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Yonhap News Summary

17:10 January 26, 2023

The following is the second summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Thursday.

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S. Korea's gas, coal imports hit record high in 2022: data

SEOUL -- South Korea's imports of gas and coal hit an all-time high last year on surging global energy prices, data showed Thursday.

The value of gas imports came to US$56.7 billion last year, the highest since 1956 when the government began compiling the related data, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. The previous record of $36.6 billion was set in 2014.

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(2nd LD) Hyundai Q4 net more than doubles on improved chip supplies, SUV demand

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Co. said Thursday its fourth-quarter net profit more than doubled from a year earlier on improved chip supplies, strong demand for its high-end SUVs and a weak won.

Net profit for the three months ended Dec. 31 jumped to 1.709 trillion won (US$1.38 billion) from 701.37 billion won during the same period of last year, the South Korean carmaker said in a statement.

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(LEAD) UNC says both Koreas breached armistice by flying drones in each other's territory

SEOUL -- The U.S.-led U.N. Command (UNC) announced Thursday both South and North Korea violated the armistice by sending drones into each other's territory last month.

The UNC released the outcome of a probe by its special investigation team (SIT) into the North's Dec. 26 drone infiltrations, which led the South to send its drones north of the inter-Korean border in a "corresponding" counteraction.

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(LEAD) Seoul stocks up for 4th day on foreign buying

SEOUL -- Seoul stocks surged over 1 percent Thursday, as foreign investors scooped up market heavyweights in the run-up to the corporate earnings season. The Korean won advanced against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) climbed 40.08 points, or 1.65 percent, to 2,468.65. Trading volume was moderate at 476.2 million shares worth 8.1 trillion won (US$6.58 billion), with gainers outpacing decliners 620 to 249.

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S. Korea not considering 'windfall tax' on energy firms

SEJONG -- South Korea's finance minister said Thursday the country is not considering the so-called windfall tax on energy companies, as local refiners have different business structures compared with European counterparts.

The remark came after Lee Jae-myung, who heads the main opposition Democratic Party, claimed that South Korea should adopt the policy to redistribute the excessive profits of energy firms amid the fluctuations in global resource prices.

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7 sitting gov't ministers noncompliant with ethics law banning stock holdings

SEOUL -- Seven incumbent government ministers and vice ministers remain noncompliant with an ethics law that requires ranking public officials to sell off their stock holdings or move them into a blind trust, a civic group said Thursday.

Under the Public Service Ethics Act, high-level officials are required to dispose of stock holdings worth 30 million won (US$24,372) or over within a certain time period or move them into a blind trust, with a violation subject to a prison sentence of up to a year or a fine of up to 10 million won.

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Rights watchdog calls for guidelines on hospitalization of transgender people

SEOUL -- The state human rights watchdog said Thursday it has asked the health minister to devise guidelines for the hospitalization of transgender people.

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) said it has made the recommendation after receiving a petition from a trans woman who unsuccessfully tried to be hospitalized in a female ward two years ago.

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