Talking points

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 December, 2011, 12:00am


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

Octopus branches out for charity

Tentacles of the Octopus card may be reaching into your wallets for charity tomorrow. For the first time, members of the public will be able to use the cards when buying flags, from 7am to 12.30pm, from volunteers selling them on behalf of the Baptist Oi Kwan Social Service Group. The charity, a Christian organisation serving the underprivileged, will deploy 5,000 volunteers; 100 of whom will carry the Octopus card readers at MTR stations. Cash will also be accepted.

On your bike for a waterfront route

Eight hundred cyclists are expected to gather in Kennedy Town at 1.30pm for a ride to Heng Fa Cheun in support of their demands for a cycleway along Hong Kong Island's northern waterfront. It will be the fifth mass cycle in support of the cycleway in the past three years. The aim is to highlight the value of a cycleway and to prove that it's easy for individuals to move along all points alongside the harbour. At the end of the cycle a petition will be given to a government representative, urging it to take action on the proposal. It's a been a bad week for cyclists - Star Ferry announced plans to slap a HK$20 fee on bicycles on the only cross-harbour route that allows cycles on board.

'Comfort women' row clouds Lee's visit to Japan

South Korea's president, Lee Myung-bak, begins a two-day visit to Japan amid a row between the two countries over compensation for women forced to work as sex slaves in the second world war. This week protesters placed a bronze statue opposite the Japanese embassy in Seoul to mark the thousandth weekly protest by the former 'comfort women' in front of the mission. Japanese Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura called this 'extremely regrettable' and said his government would ask for it to be removed. South Korean officials said Japan cited international treaties that required host governments to help protect the dignity of diplomatic missions. On Thursday, South Korea made it clear that it had no intention of forcing the protesters to remove the statue.

Sony pins its hopes on PlayStation Vita

Sony's long-awaited PlayStation Vita portable game machine goes on sale in Japan. It's the biggest product launch since the PlayStation 3 console five years ago, and Sony is hoping for a successful debut after a less-than-stellar year. Sony is projecting a loss of more than US$1 billion for the current financial year.

Talks on Syrian crisis move to Doha

A meeting of the Arab task force in charge of the Syrian crisis will take place in Doha, instead of Cairo. The Arab League said negotiations would continue to try to get Damascus to sign the Arab plan to protect Syrian civilians. The plan includes sending observers into the country to try to end the deadly crackdown on dissent by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Sanctions by the West, Turkey and the league have added to the pressure on Assad.

Foreign affairs experts look back on 2011

The Foreign Affairs College - which trains mainland diplomats and experts in international relations - and the People's Daily website host a forum in Beijing tomorrow on China's international relations in the past year. Foreign policies have been challenged in a range of arenas, including the consequences of global financial crises, territorial claims in the South China Sea, and the shift by the US in its foreign policy emphasis towards Asia.