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Headlines, May 3, 2019

The Korean daily media headlines and humor

Friday, May 3, 2019

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.

Moon voices concern about political rifts, vows efforts for talks with critics

President Moon Jae-in said Thursday he won't give up efforts for dialogue with opposition parties and other critics of his policies, while expressing regret about intensifying political stand-offs here. He made it clear that his liberal administration is not intervening in ongoing investigation by state prosecutors into what was done under the former Park Geun-hye administration.

Nuclear envoys of S. Korea, U.S. discuss denuclearization, peace efforts

The chief nuclear envoys of South Korea and the United States held telephone talks on Thursday to discuss joint efforts for denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, Seoul's foreign ministry said. Lee Do-hoon, the ministry's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, and Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, also shared their assessment of the situation on the peninsula since the second summit between the U.S. and North Korea in Hanoi in February.

Chinese leader offers cooperation with S. Korea over fine dust problem: Ban

Former U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, who now heads a South Korean council in charge of tackling fine dust pollution, on Thursday called for closer mutual cooperation and experience sharing with China to help improve air quality in both countries. Ban, who took office as chief of the National Council on Climate and Air Quality early this week, said at the National Assembly that a blame game with China won't be desirable in resolving the fine dust problem.

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

LKP to Continue Nationwide Protest Against Fast-tracked Bills

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party(LKP) on Friday will continue hosting rallies at local train stations across the nation after failing to block the National Assembly from fast-tracking reform bills. The party, which launched an all-out protest the previous day, plans to visit Songjeong and Jeonju stations in Jeolla Province and Yongsan Station in Seoul on Friday.

The Nation: 'Solid Proof' that CIA Met with Leader of North Korean Embassy Raid

Spanish authorities reportedly have "solid proof" that the man who allegedly led a February raid on the North Korean embassy in Madrid met with CIA officials in Spain. Quoting a source with ties to Spanish law enforcement, the U.S. magazine The Nation reported on Thursday that Spanish police and intelligence officials have solid proof, including photographs and communication records, that Adrian Hong Chang met with known CIA officials in Spain.

Police to Send Park Yoo-chun's Drug Abuse Case to Prosecutors Friday

The illicit drug case against actor and singer Park Yoo-chun will be referred to the prosecution on Friday by the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency. Park is accused of purchasing one-point-five grams of methamphetamine on three occasions between February and March. He allegedly took it together with his ex-fiance Hwang Ha-na, the granddaughter of the founder of Namyang Dairy Products.

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

Consumer price growth stays below 1 pct for 4th month

South Korea's consumer price growth stayed below the 1 percent threshold for the fourth consecutive month in April due to a decline in oil prices and service charges, government data showed Thursday, the latest in a series of data backing a rate cut for Asia's fourth-largest economy. Consumer prices moved up 0.6 percent in April from a year earlier, and the reading is the lowest for any April since 2015, when the corresponding figure stood at 0.4 percent, according to Statistics Korea.

LCCs allowed to sharply up flights to China

South Korea has granted low-cost carriers (LCCs) rights to sharply increase the number of their flights on much sought-after routes to China, heralding stiffer competition with full-service rivals. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport decided Thursday to allow budget carriers to operate an additional 118 flights on 30 new routes to China per week, while giving full-service carriers 21 more flights on eight routes.

Singapore-based Swingvy draws US$7 million from Samsung-led investors

Swingvy, a Singapore-based human resource platform company, said Friday it has raised US$7 million from a group of investors led by South Korean tech giant Samsung's venture capital investment arm. Swingvy said it has raised the investment in a Series A round of funding led by Samsung Venture Investment Corp. and other investors, paving the way to expand its presence in Asia, starting with Taiwan. A Series A round of financing is the first round of financing that a startup receives from a venture capital firm.

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

All eyes on BTS as the group bags two awards at BBMAs

In another sign of its success, BTS took home two awards and rocked the stage to a cheering crowd at this year’s Billboard Music Awards. From winning top duo/group and top social artist and sitting in the front row to being the second to last act to perform, the group was front and center at the awards show, which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday night (US time).

Vietnamese woman in Kim Jong Nam murder case freed from prison: lawyer

A Vietnamese woman accused of assassinating the North Korean leader's half-brother was freed from prison Friday, ending legal proceedings stemming from the killing despite criticism that the real culprits never faced justice.Doan Thi Huong was "released at about 7:20 am" (2320 GMT Thursday) from a prison outside the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, her lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik told AFP. Journalists waiting outside the jail saw a van and a car with tinted windows race past.

