Hong Kong – Security measures at CFA Building

Security measures at CFA Building

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The following is issued on behalf of the Judiciary:

     The Judiciary today (July 9) announced that enhanced security measures will be implemented at the Court of Final Appeal Building (CFA Building) starting from July 12.

     “The introduction of enhanced security measures aims to help ensure the safety of judges and judicial officers, Judiciary staff and court users in the CFA Building,” a spokesman for the Judiciary said.

     Court users will be required to undergo security screening, including screening by metal detector and bag inspection, when entering the CFA Building. The Judiciary will deploy additional staff and security guards to provide guidance and assistance for court users.

     Out of security considerations, court users will not be allowed to bring water or drinks into the CFA Building upon implementation of the security screening. The Judiciary will provide drinking water and encourage court users to bring their own cups.

     The spokesman said, “We have taken into account all relevant matters including operational efficiency and the convenience of court users when implementing the security screening.”

     In implementing security screening in the CFA Building, the Judiciary will make every effort to minimise inconvenience caused to court users. However, it is inevitable that more time will be required for court users to gain access to courtrooms. The Judiciary urges the relevant parties and other court users to arrive at the CFA Building earlier, in particular during the peak hours in the mornings or after the lunch breaks.

     Security arrangements have been implemented on floors with courtrooms at the High Court Building, the Family Court and the Small Claims Tribunal. The relevant arrangements are planned to be extended to cover the whole West Kowloon Law Courts Building by the end of this year. 

Hong Kong – Measures to render further support to financial needy individuals and families to be implemented

Measures to render further support to financial needy individuals and families to be implemented

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     The Government today (May 24) announced that a series of measures would be implemented to render further support to financial needy individuals and families.

     The 2021-22 Budget announced that a one-off extra allowance, equal to half of one month of the standard rate of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance payments, Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance or Disability Allowance, would be provided to eligible recipients of these social security payments. Similar arrangements will apply to recipients of Working Family Allowance (WFA) and the Work Incentive Transport Subsidy (WITS). The above recipients will receive the extra allowance starting from today (see details in the annex).

     A Government spokesman said that recipients who were eligible for social security payments on April 28, 2021 (the date the Legislative Council approved the Appropriation Bill 2021), and those whose WFA/WITS applications were made in the period from October 1, 2020, to April 28, 2021, and eventually approved, would be eligible for the one-off extra allowance. It is estimated that about 1.51 million social security recipients, 70 000 WFA households and 20 000 WITS recipients would benefit from the arrangements, involving a total of over $2.5 billion. The payment will be credited to the designated Hong Kong bank accounts of the eligible households/recipients without the need to make an application.

     In addition, the Government will relax the eligibility criteria for the WFA Scheme and the Short-term Food Assistance Service Projects (STFASPs) starting from next month, for a period of one year.

     Regarding the WFA Scheme, the working hour requirements for non-single-parent households will be reduced for the claim months from June 2021 to May 2022, viz substantially reducing that for Basic Allowance from 144 to 72 hours per month and reducing that for Medium Allowance from 168 to 132 hours per month, so that more low-income households will be eligible for WFA despite a decrease in their working hours, and some existing beneficiary households may receive a higher allowance. Taking an eligible four-person household with two children as an example, if its aggregate monthly working hours reach 72, it may receive a maximum of $3,800 in WFA per month.

     As for the STFASPs, the asset limits will also be relaxed from June 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022, by pitching them to those of the WFA Scheme. For example, the asset limit of a four-person household will be relaxed from $264,000 to $548,000, while that of a one-person household will be relaxed from $99,000 to $266,000.

     For enquiries on social security and the STFASPs, please call the Social Welfare Department’s hotline (2343 2255) or visit its website (www.swd.gov.hk). As for enquiries on the WFA and WITS Schemes, please call the hotline (2558 3000) of the Working Family Allowance Office of the Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency or visit its website (www.wfsfaa.gov.hk/wfao).

