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Old October 19th, 2012, 06:06 AM   #1481
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Vow to create more land for homes
The Standard
Thursday, October 18, 2012

The government will continue to create land to meet housing needs and is prepared to introduce further measures to cool the property market if necessary, the chief executive said.

The government has already speeded up the process in the conversion of land use for residential purposes and will use all vacant sites in urban areas, Leung Chun-ying added.

He said the government has already drawn up other measures to stabilize the property market if and when necessary.

The Development Bureau earlier clarified that though there are 2,100 hectares of vacant land at present, less than 400 hectares are suitable for residential and commercial development.

A spokesman said 1,201 hectares of the available land have so far been marked for rural use.

In a related development, the government's main supporter - the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong - has warned that it will abstain in the vote on the new old-age living allowance unless the government drastically increases the asset cap to benefit more elderly.

DAB chairman Tam Yiu- chung said this after Leung said he would stand firm on both the means test and asset limit.

The allowance of HK$2,200 for those who are 65 or older has an asset value cap of HK$186,000 and a monthly income limit of HK$6,600.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 06:09 AM   #1482
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Lai Chi Kok Drainage Tunnel commissioned
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Government Press Release



The Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, today (October 18) officiated at the commissioning ceremony of the Lai Chi Kok Drainage Tunnel, marking the completion of a long-term solution to relieve the flooding problem in northwest Kowloon.

Construction of the $1.7 billion Lai Chi Kok Drainage Tunnel commenced in November 2008. Situated in the northwestern part of the Kowloon peninsula, the 3.7-kilometre tunnel comprises a 1.2km main tunnel excavated underneath the Lai Chi Kok urban strip and a 2.5km mid-hill branch tunnel. Stormwater is diverted into the branch tunnel through six intakes installed along its length before being drained away via the main tunnel for discharge into the harbour near Stonecutters Island. This innovative method of intercepting stormwater for direct conveyance will raise the flood protection level in areas like Lai Chi Kok, Cheung Sha Wan and Sham Shui Po to withstand rainstorms with a return period of one in 50 years.

Throughout the planning, design and construction stages, the project team conquered various challenges and achieved a number of breakthroughs in engineering technology. For instance, sophisticated techniques were employed in driving the tunnel boring machine safely below four operating railway lines and past the numerous foundations of existing infrastructure in the busy district of Lai Chi Kok. To avoid any adverse impact on these facilities, construction personnel worked under hyperbaric pressure of up to 4.2 bar, breaking the record in Hong Kong's tunnelling history. Advanced hyperbaric know-how was specially brought in from overseas. Having achieved the highest safety standards, the project has set a new direction for hyperbaric applications in Hong Kong's construction engineering.

In addition to completing the Lai Chi Kok Drainage Tunnel, the Drainage Services Department has been working on various major flood prevention projects in phases. They include the Hong Kong West Drainage Tunnel that was commissioned in August and the Tsuen Wan Drainage Tunnel, to be completed in the middle of next year. The Happy Valley Underground Stormwater Storage Scheme is also under way. These projects will further enhance Hong Kong's overall flood protection capability.

Mr Leung and another officiating guest, the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, gave special thanks to the front-line construction workers for their dedicated efforts that brought about smooth completion of the project.

Other officiating guests at today's ceremony included the Permanent Secretary for Development (Works), Mr Wai Chi-sing; the Director of Drainage Services, Mr Chan Chi-chiu; and the Chairman of the Sham Shui Po District Council, Mr Kwok Chun-wah.
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 04:05 PM   #1483
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Lantau park zipline attacked as gimmick
The Standard
Thursday, October 18, 2012

An advisory committee of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has opposed a proposal to establish a zipline tour on Lantau.

The Country and Marine Parks Board suggested a British group's proposal to promote an "ecological tour" was only a gimmick and the project just an exciting amusement park game.

Ziplines are cables suspended above slopes to which a pulley and harness are attached for a rider.

The board also said the proposal failed to include important information such as details of the area of land required to build the project and whether it needs an environment impact assessment.

A department spokeswoman said the tour group - Flying Fox - has not revealed whether it will revise the proposal or move the location out of North Lantau Country Park.

