China gets moving ahead of holiday The peak travel period across China associated with next month's Lunar New Year holiday begins today. The peak period runs for six weeks until March 6. Families traditionally criss-cross the country to spend time with each other during the holiday period. The Civil Aviation Administration of China expects to see 35.5 million people take flights during the period, although rail travel remains the favoured option for most. Mali dominates African Union talks The war against Islamist militants in northern Mali, including the deployment of African troops, is expected to dominate talks when the African Union summit opens in Ethiopia tomorrow. A scaling-up of African troops is planned to support the weak Malian army - boosted by the recent French military intervention - in the battle against Islamist insurgents. African leaders are set to commit their support for the force, with presidents expected to stay beyond the two-day summit for an international donor conference for Mali. Poll test for Singapore's ruling party Singapore's governing party faces a poll test today in a by-election to fill the seat of the former parliamentary speaker, who quit over an affair. The by-election will give a snapshot of the public mood two years after the People's Action Party, which has ruled the city state for more than 50 years, suffered its worst general election result. Public discontent has been rising over issues such as immigration, rising prices and a widening income gap. Guild honours Dick Van Dyke The Hollywood awards season is well under way, with the Screen Actors Guild the next to hand out the gongs in Los Angeles today. While the stars of such films as Les Miserables and Lincoln wait to see if they will collect a trophy, one man who knows he will is Mary Poppins star Dick Van Dyke. Known for his singing, dancing and unconvincing attempts at a British accent, Van Dyke's career has spanned some five decades on the big and small screen. Doctor's disciplinary hearing resumes A Medical Council disciplinary hearing in the case of a married doctor accused of having sex with a patient in his office resumes tomorrow. Dr Barry Tsang Ka-hung also sold the woman insurance in breach of the profession's code of conduct after saying that he had money problems, the disciplinary inquiry was told at an earlier hearing. Tsang denies the allegations. Figures paint picture of poverty The Council of Social Service releases figures on poverty covering the first half of 2012. Preliminary results show the effects of the minimum wage wearing off and that poverty is back on the rise. The government recently revived its Commission on Poverty, but tensions have risen after members of the welfare sector accused Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying of failing to address poverty.