K-pop defies digital trend with growing physical album sales
With the meteoric rise of digital streaming services, there seems to be no reason to buy physical albums these days. But the sales of K-pop music have defied this trend recently. Last year, total sales of the 400 most popular albums reached 25 million; this year, the figure is expected to surge to 35 million, according to Gaon Chart, which tracks album sales in the country and overseas. Gaon, which the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Music Content Industry Association launched in 2010, is considered one of Korea's most credible album/streaming charts.
Foreign buying spree drives KOSPI's rally
The KOSPI continued its rally Monday, reaching an all-time high of 2,602.59 points at the close of trading, up 1.92 percent from the previous day's session. The index's market capitalization also reached an all-time high of 1,787 trillion won ($1,608 billion). The tech-heavy KOSDAQ also rose 0.36 percent, to close at 873.29 points. Although the KOSPI topped the 2,600 mark in January 2018 during intra-day trading, this is the first time in its 45 year history to reach such a milestone - the previous record-high close was 2,598.19 on Jan. 29, 2018. Earlier this month, the KOSPI remained around the 2,280 mark, but then began a continuous rise - by about 15 percent so far.
New virus cases spike to over 300 again
The number of new coronavirus cases in South Korea bounced back to over 300 on Tuesday due to a pileup of sporadic infections across the nation, with tougher antivirus rules in place in the greater Seoul area amid a virus resurgence. The country added 349 more COVID-19 cases, including 320 local infections, raising the total caseload to 31,353, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). The latest figure was sharply up from 271 on Monday, when the comparable reading fell back below to 300 for the first time in six days due to less testing on the weekend.
Tourism sector sinking into bottomless pit amid prolonged pandemic
The tourism industry is suffering an unprecedented crisis caused by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic. Travel companies, hotels and airlines are laying off employees or having workers take unpaid leave, as no one is able to predict when the crisis will be over and they will be able to return to work.
'After Every Winter Comes Spring' exhibition sheds light on ancestors' pursuit of hope
"After Every Winter Comes Spring," a new exhibition at the National Museum of Korea (NMK), centers around the work of two renowned Joseon era painters - Kim Jeong-hui (1786-1856) and Kim Hong-do (1745-1806). The two centerpiece paintings are "Sehando" by Kim Jeong-hui, Korean National Treasure No. 180, and "Pyeongan Gamsa Hyangyeondo" (Welcoming Banquet for the Governor of Pyeongan) by Kim Hong-do.
3rd major COVID-19 vaccine shown to be effective, cheaper and easier to store
Drugmaker AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, buoying the prospects of a relatively cheap, easy-to-store product that may become the vaccine of choice for the developing world. The results are based on an interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine.
TWICE to release 'I Can't Stop Me' performance video
South Korean girl group Twice will release a new performance video next week. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert announced Monday that Twice will premiere its performance video for "I Can't Stop Me" on the Late Show YouTube channel Nov. 30 at 12:30 a.m. EST.
1 killed, 3 injured in Busan apartment fire
A fire broke out at an apartment building in the southeastern city of Busan on Tuesday, leaving one dead and three injured, fire authorities said. The fire started at around 6:50 a.m. on the 12th floor of an apartment building in the northern ward of Geumjeong in the city, some 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
Blinken likely to seek stronger alliance, multilateral approach toward North Korea: experts
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's pick for secretary of state will likely seek to improve South Korea's relations with Japan as he pushes for multilateral efforts to denuclearize North Korea, U.S. experts said Monday. The U.S. president-elect selected Antony Blinken, former deputy secretary of state, to be the first Cabinet member of the Biden administration, set to be inaugurated on Jan. 20.
Maryland Gov. Hogan defends Korean COVID-19 test kits as effective
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday dismissed news reports that South Korean-made new coronavirus test kits were defective, saying the kits have been and continue to be "the cornerstone" of the state's long-term testing strategy. "While the entire testing process has been a struggle at the federal and state levels, and there have been and continue to be challenges, these Korean test kits represent one of the greatest success stories of our battle against COVID-19," Hogan was quoted as saying in a press release posted on the website of the state government.
Trump finally agrees to Biden transition - but still not conceding
President Donald Trump came his closest yet to admitting election defeat Monday after the government agency meant to ease Joe Biden's transition into the White House said it was finally lifting its unprecedented block on assistance. Trump acknowledged it was time for the General Services Administration to "do what needs to be done."
Air Busan to resume flights to China's Ningbo
Air Busan Co. said Tuesday it will resume flights to the Chinese city of Ningbo next month to meet travel demand from businessmen. The budget carrier unit of Asiana Airlines Inc. will begin offering one flight per week on Dec. 6 on the Incheon-Ningbo route after suspending the route for 10 months due to the coronavirus impact on the airline industry, the company said in a statement.
Goldman Sachs eyeing stakes in Olive Young
Following a number of private equity funds (PEFs) deciding to join the race to acquire a stake in Olive Young, Goldman Sach's PEF unit has become the latest to enter the fray, according to local banking industry sources, Monday.
Descendant fights for forgotten heroes
Honoring patriotic martyrs with a moment of silence following the singing of the national anthem has been customary for all government-hosted ceremonies in Korea. In reality, however, most Koreans do not reflect on the sacrificed lives they pay tribute to, and merely do so out of obligation to a decades-long practice. “They are the fallen heroes who were victimized during the campaign to save the nation from Japan's colonial rule,” Lee Dong-il, president of the Patriotic Martyrs Family Association, said during a recent Korea Times interview at the non-profit group's office in Seoul. The patriotic martyrs are individuals who have been formally recognized for sacrificing their lives between the Japanese's assassination of Empress Myeongseong in 1895 to Aug. 14, 1945, the day before liberation.
