Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
“Trade, economic relations continue to grow significantly between the two countries”
Ambassador Carlos Victor Boungou of the Republic of Gabon in Seoul said that the volume of trade between Gabon and Korea has increased significantly over the last decade from US$41 million in 2010 to US$71.2 million in 2018.
Speaking at a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 Engish and 2 Korean-language news publications on the occasion of the Indepednence Day of Gabon on August 17, Ambassador Boungou said added, “Gabon and Korea also cooperate closely together through e-government implementations project that has been conducted by Samsung C&T Corporation and KT Network Corporations since 2008. Details of the interview follow: Question: The Republic of Gabon celebrates her Independence Day on August 17. What is the significance of the National Day? Answer: August 17, 2021 marks the 61st anniversary of the independence of Gabon, officially known as the Gabonese Republic when the country became independent from France colonization on 17 August 1960.
‘Our Independence Day is a truly significant day approved by over 90% of our people’
Charge d’Affaires Igor Denissuk of the Republic of Ukraine in Seoul said, “The Independence Day of our country on August 24 marks a truly significant day when Ukraine declared its independence on 1 December 1991 after holding a referendum in which over 90% of voters approved it.” Speaking at an interview with The Korea Post media on the occasion of the Independence Day of Ukraine, CDA Denissuk said, “Aside from state-supported festivities, Ukrainians attend outdoor concerts, parties, and reenactments of Kyivan Rus traditions. Vyshyvankas, Ukrainian flags, and the Ukrainian coat of arms are all commonly seen on this day.” Details of the interview follow: Question: Please introduce your National Day in detail. Answer: This year August 24 marks the 30th Anniversary of Ukraine's Independence--a momentous occasion when all Ukrainians as well as Ukraine’s friends worldwide will celebrate the birthday of a sovereign Ukrainian state. As a part of celebration, more than 150 festive events will take place throughout the country. All of them will be united by the slogan "You are my only one", which symbolizes the vision of Ukraine's independence as a dream that many generations of Ukrainians have sought to achieve.
Economic rise of Bangladesh in Asia: Laudation and appreciation of different countries
Present day, Bangladesh is one of the developing economies of the world. In 2015, Bangladesh graduated from LDC status and came out from the status of the least developed country and became a low middle-income country. We hope that soon Bangladesh will become one of the middle-income countries in the world. Today, Bangladesh is moving forward at a relentless pace in various indicators of the economy. Today, Bangladesh is rapidly advancing in the areas of national growth, per capita national income, export income, foreign exchange reserves, electricity, communication, economic and social infrastructure, essential for development, etc.
Controversial Media Bill Passes Last Committee before Plenary Showdown
Controversial revisions to the press arbitration law passed the National Assembly's judicial committee early Wednesday despite resistance from the opposition bloc. The ruling Democratic Party(DP), which has a majority, approved the reform bill at around 4 a.m. as the main opposition People Power Party(PPP) walked out of the session in protest. The revisions include awarding compensation of up to five times the amount of damages incurred when media outlets either intentionally or accidentally issue false or manipulated reporting. The DP plans to vote on the bill - the Act on Press Arbitration and Remedies, etc. for Damage Caused by Press Reports - at a plenary session of the Assembly later on Wednesday. The rival parties are expected to face off fiercely, with the PPP forewarning of strong protest. The minor Justice Party has also announced its opposition to the bill.
NIS Sent Surveillance Reports of Lawmakers during Lee Administration
The nation's spy agency said it sent 168 surveillance reports on lawmakers to the presidential office during the Lee Myung-bak administration. The National Intelligence Service(NIS) disclosed the information at a parliamentary intelligence committee meeting on Tuesday, according to Reps. Kim Byung-kee and Ha Tae-keung that day. Of the reports, 19 were requested by the presidential office. They concerned corruption allegations of a then ruling party lawmaker and a list of donations to an opposition lawmaker. The specific contents of the reports weren't revealed, over which rival parties made opposing claims. The ruling Democratic Party requested that the NIS look into the legality of reviewing the reports. The main opposition People Power Party said the National Assembly should enact a special law before deciding to disclose the reports.