The group had proposed a zipline tour near the Ngong Ping 360 cable car terminal. The company runs three zipline tours in India, with a fourth under construction. It charges the equivalent of about HK$150 for each tour.

It proposed to build four stations at the start and end point of the tour, including two sets of cross-valley ziplines 300 meters long, which would connect with a one-kilometer hiking trail and a 50-meter suspension bridge over Sham Wai Gorge.

The ziplines would be built at a height of 404m to 432m with the suspension bridge 15-20m above ground. The length of the tour would be 1,580m.

The company estimates it can handle 480 tourists a day - 60 an hour - and the charge would be close to that of attractions such as the Ngong Ping 360 cable car.

Ngong Ping 360, a commercial partner of Flying Fox, welcomed the proposal.

Department documents state it has not approved commercial activities inside country parks before. And as only those who paid for the tour would be able to use the trail and facilities in the park within the tour area, opposition may be raised.

Young Ng Chun-yeung, country parks board member and chairman of the Association for Geoconservation Hong Kong, said the zipline is commercial and entertainment. He fears it will set an example to damage country parks. He also criticized the tour for using ecology as a gimmick.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 05:38 PM   #1484
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Tsang property fears hit home
The Standard
Monday, October 22, 2012

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said the local property market has "seriously" decoupled from the economy, and measures are at hand to stabilize the housing market.

Flat prices have risen by 2 percent per month on average in the first eight months this year in contrast with the slowdown in the local economy, he said on his weekly blog. Rents also added to inflationary pressure, he said.

According to the Rating and Valuation Department, private domestic rents soared by nearly 10 percent in the first eight months.

"These trends are very unhealthy both to our property market and the economy," especially when Hong Kong is vulnerable to volatile global economic conditions, he warned

He added pressures for house prices to drop should not be overlooked by the market.

Hongkongers, especially small investors, should therefore be rational about their property investments and beware of bubbles forming.

Tsang said the government will not hesitate to impose measures to stabilize the housing market when the need arises.

Overall, Tsang said he believes the local economy is threatened by the shaky global conditions and hurt by the threat of "fiscal cliffs" from the United States and the euro debt crisis.

Particularly, Hong Kong exports in the past eight months were discouraging.

Retail sales also slowed over the summer while the unemployment rate increased in the third quarter.

Yet the government is well- prepared to maintain the stability of financial markets at a time of large capital flows and low interest rates, Tsang said.

He also stressed the importance of maintaining financial prudence in the current climate and said he believes it is reasonable for the government to impose the means test on the proposed old-age pension in order to avoid overspending.
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Old October 29th, 2012, 09:28 AM   #1485
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Comprehensive coastal conservation plan introduced for Ting Kok
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Government Press Release

The Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, said today (October 25) that the Government believed development and conservation could go hand-in-hand and that there was a win-win solution for the Lung Mei Beach works project.

While going ahead with the beach works project, Mr Tsang noted that proactive initiatives would also be taken to launch the Ting Kok Coastal Conservation Plan, providing a comprehensive and integrated conservation plan for the entire Ting Kok coastline.

The Home Affairs Bureau, Environment Bureau and relevant departments held a press conference today to explain the Government's position on the construction of Lung Mei Beach and conservation of Ting Kok coastline.

Mr Tsang said the Government understood the good intentions of local green groups, noting their care for Hong Kong's environment as well as their love for nature and diversity of species. With the principle of "people-based governance" in mind, relevant departments have, in response to the concerns of the green groups and various individuals, seriously reviewed again the vetting process for the Lung Mei Beach works project, discussing over and over again all the views, including those concerning the ecology and water quality of Lung Mei as well as the needs of the local community.

"We believe that development and conservation can go hand-in-hand and there is always a win-win solution. In this connection, we propose to take proactive initiatives to preserve the ecological environment of the Ting Kok coastline while going ahead with the Lung Mei Beach works project," Mr Tsang added.

He said at the moment, the Government was evaluating the tender submissions after which construction would start. While it is expected that the beach will be open during the swimming season of 2015, the Government has also decided to provide a comprehensive and integrated conservation plan for the entire Ting Kok coastline.

