Carrie Lam rejects bipartisan calls to turn down pay rise

    sh33pymd
    By sh33pymd,

    Source: SCMP/On,cc

    oncc_odn_news_20200407.jpg

    Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s annual salary is set to jump to US$672,000. Photo: Robert Ng

    Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s annual salary is set to jump to US$672,000. Photo: Robert Ng
     
    Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has announced that country’s ministers will forgo three months’ salary. Photo: Reuters
    Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has announced that country’s ministers will forgo three months’ salary. Photo: Reuters
    Hong Kong’s embattled leader has dismissed calls from across the political spectrum to take a voluntary pay freeze, after it was revealed her annual salary had increased to HK$5.21 million (US$672,000). Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s 2.36 per cent pay rise, up from HK$5.09 million in the 2019/20 financial year, means she continues to be one of the highest-paid political leaders in the world.

    In a media briefing on Tuesday morning, Lam was asked if she would heed lawmaker demands to turn down the increase. “My first priority right now is to finalise as early as possible the package of relief measures under the second round of anti-epidemic funding,” she said. The chief executive also pointed out that she and the city’s other politically appointed officials had recently donated one month’s pay to the Community Chest of Hong Kong for charity purposes, adding she would consider similar ways in future “to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Hong Kong”.

    The Legislative Council has been scrutinising the government budget, unveiled in February, ahead of an expected final vote in early May.
    According to the public spending blueprint for 2020/21, Lam’s annual salary increased by HK$120,000, an increase the city leader clarified had taken effect in July, raising her salary to HK$434,000 a month. Lawmakers from both the pro-establishment and pan-democratic camps were furious, demanding she take her cues from foreign officials and impose a pay cut instead, when the city is fighting against the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
     
    Pro-business Liberal Party leader Felix Chung Kwok-pan and the party’s three honorary chairs – James Tien Pei-chun, Miriam Lau Kin-yee and Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee – sent a letter to Lam on Tuesday, urging her to initiate a pay cut. “We are shocked and dismayed to hear that you still find it conscionable to accept a salary increase for yourself and your team at this time of unprecedented crisis that Hong Kong is painfully facing now,” the letter read.

    In Singapore, the government of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in February that political office holders in the city state would take a month’s pay cut. That was followed in March by the announcement of another two-month pay cut in what was termed a show of solidarity with Singaporeans experiencing economic hardships due to the pandemic. Hong Kong’s embattled leader has dismissed calls from across the political spectrum to take a voluntary pay freeze, after it was revealed her annual salary had increased to HK$5.21 million (US$672,000).

    Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s 2.36 per cent pay rise, up from HK$5.09 million in the 2019/20 financial year, means she continues to be one of the highest-paid political leaders in the world. In a media briefing on Tuesday morning, Lam was asked if she would heed lawmaker demands to turn down the increase. “My first priority right now is to finalise as early as possible the package of relief measures under the second round of anti-epidemic funding,” she said. 

    The chief executive also pointed out that she and the city’s other politically appointed officials had recently donated one month’s pay to the Community Chest of Hong Kong for charity purposes, adding she would consider similar ways in future “to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Hong Kong”.

    The Legislative Council has been scrutinising the government budget, unveiled in February, ahead of an expected final vote in early May. According to the public spending blueprint for 2020/21, Lam’s annual salary increased by HK$120,000, an increase the city leader clarified had taken effect in July, raising her salary to HK$434,000 a month. Lawmakers from both the pro-establishment and pan-democratic camps were furious, demanding she take her cues from foreign officials and impose a pay cut instead, when the city is fighting against the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
     
    Pro-business Liberal Party leader Felix Chung Kwok-pan and the party’s three honorary chairs – James Tien Pei-chun, Miriam Lau Kin-yee and Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee – sent a letter to Lam on Tuesday, urging her to initiate a pay cut. “We are shocked and dismayed to hear that you still find it conscionable to accept a salary increase for yourself and your team at this time of unprecedented crisis that Hong Kong is painfully facing now,” the letter read.

    In Singapore, the government of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in February that political office holders in the city state would take a month’s pay cut. That was followed in March by the announcement of another two-month pay cut in what was termed a show of solidarity with Singaporeans experiencing economic hardships due to the pandemic.

    South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun also said last month that his country’s ministers and deputies would yield 30 per cent of their monthly salaries through June, equivalent to 10 per cent of their annual pay. On Tuesday, Lam said the July pay adjustment was made according to a pre-existing mechanism that lawmakers themselves had voted to approve in 2017. “It’s not the case that officials raised the salary increase in the Legislative Council [because they are scrutinising] spending,” she said.

