1. President Lee Myung-bak says in his New Year's address that the situation on the Korean Peninsula has entered a transitional period, and the most important goal for the government at this moment is peace and security. He also expressed hopes for a genuine change in North Korea's attitude.
2. Over the weekend, the National Assembly passes the government's budget for 2012, amounting to 325.4 trillion won. On Saturday, the National Assembly also passed a bill to create new income tax brackets for citizens earning over 300 million annually.
3. North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-un begins the first day of the new year visiting a tank division, in his first reported first field inspection since his father's death. The move is seen as highlighting the young leader's plan to carry on his father's military first policy.
4. Los Angeles police released security camera images of a man suspected over a spree of arson attacks that kept Hollywood on edge over the New Year. The LA Police Department (LAPD) has also asked residents to leave their porch and car port lights on overnight, after some 40 fires were set over three nights including New Year's Eve.
Taking a look at today’s stock market action…
South Korean stocks edged up 0.03 percent today, while the local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.
On the first trading session of the year, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.6 points to close at 1,826…while the tech-heavy KOSDAQ rose by more than 6 points to close at 507.
The local currency ended at 1,155.8 won to the greenback, down 4 won from last Thursday's close.