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Obama says his heart aches over Korean ferry tragedy

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, April 17 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday his heart aches to see South Koreans suffer a tragic ferry accident that left nearly 300 people dead or missing. He pledged Washington's full support for the ongoing search-and-rescue efforts, stressing South Korea is one of America's closest friends.

Obama says his heart aches over Korean ferry tragedy

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, April 17 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday his heart aches to see South Koreans suffer a tragic ferry accident that left nearly 300 people dead or missing. He pledged Washington's full support for the ongoing search-and-rescue efforts, stressing South Korea is one of America's closet friends.

Court rejects damages suit by pro-Pyongyang spy case victims

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court dismissed Thursday a compensation suit against the government filed by dozens of people who suffered abuse and punishment as a result of false accusations of spying for North Korea in the 1970s. A total of 34 people, including Chung Dong-young, chief advisor of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, filed the lawsuit seeking 9.75 billion won (US$9.39 million) in compensation from the government for mental suffering arising from their illegal arrest and detention.

Park visits site of sunken ferry

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye paid a visit to the site where a ferry sank off South Korea's southern coast Thursday, as search efforts continued for hundreds of passengers still missing a day after the disaster. The surprise visit shows Park is deeply worried about the fate of those listed as unaccounted for amid fears they could be trapped inside the sunken vessel. Aides said that an anxious Park stayed awake all night before deciding in the morning to visit the site.

China 'deeply saddened' by ferry disaster in S. Korea

BEIJING, April 17 (Yonhap) -- China said Thursday it is "deeply saddened" by the ferry sinking in South Korea that has left at least nine dead and about 287 of the some 475 people aboard still missing. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed his "deep sympathy" to those affected in a message to South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se on Wednesday night, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters during a regular press briefing. "China is ready to provide search-and-rescue assistance to South Korea if needed," Hua said.

China 'deeply saddened' by ferry disaster in S. Korea

BEIJING, April 17 (Yonhap) -- China said Thursday it is "deeply saddened" by the ferry sinking in South Korea that has left at least nine dead and about 287 of the some 475 people aboard still missing. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed his "deep sympathy" to those affected in a message to South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se on Wednesday night, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters during a regular press briefing. "China is ready to provide search-and-rescue assistance to South Korea if needed," Hua said.

One Russian, two Chinese among missing in sunken ferry

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- One Russian student and two Chinese people are among hundreds of passengers missing after a South Korean ferry sank off the country's southern coast a day earlier, the foreign ministry and disaster relief authorities said Thursday. The 6,325-ton ferry Sewol capsized Wednesday morning en route to the southern resort island of Jeju from the western port of Incheon. There were reportedly 475 passengers on board, mostly high-school students.

One Russian, two Chinese among missing in sunken ferry

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- One Russian student and two Chinese people are among hundreds of passengers missing after a South Korean ferry sank off the country's southern coast a day earlier, the foreign ministry and disaster relief authorities said Thursday. The 6,325-ton ferry Sewol capsized Wednesday morning en route to the southern resort island of Jeju from the western port of Incheon. There were reportedly 475 passengers on board, mostly high-school students.

Shipwreck area may be declared special disaster zone

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- The government is considering designating the southeastern town of Jindo and coastal areas nearby as a special disaster zone to extend speedy and full-scale support for the victims of a deadly ship sinking, officials said Thursday. The 6,325-ton ferry Sewol went under off the coast of Jindo a day earlier en route from the western port city of Incheon to the southern resort island of Jeju, killing at least nine out of 475 passengers on board.

Entertainment circle suspends promotional events over ferry sinking

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- In an expression of condolences to the victims of a ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, the entertainment circle canceled most of its promotional activities scheduled for later in the week on Thursday. K-pop artists, major television networks and film agencies postponed their promotional events for new songs, TV shows and films, saying it would not be proper to hold these events at a time when the entire nation is in grief.
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