Headlines, March 16, 2020
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Headlines, March 16, 2020
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2020.03.16 09:29
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Monday, March 16, 2020

Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today

The Korea Post (http://www.koreapost.com/)

FM Kang holds conference call with counterparts from 5 countries over coronavirus response
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha held a conference call with her counterparts from Canada and four other countries to discuss cooperation in fighting the new coronavirus, the foreign ministry said Monday. Kang and her Canadian, German, Brazilian, Italian and Australian counterparts -- Francois-Philippe Champagne, Heiko Maas, Ernesto Henrique Fraga Araujo, Luigi Di Maio and Maris Payne -- joined the 70-minute call Sunday night (Korea time).

Moon urges 'unprecedented' special steps for pandemic-hit economy
South Korean President Moon Jae-in called Friday for "unprecedented" policy measures to counter the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, speaking at a rare Cheong Wa Dae meeting with the country's finance minister and central bank chief. Moon received an emergency briefing on the real economy and the financial market jolted by growing worries about the global spread of COVID-19.

Virus cases continue to increase in Seoul, but growth slows
New cases of the new coronavirus reported in Seoul on Friday slowed from earlier in the week, but officials said it is yet too early to "lower guard" against the contagious virus. "We seem to have extinguished the big fire, but we cannot lower our guard. ... There is a possibility that (the call center infection) may emit sparks to other areas," Park said in a press briefing streamed on YouTube.

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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)

S. Korea, US to Hold Defense Cost-sharing Talks in LA
South Korea and the United States will hold a new round of defense cost-sharing talks in Los Angeles this week, amid growing concerns over potential furloughs for Korean employees in the U.S. Forces Korea(USFK). A South Korean delegation led by top negotiator Jeong Eun-bo will fly to Los Angeles on Monday afternoon for the seventh round of negotiations on the Special Measures Agreement(SMA) set for Tuesday and Wednesday.

US Fed Cuts Key Rate to Near Zero
The U.S. Federal Reserve slashed the key interest rate to virtually zero on Sunday, announcing emergency measures to ease the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The Fed cut its benchmark interest rate by a full percentage point to a range of zero to zero-point-25 percent, making its second emergency rate cut in less than two weeks. The central bank pledged to keep the rate there "until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events."

Moon Suggests G-20 Teleconference to Trump on COVID-19
President Moon Jae-in has reportedly proposed to U.S. President Donald Trump holding a G-20 teleconference summit in relation to the spread of the novel coronavirus. The proposal was made during phone talks on Sunday between South Korea's National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong and his U.S. counterpart Robert O'Brien. On Friday, President Moon put forward the idea during phone talks with France's President Emmanuel Macron, stressing the need for international cooperation on health care, hygiene and finance at the G-20 level.

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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)

Coronavirus rattles S. Korean politics 30 days before April elections
The new coronavirus is rattling South Korean politics just a month before the April 15 parliamentary elections, changing the way candidates campaign and shifting the overall focus to how the government has handled the outbreak. With COVID-19 infections totaling more than 8,000, experts say the elections are widely expected to be polls on the government's response to the outbreak as the current assessment is sharply divided between supporters of the ruling Democratic Party and opposition parties.

Moon declares virus-hit Daegu, part of North Gyeongsang Province as special disaster zones
President Moon Jae-in declared the southeastern city of Daegu and three nearby regions in North Gyeongsang Province as special disaster zones Sunday, paving the way for state support for the regions hit hard by the new coronavirus. It was the first time that the government has designated a certain area as a special disaster zone for reasons unrelated to natural disasters. Daegu is the epicenter of South Korea's coronavirus outbreak, accounting for some 77 percent of the total cases.

Gov't mulls postponing opening of schools again until early April
South Korea is considering postponing the repeatedly delayed opening of schools by one or two more weeks until early next month as a precaution against the new coronavirus, government sources said Sunday. Kindergartens, elementary, middle and high schools across the country are currently scheduled to reopen March 23, as their opening, originally scheduled for March 2, was postponed twice, first until March 9 and then until next week.

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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)

Expats sidelined in Seoul’s mask-rationing
Hundreds of thousands of foreign residents in South Korea have been sidelined in the government’s face mask-rationing measure, prompting activists to call for improving the system. Korea kicked off a distribution system on Monday after the growing shortage of face masks caused by the coronavirus infection spread.

New infections drop to lowest level in 3 weeks
The South Korean government remains cautious on additional clusters of the novel coronavirus infections in Seoul and other populous cities, although new infections dropped below 100 for the first time in over three weeks Sunday. Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said the government was considering virus screening on all international arrivals, not just foreign nationals but Koreans returning from overseas.

