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Korean fever running high: Here are 7 K-dramas to binge watch



In fact, Amazon Prime Video recently announced a host of new Korean titles on its platform.In fact, Amazon Prime Video recently announced a host of new Korean titles on its platform.In fact, Amazon Prime Video recently announced a host of new Korean titles on its platform.

By Reya Mehrotra

The Korean fever is running high and refusing to slow down. With Squid Game on Netflix being the talk of the town, as it became the OTT platform’s most watched series, others like Amazon Prime Video, ZEE5 and others too are ensuring that the supply of K-dramas and films remains uninterrupted for their viewers. In fact, Amazon Prime Video recently announced a host of new Korean titles on its platform. We
bring you a few popular K-dramas to binge watch.

The Secret Terrius
The 2018 South Korean television series stars So Ji-Sub, Jung In-Sun, Son Ho-Jun and Im Se-Mi. In the show, Go Ae-Rin loses her husband. She, along with her neighbour Kim Bon, an NIS agent, discovers the truth behind her husband’s role in a huge conspiracy. Bon had been living disconnected with the world since the woman he loved had died after his involvement in a failed secret operation. He has since become disconnected with the world and lives alone quietly. The series is available on ZEE5.

It’s Okay to Not be Okay
The Korean romantic drama by Jo Yong and directed by Park Shin-Woo stars Kim Soo-Hyun, Seo Yea-Ji, Oh Jung-Se and Park Gyu-Young. It revolves around a selfless psych ward caretaker and an antisocial children’s book writer. It premiered on Netflix in 2020 and was the most popular romance show of 2020 on Netflix in South Korea. In the show, Moon Gang-Tae, who works as a caretaker in a psychiatric ward, lives with his autistic older brother Moon Sang-tae and they move towns frequently. Gang-Tae meets a popular children’s book author, Ko Moon-Young, who is said to have antisocial personality disorder. Later, Moon-young becomes romantically obsessed with Gang-Tae after discovering about their pasts.

Descendants of the Sun
The 2016 South Korean television series Descendants of the Sun stars Song Joong-Ki, Song Hye-Kyo, Jin Goo, and Kim Ji-Won. The series became successful and broadcast across Asia. In the show, South Korean Special Forces’ captain Yoo Shi Jin and Dr Kang Mo Yeon, a surgeon at Haesung Hospital in Seoul, become romantically involved and find themselves amidst great events and natural disasters, both in homeland and in the fictitious and at war country of Urk. The show has a happy ending, leaving fans satisfied.

Squid Games
Netflix’s most watched show with 111 million views and counting, acclaimed South Korean drama Squid Games is a survival drama television series by Hwang Dong-Hyuk. It stars Lee Jung-Jae, Park Hae-Soo, Wi Ha-Joon, Jung Ho-Yeon and O Yeong-Su, among others. The show is about a game contest where 456 debt-ridden players risk their lives to win a 45.6 billion prize. It is said to be inspired from a similarly named Korean children’s game and its maker Hwang conceived the idea through his own economic struggles early in life as well as the disparity in class in South Korea. It released globally in September this year. The show has become Netflix’s most watched series till date.

The 2014-15 South Korean television series Pinocchio stars Lee Jong-Suk, Park Shin-Hye. The show’s online broadcasting rights were sold in China at a record price of $280,000 per episode. This made it the most expensive Korean drama ever to be sold in China during that time. It is about Ki Ha-Myung who, in the year 2000, is leading a happy life with his family until his father, a firefighting squad captain, dies in a factory explosion with several of his colleagues.

Boys Over Flowers
The 2009 Korean drama Boys Over Flowers was based on the Japanese manga series of the same name. It revolves around a middle-class girl who gets caught up in the lives of a group of wealthy young men from her high school. She falls for a spoiled rich kid after she stands up to him. The show became popular throughout Asia and stars Ku Hye-Sun, Lee Min-Ho, Kim Hyun-Joong, Kim Bum, Kim Joon and Kim So-Eun. The show’s first season is currently available on Netflix to watch. The series also popularised the metrosexual or the “pretty boy” image and led to an increased interest in the South Korean men to wear cosmetics, and experiment with pinks and floral prints. The filming locations of the series too became popular tourist attractions Damyang Dynasty Country Club in South Jeolla Province, Ragung hanok hotel in Silla Millennium Park in Gyeongju and so on.

