37 pct of the social housing applicants rejected xi demands msar prepare for the unexpected The Housing Bureau has released the list of residents granted social housing units, having approved over 3,800 applications The Chinese President Xi Jinping said that he wants the Chief Executive and the new gov’t to be prepared for the unexpected P2 us, nato mark end of mission to afghanistan P3 P14 MON. 29 Dec 2014 T. 11º/ 17º C H. 50/ 80% N.º 2218 Blackberry email service powered by CTM MOP 5.00 HKD 7.50 FOUNDER & PUBLISHER Kowie Geldenhuys EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Paulo Coutinho WORLD BRIEFS AP PHOTO CHINA Two fire chiefs and two poultry farm bosses have been convicted and sentenced to prison terms of up to nine years in relation to a fire at a plant in northeastern China last year that killed 121 people and injured 76 others, state media reported Saturday. GREECE A fire erupted on a ferry carrying 478 people from Greece to Italy yesterday, leaving one person dead and trapping hundreds on top decks as gale-force winds and choppy seas hampered evacuation. The Italian Navy said that the victim and an injured person were transported by helicopter to the southern Italian city of Brindisi. More on backpage With articles republished from China zombie factories kept open to give illusion of prosperity F1 PAULO BARBOSA “ THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ ” AirAsia plane missing with 162 people aboard P11 MACAU 2 29.12.2014 mon th Anniversary 澳聞 37 percent of the social housing applicants rejected measures,” she reiterated. The Housing Bureau revealed that there are a total of 1,600 social housing units in Macau, with the majority built in Coloane. 2,700 more social housing apartments are scheduled to be built in Taipa and the Ma- T hE Housing Bureau has released the list of residents granted social housing units, having approved over 3,800 applications. However, about 37 percent of the applications were not approved. Applicants who were not approved either did not submit the required documentation, or their monthly income exceeded the maximum established to apply for social housing units. Chan Kuan Kit, head of the bureau’s Social Housing Department, said that they hope for some of the families to move into the units next March, TDM reported. “Firstly, we will handle the temporary housing subsidy and then we will arrange for them to move in as soon as possible. We estimate that in January we will issue a letter to the applicants and we will inform them to move as early as March,” he added. While waiting for a social housing flat, residents can apply for a government subsidy, which can be granted until they move into the new apartments. Lawmaker Au Kam San has urged the bureau not to be too strict when analyzing applications, as these citizens are amongst the most vulnerable group in Macau’s society. Out of 6,146 applications, only 3,841 were granted a social housing unit. “The social housing is actually a social protection network. This network shouldn’t solely protect those who have never bought a house; it should also protect tho- N EW heads of the Judiciary Police (PJ) and the Public Security Police Force (PSP) were sworn in on Friday. Chau Wai Kuong moved from the PJ deputy director to the authorities’ director, and Leong Man Cheong, who had served as the assistant to the Commissioner General of Unitary Police Service, took office as the new PSP Commissioner. During the ceremony, Chau vowed that the PJ would adhere to the concept of being “people-oriented and citi- Maybe they should loosen the limit of the maximum monthly income LEONG KWAI PENG cau peninsula over the coming years. Many residents were satisfied to see their names on the list, but are unsure how long it will take for them to be able to move in. Macau resident Ms Lei told TDM News that she hopes the government can speed up the process, as she has nowhere to live but her daughter’s house. “My daughter and I are only getting a subsidy from the government. How can we afford private housing units, which will leave us no spare money for food?” another resident questioned. Applicants examine the list for public housing se who have been bankrupt before. We can’t ignore these people who need society’s protection,” said Au Kam San. A member of the Public Housing Affairs Committee, Leong Kwai Peng, criticized the bureau for taking too much time to approve applications. In addition, she suggested the bureau adjust its criteria while “loosening up their reins.” “Maybe they should loosen the limit of the maximum monthly income. They should also loosen up the limit for those applicants who have purchased a house or have benefited from previous housing subsidy schemes; they should deal with it with different ceramic tiles shed off in edifício do largo SIX BUILDINGS of the Edifício do Largo public housing complex have seen ceramic tiles shedding off the walls in their public hallways this winter. The fifth building suffered the severest wall tile shedding and loosening, whereas about two–thirds of its stories need repairs in the wall. So far, the shedding hasn’t caused any injuries, yet some residents have complained that the two-year old public housing units are of poor construction quality. New heads of PJ and PSP take office The Secretary for Security, Mr Wong Sio Chak, oversees the inauguration ceremony of the Director of the Judiciary Police and the Commissioner of the Public Security Police Force www.macaudailytimes.com.mo MDT’s Website has logged over 84 million page views since January 1st, 2012 up to today. Thank You! Like us? facebook.com/mdtimes zen-first” in its law enforcement, as he believes that, “the interaction and mutual trust between the police and the citizens are the most effective policy for crime prevention.” Leong also stated that he will perform the duty of “guarding the laws and reassuring the people” and carry on the PSP’s “probity, efficiency and professional capability.” Chau Wai Kuong joined the PSP in 1984 and ser- ved in the Tactical Unit and Intervention Police team. He joined the PJ in 1988, where he served as the head of the Intelligence Division and head of the Criminal Investigation Department, as well as the PJ spokesperson. In August 2010, Chau was appointed deputy director of PJ. He also holds a PhD in Law from Renmin University. Leong Man Cheong joined the PSP in 1987 and DIRECTOR AND EDITOR-IN-CHIEF_Paulo Coutinho [email protected] MANAGING EDITOR_Paulo Barbosa [email protected] CONTRIBUTING EDITORS_Eric Sautedé, Leanda Lee, Severo Portela CHINA & FOREIGN EDITOR_Vanessa Moore [email protected] DESIGN EDITOR_João Jorge Magalhães [email protected] | NEWSROOM AND CONTRIBUTORS_Albano Martins, António Espadinha Soares, Brook Yang, Catarina Pinto, Cyril Law, Emilie Tran, Grace Yu, Irene Sam, Jacky I.F. Cheong, Jenny Philips, João Pedro Lau, Joseph Cheung, Juliet Risdon, Keith Ip, Renato Marques (photographer), Richard Whitfield, Robert Carroll (Hong Kong correspondent), Rodrigo de Matos (cartoonist), Ruan Du Toit Bester, Sandra Norte (designer), Sum Choi, Viviana Seguí | ASSOCIATE CONTRIBUTORS_JML Property, MacauHR, MdME Lawyers, PokerStars | NEWS AGENCIES_ Associated Press, Bloomberg, Lusa News Agency, MacauHub, MacauNews, Xinhua | SECRETARY_Yang Dongxiao [email protected] served as the Commander of the Tactical Unit and Intervention Police team, as well as the Head of the Department of Operations. In January 2014, Leong was appointed assistant to the Commissioner General of Unitary Police Service, taking charge of the Information Analysis Center. He graduated from the Academy of Public Security Forces in Police Science, and holds a masters degree in Law from the Macau University of Science and Technology. A MACAU TIMES PUBLICATIONS LTD PUBLICATION ADMINISTRATOR AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Kowie Geldenhuys [email protected] SECRETARY Juliana Cheang [email protected] ADDRESS Av. da Praia Grande, 599, Edif. Comercial Rodrigues, 12 Floor C, MACAU SAR Telephones: +853 287 160 81/2 Fax: +853 287 160 84 Advertisement [email protected] For subscription and general issues: [email protected] | Printed at Welfare Printing Ltd send newsworthy information and press releases to: [email protected] website: www.macaudailytimes.com.mo mon 29.12.2014 th Anniversary 澳聞 MACAU 3 T HE Chinese President Xi Jinping said that he wants the Chief Executive Chui Sai On and the new MSAR administrative team to bear responsibilities and prepare for the unexpected. Meanwhile, Premier Li Keqiang said that Macau is at the critical moment of development and adjustment, and that the central government “will continue to provide support to Macau as always.” Xi Jinping met Chui Sai On on December 26 in Beijing when the CE was presenting his work to the President. Xi said that the central government fully approves of the work of the MSAR government. Following the swearing-in of the new administration, the president wants the CE and the top officials to “be courageous in taking on responsibility and be good at accomplishing [duties].” He also hopes that the “Chief Executive Chui and the new administration can take on responsibility, enhance the awareness of their being in charge and be prepared for unexpected development in the future.” Moreover, Xi has asked the government to improve the administration of Macau and continue to push for the all-round development of the Macau economy. In response, Chui Sai On thanked the president for visiting Macau during the 15th anniversary of the MSAR and presiding over the swearing-in ceremony of the top officials. He also thanked the central government for its support, including the granting of two extra pandas to Macau, as well as launching the study on the administrative rights of Macau’s water. Before meeting the president, Chui Sai On met with premier Li Keqiang. The premier has also approved of the work of the MSAR government and the two CEs throughout the 15-year period after the sovereignty handover. “Macau is still at a critical moment of development and adjustment. The central government will, as always, provide all kinds of support to allow Macau to maintain this good trend and better develop and improve the livelihood of residents,” he said. The CE responded by giving V isitor arrivals in November increased by 15 percent year-on-year to 2,802,373, according to the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC). Same-day visitors accounted for 56 percent at 1,562,331. Visitors from mainland China surged by 28 percent year-on-year to 1,975,951, coming pri- President Xi Jinping receives the Chief Executive Chui Sai On in Beijing Xi demands MSAR prepare for the unexpected special thanks to Li Keqiang for the 24-hour border crossing at the Hengqin checkpoint and the additional opening hours of the Border Gate checkpoint, which the premier later said were the “special measures” the central government granted MSAR. Chui also expressed gratitude for a recently signed supplement to the Mainland and Macau Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), saying that it would contribute to new breakthroughs in the collaboration between Macau and the Guangdong province. Before his returning to Ma- cau