Headlines, January 4, 2021
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Headlines, January 4, 2021
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  • 승인 2021.01.04 09:21
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Monday, January 4, 2021

 

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

The Korea Post (http://www.koreapost.com/)
Prosecutors demand 9-year prison term for Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong faced a nine-year prison term in a retrial of a bribery case involving former President Park Geun-hye.
Special prosecutor Park Young-soo's team asked the court to sentence Vice Chairman Lee to nine years in prison in a decision hearing held at the Seoul High Court on Dec. 30.
Vice Chairman Lee faces charges of bribing the former president's longtime friend, Choi Soon-sil, in order to get government help in succeeding his father the late Chairman Lee Kun-hee and securing control of Samsung Group.

Asiana Airlines succeeds in transporting first COVID-19 vaccine on cargo plane
Asiana Airlines shipped the finished product of the "COVID-19" vaccine on its cargo plane OZ795 bound for Moscow from Incheon at 10:20 p.m. on Dec. 29. This is the second time since the first shipment on Dec. 25.
The airline company said on Dec. 30 that the vaccine is a "Sputnik V" product developed in Russia and was commissioned and produced by a Korean pharmaceutical company called "Korea Korus (GL Rapha’s subsidiary).
Asiana Airlines formed partnerships with shippers and dealers from the early stages of transportation to carry out consulting throughout the entire process from packaging to air transportation.

Korea Forest Service strives to cope with climate crisis through forests in Asia
Korea Forest Service (KFS) plans to participate in international joint efforts to maximize the role of responding to climate and environmental crises through forests in Asia, in line with the “UN Ecosystem Restoration 10-Year Plan” starting in 2021.
“There is an answer in the forest. Cooperation initiatives among Asian countries are very important to break through the climate and environmental crisis,” said Korea Forest Service Minister Park Jong-ho.
“KFS will rediscover the role of forests in the crisis faced by mankind such as COVID-19 and climate crisis. As a result, action-oriented cooperation and crisis response between Korea and Asian countries through the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO) are necessary,” he said.
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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
Ban on Gatherings of 5 or More Extended Nationwide
South Korea will remain under the current social distancing levels for two more weeks until January 17 with some quarantine measures adjusted.
Level Two-point-Five will remain in place for the Seoul metro area and Level Two will be maintained in other regions.
Under the extended rules, a ban on personal gatherings of five or more people that had applied only to the capital area has been expanded nationwide.

S. Korea Posts First Decline in Population in 2020
South Korea's population posted a decrease for the first time last year. The Ministry of the Interior and Safety said on Sunday that as of the end of 2020, just over 51-point-82 million people were registered as the country's residents, down over 20-thousand from the previous year.
The population had posted a slight and steady increase over the past decade, but the pace of growth slowed since 2016 and finally declined for the first time last year.
However, the number of households continued to increase in recent years, adding more than 611-thousand on-year to 23 million last year.

S. Korea to Invest 5.8 Tln Won in Science, ICT R&D
South Korea plans to spend five-point-eight trillion won this year on research and development projects for science and information and communication technology (ICT).
The Ministry of Science and ICT unveiled the comprehensive plan for the sector for 2021, as part of efforts to support the country's basic science and the digital New Deal drive.
The ministry allocated one-point-eight trillion won in basic science research this year, up nearly 300 billion won from a year earlier.
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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
New infections under 1,000 for 2nd day amid extended tighter distancing rules
South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases stayed below 1,000 for the second day in a row Sunday, largely due to less testing on the New Year's Day holiday, as health authorities kept tight vigilance with the extension of the current social distancing rules.
The country added 657 more COVID-19 cases, including 641 local infections, raising the total caseload to 63,244, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).
Daily infections fell from 824 cases a day earlier. Over the past seven days, the nation's daily virus cases have hovered around 1,000. Twenty people died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 962, with the fatality rate of 1.52 percent.

Moon's approval rating drops to lowest point
President Moon Jae-in's approval rating has reached an all-time low, while public disapproval of his performance also has hit its highest point, a poll showed Sunday.
In a Realmeter survey of 1,000 people aged 18 and over, conducted over Friday and Saturday, 34.1 percent of respondents supported Moon.
It's the lowest approval rating since Moon took office in May 2017. The figure in the previous Realmeter poll released last Monday was 36.7 percent. In the latest survey, 61.7 percent of respondents gave a negative assessment of Moon's presidency, up from 59.7 percent from last week.

