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Yonhap News Summary

National 13:30 September 15, 2021

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

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N. Korea fires unidentified projectile into East Sea: JCS

SEOUL -- North Korea fired at least one unidentified projectile into the East Sea on Wednesday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

No other details were immediately available, including how many and what kind of projectile or projectiles were fired and where the launch took place.

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(2nd LD) Wang berates idea of S. Korea's inclusion in Five Eyes alliance as 'outdated' byproduct of Cold War

SEOUL -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday decried the idea of expanding the U.S.-led Five Eyes intelligence alliance to include South Korea as an "outdated" byproduct of the Cold War era.

Wang made the remarks after his talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong in Seoul, as a U.S. House bill calls on the administration of President Joe Biden to consider expanding the alliance consisting of the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.

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Main opposition picks 8 primary contenders in 1st 'cut-off'

SEOUL -- The main opposition People Power Party (PPP) on Wednesday eliminated three contenders from its primary for next year's presidential election, paving the way for the opening of long-awaited primary debates to be aired or livestreamed.

The remaining eight contenders include former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl and Rep. Hong Joon-pyo. The others are former lawmaker Yoo Seong-min, Choe Jae-hyeong, former chief of the Board of Audit and Inspection, former Jeju Gov. Won Hee-ryong, Rep. Ha Tae-keung, former Incheon Mayor Ahn Sang-soo and former Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn.

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(2nd LD) New virus cases top 2,000 as infections in capital area surge to record high

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily coronavirus cases surpassed 2,000 Wednesday as infections in the capital area surged to a record high ahead of a major holiday.

The country added 2,080 COVID-19 cases, including 2,057 local infections, raising the total caseload to 277,989, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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S. Korea eyes additional measures to curb household debt: finance chief

SEOUL -- Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Wednesday the government will explore additional measures to curb household debt, including tighter lending rules at non-banking institutions, if needed.

Hong said the country will seek to minimize the impact of lending regulations on people who try to take out loans to find houses on lease.

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Google says it offers 12 tln won in consumer benefits in S. Korea annually

SEOUL -- Google said Wednesday it offers around 12 trillion won (US$10.25 billion) in economic benefits for South Korean consumers annually through its services, highlighting its presence in the country amid growing scrutiny from local regulators and politicians over allegations of unfair business practices.

During an online recorded event, the tech giant said it provides 5.1 trillion won per year in benefits for South Koreans through its Play store, 4.2 trillion won through its search service, and 2.5 trillion won through its productivity programs, including Google Docs, citing analysis from AlphaBeta, a Singapore-based economics strategy firm.

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(LEAD) S. Korea to extend loan maturity again for pandemic-hit firms, merchants

SEOUL -- South Korea's financial regulator said Wednesday local banks will extend loan maturity and delay interest payments again for smaller firms and merchants hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local lenders have decided to extend the measures by another six months until March next year, Financial Services Commission Chairman Koh Seung-beom said in a meeting on small merchants.

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(2nd LD) Job growth slows in Aug. amid resurgence of COVID-19

SEOUL -- South Korea reported job additions for the sixth straight month in August, but the growth pace slowed as employment at in-person service sectors was hit by the fourth wave of the pandemic, data showed Wednesday.

The number of employed people reached 27.6 million last month, 518,000 more than a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

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