• Insensitive? Senator Dela Rosa slammed by netizens for ‘Sarap buhay’ joke
    News
    Coconuts Manila

    Insensitive? Senator Dela Rosa slammed by netizens for ‘Sarap buhay’ joke

    Oh boy, what has pro-government Senator Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa gotten himself into? The neophyte lawmaker is once again in the center of controversy after he made a joke yesterday that rankled netizens, who felt that it was way too insensitive. During the end of a hearing, which some lawmakers virtually attended through Cisco Webex, ...This article, Insensitive? Senator Dela Rosa slammed by netizens for 'Sarap buhay' joke, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!

  • FIBA releases guidelines for return to basketball
    Sports
    Sunstar

    FIBA releases guidelines for return to basketball

    FIBA, basketball’s international governing body, has released guidelines for national federations to follow once basketball is allowed to return in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.The document,

  • Jimsky: Latagaw og utok #8
    News
    Sunstar

    Jimsky: Latagaw og utok #8

    Comic strip by Josua Cabrera

  • Covid-19 quarantine facility on church grounds opens
    News
    Sunstar

    Covid-19 quarantine facility on church grounds opens

    THE Bayanihan Cebu Executives and International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) Field Center was turned over to the Department of Health (DOH) 7 on Tuesday afternoon, May 26, 2020.The DOH 7 will operate the

  • Ex-public servant Amay Abella dies
    News
    Sunstar

    Ex-public servant Amay Abella dies

    LAWYER Marie Velle “Amay” Abella who ran for a south district seat in the Cebu City Council in the May 2019 elections has died. She was 37.Cebu City South District Rep. Rodrigo “Bebot” Abellanosa

  • Prosecutor: With teen killer dead, his cases will be junked
    News
    Sunstar

    Prosecutor: With teen killer dead, his cases will be junked

    THE murder case of Renato Llenes—the self-confessed killer of 16-year-old Christine Lee Silawan—will be automatically dismissed after he was found dead inside a cell in the Lapu-Lapu City Jail on Sunday,

  • Man kills son in Dumanjug
    News
    Sunstar

    Man kills son in Dumanjug

    A DRUNKEN man was arrested after he stabbed his 24-year-old son to death in Barangay Bitoon, Dumanjug, Cebu past 2 a.m. Tuesday, May 26, 2020.Suspect Reynaldo Suize allegedly stabbed his son Rey Vincent

  • Police seize P40M ‘shabu’ in Bohol, uproot P3M marijuana in Danao
    News
    Sunstar

    Police seize P40M ‘shabu’ in Bohol, uproot P3M marijuana in Danao

    SIX kilos of “shabu” worth P40.8 million was seized after the arrest of five persons in separate drug busts in Tagbilaran City, Bohol on Monday afternoon, May 25, 2020.The anti-narcotics operations

  • Church activities slowly resume in areas on GCQ, MCQ
    News
    Sunstar

    Church activities slowly resume in areas on GCQ, MCQ

    MASSES with a congregation, baptisms, confessions and weddings will be allowed in parishes in Cebu, particularly in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) status or modified community quarantine

  • 63 ‘recovered’ Covid patients from Labangon sent home
    News
    Sunstar

    63 ‘recovered’ Covid patients from Labangon sent home

    CEBU City logged 96 new coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.The new cases came from Barangays Lahug (one), Sawang-Calero (one), Tejero (one), Camputhaw (one), Labangon (three),

  • Cebu private schools get ready for mixed online, on-site learning
    News
    Sunstar

    Cebu private schools get ready for mixed online, on-site learning

    AN OFFICIAL of the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (Cocopea) has appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to allow experts from both public and private sectors to continue finding

  • Haul of flammable solution capable of producing dozens of firebombs found hidden in Hong Kong boutique
    News
    South China Morning Post

    Haul of flammable solution capable of producing dozens of firebombs found hidden in Hong Kong boutique

