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Yonhap News Summary

Health 13:00 May 04, 2021

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

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New cases bounce back to 500s; variants emerging as another drag

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new virus cases bounced back to the 500s on Tuesday amid growing fears that rising cases of COVID-19 variants could become another challenge to the country's virus battle.

The country reported 541 more COVID-19 cases, including 514 local infections, raising the total caseload to 124,269, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

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Namyang chairman resigns over controversial antiviral claims about yogurt drink

SEOUL -- The embattled chairman of Namyang Dairy Products Co. on Tuesday offered to resign from the post as he apologized for causing a misunderstanding about the company's popular yogurt drink, with claims that it can prevent COVID-19 infections.

"I will step down from the chairmanship by taking all the responsibility," Hong Won-sik, the chairman of the nation's No. 2 dairy company, said in a rare public appearance in front of the company's headquarters in southern Seoul. "I won't pass on the management to my children."

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(2nd LD) Blinken urges N. Korea to engage, saying U.S. seeks practical progress

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged North Korea on Monday to return to the negotiating table, saying his country seeks to make practical progress toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through diplomacy.

The call comes after North Korea threatened the U.S. will face "worse and worse crisis."

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New N. Korea policy does not affect U.S. defense posture in S. Korea: Pentagon

WASHINGTON -- The new U.S. policy toward North Korea does not affect the United States' alliance with South Korea or its defense commitment on the Korean Peninsula, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday.

John Kirby made the remark when asked if the outcome of the recently concluded North Korea policy review may affect the U.S. defense posture on the Korean Peninsula.

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(2nd LD) Consumer price growth at near 4-year high in April

SEOUL -- South Korea's consumer prices grew at the fastest pace in almost four years in April on higher prices of farm and oil goods, data showed Tuesday, indicating that the country may face growing inflationary pressure.

The consumer price index rose 2.3 percent on-year in April, accelerating from a 1.5 percent gain the previous month, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

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Seoul stocks open lower on inflation concerns

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks opened lower Tuesday on inflation concerns and the partial resumption of short selling.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 10.66 points, or 0.34 percent, to 3,116.54 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.

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(LEAD) SK Telecom to cancel 2.6 tln won worth of treasury shares

SEOUL -- SK Telecom Co., South Korea's largest mobile carrier, said Tuesday it has decided to cancel 2.6 trillion won (US$2.32 billion) worth of treasury shares, over 10 percent of its total floated stocks, in a move to boost shareholder value amid plans to split into two companies later this year.

The telecom operator said in a statement that it would retire 8.69 million treasury stocks, or 10.8 percent of its total issued stocks, by Thursday.

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Hyundai, Kia sales in U.S. more than double on SUV demand in April

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Corp., South Korea's two biggest carmakers, said Tuesday their combined U.S. sales more than doubled in April from a year earlier on robust demand for their SUV models.

Hyundai and Kia sold a total 147,700 vehicles in the United States last month from 65,673 units a year ago, according to the companies' sales data.

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Doosan Bobcat to invest 77 bln won for U.S. plant expansion

SEOUL -- Small-sized construction equipment maker Doosan Bobcat Inc. said Tuesday that it will spend 77 billion won (US$68.6 million) to expand one of its U.S. plants in a bid to meet growing demand.

The plant located in Statesville, North Carolina, produces compact tractors and portable power stations, or compact battery-powered generators, Doosan Bobcat said.
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