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  1. Scaffolding at a construction site for the future Kai Tak Sports Park collapsed on Tuesday morning, but nobody was injured. Police said they received a report from workers on Muk Tai Street at around 9:30am. The scaffolding that came down was estimated to be 20 metres high. Video footage circulating online appeared to have captured the moment the structure crumbled. Several workers were close to the site at the time, but were left unscathed. The Fire Services Department said it deployed 54 firefighters and seven ambulance personnel, but construction workers had left the scene before they arrived. The Labour Department said it had launched an investigation into the incident.
  2. Health authorities on Tuesday reported five imported Covid-19 cases, including a woman who had been triple-jabbed against the virus. The 28-year-old, who flew in from the United States on Sunday, had received three doses of BioNTech vaccine in April, May and November. The other four cases involved travellers who flew in from Switzerland, Spain, Pakistan and Nepal.
  3. Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday said some people who need to make business trips to the mainland would be given priority when the border reopens. Lam stressed their activities have to be in the interest of Hong Kong’s economic development. The chief executive said although it's not yet known what the daily quota for quarantine-free travel would be, officials will start contacting chambers, professional bodies and listed companies to come up with a list of people belonging to the priority group. "Bureau heads will get in touch with people who were previously exempted from quarantine, meaning they had already been recognised by us that they have business needs to enter the mainland. When we have the quota, they will be given priority," she said. Lam said the remaining quota would be allocated to people who have urgent needs to go to the mainland other than business reasons, but they would have to apply with the government first before being allowed to travel quarantine-free. She reiterated that Hong Kong must stay vigilant against imported Covid-19 cases, so the plan to reopen the border won't be affected. The CE added that the government would not rule out introducing the so-called vaccine passports, which would see only vaccinated people be allowed to visit certain venues. "If we reach a stage that vaccine take-up needs to be drastically raised to protect the people of Hong Kong especially the elderly, as well as the progress made in relation to the opening of the border that we've been working on for so long, the government will have to consider it. But we haven't gone to that stage yet," she said.
  4. Chief Executive Carrie Lam revealed on Tuesday that around 18,000 Hong Kong people living on the mainland have signed up to cast their votes in the upcoming Legco elections, adding that it’s unlikely that the final figure will exceed the maximum 110,000 voters which the three polling stations to be set up near the border could accommodate. The government announced last Monday that the Heung Yuen Wai, Lo Wu, and Lok Ma Chau Spur Line control points will be used as polling stations on December 19 to accommodate Hong Kong voters living across the border. Registered voters in geographical and functional constituencies will be allowed to cast their votes at the stations without undergoing quarantine, but they must immediately return to the mainland after casting their ballots, or they won't be allowed to skip quarantine. The one-off arrangement is not applicable for the new election committee constituency. Voters could register for the arrangement between December 1 and 8. Speaking ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, Carrie Lam said by Monday evening, a total of 18,215 people living across the border had signed up to cast their votes on the polling day – around 16.6 percent of the stations’ maximum capacity. “There are two more days before the deadline passes. It looks like the number will not come close to 100,000. So our planned capacity and manpower arrangement should be able to accommodate this,” she said. But the CE said the upcoming elections will be of a large scale, with around 4.5 million registered voters and more than 380,000 staff to be deployed to work on the polling day. She said under the revamped electoral rules, some voters could cast up to four votes, making the elections more complex. The CE said her administration doesn't have a voter turnout target, but again urged people to cast their vote in order to pick their preferred candidates and to show their support for the electoral changes. Lam also said she's hopeful that the new Legislative Council will enable Hong Kong to work more closely with the mainland. “I am anticipating that after the general election, when the seventh Legislative Council returns on the first of January next year, it will be a Legislative Council which is more rational, which is more prepared to work with the executive, in order to further the interests of Hong Kong,” she said. “A particular area which previously had been obstructed and disrupted is our relationship with the central government and also our aspirations to integrate more into the national development. I’m sure that now that we have a Legislative Council comprising patriots administering Hong Kong, all these endeavours to work more closely with the mainland authorities to render ourselves contributing to the national development will get more support.”
  5. Chief Executive Carrie Lam has endorsed comments made by Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office chief Xia Baolong that Hong Kong wasted time in seeking Western-style democracy, and that this pursuit brought more harm than good to the SAR. Xia noted on Monday that Hong Kong people have never enjoyed democracy, but said they are about to get a form that suits the territory. Speaking to reporters ahead of her weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Lam was in agreement with Xia and said that by reiterating comments he had made previously, he "really brought out the significance of the improvements to the electoral system”. “It is very timely for Mr Xia to relate what he said previously, for example we are only looking for people who are patriotic, we will not screen out people with a different political background, we will respect diversity, and the improved electoral system will return more Legislative Council members from a broad range of background,” she said. “So now that we have the people right in front of us, we can sort of prove that what he said previously was accurate, because this is for all to see.” Lam also referred to previous comments that she herself had made on democracy, that “no one size fits all”, adding that the purpose of a democratic system is to improve the livelihood of the people. “What’s the point of having the so-called democracy if people are suffering, as you can see in some Western democracies in the course of fighting Covid-19?"
