Talking points

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 August, 2011, 12:00am


Our editors will be looking ahead today to these developing stories ...

Kuala Lumpur hosts Philippine peace talks

The Philippine government and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are scheduled to hold the next round of peace talks in Kuala Lumpur as they attempt to end four decades of armed conflict. A secret meeting in a Tokyo hotel on August 4 (left) between President Benigno Aquino and MILF leader Murad Ebrahim produced an agreement to accelerate the peace process. The government is expected to present its response to the MILF's demand for a sub-state and press the rebels to go after a rogue member who formed a splinter guerilla unit that could jeopardise the peace talks. Ameril Umbrakato, who was a senior commander of the MILF, has taken about 300 of his men to continue the 33-year Islamist insurgency, which has claimed some 150,000 lives.

Registration forms for HK$6,000 handout available

Registration forms for the HK$6,000 handout from this year's budget become available at more than 1,100 branches of Hong Kong's 21 retail banks and its 126 post offices. The forms can also be downloaded from the banks' websites, or collected from district offices, district social welfare offices, public housing estate offices and the Housing Authority's customer service centre. Starting from next Sunday, residents aged 18 or above with a permanent identity card can register for the handout through banks or post offices in batches according to their year of birth.

Air China reports interim earnings

Air China reports its interim earnings. The mainland carrier emerged last year as the most profitable airline in the world, narrowly beating strategic partner Cathay Pacific Airways, after it reported a net profit of 12 billion yuan (HK$14.23 billion).

Report on foreign trade and Canton Fair

The Vice-Minister of Commerce, Zhong Shan, will hold a press conference in Beijing tomorrow on China's foreign trade and arrangements for next month's China Import and Export Fair, or Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, which is the nation's oldest trade fair, having begun in 1957.

UN Human Rights Council meets on Syrian abuses

The UN Human Rights Council meets to see if members can agree on action over widespread human rights abuses, including torture and killings, by the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad (right). UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (left) said her body had listed 50 Syrians in senior positions responsible for violent repression. She said she had asked the UN Security Council to refer allegations to the International Criminal Court but she was 'not optimistic', as many member states would prefer to put Damascus under diplomatic pressure.