EU to restrict travel rules for Russians, split on how far to go

A picture taken on Jan 1, 2022 shows the European Union flag under the Arc de Triomphe, on the Place de l'Etoile in Paris.(ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)

PRAGUE – The EU's foreign policy chief on Wednesday urged bickering nations to settle their differences on restricting travel for Russian citizens, saying Europe must remain united vis-a-vis Moscow six months after the conflict in Ukraine began.

Josep Borrell made his warning as foreign ministers of the European Union gathered in Prague for a second day of talks, where they were expected to agree in principle on suspending a visa facilitation agreement with Russia. 

More than one million Russian citizens have entered the bloc through land border crossing points since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, most of them via Finland and Estonia, the bloc's border agency Frontex said

That step would make Russians wait longer, and pay more, for travel visas to EU countries.

But the 27 member states were divided on whether they should go further and impose a blanket tourism ban.

ALSO READ: EU's Borrell: Visa ban for all Russians would lack support

Some EU states have already restricted entry for Russians. Eastern and Nordic countries are pushing for an outright ban, while Germany and France have warned their peers it would be counter-productive. 

"We will have to reach an agreement and a political decision," Borrell told reporters in Prague. "We cannot afford to appear disunited in such an important thing."

Eastern states may impose ban

Some eastern states have said they will press ahead with a visa ban themselves if there is no EU agreement.

Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland have called in a joint statement for EU-wide measures to "decisively decrease the flow of Russian citizens into the European Union", the Financial Times reported.

"Until such measures are in place on the EU level, we will consider setting up temporary measures on the national level," the newspaper quoted them as saying. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also pushed for tougher measures.

READ MORE: EU's sanctions on Russia weigh on own economy

But the tone in Prague, overall, was to try and agree a common position. Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said Latvia would wait a bit for tougher EU steps and hoped for an agreement on Wednesday on a "road map" for lowering the number of Russian tourists in the EU.

More than one million Russian citizens have entered the bloc through land border crossing points since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, most of them via Finland and Estonia, the bloc's border agency Frontex said.


US Army grounds Boeing-made Chinook helicopters fleet

Military personnel catches a football while in the background a Boeing CH-47F Chinook tandem rotor helicopter (Vertol) of the US Army's 101st Airborne Division starts to take off during a demonstration drill at Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase near Constanta, Romania on July 30, 2022. (DANIEL MIHAILESCU / AFP)

The US Army has temporarily grounded its fleet of about 400 Chinook helicopters due to a risk of engine fires, a spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday.

The Army has identified the root cause of fuel leaks that caused a small number of engine fires among an isolated number of H-47 helicopters, and is implementing corrective measures to resolve this issue.

Cynthia O. Smith,

US Army spokeswoman

Planemaker Boeing Co makes the heavy-lift Chinook helicopters that support disaster relief operations and medical evacuation. It is used by international defense forces including those of Italy, South Korea and Canada.

"The Army has identified the root cause of fuel leaks that caused a small number of engine fires among an isolated number of H-47 helicopters, and is implementing corrective measures to resolve this issue," US Army spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith said.

While no deaths or injuries occurred, the grounding was carried "out of an abundance of caution" until those corrective actions are complete, Smith added.

READ MORE: Ex-Boeing employee who warned about 737 problems to testify

The grounding, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, was targeted at certain models with engines manufactured by Honeywell International Inc, according to the report.

Boeing declined to comment and referred questions to the Army. Honeywell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


Windows gain competitive edge over global warming

TSUKUBA, Japan, Sep 1, 2022 – (ACN Newswire via – A French-Japanese research collaboration has fabricated metal nanocomposite coatings that improve the insulating properties of window glasses. The new coating prevents a significant portion of near-infrared (NIR) and ultraviolet rays (UV) from passing through, while at the same time admitting visible light. The findings were reported in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.

The nanoclusters are dispersed in a PVP matrix that is then coated on ITO glass to block NIR and UV rays while letting visible light pass through.

“Although the fabrication of a commercial products is still a long way ahead, our work demonstrated a significant improvement in UV and NIR blocking properties compared to previous research,” says solid-state chemist Fabien Grasset, research director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS).

“Buildings account for a large part of global energy consumption,” explains Grasset, “with a large amount of the annual energy consumption of a standard building going to cooling and/or heating systems to maintain indoor temperatures at comfortable levels.” Scientists are looking for ways to develop window glass coatings that can block the entry of NIR radiation so that buildings, and even cars, can consume less energy to keep it cool inside. However, this needs to be done in a way that still allows visible light to enter. Ideally, harmful UV rays would also be blocked.

To this end, the international French-Japanese research collaboration fabricated and analysed the performance of nanocomposites based on niobium-tantalum cluster compounds containing chloride or bromide ions.

They found that chloride-based nanoclusters provided the best performance in terms of blocking NIR and UV rays and allowing the passage of visible light. NIR and UV blocking by the nanoclusters depended on their concentration, dispersion and oxidation state. By tuning these parameters, the team was able to improve the nanocluster performance.

The nanoclusters were dispersed into a polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) matrix that was then coated onto indium-tin-oxide (ITO) glass. The combination increased the transmittance of visible light while reducing that of NIR and UV rays, relative to previous research. “These are very promising coating materials that block the most troublesome NIR wavelengths,” says Grasset.

“We have a long history of Japanese-French collaboration,” he continues. “We were already convinced that we are stronger working together by mixing our different cultures and ways of thinking. The international LINK project has reinforced this belief. We will continue to do our best to make further progress towards finding solutions for the global warming problem.”

Further information
Fabien Grasset
French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Research paper:

About Science and Technology of Advanced Materials (STAM)

Open access journal STAM publishes outstanding research articles across all aspects of materials science, including functional and structural materials, theoretical analyses, and properties of materials.

For more information on STAM, contact
Dr. Mikiko Tanifuji
STAM Publishing Director

Press release distributed by Asia Research News for Science and Technology of Advanced Materials.

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VC Holdings Announces 2022 Interim Results

HONG KONG, Aug 31, 2022 – (ACN Newswire via – Value Convergence Holdings Limited (“VC Holdings”, together with its subsidiaries, the “Group”; Stock Code: 0821.HK), a well-established and one-stop financial services institution in Hong Kong, is pleased to announce its unaudited interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2022 ( the “Reporting Period”). The Group tirelessly pursued opportunities to diversify its business during the Reporting Period, and expanded its digital asset business with good progress.

During the Reporting Period, the recurrent outbreaks of COVID-19, coupled with persistently high inflation and conflict between Russia and Ukraine, posed unprecedented challenges to the global economy, intensifying uncertainty in the global and Hong Kong financial markets. The Group’s consolidated revenue from continuing operations decreased by 6.0% year-on-year to approximately HK$35.7 million. Due to the increase in net realised and unrealised loss in financial assets at fair value through profit or loss, and the impairment loss on accounts receivable and other receivables, the consolidated loss for the period attributable to shareholders amounted to approximately HK$61.8 million (1H2021: profit for the period attributable to shareholders of HK$101.1 million). Basic loss per share from continuing and discontinued operations was HK2.97 cents (1H2021: Basic earnings per share from continuing and discontinued operations of HK5.93 cents).

Mr. Peter Fu, Chairman and Executive Director of Value Convergence Holdings Limited, “VC Holdings has always been dedicated to offering premier financial services and products that fulfill various investment and wealth management needs of clients in the Great China region. During the first half of 2022, amid the lingering impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019, the global economy continued to struggle with persistent downside risks including escalating geopolitical tensions, growing financial instability and surging inflation, all of which hindered economic growth. The Group’s revenue declined due primarily to a reduction in brokerage commission income that was broadly in line with the deterioration of the economic environment and the contraction in transaction volumes in the market overall.”

Business Overview
Financial services business
The financial services business remained the Group’s major revenue stream during the Reporting Period and contributed approximately 98% of the Group’s total revenue. The business segment recorded a 7% decrease in revenue amid an overall decline in the volume of economic transactions. During the Reporting Period, the Group continued to provide local and overseas securities dealing, derivatives and other structured products trading, placement and underwriting, margin financing through VC Brokerage Limited and VC Futures Limited, and money lending through VC Finance Limited. Besides, the Group offered corporate finance advisory services, including mergers and acquisitions advisory and company secretarial services, through VC Capital Limited (“VC Capital”) and VC Corporate Services Limited. During the Reporting Period, VC Capital was appointed as a financial adviser to a number of Hong Kong-listed companies engaged in corporate exercises.

Proprietary trading business
The pronounced slowdown in the global capital market, mainly led by high inflation and interest rate hikes amid the double-whammy of the renewed threat of COVID-19 variants and the Russo-Ukrainian war, resulted in substantial volatility in the local stock market. Aligned with the overall market situation, the Group held equity securities listed in Hong Kong worth approximately HK$414.9 million as financial assets held for trading, marking a 2.0% decrease in the market value as compared with 31 December 2021. Despite the challenges, the Group continued to focus on the fundamentals of its investment targets and will continue actively to pursue long-term capital gains.

