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Radio Lantau News

Radio Lantau News is presented courtesy of the Radio Lantau News Network.

  1. Police on Friday said they had arrested a man on suspicion of murder after the body of a 70-year-old man was found in a Tuen Mun Park, with stab wounds to his head and neck. A passer-by, who was walking through a playground on Hoi Chu Road, made the discovery and called the police at about 9 pm on Thursday. Paramedics were sent to the scene, where they declared the man dead. Police later found a man nearby with wounds to both hands. Officers chased him down and, during the pursuit, they drew their guns.
  2. Hong Kong saw heavy rain overnight, with the Red Rain Storm Warning being issued at 1.30 am on Friday. Parts of the northern New Territories were hit by flooding. So far, there have been no reports of any injuries. The Observatory said heavy rain had affected the northern part of the New Territories - especially around San Tin and Ngau Tam Mei, and Sheung Shui - with 70 millimetres of rain falling in a single hour. There were reports of flooding on Kwu Tung Road and Chau Tau Road in Lok Ma Chau, as well roads around Ping Che. The Thunderstorm warning was also issued as a south-west monsoon over the northern part of the South China Sea strengthened. The Observatory warned of traffic congestion and disruption to normal school hours.
  3. The government on Friday partially eased home quarantine restrictions for fully-vaccinated people arriving from the mainland and Macau after the government suspended its Return2HK quarantine-free scheme earlier in the week, due to rising Covid cases in both places. Those arriving from Guangdong, though, still do not need to go into quarantine. Fully-vaccinated arrivals will now only have to do seven days of home quarantine, self monitor for a further seven, and take six Covid tests. On Wednesday, the government suspended the Return2HK scheme for Hong Kong residents returning from the mainland, imposing a 14-day home quarantine period. A day earlier, the government had suspended the same scheme with Macau due to an outbreak there of the highly-infectious delta variant. The government also said fully-vaccinated arrivals from Taiwan would only need to stay in designated quarantine hotels for 14 days, compared to 21 days for those who aren't fully inoculated. They also have to self monitor for a further seven days and take the six tests.
  4. The government on Thursday said Hong Kong had reached a 50 percent inoculation rate for the first Covid jab, while 38 percent had had both shots. Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip, who's responsible for the vaccination drive, said more than 3.4 million people had now had their first dose. On his Facebook page, he said that a 70 percent vaccination rate was now the basic goal. But he also said he hoped 90, or even 100 percent, would get inoculated, so social-distancing restrictions could be relaxed. Daily vaccination rates have been picking up. Over 67,000 people got a jab on Thursday, that's 1,100 more than the seven-day moving average. According to government figures, roughly 40 percent have opted for the traditional inactivated-virus Sinovac jab, and 60 percent for the BioNTech shot, which uses new mRNA technology. An mRNA Covid vaccine produces a harmless spike protein, found on the surface of the virus, to create an immune response. With regard to the highly-infectious delta variant of Covid, a recent Public Health England analysis, which is yet to be peer reviewed, shows BioNTech to be 88 percent effective against developing symptoms and 96 percent effective against hospitalisation
  5. President Joe Biden on Thursday offered temporary "safe haven" to Hong Kong residents in the United States, allowing what could be thousands of people to extend their stay in the country in response to Beijing's crackdown on democracy in the Chinese territory. Biden directed the Department of Homeland Security to implement a "deferral of removal" for up to 18 months for Hong Kong residents currently in the United States, citing "compelling foreign policy reasons." "Over the last year, the PRC has continued its assault on Hong Kong's autonomy, undermining its remaining democratic processes and institutions, imposing limits on academic freedom, and cracking down on freedom of the press," Biden said in the memo, using the acronym for the People's Republic of China. He said offering safe haven for Hong Kong residents "furthers United States interests in the region. The United States will not waver in our support of people in Hong Kong." It is not clear exactly how many people the move would affect but the vast majority of Hong Kong residents currently in the United States are expected to be eligible, according to a senior administration official. The White House said in a statement the move made clear the United States "will not stand idly by as the PRC breaks its promises to Hong Kong and to the international community." Those eligible may also seek employment authorisation, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said. It is the latest in a series of actions Biden has taken to address what his administration says is the erosion of rule of law in the former British colony, which returned to Beijing's control in 1997. The US government in July applied more sanctions on Chinese officials in Hong Kong, and warned companies of risks of operating under the national security law, which China implemented last year to criminalise what it considers subversion, secessionism, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces. Critics say the law facilitates a crackdown on pro-democracy activists and a free press in the territory, after Beijing agreed to allow considerable political autonomy for 50 years. China retaliated against the US actions last month with its own sanctions on Americans, including former US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross. China's embassy in Washington did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the safe haven measure. US lawmakers have sought legislation that would make it easier for people from Hong Kong to obtain US refugee status if they feared persecution after joining protests against China. "The PRC has fundamentally altered the bedrock of Hong Kong's institutions," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, noting that Chinese and Hong Kong SAR authorities had arbitrarily delayed scheduled elections, disqualified lawmakers, undermined press freedom, and arrested more than 10,000 people. Blinken added the United States was joining allies to offer the protection, in keeping with the Biden administration's push to counter China in concert with like-minded partners. Britain's foreign minister, Dominic Raab, on Twitter welcomed the "big-hearted decision." Other countries, including Canada and Australia, have taken steps to facilitate Hong Kong immigration or permanent residency following Beijing's crackdown. The Biden administration's move falls under the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program, which does not offer a pathway to citizenship, but can be renewed indefinitely by a president. Republican Senator Ben Sasse called the safe haven move a "solid step", but said the US government needed to go further and offer full asylum to Hong Kongers. Asked about prospects for permanent residency, State Department spokesman Ned Price said residents from Hong Kong could still be referred for consideration to the United States Refugee Admissions Program. Samuel Chu, managing director of the Washington-based advocacy group Hong Kong Democracy Council, said data was limited but possibly tens of thousands of people could be eligible for the DED program, including thousands on student visas. He said the will for many to return to Hong Kong was strong, but that it might take more than one 18-month cycle. "The overwhelming desire of Hong Kongers is to continue to fight for restoring their autonomy and freedoms," Chu said. (Reuters) ______________________________ Last updated: 2021-08-06 HKT 03:33
