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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:39 July 30, 2021

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

(2nd LD) Daily virus cases over 1,700 as infections grow amid summer vacation season

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases increased to more than 1,700 Friday as health authorities strive to contain the virus spread amid summer vacation season.

The country added 1,710 COVID-19 cases, including 1,662 local infections, raising the total caseload to 196,806, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

(2nd LD) Industrial output, retail sales grow in June amid economic recovery

SEOUL -- South Korea's industrial output and retail sales increased in June from the previous month in the latest sign that Asia's fourth-largest economy is on a solid recovery track, data showed Friday.

But the fourth wave of the pandemic is posing a threat to the country's economic recovery as the toughest-ever virus curbs may dampen improving domestic demand.

(LEAD) N.K. leader accuses 'hostile forces' of intensifying 'war drills for aggression'

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un accused "hostile forces" of intensifying "frantic and persistent war drills for aggression" as he presided over the first-ever workshop of military commanders and political officers this week, state media reported Friday.

The remark came as South Korea and the United States are mulling over whether and how to conduct their annual military exercise expected for mid-August amid concern that it could negatively affect a conciliatory mood created in the wake of the North's restoration of inter-Korean communication lines this week.

S. Korea proposes talks with N. Korea about setting up video conferencing system: minister

SEOUL -- South Korea has conveyed a proposal to North Korea, through a recently restored liaison hotline, to discuss ways to set up a virtual conference system for inter-Korean talks, Unification Minister Lee In-young said Friday.

The proposal was made Thursday via the hotline restored Tuesday after nearly 14 months of suspension, and the North received a document containing the South's offer, he said.

(Olympics) Much-maligned baseball player delivers clutch hits in opening win

YOKOHAMA, Japan -- Few players, if any, on the South Korean national baseball team had as much to prove as shortstop Oh Ji-hwan at the Tokyo Olympics. And it only took him one game on Thursday to demonstrate his value as an outstanding fielder with pop.

Despite his credentials as among the best defenders in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), Oh's selection to the team in June was met with major criticism -- from those who still remembered the controversy that Oh's presence on the 2018 Asian Games team generated.

(Yonhap Feature) Travel agencies struggle to survive amid protracted pandemic

SEOUL -- For Kwon Ji-young, a 41-year-old office worker, traveling overseas has been an annual ritual that allows her to completely take a break from the heavy workload of her daily life.

But since she canceled her planned 10-day trip to Austria in April last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she has only browsed photos taken during previous trips in a bid to recollect fond memories.

(Yonhap Interview) 'Kingdom' screenwriter says Netflix series is all about politics

SEOUL -- South Korean screenwriter Kim Eun-hee of Netflix's original Korean series "Kingdom" has said the popular zombie sequel based in medieval Korea boils down to politics.

"Kingdom: Ashin of the North," released last week, is a 92-minute prequel to the global Korean zombie sensation "Kingdom" (2019). The series is the first Korean original drama show produced by Netflix, and released its second season in 2020.

Seoul experiences 10 straight tropical nights

SEOUL -- Seoul experienced 10 consecutive tropical nights, though the nighttime temperature cooled somewhat in recent days, the state weather agency said Friday.

Seoul, other large cities, some coastal areas and Jeju Island saw their temperatures stay above 25 C between Thursday night and Friday morning, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

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