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Headlines, November 30, 2018

Friday, November 30, 2018

Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today:

The Korea Post media (www.koreapost.com) in English, (www.koreapost.co.kr) in Korean.

Korea seen to resume building nuclear power plants in Korea, around the world

Former Chief Secretary Moon Jae-in for the late President Roh Moo-hyun (2003-8), now President of the Republic of Korea, campaigned in 2017 for President following the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye, vowing not to build any new nuclear power generation reactors. At the time, five reactors were under construction, three of which were near completion (Shin Kori (SKN)-4; Shin Hanul-1 and -2) and two of which had just started (SKN-5 and -6). After Moon was sworn in, construction was suspended on SKN-5/6 in July 2017 and an independent panel was convened to evaluate continuing construction.

Bilateral relations have registered big steps forward on the political and economic levels’

Ambassador Mohammed El Amine Derragui of Algeria hosted a reception at the Grand Ballroom of Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul on November 9, 2018 in celebration of the 64 th Anniversary of the National Day of Algeria. Many Korean and international dignitaries attended the party. Many ambassadors and Korean civic figures attended the party from all walks of life.

100th anniversary of independence of Czechoslovakia reception in Seoul

Ambassador Tomas Husak of Czech Republic and Ambassador Milan Lajciak of Slovak Republic hosted a reception at the Grand Ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul on October 30, 2018 in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of independent Czechoslovakia as a common state of Czechs and Slovaks. The party was attended by Korean and international guests, as well as the ambassadors and other senior members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps with their spouses.

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KBS (http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/)

All Presidential Special Inspectors to Be Replaced over Reported Irregularities

Cheong Wa Dae has decided to dismiss every special inspector of the top office following a KBS report about alleged power abuse. Presidential Spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom announced the decision in a media briefing on Thursday. Earlier, KBS reported that a special inspector belonging to the Office of the Senior Presidential Secretary for Civil Affairs asked police for information on an ongoing investigation into an acquaintance implicated in a bribery case.

Gov't Mulls Abolishing Special Military Exemption System

The government is reviewing a plan to abolish the special military service exemption system. The Military Manpower Administration(MMA) told a subcommittee of the National Assembly National Defense Committee on Thursday that it is mulling two options, either abolishing the system or strengthening its management. Under the current system, elite athletes or artists who make significant achievements at home or around the world will be exempt from compulsory military service. Instead, they will be required to spend a certain amount of time volunteering.

N. Korea Keeps Silent on 1st Anniversary of Nuclear Program Completion

North Korean media outlets have refrained from criticizing the United States as they marked the first anniversary of their claimed completion of nuclear armament. The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, did not post any articles on Thursday related to the country’s test launch of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile a year earlier, when it declared completion of its nuclear development program.

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Yonhap (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr)

S. Korean president vows efforts to improve ties with Argentina

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday vowed to improve his country's ties with Argentina and increase support for South Korean residents and businesses in the South American nation. In a meeting with some 200 South Korean residents and business leaders in Buenos Aires, Moon said his government will also support the education of second and third generation Koreans in Argentina. "Also, we will further develop the relationship between South Korea and Argentina so you will be more proud," he said.

S. Korean president arrives in Argentina for G-20 summit

South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived in Argentina on Thursday for a Group of 20 summit and meetings with various global leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump. Moon's arrival here followed his unofficial two-day visit to the Czech Republic, where he held a summit with Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

Hyundai receives 3,500 preorders for flagship Palisade SUV

Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's largest carmaker by sales, said Friday it received orders for about 3,500 flagship Palisade sport-utility vehicles (SUV) on the first day of preorders. The carmaker said it began to take preorders on Thursday and preorders will be taken until Dec. 10. The base Palisade SUV starts at 42 million won (US$37,000) with the price of not more than 50 million won even with all options, the statement said.

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The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)

BOK raises policy rate to 1.75%

South Korea’s central bank raised the nation’s benchmark interest rate Friday to 1.75 percent, amid growing household debt and further rate hike signals from the United States. The Bank of Korea held its last Monetary Policy Board meeting for this year, in which it decided to raise the key interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.75 percent, officials said.

Stone’s throw away from North Korea

Standing atop the Ganghwa Peace Observatory and looking over at the farmland of the most reclusive state in the world unfold in front of my eyes was a strange feeling. In my short days as a travel writer, I’ve literally been to the other side of the planet, yet there was always one place I could never be as a South Korean. That’s North Korea. The “stone’s throw” cliche is only a slight exaggeration – the North Korean shore is just 2.3 km away. That’s how close it had been all this time.

NCT 127 accused of cultural appropriation after sampling Maori haka

K-pop group NCT 127’s song “Simon Says” sparked mixed sentiments in New Zealand after it was accused of appropriating parts of traditional Maori prayer karakia. “‘Simon Says’ by NCT 127 has been watched nearly 7 million times, but not everyone’s a fan,” wrote New Zealand’s television channel TVNZ, Thursday.

