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Society

How Green Roofs Can Encourage a Green City Revolution

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: KURNIAWAN Trista Vania、AO Wei Ying VinciEdited by: Elif Lale AYHAN、Yee Ling TSANG
  • 2024-05-12

As Brisbane aims to become a greener city, the trend of green roofs is gaining momentum. While green roofs offer benefits, they also present challenges that cities must address before implementing new policies. Green roofs are also just one piece of the puzzle. Rather than relying on green roofs as one solution, cities like Hong Kong should view them as catalysts for inspiring more initiatives that pave the way towards a greener future.

Society

Hong Kong tries to give the elderly more care when they face death

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: WANG Jing、YANG ShuyiEdited by: Wai Sum CHEUNG、Ben Rong Li
  • 2024-05-02

Ng Yu-fung’s father was at his deathbed at Nam Long Hospital, a specialist hospital for cancer patients. “What makes me regret is that I was afraid of my father's death when he was near the end of his life,” Ng recalled. His father’s last moments of life inspired him to become a volunteer in hospice care. Today, Ng is president of the Hong Kong Hospice Social Workers Association. The association’s goal is to enhance a patient’s quality of life before the end, focusing on pain management, spiritual care, and palliative care. Hong Kong ranked 20th among 80 countries in the 2023 in quality of death according to a white paper published by the Economist Intelligence Unit. In 2015, Hong Kong ranked 22nd among 40 countries. The Index scores countries across four categories: basic end-of-life healthcare environment; availability are; cost and quality of care. End-of-life care involves palliative care and hospice care, thus the progress of hospice care in Hong Kong contributed greatly to the rise in rankings. Dr. Fowie Ng, vice president of the Hong Kong College of Health Service Executives said that the progress of hospice care in Hong Kong is caused by many factors, including the city’s medical and social services. “The Hospital Authority has set up a ward specifically to treat end-of-life patients. It used to be the responsibility of the Bradbury Hospice Centre, but now it has expanded to many hospitals setting up these ward services on hospice care,” Dr. Ng said. Chan Mok-kwong, president of the Hong Kong Hospice Society said that not only has the government paid more attention to the development of hospice care in recent years, but the support groups who promote education and improve hospice care services have also made a lot of effort. “If the patients have financial difficulties, we …

Society

Hong Kong bus companies roll out electric and hydrogen powered buses to meet carbon neutrality goal

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: WANG Ludan、YANG Shuyi、WANG JingEdited by: Sze Kei WONG
  • 2024-03-29

The first hydrogen double-decker buses in Hong Kong set sail in February for the Vodafone Road route. Starting from 2022, the electric buses are appearing on the Hong Kong’s street to reduce emissions more than diesel buses as part of the public transportation sector’s efforts to help Hong Kong achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.  

Society

Budget 2024 Key Takeaways: Careful balance of revenue and deficit to continue

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: AU YEUNG Jim、AO Wei Ying VinciEdited by: Juncong SHUAI
  • 2024-02-28

Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po delivered the 2024-2025 Budget speech on Wednesday, announcing policies to strive for high-quality development while sustaining a solid economy. Top the list is the cancellations of property cooling measures, with Special Stamp Duty, Buyers’ Stamp Duty and New Residential Stamp Duty scrapped with immediate effect. For the coming fiscal year, the total government expenditure will increase by about 6.7% to HK$776.9 billion, while the total government revenue is estimated to be HK$633 billion. Chan expects that there will be a deficit of HK$48.1 billion for the year, and fiscal reserves will decrease to HK$685.1 billion. Here are the key takeaways of this year’s budget plan.  

Society

Budget 2024: Hong Kong to Assess Talent Visas while Nurturing Local Talents

The Hong Kong government will put more effort into nurturing local talents while also reviewing existing talent schemes to ensure their effectiveness. The government will organise a summit and a conference in May, aiming at promoting the flow of talent in the Greater Bay Area. More than 140,000 applications have been received under the various talent admission schemes, of which more than 100,000 have been approved in the past year, said Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po in his budget address today. The Top Talent Scheme, launched in 2022, allows people with incomes higher than HK$2.5 million or degrees from eligible universities to apply for residency without employment. This added an estimated HK$34 billion to the economy, equivalent to 1.2% of Hong Kong's GDP, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said in a public address in February.  Chan said that 60% of immigrant talents were married, and most of them have brought their families to Hong Kong.   Lilian Bao, 42, a former executive of a Beijing-based internet company who emigrated to Hong Kong under the talent scheme, now lives with her daughter in Hung Hom. “I immigrated to Hong Kong for my daughter's future education,” she said. “I want her to enjoy a more international, diverse and independent learning and living experience here.” Some doubt the long-term effectiveness of the talent schemes. Some applicants have not complied with the time frame for coming to Hong Kong and securing employment after receiving approval, said legislator Adrian Ho in a Legco meeting in January. Ho also said that some say the scheme is relatively lenient in the work experience requirement and the vetting and approval criteria, making it possible for some people to exploit the scheme to immigrate to Hong Kong.  “There are rumours that individual applicants have only come to Hong Kong for …