Son Heung-min scores 100th goal with Tottenham
Son Heung-min has scored his 100th goal as a member of Tottenham Hotspur.
The South Korean star reached the century mark in a 3-0 victory over Leeds United in a Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday.
The victory lifted Tottenham from seventh to third place in the league tables with 29 points. It was Tottenham's first win in five matches.
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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Ban on private gatherings to be extended nationwide until Jan. 17
Private gatherings of five or more people will be banned nationwide starting Monday, as the country struggles to contain the largest wave of COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began.
The ban, which has already been in place in the Seoul area since Dec. 23, is being expanded nationwide for two weeks from Monday until Jan. 17, the government said over the weekend.
The updated rules ban groups of five or more from meeting anywhere, indoors or outdoors, with the goal of socializing. In-person meetings are permitted for essential, urgent business purposes.

S. Korea’s EV market poised for take-off in 2021
For South Korea’s electric vehicle business, 2020 apparently served as a turning point with global players such as Tesla on the up and up and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic raising the alarm about environmental pollution by internal combustion engines.
In the new year, this growing market is anticipated to take long strides on the back of prolonged government subsidies and carmakers’ paradigm shift towards ecofriendly vehicles.
The number of newly registered passenger EVs here came to 32,268 as of November, according to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association. Also, the corresponding sector has expanded more than tenfold over the past five years, with accumulated sales surpassing the 140,000 mark last year. The figure first reached the 10,000 mark in 2016, data showed.

Seoul mayoral candidate aims to turn city into Asia’s financial hub
Ruling Democratic Party Rep. Woo Sang-ho, currently the only ruling bloc figure to announce a bid in Seoul’s mayoral race, has big plans for the city -- from transforming it into an international financial hub to building homes along its major thoroughfares.
Woo said many financial institutions are considering relocating their Asian headquarters from Hong Kong due to continued protests, and that Singapore and Seoul could be candidates.
“There is a good chance for Seoul to win the competition with Singapore. The Asian headquarters of the New York Times also recently came here. Seoul’s competitiveness is never weak,” Woo told The Korea Herald in a recent interview at his office in the National Assembly.
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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Pandemic-driven paradigm shift underway in hallyu
Netflix drew media attention back in 2019 when it locked horns with the organizers of the Cannes International Film Festival over two films produced and distributed by the global streaming giant. The attempt by Netflix to submit its films for consideration was rebuffed by Cannes.
Their battle over cinematic turf illustrates the fear of theaters over the future of cinema. Theaters' worst-case scenario has become a reality. Backed by its surging subscribers during the pandemic, Netflix has transformed into a formidable threat to cinemas and film studios.
For K-pop, the landscape is not so different from that of cinema. K-pop stars are in shock, too, as their scheduled tours have been cancelled and concerts have gone online as public gathering bans have been extended.

Voters lean toward opposition
Many voters support the opposition bloc for the April 7 by-elections, showing their discontent with the current liberal government, multiple polls conducted last week showed.
People preferring the conservative opposition to win the 2022 presidential election also outnumbered those believing another president from the liberal side should be elected to continue the Moon Jae-in administration's political and social reform measures.
The results comes as President Moon Jae-in's job approval rating has continued to drop amid the outcry over slow vaccine procurement, soaring real estate prices and other negative issues that analysts described as "affecting the daily lives of ordinary citizens."

Health ministry in hot seat over 'thoughtless' promotional video, leak of quarantine documents
The Ministry of Health and Welfare has come under fire for both its "thoughtless" quarantine rules promotional video and leaked documents about revised social distancing rules ahead of an official announcement.
The ministry uploaded the two-and-a-half-minute video on New Year's Day on the ministry's social media channels. The clip features six people from various age groups dancing and singing at home as a way to beat the "corona blues" and encourage people to follow social distancing measures.
"The stay-at-home dance tutorial was posted to cheer people up amid the prolonged coronavirus pandemic," read the caption of the video.
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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Reasons to look forward to 2021
Change always produces desire, and desire in turn motivates consumption. Interpreting that effectively is trend analysis; using that to solve problems is marketing.
In its spring/summer 2021 fashion show, Prada showcased dresses with big logos just below the neck. That’s the most obvious way to show off expensive clothing in the era of the pandemic, when people communicate through video calls and virtual meetings rather than meeting in person.
To be sure, that was Prada’s cleverness at play. But considering that other fashion brands are releasing outfits that focus on people’s upper halves, it may also represent the grammar of fashion at a time when social distancing and remote work have been cemented into our routines.

The fall of Korean journalism
We all accept that the first duty of journalism is to seek the truth. The problem is how very confusing the truth can be. It takes on a different form for each different perspective. For the media, truth begins with an act of “finding” the right truth. In South Korea’s case, the days of dictatorship were a time when reporters could not even properly report the facts; the facts themselves were “the truth.” Sensing shame in the face of concealed truths, reporters sought to bring them to light, only to end up fired, tortured, and imprisoned.
The Hutchins Commission, a group of media scholars, warned of the dangers of news that reports the “facts” yet ultimately conceals the truth. This warning reminds us that facts need a certain something to get closer to the truth. The events and things the journalist sees and hears through sources are simply a pile of information.
As that pile is verified and categorized, and as those categorized things are arranged in different ways, facts can be distorted or transformed into falsehoods, and they can take a step toward truth. The process of finding the truth in facts is a journey of sorts. 