The Under Secretary for the Environment, Ms Christine Loh, said, "The recent public attention over Lung Mei has stimulated the Government to enhance protection of ecology at the 'Sites of Special Scientific Interest' (SSSI) at Ting Kok East and Ting Kok. The Government will commence immediately a new Ting Kok Coastal Conservation Plan (Ting Kok Plus), which is a new plan to protect the ecology of the area for the long-term."

The plan covers various perspectives including long-term conservation for the whole Ting Kok area, Tolo Harbour and Tolo Channel, monitoring of water quality of Shuen Wan Hoi and also takes into account the education value of the whole area. The Environment Bureau will lead an inter-bureau and departmental process to work out implementation details, as well as to engage interested people and groups who can share their views and expertise.

Ms Loh said, "The Government believes that the planning and realisation of 'Ting Kok Plus' will set a standard for public engagement and government-community collaboration, with a view to strengthening ecological protection and education works with joint efforts."

The Environment Bureau will organise an initial engagement session with interested parties to work on an improved ecological protection plan for the Ting Kok area and its SSSI within this year.

On the need for developing a public beach at Lung Mei, the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung, said, "In 2011, the 41 gazetted public beaches managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) recorded a total attendance of over 11 million, which is much higher than the total attendance of 9.5 million in the 41 public swimming pools. This clearly shows the high public demand for beach facilities. Tai Po and its neighbouring districts (including Sha Tin and North District) together had a population of over 1.25 million but there is not a single public beach facility in any of the three districts, and the fun of beach-going cannot be easily replaced by swimming pools. The provision of a beach at Lung Mei, together with the existing recreational and leisure facilities in Tai Mei Tuk, will provide more attractions for visitors."

Mrs Fung noted that Tai Po District Council (DC) had strenuously urged for the construction of a public beach at Lung Mei. Since the then Chief Executive announced the project in his Policy Address in January 2005, the Government had actively followed up with the project and formally consulted the Tai Po DC 14 times. The project was also discussed at various meetings of the DC and its committees more than 70 times. The project has all along been listed as the top priority leisure and cultural project by the DC. Various DC members have given their full support for the project on various occasions and urged for its early implementation.

Since the initiation of the project, there have been ample opportunities for various sectors of society, including the environmental concern groups, to voice their opinion at various stages of the consultation process, which was not limited to district level. Upon the receipt of the views, the Government has gone through the various statutory procedures to consult, respectively, the Advisory Council on the Environment, the Town Planning Board, the Chief Executive-in-Council and the Legislative Council. The Government subsequently revised the project scale and came up with mitigation measures to minimise the impact that the project may cause to the environment.

On the habitat management of the beach construction, the Deputy Head of Civil Engineering Office, Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD), Mr Robin Lee, said "The CEDD submitted an environmental impact assessment report for the project in 2008. Taking into account the recommendations of the Advisory Council on the Environment, we have conducted additional ecological surveys, reduced the scope of the project, revised the beach design, and undertaken to adopt mitigation measures during construction in order to minimise the impact on the marine ecology due to the project. Subsequently, the Environmental Protection Department issued an Environmental Permit (EP) for the project in 2010."

According to the EP, the contractor shall remove of rocks/hard objects in the intertidal zone before commencement of the works and the area shall not exceed 10 square metres for each removal. The "cleared" areas shall then be properly fenced off immediately. Fish specialists will check the areas before fencing off to ensure that none of the three fish species with conservation importance are trapped within the enclosed areas. Relevant work will only be carried out during low tide periods.

Mr Lee said, "We are aware public concerns on environmental protection and the translocation of species of creatures found at Lung Mei. We have adopted a 'Conservation before Construction' principle in implementing the project. Consultants were therefore engaged in early 2012 to conduct further study and design the marine ecological mitigation measures. The scope includes conducting detailed ecological surveys and identifying suitable reception sites; designing mitigation measures and incorporating them into the tender documents for compliance by the contractor; carrying site trials for the proposed mitigation measures; and providing training to site supervisory staff. Upon commencement of the construction works, we will continue to communicate with green groups, such as inviting them to oversee the translocation of creatures to Ting Kok East, etc."

