Today’s Korean News summary 06.16.15


Today’s Korean News summary 06.16.15
Summarized and translated from Joseon Daily Post.

Daily MERS situation in Korea!
Korean culture partially responsible for outbreak
It is shown that 40% of the MERS infectees were infected when they visited patients already infected or were hired to care for the infectees by family members. In Korean culture, there are customs of visiting patients admitted to hospitals without much consideration of the situation.  Thus, it is common for patients to be busy with by greeting visitors than focusing on getting better.

It is also not uncommon for visitors to be infected by the disease that the patient had. Korean visitors tend to move around touching stuff and eat food with the patient in the patient’s room.

Even Health care providers are vulnerable to MERS
Even though health care providers use modern protection, human error, random chance, and the nature of health care still means that they are vulnerable to MERS. MERS infectees include health care providers, who should have been protected by their gear and procedures. This is because they make mistakes as they were not trained to work with protection. Also, in a lot of cases, emergencies do not wait for proper protection procedures.  

Reopening the schools
At its height, about 3000 schools in Korea was closed because of the MERS outbreak. Today, 85% of them are now open.

Some younger MERS patients getting worse
With most of the dead related to MERS being elderly and having preexisting ailments, MERS has been thought to be less deadly for the younger.   In fact, only one infectee is in his or her teens. However, over the weekend, two infectees in their 30s suddenly took a turn for the worse as their immune system overacted resulting in damages to their lungs and other organs.  The experts say that this ironical phenomenon has been seen before. It is called the “cytokine storm”.

Political News
The fight over the change to congressional law continues
In recent months, the Korean congress is trying to force through a bill to give congress more power over the executive branch.  The president has revealed her intentions to veto the bill when/if it comes to her desk and sent the bill back to congress.

In response, congress repurposed the bill by changing only one word from “demand” to “request”. The president is not happy with this response and says that this does not change the bill’s unconstitutional nature.

Congress still refuses to meet to discuss ratifying a new prime minister
Once again, the period for congress to discuss ratifying a new prime minister has passed. The position has been empty since late April but the opposition party is vetoing even discussing the matter.

A North Korean soldier defects via the DMZ
On the 15th, Mr Kim who is a 19 year old North Korea solider defected. This is the first case of defection since 2012.


Economic News
The cash loans provided by credit card companies are still high
Korean credit card companies are offering cash loans with interests in the 20% range with the highest reaching an annual interest rate of 29.5%. With the recent 1% decrease of Korean financial institutions’ base interest rates, there have been voices saying that the credit card companies should reflect this decrease in their rates. As a response, the companies reduced their limits on how high they would charge interest by 0.3% which is not being accepted kindly by their debtors.

The recall of imported automotive vehicles hits an all time high
Last year, about 130 thousand imported automotive vehicles were subject to recall. This is an all-time high and considering that the total number of cars imported was around 200 thousand, this is the high number.

Korea is taking a big bite out of the booming tanker vessel market
With the low oil prices and the increasing demand for oil, the market for oiler tankers have increased to make up about 50% of all large scale ships being constructed. And Korea has won 60% of that lucrative tanker contracts.

Korea real-estate market for “Apart-tel”  is gaining popularity
In Korea, there are several types of residential or semi- residential buildings. The “apartments” are what you would expect they are and can only be built in residential areas. They usually have many 2 or 3 rooms.

The “office-tels” are technically categorized as office space and thus can be built in non- residential areas. People tend to use them either as offices or living quarters like a studio apartment. Since they are meant to be multifunctional, there are usually under 30m2 in size and have usually only one room.

“Apart-tels”   are basically just “office-tels” that are larger than 45m2 in size and have more than one room. As it has become more difficult to find “deposit only based” rental properties, singles and newlyweds are deciding to buy moreApart-tel”   instead of renting. However, there are downsides as they are still smaller than “apartments”  and have to pay more taxes as they are officially still  buying “office space.”  Various overhead cost also may be more expensive.

Korea entertainment giants industries are on the decline in stock markets
S.M.Entertainment and  Y.G.Entertainment, who have been on the top of their industry in the Korean stock market, are not doing well this year. These companies are involved with a lot of KPOP idol stars. It is thought that the devaluing of the Yen resulted in profits coming from Japan to decrease.


Another reason for the decline is placed on the fact that some of the companies’ main attractions had left the companies including Jessica from Girls generation. With the weakness of relying on stars to bring in the profits coming to the forefront, the entertainment companies are trying to diversify into related industries such as cosmetics. 

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