Crash Landing On You
The 2019-20 South Korean series stars Hyun Bin, Son Ye-Jin, Kim Jung-Hyun, among others. It narrates the story of a successful businesswoman and heiress who gets swept up in a sudden storm while paragliding in Seoul and crash lands in the North Korean portion of the DMZ. There she meets a man who is an army captain in the Korean People’s Army. He helps her hide and they fall in love despite belonging to disputing countries.

The widely popular show is available on Netflix.

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Boeing, airline stocks tumble as new Covid variant spurs travel curbs



Boeing, airlines and other travel stocks tumbled on Friday after several European and Asian countries announced new travel restrictions from southern Africa because of a new Covid variant.

European Union member nations on Friday agreed to suspend travel from the region, a day after the U.K. said it would temporarily suspend flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

The U.S. starting Monday will bar entry to visitors from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. The Biden administration announced that decision after the stock market closed on Friday.

South African scientists detected the variant, which contains high numbers of mutations, raising concerns that it could spread quickly.

Health officials cautioned more research is needed, but the new travel restrictions highlight how quickly countries can limit travel as new variants are detected. The fast-spreading delta variant of the virus earlier this year drove down travel demand and prompted some companies to delay employees’ return to the office.

Airlines and aircraft manufacturers like Boeing have been upbeat about a rebound in travel demand, particularly from a recent drop in cases and after the U.S. lifted entry restrictions earlier this month.

Travel and aerospace shares fell more than the broader market on Friday but several pared earlier losses. Boeing shares dropped 5.4% to $199.21 during an abbreviated, post-holiday session.

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are the only U.S. carriers with nonstop service scheduled to and from South Africa next month. United lost 9.6% to close at $42.26, while Delta fell 8.3% to $36.38. American Airlines dropped 8.8% to $17.75. Hotel giant Hilton dropped 6.3% to $136.21, while Marriott ended down 6.5% at $147.44.

There are 122 flights between the U.S. and South Africa scheduled for December, according to aviation consulting firm Cirium. United, which has the most scheduled service with 87 flights, is set to resume nonstop flights between its Newark, New Jersey, hub and Cape Town next month. A spokeswoman said no changes are currently planned.

Delta has 35 scheduled flights between the U.S. and South Africa in December.

“Delta will continue to work closely with our government partners to evaluate any changes to U.S. policy,” the airline said in a statement.

British Airways will operate 214 flights between London and South Africa next month, while Virgin Atlantic will operate 75, according to Cirium.

“Following the latest announcement from the Health Secretary we’re working through plans for our customers and colleagues currently in South Africa and those due to travel from the UK in the coming days,” British Airways, an American Airlines partner, said in a statement. The carrier said it would contact customers affected by the changes.

Delta’s transatlantic partner Virgin Atlantic said it would cancel flights from Johannesburg from Friday to early Sunday because of the new U.K. rules.

On Nov. 8, the Biden administration lifted a broad pandemic travel ban on most non-citizens visiting from more than 30 countries, including the U.K., the EU, South Africa and Brazil.

Though domestic travel had largely recovered from early pandemic lockdowns, international travel remained a missing piece in airlines’ recovery.

On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving in the U.S. and generally one of the busiest travel days of the year, the Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2.3 million people. That was the most since February 2020, though still 12% below the same day in 2019.

CNBC’s Matt Clinch contributed to this article.

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International travel: India updates rules, tells states to strictly monitor incoming passengers from these countries!



These countries are a part of Indias list of at-risk countries

Foreign travellers in India new rules: On Thursday, the Union Health Ministry gave some new rules for foreign travellers. States were directed by the Centre that international travellers transiting via or coming from South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana needed to undergo rigorous testing as well as screening. This is because the new heavily mutated COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 is spreading in these countries with multiple cases having been reported there. Notably, India has already dealt with the severe Delta variant earlier this year in a major second wave, and so, it makes sense that the advisory was issued as soon as concerns regarding the variant started making rounds in the scientific community.

