≡ Graduation Opens For Students Killed In 2014 Sewol Ferry Sinking
Danwon High School in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province held a graduation ceremony this morning for the 250 students who died in the 2014 Sewol ferry sinking, South Korea's worst maritime disaster.
At the event, bereaved families received the diplomas on behalf of the young victims.
Jeong-eun Lee reports.
Muffled sobs and cries by the victims' bereaved families and friends filled the high school ceremony that should have been filled with joy and laughter.
They were remembering the Danwon High School juniors who were headed to Jeju Island for a field trip when the ferry capsized in waters off the southern coast on April 16, nearly five years ago.
Out of the 325 students onboard the Sewol, 250 were killed in the ferry, due in part to what is widely seen as the government's botched attempt to rescue them.
These students would have graduated in 2016, and a ceremony would have been held then, but bereaved families demanded it be held off until authorities recovered the remains of the missing students.
Despite years of searching under water and inside the vessel, two Danwon students and one teacher still remain unaccounted for.
The search operation officially concluded last October.
Seoul city plans to remove Sewol memorial tents installed at Gwanghwamun Square next month.
Jeong-eun Lee, eFM News.■
≡ Vietnam's Foreign Minister To Visit N. Korea Ahead Of 2nd Trump-Kim Summit
Vietnamese foreign minister Pham Binh Minh is heading to North Korea today ahead of a second planned summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Vietnam's foreign ministry spokesperson tweeted on Monday the minister will be visiting Pyongyang at the invitation of the North between February 12th and 14th.
While his agenda is unknown, it is widely believed to be in preparation for the upcoming summit to be held in Hanoi on February 27th and 28th.
Yonhap News reported on the possibility Kim could also make a state visit to Vietnam, before or after his meeting with President Trump.
If realized, it would be the first by a North Korean leader in 54 years.
Vietnam has been viewed as an instructive model for the North as a former U.S. adversary-turned-major partner.■
≡ S. Korean Civic Group Heads To N. Korea's Mt. Kumgang For Joint Event
Members of a South Korean civic organization have departed for North Korea's Mount Kumgang to discuss future civic exchanges.
During their two-day stay, the South Korean delegation of about 250 people, including religious leaders, civic officials and lawmakers, plans to hold a joint New Year event and meetings with their North Korean counterparts.
They are expected to propose various cooperative projects, such as a temple stay program, symposiums for educators and sports and arts exchanges for students.
This marks the first joint civilian cross-border event this year.■[2019.02.12]
≡ Govt To Spend \330 Tln To Set Up Inclusive Social Safety Net
The government has decided to invest more than 330 trillion won by 2023 to set up a more inclusive social safety net.
The welfare ministry rolled out a comprehensive five-year plan this morning that aims to improve the lives of the South Korean people in the areas of employment, education, income and health.
The government also announced its mid to long term goals, including an ambitious endeavor to place South Korea in the global top 10 for the quality of peoples' livelihoods by 2040.
The ministry said that implementation plans will be set up for each year and will be evaluated to come up with improvements for lacking sectors.■
≡ US Stocks Mixed As China Trade Talks Begin
Stocks on Wall Street finished mixed overnight as markets eyed ongoing U.S.-China trade talks while lawmakers in Washington sought to avoid another government shutdown.
At closing bell on Monday, the Dow Jones fell 0.2 percent, while the S&P 500 and the tech-rich Nasdaq both gained 0.1 percent.
Over in Europe, London's FTSE added 0.8 percent, Frankfurt's DAX advanced 1 percent, while shares in Paris were up 1.1 percent.■
≡ Trump, Xi May Meet At Mar-A-Lago Resort To End Trade War: Axios
U.S. President Donald Trump may meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida as early as mid-March in efforts to end their trade war.
American news and information site Axios cited two officials on Monday with direct knowledge of the internal discussions.
However, the sources stressed nothing has been set yet, while another official cautioned that the team has discussed other locations, including Beijing.
Trump reportedly wanted to meet with Xi before the U.S. tariff ceasefire with China ends on March 1st, but with his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, the events were thought to be too close together.
U.S. media have been wary about the progress in recent trade talks, with U.S. officials pushing for deeper structural reforms of China's trade arena, while Beijing has been reiterating its stance for Washington to open up.■
≡ Seoul City To Add More Security Guards At Special Education Schools
The Seoul Metropolitan Government says it will place security personnel at 13 national and public special education schools in the capital from this year.
This comes as an addition to city government's measures introduced in 2011 to deploy school security guards to protect the safety of students.
Under the measures, two guards are supposed to be placed at each school, but as the special schools already have a separate safety officer, the city will deploy one more guard for each of them.
As of December, more than a thousand personnel were working at 559 national and public elementary schools in Seoul.■[2019.02.12]
≡ Weather Update 1100
Taking a look at the weather, the greater Seoul area is under mostly cloudy skies at this hour.
High levels of ultra-fine dust are affecting air quality in the capital region and the Chungcheong provinces.
Take necessary precautions when outdoors.
Relatively mild temperatures are in store for the rest of the day.
The local mercury is forecast to peak at 4 degrees.
As for the current temperature in central Seoul, it is _____ degrees Celsius or _____ degrees in Fahrenheit.■