on Saturday, Chui Sai On spoke to the media and summed up his visit. He said that after hearing Beijing’s instructions, he will emphasize work on different aspects where there are problems that must be solved. “We have listened to the instructions from the nation’s leaders. My team and I will submit the policy directives in March. We will try to make [the directives] compatible with my policy platform [for the CE election], as well as to match them with the works we need to thoroughly carry out,” he said. study on macau customary water territory launched CHUI SAI On revealed that the central government has already officially replied to the MSAR government regarding the launching of a study on the administrative rights of Macau’s customary water. He said that the study will be finished in December 2015 and the Macau government will actively support the study. “Currently, the customary water of Macau does not belong to the SAR. There is a series of applications, processes and approvals [needed for constructions such as] the reconstruction of the Patane Water Market and the ferry terminal. If the [administrative rights] of the area belongs to the MSAR, I think the administrative situation will be different from that of in the past,” he said. But the CE reiterated that Macau still has to apply to the central government if it wants to carry out any future reclamation after acquiring the administrative rights of the water territory. CE continues to defend Li Canfeng’s appointment C HUI Sai On said that he supported the Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Raimundo do Rosario, in appointing Li Canfeng as the new director of the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau. He said that the appointment of any officials is based on their academic qualifications and work experience. The conduct of candidates is also examined. The CE also refused to comment on Li’s testimony during the trial of the former Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Ao Man Long, or Li’s nickname of “director amnesia”. In addition, Chui Sai On conceded that there has been inadequacy in the government, particularly when handling the case of a one-year-old child who was denied TOURISM Nov visitor arrivals rise by 15 pct marily from Guangdong Province (898,373) and Fujian Province (78,196). The number of mainland visitors travelling under the Individual Visit Scheme also soared by 35 percent to 940,056. Meanwhile, visitors from South Korea increased by 8 percent to 41,592, while those from Hong Kong (508,122) and Taiwan (69,625) decreased by 3% and 19% respectively. However, long-haul vi- sitors from the United States (17,653), Australia (8,273), Canada (7,219) and the United Kingdom (6,402) all registered a year-on-year decline. The average length of visitors’ stays decreased entry to Macau because of alleged security reasons. According to Lusa news agency, the baby had the same name of one of the blacklisted individuals from Hong Kong, who are barred from entering the region. “We have publicly admitted [the problem] and a review must be carried out […] We are really sorry that this mistake has occurred,” Chui expressed. by 0.1 day year-on-year to 0.9 day in November. Overnight and same-day visitors recorded an average stay of 1.9 days and 0.2 day respectively. In the first eleven months of this year, visitor arrivals reached 28,985,562, representing an 8 percent increase year-on-year; same-day visitors numbered 15,584,268, surpassing the annual total in 2013 (15,056,359). Visitors from mainland China, South Korea and Japan increased year-on-year, while those from Hong Kong and Taiwan decreased. Moreover, long-haul visitors from the US recorded a year-on-year increase, but those from Australia, Canada and UK registered a decrease. MACAU HEALTH HK resident infected with H7N9 A 68-year-old woman from Hong Kong has been infected with the H7N9 virus – the first case reported in the neighboring SAR this winter. The woman presented symptoms consistent with H7N9 on December 19, which was then confirmed yesterday. She is currently in a critical condition, having been admitted to the intensive care unit. The patient had visited friends in Shenzhen, accompanied by two other people. She came back the same day to Hong Kong and told authorities she had not visited any market in Shenzhen, nor did she have contact with live poultry. Although there has been no reported case of H7N9 human infection in Macau, the Health Bureau said it has activated a contingency plan “adopting a series of preventive measures.” ad th Anniversary 澳聞 Alexis Tam will urge cabinet to reply promptly to AL enquiries T HE Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam said he will urge his cabinet to reply to lawmakers’ questions promptly. He pledged to set a two-day deadline for the cabinet to present legislators with answers to their written enquiries. The five government secretaries officially took their posts on Friday, after a swearing-in ceremony on December 20. Alexis Tam said that he greatly values the opinions of the Legislative Assembly lawmakers as well as citizens. Therefore, he seeks to improve the efficiency of responses by requiring his cabinet staff to reply to lawmakers’ enquiries within two days, the Government Information Bureau said in a statement. Furthermore, Alexis Tam recalled that matters in his cabinet’s portfolio are directly connected to the population’s daily life. He believes there is a need to solve citizens’ problems more efficiently. The Secretary added that he will be working toward simplifying administrative procedures in his cabinet, and urging departments to regulate personnel recruitment. PHOTO ARCHIVE 4 29.12.2014 mon Alexis Tam He recalled, however, that the Health Bureau needs to recruit more staff to better respond to the population’s needs. Mr Tam also revealed he already reduced manpower in his office from 26 staff members to 22, in order to maximize efficiency, TDM English News reported. The Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong also unveiled some of his plans for the years ahead. He revealed that his cabinet will establish a “measureable scientific system” to fully understand the non-gaming components of each gaming concessionaire in Macau. He added that his cabinet will also set up a system to monitor the gaming industry and to better allocate financial reserves. The Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan assured that it’s possible to restructure work functions in every department under her cabinet. Ms Chan said her team will prioritize the handling of overlapping duties of different services, namely the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau, the Cultural Affairs Bureau and the Sports Development Board. CP List of people banned from entering Macau lawful T HE Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak reiterated that the list of people prohibited from entering Macau ahead of Xi Xinping’s visit is lawful and aims to ensure security in the region. “We have a name list and we have professional knowledge and evaluation to decide who to reject. Of course they have the right to lodge an appeal, and the police will continue to review our work performance and to make evaluations,” he stated, as quoted by TDM English News. Furthermore, he reiterated that the list is drafted while taking into consideration that certain people may represent a threat to Macau’s security. Amid heightened security during Xi Jinping’s two-day visit on December 19 and 20, a group of about 14 Hong Kong activists and four Apple Daily reporters were refused entry to Macau. mon 29.12.2014 th Anniversary 廣告 ADVERTISEMENT 5 6 ADVERTISEMENT 29.12.2014 mon th Anniversary 廣告 mon 29.12.2014 th Anniversary T HE territory’s urban planning limitations, a vehicle overload, a flawed public transport system and the delay of the LRT launch are just some of Macau’s mobility issues - in a city where the government is still focusing on isolated measures, analysts believe. Having settled in Macau 30 years ago, architect Miguel Campina Ferreira is critical of the city’s transport policies, which he believes have been focusing “on a set of isolated measures that have translated into the chaos” that now faces residents and visitors. “There are circumstances that hinder circulation, namely the fact that the urban areas have in itself limitations. This already happened in the old neighborhoods and it will remain if [the government] chooses to maintain those districts’ urban morphology (…) In some cases, bad decisions have been taken when it comes to changing the road network,” he reiterated. Official data shows that Macau – comprising an area of 29.5 square kilometers and approximately 450 kilometers of road – had 237.503 vehicles in circulation by the end of October. The architect believes that the number of vehicles – which can be divided into private, public and those operated by gaming concessionaries - is one of the reasons for Macau’s transportation system and pollution problems. “We experience an overload as all these types of vehicles trigger an surplus and there hasn’t been any decision taken to limit or regulate [it],” he said. Architect Carlos Marreiros shared a similar opinion, highlighting traffic and parking systems as some of the areas in which we have experien- 7 According to data provided by DSAT, there are 13 McLaren vehicles registered in Macau. This is one of them MSAR 15TH ANNIVERSARY | TRANSPORT A city almost paused over traffic woes ced negative results, which prevent residents and visitors from enjoying the city’s places, streets and squares. He suggested the implementation of an automated parking system, which is designed to minimize the area or volume required to park cars. Mr Marreiros believes it is a less expensive solution taking into consideration the land costs. Another traffic woe highlighted by architect Campina Ferreira is related to taxis serving the city, which has triggered citizens’ dissatisfaction not only due to the number of taxis available (around 1,000) but also because of the service provided. Over 1,000 luxury cars on Macau’s roads M MACAU PAULO BARBOSA 澳聞 ACAU’S gaming revenues have dropped consecutively since June, but money hasn’t failed to appear in some residents’ pockets as a total of 1,096 luxury cars are registered in the city. Along its 450 kilometers of roads, there are 523 Bentley, 250 Rolls Royce, 158 Maserati, and 131 Ferrari models – quite a high number in a city affected by several traffic congestion issues. According to data provided by the Transport Bureau (DSAT), there is also one Lamborghini Veneno registered, a vehicle that can reach 350 kilometers per hour. The speed limit in Macau’s roads, however, only allows drivers to reach 80 kilometers per hour, and only along the city’s bridges connecting the peninsula to Taipa. McLaren has 13 registered vehicles here. The success of Rolls Royce in Macau has led the brand to open an exclusive shop providing different options on the vehicle interiors that can be designed according to the clients’ wishes and how much they’re willing to pay. Lamborghini has a total of 106 cars registered in Macau, namely the SE30, a vehicle launched to commemorate