News In Brief

Welcome to our ‘News In Brief’ column in which we digest all the news releases for you in no more than five paragraphs. Below are snippets of all the media releases that we received from Dec 20 till Dec 26. Please check back throughout the week for more updates.

Thousands To Attend Muslim Convention

Sydney, Dec 20: The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia will hold its 34th ‘Jalsa Salana’ Dec 26th and 27th at the Grand Pavilion, Rosehill Gardens – Grand Ave, Rosehill NSW 2142.
The two-day event will attract around 2,000 people from across Australia and overseas, providing a unique spiritual experience through scholarly lectures, discussions and special exhibitions.
“Our historic Annual Convention is in its 34th consecutive year and thousands of dignitaries and Ahmadi Muslims will be gathering to enhance their spirituality, understanding, and to promote peace and unity,” the National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Australia, and Grand Imam I. H. Kauser said.
“In these difficult times, mental health is vital after extended lockdowns, such a convention aims to bring people together from all walks of life.
“I encourage all Australians to take advantage of this convention to learn more about Muslims and Islam from Aussie Muslims, scholars and Imams.”
The event also provides a unique opportunity for people to attend, participate, ask questions, and understand Islam.
Along with hundreds of Australians from different walks of life, the convention attracts government officials, lawmakers, diplomats, faith leaders and media outlets.

Fintel Identifies Most-Shorted Australian Companies

New York, Dec 20:  Fintel.io, a provider of advanced research tools for data-driven investors, has developed a mathematical model that provides investors and traders with data that identifies the most-shorted stocks by ranking companies on a number of factors such as relative short interest, borrow fee rates, trading volume, and others. 
The Australian Short Interest Leaderboard provides a leaderboard ranking of companies with the highest short interest so traders can easily identify companies with the highest negative sentiment by institutional investors. The leaderboard is also useful for identifying potential short squeeze opportunities.

Below are the list of most-shorted Australian companies as of December 19, 2021 at 8:00pm ET:

Short Squeeze Scores scoring model ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 being most likely, relative to its peers.
The Australian Short Squeeze Leaderboard also compiles data like Short Interest % Float, Change in Volume, Change in Price, and Borrow Fee Rate into an easy-to-use leaderboard for investors to reference when making decisions. 

MAGGI’s Campaign Wins Four Global Awards

MAGGI’s Campaign Wins Four Global & National PR Awards. Image supplied.

Petaling Jaya, Dec 20: MAGGI Malaysia’s women empowerment and upskilling initiative called Program Mentor Wanita Cukup Berani MAGGI won a total of four PR awards at the recently-concluded global and national PR Award events.
The PR agency for the campaign is Perspective Strategies Sdn Bhd, a local boutique public relations and communications firm, which has been supporting the campaign over the last two years.  
The PR Campaign for MAGGI took home a Gold and Bronze award in the Client Communications in Covid-19 and Consumer Communications (Products) categories respectively in the 10th edition of the global PRGN Best Practice Awards 2021.
The award platform is organised by the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), one of the world’s largest international public relations networks founded in 1992, with more than 50 locations around the world. 
For the national PR award, the MAGGI campaign won a Gold and a Silver in the Consumer Launch and Corporate Branding categories respectively in the 13th edition of the Malaysia PR Awards 2021, which is organised by the Public Relations & Communications Association of Malaysia. 

RACV Supports Visuals Artists With Grants Programs

Sydney, Dec 20: RACV has announced eight recipients of its Victorian Visual Arts Grants program.
The program is a one-off response to support Victorian artists impacted by COVID-19.
Each artist will be awarded a $10,000 grant.
The eight grant recipients are Louise Forthun, Jacob Raupach, Gabrielle Hall-Lomax, Soyoun Kim, Nick Heynsbergh, Kathryn Ryan, Sam Burke and Ashe.
RACV Head of Visual Arts, Mardi Nowak said the number and quality of submissions showed just how significantly COVID-19 had impacted the Victorian arts community.

