Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Hong Kong news 19 October

Welcome to today's edition of news relevant to Hongkongers. Usually, I read the South China Morning Post (a pro-Beijing publication, and HK's biggest selling English newspaper, also referred to as the SCMP) and The Standard (because it's free). Today, however, we're only using The SCMP as my lovely boyfriend went shopping for breakfast and bought it for me. I can’t be arsed to go downstairs, myself, and retrieve a The Standard. So we're all China fans today, I'm afraid. Let's get cracking:

Xi Jinping is set to become China's next numero uno. Image from the South China Morning Post.

Current vice-president, Xi Jinping (I read that as Zee Gin-ping - and you've got to love anyone whose name sounds like gin, right?), looks set to replace Hu Jintao as the new President of China when Jintao's term expires at the end of 2012 after Jinping was yesterday promoted to the vice-chairmanship of the ruling party's Central Military Commission. I trust that Google is working like a dog in the Pentagon at the moment. It is expected that Jinping will face a harder reign than Jintao as he will have to grapple with boosting domestic (buying) demand, green policies and the growth of the liberal movement seeking political reform. It will be interesting to see what Premier Wen Jiabao does, as his term also expires in 2012, meaning he has two years in which to force through some of his own democratic policies.

For the hippies: China has committed to reducing its energy use per dollar of output by 17% by 2015 with a long term goal of cutting by 31% by 2020. Now, if you bunny-huggers could convince the US to get off its arse and do the same then you could all go and sing Kumbaya in the forest together.

If any of you have been to London, you'll know what an Oyster Card is. Well here in Hong Kong we have Octopus Cards which one puts money on and then swipes the card for most public transport and small purchases in shops. Well, the company that runs these gadgets is in shit for selling people's information on to other companies and for asking for too much information about its customers to verify their identity. It seems Facebook and Google aren't the only demons out to get you. Soon companies will know what restaurant you search for, and whether you actually went there or not. The HK SAR (special administrative region) government has declined to prosecute Octopus Holdings for these transgressions, which is unsurprising in this very pro-business environment.

The Hong Kong Arts Festival has been awarded an extra HK$14 million worth of budget this year. This brings its total budget up to HK97million. Yes, nearly 100 million South African commercial ronts is being spent on an arts festival. If we didn't have to spend so much money on fixing stuff after Cosatu/ANCYL members broke/burnt/smashed it we could probably also do the same.

Three Hong Kong police officers set off for Manila yesterday for more intense forensic investigations into the hostage tragedy last month which claimed the lives of 8 Hongkongers. In case you missed it, the corrupt President of the Philippines cares far more about protecting his buddies than actually finding out what went wrong when an ex-cop killed a busload of people so it's up to outsiders to go and find out. Weirdly enough, this coincides with the Arms Deal investigation in South Africa being put on hold indefinitely. So it's nice to know that people in high places can really just do whatever the fuck they want - universally.

Someone driving drunk last night very intelligently didn't arouse any suspicion when he did a U-turn at a police road block last night. By chance, three police officers set off after him and after a 20-kilometre high speed chase, they apprehended him when he drove into a cul-de-sac. I think that if you manage to drive 20km with one eye closed, lining up the end of the windscreen wiper with the middle line so as to stay in your lane and without driving into anyone or anything, then they should just let you go for having skilz.

Tusks recovered, packaged in bags bearing a Hong Kong government seal (meaning that they just came through Hong Kong port), in Macau were found to be hippopotamus tusks and not elephants. The three bags were found in a container suspected of containing illegal ivory valued at about HK$10 million. As an African it's so lovely to know that our hippos are being killed instead of our elephants. Whew!

The next British and Irish Lions tour to Australia in 2013 will feature a match against an international Barbarians XV at Hong Kong Stadium. So Schalk Burger might be able to rip another Lions player's eye out without having to wait 12 years for the Lions to return to SA.

Shoaib Malik, ex-Pakistan captain, will lead his team at the Hong Kong Sixes next month. Interestingly, the squad includes one Shabbir Ahmed, who I am pretty sure was suspended for having a dodgy bowling action once upon a time. Imran Nazir is also in the squad - a man who has given the South African team all sorts of problems before; a magical talent who just couldn't make it work.

Tie Yana, Hong Kong's only entrant in table tennis for the Asia Games next month, has beaten Singapore's two top players in warm ups and elevated her world ranking from 22 to 13.

The Oceania Football Confederation has announced that it will cooperate with a FIFA investigation of allegations that its president planned to sell his vote in the current bidding war for the 2018 World Cup. Being from the country that hosted the last one, we all know how corrupt, full of shit and secretive FIFA is, so I cannot imagine that anything will ever come of this investigation. I recommend you read Ivo Vegter's FIFA related columns on The Daily Maverick. Like this, for example.

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