Commerce chief refuses to meddle in World Cup row The government will not meddle in commercial negotiations among TV stations for the broadcasting arrangements of the World Cup in June, said Rita Lau Ng Wai-lan, secretary for commerce and economic development. Lawmaker Cheung Man-kwong suggested yesterday that RTHK should consider entering the talks with i-Cable, the rights holder, to ensure the public could watch the matches. But Lau said RTHK would not be able to broadcast additional programmes on free stations. Early bookings for cruise ships Operators of cruise ships will be allowed to start taking bookings at least 18 months before the first berth at the Kai Tak site is ready in the middle of 2013. This means customers can book cruises docking at the new cruise facility from late next year or early 2012. The Tourism Commission is currently planning and drafting tender documents for the operation of the cruise terminal. Christmas tree plan muted The government is exploring ways to reuse the Christmas tree that is usually erected for public display in Central as part of winter festivities organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. A lack of corporate sponsors meant there was no tree last year. Lawmaker Vincent Fang Kang said the tree only costs about HK$10 million. The government said it is hoping to improve this year's event and will decide later whether to locate the tree to a new location in Central or Kowloon.