Headlines, December 2, 2020
Headlines, December 2, 2020
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  • 승인 2020.12.02 09:12
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Wednessday, December 2, 2020

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

The Korea Post (http://www.koreapost.com/)
PM Modi inspires India to become pharmacy of the world
PM Modi undertook a 3-city tour to conduct an extensive review of the vaccine development and manufacturing process. He visited the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune.
Two of these sites are where India is indigenously developing vaccines to fight COVID and one of these sites is where crores of vaccines to save the world will be manufactured.
He told the scientists that he chose to meet them face to face in order to boost their morale & help accelerate their efforts at this critical juncture in the vaccine development journey.

Ssangyong Motor gets permit for temporary operation of Level 3 self-driving
Ssangyong Motor has obtained additional permission from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to temporarily operate self-driving cars Level 3 and start test driving on general roads in December.
The Ssangyong car that was approved for temporary operation is a Korando-based self-driving car, the company said on Nov. 30. This is the second car after the Tivoli Air-based self-driving car (hereinafter referred to as the Korando-based one.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport introduced a temporary driving permit system for self-driving cars for testing and research purposes in February 2016. Level 3 refers to the level at which cars can be driven autonomously in certain areas, such as highways.

GM Korea union workers vote against 2020 wage deal
Unionized workers at GM Korea voted down a tentative wage deal for the year, the company said Tuesday. With the agreement rejected, GM Korea is expected to continue labor-management conflicts for the time being.
The GM Korea branch of the Korean Metal Workers' Union said on Dec. 1 that only 45.1 percent, or 3,322, voted in favor of the tentative agreement on wage and collective bargaining, which involved 7,364 union members. The opposition was 53.8 percent, or 3,965 people, while 77 voted invalid.
Union leaders will meet Dec. 2 to decide what additional or revised demands it will make to the company and whether to hold an industrial action to get their voice heard," a company spokesman said.

KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
OECD Slightly Cuts 2020 Growth Outlook for S. Korea to -1.1%
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD) slightly cut its growth outlook for South Korea for this year to a one-point-one percent contraction, citing the fallout of the resurgence of COVID-19.
The latest OECD projection represents a decrease of point-one percentage point from its previous outlook presented in September.
Despite the downward revision, the OECD said South Korea's effective measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 have limited the estimated fall in gross domestic product to just over one percent this year, the smallest decline in the OECD.

President Hopes for Normal Trajectory Growth in 1st Half of 2021
The Bank of Korea said Tuesday that South Korea’s economy grew more than two percent in the third quarter on the back of a rebound in exports amid the COVID-19 pandemic. President Moon Jae-in took note of the positive indicators and called for the support of related ministries and the National Assembly to keep up the momentum.
President Moon Jae-in expressed hopes that by the first half of next year, the country would recover from the impact of the pandemic and re-enter a normal trajectory of growth.
"The economic rebound that started in the third quarter is going strong in this last quarter. Business sentiment has improved notably. Both consumer sentiment and business survey indexes have markedly improved and the November economic sentiment index has recovered to pre-COVID levels.” 

Daily COVID-19 Increase Stays in 400-Range for 3rd Straight Day
The daily COVID-19 increase in South Korea stayed in the 400-range for the third straight day, with the daily average for the past week standing at 480. With authorities confirming a third wave of the epidemic, enhanced quarantine measures took effect in the Seoul metro area, while the region remains under Level Two social distancing.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency(KDCA) said as of 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, 451 additional people tested positive for COVID-19, raising the country's cumulative total to 34-thousand-652.
The daily increase remained in the 400s for the third straight day after surging above 500 last week. The daily average for the past week currently stands at 480. Out of 451 new cases, 420 were local infections, staying above 400 for six days in a row. The daily average of local cases stood at 453-point-three, within the threshold for Level Two-point-Five social distancing.

Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
New coronavirus cases expected to exceed 500 on Wednesday
A total of 416 additional COVID-19 infections were confirmed across South Korea as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, according to health authorities and local governments.
The figure raises the possibility that the daily number of new cases will exceed 500 in an updated tally to be announced the following day. Of the infections, 287 were reported in the greater Seoul area, with 129 in other areas. The country last reported more than 500 new virus cases on Nov. 28.
Earlier in the day, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) announced the confirmation of 451 new coronavirus cases throughout Monday, including 420 local infections. It marked the third straight day that the figure stayed above 400.

