UPDATE : 2018.8.14 TUE 14:06
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Headlines, August 9, 2018

Thursday, August 9, 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.
2 Koreas holding meeting to discuss railway cooperation
South and North Korean officials are holding a meeting to discuss cooperation in modernizing and eventually reconnecting railways across their border, a unification ministry official said Thursday. The meeting is currently under way between railway policymakers of the two Koreas at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) office in Paju, just south of the inter-Korean border, according to the official.

Gov. Kim grilled for 2nd time in opinion rigging probe
Special investigators questioned South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo for a second time on Thursday as part of an investigation into an opinion rigging scandal. Kim arrived at the special counsel's office in Gangnam, southern Seoul, at around 9:30 a.m. This is the second interrogation in a week following an overnight questioning he underwent on Monday. Prosecutors called him in again, citing the need to continue the face-to-face investigation to speed up the probe that only has about two weeks to wrap up before its official 60-day term given by the parliament ends later this month.

Agriculture minister nominee vows to revitalize rural communities
South Korea's agriculture minister nominee on Thursday said he will seek ways to foster a value-added agriculture industry and smart farming to attract younger people to rural areas. Lee Gae-ho made the pledge during a parliamentary confirmation hearing after he was tapped as the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, which has been vacant for over four months. "It is hard to find young people in rural areas, as farmers under age 40 account for less than 1 percent of the total. It is time to seriously think about the future of farming," the two-term ruling Democratic Party lawmaker told lawmakers. "I will provide support for the agriculture and food industry's sustainable growth."
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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)
N. Korea's Top Diplomat Meets Iranian President

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho held talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran on Wednesday, just a day after U.S. President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on the Middle Eastern nation. Iran's state-run media said that the North Korean foreign minister briefed Rouhani on the nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington. In the meeting, Ri criticized Washington for withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions against Tehran.

US Voices Confidence in S. Korea's Implementation of Sanctions
The U.S. State Department has voiced confidence in Seoul's implementation of sanctions against North Korea amid a controversy over alleged illegal shipments of North Korean coal into South Korea. A State Department official said in a written statement on Wednesday that South Korea is a faithful and reliable partner in the maritime implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. The official said that the U.S. and South Korea work closely together on North Korea issues, and remain in close contact to coordinate their unified response to Pyongyang.

Military to More than Halve Cars Provided to Generals
The Defense Ministry has decided to slash by more than half the number of passenger cars provided to all generals as part of its Defense 2.0 initiative aimed at overhauling the military. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the ministry said it will cut 417 such cars out of a total of 765, starting from this November. The cars will be provided only to key commanders and crisis management personnel that are tasked with combat operations.
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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)
Gov't videos on Dokdo record over 10 mln views

The South Korean government's YouTube clips on Dokdo, a pair of volcanic islets in the East Sea, have drawn more than 10 million hits, according to a related website Thursday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted the videos on a special website, dokdo.mofa.go.kr, in Korean, English, Japanese and nine other languages. The Korean version, which lasts four minutes and 18 seconds, was made public at the end of 2013 designed to publicize South Korea's sovereignty over Dokdo claimed by Japan. It was followed by videos in the other languages.

Samsung to start preorders for Galaxy Note 9 on Monday
Samsung Electronics Co. plans to start receiving preorders for its Galaxy Note 9 in South Korea next week, industry sources said Thursday, in an apparent effort to increase its shipments. According to the sources, South Korea's three mobile carriers will take orders Monday, which is a day earlier than expected. The move seems aimed at getting as many customers as possible before archrival Apple Inc. unveils its new iPhones next month, sources here said. The official release is slated for Aug. 24.

N. Korea urges U.S. to agree to declare end to Korean War
North Korea reiterated its demand Thursday for the United States to agree to declare an end to the 1950-53 Korean War, saying that it would help bring in peace and create mutual trust. Declaring an end to the Korean War is "the demand of our time" and will be the "first process" toward a peace and security guarantee, the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Workers' Party of Korea, said in a commentary. The newspaper added that it is "abnormal" to see distrust and animosity going on between the North and the U.S. even now, saying that it is time to take action toward declaring an end to the war.
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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Peace talks raise hopes on special economic zones
Despite anticipated hurdles, the recent talks of peace on the Korean Peninsula have brought hope among regional governments and politicians in the South to have their regions designated special economic zones that can serve as hubs for exchanges across the border. Establishing a “special economic zone for unification” was one of President Moon Jae-in’s pledges during his election campaign in spring 2017, with a plan to develop border villages into industrial complexes with a combination of the South’s capital and the North’s labor -- similar to Kaesong industrial park.

