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Yonhap News Summary

13:27 January 08, 2021

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

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(LEAD) S. Korean court orders Tokyo to pay damages to wartime sex slavery victims in landmark ruling

SEOUL -- A South Korean court ruled on Friday that Tokyo must pay damages to wartime sex slavery victims in the first ruling of its kind, which is likely to inflict more damage on the already fraught relations between the two neighboring nations.

The Seoul Central District Court ordered Japan to make financial reparations of 100 million won (US$91,300) each to 12 "comfort women" who were dragged away from their homes and forced to work in front-line military brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II.

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(2nd LD) S. Korea past 3rd peak of pandemic, tougher curbs in place against foreign arrivals

SEOUL -- The third wave of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be slowly declining after a peak amid tough social distancing guidelines, but health authorities remain guarded against a more transmissible virus variant, officials said Friday.

The country added 674 more COVID-19 cases, including 633 local infections, raising the total caseload to 67,360, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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(2nd LD) N.K. leader reviews inter-Korean ties, vows to 'comprehensively' expand external relations

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reviewed inter-Korean relations and pledged to "comprehensively" expand external ties during a rare party congress, state media reported Friday.

Kim announced the policy line in a report to the third-day session of the eighth congress of the ruling Workers' Party held in Pyongyang the previous day, citing "the prevailing situation and the changed times," according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

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(LEAD) Samsung expects solid Q4 performance on chip, display biz

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. on Friday forecast solid fourth-quarter earnings as its cash cow chip business apparently stayed afloat in the face of the weakness of the U.S. dollar and the resurgence of novel coronavirus infections to cover mediocre performance in its mobile business.

In its earnings guidance, the South Korean tech giant estimated its operating profit at 9 trillion won (US$8.2 billion) for the October-December period in 2020, up 25.7 percent from a year ago.

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Seoul logs lowest temperature in 35 yrs as cold spell grips nation

SEOUL -- South Korea posted the lowest temperatures of the season Friday, with many regions seeing record lows close to minus 20 C and continuing to receive heavy loads of snow.

In Seoul, the cold snap that began earlier this week pushed the temperature down to minus 18.6 C, the second-lowest since records began in 1980, after minus 19.2 C on Jan. 5, 1986, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

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Ex-lawmaker Kang appointed as new ambassador to Japan

SEOUL -- South Korea formally appointed Kang Chang-il, a former four-term ruling party lawmaker, as new ambassador to Japan, the foreign ministry said Friday, as Seoul seeks to improve ties with Tokyo strained over wartime history and trade.

Kang faces a series of daunting tasks, such as helping reduce diplomatic tensions over the issues related to Japan's wartime forced labor and sexual slavery, and enhancing bilateral cooperation to confront North Korean military threats and other shared challenges.

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Pompeo approves new cyber-security bureau, citing threats from N. Korea, others

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has approved the establishment of a department bureau to counter cyber-security threats from North Korea and other countries, the State Department said Thursday.

"Secretary Pompeo has approved the creation of the Bureau of Cyberspace Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET) and has directed the Department to move forward with standing up the bureau," it said in a press release.

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Could S. Korean actress Youn receive Oscar nod for supporting role in 'Minari'?

SEOUL -- As the immigration film "Minari," directed by Korean American Lee Isaac Chung, has been on a roll in the award season, hopes are high that its supporting South Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung could get an Oscar nod.

Youn, who took the role of the eccentric grandmother in Chung's semi-autobiographical film, has won a total of seven best supporting actress trophies in U.S. film critics circles and festivals including the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle, the North Carolina Film Critics and the Boston Society of Film Critics.
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