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Despite politics and coronavirus, Hong Kong's enduring love affair with real estate – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Clare Jim

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong is showing that its affinity for real estate has been unaffected by a year of anti-government protests and concerns over the coronavirus, with a large housing project launched this month registering the highest response in over two decades.

When the Pavilia Farm development in the New Territories district opened for subscription, eager buyers stocked up on food and water as they prepared for a long wait at the end of a snaking queue where signs read: “Expected waiting time: 8 hours.”

The project, attractively priced and close to the busy Kowloon district, received close to 23,000 subscriptions for its first 391 units. When completed in late 2022 it will have 3,000 apartments.

All 391 units were sold, the developer said on Sunday night, adding more units would be launched soon.

Realtors said the take-up at Pavilia was the strongest in more than 20 years in one of the world’s most expensive property markets and matched the frenzy seen at the time of the 1997 handover of the former British colony to China.

But it comes after social upheaval in the past year over China’s plans to introduce a national security law in Hong Kong, which has led many investors to question the future of the global financial hub.

However, Hong Kong’s home prices dropped just 4% since a peak in May last year before the outbreak of protests and the spread of the coronavirus, supported by strong demand, a severe land shortage and low interest rates. This followed a six-fold rise in the index of private home prices since 2003.

“The property market has accumulated over a year of demand since the social movement last June; the monthly transaction volume has been lower than usual,” said Richard Lee, CEO of realtor Hong Kong Property Services.

“People’s confidence has come back after seeing (residential) prices have stayed resilient even during the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Property consultancy Knight Frank’s executive director Thomas Lam said, however, the real estate market will continue to be under pressure in an economy under recession and with high unemployment. He said he expected home prices will fall around 5% this year before getting stable next year.

“Now the property market is very ‘deformed’; home prices remain high but…commercial and shop rents and prices are falling non-stop,” Lam said.

LOCATION, PRICING

Pavilia Farm is being built by New World Development and MTR Corp. above the Tai Wai railway station, on the train line into Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, and will have a large shopping mall in its lower floors.

On one of the early days of the launch, organisers stopped people queuing from 11.30 am local time (0330 GMT) as lines extended from a show flat to a footbridge outside despite social distancing concerns.

Buyers said they were unconcerned about the exodus of residents following the protests last year as well as the possibility of a crash in prices.

Grace Wong, a 40-year-old fitness trainer, said she wanted to buy a one-bedroom home for investment, although if prices dropped she said she would live in it herself.

Wong said she’s staying in Hong Kong because she’s single and doesn’t have to worry about the future of any children.

“(Otherwise) I’d choose to migrate elsewhere and not buy a property here,” she said. “I’m not young any more; if I don’t buy a property now it’ll be more difficult to secure a mortgage in the future.”

Property agents said Pavilia Farm’s pricing was around 10% lower than nearby developments, making it attractive to buyers who have been waiting for opportunities.

“The overwhelming response for this project demonstrates a rebound in the Hong Kong property sector and confidence from home buyers who are in search of high quality properties as the new normal settles in,” Edward Lau, deputy chief financial officer of New World, told Reuters.

Candy Lau, 26, who works in the consumer industry, said she was also confident about Hong Kong’s property market. She said she expects it to remain stable or rise slightly in the near future and had signed up to buy a one-bedroom apartment in Pavilia and rent it out.

“Property is still a better way of capital conservation. There’s limited investment channels right now; equity is volatile,” Lau said.

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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Live politics updates: Neera Tanden, Biden's expected pick for budget chief, draws fire from left and right – USA TODAY

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William Cummings
 
| USA TODAY

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Joe Biden fractures foot while playing with dog

President-elect Joe Biden fractured his right foot while playing with one of his dogs, an injury discovered in a scan Sunday and that will likely require him to wear a boot for several weeks, his doctor said. (Nov. 30)

USA TODAY’s coverage of the 2020 election and President-elect Joe Biden’s transition continues this week as he rolls out his picks for top jobs in his administration and states continue to certify their vote counts. 

President Donald Trump has cleared the way for Biden’s team to use federal resources and get briefings during the transition, although Trump has yet to formally concede the race.

Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the election and the transition.

Biden expected OMB pick Tanden draws opposition from left and right 

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to name Neera Tanden as director of the  Office of Management and Budget, according to multiple media reports, drawing angry reactions from progressives and conservatives alike. 

In response to a New York Times article about Tanden’s expected nomination, the communications director for Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Tanden, who heads the left-leaning Center for American Progress, “stands zero chance of being confirmed.” 

Drew Brandewie tweeted that Tanden “has an endless stream of disparaging comments about the Republican Senators whose vote she’ll need.” 

Tanden’s reported selection also sparked angry reactions from the left, such as Brianna Joy Gray, the former press secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, who called Tanden “a woman who is openly disdainful of Bernie Sanders and his coalition, but who is friendly with extreme bigots online.” Gray was particularly critical of Tanden’s views on Social Security 

“Everything toxic about the corporate Democratic Party is embodied in Neera Tanden,” Gray tweeted. 

Many of those opposed to Tanden’s appointment, including Brandewie and Gray, cited past tweets from Tanden who has been a prolific presence on the social media platform, posting more than 87,000 tweets – including numerous caustic criticisms or replies to criticisms – since joining Twitter in March 2010. By comparison, President Donald Trump has posted nearly 59,000 tweets since joining Twitter a year before Tanden. 

– William Cummings 

Biden names all women to his communications team 

President-elect Joe Biden on Sunday named his White House senior communications staff, choosing a team of all women led by Jen Psaki, a veteran of President Barack Obama’s administration, as his first press secretary. 

Psaki, who wore many hats under Obama including White House communications director, has overseen the confirmations team for Biden’s transition team.

Biden also tapped top campaign aides Kate Bedingfield as White House communications director and Symone Sanders as senior adviser and chief spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris. Bedingfield worked as deputy campaign manager and communications director for the Biden-Harris Campaign. Sanders served as a campaign senior advisor.

Other communications hires are: Elizabeth Alexander, communications director for first lady Jill Biden; Ashley Etienne, communications director for Harris; Karine Jean-Pierre, principal deputy press secretary; and Pili Tobar, deputy White House communications director.

“I am proud to announce today the first senior White House communications team comprised entirely of women. These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better,” Biden said in a statement. 

– Joey Garrison and Bart Jansen 

Trump tweets ‘get well soon’ after Biden fractures foot 

President Donald Trump tweeted, “Get well soon!” Sunday after President-elect Joe Biden sprained his foot the day before after slipping while playing with his dog. 

Biden’s team said he was examined by an orthopedist “out of an abundance of caution.” A CT scan found a hairline fracture in Biden’s foot, which Biden’s doctor, Kevin O’Connor, said would require him to wear a boot for several weeks. 

The president’s tweet wishing his former Democratic opponent well came amid a flurry of posts baselessly claiming without evidence that the election had been “rigged” or stolen for Biden.

– Matthew Brown and William Cummings 

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“Roadkill” Offers the Fantasy of Politics as Usual – The New Yorker

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David Hare’s “Roadkill,” starring Hugh Laurie, is comfortingly old-fashioned.Illustration by Mojo Wang

On Election Night, I was on the live-streaming Web site Twitch, helping a French friend try to make sense of the incomprehensible for an audience of his compatriots. It was two in the morning across the Atlantic, then three, then four, and still viewers stayed tuned. “This is better than a TV show,” one commented, as we puzzled through various disaster scenarios that seemed equal parts outlandish and plausible. Suspense, villainy, pettiness, infighting, gimmicks galore: the reality-TV politics of our reality-TV President have had us mercilessly hooked, from slow-rolling attempt at a coup to dripping-hair-dye debacle. Spare a sympathetic thought for television writers. How can they hope to compete with the present?

