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      HAPPY NEW YEAR !!   12/30/2017

      As we celebrate the New Year, We wish everyone success, a healthy long life and a fresh new start. Happy New Year! - TEAM TWICE <3  

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sacheol-21stC last won the day on January 19 2017

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  1. JYP Entertainment’s Market Price Rises And Overtakes YG Entertainment On the morning of January 17 KST, JYP Entertainment’s market price underwent a significant rise. The aggregate market price in this context refers the aggregate value of listed stock and indicates the size of a listed company or corporation. After this recent significant rise, JYP Entertainment is now ranked second among similar companies. At 9:23 a.m. KST on January 17, JYP’s stock price rose to 15,300 won (about $14), with the aggregate value of listed stock being 529,731,900,000 won (about $495,987,977). At the same time, YG’s stock was 28,600 won with an aggregate value of listed stock of 520,119,600,000 won (about $486,987,981). On January 16, JYP’s market price was about 502 billion won, while YG was at 515.6 billion won, meaning that JYP overtook the other company in only one day. Last year around the same time, JYP’s stock price was about 4000 won, meaning that the company more than tripled their stock price in a year. JYP has planned a busy January this year, with TWICE continuing to promote their repackaged album “Heart Shaker” and beginning new promotions in Japan, the pre-debut of their new boy group Stray Kidz, and Suzy’s solo comeback later this month. Kang Tae Kyu, a pop culture critic, said, “TWICE hasn’t even reached three full years after their debut and Stray Kidz hasn’t even made an official debut yet. In the future, those groups will have a major effect on JYP’s assets.” Source (1) cr: soompi
  2. MBC idol sports competition under fire on safety issues MBC’s “Idol Star Athletics Championships,” a variety show featuring droves of K-pop stars competing across different sports events, has once again come under fire, following a series of injuries sustained by participants. Controversies over the show’s safety arose as Ungjae of K-pop boy band Impact was reportedly rushed to a hospital for shoulder pain after a shoot that took place at Goyang Gymnasium in Gyeonggi Province, Monday. It was revealed the singer, who had already been receiving treatment for a previous shoulder injury, suffered pain after an acrobatic performance as one of the main sports events of the program. On the same day, Sana of Twice was also reported to have been taken to a hospital for enteritis while shooting the same episode. The two K-pop stars’ agencies later said the stars were recovering. However, furious fans have been flooding social media with complaints about the accident-ridden program’s safety issues, even requesting the channel to shut down the show. Spurred by the idea of watching fan-favorite K-pop stars in fierce sports competitions, including rhythmic gymnastics, aerobics and archery, “ISAC” has cemented itself as one of the most popular holiday shows since its first episode in 2010. The star-studded show, which annually airs around Lunar New Year’s Day in the winter and Chuseok in the fall, has also been on the to-do list of many K-pop stars, especially rookies, as it is considered a shortcut to gaining broad public recognition. Despite its unwavering popularity, “ISAC” has found itself embroiled in safety problems since 2013, when Bora of Sistar and Daniel of DMTN sustained leg injuries. In 2014, Seolhyun of AOA was forced to withdraw from group activities after sustaining a serious leg injury on the show, while Woohyun of Infinite ruptured his shoulder ligament. In 2015, Moonbyul of Mamamoo and L.Joe, formerly of Teen Top, injured a leg and finger, respectively, and Xiumin of EXO hurt his leg in 2016. Amid mounting criticism, production staff recently announced a plan to implement extra safety measures, such as adding to the medical team at the set, and focusing on artists’ safety starting this year. Fans, however, have still pointed to the program as responsible for the injuries. Following Ungjae’s incident, online commenters took turns sharing photos on social media that showed the set’s racing lane covered with adhesive sheets. Comments read, “The lane is made of adhesive sheets. Does it makes sense? It’s a miracle they do not to fall down while running on it” and “Did you (the staff) use those sheets to save money? Please take care of the artists.” Some claimed the K-pop stars, who are not well versed in the sports, could be more susceptible to injuries than others as they have to cram the competition rules in a short period before the shoot and jump right into the games without adequate preparation. This year’s “ISAC,” hosted by TV personality Jeon Hyun-moo, Leeteuk of Super Junior and Bomi of Apink, features 23 K-pop acts, including EXO, Wanna One, Twice, Red Velvet, Monsta X, GFriend, Mamamoo and Lovelyz. The show will air during the Lunar New Year’s holiday period in February. By Hong Dam-young (lotus@heraldcorp.com) cr: KPOPHERALD