Top prosecutor returns to work as court grants injunction to halt his suspension
A Seoul court on Tuesday granted a preliminary injunction requested by Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl over his suspension, in the first legal decision in a monthslong feud between Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae and the top prosecutor.
The Seoul Administrative Court ruled that suspending Yoon from duty was tantamount to dismissing him, which damaged the prosecution's core principles of neutrality and independence.
The injunction will remain in effect until 30 days after another court decision is made. Yoon has filed a separate lawsuit against his suspension, along with having sought a preliminary injunction.

N. Korea might seek to improve cross-border ties to strengthen leverage over Washington: think tank
North Korea could try to improve its currently chilled relations with South Korea next year so as to strengthen its leverage in future nuclear negotiations with the United States, a state-run think tank said Tuesday.
The Seoul-based Korea Institute for National Unification also said that the May-September period will be a "golden time" to make progress in stalled nuclear talks and inter-Korean ties as the Tokyo Summer Olympics could serve as a platform for resuming talks.
The North is expected to unveil its policy direction on the U.S. and South Korea during a rare party congress to be held early next month amid uncertainty over Washington's North Korea policy after Joe Biden's election as new president.

The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Health authorities begin last-ditch prep for virus control during Suneung
Health authorities on Tuesday vowed to guard against potential threats of the new coronavirus to ensure the safety of around 500,000 college hopefuls taking the national college entrance exam this Thursday. They also pledged to make all efforts to not allow a single test taker to miss the life-defining exam due to the virus.
Even if one is diagnosed with the COVID-19 on the eve of the test date, they will still be able to sit the College Scholastic Aptitude Test, known here as Suneung.
“The Central Disease Control Headquarters is determined (to do so), having established a hotline (with relevant authorities) for that purpose only. We will have teams working day and night shifts (in the run-up to Suneung),” Kwon Jun-wook, the virus response authority‘s deputy director, said during a daily COVID-19 briefing.

Court clears path for Korean Air to buy Asiana
A court on Tuesday rejected an injunction request against Korean Air’s plans to take over Asiana Airlines, in the latest step giving a boost to the high-profile acquisition deal involving South Korea’s two national flag carriers.
“The case involving issuance of new shares is in accordance with the commercial law and Hanjin KAL’s articles of incorporation and has been done within necessary boundaries to achieve the goal of managing a consolidated airline,” the Seoul Central District Court said in a ruling.
The court also said the issuance of new shares is not to preserve the position of the current management of the company, rejecting the argument by private equity fund Korea Corporate Governance Improvement (KCGI), which leads an opposition alliance within Hanjin KAL -- the holding company of Hanjin Group -- and which filed the now-defunct injunction request to put a hold on the deal.

2020 payouts for jobless likely to reach W12tr
If current trends continue, the annual tally for payouts for the jobless will hover around an unprecedented 12 trillion won ($10.8 billion) in 2020, data from the Korean Employment Information Service showed.
Over the first 10 months of this year, the payment of unemployment benefits came to 10.26 trillion won. This has already outstripped the former record high of 8.35 trillion won in 2019.
The 2020 projection would be a 160 percent increase compared to 2015, when the yearly benefit payouts stood at 4.54 trillion won.

The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Summer is 'golden time' for nuke talks, inter-Korean ties: think tank
The period from May to September of next year could be a "golden time" to make headway in frayed inter-Korean ties and activate the stalled denuclearization talks between North Korea and the United States, a Seoul-based think tank said Tuesday.
The organization also said it also expects that the new U.S. administration to follow the joint statement issued after the Pyongyang-Washington summit in Singapore in June 2018, adding this would be a good sign for an improvement in bilateral relations.
"The May-September period could be the right time to resume peace talks and reach an agreement. In addition, during the span, the Tokyo Summer Olympics are scheduled to take place, where the relevant countries could officially declare an end to the Korean War," said Hong Min, the director of the North Korean Research Division at the Korea Institute for National Unification, during a press conference in Seoul.