  6. A vice-president of Beijing’s top think tank on Hong Kong, Lau Siu-kai, says the central government’s call for Hong Kong people to vote in the coming Legco election is part of China’s rebuff against the “hypocrisy of the US and Western democracy”. Lau was commenting on a speech made by Xia Baolong, the director of Beijing's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, who said on Monday that Hong Kong had wasted time in seeking "Western-style democracy" but was left only with chaos and divisions, and the new electoral system allows the SAR to achieve good governance and a democracy that fits the city's actual situation. Lau said he believes the timing of Xia’s speech has to do with a US summit on democracy. “China is striking back by criticising the hypocrisy of US and Western-style democracy and all sorts of its shortcomings. At the same time, it underlines the achievements and confidence China acquired after several decades of implementation of its democracy,” he said. “All in all, the most important objective was to voice China’s criticism against US and Western democracy and emphasise the merits of China and Hong Kong’s democracy. That’s what I think is [Xia’s] main message,” said Lau. The think tank chief said he believes Beijing has a realistic expectation on the voter turnout, and Xia was calling on government supporters to vote. “Most of the candidates are people who love the country and love Hong Kong. Their supporters may not know them well, and they don’t mind who will win. In that case, they may not be very eager to vote,” said Lau.
  7. Candidates in the Legislative Council elections are busy campaigning ahead of the polls on December 19. The SAR will have a new legislature consisting of 90 lawmakers – 20 of them elected by the people who live in the 10 geographical constituencies. Most of the geographical constituency candidates have been speaking to RTHK about why they’re running, and what they hope to accomplish if they are elected. Today, we hear from the candidates running in the Hong Kong Island West constituency.
  8. The government says homeless people who don’t have a smartphone will be exempted from the mandatory use of the LeaveHomeSafe app if they have a certificate issued by an NGO. Diane Wong, Deputy Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene, said the government has been in talks with some groups regarding this. “The government has been following up with groups that provide services to this type of people, and will soon finalise the arrangement. We will then allow these groups to issue certificates as soon as possible. So these people can show the certificates when they enter the premises,” she said. The mandatory use of the app will be expanded to cover all restaurants from December 9, as well as gyms, hotels, cinemas and other regulated premises, and people will not have the option of filling in paper forms unless they are exempted. Wong told an RTHK programme that people with disabilities are among those exempted, and staff at the premises should use their common sense to decide if the person's disability is not obvious – such as a hearing impairment or mental handicap. If in doubt, the staff could call the police, she said. People aged 65 or above or 15 or below can jot down their information on paper forms if they don't use the app.
  9. China specialist Willy Lam on Tuesday described comments made by a senior Beijing official to call on Hong Kong people to cast their "sacred ballots” in the Legislative Council elections as "unprecedented". The director of Beijing's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Xia Baolong, on Monday said he expects Hong Kong people who want the SAR to do well and who support One Country, Two Systems will cast their “sacred ballots” in the polls on December 19, an appeal Lam said was rare for such a senior state official. "I think those comments were really important because it is quite unprecedented for such a senior level state leader to make an appeal to Hong Kong voters just a couple of weeks before the actual election. "He said explicitly that the act of voting is a means of showing your confidence in One Country, Two Systems”, Lam said, adding that Xia had emphasised that those running for Legco come from all walks of life, not just the traditional elite. Lam added that Xia wants to convince Western governments that Beijing “is not messing around with One Country, Two Systems in Hong Kong, but it's actually putting together an election which reflects Hong Kong's values”. In yesterday’s speech via video link, Xia said Hong Kong had wasted time in seeking "Western-style democracy" but was left only with chaos and divisions. He also noted that Hong Kong people had never truly enjoyed democracy. But he said the new electoral system allows the SAR to achieve good governance and a democracy that fits the city's actual situation. "As some people from Hong Kong said, the city has been blindly seeking Western-style democracy for some time in the past, but in actuality, that didn't bring real democracy," Xia said.
  10. Outgoing University of Hong Kong (HKU) professor Keiji Fukuda, a former government adviser on the pandemic, on Monday said he’s leaving Hong Kong with "an immense sense of pride". The head of the university’s School of Public Health made the comment at a media event two days ahead of his departure, after HKU announced earlier this year that it would not renew his five-year contract. While the leading epidemiologist refused to comment on HKU’s decision and how he feels about it, he told reporters that he’s confident about the future of the SAR's healthcare. "They (the students) are the future of healthcare both in Hong Kong and elsewhere. And more than anything else, it makes me feel confident. We have fantastic hope for the future," he said. Fukuda, a former senior official at the World Health Organization, added that he hopes to see more donors step up their support for student-led healthcare initiatives. "The projects that I would like to see continue is partly the projects which they are working on. The students are simply the best possible investment for the future, and I would love to see donors in Hong Kong step up to that and provide some support." The 66-year-old said he will return to the United States for retirement later this month.

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