Making Childcare Affordable In Australia

Sydney, Dec 20: Nurch, Australia’s first childcare loyalty rewards program is making childcare more affordable for families by giving back for fees they are already paying.
The program is designed to create a consistent learning environment for childcare centres, the children, carers and their families by generating engagement within centres and rewarding families for their loyalty.
Nurch points are accumulated at one point per dollar paid on childcare fees, then are redeemable for eGift cards through the online supplier, Prezzee.
The software synchronises with centre software to read family details, then automatically calculates reward points based on attendance and fees paid by families.
Each centre is able to customise its program to run promotions for new enrolments as well as reward the existing ones. 

Burns In Hospitality A Hot Topic

Sydney, Dec 21: Inspectors will be visiting hospitality venues from today to remind employers not let the festive season rush prevent them talking about safety with new and existing workers.
SafeWork NSW Executive Director of Compliance and Dispute Resolution, Tony Williams, said there had never been a more important time to drive safety messages about how to prevent burns to those on the frontline as the NSW hospitality industry has needed to do some heavy recruiting coming out of lockdown.
“There are many young and inexperienced workers employed in restaurants, cafes and pubs to cater for the increase in patrons in the lead up to Christmas and summer holidays,” Williams said.
“It is important to not let the season rush distract employers from ensuring their workers are kept safe.”
The new guidance material is part of SafeWork’s At Risk Workers Strategy and can be found here.

Spritzer Distributes Bottled Water 

Spritzer To Distribute Bottled Water to Communities Affected By Floods. Image supplied.

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 21: Spritzer takes note of the flood situation affecting various locations in Peninsular Malaysia over the last 72 hours and is prepared to render assistance to affected communities.
It has been reported that more than 22,000 people were evacuated throughout Peninsular Malaysia on Sunday as the country faces some of its worst flooding in years due to a multiple-day heavy downpour. 
In view of the emergency, the Company is making immediate arrangements for mineral water to be distributed via the Malaysia Civil Defence Force and Red Crescent to selected relief centres nationwide.
More than RM50,000 worth of Spritzer Natural Mineral Water bottles are currently transported to flood victims and rescue crews in affected areas, where victims may not have access to clean water which is important for hydration and ensuring hygiene at all times.
Malaysia Civil Defence Force is also preparing dried food for victims in affected communities.

Qatar Airways Takes Airbus To Court 

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 21: Qatar Airways has today issued legal proceedings against Airbus in the Technology & Construction division of the High Court in London.
“We have sadly failed in all our attempts to reach a constructive solution with Airbus in relation to the accelerated surface degradation condition adversely impacting the Airbus A350 aircraft. Qatar Airways has therefore been left with no alternative but to seek a rapid resolution of this dispute via the courts.
Qatar Airways currently have 21 A350 aircraft grounded by the condition and the legal proceedings have been commenced to ensure that Airbus will now address our legitimate concerns without further delay.
“We strongly believe that Airbus must undertake a thorough investigation of this condition to conclusively establish its full root cause.
“Without a proper understanding of the root cause of the condition, it is not possible for Qatar Airways to establish whether any proposed repair solution will rectify the underlying condition.

Helping Deserving B40 Students

Putrajaya, Dec 21: As part of Heriot-Watt University’s 200th Anniversary and history of widening access to education, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia has introduced the 1821 Appeal Project Malaysia to support students from B40  communities. 
HWUM will be awarding 20 full scholarships including cost of living subsidy through the  initiative to students from these communities, in the next two years.  
Through the 1821 Appeal Project Malaysia, the University aims to narrow the education gap  and to provide equal access to high-quality UK education through Heriot-Watt University to  these students. 
The opportunity is extended to talented SPM, STPM, and UEC students, enabling them to  improve their quality of life and attain their dreams
The University aspires to extend the initiative to deserving students until the year 2035. 

Winners Announced At National Championships Finals

Malaysian Obstacle Warriors Slayed the National Championships Finals. Image supplied.