Such is the challenge faced by “Roadkill” (on PBS’s “Masterpiece”), David Hare’s new political thriller in four episodes. Watching it now is like chasing the double tequila shot of the real with a milky cup of tea. The show is set in England, which Americans continue to imagine as a land of escapist sanity, despite recent evidence to the contrary. “You have to forget about Brexit,” the Tory transport minister, Peter Laurence (Hugh Laurie), tells a caller to the radio talk show on which he regularly bloviates. “It was a national trauma, as you call it, but it’s a trauma we came through. It’s over.” That reassuring fantasy of politics as usual is one that “Roadkill,” with its small-bore scandals and Victorian twists, faithfully upholds. It’s risk-averse in a way that is itself a kind of risk—comfortingly old-fashioned, at the cost of staying one cautious step behind the present that it aims to represent.

As the show opens, Peter has just had a triumph in court. After a newspaper accused him of profiting from his government position—by consulting for an American lobbying group when he was a junior minister of health—he sued for libel and won. Much like Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, the Laurence case seems to have come down to a question of calendars; Charmian Pepper (Sarah Greene), the journalist who wrote a story placing Peter at the lobbyists’ Washington, D.C., headquarters, was forced to recant, after Peter’s team presented an official diary scrubbed of the offending visit. “They’re always the best cases,” Peter’s young barrister (Pippa Bennett-Warner) brashly tells a colleague, as the courthouse crowd spills onto the sidewalk around her. “The ones you win when you suspect your client is guilty as hell.”

Peter’s victory, and the scandal it conceals, is merely the first plot plate that Hare sets spinning. Soon his trusty, bumbling aide, Duncan Knock (Iain De Caestecker), spirits him to Shephill, a women’s prison, where an inmate (Gbemisola Ikumelo) insists that she must talk to him about his daughter. The daughter who doesn’t speak to him, or the other one? Peter asks. No, a third, the heretofore unknown offspring of a youth spent in drunken philandering. Peter has just enough time to take in this dubious revelation before he must rush off to 10 Downing Street, where he squirms before Dawn Ellison (Helen McCrory), the fearsome Prime Minister, who looks like a dyed tulip in her form-fitting powder-blue suit and has the air of a cat about to pounce. A Cabinet reshuffle is planned; Dawn dangles the possibility of a major promotion, and Peter, blinded by ego, steps obligingly into her trap.

“Roadkill” is a stylish show, with a handsome title sequence that calls to mind the great Saul Bass, and a traipsing score, by Harry Escott, that casts a playful, mysterious mood. We get lots of dark wood, dark suits, and dark corporate cars that glide, unimpeded, down glistening gray streets. Much of the show’s appeal lies in its embrace of the familiar. The gruff, macho newspaper editor (Pip Torrens); the fragile, neglected wife (Saskia Reeves); the chafing, unsatisfied mistress (Sidse Babett Knudsen)—we know them well. But Hare, dazzled by the buffet of tropes available to him, can’t keep himself from loading up his tray. It’s not enough for Peter’s illegitimate child to claim his attention after twenty-odd years; his bratty daughter Lily (Millie Brady), resentful and entitled, must be photographed by the tabloids snorting cocaine. Charmian Pepper, her name taken straight from Dickens’s reject pile, is given an alcohol problem to underscore her instability. (One depressing rule of thumb for this sort of show is that the diligent journalist working to uncover the politician’s dirty truth must be a young woman, the better to be objectified by her bosses and prove her worth as a go-getter even as she trades on her sex appeal. A second depressing rule of thumb is that she must be disposed of, preferably by means of a blunt collision—recalling the hurtling subway train that put an end to Kate Mara in “House of Cards.”) We get riots in prisons, vodka glasses thrown at heads in the heat of domestic anger, and vague, faceless foreign calamities. “It’s about Yemen,” a conniving politico tells the Prime Minister. Isn’t it always?

What kept me watching was Laurie, who floats through the action with a bemused, obliging look on his wonderful lean, lipless face. There is something gentle and appeasing about his Peter, who prides himself on his working-class background, and is susceptible to maverick pricks of conscience—he alienates his party, and seemingly all of Britain, by championing prison reform. (“The British like locking people up. It’s in our character,” the Prime Minister tells him—a line that makes an American feel a little less alone.) In the street, Peter is accosted by selfie-seekers, but at home—where Hare, a seasoned purveyor of female melodrama, unsubtly surrounds him with a pack of women who peck and nag—he is merely baffled, wondering what he’s doing neck-deep in this mess.

