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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 August 30, 2021

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

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(2nd LD) New cases under 1,500, social distancing expected to be extended ahead of Chuseok

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases fell below 1,500 on Monday due to fewer tests over the weekend, with health authorities mulling extending the current level of social distancing ahead of next month's Chuseok holiday.

The country added 1,487 more COVID-19 cases, including 1,426 local infections, raising the total caseload to 250,051, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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(3rd LD) Yongbyon nuclear reactor appears to be in operation: IAEA report

SEOUL -- The U.N. nuclear watchdog has detected "deeply troubling" indications that a key nuclear reactor at North Korea's main Yongbyon complex has been in operation since July, including the release of cooling water, an annual report showed Monday.

Submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors on Friday, the report covered new developments of the five megawatt reactor, from which the North obtained spent fuel rods to extract plutonium -- a fissile material used for a bomb -- in the past.

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S. Korea to dole out cash handouts to ordinary people next week

SEOUL -- South Korea said Monday it will begin providing emergency relief funds to people in the bottom 88 percent income bracket next week in the latest move to help them cope with the fallout from the pandemic.

The government will begin to provide up to 250,000 won (US$215) per recipient on Sept. 6 as part of an 11 trillion-won cash handout program, according to the interior and finance ministries. The money must be spent by end-December.

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(LEAD) Justice ministry to toughen surveillance measures against convicts wearing ankle bracelets

SEOUL -- The Ministry of Justice said Monday it will devise measures to step up monitoring of convicts wearing electric ankle bracelets, following the incident over the weekend where a man, who had cut off his monitoring device and took off, turned himself in to police and said he killed two women.

The ministry said at a briefing it will make the device harder to cut off, enhance cooperation with police by swiftly sharing information on criminals wearing such a device and introduce an improved system to gauge the level of risk of recidivism.

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National Assembly set to vote on contentious bills

SEOUL -- The National Assembly on Monday is set to vote on a string of contentious bills in a plenary session.

The ruling Democratic Party (DP), holding an absolute parliamentary majority, initially planned to push a highly contested media reform bill through the meeting scheduled for 5 p.m., but the prospect of its imminent passage remains slim amid the main opposition's threat to launch a filibuster.

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S. Korea to set aside 6.3 tln won in 2022 budget for new industries

SEOUL -- South Korea will increase its spending on chips, bio-health and next-generation vehicles by 43 percent next year as the country seeks to nurture new industries, the country's finance minister said Monday.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said the government will earmark 6.3 trillion won (US$5.4 billion) to support the three key industries in its 2022 budget proposal.

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Nearly 7 in 10 S. Koreans support granting long-term stay visas to Afghan evacuees

SEOUL -- Almost 70 percent of South Koreans support the government's plan to grant long-term stay visas to hundreds of Afghan civilians who fled their homeland to be sheltered here from the Taliban, a poll showed Monday.

According to the poll of 500 people aged 18 and above conducted by Realmeter on Friday, a combined 68.7 percent of the respondents said they approve of the plan to issue long-term visas to Afghan evacuees who arrived here last week, allowing them to get jobs here.

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Tottenham's Son Heung-min quells injury concerns with 2nd goal of season

SEOUL -- With his second goal in three Premier League matches in the young season, Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur has quieted any lingering injury concerns.

Son's first-half free kick stood as the winner for Tottenham in their 1-0 victory over Watford at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Sunday (local time). Son also became the first Asian player in Premier League history to reach the 200th match milestone.

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