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Gov't to inject 15 bln won to foster UHD industry

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will invest 15 billion won (US$14.4 million) this year in fostering its Ultra HD (UHD) industry to secure a competitive edge before the expected sales boom from global sports events, the telecom ministry said Thursday. The Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning said it will inject 5.8 billion won to develop core devices needed in creating and transmitting UHD contents, such as cloud-based editing systems and a High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) encoder.

China offers condolences to S. Korea over ferry disaster

BEIJING, April 17 (Yonhap) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent his condolences to the victims of a ferry sinking in South Korea that left at least eight dead and about 288 of the 475 people aboard still missing, an official at the South Korean Embassy in Beijing said Thursday. In a statement sent to South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se on Wednesday night, Wang expressed "deep condolences to the victims of the sunken ferry," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

U.S. gov't offers condolences over S. Korean ferry sinking

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, April 16 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. government expressed its condolences Wednesday to the families of those who were killed in the sinking of a South Korean ferry. "We extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of those who lost their lives on board the South Korea ferry, the Sewol," Marie Harf, the State Department's deputy spokeswoman said at the start of a daily press briefing. She described the incident as a "terrible tragedy."

Six dead, 290 missing in S. Korean ferry sinking

SEOUL/JINDO, South Korea, April 17 (Yonhap) -- At least six people are dead and nearly 300 others are still missing early Thursday, after a ferry sank off South Korea's southwestern coast less than a day earlier, officials said. Rescuers, mainly military divers, continued a desperate search for survivors. The 6,825-ton Sewol, heading to Jeju Island with 475 people on board, capsized Wednesday morning after a distress call. They include 375 students and 14 teachers from Ansan Danwon High School on a four-day field trip to the island. Among them, 179 have been rescued.

Six dead, 290 missing in S. Korean ferry sinking

JINDO/SEOUL/WASHINGTON, April 17 (Yonhap) -- At least six people were killed, with the fate of 290 others unknown, in the sinking of a South Korean ferry off the country's southwestern coast, officials said early Thursday. As military divers and other rescuers resumed a desperate search for survivors shortly after noon, two more bodies were recovered, the Coast Guard announced. The death toll is feared to soar, as search-and-rescue efforts have been hampered by swift currents, low visibility and low temperature.

S. Korean parliament ratifies defense cost-sharing pact with U.S.

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's parliament ratified a defense-cost sharing pact with the United States Wednesday after months of wrangling between rival parties over the transparency of its execution. The Special Measure Agreement (SMA) calls for Seoul to share the cost of stationing 28,500 American troops in South Korea. In January, Seoul and Washington renewed the agreement, with the South agreeing to pay 920 billion won (US$886 million) this year for the upkeep of the U.S. troops, a 5.8 percent increase from a year earlier.

One dead as S. Korea ferry with 450 passengers sinks

South Korea's coastguard said Wednesday one person had been killed as it struggled to rescue 476 people -- mostly high school students -- aboard a ferry that ran aground and sank off the southern coast. Lee Gyeong-Og, the vice minister of security and public administration, told a press briefing in Seoul that he could only confirm the rescue of 161 people so far. However, he added that commercial ships involved in the operation were understood to have rescued a significant number of people.

S. Korea rescue for sinking ferry with 450 passengers

South Korea despatched coastguard vessels and helicopters Wednesday to rescue around 450 passengers -- mostly high school students -- on a ferry sinking off the southern coast, officials said. "The ship is taking in water and sinking," a coastguard spokesman told AFP by phone. "There are around 450 people on board and we have coastguard vessels, commercial ships in the area, as well as helicopters all engaged in the rescue operation," the spokesman said. Earlier reports had put the number of people on board at 350.

N. Korea denounces Seoul's refusal of joint probe into drones

By Kim Eun-jung SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Wednesday denounced Seoul's refusal of its demand for a joint investigation into three drones found in South Korea, saying a preliminary result that pointed at Pyongyang's involvement is a "malicious slander." South Korea's defense ministry last week said the drones recently discovered in inter-Korean border areas were produced and sent by North Korea for spying purposes, though the conclusive evidence has yet to be found.

Russia's deputy PM to visit N. Korea soon: report

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev plans to visit North Korea soon, a U.S. radio report said Wednesday. The trip by Trutnev, who is also President Vladimir Putin's envoy to Russia's Far East, is the latest in a series of exchange visits of high-level officials between the two countries, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported, citing Russian media. Russian media reported Trutnev's planned trip to Pyongyang on Tuesday, citing Kim Yong-jae, North Korea's top envoy to Russia, according to the RFA.
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