both blogs are now up and running
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both blogs are now up and running
for adults only
Hongkongers might have to choose between building an artificial 1,000-hectare island in the middle of the sea or developing the city’s precious country parks to fulfil a long-term requirement for land, a senior planning official has said.
But Assistant Director of Planning Amy Cheung Yi-mei added the government had not made any plans to develop the preserved mountains and that such a possibility had been a “very low priority”.
Cheung made the comments at a meeting Monday with the Country and Marine Parks Board, an advisory body to the Country and Marine Parks Authority. At the meeting, members and government representatives discussed the city’s 2030 Plus blueprint, which lays out development beyond 2030.
The blueprint recommended building two new towns on reclaimed land off the east coast of Lantau Island – the East Lantau Metropolis project – and in the northern New Territories to resolve a long-term shortfall of 1,200 hectares of land for housing and economic development.
The East Lantau project, which entails reclamation of about 1,000 hectares of sea around two existing islands east of Lantau, has been heavily criticised by some as a“white elephant project”.
Cheung, however, defended it. “If we are able to develop the East Lantau Metropolis, we would not need to touch the country parks,” she said. “The public need to discuss this.”
But board member Dr Billy Hau Chi-hang, an ecologist at the University of Hong Kong, said the government should instead consider developing the city’s brownfield sites – abandoned agricultural land legally or illegally occupied by operations such as car parks, container storage and scrap yards – before talking about reclamation and developing country parks.
Cheung agreed that country parks were of high ecological value and said the government had not made any plans to develop the areas.
The leader of a team of Japanese scientists who created the new synthetic element nihonium, named after Japan, says he hopes it will spark pride and interest in science among Japanese children.
At a press conference in Fukuoka, Kosuke Morita, a Kyushu University professor who led the team at the government-backed Riken institute, said he feels very emotional about having an element whose name includes “nihon,” meaning Japan in Japanese, in the periodic table.
Riken announced the previous day that the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry had formally approved the name for the element with the atomic number 113. It is the first time that scientists from an Asian country have named an atomic element.
Morita said he hopes children in Japan will develop a greater interest in science now that nihonium is set to appear in school textbooks in the near future.
At the press conference Riken president Hiroshi Matsumoto praised Morita’s team for achieving the feat by bringing out the best among the institute’s researchers.
The artificially synthesized element has 113 protons in its nucleus. The team created the element by colliding zinc ions with bismuth, which have 30 protons and 83 protons, respectively.
The team secured the naming rights last December after successfully synthesizing the element three times, in 2004, 2005 and 2012.
Japan’s unemployment rate in October held steady as the availability of jobs improved and household spending fell at a slower pace, a tentative sign that a robust labor market is lending support to domestic demand.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October was 3%, unchanged from the previous month and in line with economists’ median estimate, data showed on Tuesday. Job availability rose to the highest since August 1991.
Household spending fell 0.4% in October from a year earlier, less than the median estimate for a 0.6% annual decline, as shoppers spent less on food and transport.
The data suggests that Japan’s domestic demand could stabilise, which could ease policymakers’ concerns and reduce the need for stimulus to energise the economy and encourage inflation.
Japan’s unemployment rate has been falling partly due to its shrinking labour force and a shortage of workers in construction, healthcare and hospitality.
The jobs-to-applicants ratio rose to 1.40 from 1.38 in the previous month to reach the highest level since August 1991, separate data showed on Tuesday. The median estimate was for the ratio to rise to 1.39.
Household spending has been falling since March as lacklustre gains in real wages and worries about how the Bank of Japan’s negative interest rate policy would affect the pension system turned some consumers even more cautious, economists say.
Data on Tuesday showed consumers did increase spending on domestic travel and furniture in October, offering tentative signs that spending overall is bottoming out.
Signs that the pace of decline in household spending is easing would be welcome for Japan’s fragile economic outlook.
Japan’s economy expanded for a third straight quarter in July-September as exports recovered, but domestic activity remained weak. Other data has shown consistent declines in consumer prices, another warning sign that domestic demand lacks momentum.
An exhibition that opens tomorrow at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin will showcase the grand weddings of the Qing emperors through 153 sets of exhibits selected from the collections of rarities at the Palace Museum.
Documents, portraits, costumes, personal ornaments, dowry objects, wedding ritual objects and court musical instruments, among others, will serve to showcase the grand occasions.
The exhibition, “Ceremony and Celebration – The Grand Weddings of the Qing Emperors” runs from tomorrow to February 27 next year. (Pictured, the gold seal of an empress. It is inscribed with the mark “Huanghou zhibao” (Empress’s seal) and was made according to Qing institutions for the wedding of the last Qing emperor, Puyi, and his bride Wanrong in 1922).
Highlights include 10 pictures selected from the comprehensive illustrated record of the grand wedding of Zaitian (the Guangxu Emperor), with a total length of 12 meters; a gold seal engraved with “Huanghou zhibao” (Empress’s seal) and surmounted by a dragon knob; a bright yellow lined male dragon robe with kesi tapestry gold dragon, bat, cloud and double happiness motifs; a bright red quilted dragon robe embroidered with eight dragon-phoenix and double happiness roundels; a wooden saddle with gemstone inlays and “golden walnut wood” veneer; an iron helmet with gold filigree; and a duomu flask used in traditional Manchu weddings.
The thematic galleries will also display replicas of the Chinese emperor’s wedding room and the Empress’s Phoenix Chair, enabling the visitors to explore the splendor of the Qing royal weddings. Artefacts highlighting regional marriage practices will also be displayed, allowing visitors to get a glimpse of the commoners’ wedding practices.
The exhibition is jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Palace Museum, and jointly organised by the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Palace Museum, with sole sponsorship from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.