    A spokesman for the government issued a statement on Monday night, saying the Legislative Council Finance Committee in 2017 approved an adjustment mechanism that – from July 1, 2018 – took into account the average annual Consumer Price Index. Lam’s predecessor, Leung Chun-ying, in 2015 freezed his own pay and that of his cabinet ministers after an 8.1 per cent salary increase recommended by an independent commission drew criticisms.

    In 2009, in response to the financial crisis, politically appointed officials in Hong Kong took a 5.38 per cent salary cut of their own accord. At a Legco finance committee meeting on Monday, pro-establishment lawmakers joined the opposition in slamming Lam for failing to do the same. Lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun, of the political group Roundtable, said it was “very ridiculous” for Lam to accept a salary increase while the city’s business sectors are facing difficulty. New People's Party lawmaker Eunice Yung Hoi-yan also said the government should bear the responsibility to overcome hardships with citizens.


    Bizarre pics of man ‘kissing people’s feet’ on the MTR shared widely

    sh33pymd
    By sh33pymd,

    Source:  Coconuts UK

    Photo: Tai Po 大埔 via Facebook

     

    Since the 

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    , we’ve seen plenty of photos of the amusing and resourceful ways that Hongkongers are protecting themselves from germs, with some (full-body astronaut costumes) more effective than others (snorkels, bras, a surgical mask worn over the eyes).

    Last week, a new set of “man on the street” photos started making the rounds online – but instead of depicting some ingenious distancing method or DIY hygiene measure, the pictures showed a man apparently kissing the bare feet of various MTR passengers. We’re not here to judge what gets people going, but between the public health crisis and the (reported) lack of consent, this is alarming, to say the least.

    Photos of a bald man removing a young boy’s sock on an Island Line train were first shared on a Facebook group for Shau Kei Wan residents last Thursday afternoon. In the caption, the poster said she saw the man get on the train at Shau Kei Wan, approach two schoolboys and begin talking to them.

    “The kid with the backpack was smart and stood up very quickly, but the other one didn’t react as fast. […] The bald guy took off [the second boy’s] shoe and sock, kissed him on the sole of his foot, and got off the train at Sai Wan Ho,” she wrote. “After he left, I went over and gave the boy a disinfectant wipe to clean his foot and asked him if he knew the man. He said no.”

    Despite the fact that he physically harassed a child in a public place – during a goddamn pandemic, no less – the man apparently continued riding the rails, footloose and face mask-free. Later that day, a member of a Tai Po Facebook group shared pictures of a similar-looking bald man kissing and rubbing his face against the bare feet of an adult man in a red T-shirt.

    According to Headline Daily, 

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    , “[the red-shirted man] couldn’t escape and was gripping onto the poles to stop [the bald man] from pulling him to the floor. The rest of us passengers kept a safe distance and were watching it as if it was a performance.”

    We have so many questions, namely: “Why?” and “Hey man, is your name Zac Efron? Because this is Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile”. We’re not shaming anyone’s kinks, but we do have a problem with people who harass children, ignore consent, and endanger the health of others. Sadly, we don’t have any answers, but please let us know if you have any more information about this man and his reign of toe-tal terror.

     

     


    Hong Kong Budget 2020: HK$10,000 cash handouts for all adult permanent residents among raft of relief measures

    sh33pymd
    By sh33pymd,

    Source: HKFP/SCMP/On.cc

    Edited by sh33pymd@asianeu.net/forums/

    bkn-20200226112100611-0226_00822_001_01p.jpg?20200226190223

    Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po is announcing a huge relief package for Hongkongers. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

    Dozens of members from pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong protested outside the Legislative Council ahead of the budget speech. Photo: Joanathan Wong

    Hong Kong permanent residents aged 18 and above will each receive a cash handout of HK$10,000 (US$1,200) in a HK$120 billion (US$15 billion) relief deal rolled out by the government to ease the burden on individuals and companies, while saving jobs.

    Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po confirmed an earlier Post report when he unveiled the payment during his budget speech on Wednesday morning, along with a full guarantee on loans taken out by companies to pay wages and taxes. He has been under intense pressure from lawmakers to dip into the government's large fiscal reserves of about HK$1.1 trillion to help the city ride out the economic slump. The economy has been battered by the 

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    , sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill. The relief package of HK$120 billion doubles last year’s sum.

