Elizabete Fong Chong Mei (Miss), alumnus, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
About Novel HKSAR Names
Name Category: Creation; Substitution
Thursday, December 08, 2011
A 74-year-old passenger died after falling down the stairs of a KMB double-decker bus.
The man, surnamed Chan, had a head injury and died upon arrival at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The accident occurred at around 2pm on Wan Wah Street near Tsz Oi Court car park in Tsz Wan Shan.
The Trident bus has been running for eight years, while the driver was on his last trip when the incident occurred.
A KMB spokeswoman said the bus was on its way to Tsz Oi Court when it stopped at traffic lights near a car park.
But after the bus captain resumed driving, he heard a loud bump.
Reports from the scene said Chan was about to go downstairs and was close to the edge of the stairs when he fell.
Chan, who lived in the area, was unconscious when taken to hospital.
The driver, who joined KMB in 1996, has been suspended, which the spokeswoman said is normal until a police investigation is completed.
She said all drivers must pass three weeks of training before serving the public. They need to have at least three years of experience driving private vehicles with satisfactory conduct.
But Ringo Lee Yiu-pui, chairman of the Institute of the Motor Industry Hong Kong, said: "In terms of professional conduct, I suspect bus drivers possibly still lack training on taking passengers' safety into consideration while driving."
He said drivers - through the bus periscope - should make sure no one is standing up on the upper deck before moving off.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
The captain of New Zealand's men's netball team reportedly choked to death in a freak accident while eating his dinner.
Mike Siave, 35, collapsed in front of his wife Amanda on Friday as he was eating a meal at his Christchurch home, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Paramedics failed to revive him.
"He was one of the best captains we've ever had," men's netball association head David Pala'amo told the Christchurch Press.
Reuters in Yangon
Dec 03, 2011
Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday welcomed US engagement with Myanmar, saying she hoped it would set her long-isolated country on the road to democracy.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a final meeting with Suu Kyi as she wrapped up a landmark visit that saw Myanmar's civilian government pledge to forge ahead with political reforms and re-engage with the world community.
Clinton and Suu Kyi held a private dinner on Thursday and met again yesterday at the Nobel laureate's lakeside home, effectively her prison until she was released in November last year after years in detention.
"If we go forward together, I'm confident there will be no turning back from the road to democracy. We are not on that road yet, but we hope to get there as soon as possible with our friends," Suu Kyi said.
The two appeared visibly moved as they embraced after their meeting, and a senior US official said they had established a strong personal rapport. Neither mentioned US sanctions on Myanmar, imposed because of rights abuses and suppression of democracy, but Clinton later said the curbs may end if reforms continue.
"If there is enough progress, obviously we will be considering lifting sanctions. But as I said before we're still at the very early stages of this dialogue," she said.
Suu Kyi said Myanmar needed help on education, health care and strengthening rule of law, and welcomed US support for World Bank and International Monetary Fund assessment missions to help draw up priorities for a country whose economy is increasingly reliant on China.
"We have to find out what our greatest needs are," she said.
Clinton's trip follows a decision by US President Barack Obama last month to open the door to expanded ties, saying he saw the potential for progress in Myanmar, until recently seen as a reclusive military dictatorship firmly aligned with China.
Basmah Lok Chak-yin (Ms), born and raised in Hong Kong, converted to Islam after the 35-year-old used to catch the same bus home with a Muslim colleague to have regular conversations with him about Islam, and later married him.
Note: Basmah is a created variant of the Arabic name Basma which means "smile"
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Henry Tang Ying-yen, who resigned as chief secretary last week, kept himself busy at meetings with political leaders and business elites yesterday, a day after admitting he had been unfaithful to his wife.
After confessing in a statement that "I have strayed in my love life, and I feel deeply remorseful and guilty," Tang focused on work apparently linked to his potential campaign for the chief executive election in March.
Yesterday afternoon, Tang, 59, met for two hours with new Executive Council convener Ronald Arculli at the Hong Kong Club in Central.
Asked what they talked about and if he had won support from Arculli, Tang said: "We just had a chat."
Arculli, who took over the job from Leung Chun- ying on Monday, also declined comment.
Tang is to meet today with former Monetary Authority chief executive Joseph Yam Chi-kwong, and tomorrow with executive councillor Leong Che-hung.
He also has appointments with former executive councillor Chung Sze-yuen on Monday, and former secretary for justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie the following day.
Victor Fung Kwok-king, group non-executive chairman of consumer-goods trading giant Li & Fung and former chairman of the Airport Authority, is on Tang's guest list for next Thursday.
The following day, Tang will meet with Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Standing Committee member Yu Kwok-chun and Chinese- Language Press Institute chairman Lee Cho-jat.
In his statement, Tang thanked his wife of 27 years, Lisa Kwok Yu-chin, for forgiving him, saying he considered her his lifelong partner. He refused to identify who made him "stray."
Shirley Yuen, his former administrative assistant and current Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce CEO, and Elizabeth Chan, who worked as Tang's personal assistant when he was a lawmaker in the 1990s, both denied having an affair with him.
Kwok said there had been "difficult times" in their marriage, and they have decided not to look back.
In an exclusive interview with Eastweek, Tang said Hong Kong needs to handle many deep-rooted problems. These include how to make the economy more diverse, and addressing social issues and constitutional development. He also said it will be essential for the SAR to continue to contribute to the country.
Soccer great 'worries' about delays in World Cup preparations, but confident country will deliver
Associated Press in Sao Paulo
Nov 12, 2011
Pele says it's scary to see how far behind Brazil is in its preparations to host the 2014 World Cup.
He said it made him sad that it took so long for the country to start seriously preparing for the tournament, but added he was confident Brazil would do what needs to be done in time.
The football great defended Fifa for asking Brazil to urgently approve a law establishing the legal framework needed for the World Cup, saying the government knew of the world governing body's demands when it bid to host the tournament.
Pele said young Brazil striker Neymar did the right thing by choosing to stay in Brazil instead of accepting an offer from a European club, adding that Santos had a good chance of beating Barcelona in the Club World Cup next month in Japan.
Pele, the World Cup's official ambassador in Brazil, said he was surprised with some of the delays in the 12 host cities, including in construction for some of the stadiums that will be used in the month-long tournament scheduled to begin in less than three years. "It was scary," he said. "It is sad and it worries me that we have to go through this even though we knew eight years ago that the World Cup was going to be held in Brazil."
He said, however, that President Dilma Rousseff was fully aware of the challenges Brazil was facing and would not let Brazil fail.
"It seems everything is being solved, there are some delays but I'm certain that everything will be ready," he said. "We have problems with transportation and communications, but the government will do everything necessary to get things ready."
Pele made the comments at a press conference to promote a research institute that bears his name and is aimed at helping children across Brazil. He also said he thought Fifa was right to ask Brazil to sign the law that will allow Brazil to deliver the final commitments it made to Fifa in its bid to host the World Cup and the 2013 Confederations Cup.
The new law would regulate commercial rights, alcohol sales and advertising rules for the tournament, among other things. But many Brazilian lawmakers, including former striker Romario, are hesitant because the proposed law allegedly gives Fifa too many powers.
"Fifa cannot be blamed for anything," Pele said. "This is not new for the Brazilian government. It accepted all of these demands, now it has to find a solution and I know that it will find it."
Pele also praised Neymar for agreeing to stay with Santos until the World Cup, and dismissing a move to clubs such as Real Madrid or Barcelona, which reportedly tried to sign him several times. "We always thought that it would be better for him to stay in Brazil for as long as possible and we always tried to convince him of that," said Pele, who was Santos' biggest star in the 1960s. "It's better if he stays here until he can become more mature to play in Europe."
"He had a bad reflex - he was Spanish so he drives on the other side of the road."
Sun, 13 Nov 11:36:00 2011
Sebastien Loeb said there was absolutely no way he could avoid the head-on collision with a road car that ended his participation in the Rally GB on the 18th stage in mid-Wales.
The Citroen driver, who clinched his eighth World Rally championship on Friday after rival Mikko Hirvonen retired, was running second behind Jari-Matti Latvala with five stages to go when he had the incident with a car that ended up on the wrong side of the road.
"Between the two stages on the road section in a very narrow part over a crest, the car came in front and I went to the side and he went to the wrong side," Loeb explained. "He had a bad reflex - he was Spanish so he drives on the other side of the road.
"We couldn't do anything so we just hit, not hard but the car was broken. When you have no water in the engine, you can't go anywhere.
"This is not the first time it's happened to me. It's bad luck sometimes."
He added that the other driver involved was full of remorse.
"The Spanish guy was crying," said Loeb, "he was not so happy."
Although Loeb had been keen to try and end the year with another victory even though the title was secure, he was sanguine about the incident, admitting that with the championship resolved he could be fairly relaxed.
"I prefer it now after the result of the championship," he said.
"For sure it was a good battle but like I said my main target here was to win the championship. That was done, so it was okay.
"It's the only rally where I didn't need some points so it's the best one to have like this."
"This [Chinese] meal embodies the idea that every cuisine is in fact a natural fusion of different cultures. What we experienced here is true fusion."
"[The Chinese theme] inspired us towards the concept of `poetic cuisine' as a way to show the world the depth and creativity of Chinese cuisine."
Aug 29, 2011
In the world of cuisine, good taste is worth replicating. In May, sauce maker Lee Kum Kee's dream team of Chinese chefs wowed judges at the 2011 World Championship of Cookery in Taipei, beating 27 other international teams to take home the champion's cup.
To give Hong Kong food lovers a chance to sample the glory, Lee Kum Kee Group chairman Lee Man Tat and sons David and Charles Lee hosted a banquet on Friday at the company's Tai Po headquarters, and invited the five mainland masters to recreate their award-winning dishes.
"The theme of `Jiangnan painted in spring rains' came from a Chinese dance competition I saw that featured a couple dancing in front of a moving backdrop of a Jiangnan water village," team leader chef Qu Hao of Beijing explained. "It inspired us towards the concept of `poetic cuisine' as a way to show the world the depth and creativity of Chinese cuisine."
The dishes - a stuffed baby tomato appetiser, a consomme with an intricately constructed edible "lover's knot", braised beef presented with coiled and golden-fried dough, salt-baked braised duck, velveted fish dice in bamboo and a delicately layered sweet pastry - not only tested the chefs' mastery of Chinese traditional techniques, but also their understanding of cutting-edge presentation.
Local gourmet William Mark Yiu-tong was just one of the satisfied guests at the three-hour luncheon. The veteran food critic said: "For me, this meal embodies the idea that every cuisine is in fact a natural fusion of different cultures. What we experienced here is true fusion."
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Young people across the globe are having more unprotected sex and know less about effective contraception options, a survey revealed.
The "Clueless or Clued Up: Your Right to be informed about contraception" study reports that the number of young people having unsafe sex with a new partner increased by 111 percent in France, 39 percent in the United States and 19 percent in Britain in the past three years.
"No matter where you are in the world, barriers exist which prevent teenagers from receiving trustworthy information about sex and contraception, which is probably why myths and misconceptions remain so widespread," said Denise Keller, a member of the World Contraception Day task force.
"When young people have access to contraceptive information and services, they can make choices that affect every aspect of their lives which is why it's so important that accurate and unbiased information is easily available for young people to obtain."
The survey, commissioned by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and endorsed by 11 international nongovernment organizations, questioned more than 6,000 young people from 26 countries including Chile, Poland and China, on their attitudes toward sex and contraception.
In Europe, only half of respondents receive sex education from school, compared with three quarters across Latin America, Asia Pacific and the United States. Many respondents also said that they felt too embarrassed to ask a health-care professional for contraception.
"Young people are telling us they are not receiving enough sex education or the wrong type of information," said Jennifer Woodside, spokeswoman for the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
"The results show that too many young people either lack good knowledge about sexual health, do not feel empowered enough to ask for contraception or have not learned the skills to negotiate contraceptive use with their partners to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections."
In Egypt, more than a third of respondents in the study, prepared for World Contraception Day on September 26, believe bathing or showering after sex will prevent pregnancy, and more than a quarter in Thailand and India believe having intercourse during menstruation is an effective form of contraception.
But the fact that many young people engage in unprotected sex and the prevalence of harmful myths should not come as a surprise, Woodside said.
"How can young people make decisions that are right for them, if we do not empower them and enable them to acquire the skills they need to make those choices?" she said.
"I thank God for giving me such a good legal team and for his support. I thank my family for their support and love. I am especially thankful for [friend] Wong Hei, Pastor Lam Yee-lok, [TVB managing director] Ms Fong Yat-wah and [executive deputy chairman] Mr Leung Nai-pang."
General manager and two co-accused acquitted of cheating TV station after judge criticises its management of payments for celebrity appearances
Amy Nip and Austin Chiu
Sep 03, 2011
TVB general manager Stephen Chan Chi-wan was yesterday acquitted on all corruption and fraud charges after the judge criticised his employer for its poor internal management.
Chan, his former assistant Edthancy Tseng Pei-kun and TVB marketing chief Wilson Chan Wing-shuen were found not guilty of all five charges against them in the District Court yesterday. The Department of Justice has yet to decide whether it will launch an appeal.
Prosecutors had accused Stephen Chan of receiving HK$112,000 behind his employer's back to perform in a live talk show. Chan and Tseng also allegedly concealed sponsorship arrangements in another book signing event and cheated five TVB artists - who supported Chan free of charge at a show held in a shopping mall - of their commissions. Wilson Chan and Tseng were also accused of conspiring to defraud TVB of HK$550,000.
Acting Chief District Judge Poon Siu-tung criticised TVB for allowing its artists, who normally get an appearance fee, to join ones attended by its senior executives for free.
"TVB is a listed company. I can hardly understand why such arrangements can be made," Poon said.
A listed company should not be a "clubhouse of major shareholders," he continued. TVB did not lay down any rules governing support-the-boss activities and made judgments solely based on who the boss was, the judge said.
Cheers erupted in the courtroom after all charges were found to be unsubstantiated. A red-eyed, emotional Tseng hugged his friends while the tense faces of the two Chans relaxed into smiles.
Facing a throng of reporters outside the court, the trio repeatedly thanked their family and friends.
Stephen Chan said: "I thank God for giving me such a good legal team and for his support. I thank my family for their support and love. I am especially thankful for [friend] Wong Hei, Pastor Lam Yee-lok, [TVB managing director] Ms Fong Yat-wah and [executive deputy chairman] Mr Leung Nai-pang."
The legal fees of Stephen Chan and Tseng will be paid for out of public funds. Wilson Chan was required to pay his own costs as the evidence he gave to the ICAC raised justifiable suspicion.
TVB stated that it respected the court's verdict and that its operations remained unaffected.
An ICAC spokesman said it would study the judgment in detail, while a Department of Justice spokesman said reasons for the verdict would be studied to determine what action, if any, would be taken in an appeal.
Professor Anthony Fung Ying-him, director of Chinese University's School of Journalism and Communication, said it was common for artists of entertainment and music companies to attend events for free.
"It is an attempt to build up relationship with clients ... artists may show up at a shop's opening party without getting paid. But clients may hire them as spokesmen for their products later," he suggested.
Exhibition's last day attracts those shoppers happy to open their purses for cut-price offerings
Helene Franchineau and LeeAnn Shan
Aug 16, 2011
Casually leaning against the wall, Ken Chen watches over two carts and several bags full of biscuits, frozen dumplings and seaweed. He is also waiting for his wife to return with more goods. Although she holds the purse strings in the household, she is now busy loosening them.
"We spent HK$1,000 so far together, but I think my wife has already spent much more [on her own]," said the car mechanic from Yuen Long.
Chen was one of 382,000 visitors who shopped for and sampled food from 19 countries and multiple regions at this year's Hong Kong Trade Development Council Food Expo at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. The event, which ended last night after five days, attracted 3 per cent more visitors than last year.
As it was the last day, most of the 900 exhibitors slashed their prices, and thousands of people came with bags, carts and even suitcases to stock up on everything from ground coffee to mooncakes.
Dried abalone, normally priced at HK$5,600 for 500g was discounted by 50 per cent, while two packs of four steamed buns cost HK$10, instead of HK$14 for one.
Phillis Man, a housewife from the New Territories, chose to come on the last day because she already knew what she wanted and how much she wanted to spend.
"I came here for items that cannot be found in normal supermarkets or are usually too expensive," she said, filling two suitcases with biscuits, coffee, peanuts, crabs and seaweed.
A primary school teacher from Kowloon bought HK$1,500 worth of Chinese traditional medicine. She estimated she spent a total of HK$3,000 on her first visit to the expo.
Most exhibitors were satisfied with this year's show.
"In the Trade Zone, we made 1,360 business contacts, which was slightly better than our expectations," said Tomohiro Ando, the director of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and food business promotion division at the Japan External Trade Organisation, which co-organised the Japanese pavilion.
With more than 160 exhibitors, the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster-hit country sent its largest-ever group of participants in order to restore people's faith in food coming from Japan.
"It is remarkable that our exhibitors sold their products so well, even under such difficult conditions," Ando said, referring to worries about the fallout from the damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima.
"This shows that Hong Kong people still love Japanese food. We found it very encouraging."
Dr Benita Perch
Aug 16, 2011
Most of us are overtired and overworked. But these dietary tips will give a healthy glow.
1. Drink mineralised water
Water is essential for cells and organs to function optimally. Most people are chronically dehydrated and should drink at least 30 millilitres per kilogram of body weight daily. Drinking enough water gives you more energy, and can help with weight management, as hunger is often confused with thirst.
Additionally, when dehydrated, the body adapts by reabsorbing water from the colon, causing constipation, which could lead to poor health and skin.
Tap water is full of toxins and heavy metals that do not benefit the body, and distilled water lacks minerals, so I recommend mineralised water.
2. Eat a rainbow of colours and at least five vegetable servings a day
The more colourful the fruit or vegetable, the more nutrients it has. The orange colour of butternut squash, for example, is due to its high level of beta-carotene. Eat a variety of colours to get full benefits. For healthy skin and hair, try these specific compounds:
# Vitamin C helps in the formation of connective tissue.
# Biotin, a B vitamin found in peanuts and some fruit and vegetables, may improve hair growth.
# Silica, found in horsetail, alfalfa and many other fruit and vegetables, is an important component of collagen, the substance that gives skin its bounce.
3. Load up on vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic muscle pain, bone loss and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Most people are deficient because they stay indoors, use sunblock and don't get enough D from the diet. Get a blood test for 25-hydroxy vitamin D and take supplements if necessary. It can often take six to 10 months to get back to optimal levels.
4. Get checked for food intolerances
The common ones are dairy, gluten, wheat, eggs and soya beans. Such intolerances can play a key role in many ailments. Discovering and treating intolerances can help with weight loss and boost energy levels, prevent headaches and irritable bowel syndrome. It can improve mood and autoimmune conditions.
5. Ensure daily bowel movements
It's essential for health. The ideal is a bowel movement after every meal. With a lack of movement, the body reabsorbs toxins, leading to headaches, fatigue and poor skin. Simply drink enough water, eat enough fibre - found in wholegrains and vegetables - and exercise. Magnesium deficiency can also cause slow bowel movements.
6. Drink green tea daily
Green tea has antioxidant compounds and is naturally detoxifying. Much research has shown the benefits of antioxidants, particularly in cancer prevention.
7. Take fish oils daily
There is a vast amount of research that shows the benefits of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), compounds found in fish oil. EPA and DHA have been found to help with everything from preventing cardiovascular disease by lowering lipid levels to helping combat depression. They work by keeping cell walls healthy, which helps maintain healthy skin.
8. Choose organic
Eating organic food is important to prevent a high intake of insecticides, hormones or antibiotics. Often the least contaminated fruit or vegetables are those with an outer layer that can be removed before eating, such as bananas or avocados. Also try to frequent local organic markets or use food-box deliveries.
9. Get at least seven to nine hours sleep a night
Most people are sleep deprived. They wake up exhausted and use coffee to keep going. A study carried out over 14 days at the University of Pennsylvania showed that subjects who had eight hours of sleep rarely suffered attention lapses and showed no cognitive decline over the study. Those in the four-hour and six-hour sleep group showed a steady decline in the same areas and, frighteningly, at the end of the study, felt that the lack of sleep was not affecting them.
Go to bed early. An hour's sleep before midnight is worth two after.
Exercise is well known for its cardiovascular, osteoporotic and other health benefits. It is detoxifying and improves the functioning of the organ systems. Regular exercise also helps prevent anxiety and depression, as it releases endorphins, also known as happy hormones. It even helps reduce the severity and frequency of hot flushes in menopausal women.
Even a simple exercise programme helps, such as a daily 30-minute walk.
Dr Benita Perch is a naturopathic physician with Dr Susan Jamieson & Holistic Central Medical Practice.
Remus Choy of Grasshoppers tells court he drank four glasses of wine before driving into railings
Jun 11, 2011
Canto-pop star Remus Choy Yat-kit crashed his new Bentley after driving it for only a week, a court heard yesterday.
Choy, 44, of the pop group Grasshopper, admitted he had been drink-driving when he crashed his car in Pok Fu Lam last month.
He told Eastern Court he was so "mentally disturbed" by the accident that he needed to see a doctor. He pleaded guilty to careless driving and drink-driving.
The court heard that Choy crashed his Bentley after he drank four glasses of red wine and slept for four hours. The crash took place in Sassoon Road, near Queen Mary Hospital at about 7.40am on May 1.
A breath test showed a reading of 66 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres or air. The legal limit is 22 micrograms.
Wong Ching-yu SC, for Choy, said his client had the new car for only a week before the crash and he was not familiar with its operations.
The court heard that the luxury car hit a metal railing before knocking down a mailbox and a fire hydrant.
The vehicle continued to move uphill in Sassoon Road for about 200 metres, hitting a safety barrier before it eventually came to a halt.
Wong told the court Choy shared two bottles of wine with his friends the night before the crash. He drank fewer than four glasses of wine and had slept for four hours.
Choy was released yesterday on HK$5,000 bail. Sentencing was adjourned to June 24, pending a community service report.
Choy suffered scratches to his right arm. He refused to be admitted to hospital for medical treatment.
Acting Principal Magistrate David Dufton said Choy's alcohol level would not be that high if he had rested. He also questioned why Choy's car continued to move after the first crash, adding that it seemed Choy intended to leave the scene.
Wong explained that it was because Choy was shocked at the time and accidentally stepped on the accelerator, causing the car to move 200 metres further.
He asked the magistrate to give Choy the benefit of doubt, since there was no evidence proving he tried to flee the scene.
Wong said Choy was remorseful. He had refrained from driving since and hired a personal driver. Wong said Choy was severely "mentally disturbed" by the incident and needed to see a doctor.
Choy has been fined six times for traffic offences, including five for speeding.
Grasshopper is a trio comprising Choy, his brother Calvin Choy Yat-chi, and Edmond So Chi-wai.
"Meeting her gave me a remarkable feeling that we will find something very special. She was singularly charming and energetic - I sometimes suspect she is a descendant of Cleopatra, she's that charming."
Hongkonger with a record of scientific missions works with Dominican on ancient Egyptian mystery
Aug 24, 2011
A Hong Kong dentist known for his love of science exploration is about to embark on a mission to find the lost tomb of doomed Egyptian lovers Cleopatra and Mark Antony.
Ng Tze-chuen, 58, said he would work with Kathleen Martinez, a lawyer turned archaeologist from the Dominican Republic, on delivering "the most important discovery of the 21st century".
They would visit Egypt together next month to meet Zahi Hawass, Egypt's controversial former minister of state for antiquities, Ng said.
Hawass was appointed to the ministerial post in January by Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak shortly before the latter stepped down in February. Hawass was in turn dismissed by the new government but reappointed; he resigned last month amid reports of widespread looting at Egypt's museums.
Ng said the changes in Hawass' official status would not affect their mission. "He still oversees all these projects, and we're going to see him next month to discuss the next stage of the search for the tombs. He is irreplaceable - nobody does it better than him," Ng said.
The dentist, who has operated in Causeway Bay for 30 years, is known for his involvements in world-class science projects, including an unsuccessful Mars effort by Britain's Beagle 2 spacecraft in 2003. He said he was chosen for the Egyptian mission because he impressed Hawass by establishing a team of international scientists for a third attempt at investigating a secret chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built for the Pharaoh Khufu.
He will design a robotic probe fitted with LED lights and a wide-angle camera to locate a tomb thought to contain the remains of Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, at Abusir, a Mediterranean town on the western edge of the Nile delta that used to be called Taposiris Magna.
"This will be the most important and interesting exploration I have been involved in," he said. Of his working partner Martinez, he said: "Meeting her gave me a remarkable feeling that we will find something very special. She was singularly charming and energetic - I sometimes suspect she is a descendant of Cleopatra, she's that charming."
Martinez said they were chasing their dreams because "he's a dentist dedicated to the invention of robots and research devices and I'm a lawyer with a passion for archaeology".
Martinez, who stopped work as a lawyer five years ago to look for Cleopatra's tomb, pioneered the theory that she could be buried at Taposiris Magna. Martinez was part of a team that in 2009 found a mask said to represent Antony, 22 coins with Cleopatra's face and 10 noble tombs. They also discovered a series of deep shafts where the lovers might be buried.
Of the expedition, Martinez said: "If there's a 1 per cent chance that the last queen of Egypt could be buried there, it is my duty to search for her."
Two years ago, Hawass and Martinez identified three underground sites ripe for excavation.
"If we discover the tomb ... it will be the most important discovery of the 21st century. If we do not discover the tomb ... we made major discoveries here, inside the temple and outside the temple," she said.
Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in 30BC after losing the Battle of Actium.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
In yet another U-turn, the government has dropped plans to teach national education in secondary schools.
However, a source said the Education Bureau will push ahead with the plan to introduce the subject in primary schools next year.
The bureau originally proposed making national education an optional subject in secondary schools next year before making it mandatory for all schools from 2013.
The proposal was slammed by several sectors as a form of brainwashing.
Last Sunday, 200 teachers, students and their parents protested outside the old central government offices, after which a bureau spokesman hinted that adjustments could be made after listening to public views.
Earlier this month, the Civic Party said 68 percent of the 1,134 respondents it polled wanted the proposal withdrawn.
The decision to abandon the secondary school plan comes before the four- month consultation on the issue ends on Tuesday.
Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union president Fung Wai-wah said it is not technically possible to introduce the subject in secondary schools as they are already facing a lot of challenges because of the new 3+3+4 system.
He said the education sector has reached a consensus that the national education plan be withdrawn as a similar course already exists in the curriculum.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Education Michael Suen Ming-yeung took a high- speed train to Wuhan, Hubei, with about 300 students and teachers as part of an exchange program to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution.
The tour is part of the "Passing On the Torch: Exploring and Embracing Chinese Culture National Education Exchange Programme." Launched by the bureau last year, the program has seen 8,300 students participate so far.
The three-day tour will see the group visit Wuhan University and join learning activities with students there.
The trip is expected to give local students a deeper understanding of the nation as well as strengthen their national identity and sense of belonging.
Devil. Whale. Chlorophyll, Violante, Treacle — you name it, Hong Kong probably has someone who goes by it. Inquisitive, enterprising and...