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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 December 26, 2022

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

N. Korean economy down 0.1 pct in 2021 amid prolonged pandemic, sanctions

SEOUL -- North Korea's economy retreated 0.1 percent in 2021 from a year earlier, data showed Monday, amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic coupled with international sanctions.

The reclusive country's real gross domestic product (GDP) fell for the second consecutive year, following a 4.5-percent on-year drop tallied in 2020, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

Seoul stocks almost flat late Mon. morning amid recession worries

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks traded nearly flat late Monday morning as investors took to the sidelines amid the recession woes.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had edged up 0.19 point, or 0.01 percent, to 2,313.88 as of 11:20 a.m.

S. Korea's COVID-19 cases fall below 30,000 on fewer tests

SEOUL -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases fell below 30,000 Monday due to fewer tests during the Christmas weekend.

The country confirmed 25,545 new coronavirus infections, including 67 from overseas, bringing the total to 28,684,600, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

(LEAD) Song Joong-ki's agency confirms actor in romantic relationship

SEOUL -- South Korean actor Song Joong-ki has been in a romantic relationship with a woman, his entertainment agency said Monday, following a newspaper report that he's been dating a British woman.

"Song is dating a woman who he has good feelings toward," High Zium Studio said in a statement. "We hope you will look on their relationship with warm eyes."

Customs agency allows imports of full-body sex dolls

SEOUL -- South Korea's customs agency said Monday it has started permitting imports of full-body sex dolls, three years after the country's top court ruled they are not "obscene materials."

The Korea Customs Service had been allowing imports of sex dolls that depict particular human body parts, but not life-size dolls, since July.

PPP to hold nat'l convention March 8 to pick new leader

SEOUL -- The ruling People Power Party decided Monday to hold a national convention on March 8 to pick a new leader.

The upcoming convention will be the first time the PPP applies a set of revised rules, including choosing a leader only by a vote of party members, not by a ratio of 70 percent from party members and 30 percent from a public opinion survey.

First infection of 'Brain-eating amoeba' reported in S. Korea

SEOUL -- The first infection from Naegleria fowleri, or "brain-eating amoeba," has been reported in South Korea, the health authorities said Monday.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) confirmed that a Korean national who died after returning from Thailand was infected with Naegleria fowleri, which destroys human brains.

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