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HK Government tightens quarantine requirements for nine countries with Covid-19 Omicron variant cases, including Australia and Canada

Hong Kong added nine countries with Omicron cases, including Australia and Canada, to the city’s high-risk group starting Wednesday over fears of the heavily mutated Covid-19 variant.  Under the tightened requirements, only Hong Kong residents who are fully-vaccinated and hold a recognised vaccination record can enter the city from countries in the high-risk group, which already includes the United States. Arrivals have to undergo a 21-day quarantine in a designated hotel instead of 14 days. Alice Chan Lai-sim, 66, a retiree who has lived in Sydney for 26 years, said she and her husband canceled their plans to return to Hong Kong to visit her relatives during the Christmas holidays due to the new arrangement.  “Though I have had two shots of AstraZeneca in Sydney before, I still have to quarantine in a designated hotel for 21 days and conduct six tests during quarantine in Hong Kong,” she said.  Her husband, Duncan Ip Wai-kwong, 69, who works in the IT industry, said they are also uncertain about the spread of Omicron in the city.  Hong Kong confirmed three imported Omicron cases discovered in arrivals during hotel quarantine.  “There are fewer Omicron cases in Hong Kong compared to New South Wales. However, Hong Kong still shows potential danger to travellers like us as most of the Omicron cases found in Hong Kong quarantine hotels that we have to stay in,” Ip said.  New South Wales, where Chan and Ip live, has recorded five Omicron cases.  On Sunday, the World Health Organization designated Omicron a “variant of concern” days after it was first reported from South Africa on Nov. 24.  There is little information on the heavily mutated variant, as the world waits to see if current vaccines will hold up. "Hong Kong's very stringent system of boarding, quarantine and also testing …

Society

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 …

Society

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.

Business

Chinney Investments’ first-half net profit inches up while revenue hits

Chinney Investments (00216.HK) saw an increase in net profit in the first half of the year while revenue fell. Net profit increased 6.79% to HKD 350 million from HKD 328 million the previous year, owing to an increase in property rental income contribution after the data center building was put into use. Meanwhile, revenue fell 18% to HKD 609 million as property sales from the Group's development project in mainland China tumbled. Earnings per share increased from HKD 0.10 to HKD 0.11 per share. Profit attributable to shareholders increased 9.31% to HKD 58 million, up from HKD 53 million the previous year. Investment property reached HKD 15.31 billion, inching up 0.71%. HKD 15.21 billion was recorded previously. No interim interest will be given out. Despite facing challenges brought by the pandemic and inflation, the property company predicts increased local opportunities as a result of high housing demands.   “We should sit back and observe obstructions caused by political tension between China and the US, ” Wong Sai-wing, chairman of Chinney Investments said in the report. The company closed at HKD 1.55 on Tuesday.

Business

World’s most expensive handbag: Hermès crocodile diamond bag sells at auction house Christie’s for HK$4 million today, hitting a world record

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Nicholas ShuEdited by: AMALVY Esten Carr Claude Ole Eriksen
  • 2021-11-26

A rare Himalaya Kelly bag from French luxury brand Hermès sold at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong for HK$4 million, breaking the world record of the most expensive bag ever sold at auction. Made of crocodile hide and decorated with diamonds, “it is one that collectors are always looking for,” Jerry Zhang Yi-jie, handbag expert at Christie’s said. “It is not the first time this model breaks the world record,” Zhang said. The same model bag was sold in 2019 for HK$3.375 million, breaking a previous record from 2017. “The price is becoming crazy these years,” Steven Hao Shi-wen,  a handbag collector and seller who attended the auction today, said. Christie's auction week starts from Nov. 26 in Hong Kong, showcasing collectibles including handbags, accessories and artworks worldwide.  

