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Headlines, July 31, 2018

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Round-up of important news from major Korean, international dailies, other news sources today:

The Korea Post media (www.koreapost.com) in English, (www.koreapost.co.kr) in Korean.
Pence credits Trump for return of troop remains from N. Korea
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has lauded President Donald Trump for securing the return of American troops' remains from North Korea. Pence, who is to attend a ceremony in Hawaii Wednesday to honor the 55 soldiers whose remains were transported out of North Korea last week, said he was moved by the president's action. Recovering and returning the remains of an estimated 5,300 American troops in North Korea following the 1950-53 Korean War was one of the agreements reached by Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at their historic summit in Singapore last month. Asked in a recent interview with Fox Business News why Kim agreed to the repatriation, Pence said, "Because President Trump asked him."

Turkmenistan hosts ‘Turkmen Desert Race’ with great interest from motorsports world
Ambassador Myrat Mammetallyyev of the Republic of Turkmenistan in Seoul said, “In 2018, Turkmenistan will host the International Rally ‘Amul-Hazar 2018’ or ‘Turkmen Desert Race’ according to the International Classification, which has been registered in the World Sports calendar 2018.” Speaking with reporters at a meeting at the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Seoul on July 27, 2018, the Turkmen envoy then stated, “This contest, organized in Turkmenistan on the initiative of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, will be held from 9 to 15 September 2018 and has already attracted great interest in the motorsport world.”

Summer Eel: A Japanese Delicacy at Genji
Genji, Millennium Seoul Hilton’s Japanese restaurant, is pleased to offer wild eel, a Japanese delicacy, at Genji throughout the month of August. Available in a stellar eight-course extravaganza, the eel will be prepared teriyaki-style and will be served along other fine Japanese dishes. Some of the courses will include: assorted sashimi, Orotson eel teriyaki, assorted vinegared seafood, assorted tempura, and more. The meal is priced at KW125,000 per person.
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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
S. Korea's Biz Sentiment Falls to 17-month Low
South Korean firms' business sentiment for July worsened on concerns over the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. According to the Bank of Korea on Tuesday, the business survey index(BSI) for July for all industries stood at 75, down five points from the previous month. The index fell to 77 in March and rebounded to 79 in April and 81 in May, but slipped to 80 in June.

Two Former FTC Officials Arrested for Job Irregularities
Two former Fair Trade Commission(FTC) officials have been arrested for assisting the illegal employment of the commission’s retirees. The Seoul Central District Court on Monday issued arrest warrants for the commission’s former chairman Jeong Jae-chan and ex-vice chairman Kim Hak-hyun on charges of obstruction of business, bribery and violating the ethics code for public servants. When issuing the warrants, the court cited risks that they will destroy evidence.

N. Korea Blasts Seoul's Sanctions, Wants Cross-Border Projects Resumed
North Korea has criticized the South Korean government for keeping sanctions on Pyongyang and called for the resumption of inter-Korean projects. In a commentary Tuesday, the Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, claimed the South had only moved to foster conditions for improved cross-border ties and urged it to take action and real measures.
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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
S. Korea's industrial output falls 0.6 pct in June
South Korea's industrial output fell in June from a month earlier, hit by weaker capital investment and export growth, government data showed Tuesday. Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries declined 0.6 percent on-month in June, following an adjusted 1.2 percent on-month gain in the previous month, according to the data by Statistics Korea. From a year earlier, industrial output fell 0.4 percent, following a 1.2 percent on-year rise in May.

LG Electronics donates OLED TVs to Philippine museum
LG Electronics Inc. said Tuesday that it has donated high-end OLED TVs to the National Museum of the Philippines to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the company's presence in the country. The South Korean tech giant said it delivered the OLED TVs to the museum and hosted a showcase event of the LG Signature OLED TV W. The company also provided the museum with a special video of the marine ecosystem at the Philippine's resort island of Bohol, filmed by artist Noel Guevara.

Consumption tax on passenger car purchases to be cut to 3.5 pct until year-end
The government on Tuesday approved a tax cut on purchases of passenger cars, in a bid to stimulate sluggish private consumption and business investment. Under the latest stimulus measure, endorsed by Cabinet at a meeting earlier in the day, individual consumption tax on purchases of passenger cars will be reduced to 3.5 percent from 5 percent until the end of this year. The tax cut applies to passenger cars that were produced from July 19, finance ministry officials said.
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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Korea to invest in next-generation chips to stay ahead of China
The South Korean government will invest 1.5 trillion won ($1.34 billion) in developing new technologies and creating a manufacturing hub for next-generation chips in order to keep its leading position being sought by China, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Monday. The Industry Ministry will make the investment for the next 10 years together with the Ministry of Science and ICT, titling the project “Next-Generation Intelligent Semiconductor Technology Development Project.”