Defense minister briefed Moon on DSC reform plan: Cheong Wa Dae
The presidential office on Wednesday confirmed that President Moon Jae-in was briefed by Defense Minister Song Young-moo on the reform plan for the scandal-ridden military intelligence command during a closed-door meeting. According to Cheong Wa Dae, Moon met with Song and senior presidential aides on Friday evening -- hours after the presidential office announced a plan to create a new military command to replace the Defense Security Command.

Samsung ‘back in game’ with W180tr investment plans
Samsung Electronics on Wednesday unveiled an investment plan worth 180 trillion won ($161 billion) for new growth industries and job creation, marking the largest investment scheme under the command of Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, while offering an olive branch to the anti-chaebol government. The plan, which includes investments for domestic industrial infrastructure and creation of 40,000 new jobs over the next three years, came two days after a visit by Korea’s top economic policymaker, Kim Dong-yeon, to a Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor plant Monday.
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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
Lush Korea draws protest from feminists

Lush Korea has become the latest target for the nation's radical feminist groups, who regard two of the company's video clips recently posted on Instagram as "misogynistic." Although the U.K. cosmetics maker's local subsidiary said Wednesday it did not intend to insult women, the growing number of Instagram users threatening to boycott Lush's products seems to be weighing on the company. The feminists criticized Lush Korea at first for a video clip that shows a female pedestrian, who thinks twice about jaywalking, after seeing a poster that reads "You are not a water deer."

South Korean military embraces new technologies
The military will embrace emerging technologies ― such as 3D printing and drones ― and turn them into mainstream logistics platforms, the Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday. The move comes as part of the military's ongoing Defense Reform 2.0 drive, under which the ministry is seeking to simplify and streamline outdated supply chains within military camps. A big data-driven analytics system will stand at the center of the drive. Starting from 2020, the military plans to incorporate its data management system into logistics sectors, which will help build a more scientific defense logistics platform here, according to the ministry.

President to push forward deregulation
President Moon Jae-in and his economic team are pushing forward a drive to implement business-friendly policies to boost the country's potential growth rate. While Moon's support base is heavily comprised of citizens dissatisfied with the longstanding cozy ties between politicians and conglomerates, Cheong Wa Dae said reducing or eliminating some regulations on industries will be beneficial to companies in emerging industries, as they will be free to create innovative products and services.
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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
Late 40-Somethings Make up Biggest Chunk of Population

People born in 1971 account for the largest proportion of Korea's population. According to data released by the Ministry of the Interior and Safety on Tuesday, Korea's had a population of 51.78 million last year, up 0.2 percent from a year earlier. But the average number of people per household dropped from 2.43 to 2.39. Some 944,179 people were born in 1971, increasing the average age by six months to 41.5 years. The average age of men was 40.4 years and that of women 42.7 because they live longer.

N.Korea 'Exports Coal Through Russian Network'
North Korea has evaded sanctions since 2016 by exporting its coal disguised as Russian product and receiving payment in installments, U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Asia reported Monday. When the UN banned coal exports, the North took a 30 percent deposit from coal importers beforehand in case shipments were confiscated at sea, a source in the Chinese city of Dandong told RFA. The North took another 30 percent when a ship sailed to an importing country from a Russian port, and the rest when the shipments reached a port in the importing country. Pyongyang used bank accounts of Chinese companies and paid fees for the service, the source added.

Most Part-Time Workers Fear Job Losses Due to Minimum Wage Hike
More than half of part-time workers are concerned that the increased minimum wage next year will cost them work. In a survey of 3,011 part-time workers by job portal Albamon released on Tuesday, 85.8 percent, or 2,583 respondents, said they were concerned about the minimum wage hike next year. As reasons, some 57 percent cited difficulty finding a job as there would be fewer part-time jobs available because small business owners cannot afford the hike.
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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Fair Trade Commission pursues class action system for consumers after BMW fires

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is actively pursuing the adoption of a class action system to improve the efficacy of restitution for consumers after a recent string of fires involving BMW vehicles. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) is also considering adoption of a punitive damage system as a measure to improve current automobile recall practices. Speaking on Aug. 7 about plans for improving customer restitution measures after the BMW fires, an FTC senior official explained, “Restitution for damages is not easy under the current law, as the consumer [plaintiff] is responsible for proving everything including defects in the products, loss of life, injury, property damage, and the causal relationship between the product defect and damages to the consumer.”