On the water quality of the beach, the Deputy Director of Environment Protection, Mr Tse Chin-wan, said, "To improve water quality, the Government is providing a new sewerage network in Lung Mei and its vicinity. The construction is underway and will complete in 2013."

As an increasing number of dwellings have been connected to public sewers, the water quality of Lung Mei has shown marked improvement recently, from Grade 4 between the beginning and mid-2012 to Grade 2 in recent weeks. Hence, the Government is confident that upon the opening of Lung Mei Beach to the public in 2015, the water quality will be up to the required standard. The Environmental Protection Department will continue to conduct water quality monitoring and publish the monitoring results regularly.
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Old October 30th, 2012, 01:22 AM   #1486
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Twin roads merge to build future of our city
The Standard
Monday, October 29, 2012

Many of our generation's finest often struggle when it comes to identity. While architects are foremost responsible for creating a form of shelter for all, we are intrinsically technically skilled problem-solvers and yet have a strong flare for artistic expression.

In the past, when modernism first appeared, it was under the dire need and urge to challenge traditional building methods. It is through challenging such parameters that we as part of the process discover the possibility of a new dimension of spatial arrangement and quality.

For example, with the advance of technology back then, a column's location and width may now be drastically modified to fit the building's vision and give much more radical forms, which has in turn shifted the traditional building-design paradigm.

As construction technology and architectural design always go hand in hand, it comes as no surprise that the average building nowadays is often structured of steel with curtain wall glazing.

Somehow, these building compositions have become a norm for our contemporary society, like bricks and mortar in the past.

In today's contemporary setting, as present generation architects, the way forward intertwined with ever-improving construction technology. The next boundary we will find ourselves challenging will be the basis for our future.

Architects today often split into two groups when they see the road ahead. Some see it as an opportunity to utilize technology advancement in the hope of creating more sustainable, economical, efficient and rapid prefabrication processes.

The vision is to provide a better living and working environment for the masses on this planet. As we all know, there are many today who are surviving without a roof over their heads.

The second type are those who have the power to wield wind and water - to command the world's attention. The primary goal is to leave an iconic landmark in the city.

They have the room to test new design theories and form or reinterpret traditional architectural concepts in a contemporary arena.

Such efforts provide a competitive and interesting playground for the city's skyline, and remind us that architecture cannot only be a place for shelter, but a cathedral to admire and worship from.

As far as you can see, our society has and will always be molded by visionary functionalists and daring contemporary experimentalists. It is perhaps from such a balance that we are able to live comfortably while enjoying a hint of excitement and anticipation.

While the two schools of architecture might not agree with each other, they should never question each other's purpose and role in the betterment of our collaborative societies.

Architectural critic Nicholas Ho and art historian Stephanie Poon don't always see eye to eye.
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Old October 30th, 2012, 06:03 PM   #1487
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Stop posting news articles that no one gives a shit about. Your ridiculous post count reveals to me a man with no life.
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Old October 30th, 2012, 06:12 PM   #1488
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^ Um these news happens to be related to the development of the city. Why don't you post some news too?
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Old October 31st, 2012, 01:29 AM   #1489
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Yes, complainers who don't contribute are pathetic.
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Old October 31st, 2012, 11:43 PM   #1490
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Yes, complainers who don't contribute are pathetic.
Do you want me to bend you over and put my big schlong straight up your poop shoot?
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Old November 1st, 2012, 02:35 AM   #1491
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Wheels in motion for new landmark
The Standard
Thursday, November 01, 2012

The government is going ahead with the construction of a giant ferris wheel on the Central waterfront.

According to a tender document published by the Lands Department, the ferris wheel will be located in front of piers 9 and 10 and should be at least 50 meters in diameter.

The project site is about 9,620 square meters.

Kowloon East Constituency lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun, the former tourism sector legislator, said he "cautiously welcomes" the initiative.

He stressed Hong Kong has very few tourist spots along the coast and there is no holistic plan for the touristic development of the waterfront.

"But the land at the Central waterfront is a prime location and very expensive," Tse added. "The cost effectiveness of the ferris wheel should be carefully considered."

Joseph Tung Yiu-chung, Hong Kong Travel Industry Council executive director, also noted the plan.

