Thursday, 6 January 2011

Hong Kong's news - 6 January

In the second edition of Hong Kong's news this year I shall explain to you why I changed the name of this series of posts yet again. I am not reporting merely on news about Hong Kong, but news relevant to the city - which is why there is always a lot of news regarding China. As usual, I shall be looking at the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong's top-selling English newspaper, for important events which make the residents of this city happy, angsty or sad.

Bear in mind that there are only 7 million people who live here, a parliament of 60 people running the show and not a hell of a lot of space, so there aren't news events every day here like there are in SA, the UK, the USA or China.

So, here we go with today's relevant newses:

Big shit uncovered by the media: the South China Morning Post busted a construction company last month of dumping rubbish on farmland. Due to the lack of space in this city, dumping is a strictly controlled activity and comanies get in huge kak if they don't do it properly. Chinachem, the company responsible has fired the subcontractor which dealt with its waste and will now deposit all into government controlled disposal sites which are far more staunchly regulated.

The greenies will love it: the environment minister, Edward Yau Tang-wah has warned that there will soon be a charge implemented for waste disposal (as in rubbish, not toilet contents) to encourage Hongkongers to recycle. This city is so rich that I would imagine it will only be poor people who will have to begin doing it. The wealthy will just pay the fee.

Even though city coffers are full and surpluses are above all expectations, no tax breaks or freebies are expected to be handed out at the budget announcement next month. An expected deficit of HK$25 billion has become a surplus of around HK$17 billion and annual predictions are aiming at a HK$60 billion surplus. (Exchange rate today: R1=HK$1.15)

In the modern age, propagnda is slightly harder than it used to be as the Chinese government found out recently. President Hu Jintao went off to visit a single mother, Gua Chinping, in Beijing on 29 December to highlight the government caring for the poor and needy - you know, like Jacob Zuma walking through Sweetwaters. Well, the broadcast of this woman in her government-subsidised flat went out on 30 December and was immediately met with controversy and outrage. Gua informed the cameras that the flat only cost her 77 yuan a month (similar flats cost between 2000 yuan and 2500 yuan (similar value to rands) and online audiences claimed she worked in the Chaoyang District traffic police. As far as the population is concerned, the entire episode was staged.

A rumour is being thrown around Beijing that a law may come into effect granting neglected elderly folks the right to sue their children if they don't visit a minimum number of times. There are 167 million Chinese people over the age of 60, so the lawyers could be kept quite busy.

A clampdown on bigamy in China has begun. The paper doesn't say how widespread this issue is, but Shanghai, Beijing and Shaanxi provinces are going to pool their records this year with the intention of having a national database by 2015. According to the ever-reliable Durex Sex Survey, only 15% of Chinese folks have extra-marital affairs which is 7 percentage points lower than the international average of 22%.

North Korea has told anyone who will isten that it is ready to talk and mend ties with the people it shot rockets at a month ago.

China's top female tennis player, Li Na, lost in straight sets to World Number 1 Caroline Wozniacki at the Hong Kong Classic last night after stuffing a 3-0 second set advantage. She lost the second set 6-3 so she duffed six consecutive games.

Ian Botham has accused Phillip Hughes of being a cheat after he appealed for a catch off Alastair Cook yesterday which the third umpire ruled not out - which has happened about 300 times in cricket in the past few years and is really a storm in a teacup (or wineglass for Beefy).

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