The Korean daily media headlines and humor
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Here are The Korea Post notices and a roundup of importantheadlines 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 Requests Talks to Revise FTA with S. Korea
The U.S. Trade Representative(USTR) office said in a statement on Wednesday that it extended the request to Seoul for a special Joint Committee meeting under the terms of the trade pact.The USTR sent a letter proposing the convening of a meeting next month in Washington. The FTA stipulates a committee meeting must be held within 30 days after a request is made from either side.While arguing that the U.S.’ overall deficit with Korea has increased, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in the letter that he believed the negotiations will provide an opportunity to resolve several problems regarding market access in Korea for U.S. exports, and address the U.S.’ significant trade imbalance.
Earthquake in N. Korean Waters Not Due to Nuclear Test
A magnitude five-point-nine earthquake was detected off North Korea's eastern coast early on Thursday.The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre(EMSC) said that the quake occurred 192 kilometers southeast of the North Korean city of Chongjin in the East Sea.Quoting the U.S. Department of Defense, Reuters reported that the quake does not appear to have been caused by a nuclear test.The Japanese weather agency estimated the quake measured magnitude six-point-three, but did not issue a tsunami warning.
Gov't to Expand Blind Screening to All Regional Public Entities
The government plans to mandate so-called "blind screening" employment practices for every public entity this year. "Blind screening" means applications do not include details that could lead employers to make discriminatory hiring decisions.That includes descriptions of applicants’ hometown, educational background or physical conditions. Rare exceptions are allowed for jobs that require very specific qualifications.
USTR formally demands negotiation to revise free trade agreement with S. Korea
The United States formally notified South Korea that it wants to start the process of revising the free trade agreement between the two countries, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Wednesday.
USTR Robert Lighthizer made the notification in a letter to South Korean Trade Minister JooHyung-hwan, calling for the convening of "a special Joint Committee meeting under the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) to start the process of negotiating to remove barriers to U.S. trade and consider needed amendments to the agreement," the office said in a statement.
Earthquake off N. Korea not caused by nuclear test
A magnitude-5.8 earthquake that occurred off North Korea's east coast Thursday (local time) was not caused by a nuclear test, the U.S. Geological Survey said.The tremor occurred at 4:18 a.m. North Korean time at a depth of 537.6 km below the East Sea, 176 kilometers east-southeast of Hoemul-li, North Korea, the agency said on its website.The quake does not appear to have been caused by a nuclear test, a USGS official said."It occurred at 500 km below the seabed. There's no way it was caused by a nuclear test. It's a natural earthquake," John Bellini, a geophysicist at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center, told Yonhap by phone.Pentagon spokesman Maj. Jamie Davis also dismissed the possibility of a nuclear test, pointing to its location and depth, Reuters reported.
Businesses given second chance show good survival rate
Failing companies that were given a second chance through government assistance showed a better survival rate than startups, with many growing bigger in size and sales, a report said Thursday.The Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA) surveyed 965 firms that received state support in 2014 to resuscitate their ailing businesses and found that 83.9 percent of them were still in operation two years later. These companies include restarts, which were helped in reopening new businesses or in R&D, and turnarounds that received consulting.The survival rate of the second chance companies was much higher than that of startups, according to the report from SMBA. State statistics released at the end of last year said only 47.5 percent of new businesses were still open two years later.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
USTR formally demands negotiation to revise FTA with Korea
The United States formally notified South Korea that it wants to start the process of revising the free trade agreement between the two countries, the office of the US Trade Representative said Wednesday.
USTR Robert Lighthizer made the notification in a letter to South Korean Trade Minister JooHyung-hwan, calling for the convening of "a special Joint Committee meeting under the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) to start the process of negotiating to remove barriers to US trade and consider needed amendments to the agreement," the office said in a statement.Lighthizer proposed that the meeting take place in Washington next month.
Democrat files first impeachment article against Trump
A Democratic congressman on Wednesday became the first US lawmaker to formally file an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump, but the effort is likely to stall in the Republican-controlled Congress.Democrat Brad Sherman of California followed through on a threat he made last month to seek to remove the president from office, filing a four-page resolution aimed at "impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors."
