Shanghai's future under the spotlight
More clues will emerge as to the future of the city of Shanghai today, as mayor Yang Xiong meets the media. The city's legislature approved the appointment of Yang to the top job yesterday. The new mayor has unveiled plans for the trial launch of the mainland's first free-trade zone in the hope of creating a northern version of Hong Kong.
Housing committee meets on changing needs
The group plotting a housing strategy for the city meets. The Long-Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee, chaired by Transport and Housing Secretary Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, is reviewing the city's changing housing needs and priorities and is expected to issue a report and recommendations in summer.
Laos joins the WTO club
Impoverished Laos takes a big step towards opening up its economy by formally joining the World Trade Organisation. Analysts say WTO membership has been a major factor behind China's high-speed growth since it joined in 2001, while Vietnam has also performed strongly since joining in 2007. Vientiane has been negotiating its membership for 15 years and finally struck a deal last year.
Five charged with Delhi rape and murder
Five men accused of gang-raping and murdering a 23-year-old student in New Delhi in December will be formally charged in court today. The case outraged Indians and led to mass protests and a renewed focus on sexual violence in the country. India's government has called for the men to be tried quickly, and a court earlier rejected a request to move the trial away from the city.
Islamic nations gather in Cairo for 5-day summit
One of the world's largest intergovernmental bodies, the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, holds its 12th summit in Cairo. The issues discussed during the five-day summit relate to the challenges faced by the Muslim world. Specifically, leaders hope to work out an international law strategy that will help combat religious intolerance against Muslims. Asian countries, including Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia, are among the body's 57 member states.
Super Bowl fever in New Orleans
The glitziest event in the US sports calendar arrives tomorrow when the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. And, as always, there'll be just as much attention paid to matters off the field as on it. Advertisers have spent millions of US dollars to secure prime commercial break spots and many will be premiering new campaigns. Meanwhile, the city of New Orleans will also be in the spotlight as it hosts the big game for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.