    A haul of flammable solution that could produce dozens of firebombs and be used to attack police in anti-government protests was found hidden in a Hong Kong boutique, a senior officer said on Tuesday.Five plastic jerrycans of paint thinner and several cans of petrol were discovered along with more than 20 empty bottles, 20 gas canisters and some protective gear such as gas masks and goggles in a boutique in Wan Chai at about 10am, assistant Wan Chai district commander (crime) Superintendent Kwan Chung-yin said.The dangerous goods were discovered when officers arrested suspects in connection with a firebomb attack at Happy Valley Police Station on March 30.At about 2.15am that day, three black-clad men got off a car on Kwai Fong Street and hurled three bombs at the police station’s car park.The fire burned out before firefighters could arrive. The fourth flaming projectile landed on Kwai Fong Street, leaving a parked car blackened. No one was injured in the incident. The three men fled in the same car, driven by another person, after launching the attack.After identifying the suspects, officers swooped into action and arrested four men aged 18 to 44 in North Point, Chai Wan, Wong Tai Sin and Tsz Wan Shan at about 10am on Tuesday.Around the same time, officers raided the Wan Chai boutique run by the family of one of the suspects, aged 23, who was picked up in North Point. Petrol bomb attack at Hong Kong police married quarters in Sheung ShuiKwan said the dangerous goods were found inside the storeroom of the boutique. In the shop, officers caught the 20-year-old brother of the suspect arrested in North Point.Police also arrested the mother of the two brothers in Wan Chai for attempting to pervert the course of justice.“Investigation showed she had sent a text message from her mobile phone, asking her younger son to destroy evidence,” the superintendent said.He said police were still investigating the possible uses of the dangerous goods.On Tuesday evening, the six suspects were being held for questioning. None of them had been charged.Security around police stations and officers’ quarters has been enhanced since January, after a message which read “burn doghouse” was posted on Telegram, an app used by anti-government protesters who use the term “doghouse” to refer to officers’ homes. Two charged over protests against national security lawHong Kong has experienced months of protests sparked in June last year by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, which would have allowed the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions – including mainland China – with which it does not have any such agreements.Since the protests began last June, radicals have destroyed traffic lights, set street fires, attacked police stations, vandalised rail facilities, shops and banks, and occupied universities. They have also attacked police officers on the front lines, hurling petrol bombs and bricks.Police responded by firing more than 16,000 rounds of tear gas, 10,000 rubber bullets, 2,000 beanbag rounds and 19 live rounds.Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.More from South China Morning Post: * Petrol bomb attack at Hong Kong police married quarters * Black-clad men hurl petrol bombs at Hong Kong police stationThis article Haul of flammable solution capable of producing dozens of firebombs found hidden in Hong Kong boutique first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • JD boosts logistics network as China’s e-commerce players prepare for spending frenzy at 618 festival
    Business
    South China Morning Post

    JD boosts logistics network as China’s e-commerce players prepare for spending frenzy at 618 festival

    Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has expanded its logistics network to support growth in online consumption in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and as more traditional merchants move online.The Beijing-based company has added three more automated Asia No. 1 logistics parks in Langfang, Hebei province, Dezhou, Shandong province and Zhengzhou, Henan province to increase its same or next day delivery service coverage for lower-tier cities ahead of China’s midyear shopping festival. This brings JD’s total number of automated parks to 28.“By leveraging big data forecasting for popular products, we are able to put the products closest to customers, so that customers can receive their parcels as fast as several minutes from when they placed the orders,” said a JD spokesman.E-commerce players in China have all been expanding their infrastructure to fulfil the needs of millions of online consumers, who typically go on a spending frenzy during the country’s annual midyear 618 online shopping festival, which denotes June 18, with weeks of presale promotions beforehand. This year’s event will be the first major shopping event since the end of lockdowns in China after the containment of Covid-19.Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao said it plans to increase overall shipping speed with some products delivered in under an hour to support the expected surge in online shopping demand during the 618 festival. The logistics company is deploying pick-up stations and fleets of self-driving delivery carts in regions and universities to increase delivery efficiency. Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.Cainiao also plans to deploy over 100 dedicated charter flights and more than 20 freight trains between China and Europe to support cross-border shipping during the sales campaign.According to Tmall, Alibaba’s online shopping platform, more than 100,000 brands have signed up for this year's Tmall 618, double the number last year, as the country’s domestic consumption recovers from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic and more bricks-and-mortar businesses flock to join the digital shopping spree.Xu Lei, chief executive of JD Retail, said in a conference call earlier this month that engagement from merchants and brands will be unprecedented in this year’s festival because of the pandemic. JD.com, US firm Cloudflare team up to challenge Alibaba in China’s cloud market“Because of the pandemic, brands, merchants and retailers will be highly active in participating in this years’ 618 shopping event, and it will be the most popular one among the industry and suppliers in 17 years [since it was initiated],” Xu said.JD.com is expected to help more than 150 brands sell over 100 million yuan in products through innovative initiatives and subsidy support, Han Rui, JD’s vice-president and head of retail said yesterday in a press conference.The fast-growing digital economy in China has enjoyed a boom during the pandemic, and e-commerce was highlighted in last Friday’s government work report at the country’s annual Two Sessions policymaking gathering. Together with online services, it “has played an important role during the Covid-19 response” according to the report.Over last month’s Labour Day holiday, online sales of physical goods surged 36.3 per cent year-on-year, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce. Online shopping is being seen as a key tool to help stimulate economic growth in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis and as the US continues to apply trade pressure.Sign up now and get a 10% discount (original price US$400) off the China AI Report 2020 by SCMP Research. Learn about the AI ambitions of Alibaba, Baidu & JD.com through our in-depth case studies, and explore new applications of AI across industries. The report also includes exclusive access to webinars to interact with C-level executives from leading China AI companies (via live Q&A; sessions). Offer valid until 31 May 2020.More from South China Morning Post: * JD boosts logistics network as China’s e-commerce players prepare for spending frenzy at 618 festival * China 2020 GDP forecasts left unchanged as size of Beijing stimulus disappoints * Donald Trump hints at willingness to walk away from China trade deal * China’s digital currency not set for launch as trials are ‘just routine’, central bank governor cools speculation * Huawei bucks downward trend to unseat Apple and take the lead in China’s tablet market amid pandemicThis article JD boosts logistics network as China’s e-commerce players prepare for spending frenzy at 618 festival first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • Hong Kong protests: two charged over Sunday’s demonstrations against national security law
    News
    South China Morning Post

