Headlines, August 13, 2020
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Headlines, August 13, 2020
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2020.08.13 10:11
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Thursday August 13, 2020

 

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

The Korea Post (http://www.koreapost.com/)
President Moon's four-day trip to the United Arab Emirates
https://youtu.be/dZMUXv63UdI

“We promote religious, cultural exchanges with many countries, including Japan, China”
Ven. Youngsan Hongpa, chief abbot of the Myogak-sa Buddhist Temple in Seungin-dong near the East Gate in Seoul, said, “We are making substantial efforts to promote the Buddhist and cultural exchanges between Korea and many countries of the world, especially with Japan and China.”
At a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language media outlets since 1985, Ven. Hongpa then said, “We had a special tripartite Buddhist program this year among Korea, China and Japan this year, but we had to postpone it to some other appropriate time due to the continuous spreading COVID-19 contagious disease.
The Korean Buddhist Gwaneum Order, of which Ven. Hongpa is the leader as chief abbot, ranks among the fourth or fifth largest among all Korean Buddhist orders, with the Chogye Order leading the Buddhist world in Korea with a 40 to 50 percent share.

“Korea’s spectacular development is for Côte d'Ivoire a model to emulate”
“Côte d'Ivoire was the first African country to establish diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea (south) on July 23, 1961, and since that date, the two countries have continued to maintain relations of sincere friendship and frank cooperation.” So said Ambassador Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire in Seoul in an exclusive interview with The Korea Post media at his office in Seoul on Aug. 3, 2020.
Then he disclosed Korea’s spectacular development in the time span of half a century is for Côte d'Ivoire a model to emulate.” 
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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
35 Dead, 7,800 Displaced after Heavy Rains
Forty-two people have been killed or gone missing due to heavy rains that have battered South Korea this month.
The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters said that as of Thursday morning, 35 people have died, seven remain missing and eight have been injured due to the rains since August 1.
The headquarters said that over 78-hundred people in eleven cities and provinces have been displaced. Roughly three thousand of them have yet to return to their homes.

Moon Voices Opposition to Fourth Extra Budget
President Moon Jae-in has voiced opposition to the idea of drawing up a fourth extra budget to cope with damage caused by recent heavy rains.
Visiting flood-hit areas on Wednesday, the president noted calls for a fourth budget that have emerged amidst concerns that current funding may be insufficient to respond to flood damage.
However, he said it takes much time to draw up a supplementary budget, adding that the central government and local municipalities still have sufficient funds.

Gov't Seeks to Provide Discount Coupons for Vegetables
The government is pushing a plan to provide coupons that offer discounts of up to 20 percent for vegetables at large-scale discount stores and online shopping malls.
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki unveiled the plan on Thursday in his opening remarks at a meeting of economy-related ministers in Seoul.
The minister said that the recent heavy downpours are causing rising prices and supply imbalances for some farm and fishery products such as Chinese cabbage and lettuce. 
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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
11 fast-food franchise employees test positive for COVID-19 in Seoul
At least 11 employees at a local fast-food franchise have tested positive for the new coronavirus, officials said Wednesday, raising concerns over a possibly bigger outbreak.
Ten employees of Lotteria were found to have had a meetiing at the franchise restaurant near Gunja subway station in the eastern Seoul ward of Gwangjin between 3:18 and 5:25 p.m. on Aug. 6, according to health authorities and the Seoul city government.
They later visited two other restaurants in the area, with nine more people joining them.

Gov't doubles state aid for disaster relief
South Korea's government on Wednesday decided to double the state aid for disaster relief and recovery, as the unusually prolonged rainy season has wrecked havoc on houses, farm land and infrastructure nationwide.
The decision was made during a meeting among the government, the ruling Democratic Party (DP) and Cheong Wa Dae at the National Assembly.
"In the case of a death, state support will be raised to 20 million won (US$16,880) from the current 10 million won," said DP spokesman Kang Hoon-sik during a briefing, adding a flood victim will get 2 million, up from the original 1 million won. The current disaster aid scheme was drawn up in 1995.

About 60 pct of N. Koreans face food insecurity: U.S. Department of Agriculture
About 60 percent of North Korea's population are facing food insecurity as the global coronavirus pandemic appears to be taking a toll on the country's food supplies, a U.S. Department of Agriculture report showed Thursday.
According to the report by the department's Economic Research Service, 59.8 percent of North Korea's population or some 15.30 million people in the country remain "food-insecure."
"An estimated 59.2 percent of North Korea's population is food-insecure in 2020, rising slightly to 59.8 percent when the effects of the COVID-19 macro shock are taken into account," the report said.