But he hopes the administration will consider the traffic flow when building the ferris wheel.

The proposed project, however, will be smaller than the London Eye by the River Thames and the Singapore Flyer on the southeast tip of the Marina Centre.

According to the tender document, the tenderer should have at least 10 years' experience and the minimum construction time is set at 12 months.

The deadline for submitting tenders is noon on December 14.

Other criteria for selecting the tender include promotion strategy, fares, the ability to enhance the waterfront and fire and security measures. Tenders should include a monthly rent proposal.

The contract will be short-term at three years with quarterly extensions.

According to records, a Britain-based company applied last year to the Lands Department to build a ferris wheel with a 60m diameter. The Hall Organisation Limited has built 25 ferris wheels in nine countries, including the Singapore Flyer.

The company proposed last year to build a ferris wheel with white LED lights outside.

The maximum capacity of riders in one day is up to 10,000, although it estimated that about 2,000 people will ride on weekdays and 4,000 on holidays and weekends.

Each ride could last 10 to 15 minutes, with a fare of about HK$100.

Its proposed ferris wheel could be set up in 10 to 14 days and removed in seven to 10 days. The firm said the operation would not cause great noise.

The proposal also said the entire installation and transportation would cost about HK$95 million, with an annual operation cost of about HK$10 million.

And some 75 to 100 people would be hired in Hong Kong.

The Lands Department conducted a consultation exercise after it received the proposal.

Another company, from Dubai, has also shown interest in building a ferris wheel. Freij Entertainment International Limited operates a ferris wheel in Paris and has held the Winter Wonderland Hong Kong.

It has also applied to build a ferris wheel at Kai Tak. The company said earlier it can build a bigger ferris wheel with a diameter of 80m.

Henderson Land Development said it has to study the location and details of the project and cannot comment at the moment.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 04:37 AM   #1492
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Hong Kong = LAME

The need to stupidfy a world class skyline with such an eyesore, WHY?

I think its fine the way it is now.
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Old November 1st, 2012, 05:32 AM   #1493
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^ Yes ... not impressed by that, and I can get better views from the Peak than to pay so much for a ferris wheel.
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 02:31 AM   #1494
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Beach damage from tour groups dismays greens
The Standard
Thursday, November 01, 2012



A green group has expressed concern over damage caused at Lung Mei Beach even before construction work begins on an artificial beach.

The government will go ahead with plans to build an artificial beach on the site, despite green groups saying Lung Mei is a natural habitat for four endangered seahorses and 200 other marine creatures.

"Hundreds or even thousands of visitors are flocking to the beach during weekends for a last view of it before construction work begins," Greeners Action executive director Angus Ho Hon-wai said yesterday.

People come in groups, promoted by local tour sites.

"Before wildlife species are destroyed by the reclamation, the environment will be damaged by inconsiderate visitors," said Ho, who called the situation appalling.

"Rocks are turned over; crabs and shrimps have lost their shelter; starfish are moved to dry places and lose moisture; insoluble rubbish is everywhere."

"Even worse, people are taking seashells and clams away, and a couple of starfish were seen sliced apart."

He put the blame on unprofessional local tours.

"Local tour guides have little knowledge about conservation and ecological habitats."

A professional ecotour should not bring more than 10 people in a group to minimize disruptions.

Earlier reports indicated poor water quality at Lung Mei, with a large amount of Escherichia coli, a bacterium that can cause infections.

"I wonder why people are taking away those clams and seashells," Ho said.

"We are lucky to be living in Hong Kong because the green areas are easily accessible, but the environment needs to be protected."

The government has said Lung Mei has a lower ecological value than Plover Cove and Tolo Harbour.
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Old November 2nd, 2012, 09:00 PM   #1495
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So when can we expect the next skyscraper boom to start? It is pretty calm now compared to just 4-5 years ago. Is there a lot of resistance towards new developments? At least there should be huge demand for housing, seeing people still live in those ultra compact boxes stacked on to of each other.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 12:55 AM   #1496
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So when can we expect the next skyscraper boom to start? It is pretty calm now compared to just 4-5 years ago. Is there a lot of resistance towards new developments? At least there should be huge demand for housing, seeing people still live in those ultra compact boxes stacked on to of each other.
There are a lot of smaller-scale residentials U/C but just too many to have them individually in the Highrises section. There is plenty of redevelopment activity within the city and major projects are expected in Kai Tak and the northeast New Territories, which have dedicated threads in the General Developments section.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 01:52 AM   #1497
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Bird flu expert to lead push for first vets' school
The Standard
Thursday, November 01, 2012

City University has hired a senior government official who was closely involved with outbreaks of bird flu to head a team that is planning the territory's first veterinary medicine school.

