Copyright bill stays stuck as lines drawn


Amy Nip

Thursday, January 07, 2016

The controversial Copyright Amendment Bill is still marking time in the Legislative Council in the face of procedural roadblocks.

Legislators resumed a second reading debate after the festive break, but it was snagged by 25 quorum counts, which accounted for four hours and 48 minutes of business time.

The meeting was adjourned at 8pm, and more of the same is expected when it resumes at 9am today.

A motion to adjourn the debate by the Labour Party’s Cyd Ho Sau-lan may also be voted on.

The debate restarted yesterday with Ma Fung- kwok of the sports, performing arts, culture and publications sector calling for the bill to be approved.



Ma said further delays risked harm to the movie, television, comics and music sectors from copyright infringement, so he did not want fellow legislators turning once again to filibusters.

As for three amendments proposed by pan-democrats, Ma said those in the sectors have reservations about them and they should not be adopted without prior consultation.

In fact, he said, professionals would prefer to see the bill dropped rather than accept the three amendments, which concern more protection for netizens under a US fair-use model and a Canadian model that exempts works by fans from copyright rules.

But then legislators went back to debating the motion to adjourn advanced by Ho before the break.

Democrat Helena Wong Pik-wan, supporting the motion, said many people still did not know how the amendment bill would impact on internet use if it was passed.

Although the administration engaged with some netizen groups during the consultation period, Wong added, there was limited public airing about the bill.

New People’s Party legislator Michael Tien Puk- sun opposed the adjournment motion and labeled it filibustering in disguise. Tien said he would support any administration move to retract the bill, but passing the motion to adjourn would give the wrong impression that this is not the right time to pass it.

Democrat Sin Chung-kai then just managed to stop an attempt by Starry Lee Wai-king of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong to cut short the debate by demanding lawmakers vote on the Ho motion.

At that time there were no pan-democrats in the chamber, but Sin rushed in and asked to speak.

It all restarts today with no firm pointers about when legislators might be able to vote on the amendment bill itself.

Genocidal Terrorist Sudan Detains Christians; Churches Demolished


KHARTOUM, SUDAN (BosNewsLife)– Sudanese authorities have detained several pastors and other Christians following church demolitions and burnings as part of attempts to impose strict Islamic rule in the African nation, several sources told BosNewsLife.

Among those detained by security officials this month are two pastors of the Sudan Church of Christ (SCOC), Christians confirmed. The pastors, who were taken from their homes in North Khartoum early December 18, have been identified as Kowa Shamaal, the SCOC head of missions, and Hassan Abdelrahim, a SCOC vice moderator.

Their arrest came just days after Christian activist Talahon (Tilal) Nigosi Kassa Ratta, a member of an Evangelical church, was detained, Christians said.

Security officials allegedly ransacked his home, confiscating a laptop and mobile phone. He was reportedly instructed to collect his phone the following day, but upon his arrival, the activist was detained. Authorities have not yet brought any formal charges against the Christian.

These were no isolated incidents: Two weeks earlier officials detained Elshikh Kadoud, a Muslim man who read the Bible on his own and converted to Christianity, Christians said. The man was apparently charged with “apostasy” after his own father reported the case against him to Sudanese authorities.

Pastor McConnell not guilty of calling Islam the beast of revelation 13


Evangelical Christian preacher Pastor James McConnell has been found not guilty of making “grossly offensive” remarks about Islam.

The 78-year-old, from Shore Road in Newtownabbey, County Antrim, denied two charges relating to a sermon he gave in a Belfast church in 2014.

A judge said while he considered the remarks offensive, he did not consider them “grossly” offensive under the law.

Supporters of the pastor applauded when the verdict was given.

Speaking outside Belfast Magistrates’ court, Mr McConnell said his only regret was the response from the Muslim community that he was “out to hurt them”.


He said: “There was no way I was out to hurt them. I wouldn’t hurt a hair on their head.

“But what I am against is their theology and what they believe in.”

He said he would do it again, but would be conscious that he was “hurting innocent Muslims”.

Mr McConnell had denied two charges – improper use of a public electronic communications network and causing a grossly offensive message to be sent by means of a public electronic communications network.

He made the remarks at the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in north Belfast in May 2014. His sermon was also streamed online.

During the trial, Mr McConnell said that he still believed in what he had preached, and did not go into church to “provoke anyone”.

A prosecution lawyer had said his words were not “a slip of the tongue”, while a defence lawyer said he should not be convicted.

Judge Liam McNally told the court he did think the pastor’s passion in preaching meant it “had caused him to lose the run of himself” and advised him to consider the impact of his words in future.