February 14th, 2012
07:46 AM GMT
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(Hong Kong) – Could it be a coincidence that diplomats chose to schedule an annual meeting of Chinese and EU leaders on Valentine’s Day?

On Tuesday, two of the EU’s biggest hitters, Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, will meet with Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing, before separate meetings with President Hu Jintao and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang. FULL POST



January 25th, 2012
10:06 AM GMT
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(CNN) – In the hours before President Obama strode up to the podium to deliver his State of the Union Address, Bill Gates was quietly publishing his own thoughts for the year ahead.

Well, he was doing it as quietly as Bill Gates does anything.

Posting a link to his letter on Twitter, the businessman, philanthropist and regular entry on world rich lists wrote:  “We cannot tolerate a world in which 1 in 7 people is undernourished, undernourished (sic), stunted, and in danger of starving to death.”

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September 21st, 2011
01:08 AM GMT
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(CNN) - Cigarettes used to be the bounty of choice for shoplifters keen to turn a quick profit.

Now gangs of “modern day rustlers” are targeting supermarkets for prime cuts of meat to sell on the black market, according to police in Tasmania, Australia.

“Years ago, there used to be rustlers. They used to go out and steal cattle, cut them up on the side of the road, in paddocks, take the meat and sell it. Our lot are a lot lazier,” says Detective Inspector David Plumpton.

“These days, these modern day rustlers, they just go straight into a supermarket. It’s already packed, and they’ve just got to put it straight into the frying pan.”
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September 19th, 2011
04:08 AM GMT
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(CNN) – "Suck it up cry-babies," writes Jeff in response to a CNN blog about the squeeze on international school places in Hong Kong.

"So your company (probably a bank that we bailed out) is paying for your rock-star home, Bentley, and live-in Philippino [sic] but can't get you into that "rich-kid" school??? Bummer, oh well, at least you are living in a place where you have zero expenses," he says.

I can hear the collective sigh of expat families around the world. Oh, if only.
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September 12th, 2011
05:12 AM GMT
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Hong Kong  (CNN) – Moving to Hong Kong? If you have school age children, prepare for a prolonged campaign to crack the outer perimeter of the international school system. In the words of one frustrated mother, it’s “harder than getting into Fort Knox.”

I met Heike in the office of a popular primary school. Her 10-year-old daughter Jessica had just disappeared into a room with four other hopefuls for an interview and assessment. My four-year-old was one of them.

Sitting on the couch, we exchanged anxious glances. The school year had started the week before. Any time lost now could translate into marks.

“I didn’t expect the school situation to be so dire, so bad,” Heike confided. She applied to several schools for her two children in February ahead of the family’s planned move to Hong Kong from Dubai. Now here we were in late August, thousands of dollars of application fees later and still no school place.
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