    Hong Kong protests: two charged over Sunday’s demonstrations against national security law

    A leading member of a radical political group and a 16-year-old student have been charged over Sunday’s protests against Beijing’s planned national security law for Hong Kong.People Power vice-chairman Tam Tak-chi, 48, on Monday appeared in Eastern Court to face three charges after he was held for 46 hours following his arrest for unlawful assembly.The same court also heard the case of Wong Ho-yin, 16, which was brought for mention, but the student did not show up to face charges of riot and wounding, over the assault of a woman identified only as X, because he was still in hospital.The pair were among more than 190 people arrested – mostly on suspicion of unauthorised assembly, unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct in a public place – along the streets of Causeway Bay and Wan Chai on May 24.The protests erupted just hours after Vice-Premier Han Zheng, the state leader in charge of Hong Kong affairs, told local delegates to the national legislature that Beijing’s determination to push through the national security law should not be underestimated, and that mainland authorities would “implement it till the end”.Tam was charged with one count of disorder in public places and another of holding or convening an unauthorised assembly in relation to a gathering at the junction of East Point Road and Great George Street in Causeway Bay.He was also charged with one count of refusing or wilfully neglecting to obey an order given by a police officer to disperse prohibited group gatherings, contrary to the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation enacted during the coronavirus pandemic. Beijing expands scope of new national security law for Hong KongBut he was not required to indicate his plea to any of the charges as Magistrate Lam Tsz-kan adjourned the case to August 18, pending further police investigation.Tam was released on HK$2,000 (US$258) bail with the condition that he reported to police once a week and resided at the given address.Wong’s case was similarly adjourned, to May 29. But he could be brought to court on his discharge from hospital.Chief Inspector Lo Yin-lam said a woman was attacked by four people in Tin Hau at about 2.30pm on Sunday when she attempted to clear the rubbish bins and metal barricades obstructing the traffic.The assailants were said to have punched, kicked and hit the woman with a bamboo stick before they fled the scene.But the woman gave chase, caught a suspect and reported the case to nearby officers, Lo said.She was sent to hospital but discharged on the same day.Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.More from South China Morning Post: * Beijing ramps up efforts to allay concerns over national security law for Hong Kong while city’s pro-establishment camp also jumps into action * Hong Kong needs national security law because it is ‘easy target for hostile foreign opportunists’: former leader Tung Chee-hwa * What is Hong Kong’s national security law? * Hong Kong police ramp up security ahead of planned protests to disrupt Legco debate on national anthem lawThis article Hong Kong protests: two charged over Sunday’s demonstrations against national security law first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • Espinoza: Mandaue City should now be a MECQ or GCQ
    News
    Sunstar

    Espinoza: Mandaue City should now be a MECQ or GCQ

    THE prospect of Cebu City being reduced to the level of modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), or general community quarantine (GCQ) from ECQ is as gloomy as the dark clouds. As of last count,

  • Mandaue to allow tricycles to operate during GCQ
    News
    Sunstar

    Mandaue to allow tricycles to operate during GCQ

    TRICYCLE drivers and operators can operate once the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Mandaue City will be downgraded to general community quarantine (GCQ).The Mandaue City Council has adopted the

  • Stanley Ho: the Macau casino tycoon who set his sights far beyond the gambling table
    News
    South China Morning Post

    Stanley Ho: the Macau casino tycoon who set his sights far beyond the gambling table

    Stanley Ho Hung-sun, a businessman who shaped the course of history in Macau and Hong Kong over the past half-century, is best known for the wealth generated by his casinos.But the late entrepreneur’s contribution to wider society and the ambitious ideas he advanced went far beyond the gambling table.In 1989, he came up with a plan that involved leasing Hong Kong and Macau to the United Nations as its headquarters for 100 years.The scheme envisaged that would happen after the cities’ successive handovers to China in the late 1990s in an attempt to restore confidence there following the Tiananmen Square crackdown.Under his imaginative plan, the two cities would become the “Switzerland” of Asia, turning them into symbols of peace.Although the project never took off, it showed how much of a visionary Ho was.It also demonstrated he was no ordinary businessman, but a canny political operator with a broad understanding of the world that helped him successfully navigate the changes taking place in Macau, while building an empire that has survived multiple administrations.“He was always a Chinese patriot – and he served many times as a bridge between the interests of Macau and even of the Portuguese authorities’ interests with China,” said Jorge Neto Valente, head of the Macau Lawyers Association and a former lawmaker. Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho dies aged 98Although Ho’s role as an interlocutor between the two sides of the border was rarely publicised, he was involved in the discussions about the Basic Law – Macau’s mini-constitution – before the city’s handover to China in 1999, which came two years after Hong Kong’s return.Ho was a member of the Basic Law Consultative Committee of Hong Kong and a vice-chairman of the Macau Basic Law Drafting Committee.“He discreetly maintained his contacts with the Chinese authorities,” said Valente, who worked on several occasions with Ho.“And he was heard on issues that involved the local economy and politics during the drafting of the [Macau] Basic Law. He had a great and sharp understanding on many issues and was rarely wrong.”The proposal to bring the UN headquarters to the neighbouring cities was seen as testament to Ho’s political understanding of the region.“The June 4 incident [the Tiananmen crackdown] has shattered local confidence [in Hong Kong and Macau] and this crisis could be fully resolved if China announced in the near future the decision to lease Hong Kong and Macau to the UN after they revert to China,” Ho said at the time.“My proposal could boost China’s international image and freeze or even stop Hong Kong’s serious brain drain.”The casino tycoon pledged to help fund the plan if approval could be obtained from the UN, Britain and China. But despite the backing of prominent figures in Hong Kong, Ho’s proposal did not materialise.In the late 1960s, Ho shared his plan during a dinner with Liang Weilin, then director of Xinhua news agency’s Hong Kong branch, which was China’s de facto embassy in the city under British rule. Moore pays tribute to billionaire Ho, owner of champion horse Viva PatacaSeveral Hong Kong tycoons, including Li Ka-shing and Henry Fok Ying-tung, were also present at the gathering. But, according to Ho, Liang just smiled after he floated the idea.Despite Ho’s close relations with Beijing officials, he was also able to court the Portuguese authorities in Macau and the local community.“He was often heard by the [Portuguese] governors of Macau. In many of the most crucial decisions for the city, his opinion was very important,” lawyer Valente said.“But he would not brag about it … He would not come out and share the content of those meetings.”Valente noted that Ho turned down plenty of opportunities to enter politics. “He never wanted to take a position in the local politics – he preferred to have a discreet [political] participation and continue doing what he knew the best, which was creating wealth, not just for him, but also for the city and the region.”Miguel de Senna Fernandes, lawyer and president of the Macanese Association, also said that Ho – who had investments in Portugal – showed “great ability” in dealing with both the Chinese and Portuguese authorities.“In fact, he was always a good friend of the Portuguese. Many of his projects even took Portuguese names,” Fernandes said.“He was a first nature businessman, a visionary, who was able to convince the authorities of how credible his ambition was.“And he managed to transform Macau and revolutionise the gambling industry.” Stanley Ho’s daughter mounts legal action over family trustsHo held onto a four-decade monopoly until the liberalisation of the industry in 2002. But even after that, Ho’s firm – Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM), which was created in 2001, and a subsidiary of one-time gaming monopoly Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM) – continued to grow.SJM is still the largest casino operator in Macau by number of venues, with 22.Former SJM executive director Rui Cunha also noted that Ho worked with a number of administrations in some of the region’s major projects, such as the city’s airport and the Macau Cultural Centre.“[Ho] was a person of good character, friendly and respectful, and a good communicator with an extraordinary intellectual capacity,” Cunha said.His ability to build consensus was probably one of his greatest secrets for success, lawyer Valente said. “He knew how to adapt to all the circumstances and changes that happened over the past decades. That’s why he was able to maintain good relations with authorities in China, Macau and Portugal.”Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.More from South China Morning Post: * Stanley Ho, patriarch of Asia’s largest casino empire and the ‘King of Gambling’ for more than half a century, dies at 98 * Stanley Ho hailed: trainer John Moore pays tribute to billionaire horse owner – ‘he only wanted the very best’This article Stanley Ho: the Macau casino tycoon who set his sights far beyond the gambling table first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • Xi Jinping tells Chinese army to step up preparations for combat as budget rise is blamed on security threats
    News
    South China Morning Post

