Talking points

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 August, 2011, 12:00am


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

D-day for ConocoPhillips clean-up in Bohai Sea

Today is the official deadline for US oil giant ConocoPhillips to clean up oil spills from its Bohai Sea platforms. The State Oceanic Administration's North China Sea branch said the spills polluted 5,500 square kilometres of the sea, and that oil pollutants in seawater had jumped to 40 times the normal level. Administration director Liu Cigui said any firm guilty of damaging the Bohai Sea in the country's worst oil spill must pay. China Ocean News, a newspaper affiliated with the administration, reported that the North China Sea branch was preparing to sue ConocoPhillips China for damages over the spills.

Rugby union breaks ground for Tin Shui Wai pitch

The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union will conduct a groundbreaking ceremony for a new HK$10 million rugby pitch in Tin Shui Wai. The ground, complete with artificial turf and floodlights, is due to be completed in February next year. The public will be able to book it for soccer or rugby games at a rent similar to the union's King's Park complex, which charges HK$300 and HK$500 for 11/2 hours during days and evenings, respectively.

Australia's top court rules on Malaysia asylum deal

Australia's High Court is set to rule on whether the government can implement its asylum-seeker swap with Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur would take 800 asylum seekers from Australia in return for Canberra settling 4,000 of its registered refugees. The proposal has been widely criticised, including by rights groups concerned that Malaysia is not a signatory to the United Nations convention on refugees. If the court rules in the government's favour, transfers could begin next week.

Mooncakes caught up in ruckus over new tax rules

Changes to the mainland's personal income tax law go into effect tomorrow, but the furore over them shows no sign of cooling down. After Communist Party spokesmen falsely reported a non-existent new tax rule about bonuses, Beijing city's tax office ruled that employers' gifts of mooncakes - the traditional treat enjoyed during the Mid-Autumn Festival - would be subject to income tax.

Index likely to show US housing still struggling

The release of the Case-Shiller home price index tonight is expected to confirm anecdotal reports that the US housing market is still struggling for traction. US banks are under siege from regulators over their foreclosure practices, and high unemployment is continuing to deter buyers.

Germany tries Kosovan Islamist for killing US soldiers

A 21-year-old Kosovan goes on trial in Frankfurt charged with the murder of two American soldiers in a shooting that marked the first deadly Islamist attack on German soil. The March 2 assault occurred at Frankfurt airport, in western Germany, where Arid Uka is accused of opening fire on a group of American soldiers on their way to fight in Afghanistan (left). Two airmen were killed and two wounded. Prosecutors say the accused was influenced by Islamic extremists' appeals on the internet calling for recruits in Germany to join a jihad against US forces because of their deployment in Afghanistan.