AhnCheol-soo apologizes over scandal
AhnCheol-soo, former presidential candidate of the opposition People’s Party, on Wednesday apologized for the scandal revolving around fabricated smear campaign against President Moon Jae-in. “(Fabricating information) cannot be countenanced under any circumstance. I was shocked when I was first informed, and feel responsible as the presidential candidate of the People’s Party,” Ahn said.“I bow in apology to the people who supported me, and to the party members and fellow politicians. I also apologize to those involved who would have felt emotional pain.”
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
AhnCheol-soo apologizes for fabrication
AhnCheol-soo, the former presidential candidate of the second-largest opposition People's Party, apologized to the public Wednesday about the scandal regarding the party's smear campaign against President Moon Jae-in.He broke a long silence and stated his position on the scandal that has rocked the party during a press conference held at the party's headquarters on Yeouido.Ahn said he would take time off for self-reflection and introspection but did announce his retirement from politics.
Court denies Egyptian refugee status for homosexuality
An Egyptian man lost a suit he filed for refugee status, citing he would be persecuted in his home country for being homosexual.The 26-year-old man, whose identity was withheld, filed a suit against the chief of the Seoul Immigration Office in May 2014.The Supreme Court said Wednesday it overturned the Seoul High Court's ruling and sent the case back."There is not enough evidence to acknowledge that his fear is well-grounded that he will be persecuted by the Egyptian government," the court said.
Korean-American US soldier arrested in Hawaii, accused of 'pledging allegiance' to ISIS
A Korean-American U.S. Army sergeant was arrested for providing classified military documents and training to ISIS, according to records the U.S. District Court unsealed in Honolulu, Hawaii, Monday.Ikaika Erik Kang, 34, a sergeant first class in the 25th Infantry Division at the U.S. Army Pacific Command, was arrested by an FBI SWAT team on terrorism charges Saturday.Kang was deployed extensively in Iraq, Afghanistan and South Korea and has been awarded several commendations. He is known to have enlisted in the U.S. Army after the Sep. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Haruki’s new novel surpasses ‘1Q84’ in sales on Day 1
"Killing Commendatore," a new full-length novel that Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has published for the first time in seven years, has been released in Korea on Wednesday, with its sales picking up speed. Kyobo Bookstore sold 10,400 books (5,200 sets) in total of the two-volume novel including preorders as of 3 p.m. Wednesday.Kyobo Bookstore’s Gwanghwamun main branch opened a separate sale booth for the novel. The store plans to run a separate bookshelf that offers a collection of music CDs that are mentioned in Haruki’s high-profile literary works and flagship books from Thursday.
Korean researchers decode genome of red bats
Korean researchers have become the world’s first team to decode the genome of the red bat, also known as the golden bat in Korea. The study discovered why these animals are almost extinct. Researchers have found that red bats failed to adapt to the interglacial period and the number of animals continuously decreased over the last 50,000 years. In Korea, red bats are designated as the first-class endangered species and natural monument No. 452. Only about 450-500 animals have been identified in Korea.Professor Park Jong-hwa and his research team at the School of Life Sciences of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) borrowed DNA samples extracted from a red bat found dead in the Gosu Cave in Danyang, North Chungcheong Province. The genome contains a record of genetic diversity that changes in the course of evolution, and the study found that the population of red bats started decreasing from 50,000 years ago just before the interglacial period. It is deemed that the amount of generic information correlates to a size of population.
Patriotism surges and people are uniting in Qatar
Qatari people are engaging in patriotic campaigns, while the nation is diplomatically isolated after Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed their relations with Qatar. The surge of patriotism in Qatar reminds of Korea in 1997 when people voluntarily donated gold after Korea was bailed out by the International Monetary Fund.In Qatar, people started to leave a short message next to a poster with a black-and-white sketch of the emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to show their patriotic spirit and loyalty to the nation. The sketch was drawn by a young Qatari artist after neighbors severed diplomatic links to Qatar, and it has become a symbol of patriotism.
