tbs eFM 101.3 News http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsMain.do Two-Week Ice Fishing Festival Opens In Gangwon's Inje http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381736&typ_800=I An annual ice fishing festival has kicked off today in Gangwon Province. The Inje Icefish Festival will run through February 2 on the frozen surface of Lake Soyang in the mountainous county. Visitors can enjoy rather exotic fishing experiences through roughly 20-centimeter-wide ice holes to catch fish that live in water below 10 degrees Celsius. The festival boasts a history of over 20 years and has now become one of the signature winter festivals in the country.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Woongtae Ryu 202001181736+0900 Pompeo Has Confidence In US Ambassador To Seoul: State Department http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381735&typ_800=M The U.S. State Department says Secretary Mike Pompeo has a lot of confidence in Washington's Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris. Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told Voice of America Friday that Harris serves at the pleasure of Pompeo and U.S. President Donald Trump. The comments came after the top U.S. envoy to Seoul said earlier this week that South Korea should consult with Washington about its plans to engage with North Korea to avoid any "misunderstandings" that may trigger sanctions. In response, Cheong Wa Dae blasted Harris, calling his remarks "very inappropriate." Ortagus added the U.S. is grateful for the bilateral relationship between Seoul and Washington, and the two governments will continue to work together on incredibly important and sensitive issues.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Sehhyeong Kim 202001181720+0900 N. Korea Marks 1.8% Growth In 2019 Despite Sanctions: UN Report http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381740&typ_800=U A United Nations report says for the first time in three years, North Korea's economy grew in 2019 despite international sanctions. According to the report released on Thursday, the North's estimated gross domestic product rose 1.8 percent last year in contrast to a decline in 2018 and 2017 by 4.2 and 3.5 percent, respectively. The report did not specify what contributed to the growth but forecast even further growth of 2.2 percent in 2020 and 2.8 percent in 2021. It also said the North's consumer price inflation is estimated to have jumped 4.8 percent last year, exceeding the growth rate of GDP.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Woongtae Ryu 202001181719+0900 Rapid Response Team Departs For Nepal After 4 S. Koreans Go Missing http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381738&typ_800=N [Anchor] A search is under way in Nepal to locate four missing South Koreans after an avalanche hit their trekking course in the Himalayas. Seoul's foreign ministry has dispatched a rapid response team to Nepal to aid in the operation. Our Sehhyeong Kim reports. [Reporter] According to Seoul's foreign ministry and the Chungcheongnamdo Office of Education, the avalanche occurred on Friday morning on the Annapurna mountain at an altitude of around 3,230 meters. The four missing teachers -- two men and two women -- are known to belong to the education office, working for elementary and middle schools in the province. A total of 11 teachers from 10 schools left for Nepal earlier this week to take part in a volunteer work program. Five members of the climbing party were rescued while two other teachers stayed at their accommodations due to health concerns. Seoul's rapid response team consists of officials from the ministry and provincial education office as well as travel agency staff. South Korea's mission in Nepal has requested active rescue operations from local authorities and vowed utmost efforts to provide necessary support to the families of those missing. Local police have dispatched officers to the scene to locate the missing. But inclement weather is hampering search operations. Sehhyeong Kim, eFM News.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Sehhyeong Kim 202001181719+0900 Four S. Koreans Missing After Avalanche Hits Himalayas Trekking Route In Nepal http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381726&typ_800=N [Anchor] Four Korean nationals are missing in Nepal after an avalanche hit the Annapurna trekking route of the Himalayas. The missing are teachers from South Chungcheong Province who were in Nepal for volunteer work. Our Sehhyeong Kim reports. [Reporter] According to Seoul's foreign ministry and the Chungcheongnamdo Office of Education, the avalanche occurred around 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. on Friday at an altitude of around 3,230 meters. Annapurna is an avalanche-prone and technically difficult mountain. The four missing teachers are known to belong to the education office, working for elementary and middle schools in the province. A total of 11 teachers from 10 schools left for Nepal earlier this week to take part in a volunteer work program. Five members of the climbing party were rescued while two other teachers stayed at their accommodations due to health concerns. The ministry has sent a rapid response team to Nepal. Local police have dispatched officers to the scene to locate the missing. But inclement weather is hampering search operations. Sehhyeong Kim, eFM News.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Sehhyeong Kim 202001181706+0900 New BTS Single 'Black Swan' Tops iTunes Charts In 93 Countries http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381737&typ_800=I K-pop boy band BTS' newest single "Black Swan" has skyrocketed to the top of iTunes charts in 93 countries. According to Big Hit Entertainment, the song placed atop the charts on Saturday morning after being released the previous day. This renews the band's record of holding the most number one spots in the world from 67 countries with "Boy With Luv." "Black Swan" is one of the songs off BTS' upcoming album "Map of the Soul: 7" set to be released on February 21.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Diane Yoo 202001181704+0900 Govt Reviewing Options On How To Contribute To Security In Strait Of Hormuz: Yonhap http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381733&typ_800=N A Cheong Wa Dae official says South Korea is reviewing options on how to contribute to security in the Strait of Hormuz. Yonhap News reported this morning the official claimed that the decision will have to be made by considering security as well as oil supply. He added consultations with Iran are under way. Members of the National Security Council Thursday discussed ways to protect South Korean people, companies and assets in the Middle East. Analysts say the presidential office apparently emphasized the rationale to consider South Korea's own interests if it decides to play a role in the region.