Changes in Economic Gap between S. Korea and Japan over Three Decades
The Federation of Korean Industries has compared changes in the economic and competitiveness gap between South Korea and Japan since the early 1990s. The result shows that the gap has narrowed considerably and it has even been reversed in some areas. For instance, the World Competitiveness Ranking released by Switzerland’s International Institute for Management Development shows that Japan ranked fourth in 1995 but slid to 34th in 2020, while South Korea rose from 26th to 23rd in the same period. 30 years ago, Japan was like a high wall that South Korea couldn’t jump over easily. But how has Korea been able to outpace its neighbor in so many areas? Here is Lee In-chul, director of the Real Good Economic Institute to explain.
Busan medical school voids admission of ex-justice minister's daughter
Pusan National University (PNU) in this southern port city said Tuesday it has decided to nullify its admission of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk's daughter into its medical school in 2015 following her mother's recent conviction in an academic fraud case. The state-run university said its decision to cancel Cho Min's admission to PNU's Graduate School of Medicine six years ago came after an analysis of an appellate court's ruling on her mother's academic fraud charges and an in-house committee's review of the case. On Aug. 11, the Seoul High Court upheld a four-year prison sentence for Chung Kyung-sim, Cho Min's mother, after finding her guilty of all charges related to the unfair college admission of the younger Cho.
3 military planes carrying out operations to bring Afghan evacuees to South Korea: foreign ministry
South Korean military aircraft are carrying out operations to bring to the country Afghan people who aided Seoul's efforts to help rebuild the war-torn nation, the foreign ministry said Tuesday. Three military planes were sent to Afghanistan and a neighboring country to "bring to South Korea Afghan workers, who supported our government's activities in Afghanistan, and their family members," the ministry said in a text message to reporters. The Afghan people worked at South Korea's embassy, hospital and job training center for years, the ministry said without providing further details, including the number of Afghan people to be airlifted to South Korea. The evacuation came after the Taliban's seizure of power amid the ongoing U.S. troop pullout has raised fears of retaliation against Afghans who worked for America and its allied countries.
Gov't to offer university tuition support to some families with multiple kid
The government has decided to provide low-to middle-income families with multiple children with university tuition support as part of policies for youth, Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday. President Moon Jae-in received a briefing on the scheme, details of which will be made public on Thursday, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Park Kyung-mee. Under the plan, households in the bottom 80 percent income bracket are expected to receive full college tuition support starting with their third child. Those categorized as poor, by the standards of the government's welfare service, will benefit from the program beginning with the second kid, she added. Earlier in the day, Cheong Wa Dae said all South Korean families with three children or more would benefit from the program but it corrected the announcement a few hours later.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
South Korea considering evacuating ‘Afghan allies’: top security adviser
South Korea is considering evacuating some 400 Afghans who helped the reconstruction efforts there and are now targets for Taliban revenge. Still, the government appears cautious about welcoming refugees from Afghanistan. President Moon Jae-in’s top security adviser, Suh Hoon, said Monday that the government was reviewing all possible options to assist Korea’s “Afghan allies” -- referring to translators, medical personnel and engineers who had been hired to work at Korean facilities there. “We have a national obligation to provide them with a safe haven. We are considering diverse measures, including bringing them here,” Suh said in a parliamentary session.
Samsung to pour W240tr into chips, bio and 6G for 3 years
Samsung Electronics will invest a total of 240 trillion won ($206 billion) in the fields of semiconductors, biopharmaceuticals, next-generation telecommunications and other new technologies for the next three years, the South Korean tech giant announced Tuesday. Of the total, some 180 trillion won will be spent on expanding facilities and employment here, not overseas, the company stressed. It did not unveil a breakdown of the investment plan. The announcement came 11 days after the conglomerate’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong was released on parole on Aug. 13 “for the sake of the Korean economy.”
South Korea, Russia affirm need to induce Pyongyang back to nuclear talks
Seoul and Moscow on Tuesday reaffirmed the importance of close coordination and the need to induce Pyongyang back to the stalled denuclearization talks, in the meeting between the two sides’ top nuclear envoys. South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy Noh Kyu-duk held talks with visiting Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, who doubles as the country’s top nuclear envoy, on Tuesday. The pair exchanged views on the overall situation on the Korean Peninsula and ways for the two countries to cooperate for the complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the peninsula, according to the Foreign Ministry. The ministry said Noh acknowledged Russia’s continued support for dialogue and inter-Korean cooperation, and requested Moscow play a “constructive role” for the stable management of the situation and bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Korea starts mission to evacuate Afghans
Korea is working to evacuate Afghans who helped the Korean government's activities there, rescuing them from the Taliban-controlled country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, Tuesday.
