Headlines, April 8, 2020
Headlines, April 8, 2020
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2020.04.08 09:56
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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

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

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

‘Khoka, then a little boy, removed all the darkness, odds from Bangladesh’
The following article was contributed by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Seoul for publication on the occasion of the Independence Day of Bangladesh on March 26, 2020.—Ed. It was 1920, a century ago. It was a late spring evening, March the 17th. It was dark all around. It was one of the thousands of villages in Bangladesh - Tungipara at the present Gopalganj district. Born there was a baby boy, affectionately called ‘Khoka‘ - meaning a little boy - by his parents, who half a century later removed all the darkness and odds; changed the history of the Bengali nation and the world; created an independent and sovereign Bangladesh in 1971.

“Senegal, like Korea, is a model country in Africa controlling COVID 19”
BBC reported on April 4, 2020: “Senegal has cancelled giant celebrations to mark its 60th Anniversary of Independence because of coronavirus. The West African nation has 140 active cases of Covid-19, 66 people have recovered and one person has died over the last month. Senegal has become one of the countries in Africa leading the fight against coronavirus.” Korea is rated as a model country in the world in properly controlling the CORONA cases and so is considered Senegal. At this juncture, The Korea Post, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean news media since 1958, recently had an exclusive interview with Ambassador Mamadou Guyeye Faye of Senegal in Seoul.


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

260 S. Koreans Head Home from Russia on Special Flight
About 260 South Koreans are heading home from Russia on a special flight amid suspended air traffic in the country in response to the coronavirus epidemic. According to the South Korean Embassy in Russia, a Korean Air flight with 261 South Koreans aboard departed from Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow at around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The flight is expected to arrive at Incheon International Airport at 9:40 a.m. Wednesday.

Top Diplomats of S. Korea, UAE Discuss COVID-19 Responses
The top diplomats of South Korea and the United Arab Emirates(UAE) held phone talks on Tuesday to discuss cooperation and responses to the novel coronavirus. The phone call came after South Korea shipped 51-thousand coronavirus sampling kits in emergency exports to the Middle Eastern country in mid-March. Seoul's Foreign Ministry said that speaking on the phone with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan expressed gratitude for Seoul's cooperation in relation to the exports.

China Ends Lockdown on Virus-hit Wuhan
China has ended its lockdown of Wuhan City, where the novel coronavirus first emerged in December. Hubei Province lifted the travel ban on the city as of 12 a.m. Wednesday, 76 days after the city was locked down on January 23 to contain the spread of COVID-19. Train, road and rail connections have now been re-established and anyone who has a "green" code on a widely used smartphone health app is allowed to leave the city.


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

S. Korea to temporarily halt visa waivers for countries with entry bans on Koreans
South Korea will temporarily suspend visa waiver programs for countries imposing entry bans on Koreans over the new coronavirus as it seeks to stem imported infections, the prime minister said Wednesday. Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun also said the government will expand entry restrictions on foreigners traveling without essential and urgent purposes. "While maintaining the basis of openness, the government will strengthen (entry) restrictions in accordance with reciprocity," Chung said at a pan-government meeting to discuss ways to contain COVID-19.

New virus cases fall below 50 for 2nd day, but vigilance urged
South Korea reported fewer than 50 new cases of the new coronavirus Tuesday for the second straight day, but health authorities warned against complacency. South Korea has recorded around 100 or fewer daily new cases for more than three weeks, but health authorities still remain on high alert over cluster infections at churches and hospitals, as well as new cases coming from overseas.

S. Korea considering wristbands to prevent self-isolators going outside
South Korea is considering using electric wristbands to prevent people in self-isolation from going outside, an official said Tuesday, amid growing concerns over people breaching the rules and spreading the coronavirus. "A majority of people are following self-isolation (rules), but there have been some cases of (people) leaving (designated venues)," Yoon Tae-ho, a senior health ministry official, told reporters in a press briefing. "If the self-isolation rules are not kept, this would put the government in a position to consider various measures to prevent such a move," said Yoon, citing the wristbands as a potential option.


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

'Thank God, I'm in Korea'
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and the new academic year began online in Korea, international students expressed both satisfaction at how the situation is being handled and the anxiety of being in a foreign country away from family. “There isn’t any other country in the world I would rather be in right now. The good things are that its being taken seriously, with rigorous testing and quarantine rules, and a culture that was preexisting in Korea when it came to the usage of masks,” said Jakob Minell, a junior at Korea University from Sweden.

Moon’s ‘telephone diplomacy’ continues in wake of pandemic
President Moon Jae-in continued telephone conversations with foreign leaders on Tuesday, in a sign of the bolstered profile of the country amid the deepening global COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, he spoke with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and President Andrzej Duba of Poland, continuing the series of telephone conversations.

