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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:36 August 12, 2022

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

(2nd LD) Samsung heir Lee granted special presidential pardon

SEOUL -- President Yoon Suk-yeol granted his first special pardons to Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong, Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin and 1,691 others on the occasion of next week's Liberation Day anniversary, the government said Friday.

The government announced the pardons to be effective from Liberation Day on Monday.

(LEAD) Yoon says pardons aim to help people's livelihoods, economic recovery

SEOUL -- President Yoon Suk-yeol expressed hope Friday that his special Liberation Day pardons would help stabilize people's livelihoods and pull the nation out of its economic crisis.

Yoon made the remark as he presided over an extraordinary Cabinet session where the pardons were approved. Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong and other business leaders were expected to be among the beneficiaries, though the actual names were to be announced later by Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon.

S. Korean F-4E fighter crashes during operation over Yellow Sea: Air Force

SEOUL -- A South Korean F-4E fighter jet crashed during a security mission over the Yellow Sea on Friday, the Air Force said, with its two pilots having escaped safely.

The crash took place at 12:20 p.m. when the jet was on its way back to its base in Suwon, 35 kilometers south of Seoul, the armed service said. There is no report of damage to civilians as of now.

Yoon expected to hold press conference to mark 100 days in office

SEOUL -- President Yoon Suk-yeol is expected to hold a press conference next week to mark his first 100 days in office, a presidential official said Friday.

The press conference will be held at the presidential office on Wednesday to coincide with the 100th day and last around 50 minutes, according to the official.

PPP to take disciplinary action against lawmaker for insensitive remarks during cleanup work

SEOUL -- The ruling People Power Party (PPP) is expected to take disciplinary action against a party lawmaker after he came under fire for making remarks wishing for more rain during voluntary cleanup work in the wake of massive downpours.

Rep. Kim Sung-won drew strong criticism after he was caught on TV camera saying he wishes more rain would fall for better public relations effects of their voluntary work, even though the downpours, believed to be the heaviest in 115 years, caused serious flooding in Seoul and elsewhere.

Supreme Court upholds acquittal of Shincheonji leader

SEOUL -- The Supreme Court on Friday upheld lower courts' acquittal of a religious sect leader of charges that he obstructed the government's response to COVID-19 outbreaks in 2020.

Lee Man-hee, the 91-year-old founder of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, was indicted two years ago for allegedly underreporting the number of Shincheonji followers and church locations to the government when the virus was quickly spreading among the followers.

(LEAD) New COVID-19 infections fall for 2nd day; critical cases hit over 3-month high

SEOUL -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell for the second straight day Friday, but the number of seriously ill patients hit an over three-month high amid the fast spread of a highly contagious omicron subvariant.

The country added 128,714 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total caseload to 21,111,840, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said. Of the new cases, 464 were from overseas.

Samsung Biologics tentatively agrees to work with AstraZeneca on contract manufacturing

SEOUL -- Samsung Biologics Co., the biotech arm of South Korea's Samsung Group, said Friday it has tentatively agreed to work with multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca on biopharmaceutical contract manufacturing.

The company said in a regulatory filing that it signed a letter of intent on the cooperation in a deal valued at around US$350 billion, approximately 29 percent of its total sales in 2021. It did not reveal other details of the deal.

Seoul shares open slightly higher amid persistent rate hike concerns

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks opened marginally higher Friday amid persistent woes over the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary tightening.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 3.85 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,527.63 in the first 15 minutes of trading. The index started 0.16 percent lower at the opening bell.

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