Seoul Sees 1st Tropical Night of the Season
Temperatures never fell below 25 degrees Celsius in Seoul on Tuesday night, bringing a tropical 10 days earlier than last year, the Korea Meteorological Administration said Wednesday.
Humidity played a big role in the sweltering nights.The KMA said a lot of water vapor is being formed near Taiwan because the sea surface temperature there is one to two degrees higher than normal and was driven to Korea on southwesterly winds.The water vapor covers the earth's surface like a blanket, preventing the heat from escaping at night.
8th U.S. Army Chief Warns Against THAAD Pullout
South Korea and the U.S. would need a lot more Patriot missiles to defend themselves against North Korea if the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery here is pulled out, Eighth U.S. Army Commander Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal warned Tuesday.Vandal was speaking to reporters as the Eighth Army moved to its new headquarters in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.He said without THAAD a large area would be defenseless and more than 10 million South Koreans would be exposed to danger. "Over 10 million [South Korean] citizens are protected because of the location that was selected that optimizes the capabilities of the THAAD," he said.
Hyundai Faces Tougher Times at Home and Abroad
The atmosphere in Hyundai and Kia headquarters is at an all-time low amid sluggish domestic sales compounded by an unofficial Chinese boycott.Domestic sales fell 8.2 percent and China sales 9.4 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same period of 2016, and no end to the slump is in sight.Korea's entire car industry is suffering a triple whammy of slow exports and domestic sales compounded by strikes. Exports in the first six months of this year fell to an eight-year low, while output dwindled to the lowest in seven years.
South Korean gov’t on the hook for $870 million to clean up US base contamination
As US bases are returned to South Korea, they leave behind a legacy of mishandled chemicals and waste old, rusted oil tanks containing gasoline, diesel fuel, and JP-8 jet fuel lie buried throughout the 2.8 million square meters of the US military base in Seoul’s Yongsan district. Tiny cracks are discovered only after they become large holes. In its incident report, US Forces Korea writes, “Ground was saturated with oil at time of discovery. Worn fuel pipe appears to be cause, but not clear when or where leak started. Discharged fuel permeated waterway and flowed into Han River.”
S. Korea and US with different assessments of when Pyeongtaek base will be finished
The South Korean media gathered en masse at the US Eighth Army’s Camp Humphreys, in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province for a ceremony marking the Eighth Army headquarters’ relocation there from Yongsan Garrison in Seoul. On a bus tour of Camp Humphreys, Ministry of National Defense (MND) officials involved in the relocation program explained: “Ten additional square kilometers of land have been allocated to the base, giving it a total area of 15 square kilometers. This is 5.5 times the size of Yeouido [a neighborhood in Seoul], which measures 2.8 square kilometers.”
Benzene near Yongsan Garrison still 587 times higher than threshold levels
Even thought I was born and raised in Seoul, the area near Itaewon in the Yongsan neighborhood is an unfamiliar place to me. I’ve been to Itaewon’s side streets a few times to visit well-known restaurants, but that’s about it. The site where contamination levels around Yongsan Garrison were being measured was near Noksapyeong Metro Station, right at the entrance of Itaewon’s main strip. I bought a glass of watermelon juice at a fancy cafe and went down the below the artwork bearing the English words “Welcome to Korea.” In that instant, I was assaulted by an oil stench powerful enough to leave me nauseated.
Ahn takes responsibility for dirty tricks
Breaking a long public silence, AhnCheol-soo, former presidential candidate of the People’s Party, said on Wednesday he was “very sorry” for a dirty tricks campaign before this year’s presidential election that has become the biggest political crisis for the party he co-founded a year ago. Making his first public appearance since the scandal broke out late last month,Ahn said he felt “devastated” and shared “responsibility” as the party’s presidential candidate.