Moon declares virus-hit Daegu, part of North Gyeongsang Province as special disaster zones
President Moon Jae-in declared the southeastern city of Daegu and three nearby regions in North Gyeongsang Province as special disaster zones Sunday, paving the way for state support for the regions hit hard by the new coronavirus. It was the first time that the government has designated a certain area as a special disaster zone for reasons unrelated to natural disasters. Daegu is the epicenter of South Korea's coronavirus outbreak, accounting for some 77 percent of the total cases.

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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)

COVID-19 may trigger global economic crisis
The coronavirus outbreak will likely trigger far worse economic damage than the 2008 global financial crisis, as the spread of COVID-19 is posing "broader and far-reaching" threats to the world economy by stifling both supply and demand in all industrial sectors, finance experts said Wednesday.

Moon declares Daegu region as special disaster zone
President Moon Jae-in designated Daegu and surrounding areas in North Gyeongsang Province as special disaster zones Sunday in order to facilitate quick and effective emergency assistance for the nation's largest COVID-19 hotspot. "President Moon approved the designation of Daegu-Gyeongbuk (North Gyeongsang) as a special disaster zone at 2: 10 p.m.," said presidential spokesman Kang Min-seok in a statement.

COVID-19 outbreak shows stabilizing sign
Korea added 76 new cases on Saturday, with a total number of cases at 8,162, making the first day in nearly three weeks when the number of new cases has fallen below 100, the health authorities said, Sunday. The government reported 76 new COVID-19 infections Saturday, the first time in nearly three weeks for the number to have dropped below 100.

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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)

The need for a cooperative network across Northeast Asia to fight the coronavirus
The exchange of letters between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over the novel coronavirus situation is raising hopes for the possibility of inter-Korean cooperation in the area of public health. Some are even envisioning that once the specifics of this inter-Korean cooperation are worked out, it could be developed into a Northeast Asian public health cooperation system where South and North Korea, China, and Japan work together on quarantining and disease prevention.

The evolution of S. Korean convenience stores over the 38-year history
“Since convenience stores have the most accessible distribution network and also serve a partially public function, leaving them off the list [of public mask retailers] doesn’t serve the goal of providing consumers with a stable supply of masks,” the National Association of Convenience Store Franchise Owners said in a statement on Feb. 26.

S. Korean convenience store franchises expand overseas
South Korean convenience stores have been expanding overseas at a rapid rate. It’s part of a strategy of finding avenues abroad after being faced with the threat of stagnant growth at home as regulations on opening stores near other establishments have made it difficult for new stores to be established in South Korea. A trend of benchmarking the “South Korean convenience store model” is also emerging in Japan, which was first to introduce its own convenience stores.

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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)

Coronavirus Plays Havoc with Dating, Matchmaking
March is usually a busy time for singles who use the warmer weather to arrange blind dates and prospective marriages. But the spreading coronavirus epidemic has poured cold water on any such plans this year. February to April is peak season for the wedding industry. The owner of one matchmaking company in Gangnam said, "Usually this time of year we set up around 20 blind dates per week, but we've managed to arrange less than half of that this year."

Confined Workplaces Advised to Follow Strict Guidelines Amid Coronavirus
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come up with a set of guidelines for workplaces at high risk of coronavirus infections. The KCDC said on Thursday that new tougher guidelines are necessary following the World Health Organization's decision to declare the coronavirus a pandemic.

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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)

Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus
The United States has declared a national emergency and extended the travel ban to include the United Kingdom, its closest ally, to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The idea of “One Europe” is also being threatened as Spain follows Italy in declaring a nationwide lockdown and an increasing number of European countries is closing their borders.

‘S. Korea and China are friendly nations on the same boat,’ says Xi
Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of sympathy to his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in concerning the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. President Xi described that China and South Korea are friendly nations on the same boat, adding that the South Korean government and people from all walks of life have extended their sympathy to China and provided it with enormous support, according to Chinese state-run TV network China Central Television (CCTV) on Saturday.

Airliners use passenger planes to send cargo amid virus outbreak
As global airline networks de-facto collapsed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some airlines are making desperate measures of carrying only cargo. According to an industry insider, Japan Airlines has been flying passenger planes loaded with cargo to China and Hong Kong currently halted due to the novel coronavirus. It is operating planes for cargo for six routes with heavy cargo traffic including Tokyo (Haneda)–Shanghai and Tokyo (Narita)–Hong Kong routes.

