Talking points

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 December, 2011, 12:00am


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

Second appeal over maritime disaster

Yuriy Kulemesin (pictured) and Tang Dock-wah, the captain and marine pilot involved in one of Hong Kong's deadliest maritime disasters, appeal against their sentences in the Court of Appeal. Both men had their appeals against conviction on charges related to endangering life at sea dismissed last Wednesday. In January 2010, Kulemesin, captain of the oil rig supply ship Neftegaz-67, was jailed for three years and two months and Tang, pilot of the cargo ship Yao Hai, for three years. Eighteen seamen on the Neftegaz-67 died when it sank after colliding with the Yao Hai in 2008, the deadliest Hong Kong maritime disaster since 1971, when 88 people died after a Macau ferry sank during Typhoon Rose.

Beijing hospital bookings go online

Patients will be able to make appointments online to see doctors at 66 large hospitals in Beijing from tomorrow. Patients have long complained about the time it takes to book a slot to see doctors in major hospitals, especially famous doctors in large institutions. Expensive medical bills and difficulty accessing good medical services are two major problems that the government has been trying to tackle in its healthcare reforms over the past few years.

Jews turn on the lights for Hanukkah

Jews around the world are marking the eight-day Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah (pictured). This year Hanukkah kicked off early in Washington, when US President Barack Obama hosted a Hanukkah party at the White House on December 8. Obama's jestful explanation - that he wanted to extend the holiday season - irked some observers, including comedian Jackie Mason, who pointed out that Hanukkah 'is not the Jewish Christmas'. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 BC.

Hainan duty-free spreads its wings

Haikou airport will open Hainan's second duty-free shop for Chinese nationals, part of a programme to boost tourism to the tropical island. Each person will be allowed to buy goods worth up to 5,000 yuan (HK$6,093). Tourists from outside Hainan can enjoy the duty-free privilege twice a year, Hainan residents only once a year.

A weightless Christmas for Soyuz crew

A Soyuz spacecraft with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers and Nasa's Don Pettit will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The craft will dock with the International Space Station, where on Friday the men will join a three-member US-Russian crew almost 400 kilometres above the earth's surface.

Verdict in Ethiopia for Swedish journalists

Two Swedish journalists accused of entering Ethiopia illegally and supporting a terrorist group, face up to 15 years in jail when the Federal High Court in Addis Ababa issues its verdict. Martin Schibbye and Johan Persson, who have admitted entering the country illegally, but deny supporting terrorists, were captured in July with members of the banned Ogaden National Liberation Front after Ethiopian security forces became engaged in a firefight with ethnic-Somali rebels.