Recovering war remains best way to honor fallen heroes
Under the scorching sun at Gamaksan in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, Lt. Col. Ju Gyeong-bae has been standing for hours looking for something unusual in the popular tourist destination famous for having the longest suspension bridge in South Korea. Wearing battle dress with a black vest, the 51-year-old Army officer looked as if he were trying to sell something. In fact, he was promoting collecting DNA samples from family members who had lost their loved ones during the Korean War.

Blistering heat wave continues to scorch Korea
The prolonged heat wave continues in the country, causing heat-related illnesses in over 2,000 patients. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, Seoul will reach a daytime high of 38 degrees Celsius, which is near the record daytime high of 38.4 C on July 24, 1994. The weather agency forecast that the mercury might reach 39 C on Wednesday. In 1994, around 3,000 people died of heat-related illnesses. There have been a total of 27 deaths in 2018 so far due to heat-related illnesses. The weather agency said the weather is expected to get hot enough in August to break the record temperature set in 1994.
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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Korea braces for record-breaking heat
The ongoing heat wave blanketing the country is expected to be a record-breaking one as a North Pacific anticyclone is forecast to continue throughout August, producing midday highs of around 35 degrees Celsius. The scorching heat may be more severe than that of 1994, the year when about 3,000 people died of heat or heat-related causes. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), Monday, the highest temperature in Seoul for July will not surpass that of 1994 when the mercury soared to 38.4 degrees.

Pension fund to wield bigger influence on corporate management
The National Pension Service (NPS) will be allowed to participate in the management of firms in which it has invested to ensure that the companies do not damage corporate or shareholder value. The measure is aimed at enhancing transparency in corporate management while improving investment returns for the pension funds, but businesses are showing concerns it will hamper their business activities. The National Pension Fund Management Committee held a meeting Monday, where it decided to adopt a stewardship code.

Two Former FTC Officials Arrested for Job Irregularities
Two former Fair Trade Commission(FTC) officials have been arrested for assisting the illegal employment of the commission’s retirees. The Seoul Central District Court on Monday issued arrest warrants for the commission’s former chairman Jeong Jae-chan and ex-vice chairman Kim Hak-hyun on charges of obstruction of business, bribery and violating the ethics code for public servants. When issuing the warrants, the court cited risks that they will destroy evidence.
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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Shorter Working Week Threatens Cigarette Breaks
Smokers who sneak out of the office for a cigarette during the shorter working week are increasingly under scrutiny from bosses who think that productivity is to be measured by long ineffectual hours at the desk. One office worker with a large retailer who smokes about half a pack a day has already had to cut back as his employer banned cigarette breaks at the busiest times. "Most of my coworkers who smoke seem to be voluntarily cutting back," he said. "Many smoke either at lunch or before and after office hours."

Heat Wave Drives up Road Accidents
Scorching heat this summer has contributed to an eight percent rise of road accidents compared to last year. Samsung Traffic Safety Research Institute said Sunday that it analyzed 1.86 million road accidents by subscribers to Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance between June and August from 2016 through 2018, and found that for every one-degree rise in temperature, the number of road accidents went up by 1.2 percent.

Seoul's Defense Reforms Slash Ground Troops
The Defense Ministry will slash 118,000 ground troops and shorten military service by two to three months as well as drastically slimming down the military's top-heavy command structure. The defense reform plans announced last Friday and now approved by President Moon Jae-in also discard a two-week scenario to seize the North Korean capital in case of a war. The plans envisage reducing ground troops, slimming the command structure by getting rid of some 18 percent of idle generals and shortening mandatory military service from 21 months to 18 by the end of 2021.
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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Controversial Peace Dam to be converted into Peace Waterway
The Peace Dam, which has been lambasted as a fraud foisted upon the South Korean public, will be reborn as the starting point of a “Peace Waterway” set to link watercourses between South and North Korea. Attention is focusing on whether the Peace Waterway tourism project can replace the overland route to Mt. Kumgang in Goseong County, a previous North Korean tourism project. Inspired by the recent improvement in inter-Korean relations, Gangwon Province and Hwacheon County announced on July 24 that they’re planning a “peace waterway” tourism program that will link the Peace Dam with Inner Kumgang, the western half of the mountain. The Peace Waterway will take travelers between South and North Korea along the water system of the North Han River, which has been divided between South and North Korea since the Korean War.

