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Corruption Scandal: Viagra adds pep to South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s Impeachment Move

A presidential spokesman, Jung Youn-kuk, insisted that besides the more common bedroom use, the pills are sometimes taken to prevent or treat altitude sickness

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South Korean protesters wearing masks of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, right, and Choi Soon-sil, who is at the center of a political scandal, stage a rally calling for Park to step down in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 2, 2016. VOA
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Seoul, Nov 24, 2016: The discovery that the staff of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who is currently mired in a huge corruption scandal, stocked up on drugs like Viagra, added pep to the opposition move to impeach her early in December.

South Korea’s main opposition party, the Democratic Party, on Thursday said it will put the impeachment motion to vote in the National Assembly between December 2 and 9, Efe news quoted a party spokesperson as saying.

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On Monday, the three largest opposition parties announced their intention to call for Park’s impeachment after the prosecution indicted her as an accomplice to her confidante Choi Soon-sil in a large-scale corruption and influence-peddling case.

Park, already getting mounting calls for her to step down over the scandal, now also has to explain why her staff stocked up on drugs like Viagra, commonly prescribed for erectile dysfunction.

Kim Sang-hee, an opposition lawmaker, on Wednesday raised the issue by citing medical insurance data showing the Blue House, as the President’s office is known, had bought 60 Viagra ‘Blue pills’ and 304 pills of the generic equivalent, sildenafil citrate, last December.

A presidential spokesman, Jung Youn-kuk, insisted that besides the more common bedroom use, the pills are sometimes taken to prevent or treat altitude sickness.

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Jung said doctors had prescribed them for presidential aides to have handy for that purpose during Park’s official visit in May to Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Those countries’ capitals are all well above sea level — Addis Ababa’s elevation is 7,700 feet.

As it happened, Jung said, none of the pills was used on the trip.

None of this was of much help to Park, who has been struggling with the corruption scandal for weeks.

For the impeachment motion to be successful, it first needs the approval of two-thirds of Parliament’s Lower House.

While the opposition does not enjoy such a broad majority, the motion could still go through as several lawmakers from the ruling party Saenuri, have joined the demand for the President’s resignation.

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Should the motion be approved in Parliament, six of the nine Constitutional Court judges will then have to give their nod to what would be the first impeachment proceedings in South Korea since the country was founded in 1948.

Prosecutors believe it was in collusion with Park that Choi — now dubbed the “Korean Rasputin” and who has never held public office — secretly intervened in state matters, used her influence to illegally extort funds from companies, and secure academic privileges for her daughter.

The scandal has sparked great outrage in the country, with over a million protesters taking to the streets over the past few weeks asking the President to step down. (IANS)

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South Korea Confirms First Case of MERS Since 2015

Most of the 38 deaths that occurred due to the virus in South Korea were elderly people or patients affected by other illnesses.

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South Korean police on Friday sought an arrest warrant against the younger daughter of the president of Korean Air for allegedly assaulting an advertising agency executive in April.
Flag of South Korea, Pixabay

South Korean authorities on Sunday confirmed the first case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus since the outbreak that affected the country in 2015 leaving 187 infected and 38 dead.

The patient, a 61-year-old man, was diagnosed with the virus on Saturday after returning from a business trip in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with transit in Kuwait, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

The South Korean government has convened an emergency meeting to analyse the situation and take preventive measures.

 

South Korea, MERS
Statistics depicting MERS in South Korea.

 

The patient was admitted to a hospital in Kuwait when he began to show some symptoms of the disease and upon arrival to South Korea was transferred to the Samsung Medical Centre in Seoul.

 

The hospital alerted the authorities that it could be a possible case of MERS as symptoms included high fever and pneumonia and moved the patient to the Seoul National University Hospital where he tested positive for the potentially deadly virus.

Around 20 people who were in close contact with the patient, including passengers and crew members of his flight and immigration officers, have been quarantined to prevent the spread of the virus.

South Korea, MERS
This is the first case of MERS in South Korea since its outbreak recorded between May and December 2015,

This is the first case of MERS in South Korea since its outbreak recorded between May and December 2015, after this virus was first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and subsequently expanded to other countries.

Also Read: Harare, Zimbabwe Suffers From Cholera Outbreak

 

The mortality rate of MERS in South Korea reached 20 per cent during the outbreak, below the figures between 30 and 40 per cent that were recorded in other areas.

Most of the 38 deaths that occurred due to the virus in South Korea were elderly people or patients affected by other illnesses. (IANS)