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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 …

Society

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 …

Society

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 …

Society

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 …

Society

Negotiations between Foodpanda Hong Kong and couriers on minimum wage to continue

  Couriers for the online food and grocery delivery app Foodpanda, owned by European company Delivery Hero, gathered at the company's offices in Sheung Wan on Tuesday, deadlocked in negotiations with the company over setting a standard base wage. The two sides sat down to negotiate after 300 disgruntled courier workers went on strike Saturday and Sunday to protest wage cuts, expanded delivery areas and inadequate insurance for self-employed operators, an action that involved several regions and affected the food delivery service, according to Headline Daily. Strike organizers drew up a list of 15 demands to give company’s representatives during the negotiation on Tuesday, ranging from a minimum service fee to time limits for completing orders. During negotiations that lasted from 5 p.m. until late at night, labor and management failed to reach an agreement. From August to November, Foodpanda's minimum service fees decreased in more than 40 regions in Hong Kong, ranging from 7% to 11%, according to the order service fee range sheet of Foodpanda. In negotiations, couriers asked for a minimum service fee of $50 for motorcyclists and $30 for walkers and cyclists, and asked the company to calculate service charge based on actual delivery distance instead of straight-line distance. “In August, I can earn about $900 a day, but after the fall in service fees, I can only earn $600 a day,” said Lam Chi-yung, a part-time delivery person for Foodpanda.  “If Foodpanda doesn’t answer our appeals, other couriers and I will probably continue to strike,” Lam added. Foodpanda and its couriers will restart negotiations on Thursday, as Tuesday's seven-hour discussion was inconclusive. Ho Hung-hing, the administrator of the Catering and Hotel Industries Employees General Union, told RTHK on Wednesday that it is difficult to reach a consensus on the requests over service fees as it …

Disney+ video service launches in Hong Kong as stock price continues to tumble

  • 2021-11-16

Disney+, the on-demand video streaming platform from the Walt Disney Company, landed in Hong Kong today, bringing a series of film and TV shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and Star to Hong Kong audiences. Disney stock dropped nearly 11% this week to US$158.43, five consecutive days of losses after its 2021 earnings release. Disney+ has accumulated 116 million subscribers in less than two years since it launched. But subscriber growth has stalled in North America. The company hopes the Asia-Pacific market will lift subscriptions, according to the company’s third-quarter financial report. The streaming platform also launched in South Korea and Taiwan this month, with previous moves into Asia-Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. The platform will offer access to more than 1,200 films and 16,000 TV series, with Cantonese dubbing and subtitles designed for Hong Kong audiences for a monthly or annual fee. The platform includes Disney movies such as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the first Asian superhero movie in the Marvel series. "I have to get one if I want to watch its series. However, if I want to watch a Netflix series, I can borrow a Netflix membership from my friends,” said Wang Shinuo, 20, living in Hong Kong and who plans to buy a subscription. Hong Kong already has multiple video streaming platforms including on-demand services from US companies HBO, Amazon, Apple TV and Netflix. “One advantage of Disney+ is that it is more suitable for children and the whole family to watch,” said Li Yanzhi, professor and head of the Department of Marketing at the City University of Hong Kong. He said each streaming platform has its own characteristics, including more diverse content on Netflix, such as Hong Kong, Korean and Japanese movies …

Business

Hong Kong stocks close higher, up 5 consecutive days

Hong Kong stocks rose slightly on Monday, with the blue-chip index closing higher for five consecutive trading days after China’s announced better than expected October retail sales but trading volume remained thin. The Hang Seng Index ended at 25,390, up 62 points or 0.25% on turnover of about HK$118.6 billion. The index moved between within a narrow range of 253 points for the day. China’s industrial production rose 3.5 percent year-on-year in October and retail sales increased 4.9 percent, both were slightly better than market expected, according to the South China Morning Post. The Hang Seng technology index edged up 0.5% to ​​6,601, while Tencent rose more than 1%. Mainland property and property management stocks fell, while the performance of financial stocks was mixed. Shares of HSBC eased 0.22% but AIA rose more than 2%. The Beijing Stock Exchange started its first day of trading on Monday and the total trading volume of 9.573 billion yuan. At the close, 59 stocks or nearly three quarter of the 81 listed stocks, closed lower and three were suspended. The Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets fell. Lithium battery stocks weakened while meta-universe concept stocks and food and beverage stocks rose. The Shanghai Composite Index closed at 3,533, down 0.16%. The Shenzhen Stock Exchange Composite Index eased 0.19% to 2,462.39.

Society

154 candidates to fight for 90 seats as nomination period ends in first LegCo elections after Beijing overhaul

The nomination period for the 2021 Legislative Council general election ended Friday with 154 candidates getting enough endorsements to run, according to official statistics.  In the December election, 20 of the 90 seats will be directly elected by geographical constituencies. The Election Committee will appoint 40 seats. The remaining 30 are elected by functional constituencies. Though the overall number of lawmakers has increased from 70 in the city’s first Legco election since Beijing’s sweeping overhaul of the system earlier this year, the number of directly elected seats, chosen by residents from 10 geographic districts, decreased from 35. Motions in the Legislative Council need two-thirds consent to be passed, according to the Basic Law. Previously, many directly elected lawmakers were from pro-democracy parties.  Most have been disqualified. “Hong Kongers’ enthusiasm for participating in politics was quenched,” Francis Chau Yin-Ming, a former legislative council member and current district councillor, said. This year’s hopeful candidates vied for nominations from the city’s Election Committee, in which most members are from pro-establishment parties. “I started from scratch. I have to work very hard to promote my political platform to the public and the election committee,” said Wong Wing-Ho, a candidate from the moderate Path of Democracy party. “But now the atmosphere of discussion in the reformed electoral system is much more rational now.” This year, every constituency will be contested for the first time. Some non-pro-establishment candidates are confident in the new system. “Fortunately, there are no swing voters. So, there is no conflict between us and pro-establishment candidates,” another candidate from Path of Democracy, Chan Chun-Hung, said. “So, I am very confident that more normal Hong Kong people can vote.”   A handful of candidates are not from the pro-establishment camp, some with previous ties to the opposition or who define themselves as moderates. “In …