The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Monday April 17, 2017
Here are The Korea Post notices and a roundup of important headlines from all major Korean-language dailies, TV and other news media of Korea today:
Very Respectfully Yours
Korea Post Media
What’s ticking in Korea today? Here is a quick roundup of important news stories from the major Korean news media today:
US Vice President Pence Begins 3-Day Visit to S. Korea
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence began first visit to South Korea on Sunday since his inauguration. After arriving at the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, Pence visited the Seoul National Cemetery to pay homage to fallen soldiers. He then spent Easter Sunday with U.S. and South Korean troops and their families at the U.S. military base in Yongsan. His three-day visit to South Korea, amid escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula, is partly aimed at reassuring the U.S. commitment to defending South Korea against North Korean nuclear and missile threats.
Memorial Event Held to Commemorate Third Anniversary of Sewol Disaster
A memorial event was held on Sunday to commemorate the third anniversary of the sinking of the Sewol ferry, which claimed 304 lives in 2014. Families of the Sewol victims, lawmakers, government officials, and about one thousand people attended a memorial ceremony at Paengmok Harbor on Jindo Island near the site of the accident. Cultural events and performances were held along with memorial speeches by the families of the victims and other participants. In addition, 304 balloons were released in memory of the Sewol victims.
Son Heung-min Ties Single Season Scoring Record for S. Korean in Europe
South Korean striker Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur scored a goal on Saturday to tie Korean football legend Cha Bum-kun’s scoring record. Son scored a goal in the 19th minute during a match against Bournemouth at White Hart Lane in London. Tottenham won 4-0 against Bournemouth, placing the team in second place behind Chelsea in the English Premier League (EPL). It was Son’s 12th regular season goal in the EPL.
Domestic Sales of S. Korean Automakers Top 40Tln Won
The combined domestic sales of five Korean automakers surpassed 40 trillion won last year for the first time. According to data by Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea, SsangYong Motor and Renault Samsung Motors on Sunday, Korean automakers sold 41-point-one trillion won worth of vehicles in the domestic market last year, up seven-point-seven percent from a year earlier. The figures for Hyundai and Kia marked 19-point-three trillion won and 12-point-five trillion won, respectively, both exceeding ten trillion won.
Rangers' Choo Shin-soo hits 1st home run of '17
Choo Shin-soo of the Texas Rangers has gone deep for the first time in the new season. Choo hit a three-run home run off Hisashi Iwakuma of the Seattle Mariners in the top of the second inning at Safeco Field in Seattle on Sunday (local time), erasing the Rangers' 1-0 deficit. Choo entered the game batting .229 (8-for-35) with two RBIs and no extra-base hits in nine games this season.
The 34-year-old veteran has had four 20-homer seasons, most recently in 2015. He was limited to just 48 games last year while hampered by injuries, which forced him to take four trips to the disabled list. Usually an outfielder, Choo has mostly served as the Rangers' designated hitter so far in 2017.
U.S. Vice President Pence arrives in Seoul
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in South Korea on Sunday for a high-stakes three-day visit to reaffirm the robust security alliance and warn against North Korea's possible provocations, Seoul officials said. Right after touching down at a U.S. air base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, Pence visited South Korea's national cemetery in Seoul, a symbolic gesture to highlight the alliance forged during the 1950-53 Korean War. "Pence laid a wreath for veterans at Seoul National Cemetery and honored those who sacrificed their lives for our two countries," the U.S. Embassy in Seoul said in a tweet.
Daewoo shipyard's main bondholder accepts debt rescheduling measures
The main bondholder of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. on Monday agreed to the voluntary debt rescheduling measures proposed by the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB).
The National Pension Service Investment Management said it held a meeting of its investment committee and accepted measures to keep afloat the troubled shipbuilder. "The decision was based on the best interest of the pension fund," the investment management body said. It said the National Pension Service (NPS), which controls some 30 percent of the shipbuilder's corporate bonds, took into account that Daewoo Shipbuilding, KDB and the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Eximbank) all agreed to measures that would better ensure the repayment of corporate bonds that would be rescheduled.