A South Korean who illegally entered North Korea repatriated via Panmunjeom
A South Korean citizen who illegally entered North Korea on July 22 was returned by the North via Panmunjeom. “At 11:00 this morning, we were handed back a South Korean citizen by the North by way of Panmunjeom,” the Ministry of Unification said in an Aug. 7 release. The South Korean citizen who entered North Korea illegally was a 34-year-old surnamed Seo who appeared to have been caught by North Korean authorities on July 22 after entering North Korean territory. No information was confirmed on Seo’s reasons for entering North Korea illegally.

Lee Jae-yong’s objective coincides with that of American multinationals
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong recommended that the South Korean government increase the price of new and innovative drugs under the national health insurance system – a recommendation that unexpectedly coincides with a longtime desire of American multinational pharmaceutical companies, an objective they have constantly sought to achieve through the South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement and other means. Samsung’s interests happen to overlap with those of the American pharmaceutical industry: Lee wants the pricing of original drugs to be left to the mechanism of market competition, which is likely to provoke controversy since it echoes the American argument that drug pricing decisions should be entrusted to an independent private board instead of the public health authorities.
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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
Bolton: Seoul to take measures against alleged coal smuggling

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday (local time) that he had a phone conversation with his South Korean counterpart, Chung Eui-yong, on the alleged illegal shipments of North Korean coal into South Korea and that Seoul promised to take “appropriate” measures regarding the issue. Asked about North Korea’s alleged violation of the U.N. sections, Bolton said that he had spoken with Chung, who told the U.S. official about the investigations Seoul is conducting of the coal smuggling operations. “They’ve been cooperating fully with us, and they’ll do what’s appropriate under South Korean law, including prosecution,” Bolton said.

Samsung to invest 180 trillion won, hire 40,000 over next 3 years
As major business conglomerates have been unveiling massive investment and hiring plans since late last year, there are growing expectations for an upturn in the business sentiment in the second half of this year. Samsung Electronics Co. announced on Wednesday that it would invest 130 trillion won (116 billion U.S. dollars) of its planned investments worth 180 trillion won (160 billion dollars) over the next three years in the domestic market, including expanding its semiconductor plant in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. “The latest investment reflects the management’s sense of crisis that it could fall behind the competition from China and other countries if it does not act now.”

Asan Medical Center sets a milestone in donor liver transplant
Asan Medical Center in Seoul achieved two remarkable feats on Wednesday by successfully performing a dual-lobe liver transplant surgery to a late-stage cirrhosis patient surnamed Yang (46). The liver was donated by the patient’s older brother (49) and his older sister (47). After a 15-hour surgery, Mr. Yang has been given a new life, receiving the left lobe of liver from his brother and the right lobe of liver from his sister. Asan Medical Center was the first in Korea to attempt liver transplantation, which is known to be the only and standard treatment to cure patients with late-stage liver diseases. After 24 years since its first attempt, the medical center has set a milestone in the global medical circle.
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JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)
Seoul’s coal imports may be upsetting Washington
The South Korean government is in a pickle over continued allegations that it is overlooking North Korean coal being smuggled into the country while the United States insists on its “maximum pressure” campaign on Pyongyang. John Bolton, the U.S. national security adviser, revealed he talked with Chung Eui-yong, his South Korean counterpart, over the issue of dodgy coal imports to South Korea Tuesday.

Explosion at brand-new coal-fired power plant kills one
An explosion during a test run at a newly built coal-fired power plant in Pocheon, Gyeonggi, Wednesday morning left one worker dead and four others injured, police said. According to police and fire authorities, a 45-year-old employee of a subcontractor surnamed Kim was killed when a conveyor belt in the plant’s basement carrying coal to the furnace suddenly blew up. Four other workers suffered burns and are being treated at local hospitals, with one of the victims suffering first degree burns on his body. Kim and two of the injured were in the basement when the explosion occurred, while the other two were above ground.

Baemin robot gets job at Pizza Hut
Another day, another Dilly - or so the saying probably goes in Baedal Minjok’s head office. The food-delivery app’s Dilly Plate robot has started serving up slices at a Pizza Hut restaurant in Mok-dong, western Seoul, according to both companies on Wednesday. Dilly Plate, the new serving robot, is not to be confused with plain old Dilly, the delivery robot that the company has been working on since last year. Dilly Plate is a self-driving robot specifically designed for restaurants. Having first started working at the Pizza Hut restaurant on Monday, it will assist human employees in serving pizza for two weeks until Aug. 19.
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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Military's Investigation of “Personal Reputation” Limited to Irregularities and Corruption: Failure to Remain Politically Neutral to Be Punished According to the Military Criminal Act

Systematically, it will be impossible for the military's Intelligence Support Command, which will launch next month after the restructuring of the Defense Security Command (DSC), to exert “omnipotent” power like its predecessor. According to the Presidential Decree on the Intelligence Support Command, the enactment of which the government announced on August 6, the new command will not be able to investigate the “personal reputation” of soldiers and civil servants in the military. If the command fails to remain politically neutral, it will be punished according to the Military Criminal Act.

