HONG KONG, Sept 18 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading stories in Hong Kong newspapers on Thursday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
-- Plans for seven new rail projects costing an estimated HK$110 billion ($14.2 billion) have been unveiled by the Hong Kong government. A blueprint released by the Transport and Housing Bureau proposes four new lines, extra stations, and extensions to the MTR's Tung Chung and West Rail lines. (bit.ly/1uIx7aj)
-- MTR Corp and its consortium partners have won a A$3.7 billion ($3.3 billion) contract to deliver and operate Sydney's North West Rail Link, Australia's largest public transport project, worth A$8.3 billion in total. (bit.ly/1uIxG3T)
-- Rising global demand for diamonds, led by China and India, is expected to outpace growth in supply over the coming years, according to the industry's dominant force, De Beers. (bit.ly/1yi2yNt)
-- Average rents at 50 major housing estates in Hong Kong hit a record high last month, research by Ricacorp Properties shows. The average rent at 50 estates rose 2.1 percent month on month to HK$26.99 per square foot of gross floor area in August, eclipsing the previous record of HK$26.43 per square foot set in July. (bit.ly/1tiDhhX)
-- Visitors to Japan can enjoy tax-free shopping for confectionary, cosmetics and health goods starting next month. Coupled with a weaker yen, travel agents expect the move to entice more Hongkongers to visit Japan. (bit.ly/ZqE5Gq)
-- More than 25 percent of professionals interviewed in Hong Kong are depressed in the office, and an expert in social sciences has blamed overwork. A study commissioned by the Joyful Foundation reveals that depression at work is even higher at the grassroots level, including cleaners, hawkers and garbage collectors. (bit.ly/1pk3M0n)
-- Xiamen-based mobile and web game developer Feiyu Technology International aims to raise up to HK$1.5 billion ($193.5 million) in a Hong Kong initial public offering by the end of this year, market sources said. (bit.ly/1p1QC8U)
-- Qunxing Paper Holdings Co Ltd, whose shares have been suspended from trading since December, said its unit Shandong Qunxing Paper Ltd had estimated assets of 4 billion yuan, while liabilities amounted to 5 billion yuan. Also, up to 20 legal proceedings had been initiated against Shandong Qunxing in China.
-- Chinese sportswear company Xtep International Holdings Ltd said it had no business relationship with Ultrasonic, a Germany-listed Chinese shoemaker which reported the disappearance of its top executives. Another sports brand ANTA Sports Products Ltd said Ultrasonic was not its supplier for five years.
-- Hutchison Whampoa's retail arm, The AS Watson Group, has set up a digital team eLab to further boost its business, aiming to generate 5 percent of its revenue from online sales within 18 months.
For Chinese newspapers, see............... (1 US dollar = 7.7510 Hong Kong dollar) (1 US dollar = 1.1158 Australian dollar) (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)