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Yonhap News Summary

2014/07/25 13:38

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

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(LEAD) State forensic lab fails to find cause of ferry owner's death

SEOUL -- The state forensic agency said Friday that it was impossible to determine the cause of death for the fugitive shipping tycoon allegedly responsible for April's ferry disaster as his body was badly decayed.

The body of Yoo Byung-eun, a 73-year-old billionaire who owned Sewol operator Chonghaejin Marine Co., was found on a remote hill in the southern part of the country last month.

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S. Korean consumer sentiment retreats to post-Sewol level

SEOUL -- Consumer sentiment in South Korea weakened again in July to the level seen in May right after the Sewol ferry disaster, as consumers continued to fret about sluggish domestic demand, central bank data showed Friday.

The consumer sentiment index (CSI) reached 105 this month, compared with 107 in June, according to the data by the Bank of Korea.

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Early voting for by-elections begins

SEOUL -- Early voting for the July 30 parliamentary by-elections kicked off Friday for a two-day run amid expectations the vote will serve as a referendum on President Park Geun-hye's conservative administration.

The polls carry extra weight this year because a total of 15 parliamentary seats are up for grabs, the largest-ever number for a by-election. They also come less than two months after the June 4 local elections in which neither the ruling nor the main opposition party claimed a clear-cut victory.

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Financial watchdog likely to delay reprimanding KB Financial, Kookmin Bank

SEOUL -- An overarching punishment of top banking officials, expected since June following a whirl of irregularities and scandals, will likely be postponed to next month as the watchdog faces external meddling, financial officials said Friday, raising criticism that the cases will close without due accountability.

The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) had pledged to punish all executives responsible for a series of data leaks that affected tens of millions of customers at three major credit card firms -- Kookmin Card Co., Lotte Card Co. and NH Nonghyup Card Co. -- and for other misconducts and wrongdoings that triggered public distrust of the financial sector. The incident raised nationwide furor and virtually paralyzed the companies as angry clients canceled their credit cards.

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U.S. NGO ships US$800,000 worth of medical aid to N. Korea

SEOUL -- A U.S. humanitarian group has sent US$800,000 worth of medical aid to North Korea as part of its continued effort to help the impoverished communist nation, a news report said Friday.

AmeriCares, a nonprofit organization based in Connecticut, shipped a package of medicine, sanitary goods and other medical aid in June, the Voice of America (VOA) reported.

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Chinese actress, Korean director got wed in Sweden: film company

SEOUL -- Chinese actress Tang Wei and South Korean director Kim Tae-yong tied the knot in Sweden about a fortnight ago, Kim's management agency said Friday.

The couple had a wedding at the front yard of the home of the late master filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, one of the greatest artists in cinema history, at the small Swedish island of Faro on July 12, the Bom Film Productions Co. said.

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S. Korea, China share 'concerns' on Japan's active military role

BEIJING -- South Korea's vice defense minister expressed "concerns" over a decision by Japan to expand its military role during this week's high-level defense talks with China's army deputy chief of staff, China's defense ministry has said.

Vice Defense Minister Baek Seung-joo and Wang Guanzhong, deputy chief of staff of the China's People's Liberation Army, held the one-day talks in Beijing on Wednesday during which they agreed to set up a telephone hotline between their defense ministers.

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S. Korea rejects Japanese media report on coaching candidate

SEOUL -- The national football governing body on Friday rejected a Japanese media report claiming a Brazilian candidate has emerged for the coaching vacancy on the South Korean men's team.

Sports Hochi reported that Sergio Farias, who once coached the South Korean pro club Pohang Steelers, will likely take over the national team here, saying the Korea Football Association (KFA) has already contacted the coach and the two sides will soon begin serious negotiations.

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