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The Young Reporter

Secretary for Education denounces "lying flat" trend, emphasizes values education

Secretary for Education, Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, denounced the “lying flat” trend, the attitude of doing nothing popular among young people in the mainland, and highlighted the importance of values education in Hong Kong schools in an online post yesterday The “lying flat” movement started in April when a post on the Chinese popular website Baidu titled “Lying Flat Is Justice” went viral. It  refers to young people who strive for nothing more than what is essential for survival.  “The recent trend of "lying flat" is even more worrying. A negative life attitude can easily cause depression and hinder social development in the long run,” Yueng wrote in his post. “I am grieved for that, just the same feeling as many parents and teachers who love those kids.” Yeung also said the government will soon release the curriculum framework for the recently proposed values education, which includes moral and ethical education, civic education, and national education.   The education bureau said promoting activities related to Chinese history will allow students to learn about the essence of Chinese culture, absorb traditional wisdom, and cultivate moral sentiment.  “We must work together to promote values ​​education rooted in Chinese culture together and support students to build positive thinking,” the online article said.                                       “I think the new curriculum has a political agenda and I hope the teachers could be professional enough to tackle this,” said Lau, a local high school teacher who said he is responsible for executing the values education curriculum at his school. He requested anonymity over concerns about his work.  In June, Yeung told the Legislative Council that the bureau will send teachers to mainland universities to enhance their understanding of the nation's development. Teachers will also attend training courses related to national affairs, the Basic Law and the National Security Law.  The …

Carrie Lam emphasises the central government does not “owe” Hong Kong citizens universal election

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the central government does not “owe” citizens universal suffrage stated in the Basic Law in an enrichment talk to Citizenship and Social Development teachers today.  The subject “Citizenship and Social Development” was established last year to replace the core subject “Liberal Studies”, which has been accused of leading to social unrest in 2019. The new subject requires teachers to use “reliable and authoritative sources” to teach. For example, government documents and official quotes. She said some democrats have misled the public to believe that the central government did not approve a universal election which is promised in the Basic Law. Lam said the central government did approve the Hong Kong government to political reform three times. She suggests that the increasing number of members in the election committee of the Chief Executive shows the central government is striving for democracy. Lam said the proposal of “831 decision” allowed the public to have a universal election. The “831 decision” allowed universal suffrage with a “nomination committee”, which is similar to the current election committee, to nominate the candidates for the Chief Executive election before public voting. “It was a very brave move by the central government but sadly it was banned by the opposition in the Legislative Council,” said Lam. She said the governor before the handover was also not elected by the public, and the central government wants to keep the system the same as before the handover which citizens are used to. “The idea that the central government owes citizens a universal election is wrong,” said Lam. “The British government did not give any say to Hong Kong citizens for choosing who is the governor.” Shum Pui-yee, a Secondary 4 student studying Citizenship and Social Development, said the above idea was already …

Government looks into tactics to handle “fake news”, says Chief Secretary John Lee

Chief secretary, John Lee revealed today that the government is looking at how other countries tackle the spread of disinformation. Speaking on RTHK, Mr. Lee said a legal study is underway on how to deal with the problem and he has not ruled out the possibility of new legislation. The move comes after the government introduced new laws earlier to clamp down doxxing and hate speech. “The fake news legislation can stop destructive rumors from spreading in Hong Kong. Freedom must be exercised under law, which allows people to enjoy more freedom,” Mr. Lee said. Another proposal to manage fake news is to require publishers to self-regulate. Where information is not verified or fact-checked, publishers would be required to make a statement, Mr. Lee said.  He added that he preferred to act on content management first to seek a balance between controlling misinformation and freedom of the press.  Tang Tak-shing, chairman of Politihk Social Strategic, a local political organisation, believes it is necessary to introduce a fake news law because of the rise of online news media and unchecked reporting.  “We prefer legislation since it is difficult to ask online media with low credibility to be self-regulated. The bill can make the boundaries clear toward news media,” said Mr Tang.  A survey released  by the Foreign Correspondent Club earlier this month found that 75.8% of the 99 respondents including correspondents and journalist members were very concerned about the possible introduction of a “fake news” law in Hong Kong. The chairman of the Hong Kong Journalist Association (HKJA), Ronson Chan Long-sing, said that the government often claims that news media smear police officers, but “they can clarify this immediately instead of waiting for rumors to spread and blame the media”. “It is hard to self-regulate as proposed by John Lee,”  said …

