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Yonhap News Summary

National 17:30 February 23, 2021

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

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(LEAD) Seoul stocks slump for 2nd day on U.S. inflation concerns

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks slumped Tuesday for a second day amid lingering inflation concerns, with major tech and bio stocks coming under heavy selling pressure. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

After veering in and out negative terrain, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 9.66 points, or 0.31 percent, to close at 3,070.09 points.

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Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shows 95 pct efficacy, eligible for youths: panel

SEOUL -- A South Korean panel of experts said Tuesday that vaccines for the novel coronavirus by U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. showed a more than 95 percent efficacy rate, and the use of the vaccine is not problematic for young people.

The advisory board consisting of outside experts announced its review on the efficacy and safety of the Pfizer vaccines, according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. The panel's review is the first step of three separate independent evaluations before the ministry gives the final approval.

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(LEAD) BOK chief sees no intrinsic value in cryptocurrencies

SEOUL -- Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have no intrinsic value and their price swings are expected to experience greater volatility, the head of the Bank of Korea (BOK) said Tuesday.

"There is no intrinsic value in crypto assets," BOK Gov. Lee Ju-yeol told lawmakers.

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K-pop idol stars beleaguered by school bullying accusations

SEOUL -- A growing number of K-pop stars have been embroiled in school violence accusations raised by their purported victims of bullying during their school days, informed officials said Tuesday.

The recent series of school bullying accusations against celebrities have surfaced after twin sister pro volleyball stars -- Lee Jae-yeong and Lee Da-yeong -- were indefinitely suspended by their team last week over allegations that they had physically, verbally and emotionally abused their teammates during their middle school days.

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Conflict between doctors, gov't reignites over bill on disqualifying convicted doctors

SEOUL -- A conflict between doctors on one side and the government and the ruling party on the other has become heated over a bill that would disqualify medical doctors convicted of felonies.

An association of doctors threatened to carry out "a general strike" of angry doctors across the country if the bill is put to a full-floor vote at the National Assembly, while the government warned of stern actions if the strike is launched, especially as national COVID-19 vaccinations are set to begin later this week.

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Seoul city vows strict response to illegal rallies on March 1

SEOUL -- The Seoul city government vowed Tuesday to respond strictly to all illegal rallies held in downtown squares on March 1 Independence Movement Day.

Conservative groups have again announced plans to stage rallies denouncing President Moon Jae-in, a liberal, at Gwanghwamun Square in the city center on the national holiday.

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(2nd LD) Big Hit's 2020 net soars amid unrelenting BTS popularity

SEOUL -- Big Hit Entertainment Co., the management agency behind global superstars BTS, said Tuesday its net profit rose 19 percent last year from the previous year amid the growing popularity of its flagship K-pop group.

Net profit stood at 86.2 billion won (US$77.6 million) in 2020 on a consolidated basis, compared with 72.4 billion won the previous year, the company said in a regulatory filing.
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