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Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor deflected criticism of a population policy consultation paper, saying the government would do its best to assess the manpower needs of the local economy.

The government has given mixed messages over whether a leaked document - stating there was no justification for denying any of the three applicants free-to-air television licences - was a genuine paper discussed in the Executive Council.

A University of Hong Kong poll conducted earlier this month put his latest rating at 48.1 points, 1.3 points lower than the rating the same source gave him in September.

The head of the Equal Opportunities Commission has condemned lawmakers for a newspaper advertisement he says might promote discrimination against mainland migrants, amid growing cross-border tension.

Hongkongers could turn their voices into votes on contentious issues following the completion of a new civil referendum platform next month.

For the first time since the overspending scandal at the Independent Commission Against Corruption erupted, its former chief Timothy Tong Hin-ming admitted yesterday that he had made mistakes. But he insisted he was an honest man.

A top mainland official in charge of Hong Kong affairs yesterday urged the city's political appointees to improve their sensitivity when it comes to policies which have an impact on the mainland.

Up to 3,000 people are expected to be involved in a series of meetings over the next two months to come up with "democratic principles" for the next chief executive election.

The Legislative Council's summer recess has not necessarily been a time of rest. Some have taken the chance to take sponsored official trips; others have been busy meeting with voters to shore up support; opposition figures have been limbering up for the new term. They have been joined by an unlikely bedfellow.

Hong Kong urgently needs to groom political talent for the era of universal suffrage, says executive councillor Bernard Chan, as the government, political parties and business will all face succession problems in the next decade.

Executive councillor Bernard Chan urged a debate on alternative options to boost supply, not just by cutting into country parks but by including other land such as farmland.

Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah will not follow the party's line in voting for political reform even if the majority of Hongkongers say they support a government proposal that falls short of "genuine universal suffrage".

The Alliance for True Democracy - a grouping of 26 of the 27 pan-democratic lawmakers - will meet the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme director Robert Chung Ting-yiu on Wednesday to work out the details of the electronic voting exercise.

Despite a string of controversies that have thrown up questions about police impartiality, Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung said of the prize: "If you look at the city's public order, such recognition is a matter of course."

The government will put a wide range of ideas proposed by various quarters on the table to start its long-awaited first round of public consultation on methods of universal suffrage, a source familiar with the matter says.

Three mainstream pan-democratic parties have refused to sign a charter prepared by student-led group Scholarism, which identifies the right of voters to nominate candidates for the chief executive poll as a "primary target".

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is doing a worse job than his predecessors and the city will "go nowhere but down" if he continues to govern as he has in recent months, says Liberal Party leader James Tien Pei-chun.

Dr Ho Pak-leung said the surge in the number of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) cases in March at the hospitals, mostly Queen Elizabeth Hospital, should have been reported at the time. It remained high in the two following months.

The Democratic Party considers its lawmakers' acceptance of Cathay Pacific's free trip to France as inappropriate and has apologised to the public.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will come face to face with a core organiser of the Occupy Central democracy campaign for the first time at one of two dinners hosted by the government next month.

A new group set up two weeks ago has emerged as the leading force against Occupy Central, launching aggressive attacks on the pro-democracy campaign.

Protesters fear there could be chaos during Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s next meet-the-people session on Sunday. Their increased concern comes amid accusations by the Civic Party and others that Leung has links to triad groups – an allegation his office strenuously denies.

A new group established just last week has fired its opening salvo against the Occupy Central campaign for democracy, splashing out on full-page print adverts urging the silent majority to speak up against the planned acts of civil disobedience.

A former aide to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has admitted "overlooking" restrictions on the activities top government officials may pursue once they step down. He started a company without consent just three months after leaving the government.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's "unprecedented" call for a report on a teacher verbally abusing police officers last month has drawn criticism from educators and pan-democrats.

On Friday Chan's aide, political assistant Henry Ho Kin-chung, whose family was revealed to own land in the same area, apologised for failing to declare their ownership and resigned from the government. Ho's resignation increased pressure on Chan to step down.

