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Yonhap News Summary

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

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Daily virus cases below 4,000 for 2nd day amid new variant woes

SEOUL — South Korea’s new coronavirus cases stayed below 4,000 for the second straight day Monday due largely to fewer tests, but the high number of critically ill patients remained worrisome amid concerns about the new virus variant.

The country reported 3,309 new COVID-19 cases, including 3,286 local infections, raising the total caseload to 444,200, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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Yoon leads Lee by 9.4 percentage points in presidential race: survey

SEOUL — Presidential candidate Yoon Seok-youl of the main opposition People Power Party is leading his ruling Democratic Party rival Lee Jae-myung by 9.4 percentage points in a hypothetical multicandidate race, a survey showed Monday.

Yoon had 46.3 percent support against Lee’s 36.9 percent in the survey of 3,023 adults conducted last Monday to Friday by Realmeter.

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(LEAD) BTS looks to win Grammy after second consecutive nomination

SEOUL — K-pop sensation BTS has expressed confidence it can win a Grammy award sometime in the future, citing an old saying, “Little strokes fell great oaks,” despite disappointment of falling short of winning a nomination for the top four Grammys last week.

“I grew up watching the Grammy Awards since I was young, so I’m still excited about being nominated and looking forward to (winning an award),” member Suga said during a press conference at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday (U.S. time). “It won’t be easy, of course, but I’m grateful that I have a barrier to jump over and a challenge to take.”

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S. Korea to closely monitor financial markets amid worries over omicron-sparked volatility

SEOUL — South Korea will closely monitor global and local financial markets for any impact from the emergence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus and take action in a preemptive and active manner, if necessary, to reduce market volatility, a senior finance ministry official said Monday.

First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon made the remark at a meeting to discuss macroeconomic issues amid concerns that financial market volatility could intensify due to the spread of the potentially more transmissible omicron variant.

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Pentagon chief to visit S. Korea this week for annual security talks

SEOU — U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will visit Seoul this week for annual defense talks with his South Korean counterpart on the envisioned transfer of wartime operational control (OPCON), North Korean threats, cybersecurity and other issues, Seoul officials have said.

Austin is set to depart for South Korea on Tuesday (Washington time) to attend the 53rd Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) slated for Thursday. It marks the first SCM between Seoul’s Defense Minister Suh Wook and Austin since the inauguration of the Joe Biden administration in January.

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Seoul stocks trim losses from virus woes

SEOUL — South Korean stocks erased part of their earlier losses late Monday morning, with investors wondering how the omicron variant of the coronavirus will affect the global economic reopening.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 11.53 points, or 0.39 percent, to 2,924.91.54 points as of 11:20 a.m.

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