Political reputations are made to be won and lost. Private disgrace is harder to grapple with, now that it can be turned public with a click and a swipe. The violation of digital exposure is the subject of “I Hate Suzie” (on HBO Max), a destabilizing, off-kilter show created by Billie Piper and Lucy Prebble. Piper stars as Suzie Pickles, an actress who, like Piper herself, found teen-age stardom as a singer and is now entering the career descent of early middle age. (Action shows in which she runs from Nazi zombies are her bread and butter.) She lives in a cozy house in the English countryside with her husband, Cob (Daniel Ings), and their young son, who is deaf. After her phone is hacked, nude photos of her are splashed all over the Web, in flagrante delicto with a man whose cob is visibly not Cob’s. “There is a penis of color in the pictures,” she is informed by an indignant audience member at a sci-fi convention—an absurdist phrase, at once respectful and rude, that typifies the show’s tart tonal mix.

“I Hate Suzie” has a strange, strong flavor, a briny funk with a surprising undercurrent of sweetness, like Scandinavian licorice. At first, I was repulsed. Then dislike turned to craving. Each of the show’s eight episodes is named for a stage in coping with trauma: we start out with “Shock,” “Denial,” and “Fear,” before progressing through “Shame,” “Bargaining,” and “Guilt” to “Anger” and “Acceptance,” but the artificiality of that structure is undercut by the show’s genuine, exploratory weirdness.

Berated by the furious, wounded Cob, Suzie goes off the rails. Woozy camerawork and screeching, witchy strings take us into a mind altered by drugs, alcohol, and anxiety, but it is Piper’s raw, comical performance as a not so smart woman on the verge that stands out. Suzie mumbles, makes excuses, and tells incompetent lies as the camera shows her aging face in merciless closeup; she is a creature of haphazard instinct and ruinous libido. One excellent early episode looks at desire from within, flashing through an array of Suzie’s sexual fantasies as she and her savvy manager, Naomi (Leila Farzad), analyze them together like critics at a screening. “We’ll sort it out like grownups, like in a Woody Allen film,” her oblivious lover (Nathaniel Martello-White) tells her, a reminder that adulthood is itself a performance, however derivative and imitative, that Suzie, like the rest of us, must make her own. ♦

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AMP Presents Round Table Discussion on Medical Cannabis in the Focus of German Politics with Dr. Wieland Schinnenburg, MdB (FDP) – Canada NewsWire

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ERFURT, Germany and BERLIN, Nov. 30, 2020 /CNW/ – AMP German Cannabis Group Inc. (“AMP”) (CSE: XCX) (FSE: C4T) (ISIN: CA00176G1028) is proud to present the second episode of its “Round Table” series with Dr. Wieland Schinnenburg, MdB of the FDP, who provides an up-to-date overview of the political issues and challenges facing the medical cannabis in Germany. In addition, the discussion panel will share their views on how the industry will change for companies operating in the sector over the next decade.

Episodes of the Round Table Series can be found on AMP’s website: www.amp-eu.de/roundtable (in German with English subtitles), AMP’s YouTube Channel and by all major podcast platforms (in German).

AMP Round Table Series, Episode #2: “Politics and Medical Cannabis in Germany

Medical cannabis has been an important political issue even before Germany legalized its use three years ago and is becoming even more relevant in current politics.

The majority of the political parties in Germany are in agreement that medical cannabis has a role in benefiting some medical conditions. However, German politicians and the public would agree that policies enacted since legalization have room for improvement. Open issues like patient access, medical conditions covered, guaranteed health insurance coverage for medical cannabis prescriptions and sources of supply still need to be addressed.

In AMP Round Table Episode #2, Dr. Wieland Schinnenburg, MdB, spokesman for drug and addiction policy of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and a well-respected medical cannabis expert joins Dr. Stefan Feuerstein to discuss the politics of medical cannabis as well as the opportunities and challenges facing medical cannabis companies like AMP.

