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The lost six months (23/11/2014)

November is the time for congregations in our tertiary institutions. After years of hard work, students complete their studies and move on to the next stage of their lives. This year, I see that several vice-chancellors of the institutions have encouraged the graduates to make good use of their time to enrich their lives and further equip themselves for their careers after graduation. A couple of days ago, the Vice-Chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Joseph Sung, said in a congregation that he hoped the graduates would be “knowledgeable, full of vision and tolerant in the face of various social and political issues”. I am deeply touched by his speech. Since May this year, the filibustering and the unco-operative movement in the Finance Committee (FC) and the Public Works Subcommittee (PWSC) of the Legislative Council (LegCo) have affected the deliberation of funding applications submitted by the Government, resulting in the delay of a number of works projects indefinitely. The six months lost has adversely affected Hong Kong’s economy in the long run......

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Lift-off for Kai Tak Fantasy (16/11/2014)

At the award ceremony for the Kai Tak Fantasy International Ideas Competition on Urban Planning and Design last Friday, we announced the winning entry and presented the awards. With the announcement of the outstanding design entitled “Kai Tak 2.0: Healthy Lift-off” as the winner, the competition has drawn to a successful conclusion, and the journey for Kai Tak Fantasy will officially embark on its next stage......

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Attending the World Sustainable Building 2014 Conference in Barcelona (9/11/2014)

At the end of last month, I led a Hong Kong delegation comprising more than 100 members to attend the World Sustainable Building 2014 Conference in Barcelona, Spain. We discussed and shared experience with representatives and experts from the governments and international institutions of different countries on the latest developments and challenges in sustainable building. I also officiated at the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong exhibition booth. We took the opportunity to introduce the two global green building events to be held in Hong Kong in 2015 and 2017. This will be the first time for the theme of the world conference in 2017 to be upgraded from “Sustainable Building” to “Sustainable Built Environment”. I invited all those present to keep in touch with us and share their experience on this issue of worldwide concern. Comparing the development of sustainable building in different countries, I found Hong Kong’s performance very promising......

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Everyone could be in danger if landslides occur (2/11/2014)

Once autumn arrives we can say that we have safely moved on from the summer rainstorm season. Earlier this year, the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) issued the Black Rainstorm Warning Signal in March - the first time this has been done in this particular month since the rainstorm warning system was launched in 1992. You might remember the heavy showers of rain and hail pouring down like waterfalls in some shopping malls and railway stations that day. Looking back at the weather between March and August this year, extremely heavy rainfall was recorded in the months of March and May, amounting to more than double the normal rainfall for the period, thus posing huge challenges to our landslide mitigation efforts. Luckily, most of the landslide incidents of the rainy season were minor in nature and did not cause any casualties or serious damage......

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Pilot Scheme for Arbitration on Land Premium (26/10/2014)

We announced the implementation framework of the Pilot Scheme for Arbitration on Land Premium (the Pilot Scheme) and briefed Members of the Legislative Council in July. The Pilot Scheme aims to facilitate early agreement on land premium payable for lease modification/land exchange applications, with the objective of expediting land supply for housing and other uses. As arbitration on land premium is a completely new initiative and public revenue is involved, the Pilot Scheme will be implemented starting now for a trial period of two years, to be followed by a review of its effectiveness in the light of accumulated experience......

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