Sales and marketing of digital assets
To further expand the newly developed business, VC Holdings continued to push forward expansion in various respects to actively enter the internet-native Generation Z market. The Group has recruited a seasoned team of sales and marketing talents to broaden its sales channels with a view to expediting business development. In addition, the Group has formed strategic cooperation agreements with several leading corporations, such as E-Home Entertainment, to commence in-depth cooperation in the internet industry and jointly carry out integrated market development in various areas, including the Chinese console games market, the expansion of domestic games into overseas markets, and digital marketing.

During the Reporting Period, the Group deepened its collaboration with Tencent and became one of the few distributors of Tencent’s Q Coins covering a considerable number of provinces in China. Meanwhile, the Group commenced collaboration with the distributor of Microsoft products in Hong Kong in connection with sales of Xbox-related virtual assets. The Group has also begun a collaboration with Xunlei Limited (NASDAQ: XNET) to sell non-fungible tokens. During the Reporting Period, the Group recorded a gross merchandise value of approximately HK$120.0 million, represented by the gross sum of digital assets sold to its customers.

The uncertain macroeconomic outlook is expected to continuously affect financial stability, resulting in a more volatile stock market. On a positive note, the gradual easing of social distancing measures and a reduction in cross-border transportation disruptions, alongside the stabilization of the local pandemic situation in Hong Kong, will help boost economic activities. The Group remains cautiously optimistic about the outlook for its placing and underwriting business, given that fundraising activities among Hong Kong-listed companies is expected to resume gradually. It seeks to expand the scale of its financial services business and continue to identify suitable acquisitions and investment targets in the market as opportunities arise.

The Group intends to accelerate the development of digital asset business through digital asset marketing, intellectual property (IP) collaboration and marketing cooperation. To further strengthen its presence and drive synergies between the internet business offered by digital assets and other business segments, more resources have been allocated to further develop the sale and marketing of digital assets to broaden sales channels. The Group will continue to explore and liaise with potential business partners on sales of digital assets and NFTs.

Mr. Fu concluded, “Given the huge potential of the digital asset market, we will keep exploring new business opportunities in the mainland China digital asset market, capitalizing on our strategic partnerships and in-depth business collaborations with our allies, namely E-Home Entertainment and Shenzhen Yiyun Information. More resources will be dedicated to mapping out a blueprint for the digital asset segment accordingly. We believe, that the new business will become a new key driver of the Group in the years to come, improving profitability and generating maximum value for all stakeholders.”

About VC Holdings Limited
Value Convergence Holdings Limited (Stock code: 0821.HK) was listed on the GEM board of Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2001, and completed transfer of listing to the Main Board in 2008. Being a well-established financial services group committed to delivering premier financial services and products in the Great China region, the Group’s services include (i) provision of financial services comprising securities and options brokering and dealing, financing services, corporate finance and other advisory services, asset management and insurance brokerage; (ii) proprietary trading; and (iii) sale and marketing of digital assets.

For more details, please visit

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InvesTech Holdings Announces 2022 Interim Results

HONG KONG, Aug 31, 2022 – (ACN Newswire via – InvesTech Holdings Limited (“InvesTech Holdings”, together with its subsidiaries, the “Group”; stock code: 1087.HK), a leading integrated smart IT solutions provider in China, announces its unaudited consolidated results for the six months ended 30 June 2022 (the “Period”). During the Period, the Group formed strategic alliance with technology giants to jointly offer enterprise digital transformation solutions. These initiatives set to drive sustainable business growth and enhance the Group’ core competence.

During the Period, intensifying economic uncertainty dampened the business environment in the IT industry in general, meanwhile the delays in project schedules affected by the lockdown of cities in China attributed to a reduction of the Group’s revenue to approximately RMB197.1 million (1H 2021: approximately RMB230.4 million). Despite this, thanks to the Group’s effective cost control measures and an increase in the proportion of sales of smart office software solutions and related services with relatively higher gross profit margins, the gross profit increased by approximately 32.4% year-on-year to approximately RMB27.0 million (1H 2021: approximately RMB20.4 million). The gross profit margin for the Period was approximately 13.7%, representing a year-on-year leap of approximately 4.9 percentage points (1H 2021: approximately 8.8%). Mainly attributable to the increase in income tax expenses, a loss for the period of approximately RMB14.1 million was recorded (1H 2021: loss for the period of approximately RMB12.2 million).

Business Review
IT Infrastructure System Integration Business
Leveraging its solid foundations in the industry and strong customer relationships, the Group continued to expedite the development of its traditional IT infrastructure system integration business during the Period. By deepening its business collaboration with technology giants, the Group continued to leverage its core competitiveness and provided advanced and customised IT infrastructure solutions to clients in segments including finance, manufacturing and retail.

Smart Office Software Solutions Business
While the Group’s self-developed applications (apps) – namely MetaVisitor, MetaWorkspace and MetaMeeting – were launched on several platforms during the Period, the Group also redoubled its efforts to upgrade Virsical, its flagship smart office software solutions product. The Group strived to expand the customer base for its professional smart office solutions and property technology solutions, which provide professional tools such as intelligent building control systems and smart visitor management systems to clients in diversified sectors.

Stepping up Efforts to Expand its Business in Hong Kong
After the Group winning a government contract for the provision of a smart library system for the Hong Kong government’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department last year, it began to carry out preliminary work including the design of core library systems. The work performed during the first half of 2022 translated into the recognition of approximately RMB12.4 million of revenue during the Period. The Group expects that the project will provide a large and stable income stream as it is completed. In addition, the Group also strived to secure more contracts related to government and public sectors in Hong Kong during the Period, with a focus on smart city and smart IT-related projects, aspiring to enhance its revenue.

Looking ahead, the Group will maintain the stable development of its IT infrastructure system integration business, with a focus on facilitating the development of its smart office software business, which will serve as its revenue growth engine. To acquire new clients and offer cutting-edge solutions, the Group will continue to form strategic alliances with technology giants. In addition to expanding its customer base in the PRC, the Group will also continue its strategic tendering for both public and private projects in Hong Kong, striving to increase its market share. With the aim of expanding its business in overseas markets, the Group intends to explore its business opportunities in Southeast Asia and countries along the route of Belt and Road Initiative to accelerate its business development and capture market opportunities.

In recent years, technology giants have made immense investments to expedite the development of enterprise metaverse, leading to breakthroughs in this new technology. Enterprise metaverse solutions have become one of the latest trends in the IT industry, considering that many employees have switched to working from home due to recurrent COVID-19 outbreaks. Leveraging InvesTech’s advanced digital-twin technology and solid experience in hybrid smart office solutions, the Group aims to modify and enhance its software products through built-in compatibility with the latest technology. The Group will also join hands with technology giants to offer highly realistic, virtual smart office solutions to customers, with the ultimate goal of facilitating the development of enterprise metaverse.

Mr. Ringo CHAN, Chairman of InvesTech Holdings, said: “Taking the rising global demand of IT infrastructure system integration and smart office software solutions into consideration, we are optimistic about our prospects. To capture market opportunities and enhance our leading position in integrated smart IT solutions industry, it is essential to strengthen our core competence to maintain a sustainable development. Therefore, we have continuously been increasing our investment and expand the professional team at our research and development (“R&D”) centre in the PRC city of Xi’an in order to optimise our R&D capabilities. Looking ahead, we will explore every opportunity to inject new impetus to our business development and maximize our income, in hopes of bringing greater returns to shareholders and investors.”

About InvesTech Holdings Limited
InvesTech Holdings Limited (Stock code: 1087.HK) was listed on the main board of Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2010. As a leading integrated smart IT solutions provider with more than 30 years of experience in IT industry, the Group is principally engaged in IT infrastructure system integration and smart office software solutions businesses. The Group has strong presence in China, with more than 10 offices nationwide with a research and development centre in Xi’an.


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EMGA 為 Banco D-Miro 的 1,000 萬美元債務融資提供建議

倫敦, Sept. 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via — Emerging Markets Global Advisory Limited (EMGA) 是專注於新興市場的利基投資銀行,宣佈在厄瓜多爾進行高級債務融資交易,這將讓 Banco D-Miro 能繼續擴張厄瓜多爾的小額信貸活動。

這筆 1,000 萬美元的債務融資由 EMGA 發起、建議及構建,融資由美國國際開發金融公司 (DFC) 提供,該交易是 EMGA 首次在厄瓜多爾完成運作。

在評論這筆交易時,Banco D-Miro 的財務總監 Fabian Victores Baque 表示:「 我們感謝 EMGA 和 DFC 對完成這筆重要交易上的支持。擁有像 DFC 這樣的策略合作夥伴,將幫助我們實現打造更多財務共融的目標,並增加對女性微型企業家的融資。」

DFC 發展信貸辦公室副總裁 Jim Polan 表示:「DFC 對 Banco D-Miro 的投資將擴大融資渠道,讓厄瓜多爾的低收入人口及女企業家能夠從新冠疫情的經濟衰退中復蘇。該次交易以小企業為重點,將推動厄瓜多爾的長期發展和經濟增長,這是 DFC 的一個關鍵目標。」

EMGA 執行董事兼投資銀行業務主管 Sajeev Chakkalakal 說:「EMGA 非常高興能夠就這筆重要交易向 Banco D-Miro 提供建議,該交易目的是為其中小企業貸款組合提供資金,特別關注由女性所有的企業。此外,與 DFC 完成另一筆交易證明了我們在多年來所建立關係的實力。最後,我們相信 DFC 作為一家卓越的發展融資機構的地位將為 Banco D-Miro 增加新的策略性長期資金來源。」

EMGA 執行董事 Jeremy Dobson補充道:「透過在厄瓜多爾的首筆交易,EMGA 擴大了其在拉丁美洲的營運足跡,我們將繼續在該國及該地區發展業務。」

Banco D-Miro 說:「 Banco D-Miro 是一家專門從事小額信貸的厄瓜多爾銀行,其願景是成為對減低貧困作出最大貢獻的銀行。」 該銀行為厄瓜多爾特別是貧困程度較高、金融服務滲透率最低的地區的中小微企業家提供金融服務。

DFC: 美國國際開發金融公司 (DFC) 與私營部門合作,目的是為解決發展中國家面臨的問題,而提供融資解決方案。我們投資的領域包括能源、醫療保健、關鍵基礎設施及技術。DFC 還為小型企業和女性企業家提供融資,以在新興市場創造就業機會。DFC 投資堅持高標準,並尊重環境、人權和工人權利。

Emerging Markets Global Advisory LLP 以倫敦為據點,幫助金融機構與企業尋求債務/或股權資本。EGA 的團隊結合了在包括厄瓜多爾在內的新興國家,完成交易所需的數十年經驗,而厄瓜多爾仍然是一個重要市場。EGA 繼續擴展並鞏固其作為專注於新興市場的利基投資銀行的地位。

Jeremy Dobson



HONG KONG, Aug 31, 2022 – (亞太商訊 via – 中國領先的綜合智能資訊科技解決方案供應商威訊控股有限公司(「威訊控股」,連同其附屬公司統稱「集團」;股份代號:1087.HK)宣佈其截至2022年6月30日止六個月(「期內」)的未經審核之中期業績。期內,集團與科技巨頭建立戰略聯盟,聯手為企業提供數字化轉型方案,旨在推動集團業務的可持續發展及提升集團的核心競爭力。








威訊控股有限公司(股份代號:1087.HK) 於2010年在香港聯合交易所有限公司主板上市。作為在資訊科技行業擁有超過30年經驗的領先綜合智能資訊科技解決方案供應商,集團主要從事資訊科技基礎設施系統整合和智能辦公軟件解決方案業務。集團在中國根基雄厚,設有逾10個辦公室,並在西安設有研發中心。


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Dr. Glenn Haifer and Ampersand Capital Partners Acquire Australian Biologics CDMO Luina Bio, Rebranding as AcuraBio

BRISBANE, AUS, Aug 30, 2022 – (ACN Newswire via – AcuraBio (formerly Luina Bio), a leading Australian biopharmaceutical CDMO, has been acquired by biotech investor Dr. Glenn Haifer and Ampersand Capital Partners, a global healthcare private equity firm.

With more than two decades of experience, AcuraBio is a globally focussed organization bringing innovative therapeutics to market for customers in the biotech, pharmaceutical, and animal health industries. AcuraBio provides recombinant proteins and vaccines, and complex live biotherapeutic products to customers on the leading edge in emerging therapeutics.

The rebranding of the company signifies an innovative new growth phase for AcuraBio. As part of the transaction, Dr. Haifer and Ampersand are bringing significant investment to the company, with a focus on expanding the organization to better serve customers. To fuel additional growth, AcuraBio is planning to increase production facility capacity, and is actively evaluating expansion into new service offerings and technological capabilities.

Dr. Haifer brings a wealth of experience to AcuraBio, as the former company Chairman and investor behind Australian biotech successes such as Agilex Biolabs and Avance Clinical. “We are very excited to be reinventing a company with such deep scientific experience,” said Dr. Haifer. “With our deep expertise and commitment to further investment, AcuraBio will be a leader in the APAC region for international biopharma clients attracted by the technology, scientific excellence, and innovation we will bring to the platform. I am excited to leverage Ampersand’s industry expertise as we take AcuraBio to the next level.”

Based in the US and with more than $3 billion of assets under management, Ampersand is exclusively focused on growth-oriented investments in the healthcare sector. Ampersand has previously partnered with leading CDMOs such as Brammer Bio, ArrantaBio, Vibalogics, and Genezen, and the firm is a highly experienced investor in the emerging therapeutics CDMO industry. David Anderson, General Partner at Ampersand, said “AcuraBio is strategically positioned in Australia to support international biopharma drug development. Australia has a strong reputation for clinical and scientific excellence which is the foundation to success for a company like AcuraBio. We are extremely pleased to be working with Dr. Haifer, who is a proven biotech investor and growth strategist with a real focus on client-centric service innovations.”

About AcuraBio

AcuraBio Pty Ltd is one of Australia’s most experienced biopharmaceutical CDMOs, offering trusted, client-focused services to both domestic and international clients for the past 20 years. AcuraBio offers significant quality, cost, and IP assurances for biopharma companies around the world. World-class researchers and proven facilities, a streamlined regulatory framework, generous tax incentives, and government funding make Australia a prime location for biotech research. AcuraBio has the following operating licenses: TGA (Australian FDA equivalent) license for the manufacture of human therapeutic APIs from biological and synthetic sources, APVMA (veterinary equivalent of the TGA) license for manufacture of sterile immunobiological products, OGTR license to produce products from genetically modified organisms, and a DAF facility license for import and use of biologic materials. Additional information about AcuraBio is available at

About Ampersand Capital Partners

Founded in 1988, Ampersand is a middle market private equity firm with more than $3 billion of assets under management dedicated to growth-oriented investments in the healthcare sector. With offices in Boston and Amsterdam, Ampersand leverages its unique blend of private equity and operating experience in seeking to build value and drive strong long-term performance alongside its portfolio company management teams. Ampersand has helped build numerous market-leading companies across each of the firm’s core healthcare sectors. Additional information about Ampersand is available at

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Futura Token ($FUTURA) announces a successful launch on the Ethereum ERC-20 blockchain.

Los Angeles, CA, August 30, 2022 – (SEAPRWire) – Futura Token ($FUTURA), a new form of decentralized finance (DeFi) token utilizing a “smart liquidity pool,” successfully launched and began trading on Uniswap on the 8th of August 2022.

Assessing current market sentiment, the company believed this an ideal climate to launch a new form of DeFi token, which adjusts the usage of the transaction fees intelligently, based on live market data. The company believes this “smart liquidity pool” can deliver optimum price performance to investors, even in market volatility.

The team has provided numerous updates and revelations in the first week since launch, establishing FUTURA as an investor-focused DeFi project.

First-week Chainlink Integration

To ensure accurate market information is continuously being assessed, the $FUTURA contract is directly reading Chainlink Price Feed data. This innovative approach to liquidity pool management was developed in partnership with well-respected Ethereum blockchain developer Sir Tris (Twitter:@SirTrisCrypto), who counts amongst his most successful recent projects Clifford Inu ($CLIFF), which was the first ERC-20 token to utilize native burns from the liquidity pool.

New Generation Smart Contracts

Many investors have temporarily pulled out of the DeFi space out of concern for fraud since, according to market analysis tools like the BTC F&G index, the overall market mood is highly unfavorable.

Future-focused at $FUTURA, the business is spending money to create a next-generation contract analyzer, utilizing the skilled crew at their back. The company claims that several other cutting-edge solutions that are presently under development will continue to prioritize enhancing the safety of the typical investor in the occasionally hazy DeFi field.

By refining existing mechanics and expanding the capabilities of smart contracts, FUTURA works to usher in a new generation of smart contracts by optimizing them from the inside out.

Programmed Growth

The FUTURA smart contract was designed from the bottom up to offer a dynamic taxing scheme as a countermeasure to the prevailing market attitude.

As investors flock into FUTURA, the contract takes a portion of the taxes into the LP, storing them in the contract itself. This, in essence, ensures that on any price drop, the contract automatically removes the generated LP and purchases it on market value, subsequently burning the supply.

Deflationary Dynamic Taxation

Through Futura’s dynamic tax system, the contract buybacks automatically get burnt, taking the tokens out of circulation permanently, which results in more scarcity and a higher PPC overall.

This mechanic provides a price cushion and prevents significant drops on the chart, ensuring that the price floor is up with any contract interaction. Furthermore, this solution also results in higher liquidity, providing more overall stability to the token.

About Futura

Futura is a decentralized finance project on the ERC20 network, launched on the 8th of august. Futura was created from the ground up by SirTris, who is known for developing safe, reliable, and innovative smart contracts. SirTris’s prior contracts have garnered over 5 billion dollars when combined with their top market price.

Futura is a first-of-its-kind smart contract that utilizes dynamic taxation and liquidity to raise the price floor permanently, higher LP % as the market cap rises, and lower LP % as the market cap reduces.