1 S. Korean soldier dies during joint military exercise with U.S.
A South Korean soldier has died after a tank plunged from a bridge during a joint drill with the United States, the military said Sunday. The tank fell under the bridge at a training field in Paju, north of Seoul, on Saturday at around 12:30 p.m. on its way to an assembly point after a morning exercise, according to the military. The sergeant first class, whose identity was withheld, was serving the role of tank commander when the incident took place during a small unit training, it said. A driver and an artilleryman who were also on board were not severely injured.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
US vice president arrives at Seoul amid heightened tension
US Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Seoul on Sunday for a three-day visit aimed at further enhancing bilateral alliance against the growing military threat from North Korea, which carried out a failed missile test just hours before the arrival. The vice president will meet with Seoul’s acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday afternoon to reinforce the US commitment to the alliance and to consult with South Korea over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs.
3 years on, still no closure on Sewol tragedy
For many South Koreans, facing April 16 does not get any easier. The day brings back traumatic memories of watching on TV a giant passenger ferry sink slowly in a calm sea and realizing a few hours later that what they had watched was the scene of nearly 300 being drowned to death. It is even more difficult for victims’ grieving families, as they still search for the truth behind what caused the Sewol ferry to sink and why the government failed to save so many.
Candidates set for 3-week battle
Presidential aspirants running in the May 9 election braced for battle Sunday, as they stood at the starting line of the shortened campaign period which is to last for 22 days starting Monday.
Reflecting division in the conventional political clusters -- following the ouster of conservative President Park Geun-hye and the resulting feuds -- a record-high 13 candidates registered themselves over the weekend. Official electioneering was to start Sunday at midnight, but most candidates effectively set forth their respective campaigns by commenting on ongoing issues such as Sewol and North Korea’s attempted missile launch earlier in the day.
Samsung’s M&A engine sputters with heir in jail
With its de facto leader in jail for the past two months on bribery charges, Samsung is facing a halt in investments that had been among the key driving forces of South Korea’s largest conglomerate.
Aggressive investments for mergers and acquisitions had been Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong’s signature strategy to cement his leadership since he came to the fore of the group’s management in replacement of his ailing father Chairman Lee Kun-hee three years ago. In 2014 alone, Samsung acquired video app developer Selby, air conditioner firm Quietside, mobile cloud solution provider PrinterOn, Internet of Things platform developer SmartThings and solid-state drive software maker Proximal Data.
Main creditor expects ‘good result’ in DSME shipyard talks
The main creditor bank of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering on Sunday expected a “good result” in talks with a major bondholder that will help the shipyard stay afloat. The state-run Korea Development Bank and the National Pension Service have engaged in talks since late March to find common ground on debt rescheduling measures for the troubled shipbuilder. “We have reached a consensus on many disputed points and expect a good outcome (from the talks) at the earliest date,” KDB Chairman and Chief Executive Lee Dong-geol said in a press conference at the bank‘s headquarters in Yeouido.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
N. Korea conducts failed missile launch
North Korea fired a ballistic missile from its east coast Sunday in apparent defiance of the Donald Trump administration, but it exploded shortly after liftoff. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it has yet to discover the type of missile. The failed launch came a day after the North flaunted 60 missiles including what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICMB) in a massive military parade in Pyongyang to mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung.
US-North Korea in secret talks to end nuclear crisis?
Tensions surrounding the Korean Peninsula are extreme, with no immediate sign of easing. North Korea has made it clear it will respond tit-for-tat to aggressive U.S. moves by firing a missile on Sunday morning, although the launch failed dismally. The geopolitical crisis is expected to face a critical juncture this week as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence makes a three-day visit to Seoul from Sunday afternoon, during which he will discuss a possible breakthrough with his South Korean counterpart, Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn.