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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)

Traces of a COVID-19 Patient Reveals a Harsh Life with No Time to “Pause”
Society is emphasizing a need to “pause” in order to stop the spread of COVID-19, but for some people, this pause is a luxury they cannot afford. Someone has to put bread on the table by working two jobs despite the outbreak, and another has to repeatedly work late into the night. Thus, these people are bound to fail in keeping a “social distance.” According to the tracks of confirmed patients released by the local governments on March 12, most of the citizens were struggling to earn a living amidst the outbreak of an infectious disease.

Seoul to Hand out 1 Million Won to Young Adults Without Work, Hwaseong to Give 2 Million Won for Living Expenses to Self-Employed Individuals
The city of Seoul will hand out a million won as an “emergency allowance for young adults” to non-regular workers in their twenties and early thirties, who have lost their part-time jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Hwaseong-si in Gyeonggi-do also decided to provide 2 million won to self-employed individuals as a “disaster relief living benefit.” On March 12, Seoul announced that it would select five hundred people after receiving applications from unemployed young adults (aged 19-34) residing in Seoul who are out of a job (temporary, day, part-time, etc.) or are out of work due to COVID-19 and give them 500,000 won a month for two months in March and April.

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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)

Car sales dn 25%, department store revenue 31% in Korea amid COVID onslaught
Car sales tumbled 25 percent and department store revenue 31 percent last month against a year-ago period after the surge in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases dampened cold waters on consumption in Korea, report from the finance ministry showed. “Uncertainties are growing in the Korean economy and financial market due to the spread of COVID-19,” the Ministry of Economy and Finance said Friday in its monthly economic review named Green Book, with the mention of “signs of improvement in business trend” removed from the January report.

SoCar cancels Tada spin-off plan, replaces CEO
South Korea’s ride-sharing company SoCar has killed its plan to spin off Tada as its primary rental van taxi-hailing business came to a full stop upon becoming outlawed. SoCar’s board directors in a meeting on Friday decided to withdraw the plan to make Tada as a standalone company. Also, Lee Jae-woong, SoCar’s founder and chief executive officer, will be replaced by Park Jae-uk, head of Tada operator Value Creators & Company (VCNC).

Mando proposes voluntary retirement, rotating leave on all factory workers
South Korea’s second largest auto parts maker Mando Corp. has opted to cut payroll through early retirement and rotational leave as it bears the burn from shrunken output and sales of finished carmakers in Korea. According to industry sources on Thursday, Mando recently proposed to receive applications for voluntary retirement from the factory staff to the union under the plan to outsource all manufacturing work at the steering plant in Wonju.

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What’s ticking around the world at this second?
See what the world media around the world have to report:


USA Today www.usatoday.com aallman@gannett.com
The New York Times www.nytimes.com inytletters@nytimes.com
Wall Street Journal www.wsj.com support@wsj.com, service@wsj-asia.com
Financial Times www.ft.com ean@ft.com
The Times www.thetimes.co.uk help@timesplus.co.uk
The Sun www.thesun.co.uk talkback@the-sun.co.uk
Chinese People's Daily www.people.com.cn kf@people.cn
China Daily www.chinadaily.com.cn circulation@chinadaily.com.cn
GwangmyeongDaily www.gmw.cn webmaster@gmw.cn
Japan's Yomiuri www.yomiuri.co.jp japannews@yomiuri.com
Asahi www.asahi.com customer-support@asahi.com
Mainichi www.mainichi.jp
Le Monde www.ilemonde.com
Italy LaRepubblica www.quotidiano.repubblica.it vittorio.zucconi@gmail.com
Germany Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitung www.faz.net anzeigen.ausland@faz.de
SüddeutscheZeitung www.sueddeutsche.de forum@sueddeutsche.de
Australia Brisbane Times www.brisbanetimes.com.au syndication@fairfaxmedia.com.au
Sydney Morning Herald www.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://colombiareports.com
Bogota Free Planet http://bogotafreeplanet.combfp@bogotafreeplanet.com
El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Andes http://www.andes.info.ec/en
Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com
LSM.lv http://www.lsm.lv/en
The Baltic Times http://www.baltictimes.com, lithuania@baltictimes.com,
estonia@baltictimes.com, editor@baltictimes.com

El Pais http://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com
Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
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The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.
Azerbaijan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR8CBpcQ4WM
Sri Lanka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hByX92Y2aGY&t=22s
Morocco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfFmp2sVvSE
And many other countries.
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Korean-language print newspaper:
http://pdf.koreapost.co.kr/38/3801.pdf
http://pdf.koreapost.co.kr/38/3802.pdf
http://pdf.koreapost.co.kr/38/3803.pdf
http://www.koreapost.co.kr/pdf/list.php?category=&syear=2018&smonth=03&sday=26&hosu=40

English E-daily: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=20437
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