Fire Services Department blazes awards trail Forty-one government departments have been recognised for their efforts in community services and uplifting public service standards in the Civil Service Outstanding Service Award Scheme. Organised by the Civil Service Bureau, the scheme was divided into two categories - departmental and team. About 130 entries were received this year. Fifty-five awards were presented to 41 departments after two rounds of adjudication. The Fire Services Department was the biggest winner - coming first in the Service Enhancement Award and the Best Public Image Award. The department also won awards in Partnership, Application of Technology, General Public Service, Internal Service and Specialised Service. Hongkong Post and the Housing Department finished second and third respectively in the Service Enhancement Award, while the police and Hongkong Post came second and third in the Best Public Image Award. At the prize presentation ceremony, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen encouraged the civil services to address public needs through active listening and consultation, and to work in a professional, dedicated and responsible manner. Federal ban on job discrimination in US closer Gay rights advocates in the United States expect Congress to soon move closer to approving a federal ban on job discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender workers. The Associated Press reports that a leading proponent, Democratic Representative Barney Frank, said the ban would win House approval in coming weeks. At the moment it is legal for employers in 31 states to fire someone for being gay, while the other 19 states and Washington DC have laws against sexual orientation discrimination. The possible Employment Non-Discrimination Act would make it illegal for employers to make decisions about hiring, firing, promoting or paying an employee based on sexual orientation or gender identity. However, churches and the military would be exempt.