North Korea’s IT proficiency attracts attention worldwide
The daily lives of North Koreans are drawing increasing attention amid growing anticipation of improved inter-Korean relations in the wake of an inter-Korean summit on Apr. 27 and the North Korea-US summit on June 12. US-based journalist Jin Chun-gyu recently published a book titled “Pyongyang Time Flows with Seoul Time” based on his visit to Pyongyang in Oct. 2017, while the North Korean nuclear crisis was intensifying. The book captures the daily lives of Pyongyang residents in vivid pictures and prose.

AI and inter-Korean economic cooperation highlighted as top variables of influence
Companies with organizations in place for research and development (R&D) selected artificial intelligence (AI) and inter-Korean economic cooperation as the top variables expected to influence the development of South Korea’s economy, industry, and technology through 2030. The findings were among those published by the Korea Industrial Technology Association (KOITA) on July 23 from a survey of industry perceptions on the future prospects for industry technology through 2030. For the study, a total of 826 companies with R&D organizations in place were surveyed between June 5 and July 6. The survey adopted a free-response format, with 36 keywords provided as examples by experts in different fields.
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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Mike Pence to attend a ceremony to receive remains of fallen heroes
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said he was “deeply moved and deeply honored to be able to be there when we bring our boys home,” in an interview with Fox News Sunday (local time), referring to the remains of American soldiers killed in the Korean War recently returned from North Korea as a part of the agreement made between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their historic meeting in June. The remains of 55 U.S. servicemen will be flown to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii and honored at a ceremony set to be held on Wednesday with Vice President Pence in attendance.

GM Korea, union agree to cut shift at Bupyeong plant
GM Korea has decided to cut the second shift at its second plant in Bupyeong temporarily until the end of 2019, according to the company on Monday. The Bupyeong plant has been running at about 30 percent capacity. The plant is capable of building 180,000 units a year at full capacity but is currently manufacturing only 65,000 units a year. GM Korea has been running two shifts at the Bupyeong plant despite a remarkably low rate of operation. But it has been an unconventional double shift, different from a typical day and night shift. Group A would work from 7 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays while group B would work from 3:40 p.m. to 12:20 a.m. plus overtime work of an hour and a half on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

A Korean comfort woman in Okinawa outcries once again in 40 years
“I was a comfort woman,” the late Kim Hak-soon (1924∼1997) made such a heartbreaking testimony of her bruising past in August 1991, resonating with many of us. However, a not-well-known fact is that there lived another old lady in Okinawa, named Bae Bong-ki (1914-1991) in October 1975. Furthermore, even fewer know of documentary film “Okinawa no Harumoni,” by director Tetsuo Yamatani in the 1970s. The movie, which interviews Bae, showed at a small theater in Shibuya, Tokyo on July 7.
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JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Heat warping train tracks, making roads crack
Railway tracks are expanding in the extreme heat, raising the risk of trains derailing on buckled tracks. The national railroad company is reacting by slowing down some trains and delaying others during the heat wave. The Korea Railroad Corporation (Korail) delayed the schedules of two KTX trains from Seoul to Busan around 8:05 a.m. Monday after it found that some tracks appeared to have expanded near Geumcheon-gu Office Station in southern Seoul.

Tax changes for next year narrow the income gap
Korea’s tax reforms for next year will focus on narrowing the gap between those at the top and bottom, which analysts say is even more needed after hikes in the minimum wage. Measures announced Monday include expanding the earned-income tax credit to people earning low incomes by lowering the qualification criteria and increasing the amount of credit. The earned-income tax credit is a government subsidy given to low-income households in the form of tax refunds.

Lotte could shut department stores in China
Lotte Department Store is considering closing some of its branches in China due to slow sales as the fallout from the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) antimissile system last year continues to hurt the Korean company. “The company’s business in China has been going through a difficult time, so we’re considering various options,” said a spokesman on Monday. It added that the decision was inevitable considering the low sales in the country. The chance that stores will be closed comes a decade after Lotte launched its first department store there in 2008.
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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
"Restrictions on Intra-Group Transactions When Owner Family Possesses More than 20% of the Shares"
In the future, when the owner family has 20% or more of the shares of a chaebol affiliate, that affiliate is likely to be subject to regulations on intra-group transactions, regardless of whether the company is listed or not. Currently in the case of listed companies, if the owner family owns more than 30% of the shares, the companies are restricted in intra-group transactions. Subsidiaries with more than 50% of the shares owned by a company subject to the intra-group transaction regulations are also expected to be restricted in intra-group businesses. As a result, Hyundai Glovis, Samsung Life Insurance, and Samsung Welstory will be newly subject to regulations.