  3. YG, SM, And JYP Touch On Their Agency Plans For 2018 2018 has kicked off with a rush of comebacks! Just halfway through the first month, artists from the “Big 3” agencies are already showing high levels of activity. To find out more about what’s ahead, news outlet OSEN contacted YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment and JYP Entertainment and asked about their plans for 2018. YG Entertainment plans on being far from quiet in the upcoming months. iKON is returning with a studio album on January 25, and the group is expected to promote actively in Korea. BLACKPINK recently launched their reality show, and WINNER is likely to make a February comeback. BIGBANG won’t be able to promote as a group for awhile due to military enlistment, but female artists like BLACKPINK, Lee Hi, and Akdong Musician’s Lee Soo Hyun will make up for their absence. The artists of each sub-label will also continue music production. All SM Entertainment artists are expected to be very active in 2018, beginning with BoA’s comeback in January. TVXQ is also planning on a Korean comeback during the first half of the year. NCT is launching a new project this year, which is expected to also be in the first half of the year. SHINee will begin activities again with their Japanese concert in February. Super Junior will continue their diverse work with variety programs and more. Girls’ Generation is expected to have more solo than group activities for the year. JYP Entertainment is beginning the year with Wooyoung’s solo album, which was released on January 15, and Suzy’s solo comeback, which is scheduled for January 29. As 2PM members enlist one by one, they will be focusing on solo activities. GOT7 and TWICE are both expected to make at least two comebacks in Korea this year. DAY6 is continuing their growth with a new project. Artists like NakJoon, Park Jimin, and Baek Yerin are working on new music. Stray Kids released their pre-debut album on January 8 and will promote actively with their debut this year. Which agency are you looking forward to the most in 2018? Source (1) cr: soompi
  4. Super Junior’s Leeteuk And TWICE’s Dahyun To MC Gaon Chart Music Awards + 1st Lineup Revealed The Gaon Chart Music Awards has announced its MC and part of its performer lineup. The award ceremony is organized by the Korea Music Content Industry Association and will be held on February 14 at the Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul. Late last year the show announced that the ceremony would be going undergoing some changes in focus. Super Junior’s Leeteuk and TWICE’s Dahyun will be emceeing the ceremony. The first round of performers have been announced to be TWICE, IU, Sunmi, Epik High, Wanna One, SEVENTEEN, Changmo, Heize, Hwang Chi Yeul, MeloMance, NU’EST W, SECHSKIES, GOT7, and Lee Soo Hyun (Akdong Musician). The executive secretary of the Gaon Chart Music Awards, Choi Kwang Ho, stated, “As a ceremony that celebrates the artists who worked hard to revolutionize the music market in 2017 and the businesspeople who work in the music industry, we invited artists who had great influence like Wanna One, IU, and TWICE. This year, in order to raise the quality of our ceremony, we will put a lot of effort into shining a light on people who often get obscured in the music industry.” Source (1) cr: soompi
  5. The Cranberries singer dies at 46 LONDON - Dolores O’Riordan, whose urgent, powerful voice helped make Irish rock band The Cranberries a global success in the 1990s, died suddenly on Monday at a London hotel. She was 46. The singer-songwriter’s publicist, Lindsey Holmes, confirmed that O’Riordan died in London, where she was recording, “No further details are available at this time,” Holmes said, adding that O’Riordan’s family was “devastated” by the news. Her Cranberries bandmates - Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan and Fergus Lawler - tweeted that O’Riordan “was an extraordinary talent and we feel very privileged to have been part of her life.” London’s Metropolitan Police force said officers were called just after 9 a.m. Monday to a hotel where a woman in her 40s was found dead. The police force said the death was being treated as “unexplained.” Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins said O’Riordan and The Cranberries “had an immense influence on rock and pop music in Ireland and internationally.” O’Riordan was born on Sept. 6, 1971 in Ballybricken, southwest Ireland. In 1990, she answered an ad from a local band in nearby Limerick - then called The Cranberry Saw Us -that was looking for a lead singer. A name change and a confluence of factors turned The Cranberries into international stars. Their guitar-based sound had an alternative-rock edge at a time when grunge was storming the music scene. The band’s songs - on which O’Riordan was chief lyricist and co-songwriter - had a Celtic-infused tunefulness. And in O’Riordan the group had a charismatic lead singer with a distinctively powerful voice. Heavy play on MTV for their debut single “Dream” and the singles that followed helped bring the group to the attention of a mass audience. The Cranberries’ 1993 debut album, “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?”, sold millions of copies and produced the hit single “Linger.” The follow-up, “No Need to Argue,” sold in even greater numbers and contained “Zombie,” a visceral howl against Northern Ireland’s violent Troubles that topped singles charts in several countries. AP cr: Korea Joongang Daily
  6. Koreans in danger of chronic disease: KCDC South Korean adults run the risk of chronic diseases due to unhealthy diet, a report from a state-run agency showed. According to the “Public Health Weekly Report” published on Thursday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Koreans eat much less than the recommended daily intake of nut and seeds, calcium, milk, vegetables and fruits. On the other hand, they eat much more than recommended of red meat, processed meat and sugar-sweetened beverages. A total of 13 foods and nutrients that prevent or induce chronic diseases were studied, based on the standards of their adequate daily consumption provided by the World Health Organization. This weekly report is based on a survey conducted from 2007 through 2015 on 41,656 Korean adults aged 25-74. From 2013 to 2015, Koreans consumed more than the minimum daily intake of fiber and seafood omega-3. However, they did not even reach half of the minimum recommended intake of other foods and nutrients which prevent chronic diseases. While a daily intake of 350 to 520 grams of milk is recommended by the WHO, Korean men and women consumed only 53.3 and 54.7 grams, respectively. Meanwhile, Koreans consumed much more than the recommended upper limit of foods that induce chronic diseases. Compared to 18 to 27 grams of red meat a day recommended by the WHO, Korean men consumed 74.8 grams and women 46.7 grams between 2013 and 2015. Regarding the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, Korean men consumed 299.2 grams and women 208.8 grams, while the recommended amount was 0 to 5 grams. By Cho Yun-myung (yunc39@heraldcorp.com) cr: The Korea Herald
  7. [Herald Interview] How Younha ‘rescued’ herself, found her voice again Once burned-out singer shares how she overcame depression and regained strength to resume music Ever since her K-pop career began in 2006, Younha has often been described as one of the most talented singer-songwriters of today. Due to her chameleon-like vocal abilities and masterful songwriting -- which crossed genres from ballad to rock to jazz -- a renowned music critic once said, “I’d like to advise female musician wannabes to study Younha, who is truly the best musician, equipped with perfect vocal, breathing, tone and stability.” The songstress, however, stopped crafting her own music after the release of her fourth full-length album “Supersonic” in 2012. In the interim, she was featured in drama soundtracks and worked with other singers, but it took her five years to finally roll out her own work, “RescuE,” her fifth full-length album released at the end of December last year. Younha revealed that she had to “rescue” herself from darkness -- the reason why she had lost her own voice. “The last three years have been a dark and long tunnel in my life. Music wasn’t interesting anymore. Music I made didn’t sound so good, which made me consider quitting my career. I felt like my ears were blocked with something,” said Younha during an interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul on Monday. “I kept knocking the door, but it didn’t open. I didn’t listen to music at all as I was sick of it.” She was burned out. Younha originally debuted in Japan in 2004 at the age of 16 under the moniker “Oricon Comet.” And her life has been an endless roller-coaster ride ever since. The prolific musician has released dozens of hits, such as “Password 486,” “Comet” and “Broke up Today,” but without knowing that stress was chipping away at her. She said that she had been on anti-depressants for the last five years, though she recently went off the medication. Furthermore, she was diagnosed with septal deviation, a nasal disease, for which she had to undergo a surgery in 2016 and take a break from work. “It’s hard to distinguish true relationships from shallow ones in this industry. And