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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 March 15, 2023

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

(LEAD) S. Korea to set up world's No. 1 semiconductor cluster in Seoul metropolitan area

SEOUL -- South Korea will create the world's largest semiconductor cluster in the Seoul metropolitan area by attracting 300 trillion won (US$229.81 billion) in investments as part of efforts to secure a competitive edge in the sector, the industry ministry said Wednesday.

It is part of the government's comprehensive plan to promote six key industries -- chips, displays, secondary batteries, bio, future vehicles and robots -- which also called for the corporate investment of 550 trillion won by 2026, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

(2nd LD) S. Korea to end mask mandate for public transportation next week

SEOUL -- South Korea will end the mask mandate for public transportation next week, the government announced Wednesday, lifting one of the last-remaining COVID-19 restrictions amid a stable virus situation.

Vice Interior Minister Han Chang-seob said during a government COVID-19 response meeting that the lifting will go into effect Monday. The decision came as South Korea's daily virus tally continues its downward trend, reaching 11,401 cases Tuesday.

Gov't to decide on maximum weekly work hours after listening to workers: presidential office

SEOUL -- The government will decide on the maximum weekly work hours after carefully listening to the voices of vulnerable workers, the presidential office said Wednesday.

Currently, the legal cap is 52 hours per week, but the labor ministry has proposed a revision allowing the cap to be raised to 69 hours during periods of heavy workloads on condition that the total work hours in a month do not exceed the limit in the current 52-hour workweek system.

(LEAD) N. Korea confirms firing of 2 ground-to-ground ballistic missiles Tuesday

SEOUL -- North Korea has launched two ground-to-ground ballistic missiles in a demonstration drill designed to train sub-military units, vowing to "annihilate the enemy," according to state media Wednesday.

A missile unit of the North's military launched the missiles "in a medium-range system" Tuesday in Jangyon, South Hwanghae Province, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

S. Korea, U.S. hold joint river-crossing drills

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States are conducting combined river-crossing military drills in a border county, the Army here said Wednesday, as part of the allies' ongoing springtime exercise.

The allies mobilized some 400 troops, two Apache attack helicopters and 50 pieces of equipment, such as makeshift bridges, for the 12-day drills that run through Friday in Yeoncheon, 62 kilometers north of Seoul.

(2nd LD) Two killed in helicopter crash in Yeongwol

SEOUL -- A civilian helicopter crashed in the small eastern town of Yeongwol on Wednesday, leaving both passengers on board dead, according to local fire authorities and police.

The aircraft carrying two passengers crashed into the town located 138 kilometers east of Seoul, at around 7:46 a.m., according to the Gangwon Fire Headquarters.

Hybe chairman says a sense of crisis, global firms like Samsung, Hyundai needed for K-pop

SEOUL -- Bang Si-hyuk, chairman of Hybe, the K-pop powerhouse behind global superstar BTS, said Wednesday it is time for the music industry to have a sense of crisis rather than being satisfied with what it has achieved.

He also raised the need to cultivate global entertainment companies in South Korea to compete with major players in the world market, speaking to a forum organized by the Kwanhun Club, an association of senior South Korean journalists, in Seoul.

POSCO to donate additional 4 bln won for compensation of forced labor victims

SEOUL -- POSCO Holdings Inc., the country's leading steelmaker, said Wednesday it has decided to donate 4 billion won (US$3.1 million) to support a plan floated by the South Korean government to compensate the victims of forced labor under Japan's 1910-1945 occupation.

In 2012, POSCO promised to donate 10 billion won to the foundation. So far, the steelmaker has chipped in 6 billion won.

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