New Name for DSC, "Intelligence Support Command" to Officially Launch on September 1
On August 6, the military decided to name the new military intelligence unit that will replace the Defense Security Command (DSC), after it is disbanded, the Intelligence Support Command (tentative English name). A team to prepare the establishment of the new intelligence command was also organized this day and began its activities. The military has begun to fundamentally reorganize the Defense Security Command. The Ministry of National Defense announced that it aimed to officially launch the new command on September 1. This day, the defense ministry announced that it had notified the enactment of the presidential decree on the Intelligence Support Command. The ministry also announced plans to rescind the Presidential Decree on the Defense Security Command, the grounds for the existence of the DSC.

Red Wave of 70,000 Women in Gwanghwamun Square: Anger Raging Hotter than the Heat Wave
Women who had taken to the streets near Hyehwa Station, Seoul since May criticizing the police’s partial investigation of illegal filming and photography moved to Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul this time. Contrary to the expectation that the number of participants would decrease due to the record-breaking heat wave and the WOMAD controversy, 70,000 women (according to the organizers), the largest number for a single women's agenda, took part. Crude slogans defaming and mocking the other disappeared and the protest continued to grow as women in their forties, who had been reluctant to take part, joined in.
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AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)
S. Korean food delivery giant to operate autonomous robot to deliver pizza for first time

Following the test-run of an autonomous serving robot at a crowded food court in June, South Korea's top food delivery service will test-run a pizza serving robot for the first time in the country. Woowa Brothers, the operator of food delivery service Baedal Minjok, said in a statement on Wednesday that it started a test-run of "Dilly Plate", a pizza serving robot, at a Pizza Hut store in western Seoul.

Thousands of S. Koreans to race in Han River aboard cardboard paper boats
Enthusiastic South Koreans with good crafting skills will test their rowing skills with their own self-made boats made of cardboard paper in the Han River that runs through Seoul. Seoul city said in a statement that it would hold "Paper Boat Race", an annual three-day, at Jamsil Riverside Park in eastern Seoul from Friday until Sunday. At the event, more than 2,000 participants will be given cardboards and other tools to build their boats and use it to race to a buoy, located about 50 meters (164 feet) from the bank of the river, and back. Awards will be given to teams with fastest lap times.

Police raid treasure hunting firm in probe on investment fraud allegations
Police raided the office of Shinil Group, a marine salvaging firm which claimed to have discovered a sunken Russian warship full of gold, on allegations of investment fraud. The police raided eight locations including the office of Shinil Group in western Seoul on Tuesday. Shinil Group is reported to have closed down recently after the company was accused by investors that its claims about the Russian shipwreck are nothing but a scam.
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Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
Lotte Confectionery to use AI to develop new products

South Korea’s confectionery giant Lotte Confectionery Co. will actively use artificial intelligence (AI) in developing the next hit snack, a move that is expected to bring about big changes in the confectionery industry, according to the company. The company said on Wednesday that it has developed Lotte Confectionery Intelligence Advisor (LCIA) that can predict future food trends by comprehensively analyzing diverse internal and external data such as sales data, weather condition, consumer age group, and regional spending pattern, as well as studying tens of millions of social data based on AI technology.

Korean bank ownership rules likely to be eased to back online banks
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has proposed easing bank ownership regulations for non-financial businesses, a move that may increase access to fresh capital for the country’s internet-only banks that need ammunition for further growth. Under Korean banking law, a non-financial firm cannot own more than 10 percent in a bank, with voting rights limited to 4 percent. The regulation was imposed to prevent conglomerates from using the bank reserves like their personal safe.

Taihan Electric Wire wins $26 mn power cable deals in Middle East
South Korea’s leading industrial cable provider Taihan Electric Wire Co. said Wednesday it has clinched three power cable contracts worth $25.5 million in total from the Middle East - two in Dubai and one in Qatar. Taihan Electric Wire said it won a $13 million order in Dubai from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) to install underground cables, connect the country`s new substations and exchange the existing aerial cables. The company will supply 132-kilovolt (kV) extra-high voltage cables and cable connectors for the project.
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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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