Our editors will be looking ahead today to these developing stories ...
Housing Authority holds special public meeting
The Housing Authority holds an annual 'special open meeting' at its headquarters in Ho Man Tin. Among those expected to attend are members of the Civil Force lobby group, which wants the government to review its policy for domestic rents in public housing, and plans to hand a petition to housing minister Eva Cheng (pictured). The authority last month gave public housing tenants a one-month rent waiver to ease the pain of a 10 per cent rent rise, but said tenants should not take such relief measures for granted in future.
Australian jobless total tipped to rise
Unemployment figures from Australia are expected to show that booming demand from China for iron ore and coal is not enough to shield the country from the global slowdown. Unemployment is expected to rise to 5.1 per cent from 4.9 per cent, pointing to a growing gulf between the resources sector and the rest of the Australian economy. Critics say that the country's reliance on resources has created a 'two-speed economy'.
More easing expected as Bernanke speaks
US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke (pictured) will testify on the economic outlook to the congressional Joint Economic Committee in Washington, and markets are hoping that he will provide some relief from the current gloom by launching a third round of quantitative easing, or QE3. Some economists have pointed out that QE1 and QE2 have failed to revive the markets, with US employers still preferring to retain cash and shed jobs.
Judicial review sought on incinerator
Opponents of the Environmental Protection Department's plan to build a waste incinerator on an outlying island will argue for a judicial review of the project, even though the plan is on hold. The government had sought funding for the HK$23 billion incinerator off Shek Kwu Chau, near Cheung Chau, but said last month the request would not proceed during the term of the present government, which ends on June 30. Today's hearing will take place after Kwok Cheuk-kin and Leung Hon-wai, both Cheung Chau residents, and Ho Loy, who lives on Lantau, were granted legal aid.
Canadian and Asean ministers hold talks
Canadian and Southeast Asian ministers take part in a three-day Asean-Canada Dialogue in Bangkok, after Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay's meeting this week with his Thai counterpart, Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol Suwanatat. 'Canada has a long and rich history of engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations,' MacKay was reported as saying. 'Given the importance of the Asia-Pacific region, it is essential that we continue to engage with our Asia-Pacific allies.'
Mainland exam puts millions to the test
More than nine million students begin taking the annual national university entrance examinations, or gaokao. Mainland media report that anxious parents in Beijing have paid as much as 4,000 yuan (HK$4,900) for so-called 'exam nannies' to give last-minute tutorials ahead of the two-day ordeal. Meanwhile, police have detained more than 1,500 people suspected of selling devices for cheating, including pens, watches, glasses and leather belts modified to receive signals.