Employment among young is at its worst since 2000
The job situation in Korea is pretty good thanks to a healthy manufacturing sector, with one major exception: young people. The unemployment rate for job seekers aged 15 to 29 rose 0.2 percentage points from a year ago to hit 10.5 percent, the highest June figure since 2000. Statistics Korea said Wednesday that the unemployment rate reached as high as 23.4 percent if you include young Koreans who are preparing to look for work but have not submitted applications yet, and young people who have given up. That figure rose 1.8 percent compared to the previous year and is an all-time high since the government started compile data in its current form.
NIS probes its own abuse of power under past 2 presidents
The country’s intelligence agency has decided to conduct internal investigations into 13 cases of its own domestic political interference as part of a campaign to clean up its act. SuhHoon, the new director at the National Intelligence Service (NIS), briefed the Intelligence Committee of the National Assembly on Tuesday about the agency’s plan to get to the bottom of some of the most controversial accusations against it. While Suh vowed to reveal the nasty secrets in an attempt at transparency, all 13 cases occurred during the tenures of the last two conservative administrations, prompting howls of outrage from the opposition parties.
Within an 18.5km Fence Lies a U.S. Military City. Possible Hub for Land, Water, and Air Forces in Northeast Asia
The US 8th Army opened Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek to the press at an opening ceremony for its new headquarters on July 11. Camp Humphreys is a new military-style city with its own airfield. An official from the US Forces Korea base relocation project introduced the base and said, "It is modeled after the U.S. capital, Washington D.C."This day, there were over twenty U.S. helicopters including the Chinook and the Apache at the airfield with a 2km-long airstrip, which allows the massive C-130 transport vehicle to transport various military supplies at any time.
The New Leader of the Justice Party, Lee Jeong-mi, "We Shall Establish a Democracy with the Face of the Youth and Farmers"
Lee Jeong-mi (51, photo), the new leader of the Justice Party is a former labor activist who became a first-time lawmaker through proportional representation. Lee entered the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in 1984, but dropped out while taking part in student movements. She then devoted herself to the labor movement in Incheon. In the 1990s, Lee worked in social groups following in the direction of National Liberation (NL), such as the National Union for Democracy and Reunification and a group of women against the U.S.
Music Market Grows as New Idols Rise
They say it is the age of digital online music, but people say that there has been a "boom" even in the offline music market in the last couple of years.According to the Gaon Music Chart, an official popular music chart, on July 10, the top 400 online music consumption (the total of the top 400 music downloads and streaming) and the top 400 album sales have both increased by 29% compared to last year. These days, the major consumers in the record market are the fans of idols. Apart from the success of the songs in music charts, idol groups with a steady fandom (a group of highly enthusiastic fans) usually sell more than 100,000 copies when they release an album. Some experts claim that the album sales in the first half of this year jumped because of the rise of new idol bands.
The Korea Economic Daily (http://english.hankyung.com/)
June Shutdown of Old Coal Power Plants Cost Power Generators 110 Bil. Won
As the government decided to shut down eight old (30-year-old or up) coal-fired power generators for a month in June as part of a measure to reduce the fine dust level, the sales and net profit of the power plants fell more than 100 billion won and 10 billion won respectively.If the government keeps shutting down the power plants during the four spring months between March and June next year and beyond, the power plant operators' will see their sales and net profit decline more than 1 trillion won and 250 billion won each until 2022. Accordingly it is highly likely that electricity rates would rise and consumer backlash ensues.
Bank Deposit Balance Increases by 3 Tril. Won a Month...Bank of Korea
The balance of bank deposits is at a record-high level. Despite the super-low interest rate, investors tend to prefer parking their money in safe instruments rather than risking it in the stock market. The bank deposit balance (savings and demand deposits) has increased by about 3 trillion won a month since early this year. The time at which the deposit balance started rising at a rapid pace coincides with the Bank of Korea's decision to lower its benchmark interest rate below 2 percent in March 2015. At the time, commercial banks followed suit by cutting their deposit rates at about the early or mid-1-percent level. This is in effect a negative interest if one takes into account the inflation rate.