Dinos on verge of Korean Series title after shutting out Bears 5-0
The NC Dinos are one win away from capturing their first South Korean baseball championship. Starter Koo Chang-mo fired seven shutout innings, and cleanup Yang Eui-ji blasted a two-run home run in the bottom sixth, lifting the Dinos to a 5-0 victory in Game 5 of the Korean Series at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Monday.
Add a little color to white-clad folk's apparel
A country's sobriquet is usually more telling than its official title. Koreans have historically been called the “white-clad folk.”
- Immigration not the only solution to demographic change
- Eradicate racial discrimination before opening borders
- English-speaking Korea can become Asia's economic hub
- Holistic approach to immigration needed for Korea
- Treatment of migrant workers won't bode well for economy
- Bilingual Korea can be worth it, warts and all
Samsung, SK, LG to leave CEOs unchanged
The spread of COVID-19 is expected to impact the upcoming year-end executive reshuffles at the nation's major conglomerates, with firms hesitant to make drastic changes to their corporate structure at a time of uncertainty.
South Korea seeks to reignite inter-Korean projects
The government is seeking to revive deadlocked inter-Korean economic projects, including the reopening of a joint factory park, expecting that cross-border cooperation could resume earlier than some forecast. Unification Minister Lee In-young held a meeting with business leaders in Seoul, Monday, to gauge their opinions on the plan as part of the government's re-launching of the Korean Peninsula peace process initiative. Representatives from local companies, including Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, SK and LG that accompanied President Moon Jae-in on his visit to Pyongyang in September 2018, participated. The meeting took place as the situation on the peninsula is seen as facing a crucial turning point ahead of a U.S. leadership change next year, which could have a huge impact on inter-Korean ties. Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th U.S. president on Jan. 20, 2021.
Korean banks downsizing workforce
Korean banks are downsizing their workforces and reducing the number of new job openings, as the rapid rise of digital banking has cut lenders' demand for staff that carry out conventional banking-related tasks, according to data and industry officials.
Police urged to offer better interpretation services for foreigners
Korea's national human rights agency has urged law enforcement authorities to provide better interpretation services for non-Koreans in legal procedures even if they can speak some Korean, after a case in which a Moroccan went through a police investigation here without an interpreter.
[INTERVIEW] 'Best Friend' director explains why he keeps making family movies
Since “Lump Sugar” (2006), filmmaker Lee Hwan-kyung has continued to explore the themes of family and friendship in titles such as “Champ” (2011) and “Miracle in Cell No. 7” (2013). Gifted in making audiences laugh and cry, the director is back after seven years with new comedy drama “Best Friend.”
Seoul under stricter quarantine measures until year end
Rallies with 10 or more people will be banned in Seoul until the end of the year, as part of strengthened social distancing measures applied by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, it said, Monday.
Samsung set to splurge on memory chips
Despite the memory semiconductor industry being less affected by the COVID-19 pandemic than other sectors, there has still been a negative impact on consumer items that is casting doubt on its near-term outlook.
PEFs reinforcing in-house operations teams
Domestic and foreign private equity firms (PEFs) doing businesses in Korea are reinforcing their in-house operations teams for better management of their portfolio companies.
Will Bank of Korea start discussing rate hike in 2021?
The Bank of Korea (BOK) will start discussions next year as to whether it should raise the benchmark rate, amid growing hopes that the Fed might consider a rate hike following the inauguration of U.S. president-elect Joe Biden.
Moon's approval rating drops over policy failures
President Moon Jae-in's job approval rating has dropped over a series of policy failures, according to a poll agency, Monday, with the gap between his approval and disapproval rating recording highest since October 2019 when controversies were rising over former Justice Minister Cho Kuk's influence-peddling scandals.
Foreign investors snapping up Hugel stocks
Foreign investors have been net purchasing Hugel stocks for 24 consecutive trading days since Oct. 21, over the company's bullish growth outlook in the Chinese market. Hugel is Korea's largest botulinum toxin manufacturer.
Denmark, Korea bolster cooperation on green energy, healthcare
The Embassy of Denmark in Korea is stepping up cooperation with the Korean private sector on green energy, which the two countries have been working on together as green growth alliance partners, as well as on healthcare to better cope with their respective aging populations.
Korea in final stage of vaccine purchase negotiations with developers: PM
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Monday that the government was currently at the last stage in negotiations with COVID-19 vaccine developers to purchase coronavirus vaccines and will soon report the progress of the talks to the public.
Online exhibition promotes ASEAN design trends
A selection of goods from ASEAN countries with notable designs are being showcased at an online exhibition organized by the ASEAN-Korea Centre.Tasked with ASEAN cooperation, the Seoul-based center said last week it is running the Asia Design Material Exhibition in cooperation with the Korea Institute of Design Promotion (KIDP) until Dec. 18.
Central Asian countries discuss economic recovery over pandemic
The member states of the U.N. Special Programme for Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) discussed potential opportunities as well as short- and medium-term measures last week for sustainable and inclusive socio-economic recovery in a COVID-19 world.
Saudi Arabia runs online conference to mark G20 summit
Saudi Arabia discussed the role of the G20, the pandemic, green energy, environmental protection, women's empowerment, opportunities for youth and sports during a week-long campaign to mark the G20 Leaders' Summit last week.
Top 10 Stories
Nightclubs, late-night dining banned in greater Seoul under tougher virus curbs
English-speaking Korea can become Asia's economic hub
Go player cheated using AI
Tests on 1,379 people find only 3 have coronavirus antibodies in Korea
Treatment of migrant workers won't bode well for economy
Will Kim Jong-un attend Tokyo Olympics?
Seoul morning temperature dips below zero
Seoul under stricter quarantine measures until year end
Eradicate racial discrimination before opening borders
Denmark, Korea bolster cooperation on green energy, healthcare