3-week campaigning begins Monday
The official three-week presidential campaign will kick off today, with the highest number of contenders registered in the nation's presidential election history. During the two-day candidate registration period from April 15 to 16, 15 contenders had registered their candidacy, exceeding the previous record of 12 in the 1960 and 2007 elections. Five candidates from the established parties were given the first five numbers on the ballot papers in accordance with the number of their parliamentary seats. Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) was given No. 1; Hong Joon-pyo of the former ruling Liberty Korea Party (LKP), No. 2; Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party, No. 3; Yoo Seong-min of the Bareun Party, No. 4; and Sim Sang-jung of the Justice Party, No. 5.
Diplomats promote friendship in tennis friendly
Diplomats and CEOs residing in Seoul cemented their friendship at the 13th Korea Times Diplomats & CEO Tennis Championship on a dazzling spring Saturday with cherry blossoms in full bloom.
Hosted by The Korea Times and sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Korean Culture and Information Service, the annual tennis championship took place at the Grand Hyatt Seoul tennis court, participated in by 20 players from Japan, Ecuador, Italy, Fiji and the United States.
Mourners flow for the 3rd anniversary of Sewol tragedy
Marking the 3rd anniversary of the Sewol ferry accident, a number of commemorative events took place across the country. At Ansan City in Gyeonggi Province where Danwon High School is located, Jindo in South Jeolla Province where the worst maritime disaster took place and a port in Mokpo where the ferry is put on land, mourners flowed in and out all day, remembering the dead and wishing for the return of the missing.
KT chairman lectures at Harvard Business School
KT Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu lectured on the GiGAtopia strategy before students of Harvard Business School (HBS). He emphasized the importance of technology several times by saying that he met CTOs first to gain better insight from them. KT’s business performance for the past three years has been selected as its subject of case study. That was why the KT chairman was invited as the lecturer. KT has become the sixth domestic company that HBS selects as a subject of case study and GiGatopia strategy is the ninth subject of research among domestic companies. It is the first time that the business strategy of a Korean networking company is chosen.
China stops selling N.Korea-bound travel packages
China’s travel agencies including largest and state-run travel agency have stopped selling its tour packages bound to North Korea in recent days. The cancellation comes as Air China has decided to temporarily halt its Beijing-Pyongyang regular line on Monday. Experts analyzed the decision as an active pressure to North Korea made by President Xi Jinping who recently received the “non-currency manipulator” as a present from U.S. President Donald Trump.
Moon, Ahn run neck-and-neck in an opinion poll
As presidential candidates near their registration for the candidacy on Saturday, the polls conducted by Gallop Korea on Friday suggested that Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party and Ahn Cheol-soo of the People’s Party were running a neck-and-neck race at the first and second positions, within the margin of error since last week. According to a Gallop Korea poll on major five contenders ran between Tuesday and Thursday, Moon (40 percent) and Ahn (37 percent) maintained the 3 percentage-point gap, which is the same as last week.
The iPhone of Cars? Apple Enters Self-Driving Car Race
Apple is joining the fiercely competitive race to design self-driving cars, raising the possibility that a company that has already re-shaped culture with its iPhone may try to transform transportation, too. Ending years of speculation, Apple's late entry into a crowded field was made official Friday with the disclosure that the California Department of Motor Vehicles had awarded a permit for the company to start testing its self-driving car technology on public roads in the state.
Samsung Close to 1 Million Pre-Orders for Galaxy S8
Samsung is poised to cross the 1 million milestone in pre-orders for its new flagship Galaxy S8 phone that will be released next week. Samsung told reporters during a promotional event at headquarters in Seoul that it had already received 728,000 pre-orders as of Wednesday. Pre-orders have smashed all records since they started on April 7, despite the debacle surrounding the last big release, the combustible Galaxy Note 7.
Why Women Drive Change in N.Korea
Women are the main drivers of change in North Korea and their earning power is on the whole stronger than men's in the rogue state, a new book suggests. Park Young-ja at the Korea Institute for National Unification wrote the book based on 15 years of interviews with more than 1,000 North Korean female defectors. Women account for 70 percent of defectors. Her book is a 600-page testament to their lives in the isolated country.
