Headlines, April 24, 2020
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Headlines, April 24, 2020
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2020.04.24 09:48
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Friday April 24, 2020

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

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

Turkmenistan marks 25th year of Permanent Neutrality this year
The following article was contributed by the Embassy of Turkenistan in Seoul for publication by The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications.—Ed. This year Turkmenistan widely celebrates the 25th anniversary of adopting the status of Permanent Neutrality. At the initiative of the President of Turkmenistan, the Mejlis (parliament) of Turkmenistan passed a resolution placing the year 2020 under the motto “Turkmenistan - Homeland of Neutrality”. On 11-12 December 2020 International Conference «Policy of Neutrality and its Importance in Ensuring International Peace, Security, and Sustainable Development» will take place in Ashgabat.

Songpa District hosts an extensive large cultural festival of the Baekje Kingdom in September
The Songpa-Gu Office in Seoul hosts the 2020 Hanseong Baekje Culture Festival in September this year. This was disclosed by a competent official of the Ward Office at a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news media since 1985.
Park Sung-soo, Mayor of Songpa-gu told The Korea Post at his office on April 21, “This time, we are planning to cordially invite many ambassadors and madams to enjoy all the wonderful things we offer as part of our interesting program to highlight the invaluable historical-cultural assets related with the brilliant culture and history of the famed Baekje Dynasty of Korea (18B.C.-A.D. 475).”

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

Trump: CNN Report on Kim's Health 'Incorrect'
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he believes a recent CNN report on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's health was "incorrect." Trump said during a coronavirus press briefing at the White House that he had heard the report was based on "old documents" and he thinks it was a "fake report" by CNN. Trump, however, didn't elaborate on the "old documents" When asked about rumors on Kim's health condition, Trump said that he hopes Kim is not having medical problems and added they have a "good relationship."

Two Key Suspects in Hedge Fund Scandal Detained
Two key suspects in a major hedge fund scandal were detained by police on Thursday. Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency said on Friday that it apprehended Lee Jong-pil, former vice president of Lime Asset Management, and Kim Bong-hyun, owner of Star Mobility, in Seoul on Thursday night. Lime Asset, the country's largest hedge fund, has been under investigation over allegations that it continued to sell fund options to investors despite being aware of the fact that the options were invested in bad assets. Its botched investments caused damage worth some one-point-six trillion won for investors.

Gov't to Issue Bonds to Fund COVID-19 Relief Payouts
The government on Thursday announced a plan to issue state bonds to finance emergency relief payouts for all South Koreans to help them deal with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The government and the ruling Democratic Party on Wednesday reached an agreement to offer blanket payouts to all citizens first and to encourage high-income earners to voluntarily return the payments later. The Finance Ministry said on Thursday in a press release that those who choose not to apply for the handout, or who donate their share will receive tax deductions. The donations will likely be used to maintain employment and support jobless people.

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

With slowdown in new virus cases, S. Korea prepares for another potential wave
South Korea reported another single-digit number of new coronavirus cases Thursday, as the country's strict social distancing campaign and enhanced quarantine measures have helped contain the spread of the virus. The country added eight new virus cases, bringing the nation's total infections to 10,702, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). The figure marks a drastic drop from the Feb. 29 peak of 909 new cases. The country confirmed its first COVID-19 infection on Jan. 20.

S. Korean economy shrinks 1.4 pct in Q1 amid virus fallout, sharpest contraction since 2008
South Korea's economy shrank 1.4 percent on-quarter in the first quarter of this year, as the coronavirus pandemic crippled industrial output, consumer spending and job markets, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said Thursday. It marked the sharpest quarterly contraction since the fourth quarter of 2008, when the nation's economy sank 3.3 percent on-quarter. The first-quarter gross domestic product, however, was above market expectations. A survey conducted by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news arm of Yonhap News Agency, had expected the nation's economy to contract 1.81 percent in the quarter.

Gov't to increase penalties for digital sex offenses

South Korea's government on Thursday announced new get-tough measures against digital sex crimes, vowing to push to punish even buyers, advertisers and possessors of child and youth sexual abuse materials, as well as their producers and sellers. The government said it will treat any production of digital sexual materials as a felony crime and eliminate the statute of limitations for offenders. In addition, the authorities will introduce a criminal confiscation system in which all proceeds from sexual crimes are seized even before offenders are convicted.