Society

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 …

Society

Former Studentlocalism convenor Tony Chung sentenced to three years and seven months for secession and money laundering

Hong Kong political activist Tony Chung hon lam, was jailed for 43 months for violating National Security Law and money laundering after pleading guilty to secession. Judge Chan Kwong Chi described Chung’s act as deceiving and a waste of effort. Chung, former Studentlocalism and Initiative Independence Party convenor, was arrested on Oct. 27 last year near the US consulate in Hong Kong, pleaded guilty on Nov. 3 stating “I have no shame in my heart” and on the court for sentence at District Court today.  He pleaded guilty to the charge of secession and money laundering for around 135 thousand in Paypal, and the charges of conspiracy to publish seditious materials and money laundering for 500 thousand in HSBC were left on file under a plea bargain. Chung, former Studentlocalism and Initiative Independence Party convenor, was arrested on Oct. 27 last year near the US consulate in Hong Kong, pleaded guilty on Nov. 3 stating “I have no shame in my heart” and on the court for sentence at District Court today.  He pleaded guilty to the charge of secession and money laundering for around 135 thousand in Paypal, and the charges of conspiracy to publish seditious materials and money laundering for 500 thousand in HSBC were left on file under a plea bargain. Chung was placed in the second sentencing bracket of three to seven years under active participation in the crime of the national security law, and a year and six months for the charge of money laundering (three months served non-concurrently), in total 43 months. The defendant intercede was taken into consideration, including Chung’s mother letter of pleading, the argument of Chung’s advocacy of Hong Kong independence on social media does not directly encourage violent acts in real life and have less impact than traditional political parties, …

Society

Netflix anime series Arcane ends season one on a high note, confirms its next chapter

Netflix original series, Arcane, released its last three episodes on Saturday to overwhelmingly positive reviews. Scoring full marks on IGN and Rotten Tomatoes and a high 9.4/10 on IMDB, Arcane confirmed on the same day that season two is in production. The animated series, based on the popular multiplayer online game League of Legends, surpassed the drama series Squid Game as the most popular show on video streaming platforms in more than 50 countries. The fantasy series, based in twin cities Piltover and Zaun, tells the origin stories of several characters from the game in a first for the video game company, Riot Games. Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent announced that the production of Arcane season two had already begun just two hours after the release of the final episode, saying the new season will not be released in 2022. Riot Games promoted the series all over the world, including The Arcane Experience Exhibition in a cafe in Seoul as well as a promotional video displayed on Dubai’s iconic skyscraper Burj Khalifa. French production company Fortiche used digitally hand-painted backgrounds and texture on the characters and mixed 2D animation and 3D animation. Fortiche’s involvement in Riot Games’s video production goes back to the 2014 music video “Get Jinxed” and 2018 League of Legends’s virtual girl group K/DA’s music video “POP/STARS”, which has gained more than 450 million views on YouTube.   Riot Games is a subsidiary of Chinese company Tencent. Its viral online game, League of Legends, has gained US$1.75 billion revenue in the year 2020, with over 100 million active users logging on every month. Leung Ming Hon, a Hong Kong fan of League of Legends, said he enjoyed the show because of the storytelling, animation and music. Through the TV series, he said he understood the background stories of …

Society

Man jailed for more than two years for rioting after throwing plastic bottle at police during 2019 protests

A stone factory worker was sentenced to two years and four months in jail for rioting in a shopping mall in Shatin during the 2019 protests.  Lai Chun-lok, 29, was arrested for unlawful assembly on Mar. 27, 2020. He was found guilty of   rioting at Wan Chai District Court today.  The court heard that Lai and four others threw objects at police officers at New Town Plaza when chaos broke out in the mall on July 14, 2019. Lai pleaded not guilty to the charge, but he admitted he threw a plastic bottle on the ground out of anger. He joined the crowd after netizens called for a protest in the district against the extradition bill. “I went to Sha Tin, but I did not do anything illegal,” Lai said previously under vigilance. Judge Ernest Lin Kam-hung said there had been violent protests in the mall and more than ten people had thrown umbrellas and plastic bottles at the police before the defendant threw his bottle. He did not believe Lai’s action was a lone wolf attack. Although Lai was not dressed in any protective gear nor did he cover his face, the judge said there were people delivering safety helmets, plastic bottles and umbrellas, and he believed Lai was at the mall for the same purpose as the others.  The judge added that Lai may not have planned his action and was instead influenced by the social atmosphere at the time. However, he criticised Lai for being arrogant, greedy and irresponsible. He also said Lai not only took part in the rioting but was among the main participants. His goal was to cause harm to the police officers and “reasonable people” would be threatened by his action.

Society

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 …