Kuala Lumpur, Dec 21: Malaysians from across the nation put their strength to the test to prove they were the nation’s best and to become the Malaysian obstacle warrior champion at the Obstacle Warrior 2021 National Championships.  
In a blistering performance of boundless speed and strength, number one Male ranked Obstacle Race champion and triple SEA Games silver medalist 33-year-old Mohd Redha Rozlan (or Mat Redho as he is commonly known) put in a blistering performance clocking in a time of 1.56.90.  
Meanwhile in the female category the placings were very close, however experience paid off in the end for 30-year-old National Women’s 5km number one and SEA Games silver medalist, Yip Hui Teng who put in a stellar performance to clock in at 4.26.19.  
Owned and managed by World Sports Entertainment Sdn Bhd, the event saw the winners in each of the three categories (Male, Female and Youth) sharing in over RM 5,000 in prize money, split RM 1,000, RM 500 and RM 250 respectively with the youth male and female categories split equally.
Sanctioned by the Malaysian Obstacle Race Sports Association (MORSA) and approved by the National Sports Council, Escape Petaling Jaya and Paradigm Mall are the host venue for this year’s event via a strategic collaboration between World Sports Entertainment Sdn Bhd the event owner and promoter with Sim Leisure Group, who designed and built the international standard Obstacle Course within the Escape Petaling Jaya attraction.

Excitement Builds For AFC Women’s Cup

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 21: The anticipation to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 is reaching an all-time high with only 30 days to go before the tournament kicks off across three venues in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Pune from January 20 to February 6.
With an expanded 12 teams, an additional four from the 2018 edition, and potentially a maximum of 29 matches including play-offs expected to be played, the tournament is poised to celebrate the best of Asian women’s football.
To mark the occasion, a digital countdown clock has been strategically placed on the-AFC.com that will serve as a timely reminder to Asia’s passionate fans of the days, minutes and seconds to the start of the showpiece.
The clock, which has been designed to incorporate the traits of the tournament’s branding, will remain on the AFC’s website until the first match between China PR and Chinese Taipei kicks off on January 20 at the Mumbai Football Arena.
With the tournament to be played behind closed doors due to the strict health and safety COVID-19 protocols in place, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 Local Organising Committee (LOC) has developed a plan to make the presence of fans felt across the stadiums.

SoPa Announces Inclusion in Russell 2000 Index

Singapore, Dec 21: Society Pass Incorporated, the leading Southeast Asian data-driven loyalty platform has announced that the company has been added to the Russell 2000 Index, effective at the open of U.S. markets on December 20 and according to the preliminary list of IPO additions to the Russell indexes.
Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Society Pass, Dennis Nguyen said: “Building on the momentum of our successful IPO, the inclusion of Society Pass to these highly regarded and widely used indexes will increase the visibility of our stock to the wider global investment community and attract new classes of investors to our register.”
Membership in the Russell 2000 Index, which remains in place until the next reconstitution, is based on membership in the broad-market Russell 3000 Index.
The Russell US Indexes are commonly used as performance benchmarks, or as the basis for index-linked products including index tracking funds, derivatives, and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).
The company also recently announced its ambition to accelerate its growth in Southeast Asia through the launch of its regional headquarters in Singapore on Dec 16.

Emulating Tokyo’s Success

Sydney, Dec 22: The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is providing sports with more funding certainty and clarity than ever before, committing $257 million dollars for the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.
This is the first time the AIS, through the support of the Australian Government, has allocated funds for a full Games cycle, with the historic move allowing sports to forward plan and build on the success of the Tokyo Games.
AIS CEO Peter Conde said the long-term funding model, which was developed in close consultation with sports, is not based on rewarding medals from the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games but rather a commitment to creating success for Paris and beyond.
Several sports will be receiving funding increases in the lead-up to Paris, including:

  • A 39 per cent increase for a total of $2.5m p.a. for the Women’s Rugby 7s program
  • Combined total funding of $7.15m p.a. for Para and Able Canoe, and $10.055m p.a. for Para and Able Rowing
  • Surfing to increase by 30 per cent to $2m p.a. and Skate to receive $0.85m p.a.
  • Funding for Para-Table Tennis to increase by 74 per cent to $0.9m p.a.

The majority of sports will receive grants for the period  July 1 next year through until  Dec 31, 2024. 

Integrity A Serious Business In NKF Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 22:  To ensure its board members, heads of departments and management staff are kept abreast of the latest Corporate Liability Provision (CLP) developments and policies, the National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF Malaysia) recently organised two integrity seminars conducted by the Malaysian Institute of Integrity (IIM).
Held virtually, these seminars were meant to educate top management and managerial level staff on the latest anti-corruption policies in Malaysia.
During the seminar, light was shed on the CLP or otherwise known as Section 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act.
Under this provision, organisations are liable and can be punished if found to be involved in corrupt practices. 
The training also exposed the team to readily available tools and instruments that can help in preventing corruption from taking place within the organisation and lead NKF Malaysia towards good governance. 