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The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)

Private kindergartens threaten shutdown if law revised

Private kindergarten owners from across the country have protested the government and the National Assembly's moves to pass revision bills aimed at enhancing their transparency, saying all private preschools would have to close down in the event of the bills' passage. Thousands of members of the Korea Kindergarten Association (KKA) gathered at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul, Thursday, protesting the bills the Assembly's Education Committee plans to pass early next month.

Big data emerging as new norm in financial industry

Big data and related technologies are emerging as the centerpiece of the financial industry according to Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) Governor Yoon Suk-heun. Not only Yoon, but also guest speakers stressed the importance of adopting such new technologies to accommodate the rapidly changing financial environment at a recent anniversary ceremony for the finance agency.

Insurers suffer ballooning operating losses

The nation's life insurers posted growing operating losses in the third quarter of 2018 because of declining premium incomes while they had to cover more insurance claims. According to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), Thursday, life insurers posted a total of 16.84 trillion won ($15.03 billion) operating losses in the third quarter of this year, up 1.25 trillion, or 8.1 percent, from the same period last year's figure of 15.59 trillion won.

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Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)

Dust-Emitting Cars to Be Barred from Seoul on Smoggy Days

Cars with high emissions will soon be barred from the streets of the capital. Out of 23 million cars registered, some 2.69 million are subject to the restriction as they have been classified as those generating the highest dust emissions, the Ministry of Environment said Thursday. Starting in February next year, they will be banned from roads in Seoul, Incheon and other metropolitan areas when levels of fine dust particles are high.

Samsung Is World's 4th Largest R&D Spender

According to a report released by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, Samsung is the fourth largest research and development spender among a thousand global companies. The report ranks companies' R&D investment as a percentage of sales for a year from July to June this year.

Gov't Still Hoping for Visit from Kim Jong-un This Year

The government is still determined to bring North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to Seoul in December despite being given the brush-off by Pyongyang. Seoul tried to invite Kim for Dec. 13 and 14 but shelved the plan when the North requested a delay. Now it has started talks with the U.S. to somehow make it happen. "President Moon Jae-in is considering the option of persuading North Korea again after gaining the U.S.' understanding," a source said Thursday.

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HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)

S. Korean court puts brakes on GM’s spinoff scheme

A South Korean court has put the brakes on a scheme by the headquarters of US company General Motors (GM) to split GM Korea into two companies through an extraordinary stockholders’ meeting without the consent and participation of the Korea Development Bank (KDB), its second-largest stockholder. For now, at least, the courts have acknowledged that the KDB had the right to exercise a veto in the stockholders’ meeting.

Online voting based on blockchain technology in S. Korea expected to begin next year

The era of online voting is expected to arrive next year. This will enable citizens to vote by pressing a button on their smartphone screen, without having to go all the way to the polling place. On Nov. 28, South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Election Commission (NEC) announced that they’re planning to develop a system of online voting based on blockchain technology by December and launch a trial service next year. Their plan is to apply the system on a trial basis to voting and surveys in the private sector as a way of identifying any potential errors or shortcomings.

Kolon Group chairman resigns

“Being born with a silver spoon, the life I’ve lived has been more special than other people, but that made me feel the weight of my responsibility, too. Having that silver spoon in my mouth has apparently caused my teeth to crack, and now I’m going to be laying down both my privileges and my responsibilities.” On Nov. 28, Lee Woong-yeol, chairman of the Kolon Group, announced that he will be resigning from all positions in the group as of Jan. 1, 2019.

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The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)

U.N. Security Council investigates N. Korean leader’s luxury limo

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is investigating how North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s luxury limousine was smuggled into North Korea, U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Asia reported on Wednesday. The vehicle, which was used during a car parade in Pyongyang when South Korean President Moon Jae-in visited the North last September, is reportedly a modified version of the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard luxury limousine.

Seoul Forest Quay to be relocated to Banpo

The Seoul Forest Quay, located in Seongsu-dong, Seongdong-gu of Seoul, which has been neglected for the past six years, will be relocated to the Han River Park in Banpo, southern Seoul. The Seoul Metropolitan government made the announcement on Thursday at the request of E-Land Cruise, the company who runs river cruises on the Han River.

Former Norwegian minister sexually abuse asylum seekers

It has been belatedly reported that a well-known Norwegian politician has committed sex crimes against asylum seekers for years. The Norwegian prosecution announced on Wednesday that Svein Ludvigsen, a 72-year-old former fisheries minister and former governor of Tromso in northern Norway, has been charged with sexually abusing three asylum seekers over the period of seven years.

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JoongAng Ilbo (http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/)

Top court rules against Mitsubishi

Korea’s top court upheld lower court rulings Thursday that ordered Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to compensate Korean victims of forced labor during World War II, a decision that Tokyo immediately protested. The Supreme Court ruled on two cases against Mitsubishi and upheld appellate court decisions in favor of the elderly victims of forced labor during Japan’s colonial rule over Korea, which lasted from 1910 to 1945.

Moon promotes Korean nuclear power with Czech leader

President Moon Jae-in promoted South Korea’s nuclear power technology during a bilateral meeting with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Wednesday in Prague. Moon asked the European leader to consider Seoul as a strong candidate for the country’s 10 trillion won ($8.9 billion) bid to construct two new reactors.