the brand’s 30th anniversary in 1994. There are only 150 units of this Lamborghini model. Clients can also choose personalized registration plates, as it happens with the Lamborghini Aventador LP700, which reads “ONE.” There are 19 personalized registration places in Macau. Those seeking to acquire one might have to prepare themselves to spend a high sum of money, with prices reaching MOP1 million for their registration plates to read “ONE” or “LOVE.” Those who wish to choose specific numbers, usually associated with luck and wealth, can bid at local auctions. Throughout the current year, three auctions generated additional revenue of MOP35.1 million, as 559 numbers were sold for cars’ registration plates and 484 numbers for motorcycles. “The unspeakable tale of taxis is yet another example of the way it has been dealing with public assets going against the most basic expectations of residents and visitors,” he stated. Discussed since 2004, the Light Rail Transit construction continues to fuel debate when it comes to its added value. Campina Ferreira is amongst more skeptical voices toward the LRT project, which was intended to start operating in 2011/2012, but is only due to begin operations in 2022. The architect criticizes the chosen technical solution: “It would be more convenient if [it had been developed] as an underground metro or at least at the same level of the roads, rather than a metro that will be circulating over our heads. This is only contributes to change the city’s features.” In addition, he also recalls that the metro’s routes are mainly intended to serve tourists. “The metro starts at the border, continues through [the city’s] outskirts and leaves them at the casinos. It can contribute to ease traffic congestion, but people will only use a public transport if it is indeed a benefit,” he argued. “How can a seven or eight years delay be explained? Is it a delay related to technical matters? Is Macau’s land different from that of other Asian countries or the rest of the world? The London metro was built toward the end of 19th century, whose soil is mainly comprised of clay. In Macau, at the beginning of the 21st century they are still discussing a project [being developed at] two paces: very slow or paused,” he stressed. The metro has also triggered criticism over the lack of an overall budget, which, according to an audit report, has suffered several cost overruns. The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, another major transport infrastructure under development, is set to be completed by 2016 and it is expected to bring Pearl River Delta regions closer together, but architect Campina Ferreira believes it will only worsen traffic woes, increasing the number of vehicles circulating with registration plates from Macau and other regions. Besides congestion, pollution is another concern: “There’s a need to act upon this, and reach the conclusion that there’s a need to introduce green vehicles immediately.” Addy Chan, vice-president of the Macau Institution of Engineers, shared similar opinions, stating that the government should act as an example and be the first entity using eco-friendly vehicles to encourage the population to follow in their footsteps. “This is very important for the future,” he said, adding that there is also a need to replace older vehicles with more environment-friendly cars as well as limit the number of vehicles in circulation. MDT/Lusa MACAU ARTS Flamenco queen Maria Pagés performed at CCM DAVID RUANO Leading a cast of seven dancers, Flamenco choreographer Maria Pagés performed at the Macau Cultural Center (CCM) last weekend. “Utopia” is an innovative flamenco piece conceived and performed by Maria Pagés Company, CCM revealed in a statement. The choreographer’s intense performance was interpreted to the sound of flamenco and live Brazilian music, it added. “Exploring imagination and idealism as vehicles for change, Utopia summons the words of writers like Baudelaire or Benedetti, inspired by architect Oscar Niemeyer’s drawings and ideals,” CCM stated. The idea for this flamenco piece took shape in 2010, when the Spanish choreographer visited Niemeyer’s studio in Rio. She was impressed by the architect’s humanity and commitment to society. She subsequently conceived a dance performance inspired by his solidarity, conveyed through body movements, light and sound. ad th Anniversary 澳聞 Passengers allegedly injured by taxi driver in Cotai T HE Macau Taxi Passengers Association (MTPA) has condemned what it described as “another horrendous incident” where one of its members claimed to have been assaulted and injured by a taxi driver early yesterday morning. According to MTPA, the incident took place between 5:20 a.m. and 8 a.m. in Cotai. The taxi driver allegedly demanded an illegal fare of MOP1,000 for a journey from Hard Rock Hotel to the Macau peninsula, which the association said would normally cost around MOP50. After the driver found out that one of the passengers – a young woman – was recording the conversation, he allegedly assaulted the woman by pushing her out of the car and onto the ground. The driver is also accused of driving into another person and causing a leg injury, which required hospitalization and an ambulance on the scene. The MTPA statement also suggested that the taxi driver fled the scene before the police arrived. “Our member also reports that police who attended the scene said there would be no RENATO MARQUES 8 29.12.2014 mon consequences,” the press release states. The Times checked MTPA’s Facebook page, where the report first emerged. The MTPA member who made the complaint claimed on the page that the driver had returned to the location after being contacted by the police. However, the member said the driver has denied all of the accusations. Andrew Scott, the president of MTPA, said that incidents like this are “hurting everyone in Macau.” He also criticized the inaction of the authorities, suggesting that it has further invigorated the irregularities of the drivers. “We seem to hear of an incident like this every week. Macau taxi drivers regularly engage in violence, usury and extortion because there is almost no enforcement and no serious consequences,” he said. “The inaction of Macau’s police, the taxi industry regulatory body DSAT, and of other authorities has emboldened Macau taxi drivers, especially night shift drivers, to the point they feel they can say and do almost anything.” Moreover, the president pointed out that, as a tourist destination, Macau and its tourism industry will suffer as a result of such behavior. “Macau is a tourism city and the number one factor in determining visitation to a tourism destination is perceived safety, so this chaotic and dangerous situation with Macau taxi drivers is hurting everyone in Macau. I am very concerned that soon we’re going to see a very serious injury or even a death resulting from Macau taxi-related violence. I implore the Macau Government to do something about this crisis before that happens.” This is the second incident this month in which taxi drivers allegedly injured others as a woman Macau taxi drivers regularly engage in violence, usury and extortion because there is almost no enforcement and no serious consequences ANDREW SCOTT was involved in a hit and run incident involving a taxi on December 10. The victim was riding a motorcycle along Avenida da Amizade when a taxi suddenly turned left and hit the victim’s right side before knocking her to the ground. The taxi did not stop after the collision occurred and the victim was sent to the hospital for treatment. JPL mon 29.12.2014 th Anniversary 分析 AP PHOTO Sony restores PS4 service on PlayStation network after hacking A shopper walks on the logo of Sony’s PlayStation 4 at an electronics store in Tokyo Oliver Renick and Pavel Alpeyev S ONY Corp. restored service for the PS4 game console on its PlayStation Network, according to a company statement on its website yesterday in Tokyo. The recovery came three days after Sony’s online gaming operation and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox Live were hit by connection failures on Christmas Day. Service was restored for Microsoft on Dec. 26, while the PlayStation Network briefly returned online yesterday for the PS3 and PS Vita game consoles. Sony said some users were experiencing difficulty logging into the network. Hackers calling themselves Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for the disruptions. The game networks were attacked on the same day Sony released “The Interview” online and in independent theaters, after major U.S. cinema chains decided not to show the movie following hacking incidents at the company’s film and TV studio last month. A different group called Guardians of Peace claimed responsibility for infiltrating Sony Pictures Entertainment’s servers, destroying data, exposing Hollywood secrets and forcing the studio temporarily to cancel the film’s release. “It’s not yet clear whether it’s just an outage of the PlayStation Network or if some personal data has been stolen too,” Hideki Yasuda, a Tokyo-based analyst at Ace Research Institute, said on Dec. 25. Lizard Squad, which took credit for an attack on Sony earlier this year, said on its Twitter account that it was behind the incidents. The group said it would “stop hitting” the services if users called attention to the hack by retweeting its statements. “The Interview,” a comedy about a fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was shown in more than 300 locations on Christmas Day without incident, and was also available for rent and purchase at the Xbox store, a Sony website and Google Play, among others. It topped the charts of the Xbox store and YouTube’s movie store. The limited release brought in more than $1 million in ticket sales on Christmas Day, Sony Pictures said. U.S. President Barack Obama blamed North Korea for orchestrating the attacks against Sony Pictures and vowed to respond. North Korea has said it doesn’t know the identity of the hackers claiming responsibility for breaking into Sony’s computer network. North Korea blamed the U.S. for an Internet outage it experienced, calling Obama “reckless in words and deeds” and charging him with forcing the release of the movie. “U.S. President Obama is the chief culprit,” the National Defence Commission said in a statement carried Saturday by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency. When Sony Pictures said it would withdraw the film, “Obama urged it to unconditionally screen the movie,” the statement said. Satoshi Nakajima, a spokesman for Sony’s games unit, said the company was investigating whether the attack on the PlayStation Network was related to the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack. E-mail and voice-mail messages to David Dennis, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, weren’t returned. By streaming the comedy via the Web, Microsoft and Sony took the risk of provoking denial -of-service hacking attacks. The hackers had warned that they intended to target the companies with such incidents on Christmas Day. Denial-of-service assaults can be difficult to deflect, even if a company has ample warning