Measures to Achieve Energy Transition Towards Clean Energy

Government of India has set a target for installing 175 GW of Renewable Energy capacity (excluding large hydro) by the end of 2021-22 which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from Biomass and 5 GW from Small Hydro.

 In order to become self-reliant in power generation and achieving energy transition towards clean energy, Government has inter-alia taken following measures:

(1) The renewable energy capacity to go up to 450 GW.

(2) Phase-wise retirement of old polluting coal based power plants.

(3) Setting up of Ultra Mega Renewable Energy Parks to provide land and transmission to RE developers on a plug and play basis.

(4) Schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Surakshaevam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM), Solar Rooftop Phase II, 12000 MW CPSU Scheme Phase II, etc.

(5) Laying of new transmission lines and creating new sub-station capacity under the Green Energy Corridor Scheme for evacuation of renewable power.

(6) Notifying Bidding Guidelines for tariff based competitive bidding process for procurement of Power from Grid Connected Solar PV and Wind Projects.

(7) Declaring Large Hydro Power (LHPs) (>25 MW projects) as Renewable Energy source.

(8) Hydro Purchase Obligation (HPO) as a separate entity within Non-solar Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO).

(9) Tariff rationalization measures for bringing down hydro power tariff.

(10) Budgetary Support for Flood Moderation/Storage Hydro Electric Projects (HEPs).

(11) Budgetary Support to Cost of Enabling Infrastructure, i.e. roads/bridges for hydro projects.

(a) ₹ 1.5 crore per MW for projects upto 200 MW

(b) ₹ 1.0 crore per MW for projects above 200 MW.

The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, New & Renewable Energy and the Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Shri R.K. Singh stated this in a written reply in the Lok Sabha here today.

Hong Kong – Measures stepped up to enhance work-above-ground safety in repair, maintenance, alteration and addition works

     The Labour Department (LD) is highly concerned about the occurrence of a number of fatal accidents involving workers falling from height to death while carrying out work-above-ground activities adjacent to permanent railings of residential buildings. The LD is saddened by the death of workers in the accidents.

     To curb unsafe work-above-ground activities and avoid the recurrence of similar accidents, the LD commenced a Special Enforcement Operation today (March 23) to step up enforcement at repair, maintenance, alteration and addition (RMAA) works sites located in residential buildings with work-above-ground activities being undertaken.

     The LD’s spokesman said, “It is unsafe to work on ladders as the ladders may topple or the workers may fall down during work. In light of this, during the operation, we will focus on work-above-ground activities with the use of ladders in connection with RMAA works, especially those carried out near permanent railings or parapets of residential buildings, and monitor whether duty holders have provided safe systems of work for the work activities concerned. We will take vigorous enforcement action pursuant to the law if any violation of the occupational safety and health (OSH) legislation is detected, including issuing suspension notices and improvement notices and taking out prosecution without prior warning.”

     The spokesman added, “To ensure the safety of work above ground, contractors and employers should conduct task-specific risk assessment, formulate safe work methods and adopt necessary safety measures and procedures, so as to prevent and eliminate all work-related hazards. In particular, where work cannot be safely done on the ground, contractors and employers shall take adequate steps, including ensuring the use of suitable working platforms with guard rails and toe boards or other safe means of support, and avoiding the use of ladders and substandard scaffolds.”

     The general duty provisions of the Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance require employers to provide safe working environments, safe plant and safe systems of work for their employees. Those who contravene the above provisions are liable to a maximum fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for six months.

     To raise the awareness of the industry towards hazards related to work above ground, the LD will issue an advisory letter to relevant stakeholders, including property management companies, trade associations, workers’ unions and professional bodies of safety practitioners, to urge them to comply with the requirements of OSH legislation and adopt adequate safety measures while carrying out work-above-ground activities.

     To safeguard the safety of workers engaged in work above ground, the LD appeals to contractors and employers to provide plant and systems of work for the work activities concerned that are safe and without risks to health. Employees should co-operate with their employers, adopt all safety measures and use personal protective equipment provided properly to avoid endangering their own work safety and that of other workers.