The contract is not renounced, as manual LP rebalancing is one of the core functions of the project.

Futura has been developing since late 2021, with a core focus on providing a haven against the permanent market volatility in the cryptosphere.

The primary aim of FUTURA has remained firm since its inception – bridging the gap between the safety of traditional blue cap cryptocurrencies and the dynamic world of decentralized finance projects, all while encouraging safety, reliability, and positive growth through development.

At this time, $FUTURA has applied for listing status with and The contract has just completed a security audit with Asfalia (

$FUTURA is currently trading at $0.004060 per token.

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HONG KONG, Aug 30, 2022 – (亞太商訊 via – 中國領先的劇集製作公司 – 檸萌影視傳媒有限公司(「檸萌影視」或「公司」,連同其附屬公司,統稱「集團」,股份代號:9857.HK),公佈截至2022年6月30日止六個月(「報告期內」)的中期業績。


— 受項目製作及排播檔期的影響,2022年上半年集团業績同比有一定波動。2022年上半年,集團收入人民幣480.2百萬元,同比下降15.1%;其中版權劇收入同比上升7.1%至人民幣463.3百萬元;2022年上半年海外業務收入超過去年全年水準。
— 2022年上半年,集團版權劇播映權毛利率39.1%,同比下降5.2%,環比上升2.3%。
— 2022年上半年,集團經調整淨利潤為人民幣105.2百萬元,較截至2021年同期減少44.2%。


— 2022年上半年,集團製作發行了優質精品版權劇《超越》和《獵罪圖鑑》,其中《獵罪圖鑒》每集平均30天累計有效播放量排名第一。
— 2022年8月,公司新上線了版權劇《膽小鬼》和女性成長系列化劇集《二十不惑 2》,其中《二十不惑2》開播首日獲省級衛視同時段收視率六網第一。目前已開機拍攝中的項目包括《愛情而已》、《赤子之心》和《一念關山 》。
— 集團擴大內容營銷的植入業務範圍,將營銷方案升級為覆蓋全鏈路的營銷體系,主要涵蓋IP植入、IP長尾營銷和IP興趣電商三大業務板塊。
— 集團大力拓展海外業務,堅持IP化和系列化運作,與國際主流媒體平台建立緊密合作關係,截至目前《二十不惑》系列成功在 Netflix和Viu雙平台上線,《膽小鬼》已在一線付費頻道Now TV上線,《超越》、 《獵罪圖鑑》等劇也在韓國、越南、新加坡等地熱映。
— 集團開展與檸萌IP的有效融合,短視頻內容業務實現從0到 1到單集爆款的突破,截至目前已完成拍攝短劇3部,上線1部。其中已在抖音平台上線的短劇《從離婚開始》,單集爆款播放超1.5億。
— 集團擁有多元豐富的IP內容儲備,橫跨當代話題、都市情感、古裝、現實懸疑等一系列題材類別,預期可為公司後續優質劇集的生產提供充足的內容支援;憑藉擁有優質劇集的IP版權,可通過系列化開發、改編翻拍、衍生品授權等方式實現多元變現。




— 版權劇《超越》:國家廣播電視總局重點指導項目,入選「我們的新時代」主題電視劇重點項目,作為冬奧題材劇集,是央視一套黃金檔的開年大劇,聯動冬奧會賽事播出,單集最高收視份額達3.52%,覆蓋超过2億觀眾,同步在騰訊視頻、愛奇藝、優酷視頻平台播出
— 版權劇《獵罪圖鑑》:作為懸疑類型賽道的爆款劇集,在愛奇藝、騰訊視頻平台播出,每集平均30天累計有效播放量排名第一。
2022年8月,公司新上線了版權劇《膽小鬼》和女性成長系列化劇集《二十不惑 2》,亦取得了很好的播出效果。目前已開機拍攝中的項目包括《愛情而已》、《赤子之心》和《一念關山》。
— 版權劇《膽小鬼》:青春懸疑題材賽道的創新作品,年度國產懸疑劇中的口碑佳作,目前豆瓣網(知名影視分享及評論社區)評分達7.6分。
— 版權劇《二十不惑2》:作為公司女性成長系列化劇集,開播後即獲得市場高度認可,開播首日獲省級衛視同時段收視率六網(即六大主流收視率調查調研方,分別為CSM全國網、CSM城域網、CSM64城、歡網、酷雲及尼爾森)第一。


— IP植入方面,公司深化IP的消費場景植入,積極拓展自身劇集和外部劇集的植入合作,截至目前已開展4個外部劇集的植入合作;
— IP長尾營銷方面,公司以IP為核心,圍繞劇集為品牌主提供全鏈路的整合營銷服務,涵蓋內容製作、媒介策劃投放、營銷管道整合等方向,舉例來看,年內公司針對劇集《二十不惑2》打造「202夏日女生節」系列營銷方案,與河馬生鮮文和友、野獸派等品牌合作,營造專屬購物節、打造潮流活動、推出IP聯名產品等;
— IP興趣電商方面,公司立足IP資源的電商化新組合,為品牌客戶提供品效合一的銷售增長服務,包括為品牌主提供經銷及代運營服務、培育電商自營賬號等。


期內,集團加速劇集的海外發行,截至目前,《二十不惑》系列成功在 Netflix和Viu雙平台上線,是國內首部第一季和續集都被Netflix購買的電視劇,兩部成系列上線,《膽小鬼》已在一線付費頻道Now TV上線,《超越》、《獵罪圖鑑》等劇也在韓國、越南、新加坡等地熱映。



檸萌影視傳媒有限公司聯合創始人、執行董事、董事長兼總裁蘇曉先生表示:「2022年上半年,我們貫徹「超級內容 連接新大眾」發展戰略,專注精品劇集的開發,全力打造展現時代風貌的主旋律劇集作品,注重劇集的系列化開發,製作發行了優質精品版權劇《超越》和《獵罪圖鑑》,得到市場的高度認可。展望未來,我們將深耕精品版權劇的創作,進一步擴大IP儲備,強化市場領先地位;持續提升IP運營管理能力,尋求更多種類型的IP運營,發力版權劇的系列化開發,打造「檸萌宇宙」廠牌;有效把握國際市場機會,加速拓展國際業務;構建更加多元化的收入體系,在版權劇播映收入的基礎上,加強在內容營銷、短視頻業務、IP衍生授權等領域的收入貢獻。」

檸萌影視是一家持續輸出精品內容的中國劇集製作公司。公司擁有豐富的版權IP儲備,通常創作高收視率劇集。自2014年於上海成立以來,公司致力於進行劇集的投資、製作、發行、宣傳及衍生品授權等全價值鏈運營。根據弗若斯特沙利文的資料,按2021年的收入計,公司在所有中國劇集公司中排名第四。自2019年至2021年,公司已播映的八部版權劇中有六部屬於高收視率劇集,高收視率劇集率約為75.0%,遠超出其前五大競爭對手 (按收入劃分)自2019年至2021年約45.9%的平均高收視率劇集率。

Copyright 2022 亞太商訊. All rights reserved. (via SEAPRWire)



HONG KONG, Aug 30, 2022 – (亞太商訊 via – 宏光半導體有限公司(「宏光半導體」,連同其附屬公司統稱「集團」;股份代號:6908.HK)欣然宣佈其截至2022年6月30日止六個月(「2022年上半年」 或 「期內」)的未經審核之中期業績。



積極佈局新能源汽車及快速充電樁板塊 全速推進GaN業務發展
期內,集團策略性投資境內外多家第三代半導體企業龍頭企業,並積極與多間訂立戰略及框架合作協議,發揮現有平台和資源優勢,加快GaN的密集研發與技術應用。繼去年集團先收購主要從事快速電池充電系統解決方案研發的GSR GO Holding Corporation連同其附屬公司(「GSR GO集團」),後投資專注高電壓新能源汽車領域的以色列GaN 相關產品開發商VisIC Technologies Ltd(「VisIC」),以及專注民用產品領域的加拿大GaN技術領導者GaN Systems Inc.(「GaN Systems」)外,集團於2022年上半年繼續與海內外企業商討GaN業務領域合作事項,雙軌並行發展GaN產品應用與銷售及營銷領域。

於2022年3月,集團與集成電路行業領先的企業服務平台科通芯城集團(股份代號:400.HK)簽訂戰略合作協議,合作包括協助集團於中國境內出售集團生產芯片,以及雙方在芯片應用及發展方面長期的戰略合作。此外,集團於2022年5月與中國泰坦能源技術集團有限公司(股份代號:2188.HK)達成戰略合作協議,雙方將在未來三年合作研發採用集團所提供的第三代半導體技術的新一代快速充電樁,並在香港開展快速充電樁服務並共同推出快速充電系統解決方案。集團亦與GUH Holdings Berhad(股份代號:3247.KL)訂立無法律約束力諒解備忘錄,通過合作將快充電池及GaN器件產品銷售擴展至馬來西亞及東南亞,藉以擴大收入來源。