they’re coming, because they’re executed by thousands of hacked computers performing normal yet database-intensive activities, such as running searches or downloading videos, all at the same time. Cybercriminals targeted Sony in 2011 after it sued a young researcher when he exposed security vulnerabilities in the PlayStation 3 console. The 2011 hack involved the theft of personal data on 77 million PSN users. “Last time the network was down for a month and PS4 sales were little affected,” Ace Research’s Yasuda said. “A network outage won’t prevent people from buying the PS4. And this time it comes after the peak shopping season, too.” Bloomberg BUSINESS 9 10 CHINA 29.12.2014 mon th Anniversary 中國 AP PHOTO Agonizing, lonely search for missing kids in China Zhang Xiuhong, left, shows a ripped poster of her missing daughter, which she says was damaged by police, as her husband Yao Fuji arranges other photos, at their rented room in Beijing Jack Chang, Beijing I N the grainy video, Zhang Xiuhong can see her daughter ride her bike down a country road on her way to school one spring afternoon six years ago. In the next shot, Yao Li rides down a driveway a few moments after her classmates walk by. Then, the pictures stop: The 15-year-old disappeared just minutes after that surveillance footage was taken, leaving only a shoe as a clue in a nearby ditch. Zhang and her husband have since searched all over China for Yao Li, hoping to rescue her from a child trafficking industry that swallows up thousands of boys and girls every year. Along the way, the couple have also been harassed, arrested and jailed repeatedly by police who accuse them of stirring up trouble by joining with other parents and taking their search to the streets. “We go out and search, and then all these police surround us,” Zhang said in the dingy room she and her husband share near where her daughter was last seen. “Nobody’s watching for my daughter. Nobody’s doing anything. How can we have any more hope?” In a tightly monitored society where authorities detain even relatives of air crash victims demanding government action, Zhang and other parents of missing children have learned that they must fight on two fronts. First, they’re up against a sprawling, opaque network of abductors and illegal buyers and sellers of children. And since police efforts to find children often leave parents unsatisfied, they must negotiate with authorities to hunt for the kids themselves. As many as 70,000 children are estimated to be kidnapped every year in China for illegal adoption, forced labor or sex trafficking, making it one of the world’s biggest markets for abducted children, according to the state-run newspaper China Daily. By comparison, in the U.S., about 100 children are abducted annually by people who are strangers to them, said the Polly Klaas Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing crimes against children and assisting in the recovery of missing ones. The U.S. State Department said in its annual trafficking report this year that China “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.” Chinese authorities have tried to show they’re tackling the problem, including launching a special anti-kidnapping task force in 2009, which government media say has busted 11,000 trafficking gangs and rescued more than 54,000 children across the country. In October, the issue was highlighted in the Chinese-produced movie “Dearest,” which told the true story of a couple who found their abducted son after searching for three years. Still, many parents say they toil As many as 70,000 children are estimated to be kidnapped every year in China for illegal adoption, forced labor or sex trafficking largely on their own, with the police at best leaving them alone. Xiao Chaohua, whose son was 5 when he disappeared outside his shop in 2007, said appeals to government-run TV to broadcast pictures and names of individual children are largely rejected, as are suggestions to develop a Chinese version of U.S. Amber Alert warning systems to spread information about missing children through roadway signs or other means. “They won’t broadcast it because if they do, it’ll expose one of China’s problems — the fact that children go missing here,” Xiao said. The Public Security Ministry, which runs the anti-kidnapping task force, did not respond to several phone calls and a fax seeking comment. According to Pia Macrae, China director for the international nonprofit group Save The Children, Chinese police are often more willing to help families with greater means, and even then frequently don’t tell parents what they’re doing. “The parents feel un-communicated to and want to take actions,” Macrae said. “We have seen a real effort to reach out from the police to improve things and we hope it will get better.” While China has strengthened laws against trafficking and raised more public awareness of the issue, several parents said they were operating on their own. In fact, they said police harassment usually started when they gathered in groups of more than 20 wearing poster boards and handing out fliers with pictures of their children. Xiao said police have also stopped him when he drives his van pasted with photos of missing children. Chinese police regularly crack down on any groups they perceive to be organizing without government approval and threatening official authority, no matter the cause. The parents of missing children, however, refuse to give up. About 1,000 families have formed a Beijing-based support group that shares leads about missing children and negotiates with police to allow parents to search for their children. They often go to cities where child and sex trafficking rings are reported to be operating and try to track down suspected traffickers. “I’ve dedicated myself to finding him,” Xiao said of his son. “If I stop, I can’t do anything because I’ll be thinking of him.” Over the past six years, the group has found two children, both of them abducted from small cities and sold to adoptive families, Xiao said. The group found one boy in an orphanage in central Henan province, rejected by his purchasers because of a heart condition and just days from being sent overseas for adoption. After China toughened its antitrafficking laws in 2009, prices for abducted children shot up as much as tenfold to $32,000 for boys and nearly $10,000 for girls, he said. Children considered particularly attractive fetch even higher prices. Wu Xingfo, whose 1-year-old son was stolen while sleeping at home in 2008 in central Shanxi province, said he too has been harassed by police for trying to find his child. “All the parents in Shanxi created our own group to find our children, but the government said our act was causing trouble in society,” Wu said. “I’ve been imprisoned for two days. They’ve torn up the photos I’ve passed around of my son. I don’t understand why the police don’t take this seriously. It’s like you lost a dog or a purse to them.” Zhang — the woman whose daughter was last seen riding a bicycle — said she felt her “heart run cold” when police stormed a rally of more than a dozen parents she was attending in July in the southern city of Guangzhou, near where the country’s biggest trafficking networks are reported to operate. Like Xiao, Zhang and her husband, Yao Fuji, spoke with a haunting lack of emotion, clearly exhausted from years of anguish. “They say China has human rights, but this isn’t the case at all, not a single bit,” Yao said. “Before this happened with our child, we thought everything was great, just like we saw on TV. Now, we know it’s all fake.” As her husband spoke, Zhang silently replayed the video of her daughter riding to school, rewinding again and again to the moment she appeared on screen, just before she vanished. AP mon 29.12.2014 th Anniversary Andrew Janes, Kyunghee Park and Weiyi Lim I NDONESIAN authorities looking for an AirAsia Bhd. flight with 155 passengers and seven crew on board called off the search as darkness fell over the seas after a day of scouring yielded no clues on what happened to the Airbus Group NV jet. “It’s too dark,” J.A. Barata, a spokesman at the transportation ministry in Jakarta, said by phone. Rescue aircraft searching for the plane have returned to base, Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said in press conference in Jakarta broadcast on Metro TV. An international hunt began after QZ8501 lost contact with tower early in the day on a flight to Singapore from Surabaya. Singapore and Malaysia, where AirAsia is based, also joined the hunt for the missing aircraft while Australia offered help. “We’re devastated, but we don’t know what’s happened yet,” AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said at a press conference in Surabaya, broadcast live on TVOne. “The weather conditions weren’t good, there were storm clouds. The pilot had made a request to change altitude.” QZ8501 lost contact with airport controllers at 7:24 a.m. Indonesian time today, the Malaysia-based carrier said in a statement. The flight started in Surabaya, Indonesia, at 5:35 a.m. local time and was due to arrive in Singapore at 8.30 a.m. There’s a one hour time difference between the two countries. AirAsia, the region’s biggest budget airline, said there was no information on the fate of the passengers and crew of the Airbus A320-200. The pilot of the single-aisle jet requested to fly at a higher altitude because of clouds, Indonesia’s acting Air Transport Director Djoko Murjatmodjo said in Jakarta today. The journey to Singapore usually takes about two hours. The last signal from the plane was between the city of Pontianak on Borneo and the town of Tanjung Pandan on Belitung island. Indonesian authorities will focus their search around Belitung and expand that gradually, Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan said earlier. “The aircraft was on the submitted flight plan route and was requesting deviation due to en-route weather before communication with the aircraft was lost while it was still under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Con- ASIA-PACIFIC 11 XINHUA 亞太版 People related to passengers on AirAsia flight QZ8501 look on informations of the missing flight at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia Search for AirAsia aircraft called off after day-long hunt This is my worst nightmare. I as your group CEO will be there through these hard times. We will go through this terrible ordeal together TONY FERNANDES AIRASIA CEO trol,” AirAsia said in the statement. AirAsia had no fatal crashes in its history of more than a decade of operations, according to AviationSafetyNetwork, which tracks accident data. Today’s incident comes in one of the worst years in aviation for Asia, and Malaysia in particular. The Southeast Asian nation is still reeling from the crashes of two planes operated by state-run carrier Malaysian Airline System Bhd. Flight 370 vanished from radar screens en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur March 8 without warning, while MH17 was shot down in Ukraine in July. The two accidents killed a combined 537 people and caused ticket bookings to plunge. No debris of MH370 has been found in what has