Society

Taiwan Election 2024: Nuclear power becomes the focus of energy policies

  • By: Man TSE、Yuchen LI、Junzhe JIANGEdited by: Junzhe JIANG
  • 2024-01-12

Taipei (TYR) - With conflicting energy policies from three candidates, the Taiwan presidential election will be held on Jan. 13, which has become one of the major focuses among voters in Taiwan. To reduce dependence on fossil fuels, three political parties propose different approaches. While the Kuomintang proposes to extend the use of the existing three nuclear power plants and restart the fourth plant, the Democratic Progressive Party and Taiwan People's Party focus on developing renewable energy, such as hydroelectric power, geothermal energy and ocean energy, to reduce dependence on nuclear power. In the past nearly eight years under Tsai Ing-wen’s government, Taiwan's electricity price has been raised by 23%; the most recent rise was about 11% in April 2023. According to the data from Taiwan Power Company, the latest average price of electricity in November was NT $3.09/ kWh (about HK$ 0.78/ kWh), which is 13.4% and 19.2% higher than the average price in the past two years, respectively. The research from Global Petrol Price.com shows that the world's average electricity price for family use in June 2023 was US$ 0.156/ kWh (about HK$ 1.25/ kWh), which was 76% higher than the average price in Taiwan in the same period. The average electricity price for businesses was US$0.153/ kWh (about HK$ 1.17/ kWh), recorded 39% higher than in the same period in Taiwan. Regarding the changes in electricity prices, residents in Taichung city said the increase in electricity prices is acceptable.  “The prices of everything are rising, not only the electricity price but also the costs of food, transportation and housing. I think the increase in electricity prices is not a major burden,” said Marry Liao, a housewife living in Taichung. Data from the Taiwan Statistics Bureau shows that Taiwan's year-on-year CPI index increased by 2.5% in 2023, recording …

Society

“Night Vibes Hong Kong” aims to boost local economy

  • By: Wai Yan MIUEdited by: Yixin Gao
  • 2023-09-15

The government launched the "Night Vibes Hong Kong" Campaign yesterday at 6:30 pm at the West Kowloon Cultural District M+ Museum. The campaign aims to promote the city's nighttime economy and unite different sectors of the community. “Night Vibes Hong Kong” starts from the Mid-Autumn Festival in late September and continues through early 2024. There are four highlights: art & culture, harbourfront leisure, a vibrant festival, and diversified leisure.  Art and culture buffs can look forward to discounted tickets for evening screenings. The Hong Kong Museum of Art, the Hong Kong Science Museum, and the Hong Kong Space Museum will delay their closing time till 10 pm on Fridays, weekends, and public holidays to give visitors more time to experience cultural gems. M+ will also host activities and workshops at night. A night market featuring food stalls, activities, and exhibitions will be set up along the harbourfront as part of the campaign. The iconic Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival will return to the Central Harbour Event Space, offering a wide array of global liquor assortments and tantalising delights. The campaign will bring a month-long citywide dining promotion from restaurants and bars. The festive season will be particularly vibrant with the resumption of beloved events. The Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance, a traditional dance among Tai Hang residents which was cancelled during the pandemic, will make a comeback during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The traditional dance will be accompanied by a drone show organised jointly by Hong Kong and Shenzhen.  Other activities include Cantonese operas during the Lantern Carnival at Victoria Park and the fireworks for the National Day celebration. In addition, more than 80 shopping malls will extend their operating hours, host cultural and sports events, and outdoor night markets., These malls will also offer evening entertainment performances and dining …

Society

Chief executive demands better control towards Hong Kong budget tourism from mainland