Senior presidential aide stirs concern over attending football game
Senior presidential secretary for political affairs Choi Jae-sung has caused a stir for showing up at a football game Nov. 29, at a time when the public are being urged to refrain from group activities to comply with the government's heightened social distancing regulations.
He attended a football game with the Samjeon Morning Football Club at a school in Songpa District, Seoul, Sunday. Choi, a former four-term lawmaker who is being considered among the possibilities for the next chief of staff, represented a district in Songpa in the 20th National Assembly and is known to be passionate about football.
This went against Cheong Wa Dae's own emergency measures for employees which have been in place since Nov. 23, instructing all people working at the presidential office to cancel or postpone gatherings and events amid the recent COVID-19 surge. "The Ministry of Personnel Management said it would reprimand government personnel in the event of an outbreak or spread of an infection, and this applies to employees at the presidential office as well," presidential spokesman Kang Min-seok said during briefing Nov. 23.

Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae under siege
Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae's push to remove Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl faced a setback on Tuesday after a court accepted Yoon's request for an injunction to temporarily halt her order suspending him from duty.
Even the ruling bloc is floating the idea of President Moon Jae-in sacking both Choo and Yoon, considering the clashes between the two are creating unnecessary political turmoil between the rival parties and are obstructing the handling of other state affairs.
On Nov. 24, Choo suspended Yoon from duty and formed a disciplinary committee to look into his "serious misconduct," including the alleged illegal amassing of information on judges involved in controversial cases, and alleged interference in investigations to protect people close to him. Choo and Yoon have been at odds over prosecution reform and various investigations involving Yoon's aide and family members.

HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Netflix: the savior of new Korean content or chains around local production companies?
Some see it as a lifesaver that has rescued South Korean film investors and producers from the COVID-19 crisis and spread Korean content around the world. Others see it as the apex predator in the media food chain that relies on heaps of capital to engorge itself on whichever Korean TV series and movies come within its grasp.
Those are two conflicting ways to view Netflix, the world’s largest video streaming service.
On Nov. 20, Netflix announced it would be launching the film “Space Sweepers” online, without a theater release, an announcement that triggered a mixture of hopes and fears in the domestic film industry. Filmed at a cost of 24 billion won (US$21.67 million), “Space Sweepers” represents Korea’s first sci-fi film set in space.
As the COVID-19 pandemic becomes further protracted, Netflix has grown even more powerful. The service has already announced or is expected to announce exclusive rights to a string of films including “Time to Hunt,” “Call,” “What Happened to Mr. Cha?” and “Night in Paradise.”

Chun Doo-hwan sentenced to eight months for defaming witness of Gwangju massacre
Former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan, 89, was once again convicted on charges of distorting the events of the May 1980 Democratization Movement. This comes 23 years after his 1997 conviction on charges of insurrection in connection with the military coup of Dec. 12, 1979, and homicide for the purpose of insurrection in connection with May 1980.
On Nov. 30, Hon. Kim Jeong-hoon of the Gwangju District Court sentenced Chun to eight months in prison following two years of probation on charges of defaming the late Catholic priest Father Cho Pius, who died in 2016.
“The key question in this case, namely whether there was gunfire from military helicopters during the events of May 1980, hinges on the credibility of the most direct evidence, namely eyewitness accounts, and the victim [Cho] consistently maintained between 1980 and his death that he had witnessed soldiers open fire on civilians from an MD 500 helicopter,” Kim said.

S. Korea anticipates daily COVID-19 caseload shooting up to 700-1,000 in next 2 weeks
The South Korean government anticipates that the country’s daily caseload of COVID-19 could rise to the range of 700 to 1,000 in the next two weeks. While the recent spike had been mostly contained to the Seoul Capital Area(SCA), infections are now spreading to other regions, provoking Busan and other local governments to upgrade to Level 2 social distancing measures as of Dec. 1.
In a regular briefing on Nov. 30, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency(KDCA) Director Jung Eun-kyeong explained that the reproduction number for infections over the week from Nov. 22 to 28 stood at 1.43.
“In this case, a simple calculation as to how many infections arise within one to two weeks indicated that there could be as many as 700 to 1,000,” she explained.

Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Thousands of SMEs Moved Factories Overseas Last Year
Thousands of small and mid-sized Korean companies moved production overseas last year before the coronavirus epidemic struck.
According to the Export-Import Bank of Korea, foreign direct investment by SMEs grew steadily from US$6.9 billion in 2016 to a record $15.4 billion in 2019.
Over the same period, the number of branches Korean SMEs established abroad increased from 1,684 to 2,063. That means they were building more than 2,000 factories abroad every year.

Hyundai's China Woes Worsened by Epidemic
Automaker Hyundai's sales in China will probably fall below 500,000 cars this year, less than half of its heyday just four years ago.
Hyundai said Monday that sales in China from January to October plummeted 32 percent on-year to 341,600 cars.
The Korean car giant had been hit hard by China's unofficial boycott since 2017, compounded this year by the coronavirus epidemic. Sales peaked at 1.14 million cars in 2016 but have been falling since.