集團之全資附屬公司徐州金沙江半導體有限公司更於期內踏入一個重要的里程碑─ 與GaN Systems於互聯網數據中心電力基礎設施進行首次公開GaN之行業實地試驗。測試 結果顯示,互聯網數據中心的總能耗可降低10%;而在使用傳統矽基功率半導體相比,可節省最高20% 的能源消耗。此節能效果將可增加互聯網數據中心的利潤率,降低運營成本,減少能源消耗,從而為建設可持續發展的未來作出貢獻。在實現綠色環保的大前提下,使用GaN功率晶體管製造更節能的電源供應器電源模塊可為互聯網數據中心的綠色和高質量發展提供堅實的技術基礎,從而支持國家實現「碳中和」的目標。

集團一直鞏固研發能力的同時,亦不斷吸納多位半導體行業領軍人物及管理專家加入集團,為其第三代半導體業務、策略投資及發展提供寶貴意見。期內,集團的全球戰略諮詢委員會正式成立,委員會由具備豐富GaN及半導體行業以及策略投資及發展經驗的成員組成,為集團提供有效策略及戰術建議。此外,集團亦聘請多位半導體領域專家管理徐州工廠及科研項目,為其半導體產品營運提供雄厚的技術支持,當中包括GaN半導體業務核心專家陳振博士、GaN HEMT器件設計和工藝製造的核心專家Thomas Hu博士,以及在半導體行業及晶圓代工技術及管理方面均具有豐富經驗的呂瑞霖先生和閔軍輝先生等。一眾專家均於第三代半導體生產及企業管理領域、併購、投資、基金管理及工商管理方面累積多年經驗,相信定必能為集團運籌帷幄。

2022年正值中國產業升級與「雙碳」政策推進的關鍵階段,半導體行業再度成為關注的焦點。第三代半導體產業技術創新戰略聯盟 (China Advanced Semiconductor Industry Innovation Alliance) 所發佈的《第三代半導體產業技術發展報告》預測,2024 年中國第三代半導體電子器件應用市場規模將近人民幣200億元,未來5年複合年增長率超過40%。諮詢公司Grand View Research亦預測2027年全球GaN半導體裝置市場規模預計將達到58.5億美元,2020年至2027年的複合年增長率為20%,高效能、低能耗的第三代半導體將掀起備受追捧的熱潮。GaN作為第三代半導體材料,有更高的禁帶寬度,是迄今理論上電光、光電轉換效率最高的材料體系。





Copyright 2022 亞太商訊. All rights reserved. (via SEAPRWire)


India’s Adani is first Asian to become world’s 3rd richest person with $191.8b fortune

MOSCOW (BLOOMBERG) – Few outside of India had heard of Gautam Adani a couple of years ago.

Now the Indian tycoon, a college dropout who first tried his luck as a diamond trader before turning to coal and eventually building one of the biggest conglomerates, has become the world’s third-richest person.

It’s the first time an Asian has broken into the top three of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index – fellow citizen Mukesh Ambani and China’s Jack Ma never made it that far.

With a US$137.4 billion (S$191.8 billion) fortune, Adani has overtaken France’s Bernard Arnault and now trails just Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos of the US in the ranking.

Adani, 60, has spent the past few years expanding his coal-to-ports conglomerate, venturing into everything from data centers to cement, media and alumina.

The group now owns India’s largest private-sector port and airport operator, city-gas distributor and coal miner. While its Carmichael mine in Australia has been criticised by environmentalists, it pledged in November to invest US$70 billion in green energy to become the world’s largest renewable-energy producer.

But worries are growing over the exponential growth. Adani’s deals spree has been predominantly funded with debt and his empire is “deeply over-leveraged,” CreditSights said in a report this week. In the worst-case scenario, that could lead to a default, the Fitch Group unit warned.

Some lawmakers and market watchers have also raised concerns over opaque shareholder structures and a lack of analyst coverage at Adani Group companies. Yet the shares have soared – some of them more than 1,000% since 2020, with valuations hitting 750 times earnings – as the tycoon focused on areas that Prime Minister Narendra Modi deems crucial to meeting India’s long-term goals.

The pivot to green energy and infrastructure has won investments from firms including Warburg Pincus and TotalEnergies, helping Adani enter the echelons previously dominated by US tech moguls. The surge in coal in recent months has further turbocharged his ascent.

All told, Adani has added US$60.9 billion to his fortune in 2022 alone, five times more than anyone else. He first overtook Ambani as the richest Asian in February, became a centibillionaire in April and surpassed Microsoft’s Bill Gates as the world’s fourth-richest person last month.

Adani was able to move past some of the world’s richest US billionaires partly because they’ve recently boosted their philanthropy. Gates said in July he was transferring US$20 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, while Warren Buffett has already donated more than US$35 billion to the charity.

The two, along with Gates’s ex-wife Melinda French Gates, started the Giving Pledge initiative in 2010, vowing to give away most of their fortunes in their lifetimes. The billions of dollars spent in philanthropic causes has pushed them lower on the Bloomberg wealth ranking. They’re now fifth and 164th, respectively.

Adani, too, has increased his charitable giving, pledging in June to donate US$7.7 billion for social causes to mark his 60th birthday. He hasn’t given any details yet.


MAS regulation should not be seen as safety net for retail crypto investors

SINGAPORE – The recent crypto market turmoil which claimed US$2 trillion (S$2.8 trillion) in market value and drove investors into panic-selling mode has since forced some crypto firms to halt withdrawals and seek protection from the Singapore courts.

Retail investors are now crying foul against these firms for suspending their crypto assets, with some calling on regulators to help them recoup their losses.


Wall Street retreats as rate hike concerns persist

NEW YORK (REUTERS) – US stocks closed lower on Monday (Aug 29), adding to last week’s sharp losses on nagging concerns about the Federal Reserve’s determination to aggressively hike interest rates to fight inflation even as the economy slows.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Friday the US economy would need tight monetary policy “for some time” before inflation is under control, dashing hopes the Fed might pivot to more subdued rate hikes after recent data suggested price pressures were peaking.

The S&P 500 recovered from session lows that put it down 1% at the lowest in a month, but the benchmark index still notched its biggest two-day percentage decline in 2-1/2 months.

“Friday’s selloff was frankly overdone, I know (Powell) said he was going to play tough with inflation but it is honestly not that much different than what he has been saying for the last several weeks, he was a little more hawkish but I mean, geez, who is surprised by that, really?” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

“I don’t see a whole lot of up or downside here in the near term, I see a lot of volatility and that is probably going to be the case at the very least until we get past the September 21 rate hike.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 184.41 points, or 0.57%, to 32,098.99, the S&P 500 lost 27.05 points, or 0.67%, to 4,030.61 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 124.04 points, or 1.02%, to 12,017.67.

Megacap technology and growth stocks such as Apple Inc , off 1.37%, and Microsoft Corp, down 1.07% were among the biggest drags on the index as Treasury yields rose.

The CBOE’s volatility index, Wall Street’s fear gauge, hit a seven-week high of 27.67 points.

Money market traders are pricing in a 72.5% chance of a 75-basis-point interest rate hike at the Fed’s September meeting, which would be the third straight hike of that magnitude. They expect the Fed funds rate to end the year at about 3.7%.

The two-year Treasury yield, which is particularly sensitive to interest rate expectations, briefly touched a 15-year high, while the closely watched yield curve measured by the gap between two and 10-year yields remained firmly inverted. An inversion is considered by many to be a reliable signal of a looming recession.

Economic data this week is highlighted by the August nonfarm payrolls report due on Friday. Any signs of a slowdown in the labor market might take pressure off the Fed to continue with outsized rate hikes. The S&P 500 climbed nearly 11% since mid-June through Friday’s close.

It recently found support just above its 50-day moving average, although it remains well below its 200-day moving average. Despite the rebound, some investors remain worried as September approaches due to the historical weakness for stocks during the month and the anticipated hike from the Fed.

Energy stocks, up 1.54% were a bright spot as crude prices jumped about 4% on possible OPEC+ output cuts and conflict in Libya. Bristol Myers Squibb slid 6.24% after its drug candidate for preventing ischemia strokes missed the main goal in a mid-stage trial.

Volume on US exchanges was 9.36 billion shares, compared with the 10.59 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.19-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.20-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 2 new 52-week highs and 22 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 28 new highs and 199 new lows.


Germany’s Scholz backs EU enlargement to include Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (center) delivers a speech at the Charles University on Aug 29, 2022 in Prague, Czech Republic. (MICHAL CIZEK / AFP)

PRAGUE – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on Monday for an enlargement of the European Union to eventually include Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, and said a gradual transition to majority voting was a stepping stone to growing the bloc.

Faced with the Ukraine crisis, Scholz urged the EU's 27 members to "close ranks, resolve old conflicts and find new solutions" and said Germany would keep up its support for Kiev "for as long as it takes".

Faced with the Ukraine crisis, Scholz urged the EU's 27 members to "close ranks, resolve old conflicts and find new solutions" and said Germany would keep up its support for Kiev "for as long as it takes"

In a speech entitled "Europe is our future", he said "we must bring the clout of our united Europe much more strongly to bear … Europe is our future. And that future is in our hands."