Veterinarian and epidemiologist Howard Wong Kai-hay left his post as principal veterinary officer after 16 years at the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department early last month to become executive director of CityU life sciences programs.

Wong also helped draft food safety laws that came into effect last year when he was seconded to the Food and Health Bureau.

He said his job at CityU is to establish a vets' school that will find "a synergy or a focal point" for its existing life sciences programs, such as biology, bioengineering and biotechnology. "We are not just looking at a vets' school in isolation of everything else.

"There is a lot of collaboration that could be done even with public health, for example, with other universities."

Wong, who earned his veterinary medicine degree at Cambridge University and master's degree in preventive veterinary medicine at the University of California, said CityU will build a small-animal hospital on campus.

He said the university expects to launch the six-year veterinary medicine course in 2014-15, with 30 students.

"There is no vet training of any sort in Hong Kong so we hope to develop these specialists in food safety and public health so they can raise the standard in the whole region and fill in gaps," Wong said yesterday. "The unique thing is we are doing it with Cornell University [in New York], the No1 vets' school and the oldest in the United States so the partnership with Cornell is fantastic." Cornell will help develop the curriculum and facilities.

About 200 Hong Kong students go overseas each year to study veterinary medicine.

Out of 600 registered vets, only 330 are practicing vets in the territory, 30 of whom work in the government and the remainder in the private sector.

There is also no post-graduate training, with fewer than 10 specialist vets in Hong Kong.

Wong also said food and safety is going to be a much more important issue, but there are no such specialist vets in the region.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 01:25 AM   #1498
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Cheung Kong trims prices of villas to cover new tax
The Standard
Friday, November 02, 2012

Cheung Kong (Holdings) (0001) became the first major developer to absorb an increase in property prices due to the imposition of the 15 percent stamp duty on non-local home buyers.

The developer will slash the prices of two villas at its Uptown project in Yuen Long by 15 percent - the amount of the additional levy.

The move - just days after executive director Justin Chiu Kwok-hung vowed not to cut prices - makes Cheung Kong the first developer to cut the sale price of new homes.

The two villas, originally priced at HK$18.7 million each, will now carry a tag of HK$15.8 million.

That also represents a 1 percent discount to the price at which similar homes were sold in June last year.

Other developers, while not mentioning price cuts, have said they will change strategy and become more cautious on acquiring land.

"We will adjust the ratio of sale and leasing of the Marinella project in Aberdeen, keeping more units for investment," said Wilson Chan Yuk-sing of K Wah International (0173).

Nan Fung Development deputy general manager Raymond Lai Hok-leung said: "The new duties have made it inconvenient for mainlanders as most of them buy luxury flats in the name of companies.

"So the new measures will pull down property prices and transactions, and therefore we will react according to market changes."

A survey conducted by property agency Midland after the new measures were revealed on October 26 has found that 62 percent of potential home buyers from the mainland will now stay away from the Hong Kong property market.

Real Estate Developers Association executive committee chairman Stewart Leung Chi-kin said the new taxes are too harsh and will have an adverse impact.

"There is something unclear in the curbs, including details on old building acquisition for redevelopment," he said.

"The association will have a meeting on the new measures today and may submit a written report on our concerns."

Sources said the meeting will also discuss issues on whether home sales in the form of corporate transfer should face the additional stamp duty of 15 percent.

Fitch Ratings questioned if the new curbs might contain the risk of a large property bubble developing.

But it said they will buy time for the authorities to deal with the short supply of homes.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 03:37 PM   #1499
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This thread desperately needs some images.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 12:42 AM   #1500
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Uptown, Yuen Long







Sales site : http://www.uptownhk.com.hk/
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