Why are London barristers calling Hong Kong Treasure Island?
We hear that the prosecutions division has agreed to record-breaking fees for British barrister David Perry QC, Joseph Tse SC and a team of junior barristers to prosecute next year's corruption trial of Rafael Hui Si-yan, Raymond Kwok Ping-luen and Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, and two others, which could last for up to a year.
The precise fees to be paid at the end of the day will be related to how long the trial actually runs, which could be anywhere between three and nine months.
Given that Perry leads a large legal team on a huge case predicted to run for ages, the lawyers fees overall will likely break all records for a prosecution, with the lion's share inevitably going to Perry. These fees are on top of those already agreed with Perry to prosecute fung shui master Peter (Tony) Chan Chun-chuen, and additional to those he has already received for prosecuting the Nancy Kissel murder trial. While Perry, a favourite of retiring Director of Public Prosecutions Kevin Zervos, will be rubbing his hands, the word from London is that the wigs in the Temple have taken to referring to Hong Kong as "Treasure Island".
A forum on incineration
Incineration is a sensitive topic these days. The government has for the moment put on hold plans to build one on the island of Shek Kwu Chau near Lantau. There has been growing opposition around the world to traditional mass burn incinerators, which many see as a threat to the environment and public health. There are those who maintain that modern incinerators are safe. Others hold that plasma gasification is a cleaner technology and safer from a public health perspective. All this and more can be discussed at a Public Forum on Thermal Technology for Waste Management in Metropolises, which is being held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre on May 7.
It's being organised by Professor Jonathan Wong the director of the unfortunately named Sino-Forest Applied Research Centre for Pearl River Delta Environment, at Baptist University. Sino-Forest, it will be recalled, is being investigated for fraud and filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada last year.
There will be a panel of five speakers: Professor Nickolas Themelis, chair, Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council, US; Professor Umberto Arena, chair, Specialist Group on Waste to Energy, IWWG, Second University of Naples; Peter Simoes, technical director, Afval Energie Bedrijf, the Netherlands; Dr Lee Potts, technical manager (energy) AECOM; and Elvis Au, assistant director of Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department.
Religion is good for you
"No to Religion." "Religion is slavery." These are some of the slogans seen on the streets of Europe. Yet thousands packed into St Peter's Square to see the new pope, and in the United States, the television series, The Bible, has attracted huge ratings. Some two-thirds of people in Hong Kong profess to have no faith. All manner of unpleasant things have been done in the name of religion in the past, including waging war.
Intelligence Squared, the organisation that seeks to raise the level of public discussion on such matters, has organised a debate entitled "Religion is good for you" at the Exhibition Centre tonight at 6.30pm. Speakers include journalist, historian and author of And Man Created God, Selina O'Grady; Professor Azyumardi Azra, director of the graduate school at the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, Jakarta; Filipino cultural activist and performance artist Carlos Celdran; and Indian commentator and managing partner of Counselage India, Suhel Seth.
Finance jobs decline 24 per cent
Job opportunities in Hong Kong's financial sector continued to decline in the first quarter of the year, according to the eFinancialCareers quarterly job barometer. Finance positions were down 24 per cent compared with the comparable period last year. Singapore and Australia recorded declines of 13 per cent and 34 per cent respectively. The best performing sectors in the region were compliance, risk management and retail banking, which showed increases of 54 per cent, 29 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. The worst performing sectors were derivatives (minus 58 per cent) and trading (minus 53 per cent).