Scholz underlined Germany's commitment to EU enlargement, stressing that the countries of the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova and eventually also Georgia should join the bloc.

ALSO READ: EU to overhaul process for admitting new members

However, "in this expanded Union, the differences between the member states will grow as far as political interests, economic clout and social security systems are concerned", he said.

"Where unanimity is required today, the risk of an individual country using its veto and preventing all the others from forging ahead increases with each additional member state," Scholz added.

"I have therefore proposed a gradual transition to majority voting in common foreign policy, but also in other areas, such as tax policy – knowing full well that this would also have repercussions for Germany," he said.

Germany will send weapons to Kiev in the coming weeks, Scholz added in his speech to the Charles University.

READ MORE: EU tops up Ukraine military aid with 500 million euros

Apart from sending advanced air defense, radar systems or drones, Germany could assume special responsibility in terms of building up Ukraine's artillery and air defense capacities, Scholz said.


NASA’s next-gen megarocket set for debut test launch to moon

The Artemis I unmanned lunar rocket sits on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Aug 28, 2022, ahead of its expected launch on Aug 29. (CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – NASA's colossal next-generation rocketship was set for its long-awaited debut launch on Monday on an uncrewed, six-week test flight around the moon and back, marking the first mission of the space agency's Artemis program, successor to Apollo.

Although no humans will be aboard, Orion will be carrying a simulated crew of three – one male and two female mannequins – fitted with sensors to measure radiation levels and other stresses that real-life astronauts would experience

The 32-story-tall, two-stage Space Launch System rocket and its Orion crew capsule were due for blast-off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, during a two-hour launch window opening at 8:33 am EDT (12:33 pm GMT).

The maiden voyage of the SLS-Orion, a mission dubbed Artemis I, is intended to put the 5.75-million-pound vehicle through its paces in a rigorous demonstration flight, pushing its design limits, before NASA deems it reliable enough to carry astronauts.

Billed as the most powerful, complex rocket in the world, the SLS represents the biggest new vertical launch system the US space agency has built since the Saturn V flown during the Apollo moon program of the 1960s and '70s.

The spacecraft was slowly trundled to historic Launch Pad 39B earlier this month following weeks of final preparations and ground tests. Last week, NASA officials concluded their flight readiness review declaring all systems were "go for launch."

One issue cited by NASA officials last week as a potential show stopper for Monday's launch would be any sign during rocket fueling that a newly repaired hydrogen line fitting had failed to hold.

If the countdown clock is halted for any reason, NASA has set Sept 2 and Sept 5 as backup launch dates.

READ MORE: NASA's Webb telescope detects CO2 in exoplanet atmosphere

Barring last-minute technical difficulties or unfavorable weather, Monday's countdown should end with the rocket's four main R-25 engines and its twin solid-rocket boosters igniting to produce 8.8 million pounds of thrust, about 15% more thrust than produced by the Saturn V, sending the spacecraft streaking skyward.

About 90 minutes after launch, the rocket's upper stage will thrust Orion out of Earth orbit on course for a 42-day flight that brings it to within 96.56 km of the lunar surface before sailing 64,374 km beyond the moon and back to Earth. The capsule is expected to splash down in the Pacific on Oct 10.

Although no humans will be aboard, Orion will be carrying a simulated crew of three – one male and two female mannequins – fitted with sensors to measure radiation levels and other stresses that real-life astronauts would experience.

A top objective for the mission is to test the durability of Orion's heat shield during re-entry as it hits Earth's atmosphere at 39,429 km per hour, or 32 times the speed of sound, on its return from lunar orbit – much faster than more common re-entries of astronaut capsules returning from low-Earth orbit.

ALSO READ: NASA to showcase Webb space telescope's first full-color images

"That's our highest priority that we have to accomplish," lead flight director Rick LaBrode said of demonstrating the heat shield's ability to withstand re-entry friction, expected to raise temperatures outside the capsule to nearly 2,760 degrees Celsius. "That's what's going to keep the capsule together and save the astronauts."

A poster showing the Orion capsule for the Artemis II mission is displayed inside the Operations and Checkout Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Aug 28, 2022. (CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

Back to the moon

NASA's Artemis program – named for the goddess who was Apollo's twin sister in ancient Greek mythology – aims to return astronauts to the moon's surface as early as 2025, and to establish a long-term lunar colony as a stepping stone to even more ambitious future voyages sending humans to Mars.

NASA's Artemis program – named for the goddess who was Apollo's twin sister in ancient Greek mythology – aims to return astronauts to the moon's surface as early as 2025, and to establish a long-term lunar colony as a stepping stone to even more ambitious future voyages sending humans to Mars

More than a decade in development with years of delays and billions of dollars in budget overruns, the SLS-Orion spacecraft has so far cost NASA least $37 billion, including design, construction, testing and ground facilities.

NASA chief Bill Nelson has defended the Artemis program as a boon to space exploration and an "economic engine," noting that in 2019 alone, for example, it generated $14 billion in commerce and supported 70,000 US jobs.

Among the program's greatest financial beneficiaries are the principal SLS and Orion primary contractors – Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp, respectively.

Twelve astronauts walked on the moon during six manned Apollo missions that landed from 1969 to 1972, the only spaceflights yet to place people on the lunar surface.

READ MORE: Russia tells NASA space station pullout less imminent

If successful, Artemis I will pave the way to a first crewed SLS-Orion mission, an out-and-back flight around the moon designated Artemis II, as early as 2024, to be followed a year or more later by an Artemis III journey to the lunar surface.

Artemis III involves a much higher degree or complexity integrating the SLS-Orion with a series of spacecraft to be built and flown by Elon Musk's launch company SpaceX.

Those include SpaceX's own heavy-duty Starship launch and lunar-landing vehicle, still under development, as well as several components that remain to be constructed – an orbital fuel depot and space tankers to fill it. Even the new moon-walking suits remain to be designed.

NASA's Office of Inspector General last year said that the first Artemis III lunar landing was more likely to be achieved two to three years later than the agency's late 2025 target date.

Equipment for the Orion capsule for the Artemis II mission is seen inside the Operations and Checkout Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Aug 28, 2022. (CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)


Colombian president proposes ceasefire to illegal armed groups

Colombia's President Gustavo Petro attends a press conference next to Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (out of frame) at Casa Nariño Presidential Palace in Bogota, on Aug 24, 2022. (RAUL ARBOLEDA / AFP)

Colombian President Gustavo Petro, who took office earlier this month, on Saturday proposed a multilateral ceasefire to all illegal armed groups operating in the country as part of an effort to promote peace and end decades of internal conflict.

Petro, a former M-19 guerrilla fighter who laid down his arms and returned to civilian life in 1990, announced the initiative during a visit to the municipality of Ituango, in the insurgency plagued northwestern department of Antioquia.

Petro, a former M-19 guerrilla fighter who laid down his arms and returned to civilian life in 1990, announced the initiative during a visit to the municipality of Ituango, in the insurgency plagued northwestern department of Antioquia

ALSO READ: Colombia advances towards restarting peace talks with ELN

Various irregular armed organizations have shown their intention to seek an end to the confrontation, said Petro, the first leftist president in Colombia's history.

The president said a ceasefire would provide "the most appropriate climate to achieve the societal strength required to legitimize a definitive end to armed violence."

The president, a 62-year-old economist who was a congressman, intends to seek "total peace" in the nation, which includes reestablishing negotiations with the leftist guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Petro's plan involves dialogue with dissident factions of the former FARC guerrilla group who rejected a 2016 peace agreement, as well as legal negotiations with criminal gangs involved in drug trafficking, like the Golf Clan.

Such groups would benefit from reduced sentences in exchange for delivering goods and revealing routes.

In July last year, fighting between the AGC and a FARC dissident group, as well as threats by armed groups, forced over 4,000 people to flee Ituango, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

READ MOREUS revokes terrorist designation for Colombia's FARC

Colombia's internal armed conflict lasted nearly six decades and left at least 450,000 dead, most of them civilians, between 1985 and 2018 alone.

Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez announced this week that Colombia will suspend aerial bombardments against illegal armed groups in the midst of the internal conflict to avoid collateral damage to the civilian population, the death of forcibly recruited minors, and as a gesture to advance towards a complete peace.


Asia stocks tumble as markets open after US Fed’s warning

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) – Asian stocks sank along with US equity futures on Monday (Aug 29) after hawkish rhetoric from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell sparked sharp drops on Wall Street last Friday and pushed up the US dollar.

Japan’s Nikkei index sank 2.37 per cent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index lost 1.86 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi dropped 2.3 per cent.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index opened down 1.14 per cent. 

Contracts for the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 and the S&P 500 fell more than 1 per cent.

A gauge of the United States dollar pushed towards a more than one-month high, with commodity-linked currencies, the yen, the pound and the offshore renminbi all under some pressure.

Bonds sold off, taking the US two-year Treasury yield to the highest since 2007. A deepening inversion of the US yield curve underscored bond market expectations of a recession.