MR D.I.Y. Receives Frost & Sullivan Award 

MR D.I.Y. receives Frost & Sullivan Award for the second year in a row.

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 22: It’s another award for Malaysia’s largest home improvement retailer, MR D.I.Y. Group (M) Bhd.
The homegrown retailer was accorded Frost & Sullivan’s “2021 Malaysia Home Improvement Retail Company of the Year” at a virtual ceremony on Dec 16.
This follows the retailer being recognised with the “Frost & Sullivan 2020 Market Leadership Award” last year.  
This international award recognises companies that demonstrate excellence across two dimensions evaluated by Frost & Sullivan – Visionary Innovation & Performance, as well as Customer Impact.
A rigorous assessment conducted by Frost & Sullivan found the company excelled in many areas under the Home Improvement Retail space, a testament to MR D.I.Y’s continued efforts to implement best practices across the organisation.

AFC To Benefit From General Secretaries’ Conference

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 22: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s commitment to strengthening the capabilities of the Asian football family will take centre stage at the AFC Member Associations (MAs) & Regional Associations (RAs) General Secretaries’ Conference 2022, which for the first time will be held in Saudi Arabia from January 13 to 15 in conjunction with the Spanish Super Cup in Riyadh.
Firmly established as a marquee event in the AFC’s calendar, the widely acclaimed Conference will bring together the leadership of the Asian football family who will be given the opportunity to benefit from highly engaging and in-depth programmes delivered by some of the most renowned experts in Asian and world football.
Emphasising the importance of the Conference in further solidifying the spirit of partnership between the AFC and its MAs and RAs, the AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said.
“Our General Secretaries are key members of the Asian football ecosystem, and this Conference exemplifies yet again the AFC’s commitment, as outlined in its Vision and Mission, to strengthen the development of our Members and Regional Associations.
“It provides the most conducive setting for engendering meaningful dialogue, facilitating knowledge exchange, and championing the best practices, all of which ultimately lead to stronger MAs and RAs and a more dynamic Asian football family.

Qatar Airways Massive Milestone

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 23: Qatar Airways became the first carrier to make a transaction on the IATA Aviation Carbon Exchange (ACE) using IATA Clearing House (ICH).
The IATA Aviation Carbon Exchange (ACE) is a centralised marketplace where airlines and other aviation stakeholders can trade CO2 emission reduction units for compliance or voluntary offsetting purposes. 
“The State of Qatar is one of the States that voluntarily participates in the pilot phase of ICAO CORSIA. As a leader in aviation, Qatar Airways is driven by an ambitious environmental sustainability vision and we are determined to support Qatar in this pursuit by remaining compliant with the global scheme,”Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said. 
With a secure and easy to use trading environment, ACE offers the highest transparency in terms of price and availability of emission reduction units while simplifying the process for air carriers to access carbon markets to achieve their decarbonisation targets.
With Qatar Airways making the ACE transaction using IATA Clearing House (ICH), it benefits from the IATA Settlement Systems and Clearing House for seamless and risk-free settlement of funds. 

Lab- Grown Diamonds Business Scores $100M Funding

Singapore, Dec 24: SGX-listed Metech International Limited has announced that its joint venture company, Asian Eco Technology Pte Ltd (“AET”) has entered into a Strategic Collaboration Agreement with Ningbo Meishan, of which Zongheng Capital is one of the ordinary partners.
Ningbo Meishan will provide funding of US$100 million in AET’s lab-grown diamond business activities through debt or equity financing.
The funding of US$100 million is for the purpose of increasing AET’s lab-grown diamond production capacity and capabilities.
The proceeds will be primarily used for the construction of AET’s lab-grown diamond manufacturing facilities in Singapore.
Zongheng Capital is one of the earliest equity investment fund management companies in China and it was co-founded by the founders and core management team of Alliance PKU Management Consultants Ltd and industry’s top elites. 

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