nd LD) New COVID-19 cases over 600 for 2nd day, virus fight struggling with cluster infections

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases stayed in the 600s for a second consecutive day on Thursday as infections at a slew of manufacturing plants and hospitals surged, prompting authorities to guard against a potential virus resurgence.

The country reported 621 more COVID-19 cases, including 590 local infections, raising the total caseload to 85,567, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

(LEAD) U.S. indicts 3 N. Korean hackers in attempted theft of $1.3 bln

WASHINGTON -- The United States has indicted three North Korean hackers on charges of criminal cyber activities aimed at stealing US$1.3 billion, the Department of Justice said Wednesday.

The indictment filed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles identified the three North Korean suspects as Jon Chang-hyok (31), Kim Il (27) and Park Jin-hyock (36).

Celltrion begins developing COVID-19 cocktail treatment to tackle variants

SEOUL -- Celltrion Inc. said Thursday that its anti-COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment has confirmed neutralizing potency against the British variant, and the South Korean pharmaceutical giant has also begun developing a neutralizing antibody cocktail treatment.

CT-P59, an anti-COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment, won the country's drug safety agency's conditional approval earlier this month, becoming the first locally made treatment for the virus. The drug began to be supplied to local medical institutions Wednesday.

Independence fighter grandson ends archive donation talks with Harvard over professor's comfort women claim

SEOUL -- A grandson of a renowned Korean independence fighter said Thursday that he had sent a letter to Harvard University's president to end any discussions about donating his historical archives due to a professor's article depicting Japan's wartime sexual slavery as voluntary prostitution.

In an email and phone interview with Yonhap News Agency, Philip Ahn Cuddy, the grandson of Ahn Chang-ho who fiercely fought against Japan's 1910-45 colonization, revealed that he wrote the letter to President Lawrence S. Bacow to terminate the talks in "direct consequence" of J. Mark Ramseyer's "inappropriate academic writing."

S. Korea's mobile game market surges 24 pct to 5 tln won in 2020: data

SEOUL -- The mobile game market in South Korea logged sharp growth of over 5 trillion won (US$4.5 billion) last year amid the pandemic, data showed Thursday.

Total mobile game transactions in the country were estimated at 5.3 trillion won in 2020, up 24.3 percent from the previous year, according to data from mobile app tracker IGAWorks based on estimated sales of Google's Play store, Apple's App Store and homegrown rival ONE Store.

(LEAD) BTS agency Big Hit, Universal Music team up to find new K-pop boy band

SEOUL -- Big Hit Entertainment, the agency behind global dynamite BTS, and Universal Music Group (UMG) on Thursday unveiled plans to put together a new K-pop boy band that will debut in the United States.

In a pre-recorded video streamed early Thursday, the heads and executives of the two companies announced the new project, which will proceed through a joint venture label between Big Hit and UMG's Geffen Records that have produced music for artists like Nirvana, Elton John and Avicii, as well as rising rookie Olivia Rodrigo.

Baemin CEO pledges to donate more than half of his assets

SEOUL -- The CEO of South Korea's top food delivery app operator, Woowa Brothers Corp., said Thursday that he will donate more than half of his wealth, estimated to be more than 1 trillion won (US$905 million).

"My wife Bomi Sul and I hereby pledge that we will return more than half of our wealth to society during our lifetime," Kim Bong-jin said in a message on the website of the Giving Pledge.

Seoul stocks extend losses on U.S. inflation concerns

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks extended losses late Thursday morning, tracking overnight tech losses on Wall Street that stemmed from concerns of inflation and bond yield hikes.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 21.68 points, or 0.69 percent, to 3,112.05 points as of 11:20 a.m.

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