Talking Points

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

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2012, 2:08am


Iraq marks anniversary of US withdrawal

Iraq marks 12 months since the withdrawal of US forces - a year that has seen political turmoil and rising tension between the nation's Arab and Kurdish groups. While Iraqi security forces have held their own in their first full year without US troops to back them, they still face shortcomings. Attacks by insurgents remain common and the political reconciliation American officials had hoped for remains elusive.


Unemployment figures out

The government releases Hong Kong's latest unemployment figures. The unemployment rate has remained relatively steady in recent months, increasing to 3.4 per cent at the end of October from 3.3 per cent in September. The figures will feed in to the debate over an increase in the city's minimum wage and the possibility of legislating for standard working hours.


Big names appear in District Court

Two big names are due in the District Court as their respective cases go through the judicial process. Former development minister Mak Chai-kwong, along with his co-accused, former assistant highways director Tsang King-man, face court on a fraud charge, while former TVB general manager Stephen Chan Chi-wan and his ex-assistant Edthancy Tseng Pei-kun are due for a mention in their bribery cases. Chan and Tseng were earlier cleared of the charge, but the Court of Appeal ruled that they should be tried again.


Figures reveal state of mainland housing sector

The National Bureau of Statistics releases property price figures for 70 mainland cities. The sustained demand for homes saw prices rise in 35 of the 70 cities in last month's report, versus declines in 17 cities. Beijing has made various attempts to cool the soaring property market on the mainland.


Academy details stability issues facing leaders

The sociology department of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences announces details of its "blue paper" setting out China's social conditions for the next year. Beijing is facing an uphill battle to maintain social stability due to rising social tensions fed by a range of problems, including environmental disputes, labour disputes, forced demolitions and land acquisitions.


Celebrity letters go under the hammer

Hundreds of letters by celebrities as diverse as Thomas Jefferson and Marilyn Monroe go on sale at auction in New York. Auctioneer Profiles in History believes the 300 lots, which also include letters by George Washington, Charles Dickens, Sigmund Freud and John Lennon, will bring in some US$5 million. They are part of a collection of more than 3,000 letters that will be broken up over two years.