The following is the first summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday.
S. Korea to decide on indoor mask mandate by end of this month
SEOUL -- The government will decide whether to lift the indoor mask mandate by the end of this month, Interior Minister Lee Sang-min said Wednesday.
The mandate is the last remaining COVID-19 restriction South Korea has kept in place following the scrapping of all other distancing rules.
(World Cup) Yoon to host dinner for nat'l football team
SEOUL -- President Yoon Suk-yeol will host a dinner for the national football team this week after they return from the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, his office said Wednesday.
The dinner was apparently fixed for Thursday after the presidential office reached out to each player and staff member to ask for their opinion.
Gov't vows personal protection for truckers not taking part in strike
SEOUL -- The government on Wednesday urged striking truckers to return to work immediately, estimating industrial losses from the two-week-long walkout to reach 3.5 trillion won (US$2.64 billion).
The government also said it will provide personal protection for cargo truck drivers who suffer harm due to their decision not to join the strike, as supply disruptions continued to beleaguer major industries, including steel, petrochemicals and oil refining.
(LEAD) N. Korea to hold parliamentary meeting on Jan. 17: KCNA
SEOUL -- North Korea plans to convene a meeting of its rubber-stamp parliament in Pyongyang in January to discuss next year's tasks and budget issues, according to its state media Wednesday.
The standing committee of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) held a meeting Tuesday and decided to hold the 8th session of the 14th SPA on Jan. 17, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
U.S., Australia urge N. Korea to engage in dialogue, address human rights issues
WASHINGTON -- The top diplomats and defense chiefs of the United States and Australia urged North Korea on Tuesday to engage in dialogue to completely denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, while expressing concerns over severe human rights violations in the reclusive state.
They also agreed to fully implement United Nations Security Council resolutions on North Korea to this end in an annual two-plus-two meeting, known as the Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations.
S. Korea's new COVID-19 cases above 70,000 for 2nd day; government to review lifting indoor mask mandate
SEOUL -- South Korea's new COVID-19 cases stayed above 70,000 for the second consecutive day Wednesday amid lingering concerns of a winter surge in cases.
The country reported 74,714 new COVID-19 infections, including 60 from overseas, bringing the total caseload to 27,483,568, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.
(LEAD) FSS chief vows continued efforts to monitor short-term money market, take timely action against volatility
SEOUL -- South Korea's financial regulator will keep up its monitoring on short-term money and remain ready to take action in case market volatility spikes amid lingering worries over a liquidity crunch, its chief said Wednesday.
"The bond market has been stabilized more or less as a result of taking market stabilization measures in cooperation with relevant agencies, such as the finance ministry, the Financial Services Commission and the Bank of Korea," Lee Bok-hyun, head of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), said in a meeting with heads of major economic think tanks in Seoul.
Two Korean dramas nominated for Critics Choice Awards
SEOUL -- Two Korean-language dramas, "Extraordinary Attorney Woo" and "Pachinko," have been nominated as best foreign language series for this year's Critics Choice Awards.
According to the nominations announced by the Critics Choice Association on Monday (U.S. time), Korean legal drama "Extraordinary Attorney Woo," aired on local cable channel ENA and available on Netflix, and Apple TV+ original series "Pachinko" were listed in the TV category, along with seven other series.