C.Y. Leung suffers some minor damage with one week to go
As the 'contest' for chief executive enters its final week, Leung Chun-ying appears to be encountering some minor headwinds.
Cable Television's rolling poll shows that Henry Tang Ying-yen at 21 per cent has narrowed the gap slightly on Leung, who is well ahead at 41 per cent. Leung appears to have suffered slight damage arising from his campaign team's dinner with the Heung Yee Kuk and an alleged triad member. But it's not been so serious that he's had to blame his wife for the apparent confusion over the guests.
Tang's standing is also thought to have improved as he is now perceived as the underdog, while the perception that Leung is now favoured by Beijing is gaining traction. This is not helping him, at least with the public. There is also the possibility of Tang gaining some ground after last night's debate. Such is his low standing that as long as he is not absolutely appalling, people will feel that he has done well. This pantomime has only one more week to run so there is still time for more fun.
Time to go, 'Occupy Central'
We seem to have touched a nerve with our piece on the 'Occupy Central' encampment under HSBC's head office. From the e-mails we've been receiving on this, a number of people seem fed up with what they consider an eyesore rather than a source of ideological anti-capitalist inspiration. Indeed, some who sympathise with the broader thinking of the 'Occupy' movement have been dismayed by this motley assembly at the bank and don't think it is doing much to advance the cause. We have been urged to mount a campaign to elicit public opinion on this. The aim, we suspect, is to show that they have little public support and that having made their point, they should move on. So if you have a view you'd like to share, let us know.
Long-range missile for Hollande
Nice to see that even 6,000 kilometres away, French Transport Minister Thierry Mariani could not resist a swipe at French presidential hopeful Francois Hollande, accusing the socialist of lacking personality. 'The president should have a bit more personality,' he said at a ports briefing at the French consulate in Hong Kong. Mariani said Hollande, who has held no ministerial position, had no foreign affairs experience when globalisation and increased trade were among the opportunities afforded to the French republic. After being quietly reminded by French consul general Arnaud Barthelemy that he should not be seen to comment on the election candidates, he offered to give his full and frank opinion of Hollande outside the consulate. When it was pointed out that public opinion didn't appear particularly enamoured with Mariani's boss, President Nicolas Sarkozy, Mariani said 'nothing is written in advance'. A bit like our own chief executive's selection then, given the recent comments by Premier Wen Jiabao and others.
Driving home the point
The Environmental Protection Department may like to take a close look at three cheery studies on pollution published recently. One study that followed 20,000 women over a decade found that breathing in levels of polluted air greatly accelerates declines in measures of memory and attention span, The New York Times reports. Another study in Boston found that on days when the concentrations of roadside pollution rose to moderate levels, according to the federal air quality index, the risk of stroke increased by 30 per cent. US air pollution indexes are much tighter than the Hong Kong government's air pollution index. Another report in The Journal of the American Medical Association by scientists at the University of Paris Descartes in France highlighted the link between short-term exposure to air pollution and cardiovascular disease. Pollutants in roadside emissions such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and others were found to raise a person's immediate risk of heart attack.
Love Boat's unromantic end
Those of you familiar with the television series Love Boat will be saddened to learn that the ship on which the various episodes of happiness and romance were played out - the Pacific Princess - is to be demolished and sold for scrap. This unromantic end to the cruise ship comes after Turkish demolition company Cemsan paid US$3.3 million for it after it sat unused in a dock in Genoa, Italy, for more than a year, USA Today reports. The show, which first aired in 1977 and ran until 1986, featured the somewhat corny romantic and comic tales of the passengers and crew of the ship. It is even credited with sparking an interest in holiday cruises among the American public.