BRIEFS | Special Olympics delegation brings home 87 medals

The local delegation participating in this year’s Special Olympics in Los Angeles has claimed a total of 87 medals, including 35 gold, 24 silver and 28 bronze medals. Macau’s athletes excelled in bocce, tennis, bowling, badminton, racing, aquatics, and running, among other sports. A delegation won 40 medals four years ago at the Special Olympics held in Athens. The Special Olympics World Games takes place every two years, alternating between summer and winter games. It is an international competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities. The first international Special Olympics World Summer Games was held in 1968 in Chicago, USA.

Tap water proven safe  in second test

The government’s second phase of water quality testing for the new social housing units has suggested that there are no excessive levels of lead to be found in their drinking water. All of the 48 samples extracted from the kitchens in unoccupied flats were said to measure up to the World Health Organization standard. The sample with the highest lead level detected – 3.2 micrograms per liter – is still far below the international par of 10 micrograms per liter. The initial phase of the examination concluded last week, revealing a similar result to this second round of testing. Up to 50 blocks were subject to the two-time water quality tests, which were prompted after an excessive amount of the chemical was found in tap water in the neighboring SAR.

Proposal to ban duty-free cigarettes in Taiwan

A proposal encouraging the Taiwan government to eliminate sales of duty-free cigarettes at airports has been received with reservations by government agencies. According to the Taipei Times, the Health Promotion Administration Director-General, Chiou Shu-ti, said that the administration needs to conduct further discussions with relevant agencies before law amendments can be made and put into practice. Compiled by a team of experts, the proposal suggests that the government should either ban airline passengers from bringing duty-free cigarettes into Taiwan, or at least cut the current permitted level of 200 cigarettes to 19 per person. If introduced, the rules would be similar to the recently imposed restrictions in Macau, where visitors are allowed to bring in only 19 cigarettes in opened packs. In Singapore, the sale of cigarettes at the airport is already banned.

Motion for public hearing on idle land plots denied

Lawmakers Ng Kuok Cheong and Au Kam San have filed an appeal against the Legislative Assembly president’s decision to deny their latest motion, which proposed a public hearing on the subject of idle land plots. The legislators had tabled a motion requesting that the government attend an AL debate, and respond to lawmakers’ enquiries regarding 16 idle land plots that have been excluded from the administration’s recovery list. The government has been working on recovering unused land. However, it recently announced that at least one third of the 48 idle plots of land that were attributable to leaseholders but not being properly utilized could not be recovered.  AL’s president, Ho Iat Seng, denied the lawmakers’ motion, arguing that their request does not comply with Macau’s Basic Law. He believes that the AL has no grounds to hold such a public hearing.

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