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Opposition party steps up calls for spy chief's dismissal

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) stepped up calls on President Park Geun-hye Wednesday to fire her spy chief over the state intelligence agency's alleged forgery of evidence in an espionage case. Prosecutors wrapped up an investigation into the scandal Monday after indicting three officials of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) on charges of fabricating evidence to frame a Chinese-born defector from North Korea for espionage. The results have sparked criticism that NIS chief Nam Jae-joon was let off the hook.

Today in Korean history

April 17 1880 -- Japan sets up a legation in Korea. 1968 -- South Korean President Park Chung-hee holds talks with his U.S. counterpart, Lyndon Johnson. 1976 -- South Korea establishes diplomatic relations with Bahrain. 2003 -- South Korea sends 20 soldiers to Iraq in its first deployment to the war-torn country.

Today in Korean history

April 17 1880 -- Japan sets up a legation in Korea. 1968 -- South Korean President Park Chung-hee holds talks with his U.S. counterpart, Lyndon Johnson. 1976 -- South Korea establishes diplomatic relations with Bahrain. 2003 -- South Korea sends 20 soldiers to Iraq in its first deployment to the war-torn country.

N. Korea officials 'target London salon over Kim haircut ad'

British police said Tuesday they had intervened after North Korean embassy officials reportedly told a London hairdresser to take down a discount haircuts advert featuring leader Kim Jong-Un. Mo Nabbach said two officials identifying themselves as being from the Stalinist state's mission took pictures of his M&M Hair Academy in Ealing, west London. They then demanded to know his name and ordered him to remove the "disrespectful" poster from the salon window, he told the Evening Standard newspaper.

N. Korea officials 'target London salon over Kim haircut ad'

British police said Tuesday they had intervened after North Korean embassy officials reportedly told a London hairdresser to take down a discount haircuts advert featuring leader Kim Jong-Un. Mo Nabbach told the London Evening Standard newspaper that two officials from the Stalinist state's mission took pictures of the M&M Hair Academy in Ealing, west London. They then ordered him to remove the "disrespectful" poster, he said.

N. Korea celebrates founder's birthday in festive mood

North Korea on Tuesday celebrated the 102nd anniversary of the birth of founder Kim Il Sung, while the outside world remains vigilant against Pyongyang's recent growing belligerence after showing some signs of returning to diplomatic engagement. North Korea was filled with a festive mood. Streets, restaurants and hotel lobbies in the capital were decorated with messages commemorating the birth of the state founder and "Kimilsungia," a purple flower of the orchid family named after him.

N. Korea marks Kim Il-Sung birthday with loyalty pledge

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un paid respects to his grandfather Kim Il-Sung as the country marked the birthday Tuesday of its late founder with renewed calls for loyalty to the ruling Kim dynasty. At the stroke of midnight, Kim Jong-Un, accompanied by top military leaders, visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang -- the mausoleum holding the embalmed body of his grandfather, the North's official KCNA news agency said. The similarly preserved body of Kim's father, Kim Jong-Il, whom he succeeded as leader in December 2011, is housed in the same building.

S. Korea spy chief apologises over forgery scandal

South Korea's intelligence chief vowed a "bone-crushing" overhaul of his embattled agency as he apologised Tuesday for a scandal that saw senior agents charged with fabricating evidence in an espionage case. "I feel deeply pained for letting this happen... and feel tremendous responsibility," Nam Jae-Joon told reporters in a rare press appearance. His apology came a day after the agency's deputy chief stepped down.

N. Korea marks Kim Il-Sung birthday with loyalty pledge

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un paid respects to his grandfather Kim Il-Sung as the country marked the birthday Tuesday of its late founder with renewed calls for loyalty to the ruling Kim dynasty. At the stroke of midnight, Kim Jong-Un, accompanied by top military leaders, visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang -- the mausoleum holding the embalmed body of his grandfather, the North's official KCNA news agency said. The similarly preserved body of Kim's father, Kim Jong-Il, whom he succeeded as leader in December 2011, is housed in the same building.

Park apologizes over fake evidence scandal

SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye apologized Tuesday for the spy agency's alleged forgery of evidence used in charging a North Korean defector with espionage, ordering the embattled agency to make thorough efforts to reform itself. Park issued the apology during a Cabinet meeting, a day after prosecutors indicted two officials of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) for their alleged roles in the scandal. NIS Director Nam Jae-joon also offered an apology earlier in the day.
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