By Christine Kim SEOUL (Reuters) - The South Korean government on Monday said it is ready to take swift measures to counter the negative effects on its economy from an outbreak of a deadly respiratory disease, suggesting that worried policymakers may soon deliver monetary and fiscal stimulus. President Park Geun-hye said the negative economic effects from the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) should not be overlooked, while Finance Minister Choi vowed to take steps to offset any hit to growth. "The effect from MERS on private consumption cannot be overlooked as spending and tourism are quickly shrinking," Park said on Monday during a visit to the MERS response headquarters. "We can say that the virus has been driven out completely only once the economic effects are minimized." Her comments mirrored concerns expressed by Choi earlier in the day. "I am concerned over the negative influence the recent MERS outbreak could have on the local economy, including private consumption and investment sentiment," the finance minister said. "We will aggressively respond to mitigate the effect of MERS on the economy, including allocating necessary budgeting at the right time." Backing the government's stance, Gyeonggi Province - where most of the infections are concentrated - announced on Monday it would provide 84.1 billion won ($74.94 million) worth of funding for small-to-medium sized businesses in the area. The health ministry reported 23 new infections on Monday, bringing the total to 87 and making South Korea the second-most infected country in the world after Saudi Arabia. Six deaths have been reported. The outbreak has prompted analysts to wager on another rate cut as early as at this week's Bank of Korea policy review, with some predicting more support from the government in the form of stimulus worth billions of dollars. The finance minister, however, did not raise the possibility of a supplementary budget to support Asia's fourth-largest economy, which is already tottering amid a collapse in exports and slow consumption. Earlier on Monday, the ruling Saenuri Party head Kim Moo-sung warned the outbreak could drive the economy into a bigger trough than the one triggered by a maritime disaster last year that killed hundreds of people and dented consumption. "Over the weekend, tours and events were canceled and places like markets, theaters and restaurants were empty," said Kim. "If this continues, private consumption which was on the brink of rebounding could take a direct hit and we could face bigger difficulties than we experienced after the Sewol sinking." (Additional reporting by Brian Kim; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
The Senate minority leader previously said he had no hard feelings toward the men, but his actions said otherwise.
- Good Housekeeping
During a recent taping of 'Today With Hoda and Jenna,' NBC journalist Hoda Kotb called out Jenna Bush Hager for misunderstanding the topic discussed on the air.
The debate might've been even weirder than we thought.
Trump says that if he's reelected he won't use the powers of the presidency to punish his enemies, but adds that he'd be 'entitled to a revenge tour'
In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Trump went on a tirade against news outlets that reported on Russian interference during the 2016 election.
- Buccaneers Wire
See what Rob Gronkowski had to say to Tom Brady following the GOAT's second retirement announcement
- Miami Herald
An elementary school teacher in Homestead was charged Wednesday with having sex with one of his students. The relationship, police said the 13-year-old victim told them, was “romantic” after referring to him as her “boyfriend.”
- Fox Weather
Doctors are warning of a dangerous fungal illness rapidly spreading across the country, especially those living or visiting the California and Arizona areas.
Jessie James Decker took a brief break from her jam-packed schedule to enjoy some fun in the sun with her friends. See her bikini pic here.
- USA TODAY Sports - Golfweek
‘Just a Hall of Fame player that didn’t create controversy’: For Jordan Spieth, one LIV member is missed more than others
"He was a friend of mine. He is a friend of mine. I just haven't seen him. But I always really enjoyed playing with him and being around him."
- NBC Sports BayArea
After Tom Brady's second retirement announcement, could another high-profile quarterback end up in the Bay?
In a new interview, Meghan Markle opens up about how she and Prince Harry were initially not able to afford their $14 million home in Montecito after stepping..
Tom Brady is looking back at special times with the people closest to him, which include ex Bridget Moynahan, with whom he shares son Jack
- Patriots Wire
This was Bill Belichick's statement regarding Tom Brady's retirement on Wednesday.
‘I promise to give all of my money away before I die’: World’s biggest YouTuber paid for 1,000 people to get eye surgery but is slammed for ‘making content out of people who can’t see’
1,000 people had their curable blindness paid for by a YouTuber - but the internet isn't happy.
- The Weather Network
A powerful surge of Arctic air diving south will bring some communities their coldest air in years.
Mahogany Geter, a model in Tennessee, was born with lymphedema in her left leg, which she says caused it to eventually swell to 100 pounds.
Let it go: Here are 3 crucial things you must 'say goodbye' to in retirement. Most folks can't do it — but can you?
Change doesn't have to be bad.
- In The Know by Yahoo
Woman finds herself in trouble after being called out by Joey Swoll.
Alina Habba is withdrawing as Trump's lead attorney for E. Jean Carroll's rape claim. Last month, a federal judge sanctioned her $1 million for bad lawyering.
Donald Trump's new lawyer in the case, Joe Tacopina, has experience representing the Washington Commanders as well as rappers like Meek Mill.
Warren Buffett’s right-hand man Charlie Munger, who once called crypto ‘rat poison,’ says we should follow China’s lead and ban cryptocurrencies altogether
“A cryptocurrency is not a currency, not a commodity, and not a security,” Munger said Wednesday in a WSJ op-ed. “It’s a gambling contract."