China’s SinoVac And Sinopharm Included In UK Approved Vaccine List

The United Kingdom Government announced that they would be recognizing the World Health Organization’s list of emergency-use COVID-19 vaccines, including China’s SinoVac and Sinopharm, starting from today (22 November).  Apart from the two newly added vaccines, others such as Pifzer (also named BioNtech), Covishield,  AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson, and Covaxin are all on the list. Individuals who are vaccinated with the above vaccines will be allowed to visit the United Kingdom (UK) without a proof of negative results from COVID-19 testing, and are free from quarantine after arrival. Only one screening test is required after the day they arrive.  According to the UK Health Security Agency (HSA), 40,941 infections and 150 deaths were recorded on 20 November. The data released last week also shows the infections among school pupils aged between 10-19 increased from 571.7 cases per 100,000 students on 7 November to 694.2 cases to 14 November.  England also announced simplification on immigration procedures in early November. Individuals who are under 18 will be considered as fully vaccinated, they would not be subjected to mandatory pre-departure screening and quarantine upon their visits to the UK, but only one post-arrival test. Regarding the relaxation of travel restrictions, the UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated that, “as we continue to recover from the pandemic and expand our recognition of international vaccines, today's announcements mark the next step in our restart of international travel.” Wong Lok-sze, a year 3 student studying in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who is going to the UK for an exchange next month, said  “it is actually more convenient for me because I don't have to quarantine either.” “But I would also be worried about other people who do not need to be quarantined, and I would prefer to have a quarantine policy,” she added.  Wong is …

Public disappointed after cloudy weather distorts rare lunar eclipse

The longest partial lunar eclipse since the 15th century took place today, according to Indiana’s Holcomb Observatory. The partial lunar eclipse began at 3:19 pm and ended at 6:47 pm, lasting for three hours and 28 minutes, according to NASA. It marked the longest partial lunar eclipse in 581 years. The last partial lunar eclipse that stretched longer happened on Feb. 18, 1440. In Hong Kong, the partial eclipse was visible during moonrise from 5:38 pm and ended at 6:47 pm, according to the Hong Kong Space Museum. The Hong Kong Space Museum said that a partial lunar eclipse is divided into five stages. Only the two stages, “Moon exits umbra” and “Moon exits penumbra” were visible in Hong Kong during the time of the eclipse. Unfortunately for people who gathered for this rare celestial event, the eclipse was barely visible. The Museum said that people would not be able to clearly see the partial lunar eclipse since the moon was at a low altitude and the sky was not completely dark while the eclipse was in progress, “We cannot see the whole partial eclipse process this time” Chan Chun-lam, the assistant curator of Hong Kong Space Museum said. When the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon align, the Moon enters the Earth's shadow, resulting in a lunar eclipse including penumbral eclipse, partial eclipse and total eclipse, depending on how the Moon comes in contact with the Earth's shadow, according to Hong Kong Observatory. “During the partial lunar eclipse, the moon is not completely obscured by the umbra, the dark and inner shadow of the Earth. So only the eclipsed part turns black, the rest of the moon is only slightly darkened,” Chan said. The next time the Earth will see a partial lunar eclipse as lengthy as today’s will …

Mental health impact of quarantine under COVID-19

Charlene Flores and her husband nearly got divorced in the last two hours of a 14-day quarantine. “We ended up arguing. There were a lot of rules. It really affected our mental well-being," said Ms Flores.  Those who have to be confined in a room for weeks report impacts on their mental health because of the resulting loneliness and anxiety. She is a French freelance photographer for Paris-based national newspapers and magazines and has lived in Hong Kong since January 2020. Ms Flores, her 14-month old daughter and her 36-year old husband stayed at the Iclub Ma Tau Wai Hotel. She arrived in Hong Kong on August 18.  Hong Kong has some of the strictest quarantine requirements in the world.  Depending on which risk level their originating country falls under, the Department of Health requires in-bound travellers to be quarantined at designated hotels for either two or three weeks. As of September, fully vaccinated Hong Kong residents from “high risk” (or Group A) countries, including the UK, France, India, and Thailand, had to be quarantined for 21 days.  Fully vaccinated travellers arriving from “medium risk” (or Group B) countries must test negative for Covid-19 and quarantine for 14 days while the unvaccinated in this group must quarantine for 21 days.  Currently, the only places that fall under the “low risk” (Group C) category include New Zealand, mainland China and Macao. Non-Hong Kong and Hong Kong residents are required to quarantine for seven days if vaccinated, and 14 if not. "It was a tough, expensive and stressful experience. We were always afraid that there might be a false negative test or being identified as a close contact," said Mrs Flores.  Karman Leung, Chief Executive of the Samaritan’s Hong Kong, an independent non-governmental organisation, said they receive approximately three to five calls …

Light rail passengers worried about safety after a woman was pushed onto the track