The ministry said in a text message to reporters that "three military aircraft have been deployed to Afghanistan and neighboring countries on a mission to evacuate those who helped the Korean government's activities in Afghanistan." The ministry added the Afghans to be rescued had worked for years at the Korean embassy as well as Korea-led hospitals and job training centers there, without elaborating further on the details of the mission. The move came after growing concerns of potential Taliban retaliation against Afghans who supported the U.S. or other countries.
Military under fire again for mishandling sexual harassment case
The military has again come under fire for its mishandling of a sexual harassment case, as it has been found that a victim of sexual violence in the Army attempted to kill herself. It is the third time that a sexual harassment victim in the military has taken their own life or attempted to do so, following one each at the Air Force and the Navy. These cases show the military's systemic errors in dealing with sex crimes, considering similarities in the three cases. In all three cases, the military authorities failed to separate the victims and the alleged perpetrators, making them continue working together after the harassment complaint was made, and all three victims suffered from secondary harm and retaliation.
Cooperative forum for Korea-China future ties launched
A committee of Korean and Chinese government officials, diplomats and scholars has been launched to discuss improving relations between the two nations, which will celebrate 30 years of diplomatic ties in 2022. Members of the Committee for Future-Oriented Development of Korea-China Relations held the launching ceremony, Tuesday. The two sides agreed in principle to form the cooperative panel in their foreign ministers' meeting in November 2020 to draw up and suggest a roadmap on the development of relations between Seoul and Beijing. In the Track 1.5 dialogue mechanism, 18 members, including former and incumbent government officials and private sector experts, participate from each country.
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Gov't Promises Vast Amounts of Vaccines Next Year
The government on Monday tried to deflect mounting anger about the slow pace of coronavirus vaccination by promising scores of millions more vaccines next year. President Moon Jae-in's chief of staff Yoo Young-min told the National Assembly some 80 million doses will be left over next year and the government will procure an additional 90 million doses. That brings the total to 170 million or more than three times the population. But the plans are sketchy. The government has signed a contract with Pfizer for 30 million doses next year with an option to buy an additional 30 million. Where the other 60 million doses will come from is not clear. The promises come as the government secured a commitment from Moderna to deliver 7.01 million doses by early September to inoculate people aged 18-49. The first batch of 1.01 million doses arrived Monday.
Korean Retail Investors Continue Bull Run as Foreigners Pull out
Korean retail investors bought W100 trillion worth of domestic and global shares so far this year, which is already higher than the annual record of W87 trillion set over the whole of last year (US$1=W1,183). According to the Korea Exchange on Sunday, Korean retail investors snapped up W70.40 trillion worth of shares on the Korea Composite Stock Price Index, W10.47 trillion on the Kosdaq and US$1.56 million worth of foreign shares. That adds up to W99.34 trillion. But foreign investors have been on a selling spree as the Korean won tanked amid global uncertainties. They sold W30.73 trillion worth of shares in the Korean market, way more than the W24.71 trillion they sold over the whole of last year and approaching the all-time record of W35.92 trillion set in the global financial crisis of 2008. Korean investors last year set the record for the highest net purchase with W63.81 trillion, of which W47.49 trillion were on the KOSPI and W16.32 trillion on the Kosdaq.