Seoul Foreign Minister says North should change stance in talks with US

North Korea should approach denuclearization talks with the US with a “wider scope,” Seoul’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha said Thursday.“The US is taking a comprehensive approach (to the talks) and looking for comprehensive dialogue,” Kang said at a meeting with the local media. Kang was responding to a question on which side – the North or the US – should alter its position to enable denuclearization talks to make progress.

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

Kim Jong-nam murder suspect freed

A Vietnamese woman who spent more than two years in a Malaysian prison on suspicion of killing the half-brother of North Korea's leader was freed on Friday, a court translator said. Doan Thi Huong, 30, was charged along with an Indonesian woman of poisoning Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with liquid VX, a banned chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017

Hyundai admits bribing Indonesian politician for power plant construction

Major Korean builder Hyundai Engineering & Construction has admitted bribing an Indonesian politician for a coal-fired power plant construction project in West Java. Following repeated Korea Times inquiries, a spokesman at Hyundai's headquarters in Seoul said it gave a large sum of money to Cirebon Regent Sunjaya Purwadisastra through a broker to calm protesting residents in the area over the construction.

Korean military embraces latest tech to train soldiers

Technology plays an integral part in modern warfare, and its role is even more important for countries like South Korea, which faces constant threats from North Korea. In line with changing battlefield dynamics, the South Korean military has been pushing for ways to train soldiers in simulated environments using the latest technologies, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The Korea Military Academy has joined hands with local companies to develop VR and AR training programs for its Army cadets, which will be available on its Seoul campus later this year.

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

UN Officials Check Food Shortage in N.Korea

Officials from the UN's World Food Programme and other agencies visited North Korea last month to inspect the food situation there, VOA reported Thursday. They are expected to make a recommendation on food aid this month. The inspection started after North Korea's representative to the UN Kim Song made a plea for an urgent delivery of 1.4 million tons of food in February. The North produced an estimated 4.95 million tons of food last year, down about nine percent from 2017 and below 5 million tons for the first time in a decade.

Final Warning for 3 Chinese Banks Over N.Korea Dealings

A U.S. court has given a final warning to three Chinese banks accused of transacting tens of millions of dollars for North Korea to submit their financial records.According to Reuters on Tuesday, Washington's chief federal district judge ordered the three banks to submit extensive transaction records with a Hong Kong-based company identified only as "A." The names of the banks were not disclosed. Company A was established jointly by an anonymous North Korean citizen and a Chinese national. The court suspects the Chinese banks of laundering US$100 million for North Korea that was used to fund the renegade country’s nuclear weapons program.

Youngsters Get Fatter, Gloomier

Youngsters are getting fatter and gloomier, and more secondary schoolchildren drink and smoke, according to statistics from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family on Wednesday. One in every four schoolchildren was overweight or obese in 2018, up slightly from 23.9 percent in 2017. Among high-school boys, the figure was a whopping 29.1 percent. The main reason was their addiction to fast food and fizzy drinks. Some 21.4 percent of schoolchildren ate fast food more than three times a week, and 34.7 percent drank carbonated drinks.

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

Visiting Panmunjom’s JSA after demilitarization
The conference buildings of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission and the Military Armistice Commission that straddle the military demarcation line (MDL) separating South and North Korea look the same as they did six months ago, their white paint still cracked and peeling. But on my visit to the Joint Security Area (JSA) at Panmunjom on May 1, the mood was different from before. The JSA had been closed to the general public for six months, while it was being demilitarized according to an inter-Korean military agreement reached on Sept. 19, 2018, known as the Comprehensive Military Agreement (CMA). When the JSA was reopened on Thursday, no weapons could be seen on the soldiers who were guiding visitors around the area. They weren’t wearing their bulletproof helmets, either.

