The following is the second summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Friday.
(3rd LD) S. Korea grants special pardon to ex-President Park Geun-hye
SEOUL -- South Korea's government on Friday announced a special pardon for Park Geun-hye, the former president currently serving a 22-year prison term for corruption, saying that pardoning Park would help bolster national unity.
Park has been serving a combined 22-year prison sentence since March 2017 after being impeached and removed from office over far-reaching corruption charges and an influence-peddling scandal.
(LEAD) Parties gauge impact of ex-president Park's pardon on upcoming presidential election
SEOUL -- A special pardon of former President Park Geun-hye stoked contrasting responses from political parties on Friday, as they began to gauge its impact on the upcoming presidential election.
The government decided to grant a special New Year's pardon to Park, currently serving a 22-year prison term for corruption, for national unity and due to her deteriorating health. The 69-year-old has been locked up since March 2017 after being impeached and removed from office over far-reaching corruption charges and an influence-peddling scandal.
Yonhap News wins injunction against internet portals over ban on articles
SEOUL -- Yonhap News Agency has won a court order to temporarily suspend a decision by the nation's two biggest internet portals that banned Yonhap articles from their news pages for one year.
Under the Friday ruling by the Seoul Central District Court, people can access Yonhap articles through the two internet portals -- Naver and Daum.
(2nd LD) New COVID-19 cases fall below 7,000 for 2nd day; critical cases hit record high
SEOUL -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases fell below 7,000 on Friday for the second day in a row on the back of antivirus restrictions, but critical cases surged to a record high again.
The country added 6,233 more COVID-19 cases, including 6,163 local infections, bringing the cumulative total to 596,209, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
S. Korea-China strategic dialogue touched on Sino-U.S. ties, Taiwan: official
SEOUL -- This week's senior-level diplomatic talks between South Korea and China touched on a set of geopolitical issues related to Sino-U.S. relations and the Taiwan Strait, a Seoul official said Friday.
On Thursday, Seoul's Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and his Chinese counterpart, Le Yucheng, held the first "Strategic Dialogue" in more than four years, as South Korea has faced an increasingly tricky balancing act in the midst of a hardening Sino-U.S. rivalry.
(LEAD) Seoul stocks up for 4th session amid eased omicron concerns
SEOUL -- The South Korean stock market continued its winning streak to a fourth session Friday amid eased concerns over the impact of the omicron variant on the global economy. The local currency gained ground against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 14.26 points, or 0.48 percent, to 3,012.43 points.
(LEAD) Samsung Lions re-sign free agent catcher Kang Min-ho
SEOUL -- The Samsung Lions announced Friday they have re-signed their own free agent catcher Kang Min-ho to a new four-year contract.
Kang, 36, will make up to 3.6 billion won (US$3 million) in his second straight four-year deal with the Lions. Kang will make 2 billion won in total salary and 1.2 billion won in signing bonus, with another 400 million won available in incentives.
(LEAD) Suga of BTS tests positive for COVID-19
SEOUL -- Suga, a member of K-pop superband BTS, has tested positive for the new coronavirus, his management agency said Friday.
Suga was confirmed to have the virus in a polymerase chain reaction test after arriving in Seoul from the United States on Thursday, according to Big Hit Music.
Why did BTS decide to pause group activities at peak of career?
S. Korean cinema comes up with successful collections of awards from renowned film fests
Park Chan-wook's cinematic investigation of human instinct in stylish frame
Song Kang-ho wins best actor on his 7th visit to Cannes
New girl groups ready to heat up music market in 2022