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

S. Korea to face further market shock in Q2 amid COVID-19 pandemic
After marking the steepest contraction in more than a decade amid the new coronavirus fallout, South Korea’s economy is likely to confront further shocks over the upcoming months, financial authorities warned Thursday. “The production indexes for private consumption and service industries have hit their worst level since the (global) financial crisis,” Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said in a meeting of economy-related ministers in Seoul.

Seoul beefing up equipment for second wave of COVID-19
Korean health authorities said Thursday they were beefing up medical equipment against a potential massive coronavirus outbreak, saying the country could face another round worse than the initial outbreak in Daegu. “Right now we have no shortage of ecmo (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) devices and quarantine beds,” Yoon Tae-ho, a senior Health Ministry official, said at a daily virus update. “But we’re preparing for the possibility of a bigger outbreak (than happened in Daegu).”

Flat virus curve lifts Moon’s popularity
President Moon Jae-in’s approval rating is at its highest level in over a year, buoyed by the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a survey conducted by local pollster Realmeter, Moon’s approval rating came to 64.3 percent in the fourth week of April, the highest figure since September 2018. Surveys conducted earlier by other pollsters show similar results. In a poll conducted by Gallup Korea two days before the April 15 general elections, Moon’s approval rating was found to have risen for seven consecutive weeks to 59 percent.

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

Pompeo: US will seek North Korea's denuclearization regardless of who leads regime
The United States will push for North Korea's denuclearization regardless of who is in power there, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid unconfirmed reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is seriously ill. Pompeo was asked on Fox News Wednesday how comfortable he would be dealing with Kim's sister, Yo-jong, in the event she takes power in the dynastic regime. "Well, I did have a chance to meet her a couple of times, but the challenge remains the same. The goal remains unchanged," he said.

YouTuber behind buzzword 'Donghak Ants' 
The "Donghak Ants Movement" is perhaps the buzz-phrase that has hit the local stock market news headlines most frequently over the past month. The term is a parody of the "Donghak Peasant Movement," which occurred in Korea in the late 19th century to overthrow feudal overlords and foreign invaders. The new play on words has been widely used to describe the recent buying spree of retail investors at the Seoul bourse, which was in stark contrast to the foreigners' selling spree that came after the stock market plunge at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2 key suspects in hedge fund scandal detained 
Two key suspects implicated in a major hedge fund scandal were detained by police on Thursday. Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency said it apprehended Lee Jong-pil, former vice president of Lime Asset Management Co., and Kim Bong-hyun, owner of Star Mobility, in Seoul. Lime Asset has been under probe over its alleged cover-up of massive losses and subsequent suspension of fund redemption worth an estimated 1.6 trillion won (US$1.3 billion). Star Mobility is believed to be the main financial resource for Lime.

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

S. Korea to pursue “New Deal” for post-virus economic recovery
The South Korean government plans to spend 85 trillion won (US$69.2 billion) to prevent mass unemployment amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, including support for seven mainstay industries and other businesses facing liquidity crises and the creation of 550,000 public sector jobs and jobs for young people. It has also announced plans to pursue a “South Korean New Deal” for post-virus economic recovery, which would encompass policies related to unemployment, digital technology, social overhead capital, and the social safety net.

Democratic Party proposes raising money by recommending “donations” of basic disaster allowances
The Democratic Party's Apr. 22 proposal of the "collection of voluntary donations” by people returning their basic disaster allowances is an attempt to reconcile its general election pledge to pay disaster relief to the entire South Korean public while addressing concerns about fiscal soundness expressed by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF). With the compromise produced under time pressure, it appears that the question of how it actually pans out will only be answered as the party and government coordinate specifics and the ruling party and opposition review the supplementary budget. But experts predicted the policy was unlikely to be effective due to the large uncertainties associated with new systems such as one based on donations.

13 out of 43 S. Korean provincial/metropolitan government providing emergency aid
Amid the mounting damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, 13 of South Korea’s metropolitan and provincial governments and 43 smaller local governments are providing residents with fiscal aid on their own, separately from the central government’s basic disaster allowance. Local governments are moving quickly to provide assistance, out of concern that this might be their best chance to forestall a painful recovery.

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

Tourism to Jeju, Gangwon Resurges for Long Weekend
Demand for holiday accommodation in scenic Gangwon Province and Jeju Island is increasing for the long weekend between Buddha's Birthday on April 30 and Children's Day on May 5. Air tickets to Jeju are already over 80 percent booked and hotel rooms and resorts there are becoming scarce. Many city dwellers are making travel plans for the long weekend to free themselves from the protracted coronavirus lockdown.

