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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:00 December 31, 2021

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

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(2nd LD) New infections below 5,000, distancing curbs extended for 2 weeks
(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 9-12)

SEOUL -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases fell below 5,000 for the first time in three days Friday, but the government decided to extend toughened social distancing rules for two more weeks through mid-January to try to reduce critical cases and contain the omicron variant.

The country added 4,875 new COVID-19 infections, including 4,758 local infections, raising the total caseload to 630,838, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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BTS' J-hope donates 100 mln won for children in need amid pandemic

SEOUL -- J-hope, a member of K-pop superband BTS, donated 100 million won (US$84,000) Friday for children suffering economic hardships amid the protracted COVID-19 pandemic, a charity group said.

According to ChildFund Korea, J-hope expressed hope that his donation will be used to help children in need have a warm winter.

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(LEAD) BOK sells net US$7.14 billion in market smoothing operations in Q3
(ATTN: RECASTS with more details in paras 3,5)

SEOUL -- The Bank of Korea (BOK) said Friday it sold a net US$7.14 billion in the third quarter to help ease fluctuations in the foreign exchange market.

The third-quarter net sale of U.S. dollar sharply rose compared with the second quarter when the central bank's selling and buying of the greenback remained on par, according to data uploaded on the central bank's homepage.

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Yoon stresses corruption probe of ex-president Park was not personal

SEOUL -- Main opposition presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol stressed Friday that his investigation of former President Park Geun-hye was carried out in the line of duty as a senior prosecutor amid speculation her release from prison could hurt his election chances.

Park became a free woman at midnight under a presidential pardon after serving nearly five years in prison. Her release puts Yoon of the People Power Party (PPP) in an awkward position as he headed the investigation of Park's corruption scandal that eventually led to her impeachment, ouster from office and imprisonment in 2017.
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