Koreans Hoard High-Denomination Banknotes
Koreans are hoarding high-denomination banknotes under their mattress for tough times ahead.
Only 25.4 percent of W50,000 bills, the highest denomination, were retrieved during the first 10 months of this year, the lowest since they first went into circulation in 2009. The retrieval rate reached as much as 60.1 percent in 2019.
The main reason is that cash payments are on the way out, and that is compounded by the coronavirus epidemic.

The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
BBC calls reports of kimchi by Chinese media false
Chinese media reported that China set an international standard for kimchi after the country received certification for pao cai, a type of Chinese fermented vegetables, from the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), and BBC described the report as “false.”
In an article entitled, “Kimchi ferments cultural feud between South Korea and China,” BBC said, “South Korea has rebuffed China after false reports that it had won global certification for its production of kimchi - a hallowed dish for Koreans.” It also said, “It's the latest cultural spat between the neighbours.”
Chinese state media Global Times reported on Sunday that the ISO status was "an international standard for the kimchi industry led by China,” adding that, contrary to popular belief, “pao cai” has not originated from South Korea. It described kimchi as the same dish as pao cai and claimed the award covered kimchi.

SK Holdings announces plans to enter hydrogen industry
SK Holdings, the holding company of SK Group, set up a new group dedicated to the hydrogen business to enter the industry. Its goal is to obtain the hydrogen production capacity of 280,000 tons and establish the full hydrogen value chain ranging from production to distribution and supply.
SK Holdings announced on Tuesday that it formed a new hydrogen business group, which consists of 20 experts from SK Group’s energy-related subsidiaries, such as SK Innovation and SK E&S. The business group will be in charge of managing the subsidiaries’ capabilities to implement strategies for hydrogen business, which is garnering attention as a next-generation environment-friendly energy source.
“The decision was made after examining the feasibility of entering the hydrogen market and strategies since the beginning of this year,” said a member of SK Holdings. “We plan to strengthen the domestic hydrogen market ecosystem and accelerate our efforts for sustainable management with a focus on the environment, society, and governance as Chairman Chey Tae-won has stressed.”

UEFA Champions League game features a female referee
A first woman referee will be put in charge of UEFA Champions League game for the first time in history. .French referee Stephanie Frappart will become the first female to referee a Champions League match, according to BBC and Sky Sports on Tuesday. She will be the referee for a Group G match between Juventus (Italy) and Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine) slated for Dec. 3.
This is the first time that a female referee has been appointed as the referee for a men’s Champions League game. Female referees have been named the leading officials for the UEFA Europa League, which is the second most prestigious European competition following the UEFA Champions League.

The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
An Accomplice in Bribery or a Victim? The Debate Continues in a Retrial of Lee Jae-yong
Is the head of a conglomerate who gave bribes to the president at the time of the Park Geun-hye government a passive victim, who succumbed to the demands of political power, or an active conspirator seeking his own interests? The debate continued in a retrial of Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, for his connection to the abuse of state authority, held on November 30.
At the seventh session of the retrial of Lee Jae-yong held at Criminal Division 1 of the Seoul High Court this day, the team of special prosecutor Park Young-soo and the legal representatives of Lee made arguments concerning their interpretation of the final ruling on the abuse of state authority.
The special prosecutor submitted as evidence the Supreme Court rulings on former President Park Geun-hye and Choi Seo-won (formerly Choi Soon-sil) and a summary of the indictment on Lee’s alleged illegal succession of management, which was processed as a separate case from the abuse of state authority. The special prosecutor said, “Lee argues that he vaguely expected proper dealings when handing the bribe, but the Supreme Court ruling on the abuse of state authority by Park Geun-hye and Choi Seo-won clearly states that the purpose of the bribe was to succeed the management of the company.”