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Sehhyeong Kim 202001181612+0900 Top N. Korean Envoys Return To Pyongyang Amid Stalled Nuclear Dialogue With US: Yonhap http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381727&typ_800=U North Korean ambassadors to China and the United Nations are reportedly heading home. Citing a source in Beijing, Yonhap News reported today that Pyongyang's top envoy to China Ji Jae-ryong and its Ambassador to the U.N. Kim Song left for Pyongyang this morning on an Air Koryo flight from Beijing Capital International Airport. They were apparently accompanied by some 10 other North Korean diplomats. Also seen at the airport were the North's ambassadors to Angola and Singapore. The report said the trips home could be to attend a meeting of North Korea's overseas diplomatic mission chiefs or could imply new developments in the regime's negotiating strategy with the U.S. Pyongyang has said it will not return to the negotiating table unless Washington withdraws a "hostile policy" against the North.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Woongtae Ryu 202001181606+0900 Overcast Conditions, High Levels Of Fine Dust Forecast Sunday Nationwide http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381731&typ_800=P Mostly cloudy skies are forecast tomorrow nationwide, with rain or snow expected in Seoul, Gyeonggi and Gangwon Yeongseo in the afternoon. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, morning lows will range between minus 5 and 2 degrees Celsius while the mercury will climb to the high-single digits to low teens later in the day. Despite the mild conditions, bad levels of fine dust are in store across the country. Skies are forecast to clear on Monday.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Ron Chang 202001181552+0900 Over 1,700 People Likely Infected With SARS-Like Virus In China's Wuhan: Study http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381728&typ_800=M British researchers say more than 1,700 people are likely to have been infected by a mystery SARS-like virus in the Chinese city of Wuhan as of January 12. Chinese authorities have said pneumonia linked to the virus, which has so far killed two patients there, has hit at least 41 people in the country. But a paper published Friday by scientists with the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London said the number of those affected in the city was likely to be well over a thousand. Authorities in Hong Kong have stepped up detection measures, including temperature checkpoints for inbound travelers from the Chinese mainland. The U.S. said from Friday it would begin screening flights arriving from Wuhan at San Francisco airport and New York's JFK, which both receive direct Flights, as well as Los Angeles, where many flights connect.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Ron Chang 202001181539+0900 US Navy Carrier Group To Return To Indo-Pacific http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381721&typ_800=M A U.S. Navy strike group led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has left its home port of San Diego and is headed back to the Indo-Pacific after two years. The public affairs office of Carrier Strike Group 9 said Friday it "will provide maritime security, maintain freedom of the seas in accordance with international law and customs, and operate with international partners and allies to promote regional stability and prosperity." From October 2017 to May 2018, the strike group carried out operations in the west Pacific, which includes the Korean Peninsula. The latest deployment could bring the operational formation back to East Asia. The office said the U.S. Third Fleet, which the carrier group is part of, is planning missions to promote peace, security and stability in the entirety of the Pacific, adding it will continue to cooperate with the Seventh Fleet, which is based in Yokosuka, Japan.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Ron Chang 202001181502+0900 N. Korean Leader Expresses Condolences For Death Of Ex-Anti-Japanese Fighter http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381715&typ_800=U North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has expressed his condolences towards the death of a former anti-Japanese fighter. The North's state-run media Korean Central News Agency said Kim and his wife attended a funeral for revolutionary fighter Hwang Sun-hui. Hwang, a deputy to the North's parliament and curator of the Korean Revolution Museum, died Friday at the age of 100. Key Workers' Party officials accompanied leader Kim to the service.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Diane Yoo 202001181337+0900 Trump Blasts Iran's Supreme Leader For Saying 'Nasty Things' About US http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381712&typ_800=M U.S. President Donald Trump has warned Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to be "very careful with his words." In a tweet Friday, Trump noted that Khamenei "had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe." Earlier, the supreme leader attacked the "vicious" U.S. and described Britain, France and Germany as servants of America. Trump said that was a mistake. Khamenei also accused his country's enemies of exploiting Iran's accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner for propaganda purposes. He said the January 8 incident was a "bitter" tragedy but should not be allowed to overshadow the "sacrifice" of one of Tehran's Iran's most celebrated commanders, General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Ron Chang 202001181125+0900 No Snow, Cold Snaps In Seoul So Far This Winter http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381711&typ_800=P Seoul has yet to experience a cold snap and snow this winter. According to the Korea Meteorological Agency today, the capital recorded zero days of cold waves and zero centimeters of snow from last November to yesterday. A morning low of minus 12 degrees is considered a cold snap. While it did snow on November 15 and the first day of 2020, it wasn't enough to keep records. The chance of Seoul experiencing a cold wave this winter is low. An extended forecast by the weather agency shows that temperatures will either be the same or higher than previous years through the end of next month. ■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Sehhyeong Kim 202001181125+0900 US Reaffirms Support For Improving Inter-Korean Relations http://tbs.seoul.kr/eFm/newsView.do?idx_800=2381710&typ_800=U Seoul's chief nuclear envoy says the United States has reaffirmed its support for improved inter-Korean relations. Lee Do-hoon told reporters Friday at a press briefing in Washington that he and his American counterpart, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, agreed on this during an earlier meeting. Lee added that the common goal shared between Seoul and Washington is to bring the North back to the negotiating table and prevent it from carrying out provocations. His remarks come after President Moon Jae-in unveiled his will to resume inter-Korean projects during his new year's press conference earlier this week.■ <Photo: Yonhap News> Sehhyeong Kim 202001181125+0900