Korean Women Golfers Lose out on LPGA Tour
Korean women golfers have finished five majors on the LPGA Tour with no titles this season. This is the first time since 2010 that Korean women have won no major titles. At the AIG Women's Open in Scotland on Sunday, the season's final major, Anna Nordqvist of Sweden won the title while Kim Sei-young finished tied for a poor 13th at 6-under, the highest among 14 Koreans. Patty Tavatanakit of Thailand, Yuka Saso of the Philippines, Nelly Korda of the U.S. and Korean Australian Lee Min-jee won the first four. This season, Korea has collected only three wins, which went to Park In-bee (world No. 3), Kim Hyo-joo (No. 6) and Ko Jin-young (No. 2). These three and Kim Sei-young (No. 4) competed at the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo earlier this month but failed to win a medal there as well. Several factors were behind the unexpected slump of Korean women golfers, who had earned as many as 15 titles every season.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
US doesn’t have hostile intent toward N. Korea, Sung Kim says
US special representative for North Korea Sung Kim said Monday that joint South Korea-US military exercises were “purely defensive” and that the US “does not have hostile intent” toward North Korea. Kim’s remarks came while he was meeting with reporters after discussions at a hotel in Seoul that morning with Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk as the two sides’ senior representatives on the North Korean nuclear issue. The ongoing combined military exercises are longstanding, routine, and purely defensive in nature and support the security of both our countries,” he said. His remarks were read as a gesture toward objections from Pyongyang, including statements by Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee Deputy Director Kim Yo-jong denouncing the 21-2 Combined Command Post Training that began on Aug. 16.
Lee Jae-myung says he will meet with Kim Jong-un, pursue sanctions relief for N. Korea
Gyeonggi Gov. Lee Jae-myung, the Democratic Party frontrunner for next year’s presidential election, announced a “vision for reunification diplomacy” on Sunday, which included practical diplomatic efforts focused on the national interest and establishing a “peace economy” on the Korean Peninsula. “I intend to realize new, full-scale changes based on the groundwork of inter-Korean relations established by the Moon Jae-in administration,” he said. Speaking at a press conference that day at the home of the late former President Kim Dae-jung in Seoul, Lee said, “There needs to be more practical change in direction that helps the growth and development of South and North [Korea] alike.”
S. Korea purchases 90 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for next year
South Korea will have 170 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines available to use next year, the Blue House said. The total includes 90 million doses that are being newly purchased for use in 2022 — up from the originally planned 50 million — and the remaining unused vaccine doses from this year.Speaking at a plenary session of the National Assembly Steering Committee on Monday, Blue House Chief of Staff Yoo Young-min said, "Even after all vaccinations have been completed as planned, we will have a total of 80 million doses left over until next year." "For next year, we are planning to purchase a total of 90 million additional doses. The 170 million doses that will be available for use next year amounts to more than triple the population," he said.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
California celebrates ‘Kimchi Day,’ declaring S. Korea as origin
The California State Assembly unanimously passed a resolution to designate “Kimchi Day” on Tuesday, becoming the first U.S. state to specify South Korea as the country of origin of Kimchi. Accordingly, the state is expected to open various promotional events regarding kimchi-making, etc. on Nov. 22 every year. Also, the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. will hold “Kimchi Festival” in Los Angeles where visitors make kimchi and engage in other activities to promote the traditional South Korean food. The resolution specifies that South Korea is the origin of kimchi, which dates back to the early days of the epoch of the three Kingdoms, adding that kimjang or making and sharing kimchi was designated in 2013 as an item of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Booster shots offer 4 times more protection than two doses
Israel’s Health Ministry said a third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (booster shot) increased the protection against COVID-19 infection by four times than two doses. According to Reuters on Monday, Israel’s Health Ministry said that among people aged 60 and over 10 days after they received a third dose, a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine offered four times higher protection than two doses. When it comes to serious illness and hospitalization, a third dose provided five to six times higher protection. The full details of the study were not revealed. The findings are in line with the recent announcement by Israel’s Maccabi Healthcare Services that 37 of 149,144 people aged 60 and over, who received a booster shot, were infected with COVID-19, which is one-sixth of the infection rate compared to after two doses.