become the world’s longest search for a missing passenger jet. The aircraft was flying at 32,000 feet before it requested to go higher, Indonesian authorities said. There were storms along AirAsia’s flight path, Accuweather.com said on its website, citing their own meteorologist Dave Samuhel. Storms are very active this time of year, Samuhel was quoted as saying, adding that December and January are the wettest period of the year in Indonesia. The plane had two pilots, four flight attendants and one engineer on board, AirAsia said. While the company is based in Sepang, Malaysia, it operates with subsidiaries and affiliates in different countries. The missing plane belonged to the Indonesian operations of the budget airline. The captain in command had a total of 20,537 flying hours, including 6,053 hours with AirAsia Indonesia, and the first officer a total of 2,247, the airline said in a statement revising a previous press release. Of the 155 passengers, 138 were adults, 16 children and one an infant. The plane was carrying one Singaporean, a Malaysian, a person from France, one from the U.K., three from South Korea and 155 Indonesians, according to the latest AirAsia press release. Airbus, the Toulouse, France-based plane maker, said it’s aware of the reports about Flight 8501 and the company is in contact with the airline. The aircraft had undergone its last scheduled maintenance last month, the carrier said. Fernandes flew to Surabaya after the incident. “This is my worst nightmare,” he tweeted earlier. “I as your group CEO will be there through these hard times. We will go through this terrible ordeal together.” Fernandes, 50, bought AirAsia for 1 ringgit (29 cents) in December 2001 and assumed 40 million ringgit of debt, according to the airline’s website. Prior to running AirAsia, Fernandes was once an employee at Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. The airline had two old aircraft when Fernandes took charge. AirAsia had a total of 171 A320s in operations at the end of September, according to its quarterly operating statistics statement on its website. The Indonesia entity operated 30 planes, the statement said. The airline has units across several Asian nations, including India and Thailand. The single-aisle A320 is the most popular plane that Airbus makes in terms of sales numbers. The plane typically seats between 150 to 180 passengers, usually in six abreast configuration. More than 3,600 A320s are in operation worldwide as of November, according to Airbus’s website. Bloomberg 12 ADVERTISEMENT 29.12.2014 mon th Anniversary 廣告 th Anniversary 亞太版 MALAYSIA Liau Y-Sing M ALAYSIA evacuated more than 160,000 people and increased relief efforts as the worst floods in decades left at least eight people dead. The affected states are Kelantan, Kedah, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak, Johor, Perlis, Negeri Sembilan and Selangor, according to state news agency Bernama. The dead include an 18- month old toddler, The Star newspaper reported yesterday. Malaysia is grappling with floods caused by annual monsoon rains that may disrupt output of its key exports of palm oil and rubber. Prime Minister Najib Razak returned to Malaysia yesterday from the U.S. amid criticism for being on holiday while the nation contends with the flooding. “The situation is most critical where the water level is still rising in some areas, and there are also areas which were never flooded previously, but AP PHOTO Monsoon floods force 160,000 to evacuate, leave 8 dead Numbers of houses and buildings along a flooded river stand in muddy water in Malaysia National Park in Kuala Tahan, Pahang state, Malaysia are now facing serious floods,” Najib was cited by Bernama as saying at a press briefing yesterday in northeastern Kelantan state. “I strongly hope for cooperation from everyone to ensure that in the first phase, we can concentrate on rescue efforts and providing aid such as food, blankets, mats, candles and so on.” The government has allocated an additional 500 million ringgit (USD143 million) to help victims, after it earlier approved 50 million ringgit in aid, according to a report on The Star’s website citing Najib. These are the worst floods in Malaysia in 30 years, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was reported as saying by New Straits Times newspaper. The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry has mobilized more than 2,000 volunteers in eight flood-affected areas, with local fishermen assisting the armed forces in ASIA-PACIFIC delivering aid, Bernama reported. Palm oil had its biggest weekly gain since October on lower supply amid concerns that the harvest may be interrupted. No outbreak of disease has been reported at evacuation centers since the flood hit Terengganu almost two weeks ago, Bernama reported yesterday, citing State Health, Women, Family and Community Development Committee Chairman Muhammad Pehimi Yusof. State power company Tenaga Nasional has temporarily shut 2,318 electrical substations in the flooded states, halting power supply to 150,852 users, according to a Dec. 26 statement from the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry. Monsoon rains have also flooded parts of Thailand and Sri Lanka. In Thailand, at least eight people have died and two were missing after downpours in the four southernmost provinces, the Bangkok Post said, citing the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan -ocha visited the region Dec. 26 and has declared the four provinces to be disaster zones, the report said. Bloomberg 13 N. Korea uses racial slur against Obama over hack AP PHOTO mon 29.12.2014 North Korea blamed its recent Internet outage on the United States on Saturday and hurled racially charged insults at President Barack Obama over the hacking row involving the movie “The Interview.” North Korea’s powerful National Defense Commission, which is headed by country leader Kim Jong Un and is the nation’s top governing body, said Obama was behind the release of the comedy that depicts Kim’s assassination. The commission described the movie as illegal, dishonest and reactionary. “Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest,” an unidentified spokesman at the commission’s Policy Department said in a statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency. The White House’s National Security Council declined to comment Saturday. North Korea has denied involvement in a crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures but has expressed fury over the comedy. Sony Pictures initially called off the release of the film, citing threats of terror attacks against U.S. movie theaters. Obama criticized Sony’s decision, and the movie opened this past week. ad WORLD Lynne O’Donnell, Kabul T HE United States and NATO formally ended their war in Afghanistan yesterday with a ceremony at their military headquarters in Kabul as the insurgency they fought for 13 years remains as ferocious and deadly as at any time since the 2001 invasion that unseated the Taliban regime following the Sept. 11 attacks. The symbolic ceremony marked the end of the U.S.led International Security Assistance Force, which will transition to a supporting role with 13,500 soldiers, most of them American, starting Jan. 1. Gen. John Campbell, commander of ISAF, rolled up and sheathed the green and white ISAF flag and unfurled the flag of the new international mission, called Resolute Support. “Resolute Support will serve as the bedrock of an enduring partnership” between NATO and Afghanistan, Campbell told an audience of Afghan and international military officers and officials, as well as diplomats and journalists. He paid tribute to the international and Afghan troops who have died fighting the insurgency, saying: “The road before us remains challenging but we will triumph.” From Jan. 1, the new mission will provide training and support for Afghanistan’s military, with the U.S. accounting for almost 11,000 members of the residual force. President Ashraf Ghani, who took office in September, signed bilateral security agreements with Washington and NATO allowing the enduring military presence. The move has led to a spike in violence as the Taliban have claimed it as an excuse to step up operations aimed at destabilizing his government. ISAF was set up after the U.S.-led invasion as an umbrella for the coalition of around 50 nations that provided troops and took responsibility for security across the country. It ends with 2,224 American soldiers killed, according to an AP tally, out of a total of some 3,500 foreign troop deaths. The mission peaked at 140,000 troops in 2010 with a surge ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama to root the insurgents out of strategically important regions, notably in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, where the Taliban had its capital from 1996 to 2001. Obama recently expanded the remit of the U.S. forces remaining in the country, allowing them to extend their th Anniversary 分析 AP PHOTO 14 29.12.2014 mon Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Gen. John Campbell, center, cases the ISAF flag during a ceremony at the ISAF headquarters in Kabul US, NATO mark end of mission to Afghanistan This year is set to be the deadliest of the war, according to the United Nations, which expects civilian casualties to hit 10,000 for the first time since the agency began keeping records in 2008 counter-terrorism operations to Taliban, as well as al-Qaida, and to provide ground and air support for the Afghan forces when necessary for at least the next two years. Afghans have mixed feelings about the drawdown of foreign troops, many believing that with the deteriorating security situation their presence is needed to back up the Afghan effort to bring peace after more than three decades of continual war. “At least in the past 13 years we have seen improvements in our way of life — freedom of speech, democracy, the people generally better off financially,” said 42-year-old shop keeper Gul Mohammad. “But we do need the foreign troops to stay here at least until our own forces are strong enough, while our economy strengthens, while our leaders try to form a government,” he said. NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Afghanistan’s 350,000-strong security forces are ready to take on the insurgency alone, despite complaints by officials that they lack the necessary assets, such as air support, medical evacuation and intelligence. In a statement on Sunday, Stoltenberg said that ISAF’s mandate was “carried out at great cost but with great suc- cess.” “We have made our own nations safer by denying safe haven to international terrorists. We have made Afghanistan stronger by building up from scratch strong security forces. Together we have created the conditions for a better future for millions of Afghan men, women and children,” he said. As Afghan forces assume sovereignty, the country is without a Cabinet three months after Ghani’s inauguration, and economic growth is near zero due to the reduction of the international military and aid juggernauts. The United States spent more than $100 million on reconstruction in Afghanistan, on top of the $1 trillion war. This year is set to be the deadliest of the war, according to the United Nations, which expects civilian casualties to hit 10,000 for the first time since the agency began keeping records in 2008. It says that most of the deaths and injuries are caused by Taliban attacks. In the latest insurgent vio- lence in eastern Wardak province, two teenage boys were killed late on Saturday, when a rocket was fired near a children’s volleyball match in Nirkh district, an official said. Another five children, aged between 11 and 14 years old, were wounded by shrapnel, said the governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani. He blamed the Taliban. In Kapisa, also in the east, Governor Abdul Saboor Wafa’s office said eight insurgents were killed on Saturday night in an army counter-insurgency operation. This has also been a deadly year for Afghanistan’s security forces — army, paramilitary and police — with around 5,000 deaths recorded so far. Most of those deaths, or around 3,200, have been policemen, according to Karl Ake Roghe, the outgoing head of EUPOL, the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan, which funds and trains a police force of 157,000. Roghe said that while the Taliban have stretched their presence, the methodology has not changed, indicating a lack of insurgent military capacity despite the rise in attacks. “They make a lot of damage, they send gunmen and suicide bombers to blow up the front wall and then they are immediately killed, so they achieve nothing,” he said. AP mon 29.12.2014 th Anniversary 廣告 ADVERTISEMENT 15 16 INFOTAINMENT what’s ON ... 