US Democrats in HK give Obama the nod
US Senator Barack Obama beat Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and won the Democrats Abroad primary in Hong Kong by a wide margin. According to final results, Senator Obama secured 75.3 per cent support, compared with 23.9 per cent for Senator Clinton. A total of 365 valid votes were cast between February 5 and 12. The outcome was generally in line with the global results, which showed 65.6 per cent support for Senator Obama and 32.2 per cent for Senator Clinton. There are an estimated 60,000 Americans in Hong Kong.
Board rejects bid to block high-rises in West Kowloon
The Town Planning Board rejected an application to change the use of a land lot in West Kowloon from residential to government, community or open space. The application, submitted by local residents Au Yeung Chi-shing and Lai Siu-nin, claimed the change was needed to prevent the wall-effect on airflow and to provide adequate open space to residents. But the board said the developer had agreed to provide a 10-metre gap to a nearby residential development, while the building height was capped at 140 metres.
More sea access to cultural district needed: report
More landing steps and piers should be built along the water's edge at the site of the West Kowloon Cultural District, a research report commissioned by the Harbour Business Forum has suggested. The report found that a combined 60 per cent of the harbourfront area in nine districts were inaccessible to the public because they were cut off by roads, buildings or car parks. In particular, the group proposed the use of water taxis to serve some of these areas, including the cultural district, which has a temporary harbour promenade that is rarely visited by the public because of a low level of awareness, poor accessibility and provision of other facilities.
HK$135m approved for hosting Games gathering
The Legislative Council approved HK$135 million in funding if the city wins its bid to host the 123rd International Olympic Committee Session in 2011. Legislators urged the government to be cautious with spending for the event to avoid budgetary blowouts. Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Carrie Yau Tsang Ka-lai assured them the government would keep the budget within the approved figures, adding the proposed spending would be nearly the same as other places that were vying to host the event.
UN urged to assess effectiveness of race bill
The Bar Association will urge the United Nations to assess the Race Discrimination Bill as soon as possible to ensure it conforms to international convention. The bill, introduced in December, has been attacked for exempting many government acts. In a submission, the Bar has criticised the bill for 'an extensive array of exclusions and exceptions'. Bar chairman Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung and Lo Pui-yin, of its committee on constitutional affairs and human rights, will present the submission to the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 3.