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Daily Archives: January 25, 2022

China Gets a Step Closer to Unifying Its Fragmented $20 Trillion Bond Market

China’s central bank and top securities regulator approved a new set of rules designed to further connect the country’s two bond markets by establishing a mechanism that allows investors from one to trade on the other.

The measures for connecting the interbank and exchange bond markets mark the latest move in the nation’s years-long push to unify its fragmented $20 trillion bond market, whose different rules have added to red tape for traders.

The mechanism laid out in the rules will allow institutional investors on the exchange bond market, including qualified foreign institutions, to trade bonds, asset-backed securities and other eligible products on the interbank market, and vice versa.

Source : Caixin

Read more at Shanghai Stock Exchange

关于发布《银行间债券市场与交易所债券市场互联互通业务暂行办法》的通知 . . . . .

iPhone Maker Foxconn Seals EV Partnership with Indonesia

Foxconn aims to provide components or services to 10% of the world’s EVs by 2025 to 2027.

Taiwan-based Foxconn said it has partnered with Indonesia’s Investment Ministry and several companies to support the development of electric cars in the Southeast Asian country, adding to a string of such deals by the iPhone assembler.

Foxconn, Apple’s main iPhone maker, has expanded its activities in electric vehicles (EVs) in recent years, announcing deals with U.S. startup Fisker Inc and Thailand’s energy group PTT PCL.

Foxconn said it has signed a memorandum of understanding for a wide scope of investment on EVs including battery manufacturing with the Indonesian Ministry of Investment as well as Indonesia Battery Corporation, energy firm PT Indika Energy and Taiwanese electric scooter vendor Gogoro.

The cooperation, which aims to build a “new energy ecosystem” in Indonesia, also includes the development of EV supporting industries such as energy storage systems, battery exchange stations and recycling, Foxconn said in a statement.

Under the partnership, an open “MIH platform” that provides both hardware and software services will be available to companies in Indonesia, the statement said, without giving details of the size of the investment or production plans.

Foxconn aims to provide components or services to 10% of the world’s EVs by 2025 to 2027, Chairman Liu Young-way has said, vowing to lower manufacturing and other costs for carmaking with its assembly know-how as the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer.

Source : Reuters

Keeping Weight Stable Could Help Save Your Brain

Denise Mann wrote . . . . . . . . .

Older adults who maintain a steady weight as they age are less likely to experience rapid cognitive decline, regardless of how much they weigh to start, new research suggests.

“There’s something about maintaining weight and BMI that seems to reflect some health resilience,” said study author Michal Schnaider Beeri, a professor of psychiatry at Icahn Mount Sinai in New York City. (BMI is an estimate of body fat based on height and weight.)

“In old age, a stable BMI may confer protection against cognitive decline, and tracking BMI, which is simple to measure, at annual medical visits may point to individuals whose cognition is declining and allow for early intervention,” she said.

The new study shows that the two conditions are linked. It wasn’t designed to say how, or even if, changes in BMI over time speed up mental decline.

But, “a person who maintains bone, fat and muscle may have better health in old age,” Beeri said.

She suggested that future studies should try to uncover exactly how BMI fluctuations affect brain health.

Consistent evidence has linked BMI in midlife with poor mental outcomes in later life. Some studies have found greater impairment with high BMI, while others have found no link or even lower risk among obese older adults. Losing weight has been associated with higher dementia risk.

But researchers said there is limited evidence about simultaneous changes in BMI and mental decline.

For the latest study, Beeri’s team analyzed data from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center on about 16,000 older adults.

Folks were at least 60, and none had been diagnosed with dementia when the study began. They took tests assessing their memory, language, thinking skills and other mental functions. Their BMI was measured yearly.

After about five years of follow-up, everyone showed some degree of mental decline, but it was more than 60% faster in the group with fluctuating BMIs compared to those whose BMI stayed stable.

These findings held even after researchers took into account other factors linked to mental decline, including smoking, diabetes, depression and genes that raise Alzheimer’s risk.

The findings were published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“This is really interesting because it provides another piece of the puzzle as we try to understand the mechanisms around cognitive decline,” said Ana Capuano, an associate professor of biostatistics at Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago.

Studies conducted at Rush have linked amyloid plaques seen in brains during autopsy to BMI instability, she said. Amyloid plaques are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia.

“We don’t know at what point this brain pathology starts. We know it’s a long, long process,” said Capuano.

“Fluctuation in BMI over time can serve as a red flag for doctors to assess cognition and make lifestyle change recommendations,” she said.

Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are good for the brain and the rest of the body, Capuano added.

Source: HealthDay

Chinese Label Debuts Its First Virtual Musician Amid Metaverse Hype

Luo Meihan wrote . . . . . . . . .

Leading Chinese record label Modern Sky announced plans to accelerate its virtual businesses this year as the metaverse — a digital concept using various forms of virtual and augmented realities to mirror real-life social interactions — mania gains momentum in the country and elsewhere.

Shen Lihui, founder of the two-decade-old independent label, said last week that the company’s strategy for 2022 included developing virtual musicians, organizing virtual music festivals, and selling original digital works in the form of non-fungible tokens, or NFT. Modern Sky also released its first virtual musician, Miro — a combination of the words mirror and miracle — over a year after launching its first virtual artist label with musicians mostly adapted from real stars or famous online characters such as the one from the dress-up game “Shining Nikki.”

Virtual idols have been thriving in China over the years, with its market value reaching 3.46 billion yuan ($540 million) in 2020, up 70.3% from the previous year, according to the consultancy group iiMedia. The metaverse hype was expected to push its market value to nearly 107.49 billion yuan in 2021.

In recent months, other music and entertainment companies have been eyeing into metaverse, with Tencent Music announcing the launch of TMELAND, claiming it to be China’s first interactive virtual music festival, last month. Zhejiang Huace Film & TV also said it would set up a specialized metaverse business department dedicated to virtual images, NFTs, and digital studios.

Zhang Yi, CEO of iiMedia, told Sixth Tone that major Chinese music platforms are buoyed by the metaverse rush and are focused on developing virtual concerts, virtual stars, and their catalogs in order to better cash in the world of digital music.

“Celebrities can pose massive risks to music companies,” Zhang said, referring to a slew of scandals involving entertainers over the past year. “A (more digital) focus can cater to the young audience’s needs, improve popularity of platforms and accumulate more virtual idol IPs, which is beneficial to platforms’ short-term publicity, revenue, and long-term development.”

This year, Modern Sky will also launch a virtual version of its popular Strawberry Music Festival, featuring virtual artists and allowing users to access the virtual world and interact with participants online, according to Shen.

Despite the burgeoning trend, experts have raised concerns about rushing to jump into the metaverse universe. Earlier this month, a Chinese think tank warned of metaverse-related risks in the virtual idol sector, saying the country lacks regulatory requirements or any documents to guide companies interested in investing in the “digital utopian ideology.”

Source : Sixth Tone

Infographic: Climate Hazards Reported by World Large Cities

See large image . . . . . .

Source : Business Week