1. South Korea says it will push for working-level contacts with North Korea as part of efforts to maintain peace and stability on the peninsula following the sudden demise of leader Kim Jong-il. The move is designed to open high-level dialogue with Pyongyang and address an outstanding dispute over the North's deadly attacks on the South in 2010.
2. The ruling Grand National Party (GNP) has requested an investigation by prosecutors into allegations that one of its former party leaders bribed fellow party members to get the chief post in the past leadership election. The move is dealing yet another blow to the struggling party ahead of major polls coming up this year.
3. The European Union has tentatively agreed to ban imports of crude oil from Iran, joining hands with the US to ramp up economic sanctions against Iran's suspected nuclear program. Washington, which signed its toughest sanctions yet against Tehran into law last week, has welcomed the move.
4. The government has decided to launch a national campaign on preventing school violence. It will begin by providing various educational programs for students in kindergarten through high school to teach students ways to handle and prevent school violence more than once a semester.
Taking a look at today’s stock market action…
South Korean stocks edged down 0.13 percent today, and the local currency also fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) inched down 2.5 points to close at 1,864…while the tech-heavy KOSDAQ rose by almost 6 points to close at 522.
The local currency closed at 1,153 won to the greenback, down 4 won from yesterday’s close.