SEOUL — Taxi fares in South Korea’s capital city may jump by 19.5 percent, according to a proposal being pushed by Seoul’s city government.

The city’s traffic and distribution office wants to raise the base fares in “general” taxis, normally silver or white cabs, by 19.5 percent, or from a starting fare of 1,600 won to 2,000 (about $1.95), according to an office spokesman.

The rate for “premium” taxis, which usually are black, would rise almost 24 percent, an official said.

The Korean Price Policy Committee must consider and approve any changes in price.

50 more headed to Iraq from S. Korea

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — About 50 soldiers from a South Korea-based U.S. Army intelligence unit left South Korea from this air base Wednesday for a year of duty in Iraq, the Army said.

The troops, from the 524th Military Intelligence Battalion, are slated to return to South Korea at the end of their Iraq tour.

While in Iraq, they’ll form a headquarters element involved in supervising and providing intelligence support, the 8th U.S. Army in Seoul has announced.

The unit began planning for its deployment in January after taking a block leave. The unit then underwent comprehensive preparatory training, the Army said.

The troops are the fourth 8th Army element to deploy from South Korea to Iraq. The first unit, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, part of the 2nd Infantry Division, left for Iraq in August. When its Iraq duty is over, the unit will not return to South Korea; instead, it will be stationed at Fort Carson, Colo.

Another two South Korea-based elements left for Iraq in October, including 20 aviation maintenance soldiers from the 52nd Aviation Regiment who were scheduled for a one-year Iraq tour followed by a return to South Korea later this year. Members of the 728th Military Police Battalion deployed for 110 days, then returned to South Korea on Feb. 1.

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