HIGH TIDE (MARCH 31ST 2015) – DAILY POLITICAL ROUND-UP

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URA head quit; Petition for academic freedom; Gov’t to consider ban on e-cigarettes. Photo Credits: Chris Lusher


 

Politics (Government &LegCo)

Urban Renewal Authority’s Managing Director resigns amid internal disagreements.
– Managing Director of the Urban Renewal Authority Iris Tam Siu-ying has quit after two years of service in her three-year term
– It was reported that the reason of Tam’s resignation might be attributed to a clash with the Authority’s chairman Victor So as So priorities financial stability ahead of serving society
– The URA recorded a deficit of HKD2.3billion in 2014 while being urged by the Government to play a bigger role in its plan to build 290,000 public flats in the next decade

Financial Committee hears KC Chan and Gregory So in special meetings.
– Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury KC Chan and Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So briefed the Financial Committee as special meetings to examine the Estimates continues
– Democratic Party’s Emily Lau and Labour Party’s Lee Cheuk-yan criticised (in Chinese) the Government for not allocating more resources to education, healthcare and welfare services
– Gregory So, meanwhile, told reporters at a media session that the Government will announce its decision on ATV quickly “once the decision is made by the Chief Executive in Council”

KC Chan to lead new Steering Group on Fintech.
– The Government has announced the establishment of a Steering Group on Financial Technologies with Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury KC Chan as its head
– The Steering Group is responsible to advise the Financial Secretary on opportunities to develop Hong Kong into a fintech hub and the measures in accordance
– The Financial Secretary has also appointed 12 new members and re-appointed 13 serving members to the Securities and Futures Appeals Tribunal
– Meanwhile, the Monetary Authority has approved the appointment of Ms Lillian Cheung, current Division Head of the Economic Research Division of the HKMA, as Executive Director (Research) and the Director of the Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research

Competition Commission to present draft guidelines to LegCo in late April.
– The Competition Commission has published the Revised Draft Guidelines (RDG) under the Competition Ordinance yesterday
– The RDG addresses issues such as collective bargaining, resale price mechanism, joint ventures and vertical agreements
– The Guidelines will be presented to the LegCo for consultation in late April

Politics (general)

Petition calls for academic freedom.
– About 570 people signed a petition calling on HongKongers to defend academic freedom and protect educational institutions in face of increasing political pressure
– They expressed deep concerns over “unwarranted personal attacks” and public criticism by left-wing media and government officials in particular
– Signatories from the political community include former CS Anson Chan, current and former Pan-dem lawmakers Albert Ho, Lee Cheuk-yan, Dennis Kwok and Audrey Eu

COSH urges total ban on electronic cigarettes.

– The Council on Smoking and Health advocated the Government for a total ban on e-cigarettes, citing their harmful substances and potential danger leading to tobacco epidemic among youngsters
– Secretary for Food and Hygiene Ko Wing-man said the Government was inclined to accept the Council’s proposal and will study the proposal carefully for legislation

Disgruntled parents show support for sacked CDNIS senior staff.
– More than 100 parents, many dressed in black, gathered in the lobby of the troubled CDNIS to show their support for the recently sacked Principal and Vice-Principal of the primary section
– It was reported that the school will hold a meeting for all parents as soon as possible