Samsung, LG defend operating profit in Q1
South Korea’s leading tech firms Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics reported better-than-expected operating profit for the first quarter of 2020, despite the sluggish economy on the back of the ongoing global virus pandemic. Samsung on Tuesday estimated a revenue of 55 trillion won ($45 billion) and operating profit of 6.4 trillion won, slightly above the stock market projections, while LG Electronics posted 14.9 trillion won revenue and 1.09 trillion won operating profit. While LG’s revenue was a 1.2 percent drop from a year ago and down 8.3 percent from 16.6 trillion won in the fourth quarter, its operating profit was a 21.1 percent increase on-year and well beyond the market consensus which had been at around 870 billion won.


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

On Jeju, 'new settlers' feeling the pinch
Back in 2010, then a project manager at a conglomerate in Seoul who asked to be named only by his last name Lim, realized he wanted to do "something different" for a living. Feeling it's now or never, he quit his job and moved down to the southern island of Jeju. Lim, 49, said he initially had several ideas about his business and eventually ended up opening his own coffee house in 2013. His coffee business went fairly well and last summer, the cafe relocated to its current location in the bustling tourist town of Bukchon near Hamdeok Beach.

Trump blasts WHO, defends early virus steps
President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to freeze U.S. funding to the World Health Organization, saying the international group had ''missed the call'' on the coronavirus pandemic. Trump also played down the release of January memos from a senior adviser that represented an early warning of a possible coronavirus pandemic, saying he had not seen them at the time. But he turned his anger on the WHO, first declaring that he would cut off U.S. funding for the organization, then backtracking and saying he would ''strongly consider'' such a move.

Korean banks in dilemma over dividend payments
Domestic banks have come under mounting criticism regarding dividend payments, after the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) recommended them to follow the trend of global lenders of cutting payments to shareholders during the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen their reserves. According to the financial watchdog, Monday, FSS Governor Yoon Suk-heun said in an executive meeting last Thursday that Korean financial services firms should look to the actions of foreign banks, so as to secure enough total loss-absorbing capacity and maintain their ability to finance the real economy without delay.


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

S. Korea sees number of new COVID-19 fall below 50 in 46 days
South Korea reported 47 new cases of COVID-19 on Apr. 6, the first time in 46 days that the number fell below 50. But the country’s public health authorities called on the public to participate even more actively in social distancing measures, insisting that it’s too soon to relax. Since people were actually more active and mobile during the first round of intense social distancing (Mar. 22-Apr. 5) than they’d been before, the government is looking into additional measures, such as helping churches move their services online.

Democratic Party promises to provide disaster allowances to all citizens
While South Korea’s Democratic Party had been planning to give 1 million won (US$817, assuming a family of four) in basic disaster allowance to families in the lower 70% income bracket, the party now intends to push for extending that aid to all families. The ruling party has promised to give the aid to everyone in the country after Hwang Kyo-ahn, leader of the opposition United Future Party, suggesting giving 500,000 won (US$408) to every citizen, pushing the debate about providing economic relief for the COVID-19 pandemic in a new direction. “In our emergency aid policy, it’s important to clearly demonstrate that the state is protecting all citizens, regardless of their region, income or class. After the parliamentary elections are over, we promise to conduct a thorough review of every question as we devise our policy,” said Lee Hae-chan, leader of the Democratic Party, during a meeting of the election action committee, held in Busan, on the morning of Apr. 6.

S. Korea rushes to enact special legislation to support USFK employees on unpaid furlough
As negotiations on the 11th South Korea-US Special Measures Agreement (SMA) on defense cost sharing for this year have run into difficulties in their late stages, the South Korean government has been ramping up efforts to enact special legislation to support around 4,000 South Korean employees under US Forces Korea (USFK) who have been put on unpaid furlough as of Apr. 1. The labor union for South Korean USFK employees expressed hopes that a special act could increase the South Korean government’s bargaining capabilities as it lightens the burden from the workers’ unpaid furlough.


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

Lockdown Lifestyle Can Lead to Overeating
The couch-potato lifestyle forced on many Koreans in a time of coronavirus is causing them to eat more, exercise less and put on weight. In a survey on March 30 by SM C&C of 4,010 people between 20 to 50, 43 percent of respondents said they gained weight over the last two months, while 39 percent said their weight remain unchanged and only 18 percent said they lost weight. More women (47 percent) than men (36 percent) said they gained weight. Fifty-one percent of women in their 40s said they gained weight,while men in their 20s were the largest group who said they lost weight with 26 percent.

