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HK Swimmer Haughey Breaks Asian Record, Wins Second Olympic Silver Medal

  Hong Kong people cheered and applauded on Friday as they witnessed local swimmer Siobhan Bernadette Haughey breaking the women’s 100m freestyle Asian record and winning her second silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.   Collected her first silver medal in the women’s 200m freestyle two days ago, Ms Houghey finished the 100m freestyle at 52.27, only 0.31 seconds behind Australian athlete Emma McKeon, who made an Olympic record at 51.96.    Setting the new personal and Asian best, the second silver makes Ms Haughey the first Hong Kong swimmer to attain two medals in the Olympic Games.   Speaking at the press conference, Ms Houghey said 80% of the performance depended on her mentality. “I broke the personal best at the semi-final and achieved my goal. I just wanted to enjoy the 100m race,” said Ms Haughey.      Tokyo Olympic marks Hong Kong’s best performed Olympic Games so far, including two silvers achieved by Ms Haughey and a gold from Cheung Ka-long in the men’s individual foil fencing which is the city’s first medal in the game.    Approximately 500 audiences at APM, a shopping mall in Kwun Tong cheered for the 23-year-old while watching the live broadcast together.    Crowded on two floors, supporters brought along cheering tools like pom poms that made loud sounds by hitting and decibels reached the maximum as Haughey’s silver medal was secured. No one could help but cry out their excitement and appreciation.     Ten-year-old swimmer Yu, who withheld his first name, was inspired by the outstanding performance of Ms Haughey. “I will practice swimming more often, but winning an award in the Olympic Games is too difficult for me,” he said.   Audiences showed both the national flag and regional flag of Hong Kong after Ms Haughey won the …

Society

New non-invasive colorectal cancer test may lower the cost and risk of detection

  Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have identified four unique bacterial genetic sequences found in the faeces of patients with colorectal cancer. By testing for these markers, known as M3, the scientists have developed a new non-invasive test that can detect colorectal cancer with up to 94% accuracy.   The CUHK team used the M3 test on more than 1100 cancer subjects. Patients were asked to swab their faecal samples at home. The swabs were then stored in plastic vials and sent to the laboratory for analysis. The results were available in four hours.   Based on a risk scale, doctors can then use the results to predict the likelihood of the patient developing cancer, and offer dietary recommendations to reduce the risk.   Patients with high risks may then be asked to have a colonoscopy to look for cancer cells and polyps.   The M3 test can also be used to detect recurrent polyps which may develop into cancer. The scientists used the M3 test on more than 200 patients who have had polyps removed within five years. The M3 test can detect the polyps with up to 90% sensitivity.   Compared with current tests for colorectal cancer, the M3 test is more sensitive than a faecal immunochemical test and less invasive than colonoscopy. Patients do not need to prepare the bowels for testing and there is no risk of rupturing the bowels or gastrointestinal bleeding. The cost is also much less than colonoscopy since patients can collect the samples themselves.   “We are cautiously optimistic about the popularisation of the M3 test,” said Prof Francis Chan Ka-leung, Dean of Medicine and Director of the Centre for Gut Microbiota Research at CU Medicine.   “The cost for the M3 test is subject to different needs of …

Society

At least 33 die and more than 3 million affected in Henan by “once in 5,000 years” rainfall and flooding

  With 33 people dead and eight still missing by Thursday evening, and more than 3 million people affected by the torrential rainfall in central China, officials in Henan Province are calling the severe flooding the worst in 5,000 years. At 11 a.m. today, Henan’s Meteorological Administration updated a red rainstorm alert in the province with a population of about 99 million. The meteorological service expected the accumulated rainfall since the beginning of the storms to rise to more than 100 millimeters in the coming three hours in the regions of Xinxiang, Anyang, Hebi and Jiaozuo. The heavy rains, which started last week, caused economic damage of more than 1.22 million yuan in Henan province and almost paralysed the capital city, Zhengzhou, as flooding affected transportation, water supplies and power on Tuesday. Yang Dingqi, a university student who was attending a  class one block away from the hotel where she lives in Zhengzhou, said she had to wade through calf-deep water back to the hotel on Tuesday afternoon. “I was very nervous at that time because there was no power, no water supplies, and all the goods in the supermarket were sold out,” Yang told TYR during a telephone interview today.   Some areas in Henan experienced heavy rains from Sunday morning to Wednesday afternoon. According to the official website of Henan’s department of water services, 845 millimeters of rain were recorded from 8 a.m. Sunday to 2 a.m. Wednesday at the Xingyang Huncuiyu measuring station. Officials with the water services department said it was a “once in 5,000 years” storm because the amount of rainfall was the highest ever recorded in the region. Zhao Xiaomu, who works in Zhengzhou, said she spent almost three hours walking in the water to go home on Tuesday. She said it usually only …

