Hong Kong is in mourning as the nation grieves the death of nine locals in a balloon accident in Egypt. Elsewhere the Court of Final Appeals hears a case that will decide if helpers in Hong Kong can gain right of residency.
Nine Hong Kong residents die in Egypt balloon disaster
While on a trip to Luxor in Egypt, a group of nine Hong Kong tourists joined a tragic hot air balloon ride that ended in their deaths. The balloon rose to 1,000 feet before catching fire. It began an emergency descent, but as it was approaching the ground, an English tourist that was riding in the balloon jumped from the basket along with the balloon operator. Reduced in weight, the balloon began to rise again. Then, it exploded, killing the remaining passengers. In total, 19 people died, making the tragedy the most serious balloon accident in history.
Government to recommend the Court of Final Appeal ask for a judicial review
Yesterday, the court of final appeal opened a hearing in an appeal case that may determine whether domestic helpers have the right to permanent residency in Hong Kong. Today, the government plans to recommend that the court ask the National People’s Congress for a judicial review of Article 158 of the Basic Law and hold off on its ruling until the body responds. Article 158 states that the National People’s Congress Standing Committee has the power to interpret the Basic Law. The government believes that, once the power of the Standing Committee is clarified, the court will be able to determine whether a statement in a 1999 Standing Committee interpretation of the Basic Law that appears to indicate that domestic helpers and many children of mainland parents do not have the right to permanent residency, is binding. The court also refused the right of a girl born to mainland parents to representation in the case, saying that her concerns were already adequately covered by current suit.
Jasper Tsang calls for flexibility during political reforms
Yesterday, LegCo President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing called on the central government, the Hong Kong government, local political parties and Hong Kong people to show flexibility during Hong Kong’s political reform process. However, while he called for flexibility among pan-democrats and the public, he said that the government cannot expect the public to blame pan-democrats alone for a lack of progress on pushing forward any unpopular government proposals if the government does not also show flexibility.