Most Koreans Saw Zero Wage Rises Last Year
The Korean economy seems to be picking up but the impact has yet to be felt by ordinary workers. A poll suggests the wages of seven out of 10 Koreans either remained unchanged or actually shrank over the past year. The Chosun Ilbo asked Gallup to poll 1,011 adults and found that the wages of 50.8 percent stagnated, while 10.7 percent said their income fell slightly and 14.6 percent markedly.
Only 23.3 percent said their salaries rose. Also, one in three respondents either took out loans or gave notice on insurance to cover living expenses over the past year.
War of words escalating between North Korea and US
The North Korean military has openly threatened to carry out a preemptive strike on the Blue House and US military bases in Osan, Pyeongtaek (in Gyeonggi Province) and Gunsan, North Jeolla Province. North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol also said that North Korea would go to war if the US wants one. Rumors continued to swirl in the US on Apr. 14 about a preemptive strike on the North. The “war of words” between the US and North Korea is moving toward a crescendo.
What does cooperation with US and Japan mean for South Korea?
If I were asked to name the single most shocking thing that I have personally witnessed during my career as a reporter, it would be the large-scale conservative demonstration that took place at Seoul Plaza in front of City Hall in Sep. 2006. More than 50,000 people (according to police estimates) were at the demonstration, called the Public Assembly and Emergency National Salvation Prayer Meeting for the Republic of Korea, to protest the amendment of the Private School Act and to demand the end of negotiations for the transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON) of the South Korean military.
Samsung smiling on the outside, worried on the inside
Samsung and LG, the two leaders in South Korea’s electronics industry, both enjoyed rare earnings surprises this year. Samsung Electronics’s first quarter operating profits have been projected at close to 10 trillion won (US$8.8 billion) thanks to strong semiconductor performance. It’s the second best quarter in the company’s history, after the third quarter of 2013. The forecast for the second quarter is even brighter, with some predicting operating profits could reach 13 trillion won (US$11.4 billion).
Over next 30 years, numbers of traditional families will halve, elderly people living alone will triple
With South Korea’s birth rate extremely low and the population continuing to age, the traditional structure of the family is rapidly disintegrating. Over the next 30 years, it is estimated that the number of traditional families, in which parents and children live together, will be nearly halved, while the number of elderly people (65 and older) living by themselves will triple. According to estimates of future household trends between 2015 and 2045 released by Statistics Korea on Apr. 13, the number of households in which parents and children live together will decrease to 3.54 million in 2045, which is 57.7% of the 6.13 million such households in 2015.
Defying U.S. warning, North tests a missile
North Korea fired a ballistic missile off its east coast Sunday morning hours before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Seoul for his first trip in office to the Asia-Pacific region, sending another message that the Kim Jong-un leadership will not back down in the face of Washington’s hardline policy against its nuclear and missile development program. But the test, North Korea’s fifth this year, ended in complete failure, as the missile blew up almost immediately after take-off, said South Korean and U.S. military officials.
Pence arrives in Seoul amid rising tensions with Pyongyang
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence touched down in South Korea Sunday for his first of a five-leg trip to the Asia-Pacific region, being the highest-level official from the Donald Trump administration yet to arrive here amid escalating tensions with the North. The arrival marked Pence’s first-ever visit to the South, and was nine hours after North Korea conducted its fifth ballistic missile test this year earlier in the morning, though it ended in failure.
Government makes final push to save ailing DSME
The government and the main creditors of the troubled Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering made a final pitch for the National Pension Service, the shipbuilder’s largest bondholder, to approve its bailout plan, which was announced a month ago. The Financial Services Commission and the Korea Development Bank said Sunday that they promised all institutional bondholders late Saturday that they will set up an escrow account, which is a temporary account, to deposit the principal and interest payments before DSME’s corporate bonds matures.