I started to walk on eggshells, too self-conscious of what others thought. I guess such stress has been piling up for the last 10 years,” she said. A breakthrough came when she met GroovyRoom, a producing duo responsible for the singer’s latest 11-track album. Younha, who had been cocooned in her own sound, took inspiration from the producer team’s fresh sounds, with a hope to unearth her own recipe. The result was the lead track “Parade,” a blend of Younha’s breathy vocals and the producers’ trendy and lighthearted song. The entire album, including “Parade,” lacks Younha’s original rock-influenced punky sound, but Younha is not in a rush. “I’ve let out all my dark vibes into this album. Releasing it has been a huge mission for me, which I had to accomplish to move onto the next level,” she said. “Now I want to fill myself with positive energy again. If I recharge myself with enough positivity, maybe I will be able to sing bright and cheerful songs like before,” she added, brushing aside her brightly hued hair, which was also a part of efforts to radiate a positive vibe. Like any other veteran musician who has released hits in the past, Younha also feels the burden of being caught between an outsized past and an uncertain future. But she hopes to move forward with a new strategy: expressing herself as much as she wants in upcoming singles, which she plans to release more frequently. “I feel huge pressure for my past hits. It got even trickier, as I’m not sure whether people had liked my music itself, or just the memories of them,” said Younha in a relaxed tone. “But I won’t be obsessed with perfection. I will just hold onto music every moment, as if pouring out my feelings and stories of each moment on a diary.” (lotus@heraldcorp.com) cr: KPOPHERALD
  8. Gong Seung Yeon And Jung Yoo Mi Have Not Been Paid For Drama From Two Years Ago Actresses Gong Seung Yeon and Jung Yoo Mi have revealed that they have yet to be paid for their appearance in KBS 2TV’s “Master: God of Noodles.” On January 16, sources inside Jung Yoo Mi’s agency disclosed, “She has not received 80 million won (approximately $75,200) worth of payments for her appearance in ‘Master: God of Noodles.’ We have no way of knowing exactly when she will be paid.” They added, “Although we occasionally check in about the unpaid appearance fee, there’s no real way for us to resolve the matter. It’s true that there’s nothing we can do except just wait.” Representatives for Gong Seung Yeon’s agency reported a similar issue. They confirmed on January 16 that the actress had not received full payment for her appearance, explaining, “While she did receive part [of her fee] from KBS, she has not received payment from the production company.” “Master: God of Noodles” aired its finale nearly two years ago, in June 2016. Actors Kim Woo Bin, Ku Hye Sun, and Kim Min Jung have also recently spoken out about not having been fully paid for their work, drawing attention to what appears to be a widespread problem within the industry. Source (1) (2) Top Photo Credit: Xportsnews cr: soompi
  9. Lead Singer of The Cranberries Dies at Age 46 Dolores O'Riordan, the lead singer of Irish rock group The Cranberries, has died at the age of 46. Her publicist says O'Riordan died suddenly while in London for a recording session. No cause of death was given. "Family members are devastated to hear the breaking news and have requested privacy at this very difficult time," her publicist said. The Cranberries gained popularity in the 1990s, with hit songs like "Linger" and "Zombie." Dolores O'Riordan of Irish rock group "The Cranberries" performs at the Sant Jordi Club in Barcelona, Spain on Oct. 4, 2012. /AP The group has sold more than 40 million records. O'Riordan last updated her Twitter page earlier this month, saying "Bye bye Gio, We're off to Ireland." She is survived by a son and two daughters. cr: The Chosun Ilbo sources: BBC, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, Channel News Asia
  10. Kim So-hyang finally has her name in lights : After a long career of ups and downs, the actor finds herself starring in two musicals this month Ask any theater fan and they will tell you that the hottest musical ticket in town this winter is “Sister Act.” Currently, over 90 percent of seats have been sold for every show. The only Korean actor in the Asian tour of the production, Kim So-hyang, is also the first Asian ever cast in the musical. She plays the youngest nun, Mary Robert. Adapted from the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, the musical was produced by the actor in 2006. The film tells the story of a night stage singer, Deloris, who is the sole witness of a crime. In order to hide from the perpetrators, she disguises herself as a nun in order to live in a convent. Mary Robert is a shy, timid nun who gradually comes out of her