Our editors will be looking ahead today to these developing stories ...
No name, no ticket for Lunar New Year travel
Beijing railway authorities will start implementing a system that requires all passengers to register their real names and produce their identity documents when buying tickets from today. The move is aimed at curbing scalping ahead of the travel rush expected over the Lunar New Year holiday, which runs from January 22 to 25, at the start of the Year of the Dragon.
No live chicken for winter's longest night
Traditionally, today is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, with the sun rising at 6.58am and setting at 5.45pm in Hong Kong, according to the Observatory. This will make the day 10 hours and 47 minutes long, for the next few days. The solstice is marked in Hong Kong with celebrations but this year the dinner-table offering of a roast chicken bought live at a wet market is unavailable. Live-poultry supplies have been halted for three weeks after inspectors found that a dead chicken in Cheung Sha Wan was infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu.
Hospital Authority board to meet on blunders
Hospital Authority chiefs including chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk will hold a regular board meeting at which they are expected to discuss a series of blunders this year, particularly at Tuen Mun Hospital. These include an elderly man who died after being given the wrong medication based on a faulty reading of his brain scan, taking the number of blunder casualties at the hospital to seven. The authority has undertaken to set up a special committee for evaluating clinical management and notification mechanisms for such incidents in public hospitals.
Japanese PM to start delayed visit to Beijing
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda (left) will visit Beijing at the weekend amid growing tensions between the Asian neighbours over territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Noda will arrive in Beijing on Sunday for a two-day visit for talks with Premier Wen Jiabao. The visit was reportedly scheduled for December 12-13, but was delayed at Beijing's request. Japanese national broadcaster NHK speculated that China wanted to change the schedule because the original dates fell on the anniversary of the 1937 Nanjing massacre.
Medvedev to deliver his swan song
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev makes his last state-of-the-nation address. Medvedev occasionally raised hopes he would soften the tight control that predecessor Vladimir Putin crafted, but his reformist words were accompanied by little action and he is largely seen as a pliant place-holder for the man who has dominated Russia for more than a decade. His speech to the newly elected parliament will be closely watched for the government's response to the street protests that have drawn tens of thousands since the fraud-tainted December 4 vote.
Hard-pressed Spaniards dream of 'The Fat One'
This queue in Madrid (left) contains just a tiny portion of the millions of people in one of Europe's poorest countries buying tickets for the world's richest lottery, which will pay out a record Euro3.6 billion (HK$36.6 billion). Undeterred by 21.5 per cent unemployment and the prospect of recession, four out of every five Spaniards are expected to buy tickets for El Gordo, or 'The Fat One'.