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Yonhap News Summary

2017/06/14 12:46

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

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U.S. student freed from N. Korea in state of 'coma'

   WASHINGTON -- The American college student just freed from a long detention in North Korea is in a coma, his parents were quoted as saying Tuesday, a surprise that could further complicate the already tense relations between the two countries.

Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, was released after 17 months of detention in the communist nation. His parents later told the Washington Post that their son was being transported on a U.S. military plane in a coma.

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S. Korea welcomes N. Korea's release of U.S. detainee

SEOUL -- South Korea on Wednesday welcomed the release of an American college student long detained in North Korea and vowed efforts to free its own citizens held in the communist country.

The U.S. Department of State announced that Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, was released after 17 months of detention.

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Moon pledges to bolster local autonomy

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday that he will seek to craft a constitutional ground to institute an apparatus for regular dialogue with provincial administrative chiefs, in a move to strengthen local autonomy and bolster cooperation with regional governments.

During a meeting with 17 provincial and metropolitan leaders, he said he would ensure a constitutional amendment likely next year that includes a clause aimed at enhancing the powers of local administrative units. The government is pushing for a referendum on a constitutional revision in tandem with the local elections slated for June 2018.

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Senior officials of S. Korea, U.S. meet to prepare for Moon-Trump summit

SEOUL -- Senior officials of South Korea and the United States on Wednesday discussed plans for the upcoming summit between their heads of state.

President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump will hold their first face-to-face talks since they both took office in Washington on June 29-30 (local time).

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Household debt growth slows slightly in May

SEOUL -- South Korea's household debt growth slowed slightly in May, data showed Wednesday, but financial authorities said they will make more efforts to stabilize the pace of growth.

Household debt rose by 10 trillion won (US$8.9 billion) last month, down from growth of 11.9 trillion won for the same month last year, according to the data by the Financial Services Commission.

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S. Korea fall to Qatar; World Cup hopes in limbo

DOHA -- South Korea suffered a stunning 3-2 loss to Qatar in their World Cup qualifying match here on Tuesday, as their hopes of advancing to the quadrennial tournament remained in limbo.

Hassan Al Haydos scored twice and set up another at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, where South Korea submitted yet another listless effort at both ends.

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Nat'l football federation likely to sack beleaguered coach soon

SEOUL -- The national football federation is likely to sack beleaguered men's head coach Uli Stielike this week in light of the team's shocking loss to Qatar, its senior official said Wednesday.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) is scheduled to hold a meeting of its technical committee on Thursday at the National Football Center in Paju, just north of Seoul. It will come after 43rd-ranked South Korea dropped to No. 88 Qatar 3-2 in Doha in the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup late Tuesday (local time).

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Suspect says he made Yonsei University bomb by himself

SEOUL -- A Yonsei University graduate student arrested as a suspect for a nail bomb blast that injured a professor this week told police Wednesday he designed the explosive by himself without searching the Internet.

Police apprehended the student, identified only as 25-year-old Kim, Tuesday night for sending a homemade bomb to his professor's office at the engineering faculty building of the university in western Seoul earlier in the day. The professor also surnamed Kim suffered burns after opening a box containing the explosive.

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Samsung Galaxy series top Consumer Reports' ratings

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy smartphones received top ratings in a U.S. consumer smartphone review, with LG Electronics Inc.'s G6 also included in the top five, industry sources said Wednesday.

According to the sources, the Galaxy S8+ and the Galaxy S8 received 82 points each in the Consumer Reports smartphone ratings, the highest number tallied, followed by the Galaxy S7 Edge with 77 points. LG's G6 came in fourth.

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S. Korea's jobless rate drops to 3.6 pct in May

SEJONG -- South Korea's jobless rate dropped slightly in May as Asia's fourth-largest economy shows some signs of recovery, government data showed Wednesday.

The unemployment rate stood at 3.6 percent last month, down 0.1 percentage point from the same month last year, according to the report compiled by Statistics Korea. From a month earlier, it fell 0.6 percentage point.

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(Yonhap Feature) Hopes high for more active inter-Korean sports exchanges ahead of taekwondo competition

SEOUL -- A seemingly endless series of North Korean military provocations and escalating war threats notwithstanding, hopes remain high for better days ahead for sports exchanges on the divided Korean Peninsula.

And an upcoming cross-border visit by North Korean taekwondo athletes is expected to further fuel optimism.

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