shell and learns to not only speak up for herself, but also how to sing, through Deloris. The musical wraps up in Korea on Jan. 21, but Kim will have no rest as she will star in “The Last Kiss” at the LG Arts Center in central Seoul beginning on Jan. 27, as one of the main characters, Mary Baroness Vetsera. Kim has earned her success through a series of trials and errors which failed to discourage her. After debuting in the musical “Godspell” in 2001, she went to the United States to study in 2010. She graduated from the New York Film Academy and went through hundreds of auditions in the hopes of performing on the American stage. She would often pass the first and second rounds of auditions easily, but failed to make the final cut because of her awkward accent. To overcome this problem she practiced and practiced and took private lessons from a tutor. After getting several small parts, she finally had her big break when she was cast in “Miss Saigon” (2013) as the main character Gigi Van Tranh. She then returned to Korea, continuing her success playing main characters in popular musicals such as “Woyzeck” (2014), “The Mozart!” (2014, 2016), and “Mata Hari” (2016). The JoongAng Ilbo, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily had the opportunity to meet Kim for an interview at Blue Square in central Seoul, where she is currently performing “Sister Act.” The following are edited excerpts. Q. Can you describe the audition process? A. Last year I went to over 50 musical auditions from January to February. I wasn’t even planning on signing up for “Sister Act” because they had already announced that they wouldn’t pick any Asian actors. I instead auditioned for the ensemble and as an understudy for the role of Mary Robert, but I was picked for the role. How did the schedules match up for you to be able to appear as the lead in two musicals? I was able to make this happen thanks to China’s ban on Korean culture. The Chinese government announced that it was restricting the appearance of actors with Korean passports, so I had no choice but to be left out while the tour went to China, which was between August and October. But this gap gave me time to practice my part for “The Last Kiss.” I really wanted to get the part because I loved the music that Frank Wildhorn composed for the musical. So I guess good and bad things always come along one after the other. Why did you return to U.S. after doing so well here? Honestly, I didn’t want to go, but I wanted to accomplish something on American stage. I went with a thirst to prove myself there. You’ve performed in Singapore, the Philippines and Japan since May as part of the Asian tour. What were the responses from different international audiences? They were very interested in me because I was an Asian actor. One review I remember the most was from the Singapore press, who said that “the tiny Asian actor shook up the entire stage with her performance.” BY LEE JI-YOUNG [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr] cr: Korea Joongang Daily
  11. Red Velvet, SEVENTEEN, TWICE, VIXX, And More Share Photos From “2018 Idol Star Athletics Championships” During the “2018 Idol Star Athletics Championships,” idols went on social media to thank fans for cheering them on and to show their love! This season’s “Idol Star Athletics Championships” were filmed on January 15, with the special slated to air on MBC during the Lunar New Year holiday. During the games, idols took part in events including track and field, archery, rhythmic gymnastics, and aerobics. Idols who participated in the January 15 filming included TWICE, SEVENTEEN, Red Velvet, VIXX, BTOB, GFRIEND, NU’EST W, MONSTA X, ASTRO, NCT 127, Lovelyz, CLC, and many more. Check out many of their Twitter and Instagram posts in the soompi news link! TWICE TWICE told their fans ONCE they had worked hard and expressed how thankful they were for all their support, as well as shared some photos and videos. Are you excited to watch the “2018 Idol Star Athletics Championships”? cr: soompi
  12. TWICE’s Sana Revealed To Have Been Treated For Enteritis It was recently revealed that TWICE’s Sana was diagnosed with enteritis. On January 16, a source from JYP Entertainment stated, “Sana received a diagnosis of enteritis on January 15 and went to the hospital for treatment. She did not require hospitalization and now she is resting back at the dorm.” Enteritis is an inflammation of the intestine. On January 15, Sana and the rest of TWICE had participated in MBC’s “2018 Idol Star Athletic Championships” when she received the sudden diagnosis. The source from JYP also stated that for now Sana’s schedule will depend on her condition. TWICE was slated to begin their Japanese promotions with a cross-country tour in February. Source (1) (2) cr: soompi Let's pray for Sana to a safe and swift recovery.
