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Apr exports value up 1.1%

The value of Hong Kong’s total goods exports increased to $389 billion in April, up 1.1% compared with the same month last year, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   The value of imports of goods rose 2.1% to $425.6 billion for the same period.   A trade deficit of $36.6 billion, or 8.6% of the value of imports, was recorded for the month.   Comparing the three-month period ending April with the preceding three months on a seasonally adjusted basis, the value of total exports decreased 12% while that of imports fell 11.7%.   The Government said epidemic-induced transportation disruptions, though easing somewhat in the latter part of the month, continued to constrain export performance.   It pointed out that exports to the Mainland fell while those to the US and the European Union posted visible growth.   Looking ahead, the global economic outlook has worsened amid rampant inflation in some major economies and monetary policy tightening by respective cen

CE thanks labour sector

Chief Executive Carrie Lam marked Labour Day by thanking the labour sector for their enduring contributions to Hong Kong's prosperity and stability today.   Mrs Lam said the Government will continue to strive to create and stabilise employment and improve labour welfare to enhance labour protection. She also appealed to the public to get vaccinated as soon as possible so that society and the economy could return to normal, providing more job opportunities.   In a video released on her social media platform, the Chief Executive said that the loyalty, hard work and stamina of the city's labour force has all along been the cornerstone of the city's success.   Noting that over the past two years, the city's economy has been hard hit by the violent riots and the epidemic, putting the labour market under pressure with the latest unemployment rate reaching 6.8%, she said the Government has made every effort to create and stabilise employment through a series of measures.   The measures include those worth more than $300 billion rolled out under several rounds of the Anti-epidemic Fund and the Budget to safeguard jobs and relieve people's financial burden as far as possible.   Mrs Lam said the Government is also committed to improving labour welfare and has implemented various rights that the labour sector had been fighting for continually for years.   The rights include the extension of statutory maternity leave from 10 weeks to 14 weeks since last December and the extension of statutory paternity leave from three days to five days since January 2019.   Moreover, the Government submitted a bill last month proposing the progressive increase of the number of statutory holidays from 12 days to 17 days to place it on par with that of general holidays.   The Government will also continue to press ahead with the preparatory work in relation to the abolition of the offsetting arrangement under the Mandatory Provident Fund, including formulating relevant legal provisions and enforcement details with a view to submitting a bill to the Legislative Council at the beginning of the next legislative year.   On safeguarding employees' occupational safety and health, Mrs Lam said that the Government has increased the levels of compensation for work injuries and occupational diseases under employees' compensation-related ordinances starting in April this year.   The Government also proposed legislative amendments to raise the maximum penalty for violating the laws on occupational safety and health to enhance the deterrent effect. The legislative amendments are expected to be completed within the Government's current term.   Noting that controlling the COVID-19 epidemic is still the most important task at present, she appealed to the public to get vaccinated as early as possible to protect themselves and others, and enable society and the economy to return to normal as soon as possible.
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Railway settlement exceeds limit

The construction works of a relocation project in Kowloon have been suspended after a settlement monitoring checkpoint exceeded the limit, the Government said today.   The project relocates supporting operational facilities of Tsim Sha Tsui Fire Station Complex, Fire Services Club and other fire services accommodations to To Wah Road in Kowloon.   The Government explained that the readings recorded in a settlement monitoring checkpoint installed inside the railway tunnel between Kowloon Station and Olympic Station of the MTR Tung Chung Line had reached 20.27mm on September 7. The preset trigger level for works suspension is 20mm.   For the sake of prudence, the Mass Transit Railway Corporation suspended relevant works within the railway protection area on the same day.   The Buildings Department and the Architectural Services Department deployed staff to inspect the affected railway tunnel and confirmed that it is structurally safe.   The Electrical & Mechanical Services