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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 14:13 July 28, 2021

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

Daily virus cases hit new high; infections in non-capital area, delta variant worrisome

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases hit a new high Wednesday, health authorities said, as the highly transmissible delta variant and rising infections outside the greater Seoul area continue to hamper the virus fight.

The country added 1,896 COVID-19 cases, including 1,823 local infections, raising the total caseload to 193,427, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). The daily number was up 531 from the previous day.

Moderna to resume COVID-19 vaccine shipments to S. Korea next week: gov't

SEOUL -- U.S. pharmaceutical company Moderna will resume provisions of COVID-19 vaccines to South Korea next week, the prime minister said Wednesday, following a delay due to an issue linked to the company's vaccine production.

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum announced the company's vaccine supply resumption plan at an interagency COVID-19 response meeting, explaining that health officials discussed the matter with Moderna officials late Tuesday through a video conference.

Koreas at starting point for resumption of peace process: Cheong Wa Dae

SEOUL -- South and North Korea are standing at the starting line again for the ultimate goal of denuclearization, Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday.

It was talking about the meaning of the reopening of inter-Korean communication lines, the result of President Moon Jae-in's exchange of several personal letters with the North's leader Kim Jong-un over the past few months.

Finance chief warns of housing bubble as interest rate hike looms

SEOUL -- South Korea's top economic policymaker on Wednesday warned of a housing bubble amid a looming interest rate hike, and vowed to increase the housing supply and tighten lending rules to stabilize the market.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki expressed worries over the continued housing rally in the Seoul metropolitan area driven by ample liquidity and expectations of a further price hike, which could threaten the financial stability amid the snowballing household debt.

(Olympics) Teen swimming sensation Hwang Sun-woo breaks Asian record in 100m freestyle

TOKYO -- South Korean swimmer Hwang Sun-woo set a new Asian record in the 100m freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, adding to a fast-growing list of accomplishments in his burgeoning career.

Hwang finished third in his semifinals heat, and fourth overall among 16 swimmers, with a time of 47.56 seconds at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. He will compete in the final at 11:37 a.m. Wednesday.

(LEAD) Koreas hold daily liaison phone call after restoring communication lines

SEOUL -- South and North Korea held their daily liaison phone call on Wednesday, the unification ministry said, a day after Pyongyang restored inter-Korean communication lines after a 13-month suspension.

Four hotlines were restored Tuesday after the North cut them off in June last year in protest of anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets coming in from the South. At the time, the North also blew up a joint liaison office in anger as well.

Minister rules out Aug. 15 presidential pardons for two jailed former leaders

SEOUL -- Justice Minister Park Beom-kye said Wednesday it is too late for two former presidents jailed for corruption to receive presidential pardons on the occasion of the Aug. 15 Liberation Day.

He made the remark as two elderly former presidents, Park Geun-hye and Lee Myung-bak, were admitted to hospitals last week in moves some observers said may be intended to arouse public opinion favorable to special amnesties for them.

Large firms cut pollutant emissions in half over 5 years

SEOUL -- Large companies in South Korea have more than halved their air pollutant emissions over the past five years amid the government's anti-coal policies, a corporate tracker said Wednesday.

Air pollutant emissions by 166 plants of 77 large businesses came to 139,112 tons in 2020, down 56 percent from 316,013 five years earlier, according to CEO Score.

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