Promoting and consolidating new or restored democracies

The arts community welcomed the additional funding, news of which came on the eve of two of the city's cultural high points: the Hong Kong Arts Festival, which began yesterday, and the Hong Kong International Film Festival, the line-up for which was announced yesterday.They had been fearing a cut in funding this year while the government reviews its criteria for funding the arts.The Development Bureau estimated the subsidies could attract 6,000 workers to the training courses within three years.

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We are more confident about doing this now with the extra funding." Chan said the money would also help groups keep artists in full-time work, which would help the development of signature performances.Katy Cheng, marketing director of the Arts Festival, said it was normal to book performances featuring top artists three to four years in advance.Representatives of some of the nine major arts groups subsidised by the government said the promise of an additional HK6 million over five years - to allow groups and artists to develop signature performances - would allow them to plan over a longer term and secure for Hong Kong big-name performers who need booking a few years in advance.The money is in addition to annual funding which in the 2009-10 financial year was expected to total HK2.5 million.This is an overall increase of 15,400 jobs compared with last year.

The unemployment rate for the industry in January was 7.4 per cent, a year-on-year decreased of 5.3 per cent from last January when it stood at 12.7 per cent.Although the government has yet to say how the additional funds will be split between the groups, Chan Kin-bun, executive director of the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, says it will allow for longer-term planning."Now we can make plans for our development in the next five years," Chan said.Apart from his academic achievements, he has held important posts while at the University, which include being President, India Club of Georgia Tech from 1999 – 2000 and Board Member, Child Relief and You - Georgia Tech chapter from 1998 – 2000.His hobbies and interests include Architecture, Travel, Politics, Cricket and Tennis. This would boost the confidence of the construction industry, she added.