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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Why the US went from being responsive to uncooperative regarding the OPCON transfer
While running for president, South Korean President Moon Jae-in pledged to reclaim wartime operational control (OPCON) of South Korean forces from the US during his five-year term in office. But after his inauguration, his administration adjusted the official timeline for the OPCON transfer from “during Moon’s term” to “quickly.” That adjustment was motivated by an agreement reached during Moon’s summit with US President Donald Trump in June 2017 for the two countries to “continue cooperation at the alliance level to make it possible to quickly transfer OPCON to the South Korean military.” Seoul yielded to opposition during negotiations with the US over its desire to carry out the OPCON transfer before Moon leaves office.

OPCON transfer unlikely to happen during Moon’s presidency
Certain aspects of verifying the “full operational capability” (FOC) of the future structure of South Korea and the US’ Combined Forces Command (CFC) have reportedly been postponed until next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. FOC represents the second phase of assessing the capability of the future CFC, which is supposed to be set up after South Korea regains wartime operational control (OPCON) of its forces from the US. The upshot is that there’s little chance of OPCON being handed over while South Korean President Moon Jae-in is in office.

US military to augment quarantine procedures for troops being sent abroad
US military authorities are planning to beef up preliminary quarantine measures this month amid a recent sharp rise in the number of US Forces Korea (USFK) troops and other associated persons testing positive for COVID-19 shortly after arriving in South Korea.
On Aug. 11, the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported that new “FRAGO 9” guidelines would be applied by the US Army as of Aug. 21, requiring USFK troops and their family members to self-quarantine in the US two weeks before traveling to other countries and undergo testing for the virus 72 hours before departure. This will require a total of four weeks in quarantine for USFK troops and their family members, including two in the US before departure and two in South Korea after arrival.

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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Japanese Carmakers Lose Korean Market
Japanese car sales have plunged here due to a continued boycott by consumers here and the coronavirus epidemic.
According to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association, Japanese automakers' sales from January to July plummeted 55.4 percent on-year. Over the same period, total sales of imported cars rose 14.9 percent.
In other words, while Toyota, Honda and Nissan's sales plunged, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Volkswagen's rose markedly.
The share of Japanese carmakers in Korea's import market in the first seven months fell from 20.3 percent last year to 7.9 percent this year, while German automakers' rose from 52.1 percent to 62 percent.

This Year's Monsoon to Be Longest on Record
Chances are rising that this summer will see the longest monsoon season on record.
The record so far is 49 days, but the Korea Meteorological Administration expects downpours to continue until Friday, which would add up to 52 days.
Weathermen blame an unusually weak North Pacific high-pressure front, which usually expands its influence in the region at the end of July each year. The monsoon rains are caused by the moist North Pacific high-pressure front meeting the dry Siberian high-pressure front.
"This year's protracted monsoon season shows quite unusual patterns, making it difficult to make an accurate weather forecast," the KMA said.

Telecommuting Leads to Spike in Stress
An increase in telecommuting due to the coronavirus pandemic has led to greater stress for many office workers as they find themselves pursued at all hours, a poll suggests.
Job portal Incruit said Monday that a straw poll of 530 office workers who telecommute found that 47.7 percent suffered stress while working from home.
Some 52.3 percent said they suffered little or none.
The biggest cause of the stress was work after office hours. Some 19.8 percent of those who suffered stress said they experienced an increase in work assignments stretching beyond office hours and 17.2 percent complained about bosses not adhering to regular work hours.

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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Russia develops controversial COVID-19 vaccine
Conflicts between Russia and the West surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine officially registered for the first time in the world by Russia on Tuesday are growing. As British researchers said the vaccine could be “little better than water,” Russia confronted by saying that the West is systematically denigrating the country’s achievement.
"Coordinated and carefully prepared information attacks on the Russian vaccine are trying to discredit and hide the correctness of the Russian approach to drug development,” Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) CEO Kirill Dmitriev said on Tuesday, according to TASS. “A politicized approach to the Russian vaccine on the part of a number of Western countries endangers the lives of their citizens.”

Test for OPCON transfer is excluded from ROK-U.S. military exercises
A U.S. official made a comment that a Full Operational Capability (FOC) test for the transfer of the wartime operational control (OPCON) has been completely removed from the ROK-U.S. military exercises to begin on Sunday. This raises potential issues in South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s plan to complete the transfer within his term.
“The ROK-U.S. military exercises this month do not include an FOC test at all,” Voice of America reported on Wednesday, citing the written answer from a U.S. official. Despite the South Korean military’s announcement of some preliminary FOC tests to be conducted in the upcoming exercises, the U.S. official denied it.

HMM swings to surplus after 20 quarters of deficit
The final inspection of an ultra-large container vessel (ULCV) with “HMM St. Petersburg” written on side was underway in a heavy rain on Tuesday at the Geoje Shipyard of Samsung Heavy Industries in South Gyeongsang Province.
The 400-meter long, 61-meter wide and 400-meter high St. Petersburg is the world’s largest vessel that is capable of carrying 24,000 containers at once. The vessel, which has been commissioned by the only Korea-based large shipping company HMM (formerly known as Hyundai Merchant Marine), is set to sail around the world from next month, covering the Busan-to China-to-Europe route.