    Xi Jinping tells Chinese army to step up preparations for combat as budget rise is blamed on security threats

    The Chinese army has to step up its preparedness for armed confrontation and become more capable of carrying out military tasks, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, as the country’s increase in defence spending was defended and attributed to security threats.Xi told Chinese military officers on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had performed well in helping to contain the Covid-19 outbreak but should explore new ways of training during the pandemic.“It is necessary to explore ways of training and preparing for war because epidemic control efforts have been normalised,” Xi was quoted by the state-run Xinhua news agency. “It is necessary to step up preparations for armed combat, to flexibly carry out actual combat military training, and to improve our military’s ability to perform military missions.”Xi, who chairs the Central Military Commission, said the pandemic had created challenges for the military, but China’s integration of the civil, military and political spheres had been an advantage during the crisis.His meeting with PLA officers came as China announced a 6.6 per cent year-on-year increase in its defence budget.Defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian said China was facing heightened security threats, especially from Taiwan’s independence-leaning ruling party.“The Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] authorities in Taipei are relying on external forces and going further down the path of separatism,” Wu said on the sidelines of the parliamentary gathering. “The situation against separatism is getting grimmer.” Is PLA planning to seize Taiwanese islands in South China Sea?Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent his congratulations to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on her inauguration for a second term in office, along with an approval for the United States’ sale of US$180 million worth of submarine-launched torpedoes to the self-ruled island.Wu told reporters that China faced new risks and challenges in national security, including unilateralism by “some countries” that was shaking international security and escalating geopolitical risks, as well as what he said were increasingly complex domestic security threats and secession movements.“We have to make economic calculations but above that we have to make security calculations when we consider military spending,” Wu said when asked about this year’s defence budget. China’s military seeks bigger budget amid growing threat of US conflictDespite the economic decline in the first quarter of the year, Beijing last week announced 1.27 trillion yuan (US$178 billion) in defence spending, up 6.6 per cent year on year.Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan and threatens to use force to reunify it with mainland China, if necessary. The two sides have halted dialogue since the independence-leaning DPP won the island’s general election in 2016 – it did so again in 2020 – and military tension has mounted as relations between Beijing and Washington have steadily deteriorated, while the US has increased its support to Taipei.The US switched its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but maintained unofficial ties with the former, including through arms sales to the island. Tsai has vowed to bolster Taiwan’s defence capability, and in the past year the US has sold it US$2.2 billion worth of battle tanks and surface-to-air missiles, along with US$8 billion of F-16 fighter jets.Wu said the US arms sales were “extremely wrong and very dangerous”, and added that any attempt by the DPP to seek independence by force would “end up in history with shame and disgrace”. How would China attack Taiwan? A video outlines one scenarioHe said the military budget was still “far behind” what was needed to protect China’s sovereignty, security, development and other interests, adding that “moderate and stable growth” in spending was reasonable.China’s official defence budgets have long been criticised as opaque, but Wu said they were always “open and transparent”.Yoram Evron, an expert on China’s military at the University of Haifa’s department of Asian studies, said the spending reflected Beijing’s feeling of insecurity.“China doesn’t feel safe enough – externally but maybe also internally – to slow down its military build-up, no matter what the economic circumstances are,” he said. “But at the same time it is still constrained by economic developments and it probably doesn’t want to project an aggressive image.”Sign up now and get a 10% discount (original price US$400) off the China AI Report 2020 by SCMP Research. Learn about the AI ambitions of Alibaba, Baidu & JD.com through our in-depth case studies, and explore new applications of AI across industries. The report also includes exclusive access to webinars to interact with C-level executives from leading China AI companies (via live Q&A; sessions). Offer valid until 31 May 2020.More from South China Morning Post: * China’s Hong Kong garrison ‘ready to safeguard national security’ in the city * Coronavirus spares China’s armed forces but disrupts PLA modernisation plansThis article Xi Jinping tells Chinese army to step up preparations for combat as budget rise is blamed on security threats first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • Cebuanos in Negros Oriental may return home via Samboan
    News
    Sunstar

