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S. Korea allows KORAIL chief to visit N. Korea

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea decided to allow the chief of its state rail operator to visit North Korea this week for an international rail conference, the unification ministry said Sunday. The ministry said it approved an April 24-28 trip to Pyongyang by Choi Yeon-hye, president and CEO of the Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL), and four other officials for a meeting of the Organization for Co-Operation between Railways (OSJD).

S. Korea allows KORAIL chief to visit N. Korea

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has allowed the chief of its state rail operator to visit North Korea this week for an international rail conference, the unification ministry said Sunday. The ministry said it approved a trip to Pyongyang by Choi Yeon-hye, president and CEO of the Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL), and four other officials for a meeting of the Organization for Co-Operation between Railways (OSJD) set for April 24-28.

U.S. agrees to return ancient Korean seals in Obama's trip to Seoul

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. government has agreed to return a set of Korean national treasures, shipped out of here by an American soldier during the 1950-53 Korean War, when President Barack Obama visits South Korea this week, Seoul said Sunday. Obama is expected to arrive in Seoul on Friday for a two-day official visit, following a three-day stay in Tokyo.

U.S. agrees to return ancient Korean seals in Obama's trip to Seoul: source

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. government has agreed to return a set of Korean national treasures, shipped out of here by an American soldier during the 1950-53 Korean War, when President Barack Obama visits Seoul this week, a government source said Sunday. Obama is expected to arrive in Seoul on Friday for a two-day official visit, following a three-day stay in Tokyo. "Washington has almost agreed to return the nine ancient Korean seals to Seoul on the occasion of Obama's visit to Seoul," the source said.

N. Korean leader slams S. Korea-U.S. air drill

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has blasted South Korea and the United States for their largest-ever air exercise, calling it a threat against peace on the Korean Peninsula, Pyongyang's official media said Sunday. On April 11, Seoul and Washington launched the annual Max Thunder exercise meant to boost their air defense capability. The drill, which involves about 103 warplanes and some 1,400 pilots from the two allies, will run through Friday.

Russia writes off 90 percent of North Korea debt, eyes gas pipeline

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's parliament has agreed to write off almost $10 billion of North Korea's Soviet-era debt, in a deal expected to facilitate the building of a gas pipeline to South Korea across the reclusive state. Russia has written off debts to a number of impoverished Soviet-era allies, including Cuba. North Korea's struggling communist economy is just 2 percent of the size of neighboring South Korea's.

Historic mass in Turkish-held north Cyprus 'like a miracle'

With a nighttime procession lit by the glimmer of devotional candles and the flash of smartphone cameras, a church in Turkish-held northern Cyprus hosted its first Easter mass in nearly 60 years. Hundreds of Greek Cypriots crossed the Green Line to attend the ceremony at Famagusta's church of St George Exorinos, in the part of the Mediterranean island occupied by Turkish forces since 1974.

Historic mass in Turkish-held north Cyprus 'like a miracle'

With a nighttime procession lit by the glimmer of devotional candles and the flash of smartphone cameras, a church in Turkish-held northern Cyprus hosted its first Easter mass in nearly 60 years. Hundreds of Greek Cypriots crossed the Green Line to attend the ceremony at Famagusta's church of St George Exorinos, in the part of the Mediterranean island occupied by Turkish forces since 1974.

Historic mass in Turkish-held north Cyprus 'like a miracle'

With a nighttime procession lit by the glimmer of devotional candles and the flash of smartphone cameras, a church in Turkish-held northern Cyprus hosted its first Easter mass in nearly 60 years. Hundreds of Greek Cypriots crossed the Green Line to attend the ceremony at Famagusta's church of St George Exorinos, in the part of the Mediterranean island occupied by Turkish forces since 1974.

Today in Korean history

April 20 1906 -- The Korean Empire, as the country was called in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, starts construction of its first paved road, called "sinjangno" (newly built road), over the 30 kilometers between Jeonju and Gunsan, South Jeolla Province. The new road replaced twisting rural byways.
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