Also read | South African scientists detect new virus variant amid spike

A report in IE cited Rajesh Bhushan, the Health Secretary, as saying that as per the National Centre for Disease Control in India, Botswana has reported four cases of the new variant, Hong Kong has reported two, while South Africa has reported 22 cases. The Health Secretary also said that since the variant B.1.1.529 has a very high number of mutations, it can be a severe issue for India considering the fact that the country has been relaxing visa norms and opening up its doors to international travel after having remained shut to a large extent for over a year. These factors make it imperative that an advisory is issued to ensure that relaxed norms do not lead to an issue for public health in India.

These countries are a part of Indias list of at-risk countries, and therefore, international travellers coming from or coming via these places would need to undergo strict screening and testing procedures. Apart from this, the contacts of such travellers would also be tracked closely.

With this, if any sample from travellers tests positive for COVID-19, states would have to send it to the labs designated under INSACOG or Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium. INSACOG tracks as well as monitors the COVID-19 variants that are of concern and of interest in India for their emergence and transmission. Apart from this, the state surveillance officers would need to coordinate with INSACOG labs and follow the test-track-treat principle to prevent the variant from transmitting.

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Oil drops 13% in worst day of 2021, breaks below $70 as new Covid variant sparks global demand concerns



Working oil pumps against a sunset sky.

Imaginima | E+ | Getty Images

Oil posted its worst day of the year on Friday, tumbling to the lowest level in more than two months as the new Covid-19 strain sparked fears about a demand slowdown just as supply increases.

The leg lower came amid a broad sell-off in the market with the Dow dropping more than 900 points. The World Health Organization warned Thursday of a new Covid variant detected in South Africa. It could be more resistant to vaccines thanks to its mutations, although the WHO said further investigation is needed.

U.S. oil settled 13.06%, or $10.24, lower at $68.15 per barrel, falling below the key $70 level. It was the contract’s worst day since April 2020. WTI also closed below its 200-day moving average a key technical indicator for the first time since November 2020.

International benchmark Brent crude futures slid 11.55% to settle at $72.72 per barrel.

Both contracts registered their fifth straight week of losses for the longest weekly losing streak since March 2020.

A decrease in travel and potential new lockdowns, both of which could hit demand, come just as supply is about to increase.

“It appears that the discovery of a Covid-19 variant in southern Africa is spooking markets across the board. Germany is already limiting travel from several nations in the affected region,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital. “The last thing that the oil complex needs is another threat to the air travel recovery,” he added.

On Tuesday the Biden Administration announced plans to release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The move is part of a global effort by energy-consuming nations to calm 2021s rapid rise in fuel prices. India, China, Japan, South Korea and the U.K. will also release some of their reserves.

“This [the sell-off] is attributable to concerns about a sizeable oversupply in early 2022 that is set to be brought about by the upcoming release of strategic oil reserves in the US and other major consumer countries, plus the ongoing steep rise in new coronavirus cases,” noted analysts at Commerzbank. “Furthermore, an even more transmissible variant of the virus has been discovered in South Africa, prompting a noticeable increase in risk aversion on the financial markets today.”

OPEC and its oil-producing allies are set to meet on Dec. 2 to discuss production policy for January and beyond. The group has slowly eased the historic output cuts it agreed to in April 2020 as the coronavirus sapped demand for petroleum products. Since August the group, known as OPEC+, has returned 400,000 barrels per day to the market each month.

The group has maintained its gradual taper despite calls from the White House and others to hike output as oil prices surged to multi-year highs. West Texas Intermediate crude futures hit a seven-year high in October, while Brent rose to a three-year high.

U.S. oil is now down more than $15 since its October high of $85.41.

“The coordinated SPR release is getting a second look, as well, especially with OPEC decrying it and asserting that the release will tip the global market back into surplus. The release is much more than just a drop in the bucket,” added Kilduff.

Energy stocks followed oil lower on Friday, and the group was the worst-performing S&P 500 sector, falling more than 4%. Devon Energy, APA and Occidental were among the biggest losers.

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