≡ 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.■
≡ Abe Defends Keeping 'Sea Of Japan' Term
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has claimed "Sea of Japan" is the only name established in the international society for the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
When asked at a parliamentary meeting about his stance on South Korea's objection to the term, Abe said there is no need or reason to replace it.
He added that he will continue to urge international organizations to support the name.
Earlier, Tokyo said it is willing to hold unofficial discussions about the term with related countries as recommended by the International Hydrographic Organization.
South Korea has been pushing to replace the term with "East Sea," saying Sea of Japan is a legacy of Japan's colonial rule in the region.■
≡ Govt Ditches Plan For New Military Command Amid Peace Efforts
The South Korean military has canceled a plan to establish a new strategic command tasked with countering North Korea's nuclear threats, amid current peace initiatives.
The Ministry of National Defense said today the government will instead install a new division within the Joint Chiefs of Staff to cope with threats from North Korea's nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.
President Moon Jae-in initially pledged to launch the command during his election campaign, but the plan was reconsidered after it was found to overlap with the functions of other existing units.
Observers view the move as falling in line with Seoul's ongoing diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang aimed at creating lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.■
≡ Fine Dust Emergency Measures In Seoul To Be Reinforced From Friday
The emergency reduction measures in place in the capital on days when there are high levels of fine dust will be reinforced this week.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government said a revised enforcement ordinance of a special law on fine dust reduction will take effect on Friday.
Under the new rule, old diesel cars rated Grade 5 under emissions standards will be banned from driving in the capital from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. when the measures take effect.
Those caught violating the rule will be fined 100,000 won.
Also, the local government will be able to recommend daycare centers, kindergartens and schools to temporarily close or suspend classes.
The city, meanwhile, is in the process of installing air purifiers within city buses and subways that are also prone to high levels of fine dust.■
≡ Hyundai Heavy To Sign Formal Deal To Take Over Daewoo Shipbuilding
Hyundai Heavy Industries is expected to proceed with a deal worth over 2 trillion won to take over smaller local rival Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering early next month.
The Korea Development Bank said today it plans to sign a formal deal with Hyundai Heavy in March, handing over its Daewoo stocks to the world's largest shipyard by sales.
If the deal proceeds as planned, the South Korean shipbuilding industry is expected to be dominated by two major shipbuilders - Hyundai Heavy and Samsung Heavy - the latter of which decided not to bid on Daewoo.
The takeover will likely spark fierce opposition from Hyundai Heavy and Daewoo Shipbuilding workers, as labor unions at both companies have opposed the deal, claiming it could lead to massive layoffs.■
≡ Govt To Cut Disposable Cup Usage By Third In 2019
The environment ministry is planning to cut the nation's disposable cup usage by a third this year.
The ministry said it aims to reduce the number of such cups used in the country to four billion.
That would be a 35 percent decrease from 6.1 billion disposable cups used in 2015.
The government also plans to process 20 percent of nearly 66 tons of returned trash at waste facilities nationwide by the end of the year, with an aim to get rid of them by 2022.■