29.12.2014 mon th Anniversary 資訊／娛樂 TV canal macau “One Hundred Photographers Focus on Macau” Exhibition Time: 24 hours Until: March 22, 2015 Venue: Level 2 Showcase, MGM Macau Admission: Free Enquiries: (853) 8802 8888 13:00 TDM News (Repeated) 13:30 News (RTPi) Delayed Broadcast 17:00 Kung Fu Masters of the Zodiac 17:25 Brazil Avenue (Repeat) 18:15 Non-Daily Portuguese News (Repeated) 19:30 Soap Opera 20:30 Main News, Financial & Weather Report Exhibition “Between Science and Art: The Marvels of Asia in the Eyes of Polish Jesuit Michał Piotr Boym, SJ.” Time: 10am-7pm (Mondays to Saturdays) 21:00 Non-Daily Portuguese News 21:30 TDM Sports 22:10 Brazil Avenue 23:00 TDM News 23:30 Non-Daily Portuguese News (Repeated) 00:00 Documentary Series 00:50 Main News, Financial & Weather Report (Repeated) 01:25 RTPi Live 11am-7pm (Sundays) Until: January 18, 2015 Venue: Sir Robert Ho Tung Library Enquiries: (853) 2837 7117 Admission: Free Penguins Undercover Ice World with the DreamWorks Gang Time: 11am-8pm Until: March 8, 2015 Venue: Cotai Expo Admission: MOP120 Enquiries: 2882 8818 cinema cineteatro 29 Dec - 30 Dec Dragon Training Camp Time: 4pm (Mondays to Fridays) 10am & 4pm (Saturdays & Sundays) Until: December 31, 2014 Venue: Level 4, Caspian Ballroom, Sheraton Macau Hotel, Cotai Central Admission: HKD/MOP150 per child (4-12 years old) with one adult (or additional adult HKD/ MOP50), maximum three adults with one child. Enquiries:(853) 8113 0228 Macau Science Centre Time: 10am-6pm (Closed on Thursdays) Address: Avenida Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Admission: Exhibition Centre: MOP25 Planetarium (Dome/Sky Shows): MOP50 Planetarium (3D Dome/3D Sky Shows): MOP65 Enquiries: (853) 2888 0822 NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB_ room 1 2.15, 6.00, 7.45, 9.30 pm Director: Shawn Levy Starring: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson Language: English (Chinese) Duration: 97min BIG HERO 6_ room 1 4.00 pm Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams Starring: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung Language: Chinese (Chinese/English) Duration: 102min THE HOBBIT: BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES_ room 2 (2D) 2.00, 4.30, 9.30 pm (3D) 7.00 pm Director: Peter Jackson Starring: Martin John Christopher Freeman, Ian McKellen Language: English (Chinese) Duration: 144min Offbeat AP PHOTO Guitarist doesn’t miss Vegas Cirque work day of It’s easy to miss Bruce Rickerd during the “Mystere” show at the Treasure Island casino especially when there’s a man balancing upside-down on the foot Bruce Rickerd hangs up his guitar after of another, or a giant a performance of the show “Mystere” in inflatable snail emerLas Vegas ging from the massive moving stage or the gasp-inducing drops from acrobats above. But he’s there — up high on the right or rather, stage left — playing guitar in just about the same place he’s been for every one of the 10,000 shows come Saturday in the 21-year history of “Mystere” as he and the rest of the band tie the music and sound effects to action on stage. That’s right. He’s never missed a day of work. It never occurred to the 62-year-old musician to do otherwise. “This is not work for me,” he said days before he would be feted Saturday with confetti canons and an onstage finale bow where a Guinness Book of World Records judge is expected to say Rickerd has broken the record for most theatrical performances by a male musician. Granted, it’ll be for having performed in 9,958 shows, still the most, as the record-keeping body continues to pour through timesheets and employee records that might backup Rickerd’s involvement in the remaining 42 shows. Copious stage manager notes from each performance over the years helped to confirm quite a bit, with Rickerd’s name never listed on the “out” list. AP PADDINGTON_ room 3 (2D) 4.00 pm (3D) 7.45, 9.30 pm Director: Paul King Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters Language: Chinese (Chinese/English) Duration: 95min BIG HERO 6_ room 3 (2D) 2.00, 5.45 pm Director: Don Hall, Chris Williams Starring: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung Language: Chinese (Chinese/English) Duration: 102min macau tower 18 Dec - 31 Dec THE HOBBIT: BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES_ 2.30, 4.30, 7.00, 9.30 pm Director: Peter Jackson Starring: Martin John Christopher Freeman, Ian McKellen Language: English (Chinese) Duration: 144min this day in history 1975 New laws to end battle of the sexes Radical new legislation introducing a woman’s right to equal pay and status in the workplace and in society have come into force in the UK. The Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts will prevent women being paid less than their male counterparts. The Acts are being introduced to coincide with the end of the International Women’s Year. Sex discrimination by employers, unless they employ five or fewer people, is now illegal as is any form of bias by landlords, finance companies, schools and restaurants. The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has been set up, and under the Act it has a duty to promote equality of the sexes. Job advertisements will now have to be sexless and it will no longer be possible to offer a position exclusively for males or females. In every day language there will be many changes for example, such as “firemen” becoming “fire fighters”. The impact of the Acts is far-reaching and affects the media and education. The EOC has begun issuing guidelines to discourage advertisers showing women in stereotypical roles of domesticity or in submissive work. But with no means of enforcing this there have been criticisms the organisation is toothless, although many advertisers have taken heed and plan to be more representative. The Inner London Education Authority is already considering the replacement of “sexist” reading material which uphold stereotypes, for example a woman in the kitchen and a man at work. These are currently not barred by the Acts but in a booklet sent to 13,000 head teachers, managers and governors of schools the authority recommends “myths and taboos” should be tackled. Advisory panels of teachers are also considering lobbying authorities to make mathematics compulsory up to the fifth year in a move designed to help girls. But the most poorly-paid women are unlikely to gain a lot from the new legislation the Low Pay Unit said in a report yesterday. Despite the gradual introduction of equal pay until its final implementation today women’s earnings have risen to only 55.5% of men’s earnings from 51.1% in 1972. Courtesy BBC News In context The Sex Discrimination Act is applicable to men, women, and children of any age and also prohibits discrimination against someone who is or is not married. The Act came as a culture shock to many in a society where some venues still barred women. Some employers attempted to circumvent the Equal Pay Act by changing women’s job descriptions or employing women for roles in which there was no male equivalent position. But they faced fierce resistance from the authorities. Many commentators said the combined Acts were too radical to introduce at once and public attitudes would need to change before they were readily implemented and this would take time. Twenty five years after its implementation a survey showed the Acts had helped close the pay difference in the gender gap from 40% less than male counterparts, to 20%. mon 29.12.2014 th Anniversary 資訊／娛樂 Taurus Mar. 21-Apr. 19 April 20-May 20 A dream messenger is somewhat confusing — but still makes you wonder. It’s time for you to really focus on whatever your subconscious mind is trying to tell you. Get some help if you need it! A wave of understanding crashes over you and leads you to realize what’s really going on with your friends or family. See if you can get your people to follow your lead — things can get better soon! Gemini Cancer May 21-Jun. 21 Jun. 22-Jul. 22 Blow off that email backlog or whatever else is feeding your guilt — you can handle it better tomorrow or some other day. Things are a little tricky right now, but you can move on. Socializing is perfect today — you’re balanced between emotional and spiritual security, and should be able to take risks with impunity. Meet some new people and see things from their point of view. Leo Virgo Jul. 23-Aug. 22 Aug. 23-Sept. 22 Are you sure that this situation is as good as it looks? You may have to deal with someone who’s not showing you all their cards, but you should still be able to figure out what’s really real. This is a slow day — and not just for you! If you’ve got any authority, you may want to let people skip out early so they can enjoy the down time rather than having to go through the motions. Libra Sep.23-Oct. 22 Oct. 23 - Nov. 21 Artistic license is yours today — so make the most of it! You may tease a romantic interest, take the day off to soak up culture or just use this creative burst to give yourself an edge. Capricorn Nov. 22-Dec. 21 Dec. 22-Jan. 19 Your life can get a lot bigger today — you see an opportunity early on that may make a huge difference. Go for it and don’t look back, as this is no time for indecision or regret. Someone asks for help this morning and you just can’t ignore them — no matter how skeptical you are. Sometimes your altruistic side is dominant, and it keeps you karmically balanced. Aquarius SUDOKU WEATHER MIN Easy Medium Hard Feb.19-Mar. 20 Can you rethink things? That’s kind of your specialty, actually, but today you need to dig deeper and find something totally essential that you