Mr Powell in his address on Friday at the Fed’s Jackson Hole annual retreat warned that rising interest rates will cause “some pain” to the US economy, saying higher interest rates likely will persist “for some time”.

Those comments contrast with market bets for reductions in borrowing costs next year as growth slows. The focus for investor angst is the equities market, further undoing a bounce in global shares from the bear market lows of mid-June.

Mr Powell signalled that “once they get to whatever the final hike is, they are going to stay there for a while”, Charles Schwab & Co chief investment strategist Liz Ann Sonders said on Bloomberg Television. “The market had trouble digesting that.”

Bitcoin broke below the US$20,000 level that some view as a marker of a deeper slide in investor sentiment. Gold and crude oil wavered.

Futures for Hong Kong’s bourse edged up earlier after a gauge of US-listed Chinese shares weathered much of Friday’s equity market rout.

That may reflect optimism about a preliminary deal between Beijing and Washington to ease a dispute over reviewing audits of Chinese firms. An agreement is needed to avert the delisting of about 200 Chinese companies from US exchanges.


Maybank Indonesia Announces Winners of Maybank Marathon 2022

BALI, INDONESIA, Aug 28, 2022 – (ACN Newswire via – PT Bank Maybank Indonesia, Tbk (Maybank Indonesia) announced the winners of the World Athletics’ ‘Elite’ road race, the Maybank Marathon 2022, as the contest concluded its 10th anniversary run in Bali today (8/28).

With close to 10,000 runners from 50 countries, Maybank Marathon 2022 crowned Hassan Toriss, BIB 004 from Morocco, as champion of the Marathon Open Male category, with a recorded finish time of 2:15:38, and Immaculate Chemutai with BIB 025 from Uganda as champion of the Marathon Open Female category, with a recorded finish time 2:42:32. Each received a cash prize of Rp200,000,000, symbolically handed over by Maybank Marathon Project Director Widya Permana.

In the Marathon National category, Rikki Marthin Luther Simbolon was named champion for the Marathon National Male category with a recorded finish time of 2:34:49, while Odekta Elvina Naibaho came as the champion for the Marathon National Female category with a finish time of 2:55:45. Both received Rp 125,000,000 prize money.

Widya, the Maybank Indonesia Director of Operations and Project Director of the Marathon said, “At the successful conclusion of the Maybank Marathon 2022, we extend our gratitude and appreciation to everyone who has supported the Marathon since preparations began in March 2022. We congratulate the Maybank Marathon 2022 winners whose achievements have demonstrated strong determination to reach their best, in every category.”

“Maybank Indonesia is honoured and proud to have organised Indonesia’s first and only World Athletics ‘Elite’ road race Maybank Marathon, for all national and international marathon aficionados and athletes. The ‘Elite’ label has placed both Maybank Marathon and Indonesia prominently in the world of athletics, specifically marathon sports,” concluded Widya.

Winners of the Maybank Marathon 2022 — the Marathon Open & National Category, Half Marathon (21K) Open & National Category and 10K Open & National Categories — are announced in the official release, available on:

Maybank held a press conference on Saturday, 27 August at Taman Bhagawan, Bali, to preview the 2022 Marathon. The conference was hosted by Widya Permana, the Project Director and Deniawan Rachmatialevi, the Project Manager of Maybank Marathon 2022.

The flag-off, which marks the start of Maybank Marathon, was done in stages starting with the Marathon (42.195 km) category at 04.30 Indonesia Central Time Zone (WITA), followed by the Half Marathon (21.0975 km) at 05.15 WITA, the 10K at 06.00 WITA, and the wheelchair category at 06.10 WITA. For the 10th anniversary of the Marathon, this year’s event posted a total prize of Rp2.7 billion for 118 winners, including record-breakers.

Maybank Indonesia witnessed strong runner enthusiasm to join Maybank Marathon 2022 as total participants were on par with events before the pandemic. The support of the central and regional Governments during this recovery period made it possible for marathon enthusiasts to participate in this year’s Marathon, said Project Director Widya.

As part of the World Athletics’ ‘Elite’ label road race and its 10th anniversary, Maybank Marathon 2022 enjoyed the participation of 10 elite marathon runners, 5 elite male marathon runners and 5 elite female marathon runners. This year’s Marathon also included Indonesia’s 9 personal-best time national marathon athletes in the race, consisting of 5 male marathon national runners and 4 female marathon national runners.

Safety and Security
From a safety and security perspective on the 42.195 km road race, the Organising Committee mobilised 850 Police personnel from Bali Police Department and 450 pecalang (neighbourhood / citizen security) from surrounding villages in Gianyar Regency. The Bali Police Department implemented traffic management along the course, mainly on Bypass I.B. Mantra, through the rural streets from Ketewel village, Guwang village, and the road to Medahan village.

In addition, from perspective of safety and well-being for the runners, the Organising Committee deployed around 850 marshals, an approximate 180 paramedics team, and 26 ambulances, consisting of 11 ambulance cars, 15 ambulance motorbikes and one ambulance car with emergency installation standards along the course, as well as 40 pacers, trained in First Aid Emergency Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) procedures to handle any emergency conditions.

From Friday (8/26) to Saturday (8/27), Maybank held the Race Pack Collection (RPC) for participants to collect race packs prior to the race. For runners’ safety, Maybank applies a ‘You Register, You Run’ policy which sets mandatory rules for all participants to collect race packs according to registered name and prohibits proxy to collect the pack. The run slots are non-transferrable, and runners can only join the race based on the selected category upon registration.

This year’s Maybank Marathon RPC activity is packaged as a festival of entertainment, featuring well-known Indonesian entertainers, sponsor exhibitions, and a special exhibition for Maybank Indonesia’s Sustainability program.

Maybank Indonesia further organized activities for customers to experience banking products through the Maybank Interactive Lounge, Maybank Premier & VIP Lounge and Maybank Information Station, as well as a payment system using QRIS, accessible via Maybank Indonesia’s digital banking M2U application, to purchase various sponsors’ products such as food and beverages, etc.

Considering the safety of runners, Maybank Marathon applies rules in line with Government Regulation regarding Outdoor Events, outlining the requirement for all runners to have at least a third vaccine (booster) and a mandatory Peduli Lindungi scan prior to entering the Race Pack Collection venue and Race Village. Participants are also mandated to follow health protocols, such as wearing masks, using hand sanitiser and keeping social distance during the event.

Marathon Supporters
Maybank Marathon 2022 received various stakeholders’ support, including the Provincial Government of Bali, the Police Department of Bali, the Regency Government of Gianyar, Palang Merah Indonesia (Indonesian red cross), and the Indonesian Athletics Association (PASI).

Maybank Marathon 2022 is also supported by sponsors who played a key role in ensuring the event’s success. Maybank Indonesia management and the Maybank Marathon Organising Committee convey appreciation to the following sponsors: Aqua, New Balance, Etiqa Indonesia, Pocari Sweat, Taman Bhagawan, Bali Safari & Marine Park, BMW, Berita Satu, RS Kasih Ibu, RS Kenak Medika, Biznet, Rintis ATM Prima, Traveloka, Rubiyat, Cardea, Gambino, Indofood Ice Cream, Optik Tunggal, Fit Bar, Garmin, Strive Gel, Salon Pas, Bali Hai, Waterbom, Shokz, Re.juve, Pelita Air, Swan Paradise by Pramana, Rhadana, Swiss-Belhotel Tuban, Plataran, Parasol, Royal Tulip Jimbaran, Artotel Sanur, and Tribe Hotel.

Maybank Indonesia management and the Organizing Committee also convey appreciation to the following media partners: Metro TV, Berita Satu Media Holdings, Tribun Group, Jawa Pos Group, LKBN Antara, Tempo Media Group and Gatra Media Group, as well as supporting coverage from local and other renowned media during the 2022 Marathon event with articles, videos, and photos of the event and activities.

For the latest updates on the 2022 Maybank Marathon in Bali :
– Website:
– Instagram: @maybankmarathon
– Facebook:
– Twitter: @maybankmarathon

About Maybank Marathon
Maybank Marathon is an international level marathon organized by PT Bank Maybank Indonesia, Tbk (Maybank Indonesia} since 2012 which offers a full marathon (42.195 km), half marathon (21.0975 km), and 10K (10 km). Various recognition has been achieved by Maybank Marathon, among which: included as one of the eleven “Remarkable races in the world that one must participate before you die” by The Active, one of “The 52 Best Races on Earth 2016” by Runnersworld, Best Marathon 2016, Best Half Marathon 2015, and the Most Popular Sport Event 2018 by the Venue magazine.

In 2020, the Maybank Marathon received the “Elite Label” certification from World Athletics, the former IAAF, the international organization that regulates and oversees the implementation of marathon races around the world. Maybank Marathon is also part of the 175 Marathon qualification series World Championship Abbott World Marathon Major (“Abbott WMM”), Wanda Age Group World Rankings and became one of the qualifying Race Boston Marathon. Maybank Marathon 2019 became Indonesia’s National Sports Agenda (“PON”) qualification in Papua in 2021.