  • By: Junzhe JIANG、Xiya RUIEdited by: Ming Min AW YONG
  • 2023-03-30

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu has asked related officials to enhance the control of the crowds to solve the complaints from Hong Kong residents over the low-cost mainland visitors gathering on the street and in restaurants. Lee said on Tuesday that the city's tourism is recovering and has reached the first stage of returning to normality, hence making it necessary to manage the capacity. In the press conference, Lee said he had asked the related authorities, including Culture, Sport and Tourism Bureau as well as Hong Kong Tourism Authority to manage the tourism’s impact on transportation. After the three-year shutdown, many cross-border tourists have returned to the city, leading to crowding in Kowloon City, To Kwa Wan, Hung Hom and more. According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the number of tourists from the mainland increased to 280,525 in January, 470.8% more than the same period in 2022. Hong Kong Express announced that they would operate 400 more flights every week to cope with rising levels of flights to Hong Kong.  Cheng Xinyi, a customer manager from Donghai travel agency, said they have four to five tour groups to Hong Kong every day, and Hong Kong is the best choice for tourists with a lower budget. The tourists are usually guided by their tour conductors and travel among the districts for shopping. This caused complaints about noise, hygiene issues, and transportation congestion spark. “There are many mainland tour groups eating in my restaurant,” said Maa Hoi-ying, the owner of a local restaurant in To Kwa Wan. “I usually accept 50 customers at the same time, but I can only keep 10 to 15 seats for my neighbourhoods,” she said. Maa said although there are some complaints about the tour groups, she’s happy with them as she can earn more money. …

Society

MTR new fares tie to property profits and an one-off 1.2% fare cut announced

  • By: Xiya RUIEdited by: Tsz Ying CHEUNG、Ming Min AW YONG
  • 2023-03-25

The Hong Kong government has approved a one-off fare reduction of  1.2%  points in MTR fares this Tuesday, which is the biggest reduction in recent years, as MTR decided to maintain stable fare prices for the public, according to Lam Sai-hung, Hong Kong Transport Secretary, at a press conference on March 21. The MTR’s Fare Adjustment Mechanism is a system regulating the fare increment of public utilities, including the Mass Transit Railway Corporation Limited (MTR). Meanwhile, the new mechanism will be directly tied to the MTR property development profits. Starting from this June, the more profit the MTR makes, the smaller the fare increases.   Lam stated that the new calculation formula of fares has a long-term effect. A decline of 1.85% for fares is expected in 2024.  “The fare should have been adjusted long ago. My monthly subway transportation fee is close to HK$400, such a big cost!” said Wong Youkum, 29, a Central agency employee.  Specifically, if the MTR property profit reaches 5 billion to 10 billion Hong Kong dollars, the special deduction will be increased by 0.1 percentage points. If the property profit exceeds 10 billion yuan, the special deduction will be increased by 0.1 percentage points, and the special deduction will be up to 0.8%. Jacob Kam Chak-pui, the CEO of MTR Corp, claimed that it is necessary for the corporation to have stable revenue sources as the railway network reaches a mature stage and the expenses of keeping, modernizing, and replacing railway assets have been steadily rising. “I saw some news that the subway doors suddenly flew out and broke down,” said Wong. “There is no reason for the MTR to charge higher and higher fares when even the most basic safety issues are worrying.”  The MTR’s Fare Adjustment Mechanism has led to an over 31% …

Society

Tolls for two Hong Kong cross-harbour tunnels will increase to HK$30 from August 2, charges for Western Tunnel will decrease to HK$60

  • By: Kei Tung LAMEdited by: Ming Min AW YONG
  • 2023-03-22

To alleviate long-standing traffic flow issues, the Hong Kong government proposed a new toll plan for three cross-harbour tunnels in two stages.  Chan Sai-hung, the Secretary for Transport and Logistics, said that under the first stage, starting from August 2, tolls for private cars using the Western Harbour Crossing will be lowered from HK$75 to HK$60. Also, the tolls for the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and the Eastern Harbour Crossing will be increased from HK$20 to HK$30 and from HK$25 to HK$30, respectively.  Taxi fares will be standardized at HK$25 per trip for all three tunnels to discourage empty taxis from concentrating on lower-priced return trips through the Cross-Harbour and Eastern Harbour Crossings. "The lower toll rate for the Western Harbour Tunnel would encourage me to use it more often," Chan, a private car driver, said. He said that the higher toll rates for the other tunnels could help distribute traffic evenly across all three tunnels. However, not all drivers are happy with the proposed changes. Sze, a private car driver and a frequent user of the Eastern Harbour Tunnel, said that the toll increase would add to his monthly expenses. "The new charges are just a disguised increase in fares," he said. Under the proposed second stage, which is expected to start latest by the end of this year, the government plans to implement different charging schemes for different time periods.  During "non-peak hours", 7 pm to 7.30 am,  from Monday to Saturday nights, the three tunnels will charge a flat rate of HK$20 for private cars. In the morning and evening "peak hours", the fee is HK$60 for the Western Harbour Tunnel and HK$40 for the Cross-Harbour and Eastern Harbour Crossings.  On Sundays and public holidays, private cars will be charged at a flat rate of HK$20 to HK$25, depending …