Korea cleared as a currency manipulator
Korea was let off the hook as a currency manipulator as part of the U.S. Treasury Department’s first foreign exchange policy report under U.S. President Donald Trump. This is a huge turnaround from Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign last year where he raised the possibility of labeling Korea and other major trading partners including China, Japan and Germany as currency manipulators, which could have led to regulatory actions that would hamper imported goods from these countries.
The KyungHyangShinmoon (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Recognizing “Death on Duty” of Temporary Teachers and Funding the Treatment of Civilian Divers
The people have high hopes about uncovering the truth and find the missing victims now that the Sewol has been salvaged, but there are still issues that need to be resolved. The government refuses to acknowledge the death of the temporary teachers of Danwon High School in Ansan, who died helping the students escape, as “death on duty,” and the civilian divers and fishermen near the waters where the Sewol sank have not received proper compensation for damages.
"Who do you think will win?" This is what we hear most often, when it's time for a presidential election. Some of the more refined people ask, "What is the zeitgeist?" In 2015, people talked about "integration" and early this year, they mentioned the leader's "ability to understand." This was a reflection of the public and politics in this nation, which stood divided and exhausted. Politics is about responsibility and reflection. Irresponsible power and politics do not treat territory, one of the three elements of a nation, with care and have no reason to fear the people.
Election Landscape of Ruling vs. Opposition Parties Changes
As the nineteenth presidential election emerges as a race between Moon Jae-in of the Minjoo Party of Korea and Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party, a heated debate is ongoing about the nature of the latest election. Moon focused on the fact that Ahn has established himself as a leader of the moderates and conservatives, past supporters of the ruling party, and suggested that the current election was a variation of the past ruling party versus the opposition elections.
The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
Korea's Tax Burden to GDP Ratio Remains Less Than a Half of That of Denmark
Korea's tax burden-to-GDP ratio is on an upward trend but still remains low compared to other organization for economic cooperation and development member countries. According to the OECD on April 16, Korea's tax burden-to-GDP ratio remained the lowest among OECD member countries. As of 2015, the ratio stood at 18.5 percent, the lowest together with Slovakia among all OECD countries. Mexico, Japan, Poland and Australia have not yet released their ratios. Excluding Mexico whose tax payment-to-GDP ratio has remained at around the 10-percent level, the remainders are estimated to have higher figures than that of Korea.
Korea Avoids Being Designated as Forex Manipulator by U.S. Gov't
The United States government has stopped short of designating Korea as a foreign exchange manipulator. But Korea was kept in the "Monitoring List." Trade experts said it's too early to be complacent as the U.S. government may extract concessions out of Korea by putting pressure just like it did to China. If Korea is unable to allay American concerns, it is bound to get the designation in the next round of deliberation in October this year.
Arpo Group's Dreams of Creating Financial Empire Close at Hand
"I will create an integrated financial service group that has never been seen in Korea." It was a pledge Choi Yoon (54), a third-generation Korean-Japanese and chairman of Apro Service Group, made while traveling to Korea from Japan back in 1999. For someone who had had no prior experience in financial service, it was a bold gambit and there were so many of his friends who advised against it.
His dreams are slowly taking shape 18 years after his arrival in Seoul in 1999. Last Friday, Apro Service Group was selected as the preferred bidder to acquire eBest Investment & Securities. More widely known as its moneylending business brand name "Rush and Cash," Apro is set to move into the securities business after taking over a savings bank and a capital firm.
Metro Line No. 9 Sees Debt Ratio Surge to 934%
Seoul Metro Line Nine Corp., the operator of the subway line No. 9 in Seoul, turned out to have received a financial aid of 176 billion won until last year. Despite such massive subsidies, the performance of the subway line No. 9 operator continues to worsen, raising concerns that the Seoul metropolitan city government's future burden would escalate if the current trend continues.