About Maybank Indonesia
PT Bank Maybank Indonesia is one of the leading banks in Indonesia and is a part of the regional and international network of the Maybank Group. Maybank Indonesia provides a comprehensive range of products and services for individual and corporate customers through Community Financial Services and Global Banking and automotive financing through subsidiaries, WOM Finance for two-wheeled vehicles and Maybank Finance for four-wheeled vehicles. Maybank Indonesia also continues to develop Digital Banking services and capacity through M2U (App and Web), M2E for corporate customer and other various channels.

As of June 2022, Maybank Indonesia has 354 branches, including Shariah branches spread across Indonesia, including one overseas branch in Mumbai, India, 22 Mobile Cash Cars and 986 ATMs connected with over 20,000 ATMs incorporated in ATM PRIMA, ATM BERSAMA, ALTO, CIRRUS, and connected to 3,500 Maybank ATMs in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. Maybank Indonesia manages customer deposits amounting to Rp111.66 trillion and has total assets valued at Rp167.33 trillion. Visit

More information, please contact:
Dimas Tjahjono Dradjat, Head, Communications
Tel: +6221 2922-8888

Copyright 2022 ACN Newswire. All rights reserved. (via SEAPRWire)


‘Inflation fever’ finally breaking – but central banks won’t stop hiking interest rates

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – Global inflation is finally coming off the boil, even if it is set to remain far too hot for the liking of the world’s central bankers.

As economic growth slows, prices for key raw materials – from oil to copper and wheat – have cooled in recent weeks, taking pressure off the cost of manufactured goods and food. It is also getting cheaper to move those things around as supply chains slowly recover from the pandemic.

After the worst price shock in decades, the speed at which relief arrives will vary, with Europe in particular still struggling. But for the world as a whole, analysts at JPMorgan Chase estimate that consumer price inflation will fall to 5.1 per cent in the second half of this year – roughly half of what it was in the six months to June.

“The inflation fever is breaking,” said Mr Bruce Kasman, the bank’s chief economist.

This does not mean an early return to the subdued inflation that much of the world enjoyed before the twin shocks of Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine – or the end of monetary tightening any time soon.

Fed’s still hiking

Rents and labour-intensive services are likely to keep getting more expensive, with job markets tight and wages on the rise. There are also broader forces at work, from slowing globalisation to lacklustre growth in the labour force, that may keep price pressures bubbling.

The major global central banks, which failed to see the pandemic price shock coming, are set to press ahead with interest rate increases even as headline inflation tops out. The US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England are all expected to hike rates again in September.

Fed chair Jerome Powell left the door open to another jumbo 75-basis point increase next month, telling fellow central bankers in Jackson Hole last Friday (Aug 26) that a recent ebbing of US inflation fell “far short” of what policymakers wanted to see. The following day, ECB executive board member Isabel Schnabel said “central banks need to act forcefully”.

Some central banks that were quicker off the mark than the Fed to raise rates may take advantage of cooling price pressures to pause their tightening moves.

The Czech National Bank this month left policy unchanged, while the Brazilian central bank is expected to do the same in September. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand may be nearing the end of its aggressive moves, governor Adrian Orr told Bloomberg Television from Jackson Hole.

The soaring cost of living has left politicians as well as central bankers feeling the heat – especially in Europe, where natural gas prices more than seven times higher than a year ago have triggered an energy emergency.

Inflation in the euro area is forecast to accelerate beyond July’s record 8.9 per cent and Citigroup predicts that this could exceed 18 per cent in Britain, in part because a cap on energy bills was just lifted.

All kinds of once-unlikely proposals, from nationalisation to power rationing, have been floated to address the crisis.

The United States, by contrast, will experience the fastest slide in inflation among developed economies, thanks in part to the strength of the dollar, the JPMorgan economists said.

That will not stop the Fed from tightening into restrictive territory. Bloomberg chief US economist Anna Wong expects that the Fed will eventually have to raise rates as high as 5 per cent to rid the US of its inflation problem.


Latest property curbs, higher mortgage rates putting off some HDB upgraders

SINGAPORE – Housing Board upgraders’ love affair with private property cooled in the first half of this year following the Dec 16 round of property curbs and higher mortgage rates.

Fewer HDB flat owners bought private property even as HDB resale flat prices gained 5.3 per cent in the first half compared with a 4.2 per cent rise in private home prices.


How asset managers can help ensure accountability for sustainable investing

Sustainable investing has faced some roadblocks over the past year. Part of this has to do with rising concerns about greenwashing, or the act of leading consumers and stakeholders into believing that a company’s practices, products or services are more environmentally friendly than they really are. 

For investors looking to do good with their money while still reaping financial returns over the long term, it has become increasingly important to engage a credible asset manager with a good track record in sustainable investing.

Sustainable or responsible investing is an approach that incorporates non-financial considerations, such as a company’s carbon footprint and environmental practices, into financial analyses and investment decisions. This is used alongside conventional financial analyses to assess investment opportunities and risks. 

The approach can be carried out in various forms:

·   Eliminating companies and sovereigns with the worst ESG (environmental, social and governance) practices from investment portfolios;

·   Picking assets to invest in using an ESG scoring system and other methodologies to measure how the entities involved manage ESG-related challenges; and

·   Investing in companies that are in a position to benefit from the global trend towards decarbonisation.

As countries around the world work to reduce carbon emissions, financial institutions play a crucial role in nudging the global economy towards more sustainable activities while helping clients to generate long-term value through their investments.

Investing in activities that benefit the environment and society 

For the financial industry to promote sustainable business practices, it must make sure that enough capital goes into activities that benefit the environment and society. This includes investing in clean energy and new technology that helps to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change.  

At the same time, financial institutions can help companies in traditional sectors – such as oil and gas, and construction – to adapt to a low-carbon future, which may see increasingly strict environmental regulations, rising carbon prices, and growing public demand for more sustainable services and products.

Asset managers, with their considerable amount of assets under management relative to that of individual investors, could use their influence to push investee companies to adopt or improve on their sustainable practices.

There are two main avenues for asset managers to affect changes in investee companies. First, asset managers can leverage their access to top management of these companies to raise concerns and discuss areas for improvements. Second, asset managers can use their vote at the companies’ annual general meetings to send a message to management.

AXA Investment Managers’ stewardship strategy

One asset manager with more than 20 years of experience* in responsible investing is AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM). 

Central to AXA IM’s responsible investing framework is integration of ESG considerations – backed by research and data analysis – into its investment decisions.

To complement its ESG framework, AXA IM carries out a process it calls “stewardship” to help investee companies adapt to a more sustainable future. It involves actively speaking to investee companies to promote business practices that help the environment and society, as well as voting in annual general meetings to influence change.

Doing this allows AXA IM to protect client investments by potentially reducing risk and enhancing returns, while doing good for the world. 

“As a major investor in many markets, we carry the potential to influence companies towards behaviours that we believe will be to the advantage of our clients and for the world,” says Mr Hans Stoter, Global Head of AXA IM Core, AXA Investment Managers. 

“This may extend from highlighting short-term strategic risks for individual firms, to encouraging longer-term positioning that helps build secure and sustainable economies. Engagement is therefore a central pillar of responsible investment at AXA IM, and we continuously review ways to make this dialogue as effective and impactful as possible,” adds Mr Stoter.

Nudging companies to adopt sustainable practices

Regular and active dialogue with investee companies forms a major portion of AXA IM’s stewardship strategy. As of the end of 2021, the asset manager conducted 283 such engagements with 245 entities. 

One company that AXA IM engaged is French energy firm TotalEnergies. In 2021, the asset manager was one of the investors that signed a Climate Action 100+ statement highlighting areas within TotalEnergies’ climate strategy that requires improvement. Climate Action 100+ is an investor-led initiative to nudge the world’s largest corporate emitters to take action to mitigate climate change. 

AXA IM also held meetings with TotalEnergies directly to discuss in detail the company’s climate and business strategy. Subsequently, the energy firm broadened the scope of its climate targets and made certain business decisions that can arguably be linked to pressure from investors, including AXA IM.  

Not all companies are responsive to investors’ call for change. For investees considered to be climate laggards, AXA IM will work with them on a timeline to make progress on agreed objectives. “If after three years of regular engagements, we see insufficient progress towards the objectives, AXA IM will divest from the companies,” Mr Stoter says.

In addition to dialogue, AXA IM also uses its voting rights to convey messages to management.

In 2021, AXA IM voted at 98 per cent of annual general meetings held by investee companies. It voted against company management on at least one resolution at 59 per cent of the meetings – an increase from 56 per cent a year ago. 

One instance where AXA IM voted against company management involved American energy giant Chevron. At the energy firm’s 2021 AGM, AXA IM supported a resolution presented by Dutch campaign group Follow This calling for Chevron to set more rigorous targets to cut emissions.

Climate change has been a main theme of AXA IM’s “stewardship” strategy, and will continue to be a priority in the coming years. Besides that, the asset manager says it also aims to focus on issues relating to biodiversity, and a fair and just transition to a low-carbon economy.