≡ Park Faces New Charges For Taking Bribes From NIS
Former President Park Geun-hye has been indicted on new accusations, in addition to the 18 charges she is currently facing.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutor's Office added charges of bribery, embezzlement and loss of state funds to her indictment.
Prosecutors say she colluded with three former chiefs of the National Intelligence Service and received a total of 3.6 billion won from the spy agency between May 2013 and September 2016.
Park is suspected of spending the money for private use, such as bills for secret phones she used to contact her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, and maintenance costs for her private residence.
She is also accused of using the fund to give millions of won every month as bonuses to her close aides, Lee Jae-man, Ahn Bong-geun and Jeong Ho-seong.
Park wasn't available for comment on the latest indictment, but she had denied any wrongdoing with regard to other allegations against her.■
≡ Koreas End Contact Via Resumed Hotline Without Agreement On Talks
North Korea has yet to give a response to Seoul's offer for high-level talks next week.
The two Koreas ended contact at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, the second day since the cross-border hotline was restored.
North Korea called it a day without mentioning Seoul's offer for dialogue.
An official at Seoul's unification ministry said they will calmly wait for the North's reply and review the next steps.
The two sides are expected to negotiate details about talks, including agenda items, if their contact through the hotline goes smoothly over the next few days.■[2018.01.04]
≡ Suspected Bird Flu Case In Pocheon Confirmed To Be Highly Pathogenic
A bird flu outbreak on a chicken farm in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province has been confirmed to be a highly pathogenic strain of H5N6.
A two-day movement ban on poultry has already been imposed in the region since yesterday afternoon.
It marks the season's first case of bird flu and also the first time it has been detected in the metropolitan area.
The government is strengthening quarantine measures as the latest outbreak has raised concerns with little over a month left before the start of the PyeongChang Winter Games.■[2018.01.04]
≡ NTS Launches Tax Investigation Into DAS
The National Tax Service has conducted a tax investigation into a company suspected of being former President Lee Myung-bak’s de facto property.
Tax officials in Seoul secured account books and computer files from the company's headquarters in Gyeongju.
They are focusing on allegations that the company evaded taxes and hid assets under a borrowed name.■[2018.01.04]
≡ Weather Update 2200
Taking a look at the weather, heavy clouds continue to linger over the entire peninsula at this hour.
A cold wave advisory is still in effect for parts of Gangwon Province.
Tomorrow is Sohan, a traditional seasonal indicator that marks the coldest period of winter.
However, conditions will be relatively mild compared to today with daytime highs rising to positive territory.
Looking ahead, expect more frigid conditions next week.
As for the current reading in central Seoul, it is _____ degrees Celsius or _____ degrees in Fahrenheit.■[2018.01.04]