According to data from the Financial Supervisory Service on April 13, Seoul Metro Line Nine Corp. received an aid of 176 billion won during the 2013-2016 period from the Seoul city government.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Three-year-old beaten to death by dog-worshiping religious group
A three-year-old boy has been found beaten to death and cremated by a pseudo-religious group worshiping "Jindo-dogs", a canine breed native to the Korean soil, in a police investigation that revealed distorted exorcism. Police said the baby's 41-year-old mother identified by her surname Choi and a 53-year-old disciplinary master of the group were arrested on charges including homicide. The weird case dates back to February 2014 when an ordinary wife, Choi moved to the community house of a dog worshipping religion in Seoul with her three-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter, to live with other zealots and ten dogs, and got involved in erratic religious activities.
N. Korea shows off strategic new missiles at military parade
North Korea flexed its military muscle, showing off an array of strategic new missiles in a military parade presided over by leader Kim Jong-un, amid high military tensions over the deployment of a powerful US strike group in Northeast Asia. The high-profile parade, broadcast live by Pyongyang's state television, was staged on the square at the center of Pyongyang to celebrate the birth anniversary of North Korea's late president and founder Kim Il-Sung.
8-year-old drives Dad's Van to McDonald's for burgers
An 8-year-old boy from East Palestine, Ohio made headlines with his daring attempt to get burgers. He drove his dad's van to a nearby McDonald's restaurant with his 4-year-old sister on Sunday night. His dad already went to bad, and his mom fell asleep on the couch. The boy already ate dinner earlier with his family but he craved burgers from McDonald's. What a boy gotta do to get some burgers at the late hour? He watched YouTube videos to learn how to drive vehicle and took money from his piggy bank. He loaded his 4-year-old sister in the back seat of his dad's van and drove to McDonald's.
Pyongyang shows off suspected ICBM and new missiles at military parade
North Korea on Saturday unveiled what appears to be its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), staging a large-scale military parade in Pyongyang amid increased military tensions on the peninsula. A huge truck carrying the missile-shaped objective rolled through the main square of the capital in front of leader Kim Jong-un and other top officials of the communist regime, showed TV footage. South Korean military officials said they regard it as a new type of ICBM. "It's presumed to be a new ICBM. It seems longer than the existing KN-08 or KN-14 ICBMs, an official said.'
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Apro Service Group named as preferred bidder for eBest securities
South Korea’s savings and loans institution Apro Service Group won the exclusive rights to negotiate terms to buy eBest Investment & Securities Co., a mid-sized security firm put up for sale by LS Networks Corp. to ease its liquidity stress. According to investment bank industry sources on Friday, LS Networks, the largest shareholder of eBest and its sales advisor Citi Global Markets Korea Securities picked Apro Service Group as a preferred bidder to acquire eBest.
Mini gold bar sales in Korea shoot up amid geopolitical tensions
Demands for mini gold bars are surging in South Korea as rumors of imminent North Korea nuclear and missile test this month, and talk of a preemptive or retaliatory strike by the United States have prompted concerns among local investors, driving them to seek investments with less downside risks. According to Korea Gold Exchange on Sunday, the average number of mini gold bars, which weighs between 10 and 100 grams, sold per day has tripled to 400 units since the beginning of this month as the geopolitical concerns due to North Korea has become more severe.
Korean banks’ net income from overseas branches in 2016 jump 15% on year
Combined net profit of South Korean banks’ overseas branches increased 15 percent in 2016 from a year ago, mainly led by a rise in non-interest income, data showed Friday. According to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) on Friday, the combined net profit of local banks’ 178 overseas branches across 40 countries reached $650 million in 2016, up 15 percent, or $90 million, from the previous year. The amount accounts for 26 percent of total net profit raised by local banks last year.
SK Group Chairman hints of going bolder in final bid for Toshiba chip division
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won on Thursday indicated SK Hynix would go bolder in the bid for the semiconductor division of Japan’s Toshiba Corp., a deal that would change the global landscape in the flash memory industry. “The current stage is non-binding so the pricing does not matter,” Chey told reporters after a lecture at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) campus in Dongdaemun, central Seoul. “We won’t be the same once the real binding bidding process kicks off.”
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