    Cebuanos in Negros Oriental may return home via Samboan

    CEBUANOS who are stranded in the province of Negros Oriental may now return to their homes via sea travel through the Negros-Samboan route.In a Facebook post Monday evening, May 25, 2020, the Municipal

  • SKY subscribers can now manage their subscriptions online
    Technology
    Sunstar

    SKY subscribers can now manage their subscriptions online

    SKY subscribers can now maximize digital platforms in managing their subscriptions as a new normal begins to limit the movement and reshape the Filipino’s way of life amid the enhanced community quarantine

  • Uber offers to move Asia-Pacific headquarters to Hong Kong if city legalises service
    News
    South China Morning Post

    Uber offers to move Asia-Pacific headquarters to Hong Kong if city legalises service

    Uber has put an offer on the table for the Hong Kong government amid investor fears over Beijing’s proposed national security law – it will move its regional headquarters to the city if the ride-hailing firm is allowed to operate here legally.Revealing the deal on Tuesday, Uber Hong Kong general manager Estyn Chung promised the move would create jobs, bring top-class talent and help create an innovation and engineering hub in the city, which has been ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic.He said the amount of investment and the number of jobs created would depend on the outcome of a discussion with the government.“Uber is ready to move its regional headquarters to Hong Kong … but regulatory certainty is key. It’s time for the government to regulate ride-sharing so we can bring jobs and investment to Hong Kong,” he said.However, Chung said the government needed to provide a regulatory framework that would allow the company to make the move possible.“It’s simply not possible for any business to make significant investments without regulatory certainty,” he said. “We’re asking the government and community leaders to sit with us and hear our vision and investment plan for Hong Kong, so together we can find a pathway to regulate ride-sharing.” Uber eyes headquarters move to Hong Kong, provided city changes regulations to legalise serviceThe US-based firm laid its cards on the table as it plans to relocate its Asia-Pacific headquarters out of Singapore in the next 12 months, with the pandemic hammering its business.But the offer comes at a time when Beijing’s proposed national security law has stoked fears of uncertainty about Hong Kong in the international business community, with many feeling the move could hamper the city’s business environment and jeopardise its role as a financial hub.The city is already battling the double whammy of the social unrest that erupted in June last year and the ongoing pandemic.We’re optimistic about the future of Uber in Hong KongEstyn Chung, general manager, Uber Hong KongHowever, Chung said the company was confident of Hong Kong’s economic future as Uber’s business in the city posted a strong rebound, achieving 70 per cent of its pre-Covid-19 figures.“We’re watching the situation closely. It’s a bit early to speculate what may happen … But we’re optimistic about the future of Uber in Hong Kong. “Despite operating in the city for six years, the firm’s rides have been deemed illegal for carrying passengers without a hire-car permit. It has also faced strong resistance from the local taxi industry, where there are 18,163 licensed taxis.In 2019, a year after merging its Southeast Asia operations with regional rival Grab, Uber opened its Singapore office to oversee operations in nine Asia-Pacific markets, including Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. At the time, the office had about 165 employees.Uber has been calling for a partnership with the Hong Kong government to address the city’s mobility future. However, the government has so far stood firm in cracking down on the service, with proposed increases in penalties for drivers caught providing illegal rides.The deal could create jobs and help boost Hong Kong’s economy. The government should take itFrancis Fong, honorary president, Hong Kong Information Technology FederationChung said the company would formally approach the government with its proposal in the next few days. “We want to make it clear that Uber is ready and willing to compromise, to find a fair and reasonable pathway forward,” he assured.Chan Man-keung, chairman of the Association of Taxi Industry Development, said if the government really wanted to open up the ride-hailing market to allow for Uber’s participation, it needed to resolve the long-standing issue of taxi licences currently priced at more than HK$5 million (US$645,000) each.“The government needs to be fair to taxi owners. They all invested a substantial sum of money to get their licence. The government could buy back all our licences and then it can reform the market as it pleases,” he said.“If the government doesn’t compensate for our losses, we’ll definitely oppose any deal with Uber,” he insisted.Chan said the taxi industry might also consider any counter proposal to offset their income loss, such as government subsidies for taxi owners and drivers. “But the subsidies have to be substantial so they could safeguard the taxi stakeholders’ basic profits,” he said. Hong Kong court allows Uber drivers to challenge definition of a traffic law that convicted themFrancis Fong Po-kiu, honorary president of the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, said the government should allow Uber’s legal operations in Hong Kong by relaxing regulations.“The deal could create jobs and help boost Hong Kong’s economy. The government should take it. But it should also find ways to balance the interests of the taxi sector, such as providing some form of subsidies to offset their loss of earnings,” he said.A spokeswoman for the Transport and Housing Bureau said the department noticed Uber’s proposed move but insisted that it was illegal to carry paying passengers without a hire-car permit.“To meet new demands in the community for personalised point-to-point public transport services of higher quality, the government has introduced the franchised taxi services bill to the Legislative Council. The government will continue to listen to views from the public,” she said.Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.More from South China Morning Post: * Uber eyes headquarters move to Hong Kong – provided city first changes regulations to legalise service, source says * Top Hong Kong court allows Uber drivers to challenge definition of a traffic law that convicted themThis article Uber offers to move Asia-Pacific headquarters to Hong Kong if city legalises service first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • Coronavirus: senior students to head back to classrooms in Hong Kong, but pupils over the border still stuck at home
    News
    South China Morning Post

