Talking points

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 April, 2012, 12:00am
 

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

HK Phil's Edo period draws to a close

The Hong Kong Philharmonic will host an open rehearsal for the media, as part of events marking the end of what it calls its artistic director and chief conductor Edo de Waart's (pictured) 'eight glorious seasons with the orchestra'. Today's occasion will include performances by the orchestra, 11 'stellar artists' and the Shanghai Opera House Chorus 'in three brilliant programmes meticulously designed by the maestro', according to the Phil's statement.

Higher surcharge for mainland air travellers

The cost of travelling by air on the mainland increases, as all China's domestic airlines raise their fuel surcharge. According to the new standards, every adult passenger will have to pay an additional 10 yuan for each flight. If the route is shorter than 800 kilometres the surcharge will be increased to 80 yuan (HK$98.40) from 70 yuan. On routes longer than 800 kilometres the surcharge goes up to a record 150 yuan, from 140 yuan. The surcharge will be halved for child passengers.

Energy company to rescue North Sea oil rig

A team of experts from energy giant Total is poised to fly by helicopter to a stricken North Sea gas platform to assess how to stop a potentially explosive leak. The French company evacuated the Elgin rig off the Scottish coast on March 25 because of the leak, which the company says is costing it US$2.5 million a day and has become its worst problem in the North Sea in a decade. Total has said that it will call on Texas-based Wild Well Control, which helped to stop the massive oil spill from BP's Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Lantau cable car to resume operations

The cable car between Tung Chung and the Tian Tan giant Buddha statue on Lantau resumes operations, more than two months since it was suspended after a system failure that left 800 passengers stranded in mid-air. The MTR Corporation service has been plagued by a series of technical problems since it opened in 2006. The January 25 incident - the fourth technical fault in two months - obliged it to close for the rest of the Lunar New Year holidays, which may have cost the MTR as much as HK$35 million in lost revenue.

HSBC China Services to report on PMI

The HSBC China Services purchasing managers' index for March is likely to be one of the most closely watched numbers. Earlier this week, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said a revised services PMI rose to 58 in March from February's 57.3 and January's 55.7. PMI surveys are a valuable guide to companies' short-term purchasing decisions and can help assess underlying economic growth and demand.

Russian arms dealer faces 25 years' jail

Viktor Bout (pictured), the former Soviet air force officer convicted last week in New York of illegal arms dealing, is due to be sentenced. A Russian citizen, Bout faces a mandatory 25-year jail term after a jury found him guilty on charges he agreed to sell arms to undercover agents pretending to be Colombian militants intent on attacking US soldiers. Thai police arrested Bout in Bangkok in 2008. He was extradited to the US in November 2010.

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