Gov't Mulls Electronic Tags for People in Self-Quatrantine
The government is considering forcing people in self-quarantine to wear electronic tags like sex offenders to prevent them from breaking their isolation.  Sources said Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun is chairing a closed-door meeting on Tuesday to discuss the Draconian option. "The most likely option is to use electronic bracelets to make it easier to monitor people in self-quarantine." So far people ordered to quarantine themselves had to install an app on their smartphone to keep track of their whereabouts, but people who had not recently traveled abroad could refuse, and even those who complied could go out and leave their phone behind.

Xi Visit Postponed Till Later This Year
Chinese President Xi Jinping's planned June visit to Korea has been postponed again until the second half of this year due to the coronavirus epidemic, a government source here said Monday. In March when the epidemic was at its peak, Seoul and Beijing still hoped Xi would come in the first half of the year.


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

Two serious COVID-19 patients fully recover with plasma treatment
Two serious COVID-19 patients fully recovered with plasma treatment for the first time in South Korea. Both of the patients are over 65 and one of them had an underlying disease. Plasma is the liquid component of blood, excluding red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelet, and has antibodies responsible for the immune system. For plasma treatment, the plasma extracted from a fully-recovered patient is injected. According to the Severance Hospital of Yonsei University on Tuesday, a 67-year-old female patient who was admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 on March 1 did not show much improvement even after administering malaria and AIDS medicines.

Korean researchers develop AI semiconductor
A South Korean research institution has developed artificial intelligence (AI) semiconductors that mimic human neural network to optimize efficiency. According to the Ministry of Science and ICT on Tuesday, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) and SK Telecom have produced the first neural processing unit (NPU) in the country, which can be applied to high performance servers and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The NPU is one of the AI processors that can process a large number of calculations by imitating human neural network.

U.K. PM is transferred to intensive care unit for COVID-19
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson who tested positive for COVID-19 on March 27 as the first leader of major countries to be infected with the virus has been transferred to an intensive care unit. As he is not in a condition to conduct state affairs, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab will deputize. According to The New York Times, unlike the U.S. system in which a vice president takes over state affairs under certain circumstances, such as the death of a president, the U.K. does not have a specific manual in place for the absence of its prime minister.


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

System “Shuts Down” on the Day of Remote Class Inspections and a Day’s Class Material Accidently Gets Deleted
“The EBS Online Class server collapsed. What am I doing now, trying to book a (concert) ticket?” On the morning of April 6, three days before online classes begin for ninth graders and high school seniors, a string of posts appeared on social media from students who did not know what to do after they failed to log in to the EBS Online Class. This day, some schools had conducted an inspection of the remove learning system ahead of the online opening of schools.

Local Governments Develop Food Delivery App Without Fees
South Korea’s number one restaurant delivery application, Baedal Minjok (Baemin) began implementing a new system for restaurant fees this month, but this led to opposition from restaurant owners, who witnessed their fees nearly double. In this situation, local governments have decided to develop a “good delivery app” without any commissions. Local governments decided to develop a public application to protect self-employed storeowners suffering from poor sales due to COVID-19 and from the burden of commissions. Among the local governments, Gunsan-si in Jeollabuk-do was the first to develop and launch a public delivery app, Baedal Myeongsu, last month. In Seoul, Gwangjin-gu is developing the application, Gwangjin Narumi, and Gyeonggi-do and Gyeongsangbuk-do have also launched the development of a public food delivery application.


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

Korea develops VLP-based vaccine candidate against COVID-19
Korea National Institute of Health (KNIH) has successfully developed a vaccine candidate against COVID-19 based on a virus like particle (VLP) platform technology, an important step to realize a commercially available vaccine, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced on Tuesday. A VLP is a molecule with a virus structure, but it is non-infectious because it contains no genetic material.

Some Korean drug makers overhyping COVID-19 cure progress to boost stock prices
The heated race to develop a cure or a vaccine against COVID-19 amid global spotlight on Korean drug makers requires discretion as some are suspected to have overhyped their progress to inflate their stock prices. On Feb. 26, Kosdaq-listed Komipharm announced it filed for urgent clinical trial approval with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) for its cytokine storm inhibitor Panaphix to treat COVID-19. After the announcement, Komipharm shares skyrocketed 56 percent for the following three days.

S. Korea’s national debt tops $1.4 tr in 2019, deficit at record high
South Korea’s national debt swelled in 2019 compared to a year earlier on increased issuance of state bonds, stretching fiscal deficit to its record level, a report released by the Ministry of Economy and Finance showed Tuesday. National liabilities amounted to 1,743.6 trillion won ($1.4 trillion) in 2019, up 60.2 trillion won, according to the statement of national accounts reviewed and endorsed by the government during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.


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.deforum@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
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.
What are you waiting for?
Use us!
The Korea Post media are more than eager to be used, and to serve you—with the following five news outlets, 35 years old this year!

Korean-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.co.kr
English-language Internet edition: http://www.koreapost.com
Korean-language print newspaper:
English E-daily: http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=20595 

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