Dr. Schinnenburg will discuss how the government will address the aforementioned issues in the near future in addition to:

Summary of Topics Discussed

  • How do the political parties’ views differ on medical cannabis in Germany?
  • How do the German federal government and the sixteen German states view medical cannabis?
  • Can supplying the growing demand for medical cannabis in Germany be better managed?
  • What can be learned from the first domestic cultivation tender in regard to how the process was conducted and in meeting the growing demand for medical cannabis?
  • What role can imported medical cannabis play in meeting the current and growing demand for medical cannabis?
  • Could an increase in imported medical cannabis improve competition in Germany and lower prices to health insurance companies and private patients?
  • How are policies at the Cannabis Agency at German’s Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfRaM) being made?
  • How will the medical cannabis industry develop in Germany over the next five to ten years from now?

Panel Members

Dr. Wieland Schinnenburg MdB, (FDP)

Dr. Schinnenburg studied dentistry from 1978 to 1984 at the Medical University of Hannover and the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster. After his state examination, he received his doctorate in 1985 and worked as an employed dentist from 1984 to 1987. From 1987 until his election to the German Bundestag in 2017, he ran his own practice in Oststeinbek near Hamburg.

In addition to his work as a dentist, he began studying law at the University of Hamburg in 1989, which he completed in 1994 with the First State Examination; in 1997, he took the Second State Examination at the Higher Regional Court of Celle. During his studies, he completed study visits and internships in Port-au-Prince, Los Angeles, Chiang Mai, Jerusalem and Washington, D.C. In 1998, Dr. Schinnenburg opened a law firm in addition to his dental practice. Since 2006, Dr. Schinnenburg has been a specialist lawyer for medical law and since 2007 a mediator.

Dr. Stefan Feuerstein (AMP)

Dr. Feuerstein is Director and President of AMP and has over three decades of experience in facilitating and leading investment opportunities from within and outside of Germany. Dr. Feuerstein served as managing director of IIC Industrial Investment Council GmbH, which acted as an investment promotion agency for the five Eastern German States, including Berlin. He also served as managing director of the TLW Thüringer Landeswirtschafts-Förderungsgesellschaft, Erfurt, or the German State of Thuringia Economic Department.

Mr. Holger Scholze (Round Table Moderator)

Mr. Holger Scholze is a German television stock market analyst, lecturer, and presenter. Mr. Scholze became known to a large audience primarily through his more than 5,000 live broadcasts as a correspondent for the German national news channel, n-tv. Mr. Scholze has been dealing with the international financial markets for thirty years and has been regularly assessing the current market situation for two decades for various TV and radio stations.

About Jushi Europe (Round Table Sponsor)

Round Table Episode #2 is sponsored by Jushi Europe SA, the European subsidiary of Jushi Holdings Inc. (CSE: JUSH, OTCMKTS: JUSHF) and headquartered in Switzerland. Jushi Europe’s strategy is focused on building large-scale production in Portugal for export to the European medical cannabis market. Jushi Europe represents geographic diversification of the Jushi portfolio and an entrance into early-stage cannabis markets through long-term investments.

About AMP German Cannabis Group

AMP German Cannabis Group is licensed to import European Union – Good Manufacturing Practice (EU-GMP) medical cannabis from Europe and elsewhere into Germany. AMP sources, stores, transports, delivers, and sells medical cannabis products to pharmaceutical distributors or pharmacists directly, the only point-of-sale for medical cannabis to German patients with a physician’s prescription. For more information, please visit: www.amp-eu.com

AMP social media links:

Media Kit: www.amp-eu.com/media-kit

Neither the CSE nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the CSE) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

This news release contains forward-looking statements that are based on the Company’s expectations, estimates and projections regarding its business and the economic environment in which it operates, including with respect to its business plans and milestones and the timing thereof. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties that are difficult to control or predict. Therefore, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements and readers should not place undue reliance on such statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update them publicly to reflect new information or the occurrence of future events or circumstances unless otherwise required to do so by law.

SOURCE AMP German Cannabis Group Inc.

For further information: Mr. Alex Blodgett, CEO and Director, Telephone: +1 236-833-1602, Email: [email protected]

Related Links

www.amp-eu.com

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