U.S. does not have hostile intent to N. Korea, says Sung Kim
Amid ongoing ROK-U.S. joint military drills, Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, discussed possible humanitarian aid to North Korea with the South Korean government during his four-day visit to South Korea. Kim said the joint military drills are routine and defensive in nature, stressing that the U.S. does not have hostile intent toward North Korea. In particular, South Korea and the U.S. announced that health, quarantine against infectious diseases, and safe drinking water are the areas of humanitarian aid to the North, drawing attention to the North’s response. “This is an important moment on the Korean Peninsula,” Special Representative Kim said during talks with his South Korean counterpart Noh Kyu-duk on Monday. Kim reaffirmed his willingness to talk with North Korea without preconditions, saying he is ready to meet with North Korea anytime, anywhere.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Government to Review Readjusting the Time Between First and Second Doses Following Supply of Moderna Vaccine
The government decided to consider readjusting the time between the first and second vaccine shots after it confirmed that Moderna, a U.S. pharmaceutical company, would supply 7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this month. On August 23, when the press asked the COVID-19 vaccination response team on possible adjustments to the time between the first and second Moderna vaccine shots, authorities said, “We will comprehensively review any adjustments to the time between the two doses along with our vaccine rollout plan for September and October.” Previously on August 6, when Moderna notified the government that the company could only deliver less than half of the 8.5 million doses scheduled to arrive in August due to problems in its laboratory, the government temporarily extended the time period between the first and second shots for messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines from four to six weeks on August 9.
Hong Joon-pyo in Hot Pursuit of Yoon Seok-youl in Polls, “Golden Cross around Chuseok”
People Power Party lawmaker Hong Joon-pyo is drawing a rising curve and fiercely pursuing former prosecutor general Yoon Seok-youl in the opposition’s race for the presidential election. Hong appears to be benefiting as Yoon’s approval ratings wavered due to a series of slips of the tongue and his confrontation with the party leader Lee Jun-seok. However, Hong still needs to find a way to overcome the doubts in his party on his competitiveness in the presidential race against the ruling party. According to a TBS survey on the suitability of conservative presidential candidates conducted by the Korea Society Opinion Institute (KSOI) and released on August 23 (1,007 people ages 18 and older, 95% confidence level with a ±3.1% margin of error), Hong Joon-pyo recorded 20.5%, tracing Yoon (28.4%) by only 7.9%. Hong’s approval ratings increased by 3.9% from the same survey conducted in the previous week and surpassed 20% for the first time, while Yoon’s support only increased 1.7%.
Army Major General Removed from His Position for Alleged Secondary Victimization of Sexual Assault Victim
Major General A, a division commander of an Army frontline unit, was discharged for allegedly engaging in secondary victimization of a sexual assault victim. The military appears to have taken a strong measure--removing a division commander suspected of secondary victimization from his position--due to a series of incidents in the military, where secondary victimization of sexual assault victims led to the suicide of the victims. On August 19, the Army announced, “Army Headquarters decided to remove A, a division commander, from his position on August 18.” A was removed from his tasks after the military authorities launched an investigation following a report by B, a female noncommissioned officer who was a victim of sexual assault, that A engaged in secondary victimization early this month.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Gov’t-ruling party agree on bumping up 2022 budget from this year’s record level
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) is arguing further expansion in South Korea’s budget for next year from this year’s record 604.7 trillion won ($517.7 billion) after two supplementary increases to fight the fallout from Covid-19. “For next year, we would need a budget slightly bigger than this year’s 604.7 trillion won to overcome crisis,” said Yun Ho-jung, floor leader of the DP on Tuesday. “We need to secure sufficient budget to overcome Covid-19 crisis and support vulnerable social groups.” Yun’s remarks were made during a consultative meeting between the party and government at the National Assembly.
Mirae Asset Financial Group with near $15 bn equity to double down on global M&As
Mirae Asset Financial Group is gearing up for accelerated global foray upon rising to the ranks of Asia’s major investment banks with its equity capital nearing 17 trillion won ($14.6 billion). Park Hyeon-joo, chairman and founder of Mirae Asset Financial Group, expects the group’s equity to top 17 trillion won this year and pre-tax income to reach 2.4 trillion won, according to his recent interview with Maeil Business Newspaper. It would not be long before the group’s equity to hit 30 trillion won, added Park.
Samsung Bioepis’ macular degeneration biosim cleared for sale in Europe
Samsung Bioepis Monday announced that the European Commission has granted marketing approval to its biosimilar drug referencing Lucentis (ranibizumab). The EC authorization of the drug named Byooviz comes about two months after the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) adopted a positive opinion for the biosimilar. Ranibizumab is an anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) for retinal vascular disorders, which are a leading cause of blindness. It has been used for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration and visual impairment due to diabetic macular edema.
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Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
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