≡ Prosecutors, Park To Battle In Court Over Arrest Warrant Request
A court hearing on the arrest warrant for former President Park Geun-hye will open at 10:30 this morning.
Park will be in attendeance for what many analysts say will be a marathon legal battle as arguments are likely to focus on bribery charges.
The former president is suspected of forcing dozens of local conglomerates to donate to two dubious non-profits run by her confidante Choi Soon-sil.
If convicted, Park could be sentenced to 10 years or more.
She is also accused of being involved in a government culture blacklist, exerting influence on the personnel decisions at local firms and leaking classified government information.
A ruling on the warrant is expected sometime early tomorrow morning.■[2017.03.30]
≡ Sewol Transport Operations Set Back By Bad Weather
Operations to prepare the salvaged Sewol ferry for transport to Mokpo continue to face set backs due to high waves.
Work has been stopped since early yesterday.
The oceans ministry had said the vessel would leave for port by today, but their timeline is likely to change due to inclement weather in waters off Jindo.
It's expected that the transport vessel will depart sometime tomorrow, if work to remove buoyancy tanks and secure the Sewol are completed. ■
≡ Samsung Electronics Unveils New Galaxy S8 With Brixby AI
Samsung has unveiled its new Galaxy S8 smartphones, as the market leader seeks to rebound from a corruption scandal and last year's embarrassing Note 7 debacle.
At a launch event in New York on Wednesday, the company's mobile chief Koh Dong-jin said the S8 and S8 Plus handsets marked a new era of smartphone design.
They include the new digital assistant Bixby, which allows users to shop, search for images and places with image recognition technology and geolocation.
The design features an infinity display screen that appears to curve seamlessly around its edges.
Both phones are water resistant and allow for biometric authentification
The new phones will be available first in Korea and the United States on April 21.■[2017.03.30]
≡ 38 North Detects More Signs Of N. Korea Nuke Test Preparations
More data about increased activity at North Korea's nuclear test site suggests signs that the regime is preparing for its sixth nuclear test.
Monitoring website 38 North said Wednesday that satellite imagery this week shows up to 100 people gathered at the Punggye-ri test site's main administrative area -- an unusual site not seen since January 2013, which was followed by a nuclear test a month later.
This follows updates of increased vehicle activity, communication cables being laid and water being pumped out of a portal.
38 North pointed out that Pyongyang is sending a politicial message with such preparations, but it may also be engaged in a well-planned game of brinkmanship.■
≡ Britain Launches Process To Leave EU
Britain has launched the historic process of leaving the European Union.
Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament on Wednesday that it was an historic moment from which there is no turning back.
EU President Donald Tusk is expected to issue draft guidelines for the negotiations on Friday.
But the leaders of the other 27 EU nations will not meet until April 29 to confirm their joint approach.■[2017.03.30]
≡ Global Stocks Rise As Brexit Begins
Stocks on Wall Street finished mostly higher, as investors had largely priced in Brexit since last year's referendum.
The Dow Jones fell 0.2 percent, while the S&P 500 gained 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 0.4 percent.
Markets in Europe were also higher.
London and Frankfurt each rose 0.4 percent and Paris climbed 0.5 percent.■[2017.03.30]
≡ Weather 0700
Taking a look at the weather, Seoul and the surrounding areas are waking up to mostly clear skies.
Expect sun throughout the day with heavier clouds to move in later this afternoon.
Temperatures will hover in the mid teens with the local high peaking at 16 degrees.
High levels of fine dust continue to affect air quality so take precautions when outdoors.
As for the current reading in downtown Seoul, it is _____ degrees Celsius or _____ degrees Fahrenheit.■[2017.03.30]