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Hong Kong speeds up visas for Japan expats

Hong Kong parents value grades over health: survey
Hong Kong (AFP) April 4, 2011 - More than two-thirds of Hong Kong parents value academic results over their child's health, a poll has found. While 72.2 percent of parents rated academic performance as "extremely important", only 10.9 percent cited "health condition" as "extremely important" according to a survey released Sunday. The findings follow Chinese-American author Amy Chua's bestseller earlier this year about her no-nonsense child-rearing style, which sparked a flurry of criticism over strict "Chinese" parenting versus more relaxed Western methods.

In her book, Chua recounts an ultra-strict regime of piano lessons and homework for her daughters, arguing that for Asian immigrant families in the United States, pushing children hard is the key to getting ahead. Hong Kong is known for its pressure-cooker style examination system, with parents placing high emphasis on academic achievements. Local ten-year-old twins have sailed through British high school exams. Estephe and his sister Perrine Corlin scored straight "As" in maths papers that are normally taken by 16-year-olds, with their mother attributing their success to a gruelling schedule.

Sunday's survey also found that Hong Kong parents are prone to pampering their children and catering to their every whim. Eighty-seven percent of parents said they had hired domestic helpers to take care of their children at home. About half of the respondents said they would take leave from work immediately if their children forgot to take homework or lunchboxes to school. The survey, conducted by shopping mall group Plaza Hollywood, interviewed 629 parents with children aged between three and 16.
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) April 4, 2011
Hong Kong is speeding up approval of work visas for professionals fleeing quake-hit Japan, immigration officials said Monday, as the city tries to snap up top-class staff in the finance sector.

Hong Kong's Immigration Department said 270 one-year visas from people leaving Japan were approved through an expedited system that took only two days, compared with the usual four to six weeks.

The applications were received between March 17 and 31 from high-level managers and professionals at multinational companies in the finance industry earning between HK$100,000 ($13,000) and HK$200,000 a month, a spokesman said.

"Countries all around the world are fighting over talent exiting Japan because of the earthquake," the department's information officer Angus Leung told AFP.

"We hope that they will consider Hong Kong," he said, adding that the government had received 600 enquiries from high-end financial workers in Japan since the disaster.

Japan is struggling to recover from the March 11 quake and tsunami, which battered the northeast coast and crippled a nuclear power plant 250 kilometres (155 miles) from Tokyo, causing radiation leakages and fears of contamination.

The Hong Kong International School and Hong Kong Japanese School told AFP they had received an increase in enquiries and applications from parents looking for child places.

They could not immediately provide an exact figure.

However, some banks said they will keep their staff in Japan.

A spokesman from Citigroup's Hong Kong office told AFP the company was not facilitating any permanent moves and that all of its Tokyo-based employees will remain in the city.

Luxury hotels in Hong Kong -- the JW Marriott, Four Seasons and Shangri-La -- have seen a jump in room requests from firms moving staff, and individuals fleeing the stricken country.

The central Bank of Japan said Monday that businesses' confidence in the outlook for the next three months had plunged following the March 11 disaster and subsequent nuclear crisis.




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Cat bond market could be boosted by Japanese crisis
Frankfurt (AFP) April 3, 2011
The market for bonds designed to cover natural catastrophes has taken a hit since the disasters in Japan last month, but could profit in the end from such dramatic events, specialists say. "Cat bonds" are a way for reinsurance companies to transfer part of the risks they cover to financial markets. While providing a layer of protection for issuers, they are also a lucrative investment op ... read more

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