    KEY MEASURES

    • Every Hong Kong permanent resident aged above 18 will receive HK$10,000 in cash, while the government also offers 100 per cent guarantee to Hong Kong companies taking low interest loans
    • Individuals will receive rebates in salary and property tax, other government fees and a month of lower public housing rent
    • The monthly allowance for low income families will be doubled and fees waived for public examinations to get into universities
    • Lower profit tax for companies, government rents and rates to be reduced, electricity bills will be subsidised

    Man hands himself in after 29 pets hurled from window of New Territories block

    sh33pymd
    By sh33pymd,

    Source: SCMP/On.cc/Youtube

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    A 49-year-old man surrendered himself to police on Monday night in connection with the discovery of 29 pets which were apparently hurled from a window of his high-rise residential block in Hong Kong.

    Fifteen of the animals – nine chinchillas, a guinea pig, a cat, two rabbits, a parrot and a rodent – died from the fall. The 14 surviving pets – nine cats and five chinchillas – were sent to a clinic in the Wan Chai headquarters of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), for examination and treatment. “It remains to be seen if they can make a recovery,” one police source said on Tuesday. They were all found in a path and on the hillside behind block 19 of private housing estate Hong Kong Garden, off the Tsing Lung Tau section of Castle Peak Road in the New Territories last Friday. Police arrested the suspect, a local resident, for cruelty to animals, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of three years in jail and a fine of up to HK$200,000 (US$25,600). As of 1pm on Tuesday, the suspect was being detained at Tsuen Wan Police Station for questioning, and had not been charged. The SPCA said it was helping police to treat the injured animals and keep them for evidence.

    Officers were called to the housing estate soon after 1pm last Friday when a security guard made the grim find. The animals were found either dead or severely injured, most of them scattered on the ground and in a ditch next to the building. Four of the injured cats were found on a nearby slope on Saturday and Sunday. The carcasses were handed to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for examination, according to the SPCA. The source said extensive inquiries led officers to the fifth-floor flat of the building, where police believed the animals were kept prior to the discovery. He said the registered occupant of the flat was identified, but he was not at home during a police raid over the weekend.  “Police executed a search warrant on the premises and recovered evidence from inside that suggests the animals were kept there as pets prior to being dropped from a height,” the source said. The suspect was arrested when he turned himself in to police at Tsuen Wan Police Station, accompanied by his lawyer, on Monday evening.

    The source said officers were still trying to find out why the pets were thrown from the building, and whether the man was their owner. It was understood the cats did not have identification chips. The source said further arrests were possible. Police appealed to anyone with information about the case to call investigators on 3661 2420.


    'Ip Man 4: The Finale' becomes third highest grossing Chinese film at North American box office in five years

    sh33pymd
    By sh33pymd,

    Source: shinje.cnnew/On.cc

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    Chinese martial arts film "Ip Man 4: The Finale" grossed more than US$310,000 in its third weekend in North America with a 19-day total of US$3.49 million through Sunday, making it the third highest grossing Chinese film at the North American box office in recent five years.

    According to the studio figures released on Monday by US analytics firm Comscore, the latest installment in the Chinese martial arts film franchise Ip Man brought in US$316,437 from 119 locations with a modest per-theater average of US$2,659, ranking 25th among 79 films on the North American weekend box office chart. "Ip Man 4: The Finale" passed 2016's fantasy film "The Mermaid" which grossed US$3.24 million in North America to become the third highest grossing Chinese film at the North American box office in recent five years, only behind sci-fi blockbuster "The Wandering Earth" and animated hit "Ne Zha" which took in US$5.87 million and US$3.67 million last year in North America, respectively.

    "Ip Man 4: The Finale" was released by Well Go USA Entertainment in Chinese and English with English and Chinese subtitles in select North American cities including Sacramento, New York and San Francisco. Directed by Wilson Yip, the new film sees Donnie Yen reprising the title role as the legendary Wing Chun kung fu master. In the film, following the death of his wife, Ip Man travels to the United States in order to ease the tensions between the local kung fu masters and his star student, Bruce Lee, and gets involved in a dispute between local armed forces and a Chinese martial arts school in San Francisco's Chinatown.

    The US review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives "Ip Man 4: The Finale" a score of 92 percent based on 24 critics' reviews and 3,397 Internet Movie Database (IMDb) users have given a weighted average vote of 7.5 out of 10 for the film to date.


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