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Hong Kong Today
Hong Kong Today
RTHK's morning news programme. Weekdays 6:30 - 8:00
Mike Weeks and Ian Pooler


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Fed cuts US rates as fears grow over Covid-19   Listenfacebook
The Federal Reserve cut US interest rates by 0.5 percent points on Tuesday as fears grow over the impact of the new coronavirus on America's economy. In a unanimous decision, the US central bank's policy-setting committee cut its target benchmark rate to 1-1.25 percent. Fed chairman Jerome Powell said Covid-19 poses "evolving risks to economic activity." Robert Kemp has more.
First batch of stranded HKers set to fly home from Wuhan   Listenfacebook
Hundreds of Hong Kong people who've been trapped for more than a month in Wuhan - the city where the new coronavirus first broke out - will be brought home on four government-chartered flights starting on Wednesday. The evacuation comes weeks after a number of countries brought their citizens home from the virus-stricken capital of Hubei. But Chief Executive Carrie Lam dismissed allegations that her administration dragged its feet in organising the rescue. The pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions has been helping Hong Kong residents stranded in Hubei. One of its lawmakers, Alice Mak, defended the government's efforts to bring them home. She told Annemarie Evans the government has to abide by the rules imposed by the provincial authorities:
CE defends higher police spending   Listenfacebook
Chief Executive Carrie Lam has defended the controversial budget plan to boost police funding by 25 percent. She also refused to comment on an internal document to Beijing, in which she's reported to have said that she hopes to use the coronavirus epidemic to help pro-establishment politicians in September's Legislative Council elections. Timmy Sung reports:
New arrivals to get HK$10,000 cash handout   Listenfacebook
The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Law Chi-Kwong, says the government plans to give HK$10,000 through the Community Care Fund to new arrivals who miss out on the cash handout announced in last week's budget because they aren't permanent residents. Members of the fund will meet this month to discuss the plan. Law said if it's approved, it will target new migrants of all nationalities, but applicants will have to undergo an asset test. He said that is the same arrangement as in 2011, when a one-off HK$6,000 allowance was given to newcomers from low-income families. Mike Weeks asked Labour party lawmaker Fernando Cheung about the asset criteria back then:
Derailment shows failures at all levels of MTRC: engineer   Listenfacebook
The MTR Corporation says the derailment of a train approaching Hung Hom Station last September was linked to the earlier replacement of sleepers on the East Rail track. It said staff who had tried to fix a widened gap between the rails didn't really know what they were doing. Eight passengers were injured in the derailment, which brought rush-hour chaos to the rail network. Albert Lai is a civil engineer with the Professional Commons think tank. He told Ian Pooler the derailment was caused by failures at all levels of the MTRC:
Homeschooled kids getting too much screen time   Listenfacebook
Schoolchildren in Hong Kong have been taking online classes over the past few weeks following the closure of schools after Chinese New Year because of the coronavirus outbreak. This means many of them are now spending more time than recommended glued to computer screens. An Education University poll of 6,700 parents found that more than half their children spend more than two hours a day on electronic screens; and even a third of those at kindergartens spend more than an hour a day looking at such devices. Annemarie Evans asked the deputy head of the university's Early Childhood Education Department, Eva Lau, if this is a problem: