Rush to clear the air after travel warning Keeping Hong Kong's air clean is a difficult job, but a recent travel warning issued by the Australian government to its citizens over Hong Kong's air quality left officials from both places scrambling to clean up what could have become a diplomatic mess. It is understood that Hong Kong officials were anxious to inquire whether the Aussies had noticed any sudden change in the city's pollution levels in recent months, prompting the warning, while the Australians were keen not to be seen to be using the environment as an excuse to meddle in Hong Kong affairs. The beneficiaries were local political parties and green activists, who were more than happy to use the extra ammunition against the government's environmental protection policy. John Tsang leaving nothing to chance this year Is it because he has learned a lesson? Or is it because he's trying to avoid embarrassment when the much-criticised budget is put to a vote later this month? The first day of the two-day budget debate yesterday saw Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah sit through almost the whole session. Mr Tsang was heavily criticised for being disrespectful to lawmakers when he was nowhere to be seen during most of last year's debates. Thanks to the generous giveaways, that blueprint was passed by a comfortable margin. Although a veto of this year's budget looks unlikely, pundits say Mr Tsang might only manage to secure its passage by a small margin. The voting will tell whether Mr Tsang's show of sincerity is too little, too late. Bid to put lid on 'missing lunchbox' crisis The Legco Secretariat has acted promptly to help avoid a recurrence of the 'missing lunchbox' incident a fortnight ago by preparing several 'please don't take away' signs for reporters if they choose to leave their belongings unattended in the press room. Legco secretary general Pauline Ng Man-wah offered a helping hand last month when a photographer complained that his lunchbox, worth HK$26, had gone missing from a conference room after he covered an assignment inside the building. Political Animal hopes the new signs will not go missing. Leftist group sets sights on comeback at 60 The Hong Kong Chinese Reform Association, a prominent leftist group, is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a political comeback. Rumour has it the group has stepped up its work in Wan Chai with a possible goal of contesting the next district council election in 2011. Without confirming its plan, honorary president Tso Wung-wai said: 'It's everyone's hope. Certainly it's always good to have power.' He said he would not be surprised if younger members wanted to enter district politics. At 68, he said he was too old to do so. Legislator welcomed back after unwanted trip After receiving treatment for injuries caused by a trip on a Legco building staircase in February, labour sector lawmaker Li Fung-ying was given a warm welcome when she returned yesterday. Legco president Tsang Yok-sing even gave her permission to deliver her speech from her seat.