Talking points

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 March, 2012, 12:00am


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

United Nations team heads for Damascus

A United Nations team organised by international envoy Kofi Annan (left) leaves for Damascus, with the aim of setting up an international monitoring mission for Syria. The UN Security Council has been riven by divisions over its response to the Syria crisis, with China and Russia having blocked two resolutions criticising the year-long crackdown on opposition by President Bashar Al-Assad's regime. However, Annan said he had been encouraged by the response of the Security Council's members to his address and he expected a unified response from them.

Businesses prepare as HK counts down to Sevens

Costume shops and the bars of Lan Kwai Fong and Wan Chai are in the midst of last-minute stocking as the city counts down to its biggest sporting weekend. This year's Hong Kong Sevens, which starts on Friday, is a two-tier competition with 24 teams. New Zealand will defend its title among the 12 elite 'core' teams. The 12 smaller teams, including Hong Kong, have an added incentive; the top three will join the core teams and play in every round of the HSBC Sevens World Series next season. Rugby fans for whom three days of action isn't enough can see a host of former stars in the Tens tournament at the Hong Kong Football Club on Wednesday and Thursday.

List finalises field for French presidential poll

The French presidential campaign moves into a new phase with the release of the official list of candidates. The deadline passed on Friday for would-be candidates to hand in the 500 signatures from local mayors and other elected officials that they need to register to run. Key players were expected to reach the target but some fringe candidates, including former prime minister Dominique de Villepin, failed to. With just over a month to go before the first-round vote, right-wing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy (left) is closing the gap with Socialist front runner Francois Hollande (right).

Chief executive candidates line up for another joust

Chief executive candidates Leung Chun-ying, Henry Tang Ying-yen and Albert Ho Chun-yan attend another forum, this time at Kitec, Kowloon Bay, for all members of the Election Committee. The public can watch the candidates elaborate on their platforms live on television or radio.

Alleged Palace Museum thief to hear verdict

A Beijing intermediate court delivers its verdict on a suspect who stood trial in February for stealing seven exhibits from the Palace Museum in Beijing's former imperial palace, the Forbidden City. The stolen items - which were on loan to the museum from the Liang Yi Museum, a private Hong Kong institution - include a purse and women's make-up cases. The valuable items were taken in the first theft from one of China's top historical sites in 20 years. News reports say Shi Baikui (left), a 28-year-old man from Shandong province, gained access to the complex by knocking a hole in a wall. Shi confessed during the trial that he had stolen the artefacts from the Palace Museum but denied the crime was premeditated. Police have not revealed the value of the stolen items.