  6. Health officials on Thursday confirmed the first local case of Covid-19 in nearly two months, though they said the man was probably infected some time ago. The patient, a 43-year-old construction worker, tested weakly positive earlier this week. Tests run after he was hospitalised showed he was positive for antibodies. The Centre for Health Protection said this case is compatible with a re-positive case previously undiagnosed. There were also five imported cases involving people who returned from Ireland, Cambodia, the United States, Thailand and Russia. Three of the patients carried the L452R mutant strain, while one of them was infected with the N501Y strain.
  7. The High Court on Thursday granted bail to activist and barrister Chow Hang-tung, the vice-chairwoman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China. Chow is charged with inciting others to join an unauthorised rally on June 4. Chow was detained on June 4 on suspicion of publicising the rally and was later granted bail. She was then taken into custody by the police in late June and denied bail by West Kowloon Court. After hearing arguments from the defence and prosecution on Thursday, justice Judianna Barnes decided to free Chow on bail of HK$100,000, but she needs to report to the police regularly and cannot leave Hong Kong. The activist has pleaded not guilty. Her trial is set for October 5 and is expected to last two days.
  8. Singer Anthony Wong and former pro-democracy lawmaker Au Nok-hin have each been bound over for 18 months in the sum of HK$2,000 for corruption charges in connection to the Legco by-election in 2018. The ICAC charged the pair earlier this week over a rally which took place shortly before the polls. Wong, 59, sang two songs at the rally organised by Au, who later won the election for the Hong Kong Island seat in the legislature. At the Eastern Magistrates' Court on Thursday, defence lawyers called for the case to be settled by way of bind over orders, saying the Cantopop star had played a passive role and wasn't paid for his performance. The prosecutors subsequently agreed to offer no evidence against the duo, saying they had taken into account the overall circumstances of the case, the relatively lesser criminalities of the defendants, backgrounds of the defendants and their attitudes towards the charge. In a statement, the corruption watchdog stressed that providing others with refreshments and entertainment at an election is a corrupt conduct and a serious offence. "Candidates, election agents/helpers and members of the public are reminded to refrain from offering food, drinks or entertainment during an election in exchange for votes," the spokesman said, Au is currently in prison on protest-related charges and is also one of the 47 pro-democracy figures charged under the national security law over Legco primary polls held last year. Last week, the ICAC charged Occupy movement co-founder Benny Tai and two others over adverts placed in newspapers before the 2016 Legco elections. ______________________________ Last updated: 2021-08-05 HKT 20:11
  9. Hongkongers again erupted in cheers on Thursday, as the SAR’s table tennis players snatched a bronze in the women’s team event – the city's fourth medal at the Tokyo Games. Among those watching the event on TV at the Olympian City mall were the parents of Doo Hoi-kem, Hong Kong's top table tennis player who was in the team. Doo’s father, Oscar, said he was overwhelmed by Hong Kong's stellar performance against Germany. “This victory is really something out of my expectations, because all of the people think the German team is much stronger than the Hong Kong team. This is true. But... the Hong Kong team overcame and brought the medal. I think this is really wonderful and unimaginable,” he said. The proud father also said he hopes the government will provide more resources to help train elite athletes and further develop the city’s sports sector. Anna, who had just passed by the mall on her way to work, ended up glued to the screen watching the whole competition. She too was full of praise for the Hong Kong players. “They are doing extraordinarily excellent. We are proud of them. We have never done such a good effort in the Olympics and now they’ve got this result. We are proud of them. They should be proud of themselves too,” she said. The Citywalk mall in Tsuen Wan also saw dozens of enthusiastic spectators cheering for the team. Anthony, a secondary school teacher, was among the crowd there. "I think it is good this year because many people can participate in watching the Olympics and I am glad I can," he said. Jay, 11, who came with his family, said he looked up to the athletes for their sportsmanship. He encouraged the Hong Kong team to keep going and never lose hope. "Even when you're losing, just don't give up because you can still find hope in the darkness,” he said.
  10. Researchers from Chinese University say they have developed a stool test that can detect or predict autism in young children. The researchers looked at the stool samples of 128 children aged 3 to 6, of which half had autism. They found that in the samples of children with autism, there were higher levels of five types of bacteria compared to those who didn't have the condition, and that children with autism have fewer gut bacteria linked to neurotransmitter activity. The researchers then looked at the five types of bacteria and came up with a stool test that can detect autism with a sensitivity of at least 80 percent. Professor Siew Ng, an associate director of the centre for gut microbiota research at the university's school of medicine, said emerging evidence shows gut bacteria can produce certain toxins that circulate through the blood to the brain, known as the gut-brain axis, and that this could lead to symptoms seen in children with autism. Ng said a clinical diagnosis is currently used for autism, and this can sometimes lead to delays. “We believe that if there is a non-invasive test like a stool test, just based on our innovation of five combinations of bacteria that could be easily done at home, it could complement current diagnostic pathways whereby the children with suspected cases can have the stool test be done, and if there are any suspicion or high-risk features then a physician or a psychiatrist will be able to see the children a bit quicker and come up with a diagnosis,” she said.

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