1. The South Korean government has lifted its emergency standby mode that was issued following the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. However, the government is now facing a new conflict with the North as Pyongyang has raised issue with Seoul’s decision to keep its condolence delegation at a nongovernmental level.
2. Global credit appraiser Moody's Investors Service says the outlook for South Korea's credit rating remains stable despite the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Moody's released the report saying geopolitical risks will not constrain the country's ratings due to South Korea's high degree of economic and financial strength.
3. Koreans may be able to purchase non-prescription or over-the-counter drugs at convenient stores as early as August of next year. The Health Ministry said it will try to pass the related bill...that could ease people's inconveniences in buying non-prescription drugs and tackle the restricted access to medicine late a night and during holidays.
4. The Justice Ministry has released 762 convicts on parole as a way to mark the Christmas holiday. The beneficiaries include long-term prisoners who served more than ten years, well-behaved prisoners and elderly prisoners aged 70 or above. However, the ministry did not parole sex offenders in consideration of the public’s sentiment against inhumane crimes.
Taking a look at today’s stock market action…
South Korean stocks closed more than 1 percent higher today, as upbeat U.S. economic data eclipsed concerns over the eurozone debt crisis.
The local currency also gathered ground against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) jumped 19 points to close at 1,867…while the tech-heavy KOSDAQ rose by almost a point to close at 502.
The local currency ended at 1,150 won against the greenback, up 6 won from yesterday’s close.