Lai See

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2012, 12:00am


Green group complains about Yau's Europe trip

Edward Yau Tang-wah, the former secretary for the environment who now heads the chief executive's office, acquired some notoriety for doing little to improve the environment, but in the 60 months he was in the job managed to squeeze in some 59 overseas trips.

One trip has attracted critical attention from Clear the Air chairman Jim Middleton, who has filed a complaint with the Director of Audit. In April, Yau led a motley group of 20 on a trip to Sweden, Denmark, then on to Britain to visit London, Cambridge and Scotland.

The trip, according to the government, aimed 'to exchange experience on the development and promotion of green technologies, identify opportunities for co-operation on various green initiatives, and promote the market for green technological and innovative solutions in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region.'

Eight of the participants were from environmental firms, there were six academics, three from the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, and two from the Hong Kong Productivity Council. Of the academics, one was a professor of internal medicine, and another of chemistry. The Productivity Council sent two IT specialists.

Most on the trip were from government-funded groups which forked out a minimum of HK$44,000 per head for the trip. Middleton is not convinced of the efficacy of the trip or of the participants. He was particularly critical of the visit to Denmark, noting it was behind Hong Kong in terms of recycling, and recently realised it was exceeding its carbon dioxide goals under the Kyoto Protocol. The main reason for this was its widespread incineration of municipal waste. 'What has Hong Kong gained from this trip?' he asks.

Password psychology

For those of you who worry about password security, the leaking last week of some 400,000 Yahoo mail passwords provides an interesting insight into password psychology. Swedish security expert Anders Nilsson analysed them and concluded that the top 10 passwords employed were less imaginative than you might think: '123456, password, welcome, ninja, abc123, 123456789, 12345678, sunshine, princess, qwerty.' The top 10 base words (words that tend to form the core of the password) also included 'monkey, jesus, love, money, freedom, writer'.

Writing on the Slate website, Farhad Manjoo observes that if you are not scrambling to change your passwords, you should be, since there have been some massive leaks. In addition to last week's at Yahoo, there have been security breaches at LinkedIn, which leaked 6.5 million passwords, and another at Harmony, which compromised a further 1.5 million. His suggestion is to adopt a memorable personal expression which includes upper and lowercase words and numbers, and to use the first letter of each to form the password.

Take the phrase: 'The South China Morning Post's circulation is 1 million.' This gives us the password TSCMPci1m. A variant is to add the name of the application at the end, such as Gmail or Facebook. According to the experts, at six characters passwords start to gain strength, and they become very strong at 15 characters.

Goldman Sachs goes West

Does this signal the coming of age for Perth? Goldman Sachs is opening an office in the West Australian state capital, the Wall Street Journal reports. An internal memo seen by the newspaper says: 'Perth is a critical business and financial centre in Australia and is a key centre for the natural resources sector and contributes to a significant amount of M&A and financing activity.' The office is expected to be operational by the end of this month and in addition to an investment banking team will also include equity sales, research and private wealth management. As they say in Yorkshire, 'Where there's muck there's money.'

Mama Mia

So fake dairy products aren't exclusively a mainland problem. Italian police yesterday arrested the head of the biggest buffalo mozzarella maker in the country and seized assets worth Euro100 million (HK$952.48 million) on suspicion of links to organised crime, Agence France-Presse reported. The police said Giuseppe Mandara - who once called himself the 'Armani of Mozzarella' in an interview - and his Mandara Group were controlled by the notorious Casalesi clan of the Camorra mafia based around the city of Naples.

The company was found to have mixed cow's milk with more expensive buffalo milk and labelled batches of ordinary provolone cheese as a more prestigious kind. Sounds familiar.