Do Be or Not to Be, That Is the Question: Vaccine-Developing Nations Need to Decide on Exception to Patent Rights
News of the successful development of COVID-19 vaccines has led people to call for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to play a part in quickly ending the pandemic. On October 2, India and the Republic of South Africa officially requested the WTO to recommend member states to allow the use of patents and intellectual property in connection to COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. More than 300 international organizations including Doctors Without Borders and Amnesty International, as well as over 90 countries throughout the world have expressed their support for the proposal. The WTO is expected to discuss this issue at the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council on December 10 and announce its official position at the General Council on December 17.
Ha Shin-hye (pictured), an assistant for overseas cooperation at the South Korean branch of Doctors Without Borders met with the reporter at the Kyunghyang Shinmun office on November 26 and said, “If the WTO accepts this request, COVID-19 vaccines, generic drugs, and medical equipment will be produced in more countries, bringing prices down and increasing distribution.”

Saunas and Aerobics Studios Closed for 1 Week
The government decided to maintain the level-2 physical (social) distancing in the Seoul metropolitan area. Instead, the government will temporarily suspend the operation of intense group exercise (GX) facilities, such as aerobics studios, and saunas, where there is a high risk of transmission, until further changes to the level of physical distancing. The government will raise the physical distancing level to 1.5 in all areas outside the greater Seoul area for two weeks.
On November 29, the government announced that the newly adjusted level of physical distancing would be enforced for a week beginning December 1. However, local governments with a high risk of transmission, such as Busan, the western Gangwon region (Yeongseo), Gyeongsangnam-do, Chungcheongnam-do, and Jeollabuk-do, decided to take preemptive measures and raise the level of distancing to level 2.
In the past week, a daily average of 416.0 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in South Korea, already exceeding the requirement to raise the level of physical distancing to level 2.5. However, the government said that it also took into consideration the fact that most of the cases were concentrated in the greater Seoul area as well as the economic impact a level 2.5 distancing could have.

Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Korea reaches a rare bipartisan agreement to bump up 2021 budget by $1.8 bn
South Korea on Tuesday reached a bipartisan agreement to scale up next year’s record-sized 556 trillion won ($502 billion) budget by another 2 trillion won to finance a third Covid-19 relief funding.
The legislative’s raise in the government-proposed budget would be the first in a decade. Ruling Democratic Party and main opposition People Power Party reached a last-minute agreement on a 558 trillion won package for next year’s budget, a day before the deadline.
The two parties announced Tuesday that they agreed to increase 7.5 trillion won and cut 5.3 trillion won from the government’s original budget plan, leading to a 2.2 trillion won in net growth from the previously planned 556 trillion won.

Korea’s first pure-play battery maker LG Energy Solutions sets sail
South Korea’s first pure-play battery maker LG Energy Solutions officially set sail Tuesday, envisioning to double battery output in three years and sales four years time to cement global leadership.
LG Energy Solutions on Tuesday in its inaugural board meeting appointed Kim Jong-hyun, the commander of LG Chem’s division since 2018, as its new CEO. The official launch of the standalone battery entity comes three months after LG Chem announced the demerger.
The new company will keep the original three battery divisions – automotive battery, energy storage system and small-sized IT & new application battery – and 6,500 employees. It will be headquartered in LG Group’s main Twin Tower building in Yeouido, Seoul.

Samsung Engineering wins $1.07 bn methanol plant order in Malaysia
Samsung Engineering Co., the construction and engineering unit under South Korea’s Samsung Group, has won a $1.07 billion deal to build a methanol production plant in Malaysia.
In a regulatory filing on Monday, Samsung Engineering disclosed that it received a letter of intent from Malaysian petrochemical company Sarawak PetChem SDN BHD for a $1.07 billion contract to build a plant that is capable of producing 5,000 tons of methanol on a daily basis in Bintulu, located in eastern part of Sarawak in Malaysia.
Samsung Engineering will carry out the methanol plant project on an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) basis with an aim to complete the construction by 2023.


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 www.colombiareports.com
Bogota Free Planet www.bogotafreeplanet.com bfp@bogotafreeplanet.com
El Universal www.eluniversal.com.mx/english  
Andes www.redaktionstest.net/andes-info-ec/ 
Ecuador Times www.ecuadortimes.net/  
The Jordan Times www.jordantimes.com/ 
LSM.lv www.lsm.lv/
The Baltic Times www.baltictimes.com lithuania@baltictimes.com, estonia@baltictimes.com, editor@baltictimes.com
El Pais https://english.elpais.com/ 
Philippine Daily Inquirer www.inquirer.net/ 
Daily News Hungary https://dailynewshungary.com/ 
Budapest Times www.budapesttimes.hu/
The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.
Sri Lanka: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hByX92Y2aGY&t=22s
Morocco: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfFmp2sVvSE
And many other countries.
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