  13. Korea Entertainment Management Association Releases Statement About Fantagio’s Situation Korea Entertainment Management Association (hereafter KEMA) released an official statement warning entertainment agencies against inviting reckless major capital investments. The statement titled “Urging to raise awareness about the heedless inflow of foreign capital in the entertainment industry” was sent to member companies of KEMA by email. The statement directly referred to the ‘Fantagio incident,’ in which Na Byung Jun, the founder and co-CEO of the company, was dismissed from his position by the largest shareholding Chinese company. Fantagio’s staff accordingly announced they will go on a strike if he isn’t reinstated to his position. KEMA’s statement began by mentioning that an increasing number of companies were suffering from withdrawals of Chinese investments and abuse of power from major shareholders. “On December 28, there was an incident where the Na Byung Jun, the founder of Fantagio which is one of KEMA’s member companies, was dismissed without prior notice and the staff declared a strike,” the statement read. “This cannot be overlooked as just one entertainment company’s problem and it is time that we all acknowledge that this isn’t a new problem that just emerged.” It went on, “Even now M&A, sales, and acquisitions between Chinese companies and Korean entertainment agencies are steadily being pursued. Reflecting on this incident at Fantagio, KEMA would like to point out to you that inviting reckless major capital investments could potentially result in losing management control.” KEMA also expressed their regret regarding the dismissal of Na Byung Jun in the statement, praising Fantagio as an excellent company that houses many artists loved by the public worldwide. They stated, “We are very sad about the Fantagio incident that has raised awareness and caused shock to the industry. We sincerely hope that they will reach an amicable solution and there will be no further issues.” Regarding their statement, sources at KEMA explained they were attempting to raise awareness against unreasonable foreign investments. They added, however, that they had no authority whatsoever to get involved or solve this problem. Fantagio is home to approximately 30 celebrities, including Seo Kang Joon, Gong Myung, Kang Han Na, Hello Venus, Weki Meki, ASTRO, and Wanna One’s Ong Sung Woo. Source (1) (2) cr: soompi
  14. Artist ‘instantly sews’ thoughts, feelings into rag dolls By Im Eun-byel Rag doll maker and artist Moon Jung-whe does more than sew fabric into objects -- she reveals her inner thoughts and feelings through her creations. Moon, who has created more than 200 rag dolls, calls them “instant dolls.” She came up with the term herself, as the dolls are a way of instantly expressing her feelings, beyond being the execution of intricate art. “When I went to Hawaii, I made a doll using local fabrics, sketching my impression of the island,” Moon said. “By making the ‘instant dolls,’ I can express what I think and feel, straight from my heart.” Moon is holding an exhibition at the Backroom Gallery in Hannam-dong, Seoul, where the space, decorated in a living room theme, is filled with Pink-o dolls in various sizes and shades of pink. Not one of them is the same as another, as each is handmade. “There was a friend in kindergarten who liked the color pink. I liked the color as well, but for some reason, I felt as if I shouldn’t say it,” she said. “That’s how Pink-o was created. It represents my liberation that I will express myself and speak up from now on.” When making dolls, Moon, who is also a children‘s book author, sometimes creates stories for them, including their names, professions and characteristics. She has even staged a puppet show with the dolls. Taking it a step further from merely exhibiting her works, Moon is inviting others to join and share her experience. The artist hosted a doll-making workshop for the public Thursday night at the gallery, where all necessary materials were provided along with a glass of wine, pastries and finger foods. “The experience should be joyful. That’s how I work at home, eating delicious foods and listening to music that I love,” she said. “It shouldn’t be done in a solemn and serious atmosphere.” Eight people, all adults, sat down in front of two big wooden tables in the gallery, ready to stitch ball-shaped ornaments to use as wine bottle decorations. “The work was mesmerizing. Repeating the process of putting the needle in and pulling it out, all irritating thoughts went away,” one participant at the workshop said. The class moved on to decorate a rag doll, using paint, crayons and other materials. Each finished doll showcased the maker’s talents and interests. A fashion company employee clothed his doll in stylish attire, while a dog owner paid tribute to her canine friend. “I hope the participants repeat the process at home and continue to instantly express their inner feelings,” Moon said. The workshop will be held again Thursday. For more information, call (070) 7799-1221 for Backroom Gallery, Hannam-dong, Seoul, or visit the gallery’s website at www.wtfm.kr. (silverstar@heraldcorp.com) cr: The Korea Herald
  15. S. Korea to launch shopping fest for foreigners this week SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will begin a nationwide shopping festival for foreign tourists this week as part of its efforts to boost interest in next month's Winter Olympics, which will be held in the country's alpine resort town of PyeongChang, organizers said Monday. The Korea Grand Sale 2018 will kick off Thursday for a 42-day run throughout the country, providing foreigners with discounts on a variety of options, ranging from flight tickets to accommodations, tourist sites and restaurants, the Visit Korea Committee said. Some 52,000 stores belonging to 700 companies will take part in the festival, which will be held in line with the 2018 Winter Olympics. The international sports event is set to take place in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul, and its adjacent cities from Feb. 9-25. During the festival, South Korea's No. 2 carrier, Asiana Airlines, will provide discounts of up to 60 percent for Korea-bound tickets departing from China, Southeast Asia and Europe, according to the committee. Lotte Hotel, the hotel chain of South Korean retail giant Lotte, is planning to offer a voucher card worth 40,000 won (US$37), redeemable at its duty-free shops, to foreign visitors who book more than two nights on its website, the committee said. For more information, visit http://www.koreagrandsale.co.kr/en. scaaet@yna.co.kr (END) cr: Yonhap News Agency