Development chief Paul Chan Mo-po should answer all the questions over the ownership of land in the New Territories that has sparked concerns about a conflict of interest, the Legislative Council president said yesterday.

In the last political crisis he faced just days after his appointment as development minister last July, Paul Chan Mo-po sought to reassure Hongkongers that he was devoted to public service.

The city's Catholic diocese says it will offer help to people arrested or jailed for taking part in next summer's Occupy Central civil disobedience campaign.

The Occupy Central campaign plans an electronic vote in October to draw up a list of "democratic principles" against which to assess any reform proposals tabled by the government, according to core organiser Benny Tai Yiu-ting.

The city's Catholic diocese has given qualified support to acts of civil disobedience such as that proposed by the Occupy Central campaign, saying citizens are justified in breaking the law if their rights are repeatedly denied.

People Power legislator Albert Chan Wai-yip says he plans to launch a disruptive "urban guerrilla" campaign before the end of the year to press for democracy. That follows a hint from Beijing's top man in Hong Kong that candidates for chief executive in 2017 might be screened to ensure they were acceptable to the central government.

The head of Beijing's liaison office yesterday declared "resolute opposition" to Occupy Central's threat of mass civil disobedience in pursuit of democracy. Zhang Xiaoming said allowing a challenge to the city's laws would be a disaster and have long-term repercussions.

Zhang Xiaoming, director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, also said that national sovereignty and security must be protected as the city achieves universal suffrage by 2017.

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The government is keeping the door open on formation of the nominating committee in the 2017 chief executive poll, as proposals emerge from all shades of politics on achieving universal suffrage in the election.

The Basic Law Institute has tabled a proposal for universal suffrage in the 2017 chief executive election that seeks to include all district councillors on future nominating committees.

The city's entire 30,000-strong police force could be mobilised to contain an Occupy Central campaign next year if required, Commissioner of Police Andy Tsang Wai-hung said yesterday.

The plan to expand the landfill in Tseung Kwan O is to be resubmitted to the Legislative Council, along with expansion proposals for landfills in Tuen Mun and Ta Kwu Ling, after the legislature's summer recess, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said yesterday.

Political scholars - including vocal critics of the government - have been invited to meet Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying next month, sparking speculation that consultation over electoral reform is about to get under way in earnest.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying sidestepped a lawmaker's question on whether he would seek help from the People's Liberation Army to control Occupy Central protesters during their planned mass civil disobedience movement next summer.

Rural strongman Lau Wong-fat has renewed his call for the administration to ditch its landfill extension plans for the sake of harmony within the legislature. Earlier in the day, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor met the Tuen Mun District Council to rally support for a study into expanding a landfill in the area.

A pan-democratic suggestion to let 3.2 million ordinary voters citywide nominate, and vote for, their leader by 2017 is set to become the centrepiece of an intensifying battle over constitutional reform.

The central leadership would not allow itself to be forced into introducing universal suffrage that met international standards, a Hong Kong member of the nation's top legislature has warned.

The Occupy Central movement is likely to be the top fundraiser among all the political causes championed to protesters at the July 1 rally, an initial tally shows. One political scientist says the outcome signals a promising way forward for the civil disobedience campaign that is striving for democracy in the city.

Police warned protesters before July 1 that "resolute action" would be taken against anyone trying to join the democracy march in Causeway Bay, according to the police watchdog.

Leung took office as chief executive one year ago today. Nine days later, the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme began its fortnightly survey of public confidence in his leadership.

A dozen years ago, we had the "Tung-Chan partnership"; now it's the "Leung-Lam partnership". And once again there's talk of strains in the relationship between the government's top two people.

As the Hong Kong government asks the US to clarify Edward Snowden's claims of hacking in the city, an internet security expert says it's tough to trace when hackers attack, where they operate from and what information they steal.

A broadcasting veteran of 40 years, Cheung Man-sun says Radio Television Hong Kong is now enjoying the "best of times", with abundant opportunities, and that debates over political pressure and editorial independence would always go hand in hand with its role as a public broadcaster.

The security chief was trying to placate a worried public following Snowden's claims in the media that US agencies have carried out hundreds of cyberspying operations in Hong Kong.