    Coronavirus: senior students to head back to classrooms in Hong Kong, but pupils over the border still stuck at home

    About 150,000 senior secondary students in Hong Kong will return to school from Wednesday after a four-month class suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, but up to 2,500 of the city’s pupils who live across the border will continue to study online.Students from Form Three to Five will begin half-day classes under a phased resumption schedule, followed by lower forms next month.But education officials are still discussing with Shenzhen authorities arrangements for the daily commute of cross-border pupils, including mandatory virus tests and possible direct transport between checkpoints and schools. Masks, lost progress and summer break among questions facing Hong Kong schoolsThe return to classes might also be affected by plans of student concern groups from dozens of schools to stage sit-ins and class boycotts on Wednesday to protest against proposed national security and anthem laws for Hong Kong.Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung on Tuesday warned against non-cooperative movements at schools, which he said would jeopardise benefits students enjoyed, and called on pupils to avoid any illegal activities.According to a non-governmental organisation providing cross-border social services, parents living in mainland China with children who attend schools in Hong Kong are growing increasingly concerned over when they can return to the classroom.Schools in Yuen Long, Tai Po and North districts are among those with the most number of such pupils. Lin Chun-pong, vice-chairman of one of the city’s biggest school heads associations, said some schools would resort to teaching such students via live-streamed lessons or video make-up classes on weekends.Torres Lee Chi-hung, service coordinator at non-governmental group International Social Service Hong Kong Branch, said some parents of cross-border students worried their children would fall behind when local students returned to school.Some parents have already felt that online classes lacked effectivenessTorres Lee, service coordinator, International Social Service Hong Kong Branch“Some parents have already felt that online classes lacked effectiveness,” Lee said. “Now that local students can return to campus but [cross-border pupils] will be required to stay at home, parents feel a sense of unfairness, as well as having more [pressure] in nurturing their children.”Jan Kwok, whose 14-year-old son Howard Huang crosses the border for school, said the boy felt disappointed he would not be joining his friends in the classroom. “Our school has not confirmed how [cross-border] pupils will have lessons … it is rather frustrating for [us],” Kwok said.At the ELCHK Yuen Long Lutheran Secondary School, about 20 of 800 students live over the border, including about five at the senior secondary level. Principal Hairo Wan Ho-yin said that apart from giving online lessons, teachers would also provide make-up classes for them on Saturdays.“Of course we are concerned about their learning progress,” Wan said. “We will be checking on them and if we find they have been lagging behind, relevant adjustments will be made.”Some 480 local senior students will resume classes on Wednesday. To prepare for their return, the school has spent more than HK$160,000 (US$20,600) on infection-control measures, including nine ultraviolet light disinfection machines placed around the campus to sterilise books, laboratory equipment and other items.It has added as many as 40 acrylic partitions placed to teachers’ desks and larger tables in common areas.Under government guidelines, schools must space desks about a metre (3.2 feet) apart and ensure students wear masks during class and avoid gatherings. Tuck shops can remain open but social distancing should be maintained.Objects frequently touched by students must also be disinfected at least twice a day.Wan said the school library would operate at half its regular capacity, allowing in no more than 25 students at once. The tuck shop will be closed but students can bring their own snacks to eat during recess.The start and end of classes for different grades will be staggered so fewer students arrive all at once. If a pupil falls ill or displayed any symptoms, staff will immediately transfer him or her to a designated quarantine area and ask the student’s parents to take them to a doctor.Separately, a survey found most students reported feeling psychologically healthy despite being stuck at home for months. About 80 per cent of 507 primary and secondary pupils polled by The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong said they felt emotionally stable, with about 60 of respondents saying they felt “bored” at home and 42 per cent “happy”.The group urged schools to pay more attention to students’ learning progress after lessons resume, especially for those from lower-income families, to reduce the digital divide they might be facing because their computers were too outdated to allow online learning.Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.More from South China Morning Post: * Hong Kong schoolchildren living in mainland China unlikely to return to class when face-to-face teaching resumes next week * Coronavirus: some Hong Kong pupils return to school after four months of Covid-19 closuresThis article Coronavirus: senior students to head back to classrooms in Hong Kong, but pupils over the border still stuck at home first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • EU leader promises to put pressure on China over Hong Kong security law
    News
    South China Morning Post