Should we appoint judges through public elections?
How should judges make decisions? Legal realism holds that they issue rulings for a specific purpose just like other people. So what is that purpose? In his analysis of the Japanese judiciary, John Mark Ramseyer of Harvard University argues that it is the desire to climb the ranks.
In his view, the Japanese judicial system’s approach, with its promotions following a tenure-based hierarchy, has been a pathway that takes advantage of judges’ ambitions to politicize rulings. Ramseyer also talks about how judges whose decisions were favorable to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) would advance to higher positions and become senior judges.
The same insight also applies to the South Korean judiciary, as misconduct under Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae showed. That situation was a collaborative undertaking: a chief justice who sought to use amass power, and a group of elitist, unethical judges in the National Court Administration (NCA). 
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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Coronavirus Resistance Linked to Plenty of Sunshine
Sunlight could be a life-saver amid the coronavirus epidemic as studies show that vitamin D is essential in boosting the immune system against the disease.
One study even shows that coronavirus infections decline on sunny days. A team of researchers led by Jonathan Proctor at Harvard University showed that the coronavirus "spreads faster in the winter when it's darker with lower levels of UV radiation than during summer."
The team found that the increase rate of coronavirus infections fell an average of seven percent in the summer. The researchers studied coronavirus infection rates in 173 countries to gather the data.

Koreans Most Want to Go Back to School Once Pandemic Ends
Koreans' most fervent wish for the post-coronavirus period is for schools to reopen, big data shows.
VAIV Company, which specializes in artificial intelligence and big data, analyzed 4.23 billion postings on Twitter, Instagram, blogs, and online communities from Jan. 1 until Dec. 20 last year to see the tracks of the coronavirus pandemic that turned the world upside down.
The rapid spread became a subject of tremendous interest early last year. The most-searched words were "mask" (2.68 million), followed by "home" (2.26 million) and "confirmed case" (866,618). Fourth was "prevention" (836,949).

Think Twice Before Getting a Tattoo
The army and police recently revised regulations so that people with inoffensive tattoos can serve in the forces. The changes come as tattoos, once associated with organized crime in Korea, have become popular among young people from all walks of life.
However, doctors caution that tattoos can be a health hazard and advise young people to think twice before getting one.
Dermatologists advise against tattoos due to the potentially harmful effects for the skin. Tattoos are applied with needles that push ink under the skin layer. This can cause infections and even lead to skin decay. In some cases, tattoo ink particles have been found in people's lung tissue.
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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
PM says Pfizer vaccines may arrive in S. Korea next month
South Korean Prime Minster Chung Sye-kyun said on Sunday that the government is working to make the distribution of some of the Pfizer vaccines, which were supposed to be supplied in the third quarter of the year, happen within February, implying that there is a high chance. If a deal is made to distribute Pfizer vaccines at an earlier time, the country will be able to get vaccinated with AstraZeneca and Pfizer next month.
Prime Minister Chung said in an interview for the new year with The Dong-A Ilbo at his official residence in Jongno, central Seoul, “The government is negotiating with Pfizer in cooperation with large and small businesses,” adding that the negotiation is reaching an end. Asked about a proposal by some political leaders to provide emergency disaster relief to every South Korean citizen, he answered that the government can ensure fiscal stability only when its citizens can fare well, saying that the government can take action if necessary.

Mahindra plans to sell stake of SsangYong Motor by next month
SsangYong Motor's major stakeholder Mahindra&Mahindra announced that it will complete the sale of its shares of the South Korea-based automobile manufacturer by the end of the next month.
Mahindra Managing Director Pawan Goenka said in an online press conference on Friday (local time) that Mahindra Group has been in negotiations with a potential investor, expecting that a “term sheet” will get done next week, according to India's leading business magazine Business Today on Sunday. A term sheet is a written agreement by Mahindra and the investor to state major deal conditions only when they reach considerable agreement. Mr. Goenka did not disclose who the “potential investor” is.