Why Not Raise the Minimum Wage when the Economy Grows?” President Answers Citizens, “Change Is Hard, But It Will Be for the Better Once It Settles”
For President Moon Jae-in, who had claimed to be the "president of Gwanghwamun," his pledge to have a glass of soju with the citizens getting off work had always remained on the to-do list in his mind. On the evening of July 26, President Moon finally checked it off his to-do list at a pub in Gwanghwamun. The reason the president chose to meet the people now was because he wanted to listen to their thoughts amid the continuing debate on the achievements of his economic policies, such as the raising of the minimum wage.

Military Lacks Ability to Carry out Self-Reforms: Martial Law Incident Lost
The military is under attack for lacking self-discipline with massive reforms of the military approaching. The criticism was triggered by an embarrassing argument over the martial law document between Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo (69, photo) and the Defense Security Command (DSC). The Defense Security Command argued that Minister Song had received a report on the problematic document, but had neglected the issue, while the defense minister retorted that that was a "perfect lie." As their argument intensified, the nature of the issue, the gravity of the document that had planned to destroy our constitutional order, appears to be lost. Public opinion is calling for a major operation of the military, but the government's plans to drive reforms in the military centered on Minister Song has also been disrupted.
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AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
Treasure hunters banned from going abroad to face police investigation
For a probe into Shinil Group, a Seoul-based marine salvaging firm which claimed to have discovered a Russian warship full of gold, police have imposed a travel ban on company executives. Shinil claimed on July 15 that it has found Dmitrii Donskoi, a Russian Imperial Navy warship, lying on a seabed off Ulleungdo, a South Korean island located between the Korean peninsula and Japan. The company has tried to lure investors with claims that the ship sank with 200 tons of gold ingots and coins aboard in 1905 during a Russo-Japanse naval battle.

Association of banks opens up branches as heat shelters for elderlies and weak people
Thousands of South Korean bank branches were open Monday to extraneous visitors seeking to find heat shelters as a protracted deadly heat wave led to a spike in fever patients especially among old people. An association of South Korean lenders agreed to open their branches nationwide as heat shelters, allowing elderly and week people to take rest freely with no concern about being kicked out. The move is effective by the end of August.

N. Korea approves memorial service for late Hyundai chief
North Korea has allowed the widowed boss of South Korea's troubled Hyundai Group to make a cross-border trip this weekend for a memorial service at a resort developed by her late husband just north of the heavily armed border. Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun will head a 15-member delegation for the memorial service on Saturday at the Mount Kumgang resort on the east coast. The annual service on August 4 was suspended in 2016 because of high cross-border tensions.
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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Samsung Elec Q2 earnings growth slows despite record chip profits
South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. confirmed its second-quarter earnings growth registered its first decline in seven quarters as weak display and smartphone sales weighed down on record profits from its semiconductors business. The world’s largest chipmaker said in its final earnings report on Tuesday that it posted an operating profit of 14.9 trillion won ($13.3 billion) in the April-June period, up 5.71 percent from a year earlier but down 4.94 percent from the previous three months to taper off its earnings hot streak.

Korea’s June factory output sags, BSI worst since impeachment
South Korea’s industrial activity in June weakened with capital investment sharply drooping amid deteriorating business sentiment and outlook. According to Statistics Korea on Thursday, the seasonally adjusted mining and manufacturing output in June fell 0.6 percent on month, reversing from the 1.2 percent gain in the previous month. Against the same month last year, it was down 0.4 percent.

Korean retailers post 7.4% on-yr rise in sales in H1 due to spike in online shopping
South Korean retailers saw a 7.4 percent increase in their combined revenue for the first six months on robust sales of online retailers, government data showed. According to data released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Monday, combined sales of Korean retailers - 13 offline stores and 13 online sellers - for the first half of this year rose 7.4 percent from a year-ago period. Sales of brick-and-mortar stores added 2.7 percent, while online sales jumped 16.3 percent during the cited period.
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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 http://colombiareports.com
Bogota Free Planet http://bogotafreeplanet.com bfp@bogotafreeplanet.com
El Universal http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/english
Andes http://www.andes.info.ec/en
Ecuador Times http://www.ecuadortimes.net
The Jordan Times https://www.jordantimes.com
LSM.lv http://www.lsm.lv/en
The Baltic Times http://www.baltictimes.com lithuania@baltictimes.com, estonia@baltictimes.com, editor@baltictimes.com
El Pais http://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html
Philippine Daily Inquirer https://www.inquirer.net
Daily News Hungary http://dailynewshungary.com
Budapest Times http://budapesttimes.hu
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The Korea Post is running video clips from the different embassies.
Azerbaijan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR8CBpcQ4WM
Sri Lanka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hByX92Y2aGY&t=22s
Morocco: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfFmp2sVvSE
And many other countries.
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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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