    EU leader promises to put pressure on China over Hong Kong security law

    One of the European Union’s most senior leaders has promised to put more pressure on the Chinese authorities over their plans for a Hong Kong national security law, saying the bloc is “not naive” about China’s behaviour around the world.“Of course we attach great importance to the preservation of Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy,” Charles Michel, president of the European Council, which consists of the heads of government of all 27 EU nations, said on Tuesday.“We are in permanent dialogue with the Chinese authorities in order to express our opinions and to defend our interests. You know we also support the important principle, ‘one country two systems’.”This marks the highest-level statement from the European Union since the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, last week said it planned to impose a national security law in Hong Kong.Critics say it will undermine the city’s rights and freedoms and the proposal has caused an international outcry, with US President Donald Trump vowing “serious” action should the law be implemented.On Monday, US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien likened the situation to one in which “China takes over” the city.Speaking at a press conference after a video conference with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Michel said: “We are very clear. As the European Union, we are not naive about Chinese behaviour at the international level.“We know it is important to cooperate even if we don’t share the same approach on different topics.” Beijing expands proposed national security law for Hong KongChinese President Xi Jinping is planning to meet EU leaders in Germany later this year, and Michel said: “We are working with all the member states in order to prepare our strategy, in order to prepare our position towards China.“China is an important actor at the international level, but we are convinced that it’s essential, as the European Union, to promote more our values which are very strong, as you know, but also to defend more our interests and also our economic interests.”On Monday the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, called for a “more robust” approach towards Beijing.“China is getting more powerful and assertive and its rise is impressive and triggers respect, but also many questions and fears,” he told German diplomats.“Our relations [with China] must be based on trust, transparency and reciprocity. This is not always the case today. We only have a chance if we deal with China with collective discipline,” he said.“We need a more robust strategy for China, which also requires better relations with democratic Asia.”The EU’s meeting with Abe was also attended by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who pledged to strengthen the bloc’s geopolitical role when she took office in December.The EU has also emphasised the role of Japan as a “like-minded partner” in Asia, which shares its values of democracy and human rights.The meeting on Tuesday focused mostly on joint efforts for a post-coronavirus economic recovery.Abe and his European counterparts “discussed the geopolitical situation in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic,” according to a joint press release.“They confirmed that access to transparent, timely, reliable and fact-based information is crucial for an effective global response to the pandemic.“It constitutes the foundation of good governance and reinforces the resilience of our societies and democracies,” it said.Help us understand what you are interested in so that we can improve SCMP and provide a better experience for you. We would like to invite you to take this five-minute survey on how you engage with SCMP and the news.More from South China Morning Post: * China’s Hong Kong garrison ‘ready to safeguard national security’ in the city * China trying to divide and rule in Europe, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says * EU’s top diplomat calls for ‘more robust’ stance on China as US power starts to waneThis article EU leader promises to put pressure on China over Hong Kong security law first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • Editorial: Accommodation sector returns
    Health
    Sunstar

    Editorial: Accommodation sector returns

    ONE of the hardest hit by this pandemic is the tourism sector. It might need to have a full-scale plan right off for the “new normal” so it can get back on its feet as quickly as possible.On May 22,

  • Carvajal: Hazy crystal ball
    News
    Sunstar

    Carvajal: Hazy crystal ball

    COVID-19 splashed down on the global village like an invader from outer space. It attacked the entire village; hence the only way to fight it is together as one and not separately. There are, however,