S. Korea-US coordinating visit to Seoul by Stephen Biegun
South Korea and the US are working on a plan for Stephen Biegun, the US State Department’s special representative for North Korea, to visit the South on May 8-10, the Hankyoreh learned on May 1, During a meeting of the South Korea-US working group on denuclearization and inter-Korean relations, Biegun and Lee Do-hoon, South Korea’s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, will reportedly be assessing affairs on the Korean Peninsula following the collapse of talks in the second North Korea-US summit in Hanoi and discussing ways to resume North Korea-US dialogue. “South Korea and the US are coordinating the schedule for Biegun’s visit to South Korea, and our two countries are planning to discuss a wide range of pressing issues related to our policy toward North Korea,” said a spokesperson for South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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

Abe open to talks with N. Korean leader ‘unconditionally’

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that he wants to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "unconditionally." Abe expressed his will to hold a summit with Kim repeatedly in the past but it was the first time he said he wanted to meet the North Korean leader “unconditionally.”"It is more than important for our country to be proactive in tackling the issue," the prime minister said in an interview with the Sankei Shimbun. "We can't break the shell of mutual distrust between Japan and North Korea unless I directly face Mr. Kim," he said.

Hyundai E&C completes 36-km long bridge in Kuwait

Hyundai Engineering & Construction along with GS E&C have completed the world’s second-longest bridge with a total length of 48.5 kilometers named Sheikh Jaber Causeway. The key part of the bridge spanning 36.1 kilometers, which is comparable to the lineal distance between Seoul and Suwon (about 34 kilometers), has been constructed by Hyundai E&C while the separate connecting section of 12.4 kilometers has been completed by GS E&C. It is only 6.5 kilometers short of the longest bridge in the world, the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge (a total length of 55 kilometers) in China.

Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra names Finnish conductor as new director

Osmo Vanska, one of Finland’s most renowned orchestra conductors and music director of the Minnesota Orchestra, has been named to lead the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. "Osmo Vanska will start his first three-year term as the music director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in January 2020," Kang Eun-kyung, the CEO of the music house, said in a press conference marking the first anniversary of her inauguration.

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

Mixed Views on President Moon's Visit to Samsung

On April 30, President Moon Jae-in met with Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and announced that the government would support Samsung's "Semiconductor Vision 2030." Last week, Samsung Electronics released the "Semiconductor Vision 2030," aiming to become the world's top corporation in system semiconductors as well as memory semiconductors by 2030. Unlike memory semiconductors, the level of South Korea's system semiconductors is low. The government has decided to help seek out demand, which has been a weak point in the development of system semiconductors, provide financial and tax support, and help train skilled technical manpower. The goal is to help system semiconductors move forward, which has gone in circles for two decades, and to develop this as a future source of income.

Parliamentary Election Battle Begins with a “Beastly” National Assembly

The "beast" of a National Assembly that lasted for six days from April 25, the day of the Fast Track set by four political parties excluding the Liberty Korea Party, until the early hours of April 30, when the lawmakers finally put the amendment of the Public Official Election Act on the Fast Track has closed for now. However, the atmosphere at the National Assembly is practically mid winter due to the aftermath of a barbaric parliament. Some experts argue that the lawmakers have entered the second round of an “uncivilized” National Assembly, for due to the Fast Track, the ruling and opposition parties have already begun the “gunless” war for the parliamentary elections next April.

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

Korea’s indigenous next-gen nuclear technology wins US certification

The United States has certified the Advanced Power Reactor 1400 (APR1400), a next-generation commercial nuclear reactor design independently developed by Korean state-owned companies Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) and Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP), paving the way for exports of Korean indigenous reactor technology to the U.S. and delivering a major boost to the industry that has been grappling with phase-out policy at home.

S. Korean LCCs invited to run flights to China, likely to halve air fares

South Korea’s budget carriers were granted lucrative flight routes between Korea and China, a move that is expected to significantly lower flight fares between the two countries so far exclusively operated by the country’s two full-service carriers, Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced Thursday that it assigned new flight operation rights to local air carriers following the Korea-China aviation talks in March, which was held for the first time in five years. As a result, the number of routes between Korea and mainland China increased from 57 with 449 weekly runs to 66 with 588.

Blue Bottle Coffee opens its first store in Seoul to much fanfare

California-based Blue Bottle Coffee has opened its first store in Seongsu-dong, one of the most trending spots in Seoul, on Friday. The long-awaited opening of the U.S. upscale coffee chain drew scores of Korean coffee lovers to line up even before the shop opened at 8:00 in the morning. The red-brick shop featuring its signature design focus on natural light includes a roastery and training lab. The building designed by Japanese architect Jo Nagasaka who also led the construction of Blue Bottle’s Tokyo store provides a transparent view to the roastery through glass walls, Blue Bottle Korea said. There are walnut tables and chairs on the underground floor to allow comfortable resting to customers.

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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 http://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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Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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