Talking points

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 April, 2012, 12:00am


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

Lady Gaga's ball gets her world tour rolling

Lady Gaga (left, arriving in Seoul yesterday) starts her year-long 'Born This Way Ball' world tour tonight in the city's 70,000-seat Olympic Stadium. The Korea Media Rating Board has banned under-18s from attending following objections from religious groups offended by the singer's support for homosexuals and her explicitly sexual performances. The American pop diva appears at Hong Kong's AsiaWorld-Arena at the weekend - May 2, 3, 5 and 7 - before heading to Tokyo, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and then the wider world.

Beijing to brief media on US-China dialogue

Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Cui Tiankai and Vice-Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao will brief the media tomorrow on the fourth round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues, to be held in Beijing next week. The US is expected to be represented by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Tianjin, Chongqing join individual travel club

From tomorrow, residents of the Tianjin and Chongqing municipalities will be able to apply for visas to travel to Taiwan on their own, without having to join tour groups, in an extension of the policy that until now has applied only to residents of Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen .

UN to confirm Norwegian as head of Syria mission

The UN will confirm former Norwegian Army chief of staff Major-General Robert Mood (left, with UN special envoy Kofi Annan) as head of the Syrian ceasefire observer mission, diplomats said. Member-states have so far offered only 100 officers, given the risky mission of checking a ceasefire that has barely held. Some 300 observers have been proposed, with about 90 civilian support staff and experts. But Syria has blocked a proposed monitor and threatened to refuse any from a Western-Arab coalition that has backed opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Mood is expected to be in Damascus as early as this weekend.

SmarTone delivers report on service breakdown

SmarTone is due to submit a full report to the telecoms watchdog on the 21/2-hour collapse of its service on April 9, during which a quarter of its mobile network coverage failed. In a preliminary report SmarTone, a subsidiary of Sun Hung Kai Properties, blamed the failure of a power generator in Sha Tin, but the company has been required to submit a full report to enable the watchdog to decide whether it breached any licensing conditions.

Barclays shareholders vote on chief executive's pay

Barclays Bank shareholders will vote at the institution's AGM in London on the GBP12 million (HK$150.2 million) compensation package of the chief executive, Bob Diamond (left). In response to investors' criticism of his remuneration, Diamond had offered to forgo 11 per cent of his total compensation for 2011 if the bank did not hit its profitability targets. Barclays yesterday reported that pre-tax profit, excluding losses on the valuation of its debt, rose 22 per cent to GBP2.45 billion in the first quarter, from GBP2 billion in the same period the previous year.