can shift around. Things are sure to improve once you do! You need to rediscover yourself — and today brings you a major clue as to where you went astray! It’s easier than you may think to get back on track, as long as you start moving right now. Crossword puzzles provided by BestCrosswords.com DOWN: 1- Corpulent; 2- Brand name for a copying machine; 3- Enrollment; 4- Born; 5- Roof of the mouth; 6- Score after deuce; 7- Niger neighbor; 8- Skater Harding; 9- Green onion; Wednesday’s solution 10- Person of experience; 11- Dutch name of The Hague; 12- French 101 verb; 13- Notable exploit, legal document; 21- Uncle Remus title; 22- Tombstone lawman; 24- Farm females; 27Raised platform; 28- Affirmatives; 30- Amuses; 31- Bartlett’s abbr.; 32- Actress Olin; 33- All there; 34- Atop; 36- And ___ bed; 39- Muscular young men; 40- Neighborhood; 42- Actor Auberjonois; 43- Word that can precede bodied and seaman; 45- Plunders; 47- Thawed; 49- Brown-furred aquatic carnivorous mammal; 51- Artist’s support; 52- Prefix with iliac; 53- Friends; 54Periods; 55- Lens holders; 56- Support beam; 57- Cause of ruin; 61- Scooby-___ -4 10 clear Harbin -20 -11 cloudy/clear Tianjin -1 9 clear Urumqi -9 -4 clear Xi’an -1 10 clear Lhasa -6 11 clear Chengdu 0 13 cloudy Chongqing 5 15 clear Kunming 3 15 overcast/cloudy Nanjing 0 14 clear Shanghai 4 13 clear Wuhan -1 17 clear Hangzhou 3 15 cloudy/clear Taipei 12 16 drizzle/clear Guangzhou 7 18 clear 12 17 cloudy Moscow -14 -8 flurry Frankfurt -5 -1 clear/flurry Paris -5 1 clear/cloudy London -1 4 clear New York 0 13 drizzle/overcast WORLD CROSSWORDS ACROSS: 1- Farm team; 5- Covenants; 10- Storage shelter; 14- Nota ___; 15- Committee type; 16- London gallery; 17- Author ___ Stanley Gardner; 18- Climbing vine; 19- Bern’s river; 20- ___-disant (self-styled); 21- Bowlegged; 23- Thrust out; 25- Winglike parts; 26Like a professor’s jacket; 29- Not true; 33- Ancient Mideast region; 35- Author of fables; 37- Compass dir.; 38- Primates with short tails or no tail; 39- North American buffalo; 40- Lots and lots; 41- Prefix with profit or fiction; 42- Adjust to zero; 43- Stadium used for sports or musical events; 44- Dinner course; 46- Gloomily dark; 48- Poop; 50- Thrills; 53- Improvable; 58- Penlight battery; 59- Seed cover; 60- Ready to hit; 61- Round object, often used to store computer data; 62- Like some excuses; 63- “The Family Circus” cartoonist Bil; 64- Doozy; 65- Flat sound; 66- Messed up; 67- Scandinavian capital; CONDITION Beijing Hong Kong Pisces Jan. 20-Feb. 18 MAX CHINA Easy+ Scorpio Flexibility is more important than ever — can you stretch to accommodate your new needs? Things are looking up, even if you feel despair. Your situation is sure to look better once you shift perspectives. Sagittarius 17 THE BORN LOSER by Chip Sansom YOUR STARS Aries INFOTAINMENT USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS Emergency calls 999 Taxi 28 939 939 / 2828 3283 Fire department 28 572 222 Water Supply – Report 1990 992 PJ (Open line) 993 Telephone – Report 1000 PJ (Picket) 28 557 775 Electricity – Report 28 339 922 PSP 28 573 333 Macau Daily Times 28 716 081 Customs 28 559 944 S. J. Hospital 28 313 731 Kiang Wu Hospital 28 371 333 Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) 28326 300 IACM 28 387 333 Tourism 28 333 000 Airport 59 888 88 ad 18 SPORTS 29.12.2014 mon th Anniversary 體育 AP PHOTO NFL domestic violence is AP sports story of year reinstated by an arbitrator but without a team and Peterson suspended and suing the NFL. Chastened by those and other cases, the league is pushing a new personal conduct policy, but the players’ union is balking at Goodell’s role in the disciplinary process. 2. Clippers’ Sterling Banned: Donald Sterling had withstood accusations of racism throughout his more than three decades as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. But when audio surfaced April 25 of Sterling spewing racist remarks, he was banned for life by new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver just four days later and forced to sell the team. 3. Lebron Goes Home: This time, LeBron James decided to return home. Four years after spurning Cleveland to sign with the Miami Heat, the Northeast Ohio native and four-time NBA MVP announced July 11 that he was rejoining the Cavaliers to try to end the city’s half-century title drought. In this Nov. 5, 2014, file photo, Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing in New York, regarding his then-indefinite suspension from the NFL Rachel Cohen, New York T HE NFL’s troubles with domestic violence were selected the sports story of the year last week in an annual vote conducted by The Associated Press. Ninety-four ballots were submitted from U.S. editors and news directors. Voters were asked to rank the top 10 sports stories of the year, with the first-place story receiving 10 points, the second-place story nine points and so on. NFL domestic violence received 659 points and 29 first-place votes. The No. 2 sports story, Clippers owner Donald Sterling forced out by the NBA after ad his racist statements, had 518 points. Here are 2014’s top 10 stories: 1. NFL Domestic Violence: Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice knocked his now-wife unconscious in an Atlantic City casino elevator Feb. 15, but it wasn’t until July 24 that domestic violence cases spiraled into a crisis roiling the NFL. Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice for just two games, which drew widespread derision. More than a month passed before Goodell admitted he “didn’t get it right” and announced harsher sanctions for future domestic violence offenses. But the NFL’s problems were only beginning. On Sept. 8, TMZ Sports released video from inside the elevator that showed Rice punching his then-fiancee; the Ravens responded by releasing him and Goodell suspended him indefinitely. And on Sept. 12, one of the league’s biggest stars, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, was indicted on felony child abuse charges for using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son. The Vikings initially planned to play him just over a week later, reversing course only after the ensuing uproar. The year ends with Rice 4. Firsts For Gay Athletes: Jason Collins became the first openly gay man to play in the big four North American pro sports leagues when he made his debut with the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 23. The veteran center had come out 10 months earlier, a trailblazing moment that helped inspire other athletes and sports officials to follow his lead in 2014. That included Missouri All-American Michael Sam, who went on to be drafted into the NFL, though he has yet to play in a game. 5. Giants Win World Series: Madison Bumgarner pitched seven dominant innings to win Game 1 of the World Series. Then the San Francisco ace topped himself with a shutout in Game 5. He outdid himself yet again with five scoreless innings of relief in Game 7 to clinch the Giants’ third championship in five years. 6. College Football Playoff Pays Off: Ohio State lost to Virginia Tech on Sept. 6. Oregon was upset by Arizona on Oct. 2, and Alabama fell to Ole Miss two days later. The rest of those teams’ regular-season games still mattered because of the new College Football Playoff, which made more and more matchups meaningful deep into the fall. 7. Tony Stewart: One of NASCAR’s biggest stars, Tony Stewart, was taking part in a small sprint car race in upstate New York on Aug. 9 when he struck and killed 20-year -old driver Kevin Ward Jr. A grand jury decided not to bring criminal charges against Stewart, who skipped three NASCAR races as he grieved. 8. World Cup: Brazil’s World Cup was a big celebration until those German goals started piling up. The expected massive protests didn’t materialize, and the construction delays caused few headaches. The major disappointment came on the field when the hosts, without injured star Neymar, were thrashed 7-1 in the semifinals by eventual champion Germany. 9. Seahawks Win Super Bowl: Richard Sherman’s Seattle defense was way too much for Peyton Manning’s Denver offense. The Seahawks flustered and flattened the Broncos with a 43-8 victory in the Super Bowl, when the weather cooperated outdoors in New Jersey. 10. Sochi Olympics: The Sochi Olympics opened amid fears of terrorist attacks and denunciations of Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” law. The games went on peacefully, with the hosts winning 33 medals — though not in hockey. But by the closing ceremony, darkness lurked nearby in the world in violence in Ukraine. AP mon 29.12.2014 th Anniversary 體育 Brook Yang, Shanghai* C HINESE metropolitan Shanghai has been noted for its potential of growing into the second pro boxing base in China, following the success of a series of boxing productions staged in Macau. The recent “Fist of Power II” boxing night held in Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena sold out some 5,400 tickets, where the audience’s enthusiasm was no less than that of Macau’s Cotai Arena. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who attended the show, told the Times that Shanghai was chosen as the stage for the first two pro boxing events held in mainland China because of its image as a “great international city” and its “tremendous” fan base. Although bearing a strikingly close resemblance to the Top Rank productions in Macau, Shanghai’s boxing nights showed a bigger focus on Chinese boxers and the potential local fan base. The events’ co-organizer SECA told the Times that such a platform is designed to develop a talent pool of Chinese professional boxers and create a staircase for them to eventually step onto the nearest world stage: Macau’s Cotai Arena. “Every boxer’s dream in the past would be going to Las Ve- Shanghai’s boxing arena to convey talents for Macau Ma Yi Ming fights with Tommy Seran at the “Fist of Power II” event in Shanghai gas; now there’s another option, which is to go to Macau,” said SECA’s CEO Mr Sheng Li, adding that “Shanghai could be the New York of Chinese boxing”. “Macau is absolutely worldclass; the best you can find – Manny Pacquiao fought there – in terms of boxers and in terms of the card,” he explained. “In Shanghai we have home-grown boxers. You can’t do a show with four or five boxers; you need to have at least forty to fifty boxers. Until you get world-class boxers, you can’t get a world-class boxing event,” he added. Mr Li told the Times that the “Fist of Power” series is aimed to provide the audience and media “the highest-level pro boxing as a platform,” setting a bar for Chinese pro boxers to develop. “For the younger Chinese boxers, they will see, ‘if I do well, one day I will be fighting on the ‘Fist of Power.’ And if they do well on the ‘Fists of Power,’ the top boxers will be fighting on the global stage. The best place to do that is Macau. So you look at this as more of a tier of levels, which offers a path for boxers to develop professionally,” he explained. The sports promoter recognized that Macau – an entertainment destination– has all the ingredients for developing a worldclass boxing base, and has set a reference to other cities as to how the sport put it on the world map. “I think it’s a great vision as it takes a lot of determination to put on a Pacquiao fight in Macau,” said the promoter. “In SPORTS 19 Shanghai we can’t do that, we can’t afford something like that, and also because we have different kinds of objectives and it will take time. Macau has all the ingredients. A strong supporter like Venetian Macao, and you can make it happen,” he said. “In mainland China even somebody that has enough money still needs to grow the fan base. You are facing the home audience, you need to get them to love this and really get into it.” Mr Li also expressed that: “it’s very different: in Shanghai you grow a fan base; in Macau you are using major boxing platforms to draw a fan base from all over the world”. According to the promoter, Shanghai was once one of the world’s boxing capitals but there was a huge gap, as boxing was not legalized until 1990s. Today, the growing middle class and Chinese metropolitans that seek excitement are generating a steady fan base for boxing sport. “People who came to see the event would ask when the next would be. And other cities want it too,” he said, adding that “give it a year a two” and Shanghai, together with Macau, would be able to write a tale of two cities for Chinese pro boxing. *The reporter was in Shanghai at the invitation of The Venetian Macao ad THE William Pesek China’s Russia bailout is ominous sign for future Thanks to China, Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund, Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank and Takehiko Nakao of the Asian Development Bank may no longer have much meaningful work to do. Beijing’s move to bail out Russia, on top of its recent aid for Venezuela and Argentina, signals the death of the post-war Bretton Woods world. It’s also marks the beginning of the end for America’s linchpin role in the global economy and Japan’s influence in Asia. What is China’s new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank if not an ADB killer? If Japan, ADB’s main benefactor, won’t share the presidency with Asian peers, Beijing will just use its deep pockets to overpower it. Lagarde’s and Kim’s shops also are looking at a future in which crisis-wracked governments call Beijing before Washington. China stepping up its role as lender of last resort upends an economic development game that’s been decades in the making. The IMF, World Bank and ADB are bloated, change-adverse institutions. When Ukraine received a USD17 billion IMF-led bailout this year it was about shoring up a geopolitically important economy, not geopolitical blackmail. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government doesn’t care about upgrading economies, the health of tax regimes or central bank reserves. It cares about loyalty. The quid pro quo: For our generous assistance we expect your full support on everything from Taiwan to territorial disputes to deadening the West’s pesky focus on human rights. This may sound hyperbolic; Russia, Argentina and Venezuela are already at odds with the U.S. and its allies. But what about Europe? In 2011 and 2012, it looked to Beijing to save euro bond markets through massive purchases. Expect more of this dynamic in 2015 should fresh turmoil hit the euro zone, at which time Beijing will expect European leaders to pull their diplomatic punches. What happens if the Federal Reserve’s tapering slams economies from India to Indonesia and governments look to China for help? Why would Cambodia, Laos or Vietnam bother with the IMF’s conditions when China writes big checks with few strings attached? Beijing’s $24 billion currency swap program to help Russia is a sign of things to come. Russia, it’s often said, is too nuclear to fail. As Moscow weathers the worst crisis since the 1998 default, it’s tempting to view China as a good global citizen. But Beijing is just enabling President Vladimir Putin, who’s now under zero pressure to diversify his economy away from oil. The same goes for China’s $2.3 billion currency swap with Argentina and its $4 billion loan to Venezuela. In the Chinese century, bad behavior has its rewards. If ever there were a time for President Barack Obama to accelerate his “pivot” to Asia it’s now. There’s plenty to worry about as China tosses money at rogue governments like Sudan and Zimbabwe. But there’s also lots at stake for Asia’s budding democracies. The so-called Washington consensus on economic policies isn’t perfect, but is Beijing’s model of autocratic state capitalism with scant press freedom really a better option? With China becoming Asia’s sugar daddy, the temptation in, say, Myanmar might be to avoid the difficult process of creating credible institutions to oversee the economy. There could be a silver lining to China lavishing its nearly $4 trillion of currency reserves on crisis-plagued nations: It might force the IMF, World Bank and ADB to raise their games. Competition, as Lagarde, Kim and Nakao would agree, is a good thing. But more likely, China’s largess will encourage bad policy habits and impede development in ways that leave the global economy worse off. Bloomberg Chelsea says striker Fernando Torres will join AC Milan on a permanent basis in the January transfer window. Torres joined Milan on a two-year loan deal in August, and Chelsea said on its website Saturday that he will complete a permanent transfer on Jan. 5. Torres joined Chelsea from Liverpool in th Anniversary Roadside January 2011 but failed to replicate his previous scoring form at Stamford Bridge. However, he did help Chelsea win the Champions League and the Europa League in 3 ½ seasons at the club before being replaced by Diego Costa for this campaign. Chelsea did not disclose a transfer fee. At least 60 journalists killed in 2014 Cara Anna, New York A T least 60 journalists around the world were killed in 2014 while on the job or because of their work, and 44 percent of them were targeted for murder, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. An “unusually high proportion,” or about onefourth, of those killed were international journalists, though the overwhelming number of journalists threatened continue to be local, the New York-based organization’s new report said. Those killed in 2014 include Anja Niedringhaus, a photographer for The Associated Press who was shot to death while covering elections in Afghanistan. Italian Associated Press video journalist Simone Camilli and his freelance translator Ali Shehda Abu Afash were killed in an explosion at an ordnance dump in the Gaza strip in August. The CPJ report released last week said the number of journalists killed in 2014 was down from 70 the year before, but the past three years have been the deadliest since the organization started compiling such records in 1992. The crushing conflict in Syria, now well into its fourth year, has been a major factor. The report said at least 17 journalists were killed there this year, with summer saw at least four journalists and three media workers killed, including AP video journalist Simone Camilli and translator Ali Shehda Abu Afash who were killed by an explosion of leftover ordnance. In Iraq, at least five journalists were killed, three of them while covering the fight against the Islamic State group as it swept through the country’s northwest. The report also points out the first journalist killings In this April 7, 2005 file photo, in several years in some Associated Press photographer Anja countries, including ParaNiedringhaus, 48, poses in Rome. She was killed and an AP reporter guay, where three deaths was wounded on April 4, 2014, when were the first since 2007, an Afghan policeman opened fire and Myanmar, where the while they were sitting in their car killing in custody of a freeat least 79 killed since the lance journalist was the first death since 2007. fighting began in 2011. CPJ also reported the first Syria was connected to two of the more horrifying killing of a journalist in the killings of journalists this Central African Republic, year, the beheadings by which has been torn apart the Islamic State group by unprecedented violenof American freelancers ce between Christians and James Foley and Steven Muslims. And even covering the Sotloff. Both had disappeared while reporting on the deadliest-ever Ebola outbreak has been fatal, with conflict. The conflict in Ukraine the bodies of a journalist between the new govern- and two media workers ment and Russian-backed found in a village in Guiseparatists saw five journa- nea where they had gone lists and two media workers to cover a public awareness killed as relations between campaign. The CPJ says it is still inneighboring Russia and the West sank to their lowest vestigating the deaths of at level since the Cold War. least 18 other journalists The killings were the first this year. The organizathat the CPJ had recorded tion does not count deaths from illness or car or plane in Ukraine since 2001. Fifty days of fighting in crashes unless they were Gaza between Israel and the result of “hostile acthe Palestinians over the tion.” AP THE DECISIVE MOMENT 60-80 Moderate High Density 55-75 Residental Moderate Area SOURCE: DSMG World Views BUZZ permanent deal Ambient 55-75 Moderate WORLD BRIEFS SRI LANKAN officials say 24 people have been killed and eight others are missing due to floods and mudslides caused by incessant rain around the country over the past week. The Disaster management Center also said yesterday that 106,000 people have lost their homes or evacuated to safer locations. US Thousands of police officers from across the U.S. pack a church and spill onto streets to honor a slain New York officer as a devoted family man, aspiring chaplain and hero, though an air of unrest surrounding his ambush shooting was not completely pushed aside. US The Obama administration is on the verge of proposing long-awaited rules for commercial drone operations in U.S. skies, but key decisions on how much access to grant drones are likely to come from Congress next year. AP PHOTO opinion Air quality Station 29.12.2014 mon AP PHOTO 20 Striker Torres to join Milan on EGYPT says it banned Ridley Scott’s biblical epic “Exodus: Gods & Kings” because it gives the wrong idea about Egypt’s history and presents a “racist” image of Jews. The Culture Ministry explained its decision for the first time in a statement yesterday, a few days after the initial ban. CUBA The gleaming Associated Press U.S. Interests Section suddenly is poised to become an even more important presence in Cuba as the two countries negotiate the first phase of their historic detente — transforming the complex into a full embassy that would reflect the Obama administration’s hopes of new influence on the communist island. More on FT supplement LIBYA’s foreign minister Sri Lankan tsunami survivors pay their respect at a mass grave of 591 train passengers which was hit by 2004 tsunami in Peraliya, Sri Lanka, Friday, Dec. 26 said yesterday that extremist groups are escalating their attacks and making a renewed push to seize oil resources, after an assault on eastern terminals set storage tanks ablaze, sending massive clouds of black smoke into the sky.
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