World Bulletin/News Desk
The Hong Kong government said on Saturday schools did not have to adopt a China-backed curriculum from 2015 in an apparent backdown following protests by tens of thousands of people who described it as an attempt to brainwash students.
Parents, teachers and students have staged a week-long protest, claiming the curriculum amounts to Communist Party propaganda that glosses over the darker aspects of Chinese rule.
The decision comes on the eve of elections in Hong Kong, a former British territory handed back to China in 1997, that will see a legislature expanded from 60 to 70 seats, with just over half of them to be directly elected.
Hong Kong's embattled new leader Leung Chun-ying called the move on the education plan a "major policy amendment", saying he had heard and understood the public's criticism.
The government noted the scheme had not been withdrawn and that schools could introduce it as they saw fit.
"We don't want the recent controversy to affect the operations of schools, nor do we want to see the harmony of the education environment to be affected (by the scheme)," said Leung.
The Beijing-backed Hong Kong leader has drawn criticism over a series of issues since he took office on July 1, including the national education programme, sky-high property prices and concerns about an influx of mainland Chinese visitors to the former British colony.
For the first time maritime militia could get its own fishing fleet, a boost for the world’s largest producer and exporter of fish
Mullah Akhtar Mansour's message is aimed at fending off the emerging risk of the group splintering into factions
The Afghan Defense Ministry has also claimed that the Nawzad district in southern Helmand province has been reclaimed two days after Taliban overran it
The US Intelligence Community has also assessed that the former leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, is dead, White House says
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkey is ready to boost cooperation with the Asia Pacific region, an increasingly important region in world economy
Valiollah Mohammadi, the Iranian ambassasdor to Indonesia has confirmed that a visit will take place next week with talks focused on banking, technology and oil
The spying goes back at least as far as 2006, WikiLeaks said
BSF troopers at Khora border outpost fired three to four rounds of automatic gunfire
Early morning attack in the south has wounded 14 people in Yala province.
International Olympic Committee will make the announcement after a vote held during the IOC session in Kuala Lumpur
Flags have been hoisted as Bangladesh and India prepared to swap tiny islands in a historic deal
Myanmar releases nearly 7,000 prisoners, including political prisoners, Chinese loggers, journalists
Afghan Taliban sources telling Al Jazeera the group has elected a new leader - Mullah Akhtar Mansoor
China has repeatedly urged Washington not to take sides in the escalating maritime dispute over the South China Sea
Kim Jong-un oversees ‘war preparations’ while South Korea feels compelled to defend military drills following statement from Pyongyang
After Mullah Omar is declared dead Taliban is doubtful about Afghan peace talks