News that mattered

News that mattered

Young Post junior reporters found the Year of the Tiger a turbulent one. Here, they explain what news stories they think were most relevant

From floods to trapped miners, from volcanic eruptions to royal engagements, the Year of the Tiger was eventful.

Young Post asked its Junior Reporters which of these events was most meaningful to them.

1. Manila bus siege

Kayley Leung , 15, Wa Ying College

On August 23 last year, 22 Hong Kong tourists and three Filipinos - a driver, a guide and a photographer - were hijacked by Rolando Mendoza, a former police officer. A botched rescue attempt by police led to the death of eight hostages before the gunman was shot dead.

Here's why I think it was the biggest news story of the year: It was a tragedy not only for the victims but also for all people in Hong Kong. The death of these innocent people shocked me, especially that of the Hong Kong tour guide who sacrificed his own life and called for help.

The incident has also revealed the problems in Manila's police force. It revealed a great degree of corruption and incompetence. I sympathise with Filipinos for having to live with such a police force. They're right not to trust their police.

Angel Wu, 15, Christian Alliance International School

The hostage crisis unfolded over 11 hours and resulted in the death of eight hostages. The event horrified people in Hong Kong. On Facebook and in online discussion forums, many citizens expressed feelings of shock and anger. This outrageous incident will never be forgotten.

2. Shanghai World Expo 2010

Janet Tam, 16, St Rose of Lima's College

I think the Shanghai World Expo 2010 on the mainland was the biggest news event of last year.

It was the first time China had organised such a huge world expo. In the past, most World Expos took place in Europe. Yet the mainland proved to be a capable host.

It was the largest World Expo ever organised. The central government had invested 450 billion yuan (HK$32 billion) in it. More than 70 million people from around the world visited the event.

3. BP oil spill

Arjun Sivakumar, 14, South Island School

The BP deep-water oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was one of the top news headlines last year. The disaster will have long-lasting effects on the environment, local wildlife and the tourism industry.

The effect on the environment and wildlife was massive. Birds, turtles and marine mammals were most affected. Many of these animals died. Of the dozens of marine mammals rescued, (mainly bottle nosed dolphins), most died. The local ecosystem had suffered irreparable harm.

The BP oil leak has stained the beaches of the US and Mexico with gallons of oil. The tragedy is expected to cost the local tourism industry some US$5.5 billion. This loss will put a further strain on the US economy, which is already in dire straits.

The spill has affected the lives and livelihoods of people who live in the area. Many of them have been exposed to the harmful effects of the oil spill.

News reports said many had developed symptoms like throat irritation, coughing, shortness of breath, eye irritation, nausea, chest pain and headaches. These effects lasted for days and even weeks in some cases.

In addition, the BP oil spill had wasted about 20 billion litres of crude oil in a world where we are facing energy shortages.

4. WikiLeaks revelations

Rachel Cheng, 17, CCC Kei Yuen College

The biggest news story of last year was the fallout from leaked cables on the WikiLeaks website.

The thousands of confidential US diplomatic dispatches have both shocked and amused the public. It came as a surprise to many people that politicians often mock their counterparts mercilessly in private.

Most importantly, however, the leaks have once again demonstrated the power of the Internet.

In this age of Facebook and iPhones, many people can't live without the internet. The Web enriches our knowledge and broadens the limits of free information flow.

Yet as the leaks demonstrated, the Internet has raised the question of privacy. While we should welcome calls for more openness from governments and one another, we should not forget that many people, like hackers and criminals, can take advantage of such openness.

5. Death of JD Salinger

Candace Shevonne Kwan, 17, St Paul's Convent School

The death of the secretive best-selling author JD Salinger may not have registered as a major piece of news for most people in Hong Kong. But his death had a huge effect on me. I still remember the day when I picked a plain, slightly dog-eared book off my friend's bookshelf.

It was Salinger's classic The Catcher in the Rye. Sceptical but curious, I began to read about Holden Caulfield, a teenager on a quest of self-discovery. I immediately related to Salinger's brutal honest portrayal of teens.

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