The following is the second summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Thursday.
(LEAD) Court hands down rare death sentence for suspect in double murder case
INCHEON -- A district court handed down a rare death sentence Thursday for a 53-year-old man for killing a woman for money and murdering an accomplice in December last year.
The man, Kwon Jae-chan, was charged with robbery and corpse abandonment in the double murder case after allegedly strangling the 50-something female acquaintance to death at a building in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Dec. 4.
(3rd LD) S. Korean currency hits 13-yr low against dollar on global recession woes
SEOUL -- South Korea's currency on Thursday fell below the 1,300-won level against the U.S. dollar for the first time in nearly 13 years amid growing concerns about global monetary tightening and an economic recession.
Finance Minister Choo Kyung-ho made a verbal intervention to forestall further decline, saying that foreign exchange authorities will take steps to stabilize the currency market, if needed, to minimize market jitters caused by the won's weakness.
New DAPA chief takes office, calls for improved work culture
SEOUL -- Eom Dong-hwan, the new minister of South Korea's state arms procurement agency, took office Thursday, highlighting his resolve to improve work efficiency and harness cutting-edge technologies for stronger national defense.
His inauguration as the head of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) came as South Korea seeks to strengthen deterrence against North Korea's evolving security threats and cement its defense sector into a "national strategic industry."
S. Korea to offer US$1 mln in aid to quake-hit Afghanistan
SEOUL -- South Korea plans to provide emergency humanitarian aid worth US$1 million to Afghanistan for victims and others suffering from an earthquake there earlier this week, according to the Seoul government Thursday.
More than 1,000 people have reportedly been killed from the 5.9 magnitude quake that struck the country's southeastern province of Paktika the previous day.
(2nd LD) PPP ethics committee defers decision over possible discipline of party chief
SEOUL -- The ethics committee of the ruling People Power Party has deferred a decision until next month on whether to take disciplinary action against party chairman Lee Jun-seok over allegations he received sexual services as a bribe about 10 years ago and attempted to cover up the case.
The committee, however, decided at Wednesday's meeting to begin the process of reprimanding Kim Cheol-geun, a key aide to Lee, over allegations that he met with Lee's accuser earlier this year and attempted to silence him with a promise of investment.
S. Korea launches task force on new U.S.-led economic framework
SEOUL -- South Korea launched a task force Thursday for discussions with experts and the private sector on its strategy on the newly launched Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), the trade ministry said Thursday.
The move came a month after U.S. President Joe Biden launched the initiative that also involves South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India, Fiji and seven of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members.
Presidential office launches new website to better communicate with public
SEOUL -- The presidential office launched a new website Thursday to facilitate better communication with the public.
The site, "People's Suggestions," will replace the "People's Petitions" page used by the previous presidential office of Moon Jae-in.
"It is a communication channel reflecting President Yoon Suk-yeol's commitment to becoming a president who communicates directly with the people," Kang Seung-kyoo, senior presidential secretary for civil society, told a press briefing.
Foreigners staying in S. Korea rebound to over 2 mln amid receding pandemic
SEOUL -- The number of foreigners staying in South Korea bounced back above the 2 million mark last month for the first time in 15 months, immigration data showed Thursday.
According to the data by the justice ministry's immigration policy bureau, 2,012,862 foreigners were staying in the country as of May, the first figure over the 2 million threshold since February last year.
Director Choi Dong-hoon returns with sci-fi fantasy 'Alienoid'
SEOUL -- Filmmaker Choi Dong-hoon will return with the new sci-fi action fantasy "Alienoid" seven years after the hit historical film "Assassination" (2015).
"Alienoid" proceeds with two parallel stories. In the 14th century during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), a group of Taoist magicians search for a legendary divine sword, while aliens appear in present-day Korea to chase after an alien prisoner confined in a human body.
Top S. Korean, U.S. military officers hold virtual talks on N.K. threats
SEOUL -- The top military officers of South Korea and the United States held virtual talks on North Korea's military threats Thursday and agreed the allies' combined defense posture is "more solid than at any other time," according to Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
The talks between JCS Chairman Gen. Won In-choul and his U.S. counterpart, Gen. Mark A. Milley, came as concerns have grown about the possibility of Pyongyang conducting a nuclear test despite lingering tensions over a series of its earlier missile launches.
Talk of 'normalizing' GSOMIA raises hope, skepticism around Seoul-Tokyo ties
S. Korea, U.S., Japan close ranks amid growing N.K. threats
Yoon's agenda gets boost from ruling party's sweeping triumph in local elections
Yoon-Biden summit opens new, broader chapter for S. Korea-U.S. alliance
Yoon, Biden agree to broaden, deepen alliance amid N.K. threats, China's assertiveness