Shinhan Financial Group opens new HQ in Hong Kong

Shinhan Financial Group opened a global headquarters for investment banking in Hong Kong on Thursday to better pull resources for the overseas investment banking business. The headquarters, named Group & Global Investment Banking Group (GIB), will oversee global investments and dealings that facilitate corporate mergers and acquisitions. Cho Yong-byoung, chairman of the financial holdings group, said that the group will expand its business based on the new headquarters.

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The KyungHyang Shinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)

The Liberty Korea Party Holds the 3 Kindergarten Bills Back by Buying Time

Discussions on the three kindergarten-related legislations (amendments of the Early Childhood Education Act, the Private School Act, and the School Meals Act) to end corruption in private kindergartens by the National Assembly Education Committee, which was scheduled for November 28, was canceled once again. The Education Committee had planned to discuss the three bills proposed by Democratic Party of Korea lawmaker Park Yong-jin along with the bills proposed by the Liberty Korea Party this day, but the Liberty Korea Party failed to present their draft and refused to engage in discussions on the three bills proposed by Mr. Park. Thus the meeting was canceled.

South Korea-U.S. Summit, Momentum to Drive Denuclearization Negotiations

On November 28, South Korea and the United States announced that President Moon Jae-in would meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on November 30 (local time) during the G20 summit held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Cheong Wa Dae Senior Secretary for Public Relations Yoon Young-chan announced that the two countries were still discussing the details, such as the time and place of the summit. A timely summit will be held when President Moon's mediation in the dialogue between North Korea and the U.S. is urgent.

Second-Year Power Struggle in the Ruling Party Triggered by “Hyegyeonggung Kim”

Signs of a power struggle to seize the ruling party's support have emerged after two years of the Moon Jae-in government. The controversy surrounding Gyeonggi-do Governor Lee Jae-myung's future was the direct cause. Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon is aggressively widening his stride, facing the attacks by the opposition party head on, which shows his intention to secure his position as a future presidential candidate. Generally, a power struggle to secure one's position as a presidential candidate began in the latter half of a government's term, but the Lee Jae-myung variable has ignited the race early.

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AJU Business Daily (http://eng.ajunews.com/korea)

S. Korean train crosses border for inspection of N. Korean railway

A South Korean train crossed the world's last Cold War frontier for an 18-day joint inspection of North Korea's outdated railroads as part of a much-heralded inter-Korean project to rebuild a cross-border transport artery that would be connected with Chinese and Russian lines.

S. Korean mobile carriers ready to start limited 5G service this week

South Korea's top mobile carrier, SK Telecom (SKT), will offer the world's first commercialized 5G service this week, using a next-generation convergence technology of quantum cryptography, artificial intelligence and network security.

Actor Park bo-gum to hold fan meetings in major Asian cities next year

South Korean actor Park Bo-gum will hold fan meetings in major Asian cities including Seoul, Bangkok and Hong Kong next year. He came back this week in "Encounter", a cable TV drama starring popular actress Song Hye-kyo. Blossom Entertainment, the 25-year-old's agency, said in a statement Friday that Park will embark on an Asian fan meeting tour, starting on January 26 in Seoul. He will hold fan meeting events in Japan, Bangkok and Hong Kong in February and March.

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Maeil Business News Korea ( http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)

Chip sector slowdown to weigh on Korean economy

After enjoying an unprecedently long boom until recently, the global semiconductor market is set to reverse its course due to an oversupply, boding ill for the South Korean economy which depends heavily on its two chipmaking giants. The world’s memory chip market in 2019 is projected to slide 0.3 percent on year to $164.5 billion, according to a report published Thursday by World Semiconductor Trade Statistics, a non-profit organization representing 42 major global chip players.

Hyundai Motor to buy back $222.7 mn worth shares

South Korea’s auto giant Hyundai Motor Co. will buy back shares worth 250 billion won ($222.7 million) in search for a breakthrough to boost its stock value that has been showing the worst performance in nearly a decade due to concerns over the company’s business prospects. Hyundai Motor announced in a regulatory filing on Friday that it will buy 2,136,681 common shares worth 213.7 billion won and 41.2 billion won worth preferred stocks based at the closing prices on Nov. 29. The share repurchase, aimed to enhance shareholder returns, will be made in the market from Dec.3 to Feb.28 in 2019, the company added.

Bank of Korea pushes up rate to 1.75% in the first rate hike in a year

The Bank of Korea (BOK) closed this year’s rate-setting calendar on Friday with a synchronized action of a year-ago, delivering the first 25 basis-point hike in the policy rate after sitting out four increases in the United States since December last year. The BOK’s Monetary Policy Committee on Friday bumped up the benchmark rate to 1.75 percent from 1.50 percent in its first rate move since the last hike in November when the rate rose from a record low of 1.25 percent.

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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.combfp@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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http://www.koreapost.com/news/articleView.html?idxno=7463

Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

<저작권자 © 코리아포스트, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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