Gov't Breaks out Another Emergency Budget
The government on Wednesday proposed an W89.4-trillion aid package to help businesses and workers weather the coronavirus epidemic (US$1=W1,233). That will require a third extraordinary budget this year of W11.8 trillion. Most of the money will be raised by issuing government bonds, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said. The lion's share or W10.1 trillion will be spent to create jobs and support businesses and workers affected by the epidemic.

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

U.S. Air Force conducts joint drills with Japan near Korean Peninsula
The U.S. Air Force conducted a joint air exercise Thursday for its B-1B supersonic strategic bombers and the fighter jets of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces in the Japanese territory close to the Korean Peninsula. Reportedly, the B-1B Lancer bombers flew over the skies only 800 to 900 kilometers away from Wonsan of Gangwon Province, the purported resting place for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un whose health has recently become a hot subject of speculation.

2020 Hyundai Sonata drastically reduces noise at high speed
Hyundai Motor Company launched the 2020 version of Sonata, the company’s representative sedan, for sales on Thursday. The 2020 Sonata features an improved performance from the eighth generation Sonata launched last year, with reduced noise levels at high speeds thanks to its thicker windows and double-junction soundproof glass. In addition, the transmission performance of the gasoline 2.0 model has been improved for better responsiveness.

Harari warns against hatred and ignorance in fighting COVID-19
Yuval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the famed author of the global bestseller “Sapiens,” stressed the importance of avoiding hatred and embracing compassion and solidarity in combating COVID-19. “Humanity has all the scientific knowledge and technological tools to overcome the virus. Thereally big problem is our own inner demons, our own hatred, greed and ignorance,” warned Professor Harari in an interview with Deutsche Welle on Wednesday (local time).

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

Cautiously Opening Theater Doors, After All the Essence of a Stage Performance Is the Audience
Goyang Aram Nuri Arts Center, closed due to the novel coronavirus, will reopen its stage, three months since it temporarily shut down in late January. The Goyang Cultural Foundation announced on April 22, “We will open our performance hall with the drama, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, which will launch on April 25.” The foundation added, “We will open the theater lobby to the audience and also provide on-site services.” This is the first public concert hall to open its doors since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Government to Invest 90 Trillion Won to Maintain Jobs: South Korea’s “New Deal”
The government will inject an additional 90 trillion won into our economy to secure jobs and save small business owners and basic industries facing a crisis due to COVID-19. The government also announced that it would aggressively promote a South Korean “New Deal” to create more jobs. On April 22, the government held the fifth emergency economic policy meeting chaired by President Moon Jae-in and announced measures to stabilize employment and businesses to overcome a job crisis. When we add the latest measures to the 151 trillion won of government support decided in the previous four meetings, the government measures in response to COVID-19 reaches a total of 241 trillion won.

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

Prosecutors raid FSC in hedge fund probe
South Korean prosecutors have raided the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) in connection with their probe into Lime Asset Management, a troubled local hedge fund that has been delinquent in repaying investors, causing retailers massive losses of some 1.6 trillion won ($1.3 billion) in total. The Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office on Thursday dispatched a team of investigators to the country’s top financial policy regulator’s office in Seoul to secure computer drives and documents linked to the case.

Incheon Int’l Airport to post first annual loss in 17yrs due to COVID-19
South Korea’s main gateway Incheon International Airport Corp. (IIAC) is expected to report its first annual loss in 17 years as the result of standstill in the air travel due to pandemic. IIAC predicted on Thursday that it would swing to a net loss of 16.3 billion won in 2020, reversing from 866.6 billion won in net income a year ago. It would mark its first net loss in 17 years. It has been in the black since 2004, after opening its door in 2001.

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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 Heraldwww.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://www.colombiareports.com
Bogota Free Planet
http://www.bogotafreeplanet.com,bfp@bogotafreeplanet.com
El Universal https://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Andes https://www.redaktionstest.net/andes-info-ec/
Ecuador Times https://www.ecuadortimes.net/
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com/
LSM.lv https://www.lsm.lv//
The Baltic Times http://www.baltictimes.com lithuania@baltictimes.com,
estonia@baltictimes.com, editor@baltictimes.com
El Pais https://english.elpais.com/
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net/
Daily News Hungary https://dailynewshungary.com/
Budapest Times https://www.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=20679

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