CJ CheilJedang Sells off All Its Holdings in Samsung Life
CJ CheilJedang is set to undertake a demand forecast with institutional investors as part of an effort to sell off all its 1.49-percent stake (2,985,850 shares) in Samsung Life. This is worth 368.8 billion won based on July 11 closing price of 123,500 won. The company is pushing forward with a plan to sell the stake with a 2-4 percent premium. Citi Global Market and BNP Paribas are responsible for handling the underwriting.CJ has sold its Samsung Life shares in stages after taking 8.98 million shares in April 1997. Back in October 2011, it sold off 3 million shares at the price of 256.5 billion won in a block deal. In September 2013, it also sold Samsung Life's 3 million shares at 303.8 billion won.
AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
CJ Cheiljedang sells stake in Samsung life insurer to secure funds
CJ Cheiljedang, a key subsidiary of South Korea's food and entertainment conglomerate CJ Group, moved to secure funds for its aggressive business expansion by selling its stake in a Samsung Group financial arm.The company said in a regulatory filing that it would sell 2.98 million shares worth 357.7 billion won (311.5 million US dollars), or a 1.49 percent stake in Samsung Life Insurance, through block trading. The price is a three percent discount from Tuesday's closing price.
Police launched a raid into the head office of Korean Air to seize evidence in a probe targeting its chairman who is suspected of misappropriating company funds to renovate his residence. In the raid, police seized accounting books, contract documents and other data related to the construction of a hotel near an international airport west of Seoul and the Seoul home of Hanjin Group patriarch Cho Yang-ho. "This morning, there was a search through our materials division," a Korean Air official said. Cho, who also serves as Korean Air chairman, is suspected of siphoning off company funds for the hotel construction into renovating his home between May 2013 and August 2014.
Former presidential candidate apologizes but denies role in scandal
Ahn Cheol-soo, a former opposition presidential candidate, effectively denied his role in a pre-election smear campaign against President Moon Jae-in but vowed to put himself into a period of self-discipline to take moral responsibility. Ahn apologized and offered to take political and moral responsibility for the arrest of two former campaigners by state prosecutors on charges of providing his party with groundless and libelous information about the president's son." I should take all political and moral responsibility," the former software mogul said, adding the scandal has also shocked him. "I will put myself into a period of deep self-discipline and self-reflection," he said, describing the scandal as "unpardonable".
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Samsung Elec acquires Greek voice recognition startup Innoetics
Samsung Electronics Co., which has been empowering software capabilities through mergers and acquisitions, has bought Greek voice recognition startup Innoetics to beef up its voice-enabled services led by self-developed assistant Bixby. According to multiple media outlets, Samsung Electronics closed a deal to purchase full stake in the Greek startup through M&A hunter Samsung Global Innovation Center. The company has not issued a separate statement on the deal, possibly because of the smaller scale. Innoetics was founded in 2006 by four Greek scientists and specializes in text-to-speech technology. It has seven staff and developed expressive voice that can read aloud audio books and narrate fairy tales.
Korea’s hiring softens in June, joblessness under 30 all-time high
Payroll growth lost steam in June with under-30 unemployment worsening to new record-high levels, underscoring poor domestic economic conditions despite activity in the export front, government data showed. According to June employment data released by the Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the number of employed stood at 26,860,000, up 301,000 from the same month last year. The on-year addition was slowest in five months. The number of employed in wholesale and retail sectors gained by 8,000 against a year ago period, sharply decreasing from the on-year increase of 52,000 in the previous month. Employment in lodging and restaurant industry shrank by 38,000.
Watchdog accuses Korean customs of intentionally dropping Hotel Lotte in duty-free licensing
South Korea’s Board of Audit and Inspection on Tuesday accused the country’s customs authority of fabricating material and discriminating Hotel Lotte Co. in assessment under new duty-free business guidelines in 2015 that ended up closing down the company’s 30-year-old duty-free shop in southern Seoul. According to an inspection conducted by the state audit agency on suspected illicit selection of duty-free operators upon request by the National Assembly, the Korea Customs Service was allegedly involved in 13 unfair practices when giving out licenses in July and December of 2015.
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