Society

Top student in this year’s Diploma of Secondary Education exam says “ Hong Kong Is My Home”

  Seven students achieved the top score of 5** in at least seven subjects in the 2021 Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education. Three of them also have 5** in an eighth subject, making them so-called super scorers.   Students could check their results on the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority website from 7 am this morning.    The top students are from Diocesan Girls School, St. Stephen’s Girls’ College, St. Mary’s Canossian College, Po Leung Kuk Tang Yuk Tien College, Queen Elizabeth School and Ying Wa College.    Chan Lok-yung, the first student from St. Stephen’s Girls’ College to get the top score, wants to study medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.    “Hong Kong is my home, I grew up here. I love this place,” Ms Chan said.   At school, she liked to investigate social issues as a Chinese debate team member. She recognised the importance of liberal studies in the DSE curriculum. But from next year, the Liberal Study paper will require candidates to provide short answers or multiple choices only . Students will no longer need to make any personal judgment.   “Cancellation of the contents (liberal studies) doesn’t mean we will think less critically. We can learn it through other means, such as reading the news from different perspectives,” Ms Chan said.    This year’s DSE candidates spent one-and-a half years on online schooling because of the pandemic, out of the three-year exam preparation.    Ms Chan was upset because she was not able to meet her schoolmates, but her teachers and friends played crucial roles in her exam preparation. “My friends and I studied as a group so that we could supervise each other and share our studying progress,” she said.     Of the 49,976 candidates, who sat the …

Society

Job seekers find it tough despite falling unemployment

  More than 1,800 jobs are on offer at the “Embracing New Opportunities” job fair. Some 40 companies from different industries are taking part in the two-day event. There are vacancies for store clerks, security guards, programmers, nurses and much more, according to the Labour Department.  The fair is held by the Labour Department and the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions at MacPherson Stadium in Mong Kok. Ms Au, who was not willing to reveal her full name, was one of the representatives for Mou Mou Club Limited and Gyukaku Yakiniku Restaurant, offering opportunities for waiters and cooks. She said they have received more applications this year than in the past few years. “Competition for jobs (in the catering industry) has become more and more intense, so people are now seeking jobs in other industries,” she said.   Most of the vacancies at the fair offer monthly salaries from HK$10,000 to HK$20,000. Around 81% are full-time jobs, nearly 98% require senior high education or below and  61% do not ask for relevant job experience.   Ms Cu, who was not willing to reveal her full name, is among the job seekers. “ I used to work in the retail industry, but I have been unemployed since the beginning of this year because of  COVID-19,” she said.   Mr Ho, who didn’t provide his first name, also lost his job when the company he worked for downsized during the pandemic. “I used to be a civil engineer, but most of the jobs ( at the fair) are for clerical work, such as office assistants, and I’m not suited for that,” he said. He added that most of the jobs at the fair didn’t require specific knowledge, and he was worried that means he can easily be replaced.   CJ was a …

Society

Hong Kong Government Land Confiscation Scheme Forces Closure of Popular Farmers Market at Mapopo Community Farm

  After more than a decade in operation, Mapopo Community Farm held its last farmers market on Sunday before permanently closing due to the Hong Kong government’s Land Resumption Ordinance.    The farmers market sells locally produced vegetables, mainly from the northeastern part of Hong Kong’s New Territories, including Ping Che (Fanling), Tsiu King (Sheung Shui) and Kwu Tong (Sheung Shui).    At two in the afternoon, about 15 people lined up outside Mapopo Community Farm to snatch up locally grown fruit and vegetables, including winter melons, pumpkins, longan and dragon fruits. Most products were sold out within the first hour.    Chatting and laughing during their visit to the market, customers filled shopping bags with green vegetables and fruits. Some visitors brought their pets and kids to the market, to witness the decline of Hong Kong local agriculture. People expressed gratitude to the farmers by leaving messages and colorful drawings in the farmer markets’ autograph book.    “The villagers are exhausted fighting for their lands,” said 26-year-old Ms. Wong, who withheld her first name. She said she has heard of the land resumption scheme since she was a student.     The scheme, officially announced in 1998, allowed the government to claim the land for residential purposes, in order to handle the growing population in Hong Kong.    Farmlands in Kwu Tong North, Fanling North and Ping Che/Ta Ku Ling have been identified by the Hong Kong government to be new development areas.The rural areas in northeast New Territories will be used for commercial and residential land.    However, the development plan was rejected by the farmers. They worried that the residential and commercial land development would reduce the amount of farmland, thus deteriorating the farmer’s livelihood.    Following several legal challenges by residents of Ma Shi Po Village, …

