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District Council Elections; Thomas Friedman; Bangkok Floods (04 Nov 2011)


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The District Council elections may be just a day of so away, but the voting atmosphere isn’t exactly intense. On Thursday, the University of Hong Kong released the results of a pre-election survey in which 65% of registered voters say they plan to vote in Sunday’s election. The real turnout is likely to be lower. In a 2007 survey, 75% said they would vote. In fact, just 38% did. But if more people don't come out to vote, will it be partly due to media restrictions?There are stringent rules designed to control how much coverage candidates can get, to ensure it’s more or less balanced, and to limit even how much they can campaign themselves without getting unfairadvantage. Voters learn about the candidates’ platforms through campaign materials, media coverage, and election forums. When some refuse to take part in forums, media organisations find themselves facing a dilemma. We live in a period when the global balance of power seems to be shifting immensely. Hardly a day passes without some news organization or pundit talking about whether or not China is going to be able or willing to bail out the economies of Europe or the United States. For decades, the United States was the major global and economic power. Now, many in the US are wondering what on earth has happened to them and their country? In his new book “That used to be us”, written with Michael Mandelbaum, Thomas Friedman lays out some home truths. Recently Friedman presented his ideas in Hong Kong. We caught up with him during his visit.In Bangkok, floodwaters are still threatening the centre of the city and forcing the evacuation of the suburbs. Evacuations have been ordered in almost a quarter of Bangkok’s 50 districts. The floods have spread across 63 of Thailand’s 77 provinces over the past three months, killed more than 400 people, and displaced many others. With us in the studio is to talk about the relief effort is Kevin Chiu of Worldvision.

The Pulse
Publish Date: 
Friday, November 4, 2011
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