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Yonhap News Summary

National 17:00 November 25, 2021

The following is the second summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Thursday.

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Military stresses need for 'prudence' in exempting BTS from active-duty military service

SEOUL -- South Korea's defense ministry stressed the need Thursday for "prudence" in considering whether to allow active-duty military service exemptions for K-pop superstar BTS and other top artists, citing the nation's shrinking population and other factors.

Boo Seung-chan, the ministry's spokesperson, made the remarks as the National Assembly has been deliberating on a revision bill aimed at allowing male artists who have contributed to national interests to work in fields of their specialty for 34 months under an alternative program that would exempt them from mandatory active-duty service.

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Supreme Court rules imports of childlike sex dolls should be banned

SEOUL -- The Supreme Court ruled Thursday imports of childlike sex dolls should be banned, because they could lead to the perception of children as sexual objects and increase the danger of potential sex crimes against minors.

The ruling overturned lower courts' decisions that imports of child sex dolls should be allowed, like those of adult dolls. In 2019, the top court allowed imports of adult sex dolls on grounds that they are sex toys used in private life, an area in which the state should not interfere.

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Russia pulls out majority of embassy personnel in N. Korea: official

SEOUL -- Russia has withdrawn most of its embassy staff in North Korea, a Seoul official said Thursday, as pandemic-driven shortages of everyday commodities and anti-virus restrictions have driven many foreign diplomats out of the impoverished country.

NK News, a media outlet on the North, reported earlier dozens of Russia's embassy personnel left Pyongyang on Wednesday via train, leaving behind only two diplomats, including Ambassador Alexander Matsegora, and other technicians.

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S. Korea needs new standard on human rights to reflect changing times: Moon

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that South Korea needs a new standard on human rights to reflect changing times, in remarks seen as supporting the enactment of an anti-discrimination law.

"Twenty years ago, we didn't enact a basic law on human rights or prevention of discrimination," Moon said in his remarks at the 20th founding anniversary of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, a state-run human rights watchdog.

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FM Chung says comfort women 'atrocity' should not be forgotten

SEOUL -- South Korea's Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong said Thursday the "atrocity" of wartime sexual slavery should be "never forgotten or repeated" as he touched on the tragic ordeal of the victims during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.

Chung made the remarks in a recorded speech for the 3rd International Conference on Action with Women and Peace in Seoul, referring to his past meeting with one of the surviving victims, Lee Yong-soo.

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S. Korea to offer US$170 mln in loans to India to build advanced traffic management system

SEOUL -- South Korea will offer US$170 million in loans to India to help the South Asian country build an advanced traffic management system on a major highway under construction, the finance ministry said Thursday.

The government approved the loans under the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) program to support the establishment of an intelligent transportation system (ITS) for the ongoing 701-kilometer expressway project linking the western coastal city of Mumbai and Nagpur in the central region, the ministry said in a release.

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Hyundai to test-run Level 4 autonomous car next year

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Co. said Thursday it will carry out a test-run of a Level-4 autonomous vehicle in Seoul in the first half of next year as it pushes to get an edge in the future mobility service.

South Korea's No. 1 automaker unveiled the plan during the 2021 Seoul Mobility Show this week to start the test-run of the RoboRide service using its Level 4 self-driving vehicle on streets in a designated zone in the downtown capital.

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(LEAD) Seoul stocks down for 3rd day on hawkish Fed, BOK's rate hike

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks closed lower to extend their losing streak to a third day Thursday as the country's central bank raised its key policy rate to fight inflation and household debt.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 14.02 points, or 0.47 percent, to close at 2,980.27 points.

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