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On the train but off the rails

HONG KONG (UCAN): The Legislative Council (LegCo) has been told by the chief executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, that the leasing of space at the Hong Kong terminus of the Express Rail Link connecting the city with Guangzhou on the other side of the mainland border may have gone ahead whether it passed a non-binding bill or not.
 
However, critics from the pro-democracy seats in the LegCo say that this may see Hong Kong on the train but off the rails, as the arrangement could be used to usurp law in the city.
 

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Gloom at religious gay talk

HONG KONG (UCAN): The chief executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, got a few unhappy reactions to her gay talk at an event organised by the Foreign Correspondents Club on October 31 on the territory’s successful bid to host the Gay Games in 2022.
 
It was reported that when asked if she was pleased about it, she said that the city is still divided on the issues of same-sex marriage, then went on to cite her Catholic faith as a basis for her position.
 

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A stunt to no avail

HONG KONG (SE): “We hope the applicants do not lose out in the process if the suspension will result in the lapse of their job placements,” Julius Cainglet, the vice president of the Federation of Free Workers in Manila, said of the decision by the Philippine labour secretary, Silvestro Bello, to call a three-week moratorium on the issuing of the much criticised Overseas Employment Certificate on November 13.
 

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The Angel of the Lepers flies no more

MACAU (SE): Known as The Angel of the Lepers, Father Gaetano Nicosia is being honoured in death, not because he was ostracised from society, but because of a lifetime of care for those who as victims of Hansen’s Disease struggled at the margins of society throughout their lives.
 
In a remote corner of Coloane Island off the coast of Macau, a colony of outcasts affected by Hansen’s Disease that had been abandoned by both the society and government of the former Portuguese enclave, became his life’s mission.
 

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Thanks Cardinal Zen

HONG KONG (AsiaNews): Alex Chow Yong-kang, who was given a prison sentence on August 17 for his part in the civil disobedience movement of 2014, dubbed the Umbrella Movement, has thanked the former bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun, for visiting him in prison.
 
Released on bail on November 7, Chow posted a letter to his two compatriots, Joshua Wang Chi-fung and Nathan Law Kwun-chung, who are also out on bail pending an appeal against their prison sentences that is scheduled to be heard in January next year.
 

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Indigenous solidarity

HONG KONG (SE): The annual Filipino Tribal Sunday festival was held in Edinburgh Place in Central on October 29, but this year’s event showed an important expansion, as for the first time a tribal group from Mindanao was also represented.
 

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Diocese to oppose gender reassignment

HONG KONG (SE): At what was billed as a consultation on proposed changes to the law regarding recognition of gender for people commonly referred to as transgender on September 30, Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing said that the diocese wants to convey a united stance opposed to any recognition.
 
A working group was set up by the diocese in mid-August to come up with a response to the government working paper prepared by an Inter-Departmental Working Group on Gender Recognition.
 

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Tiananmen and riots not history

HONG KONG (UCAN): A revised curriculum for the teaching of Chinese history in junior secondary schools in Hong Kong was opened up for consultation to the public on October 3, but unlike that presented in 2012 when the content was the contentious issue, this time around it is more likely to be the lack of it that will draw flak.
 

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A half-way house in Cheung Chau

HONG KONG (SE): A constant visitor to the prisons of Hong Kong, Father John Wotherspoon, has become the inspiration behind the opening of the Mercy Centre, a half-way house for people who have been released from prison and facing difficulties in reestablishing themselves in society.
 
The Australian Oblate of Mary Immaculate priest is a well-known personality among the non-Chinese prison population of Hong Kong and has been a constant campaigner for foreign prisoners, most of whom he says have been convicted of smuggling drugs.
 

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Youth Synod survey a fizz

VATICAN (SE): At the beginning of this year, the Vatican announced that it was posting a survey online for the use of young people from the ages of 16 to 29 as part of the preparation for the Bishops’ Synod on Youth that is scheduled to be held in Rome during October next year.
 
However, as due dates came and went, there was still no sign of the survey on the Internet. Eventually, it did show its head on June 14, but whatever initial enthusiasm had been shown for it seemed to have evaporated by then and it is now being judged as a fizzer.

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