Sarah Chan Miu-ching, 21, lives in Tuen Mun and takes the light rail transit three or four times a week.   "I am definitely worried about falling on the track just like what happened to the woman yesterday as there is no platform screen door,” Ms. Chan said. A 47-year-old woman was walking on the platform at Tai Hing (North) station yesterday when a man whom she did not know suddenly pushed her onto the track. The woman’s left shoulder was injured. Police later arrested the suspect at Ching Chung station. Safety facilities at road junctions in the light rail system include traffic lights, road signs on light rail reserved area and vehicle height restrictions, yellow box marking and a bell before the light rail enters a road junction, according to the spokesman in the Legislative Council in 2011. Kitty Wong Yuen-yi, a secretary working in the MTR company, said that the automatic platform gates cannot be installed on the light rail because its operation system is different from other railway systems in the city.  “When a train approaches a station, only the driver can stop the carriage and open or close the platform gates,” Ms Wong explained.”Since the road is shared with other vehicles, it’s technically difficult to install the gates.” “There are no platform screen doors like at MTR stations. It’s so easy to be shoved onto the track just like what happened to the woman yesterday,”  Zoe Cheung Man-yi, 46, a Tuen Mun resident said. She urged the MTR corporation to pay more attention to accidents at railway stations and tackle them as soon as possible. In 2017, a man pushed a female cleaning worker off the track at the Yuen Long Light Rail Station. The worker had fractured elbows and injuries to her jaw and lips.

HK Philharmonic Swire Symphony Under The Stars back in-person after 2 year hiatus

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra returned to the Central harbourfront on Saturday for its annual Swire Symphony Under The Stars, after being moved online last year because of the pandemic and cancelled in 2019 because of pro-democracy protests.  The orchestra presented an exuberant programme of classical dance music with four philharmonic musicians performing as soloists: violist Andrew Ling and trumpeters Christopher Moyse, Douglas Waterston and Robert Smith.  "This year's event is very exciting because all the pieces are classical dance pieces," host Harry Wong said in his opening remarks.  Hong Kong conductor Wilson Ng led the concert after music director Jaap van Zweden was denied a quarantine waiver by the Hong Kong government. All of his remaining 2021 appearances have been cancelled. About 12,000 people attended the concert live at the Central harbourfront on Saturday night and around 2,000 attended the live screening at the West Kowloon Art Park, Wong said at the concert.  "It's a very artistic weekend in West Kowloon as the concert also coincides with the opening of the M+ museum of visual culture and other events," said Paul Tam, executive director of performing arts at the West Kowloon Cultural District.  "West Kowloon is not just an entertainment hub, also for civic engagement, you actually enjoy both inside and outside and it's pet-friendly.” "It's good that the event is free and it is socially distanced to give people access to the orchestra," said Marcus Scarlett, who watched the live screening of the concert from the Art Park. "It's really nice that the host engaged the audience to be involved in the dance music," said Vanessa Kwan, who also attended the live screening at the Art Park.  The concert was also shown online via Zoom and live streamed on  the philharmonic website, official Facebook page and YouTube channel.  …

Panic-buying Emerges Before Typhoon Kompasu Hits the City

Hong Kong people scrambled for food after the Strong Wind Signal No.3 was in force, in order to have enough food before No.8 Gale or Storm Signal was issued today.  Fresh meat and seafood in the Wellcome Superstore in Sha Kok Shopping Centre were sold out at noon, as Hong Kong people were panic-buying to get prepared for the approaching typhoon Kompasu. Chan Fung, a customer at Sha Kok Market, said she returned home empty-handed yesterday because of the stockout. She visited the wet market again this afternoon and bought more than usual, including two bags of vegetables, five oranges and a fish, which cost around HK$200. Prices were up for approximately 10%, Chan added. Still, she was not able to purchase any meat, as they were all sold out earlier. “I didn’t buy much, the food is just enough for tomorrow, because I guess the typhoon will only stay for one day,” Chan said.  The second typhoon in the city this month is approaching after Lionrock’s visit on Saturday. Typhoon Kompasu will be nearest to Hong Kong in Wednesday's early morning, so the No.8 Gale or Storm Signal issued at 5:20pm will be in force at least before sunrise on Wednesday, according to the central briefing by the Hong Kong Observatory. “Strong to gale force north to north easterly winds, occasionally storm force offshore and on high ground,” said Yeung Kwok Chung, Acting Senior Scientific Officer of Hong Kong Observatory, in the central briefing at 9 pm. "Winds will moderate gradually tomorrow night, it will also be cloudy with heavy squally showers and thunderstorms." Queues in the Wellcome Superstore in Sha Kok Shopping Centre were extended to the back of the store.  Tang Man-wai, a customer at the Wellcome Superstore, had only a box of sushi and four cup noodles …

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