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Hong Kong Today
Hong Kong Today
RTHK's morning news programme. Weekdays 6:30 - 8:00
Samantha Butler and Ben Tse


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Selected audio segments:
CE says policy measures will make HK 'a better place'  Listenfacebook
Chief Executive John Lee has delivered his second annual policy address, mapping out his priorities for stimulating the economy and strengthening national security. Some of the highlights include handouts to encourage people to have babies, making the Northern Metropolis a new engine for growth, strengthening patriotic education, and enacting additional national security laws under Article 23 of the Basic Law. Perhaps the most hotly-anticipated of the measures he unveiled on Wednesday was the easing of stamp duties, enacted several years ago to discourage property speculators from pushing up prices. With immediate effect, Lee announced he would halve the Buyer's Stamp Duty and the New Residential Stamp Duty from 15 percent to 7.5 percent. He said this would make it easier for non-permanent Hong Kong residents to buy homes. Frank Yung reports:
Economist says easing of 'spicy measures' comes too late   Listenfacebook
An economics scholar says the loosening of property curbs will not be able to stop home prices here from falling. An associate professor at Shue Yan University, Rita Li, said she expected housing prices to fall five to 10 percent in the second half of this year. She told Anne Chan that the decision to lower the stamp duties came too late:
More units to be sold but prices remain uncertain  Listenfacebook
A property analyst has described the stamp duty adjustments as pragmatic and over-cautious, saying the government obviously wanted to avoid over-stimulating the market. Nicholas Brooke, chairman of Professional Property Services Group, said he expected prices would bottom out next year and sales transactions increase. He spoke to Samantha Butler:
Stamp duty announcements add certainty to market  Listenfacebook
The head of an online residential real estate marketplace says the relaxation of property cooling measures can help stabilise falling home prices. The CEO of Spacious, Asif Ghafoor, says the cut in stamp duty will stimulate the transaction volume. He told Anne Chan that he expected to see transactions pick up by 10 to 20 percent:
'Need rehousing plan for subdivided tenants'  Listenfacebook
The Society for Community Organisation says the housing policies are a “good start” in improving living conditions in the SAR. John Lee announced several measures to boost housing supply and said a task force would be set up to tackle issues related to subdivided flats. SoCO's deputy director, Sze Lai-Shan, told Vanessa Cheng that while the task force was a step in the right direction, follow-up work was even more important:
Trading stamp duty cut to reboot market  Listenfacebook
John Lee also announced a cut in the stamp duty on stock trading by more than 20 percent to 0.1 percent from 0.13 percent. With the proposal expected to be legislated by the end of November, he stressed that the local stock market was essential in maintaining the SAR's global competitiveness. Vanessa Cheng reports:
New parents to get $20,000 handout  Listenfacebook
Parents will now receive $20,000 for each baby born. The measure applies to couples consisting of at least one permanent Hong Kong resident and will last three years. It is hoped the measure can boost the city's flagging birthrate. Violet Wong reports:
Affordable housing will address dwindling population  Listenfacebook
A management consultant says policies to boost the city's birth-rate are a step in the right direction but raising a child costs a lot more than $20,000. Roy Ying, co-chair of the advocacy and policy research committee of the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management, told Ben Tse that the most frequently cited bottleneck over having a child was housing:
Would-be mums disappointed over insufficient IVF support  Listenfacebook
DAB lawmaker and new mother, Nixie Lam, has welcomed the measures to encourage couples to have more babies. But Lam, who used in-vitro fertilisation treatment to get pregnant, says she was hoping there could have been more funding support for couples to use IVF. She told Violet Wong the government should study what the middle class and the grassroots people needed in order to have children:
Scholar calls for overhaul of exam-based education system  Listenfacebook
A University of Hong Kong scholar says the government's childbirth policies are a good start but financial incentives can probably only slow down the falling birth-rate. Paul Yip, the chair professor of population health, told Violet Wong that it might be better for the government to instead review the exam-oriented education system here and introduce longer maternity and paternity leave:
Doubts over plans to attract non-local students  Listenfacebook
Hong Kong's publicly-funded universities will be allowed to double the admission quota of non-local students to build the SAR into an international hub for post-secondary education. John Lee said from the next academic year, public universities can admit up to 40 percent of non-local students. He said universities would also take forward a number of dormitory projects which would provide about 13,500 more dorm places by 2027. Mervyn Cheung, chairman of the Hong Kong Education Policy Concern Organisation, says he is worried whether universities have enough resources to cope. He spoke to Kelly Yu:
CE announces new war and coastal defence museum  Listenfacebook
Chief Executive John Lee has pledged to boost patriotic and national security education, to boost Hong Konger's appreciation of Chinese culture and history. His ideas include converting the current Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence in Shau Kei Wan into the Hong Kong Museum of the War of Resistance and Coastal Defence. Elvis Yu reports:
Hopes to draw in big name tech companies  Listenfacebook
More supporting measures, including a $10 billion scheme for new industrialisation, tax reduction for patent holders and establishing an AI supercomputing centre in Cyberport, were revealed in the Policy Address to help develop the SAR into an international innovation and technology centre. The Chairman of the Productivity Council, Sunny Tan, told Elvis Yu that a lot of emphasis had been put into promoting new industrialisation which could help attract more big names in the sector to come to Hong Kong:
China unveils youngest-ever astronaut crew  Listenfacebook
The Shenzhou-17 spaceship is scheduled to blast off on Thursday morning. The crew of three astronauts will have the youngest average age since the launch of the country's space station construction mission. Ada Au reports:
15 medals for HK on Day Three of Para Games  Listenfacebook
Medals came in thick and fast for the SAR at the Asian Para Games on Wednesday, with athletes taking two golds, four silvers and nine bronzes in Hangzhou. Table tennis player, Wong Ting-ting, took home a silver in women's TT11 singles after a 3-1 defeat in the final to Japan's Natsuki Wada. And swimmer Chan Yui-lam grabbed silver in the women's 100-metre breaststroke SB14. Hong Kong has a total of 25 medals after three days of competition - four golds, nine silvers, 12 bronzes. Damon Pang reports: