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Suspension of Levy on Domestic Helpers; Summer Science Camp for Girls; Rita Fan Leaves Legco (01 Aug 2008)


Just two weeks ago Chief Executive Donald Tsang announced, that as part of a package of measures to combat inflation, the government was planning to waive the HK$400-a-month foreign domestic helper levy for two years with effect from September 1st. Many welcomed the inflation-relief package. Others described it as a hasty attempt to boost the Chief Executive's recent rating in public opinion polls and win votes for pro-establishment legislators. There were, and are, loopholes. Many helpers were left unsure of their future as employers either put new contracts on hold, or considered terminating their services in order to sign new contracts and be eligible for the waiver. With us in the studio to discuss this are Joseph Law of the Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers' Association, Eni Lestari, of the Asian Migrants' Co-ordinating Body, and Rex Varona, the Executive Director of the Asian Migrant Centre. Why are women, apparently, so much less interested in science and computers than men? Some say natural differences between the genders are responsible for this difference. Others say it's more likely to be caused by social conditioning and lack of opportunity. One summer camp, currently under way, is wondering if – with the right encouragement – more of Hong Kong's future science and computer nerds could be female. With the end of this year's Legco session, its president Rita Fan bowed out after 11-years in office with what she has described as "nostalgia and relief". Ms Fan said she hoped mutual respect and sincere communication would improve ties between the executive and legislative branches of the government in the next Legco term. But it's far from an end to her political career. After a planned vacation, part of which will be spent at the Olympic Games, she will continue as a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. We look back over her political career.

The Pulse
Publish Date: 
Friday, August 1, 2008
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