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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:00 April 21, 2021

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

(LEAD) Gov't holds meeting with residents near USFK live-firing range

SEOUL -- Defense ministry officials held a meeting with residents near a U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) firing range in the northern city of Pocheon on Wednesday as part of efforts to address safety and other complaints over firing drills, the ministry said.

Residents near the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex in Pocheon, some 45 kilometers north of Seoul, have long complained about noise, unexploded ordnances and other damage incurred by the drills.

Parliament lifts arrest immunity of independent lawmaker at center of Easter Jet probe

SEOUL -- The National Assembly on Wednesday passed a motion that allows prosecutors to arrest Rep. Lee Sang-jik, the founder of the cash-strapped budget carrier Eastar Jet under investigation on charges of embezzlement and breach of trust.

The motion to allow the arrest of Lee was passed in a 206-38 vote at a plenary session of the National Assembly. Eleven people abstained from voting.

(3rd LD) Moon says public consensus needed for granting pardons to two jailed ex-presidents

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in reaffirmed his prudent approach Wednesday toward the issue of whether to grant special pardons to two imprisoned former presidents, Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye.

He emphasized the need to consider public consensus on the politically sensitive matter and its possible impact on national unity during his luncheon meeting with Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon and Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon at Cheong Wa Dae.

BTS' 'Map of the Soul: 7' extends longest streak on Billboard 200 by K-pop group to 60 weeks

SEOUL -- "Map of the Soul: 7," an album by global superstar BTS, has remained on the Billboard 200 chart for the 60th consecutive week this week, extending its longest-streak record by a K-pop group or singer on the chart.

According to the latest Billboard chart results updated Tuesday (U.S. time), the album released in February 2020 came in at 113th on the U.S. music publisher's main albums chart.

Seoul stocks snap 7-day winning streak on valuation pressure

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks snapped their seven-day winning streak to plunge 1.5 percent on Wednesday, as investors attempted to cash in recent gains. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 49.04 points, or 1.52 percent, to close at 3,171.66.

(3rd LD) New virus cases back to over 700, vaccination drive to ramp up

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases bounced back to over 700 Wednesday as the country is ratcheting up efforts to boost vaccination rates amid growing concerns over another wave of the pandemic.

The country reported 731 more COVID-19 cases, including 692 local infections, raising the total caseload to 115,926, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

(News Focus) All eyes on 'Lee Kun-hee collection' as Samsung inheritance tax payment nears

SEOUL -- With the deadline for Samsung scions to pay their colossal inheritance tax looming, eyes are on to what extent the move will involve late Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee's art collection, believed to fetch up to 3 trillion won (US$2.7 billion).

The senior Lee, who was South Korea's richest man, is known to have left more than 22 trillion won worth of assets, leaving his family to report and pay roughly 12 trillion won in inheritance taxes by the end of April.

Less than 1 pct of Navy budget to be spent on operating light aircraft carrier: officials

SEOUL -- Less than 1 percent of the Navy's total yearly budget will be spent on the operation and maintenance of a light aircraft carrier that South Korea envisions to build, military officials said Wednesday, refuting claims that the new asset is far from cost-effective.

South Korea is working to secure a 30,000 ton-class light aircraft carrier by 2033 with its own technologies in a move to boost the country's defense capabilities.

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