Society

University LGBTQ groups in China “muted” following social media account closures

With no warning and little objection, more than 10 social media accounts for university LGBTQ groups in mainland China were shut down on July 6, according to members of the LGBTQ community in China.    Posts and content published on the WeChat accounts, including WDH Purple from Tsinghua University, ColorsWorld from Peking University, and Zhi Heshe from Fudan University, were removed, according to members of those accounts. All of the account names were changed to  “unnamed official account” by Tuesday evening.   The closure of the accounts may have been connected to a student protest at Wuhan University in April 2021, according to the founder of an NGO in Wuhan that focuses on LGBTQ issues. The protest, in support of feminist issues in China, may have crossed the government’s “red line,” the person, who wished not to be identified by name, had written in a recent WeChat discussion with Cheung Kam-hung, a Hong Kong LGBTQ activist. During the protest, Chinese feminist activists, who are accused by the Chinese government of having been influenced or helped by foreign politicians, were mentioned.   The activist wrote that, following the university protest at Wuhan University, the Chinese government probably began to collect information about the social media accounts belonging to the university LGBTQ groups.   These digital social media accounts, mostly organised by student communities and teachers, were often used to share stories and research about LGBTQ groups.   A message on the main page of the closed accounts stated, “(WeChat) received relevant complaints that (the account) violates The Internet User Public Account Information Service Management Regulation. All the content in the account has been blocked and usage of  the account was stopped.”   RucSGS, an organization at Renmin University of China advocating discussion on gender issues, said it was affected.   The …

Society

Discount scheme will benefit all diners, not just those having supper

A scheme by which 500 restaurants will offer a 30% discount for dinner from July 15 and a 20% discount in August will be expanded to cover lunch and other meals as well. The Dining Discount Bonanza scheme was earlier launched by the catering industry to encourage people to spend the $5,000 electronic consumption voucher they each get from the government on meals. As originally conceived, participating restaurants will offer a 30% discount to dinner customers between July 15 and July 31, and a 20% discount in August. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Mr Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, the Legislative Councillor who represents the catering constituency, said the restaurants would be allowed to implement the scheme flexibly by offering the discounts not just for dinner, but also other meals, as they wished. Mr Cheung said the scheme would have no strict rules because the restaurants should handle the personal needs of the diners generously.  Organised by eight catering associations, the scheme has drawn support from more than 500 restaurants serving different cuisines. Participating restaurants used to be confined by strict rules and regulations, and the discounts were applicable to four vaccinated diners sitting at one table.  However, the website of Dining Discount Bonanza now says that individual merchants are allowed to “change the information and offers they provide without prior notice”.  “We have no right or the ability to monitor the implementation of the scheme, and so we don’t have to,” Mr Cheung said.  “We expect that HK$15 billion to HK$20 billion could be spent on the catering industry, among the HK$35 billion dollars (worth of electronic consumption vouchers) offered by the government.”  Mr Cheung, who is also a member of the Executive Council and chairman of the Liberal Party, said he appreciated the contributions of participating restaurants, as it …

Society

Loneliness during the pandemic

It has now been more than a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The social distancing rules and general restrictions have been particularly tough on people who live on their own. Tobey Chan, David Ren and Nicholas Shu talked to some elderly about how they cope with loneliness during the pandemic.  

Society

LegCo members: Ask schools to report vaccination numbers regularly

Pro-government Legislative Council members urged the Secretary for Education, Kevin Yeung, to require schools to report the number of students and staff who are vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to better monitor and handle the pandemic. An Education Bureau (EDB) survey showed that as of May 2021, the total vaccination rate of the 2,000 schools, including kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, being polled was only 18%, according to a LegCo brief. Addressing a LegCo panel on education today, Mr. Yeung also added that a further survey may be conducted to find out the number of vaccinations in schools. Addressing a LegCo panel on education today, Mr. Yeung also added that a further survey may be conducted to find out the number of vaccinations in schools. Some health experts have said that if schools’ vaccination rate reaches 70-80%, more school activities or extracurricular activities could be allowed. Mr. Yeung said, “In the months ahead, we hope to finalize the plan with the experts, we need to see what the epidemic situation is like. If possible, we hope that schools can achieve a 70-80% vaccination rate and more activities can be held.” Lau Kwok-fan, a legislator and member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), stressed that the government needs to have statistics on the number of persons vaccinated. “Personally, now that we don’t have any survey to collect figures about teaching staff vaccination rate, I’m a bit disappointed with that because you might expect or want to achieve 70-80% rate to allow for more activities and yet you don’t have a mechanism to collect or to record the figures in relation to vaccination. That actually cannot support your goal,” Mr. Lau said. However, Mr. Yeung said that schools can let the government know if they …