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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Transgender Byun Hee-soo Launches a Legal Battle: The Former Staff Sergeant Says, “I Will Ask What Justice Is in a Place Filled with Hatred”
“I am filing an administrative lawsuit to ask what social justice is in a place filled with hatred.”
Former Staff Sergeant Byun Hee-soo, in a white shirt and jeans instead of an Army uniform, calmly read her statement. It was a different sight from last February, when she was swept by emotions and in tears several times, while disclosing the fact that she had been involuntarily discharged from the Army for having undergone a sex-change operation.
Byun filed an administrative lawsuit to cancel her discharge. A group working to have the transgender soldier Byun Hee-soo reinstated held a press conference at the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy in Jongno-gu, Seoul on August 11 and announced that they had filed the lawsuit at the Daejeon District Court.

House of Sharing Only Spent 200 Million Won out of 8.8 Billion Won for the Elderly Victims
An investigation confirmed that the House of Sharing, a shelter for surviving comfort women victims from the Japanese military, only spent 200 million won on the elderly women, while collecting donations amounting to 8.8 billion won in five years. The money spent did not go directly to the elderly women, either, but was used indirectly to run facilities. Investigators also uncovered circumstances that suggested mental abuse, as staff engaged in verbal violence, threatening to abandon the women.
Song Ki-chun, head of a public-private joint investigation team on the House of Sharing held a press conference at the Gyeonggi-do provincial government office on August 11 and announced the results of the investigation. Song said, “The House of Sharing collected over 8.88 billion won in donations by promoting support for the elderly women through its website for five years, from 2015 until 2019,” and explained, “However, in this process, they did not properly register their fund-raising activities according to the Act on Collection and Use of Donations, so they did not properly disclose the amount of donations and the details on how the money was used, and they were never subject to a business inspection from the registration office.”

Removing the Supporting Family Criterion, Not Within President Moon’s Term in Office
■ Mandatory Supporting Family Policy
This policy prevents people who, based on their property and income, are eligible for the Basic Livelihood Security from receiving the state benefit, if they have any immediate family--parents or children. The policy has been criticized for threatening people in poverty by keeping them from receiving state benefits, when, in fact, they have no exchanges with their family--usually family only on paper--or when their family is unable to support them.
The government announced that it would gradually abolish the mandatory supporting family standard for the living allowance, one of the major allowances provided by the Basic Livelihood Security Policy, and “improve” instead of abolish the criterion for the health care allowance by 2022. This will make it difficult for the Moon Jae-in government to abolish the mandatory supporting family criterion, which it had set out to do within its term. 
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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
HMM returns to profit in Q2, first quarterly profit in over 5 years
South Korea’s leading container carrier HMM Co. returned to profit in the second quarter, its first quarterly profit in 21 quarters, thanks to improved efficiency with the deployment of the world’s largest container vessels and its new membership in one of the world’s largest shipping alliances.
HMM said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that it posted an operating profit of 138.7 billion won ($117.2 million) in the second quarter ended June on a consolidated basis, reversing from a loss of 2.02 billion won in the previous quarter and 112.9 billion won in the previous year. It also raised a net profit of 28.14 billion won in the April-June period, improving from a net loss of 65.6 billion won in the previous quarter and 200.72 billion won in the previous year.

California-based HAAH floated as potential SsangYong Motor investor
California-based import automotive distribution business HAAH Automotive Holdings has emerged as a potential candidate to take over South Korea’s troubled SsangYong Motor Co. which could be headed for the bankruptcy court next month if it does not find a replacement for its majority shareholder Mahindra & Mahindra fast.
According to its creditors and industry sources on Tuesday, HAAH Automotive Holdings discreetly visited SsangYong Motor’s plant in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province last month for due diligence, a field study before a potential buyout or investment.

WKF: Blackstone, BlackRock chiefs and other financial titans to join main podium
Blackstone and BlackRock chief executives would be some of the Wall Street big shots contributing their views on the post-pandemic global economic order at the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul next month.
The World Knowledge Forum is the biggest business conference in Asia hosted by South Korea’s leading business media Maekyung Media Group. This year’s theme is “Pandenomics Perspective: Shaping New Global Symbiosis,” with leaders from political, economic and academic circles around the world to discuss some of the most pressing global issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, now in its 21st year, is scheduled for Sept. 16-18 in central Seoul. 

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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
AustraliaBrisbaneTime www.brisbanetimes.com.au syndication@fairfaxmedia.com.au
Sydney Morning Herald www.smh.com.au
Colombia Reports http://www.colombiareports.com
BogotaFree 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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