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Macau and the Economic Downturn; Merger of Frontier and Democratic Party; Cut Back in Staunton Street Development; The Happiness Index (28 Nov 2008)


Recently the Las Vegas Sands corporation shocked many in Macau by laying off most of the 11,000 workers on two Cotai strip sites. The casino liberalisation was a boon to Macau, but with the mainland cutting the number of people allowed in, and with the inevitable downturn in gambling caused by the recession, the effects could spread far beyond the casinos. We talk to some of the people the cut backs have affected. In April 2002, some members of the so-called "Young Turks" in the Democratic Party left and joined the non-party political group The Frontier. In November 2008, the Democratic Party and the Frontier decided to merge to unify pro-democratic forces in Hong Kong, but the Frontier would still exist after merger. Recently, members of the Democratic Party endorsed the merger at a special party meeting. The Urban Renewal Authority has effectively halved its redevelopment plans for Central's Staunton Street area to preserve historic streetscapes and reduce building density. The revised project will result in losses of HK$170 million, because of the drastic drop in the number of residential units from 216 to 130. It is the fourth major construction project in a week to have its size and building density reduced. According to a survey conducted by the Lingnan University's Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) Hong Kong people in 2008 are happier than in 2007 despite the economic downturn. The rise of the 2008 happiness index, which is statistically significant, is due mainly to the increase of reported happiness among households with relatively lower family incomes.

The Pulse
Publish Date: 
Friday, November 28, 2008
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