S. Korea’s population declines for first time ever
The total of registered Korean population in 2020 stood at 51.82 million, down about 20,000 from the previous year. It is the first time in 58 years that the nation’s statistical population has decreased since the resident registration system was introduced in 1962. As a result, “population dead cross,” the phenomenon in which the number of newborns is smaller than the number of the deceased, leading to a fall in the overall population, has become a reality in South Korea.
“According to the current situation of registered resident population released by the Public Administration and Security Ministry on Sunday, South Korea’s total population amounted to 51,829,023 as of December 31, 2020, which was a 0.04 percent down from 2019 (51,849,861). The number of newborns that remained above 300,000 per year through 2019, fell 10.6 percent to 275,815 in 2020, the lowest level ever. The number of the deceased totaled 307,764, or about 30,000 more than the number of births. The number of the deceased has hovered around 300,000 per year over the past five years.
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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Why a Former Judge, and Not a Prosecutor, Was Appointed to Head the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials
Kim Jin-wook, a former judge and a researcher at the Constitutional Court, was nominated as the founding chief of the first ever Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials. Cheongwadae may have chosen a former judge to lead the Corruption Investigation Office to concentrate on reforms in law enforcement agencies, such as the police and the Prosecution Service.
The new Corruption Investigation Office will have to prove the purpose of its existence and to complete reforms in the Prosecution Service promoted by the Moon Jae-in government. But questions were raised as to the nominee’s investigation capacity. The opposition party opposed the nomination claiming procedural issues in the launch of the Corruption Investigation Office as well as problems of the new office’s political neutrality and independence.
On December 30, President Moon Jae-in nominated Kim Jin-wook among the final two candidates, reaffirming the meaning of the launch of the Corruption Investigation Office--completing reforms in the Prosecution Service. Earlier on December 28, the nomination committee selected Kim and Lee Kun-ree, a former prosecutor and vice chairman of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, as candidates to head the new investigative office.

Special Prosecutor Seeks 9 Years in Prison for Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong: Lee Appeals for Leniency Claiming to Have Learned His Lesson
The team of special prosecutor Park Young-soo sought a 9-year prison sentence for Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, on trial for bribing former President Park Geun-hye and Choi Seo-won (formerly Choi Soon-sil). Lee tearfully appealed for leniency in his final statement.
In Lee’s final court session in connection to the abuse of state authority held at Criminal Division 1 (chief justice Jeong Jun-yeong) of the Seoul High Court on December 30, the special prosecutor asked for a 9-year prison sentence for Lee.
The special prosecutor demanded a sentence stronger than the 5 years’ imprisonment sentenced in the first trial, since the amount of the bribes for which Lee was found guilty increased by more than 5 billion won after the Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower court. The special prosecutor said, “The amount embezzled increased by 600 million won and the amount of bribes increased by 5 billion won compared with the appellate trial before the case was returned to the lower court.”

An Inmate Dies at the Dongbu Detention Center: Masks Were Not Properly Distributed
The first death occurred at Seoul Dongbu Detention Center, where over 700 people have been confirmed to be COVID-19-positive. Experts point out that authorities had failed to establish proper measures for the inmates, putting inmates in an overcrowded environment and failing to distribute masks. The justice ministry and the city of Seoul also tried to deny responsibility for the latest incident.
On December 29, the Ministry of Justice announced that a prisoner in his sixties from Dongbu Detention Center died of cardiac arrest, cause unspecified, while being treated at a living treatment center in Gyeonggi-do on December 27. He was confirmed to have come in close contact with a COVID-19 patient on December 16. He was first tested for the novel coronavirus on December 18 and the results came back negative the next day. However, he later showed symptoms, such as a fever, and was tested again on December 22 and was confirmed positive on December 23. On December 24, the state decided to suspend the execution of his sentence and he was released from the center. He was already suffering from critical diseases, such as chronic kidney disease and complications from diabetes, even before he was imprisoned.
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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Bank of Korea to factor in employment status in rate policy
Employment status will become a decisive factor in South Korea’s monetary policy, which traditionally evolved around inflation and economic performance, said Lee Ju-yeol, governor of Bank of Korea (BOK).
In his New Year’s statement released on Thursday, Lee said that there has been increasing demand for the BOK to add employment stability to its mandate amid difficult times led by Covid-19.
“Monetary policy will factor in job stability for sustainable growth and improvement in livelihood, “ he said.

Korea to see string of emergency use filings for Covid-19 treatment in Jan
South Korean drugmakers are trailing market leader Celltrion Inc. to file for emergency use of their own Covid-19 treatments this month.
GC Pharma Corp. is working on a convalescent plasma therapy while Chong Kun Dang Pharm, Daewoong Pharm Co. and JW Pharmaceutical Corp. are repurposing their existing drugs to target Covid-19.
Like Celltrion, these therapies would file for emergency use authorization from Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety upon completing their Phase 2 clinical trials in early January.

Korea’s inflation ends 2020 up 0.5%, second year in near flat range
South Korea’s inflation in December inched up 0.5 percent, closing the year in zero territory for two years in a row.
The consumer price index (CPI) added 0.5 percent in December from a year earlier and 0.2 percent from the previous month, Statistics Korea said Thursday.
The annual inflation for 2020 averaged 0.5 percent, far off the 2 percent target. This comes after the 0.4 percent inflation in 2019, marking the first time in the country`s history for consumer prices to stay nearly stagnant for two consecutive years.

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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  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/
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The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.
Azerbaijan:
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR8CBpcQ4WM
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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