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Yonhap News Summary

2017/12/27 13:39

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The following is the first summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday.


S. Korea's childbirths continue to slide in October

SEOUL -- The number of newborns in South Korea dipped again in October, government data showed Wednesday, in the latest sign of the chronic low birth rate that has plagued the Asian country for more than a decade.

About 27,900 babies were born in October, down 11.7 percent, or 3,700, from 31,600 tallied a year earlier, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

Monthly childbirths have decreased on-year every single month since December 2015 with a double-digit decline continuing for 11 straight months.


missA disbands after seven years

SEOUL -- K-pop group missA has disbanded, their agency said Wednesday, the latest in a series of recent band breakups in the industry.

JYP Entertainment announced that the four-member girl group have decided to call it quits after seven years in the business.

Debuting in July 2010 with "Bad Girl Good Girl," the team composed of two Korean and two Chinese members became one of the most popular K-pop groups.

The group's disbandment follows the breakup of K-pop girl groups 4Minute, 2NE1 and Kara last year and Sistar and Wonder Girls earlier this year.


Samsung beefs up accessibility for 2018 premium TVs

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday the premium Ultra HD TVs to be released next year will come with improved accessibility for users with difficulties in hearing and vision.

The South Korean tech giant said while its televisions already come with various features for users with such difficulties, the latest models will take another step forward in making Samsung products more accessible.

Among the new features is turning the screen into black and white for users with monochromacy, or those who are fully color blind. Samsung said it has focused on enhancing the contrast ratio and clearing the boundaries among images.


Some N.K. defectors who lived near nuke test site show possible radiation exposure: Seoul

SEOUL -- Some North Korean defectors, who had lived near the North's nuclear test site, show signs of suspected radiation exposure in the latest medical checkups, but it is hard to confirm that nuclear tests affected them, the unification ministry said Wednesday.

Since October, the ministry has conducted nuclear radiation leak tests and health checkups on 30 refugees who previously lived in Kilju County, near North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear site. The North has conducted all of its six nuclear tests at the site located in the country's northeastern province.

Seoul selected the defectors who expressed hope to undergo the tests among 114 refugees who came from the county after North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006. All of the examinees came to the South before the North's fourth nuke test in January 2016.


N. Korean disabled ski team to train in Germany next month: report

SEOUL -- A North Korean disabled ski team is scheduled to train in Germany next month amid reports of the North preparing to take part in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympics, a U.S. broadcaster reported Wednesday.

Shin Young-soon, head of the U.S. civic group the Kinsler Foundation, told the U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia that North Korean disabled skiers will engage in a winter training session at a ski slope near Frankfurt in mid-January.

Shin was also quoted as saying the team trained for about 10 days earlier this month on Mount Paektu, the country's highest peak, which is located on the border with China.


S. Korea GDP to lose big from high corporate taxes

SEOUL -- The South Korean economy will likely take a hit from a reversal of top corporate tax rates in Asia's fourth-largest economy and the United States, a local think tank said Wednesday.

South Korea has decided to raise the maximum corporate tax rate to 25 percent from the current 22 percent, while the comparable rate for America will go down to 21 percent from the existing 35 percent.

In a related report, the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI) estimated the reversal would cause South Korea's gross domestic product (GDP) to decrease by an annual average of 29 trillion won (US$27 billion) over the next decade.

That would be tantamount to an annual decline of 1.7 percent in the country's GDP during the 10-year period.