News In Brief

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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 we received from April 24 till the end of the week. This column updates regularly throughout the week.

Sydney Bishop Umbers Statement

Sydney, April 24: On ANZAC Day, we honour the memories of the brave men and women who sacrificed their freedom and dreams to defend a society that is good and just.
This day in April is a time to reflect on the young lives that were cut short in the pursuit of freedom and the enduring impact of their actions.
As Christians, we find meaning in the resurrection of Jesus and pray for deliverance from suffering in the hope that God will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more.
On this day, let us reflect on the horror of what could happen if we were to walk away from peace, as conflicts continue to erupt around the world.
Let us seek to purify our hearts and fill them with love, rather than be divided on ANZAC Day.
Our commemoration has become universal, recognising the suffering of all those who have fallen, regardless of their country, religion, background, or belief.
We remember them, and we pray for their everlasting glory and purification as they enter into eternal peace.
So today, we pause to remember the sacrifice and heroism of those who have gone before us, and we pray for peace and unity among all people.
May we never forget the lessons of the past and always strive towards a brighter future. Lest we forget.

Interest-Free Loans Ease Pressures

Sydney, April 26: The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) programme, which assists low-income earners and those receiving Centrelink payments with necessities, has received praise from the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. For things like white goods, automobile registration and repairs, medical costs, courses, and home necessities, the programme offers interest-free loans. The programme, which is run by Good Shepherd Microfinance, utilises a circular community credit system that is not for profit and uses repayments to meet the needs of the following borrower. Those who qualify may borrow up to $2,000 with a maximum 18-month repayment period.
Due to the high cost of living constraints encountered by city families, the NILS programme, which was previously only offered in rural and regional areas, has been expanded to metropolitan Sydney. The programme enables people to get necessities while assisting them in avoiding poverty. The philanthropic arm of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Mary MacKillop Today, is praised for its work by the spokesperson for families for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Most Rev Bishop Richard Umbers, who calls it an example of Christian generosity.
Mary MacKillop Today Financial Inclusion Team Leader Anita Van Dartel says the program takes a holistic approach to help people improve their financial situation. The program has been assisting people in rural and remote communities for more than twenty years, but the current economic conditions have made it necessary to expand to all areas within Australia. Bishop Richard states that Mary MacKillop Today’s work is a reminder of the important place of the Church in Australian life and how it has historically been the nation’s social safety net. For more information on Mary MacKillop Today’s No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS), click here.

Australia Fourth In Cybercrime

Sydney, April 26: According to cybersecurity firm Surfshark, there was a little increase in the prevalence of cybercrime between 2021 and 2022 of 4.8 per cent. In terms of the prevalence of cybercrime, Australia stayed fourth worldwide in both years. The US, Canada, and the UK are in order of importance on the list. Phishing, which continues to impact 300k people worldwide, is the most frequent cybercrime, while investment fraud, with losses of 3.3 billion USD in 2022, is the most financially destructive.
Cybercriminals have stolen 36.4 billion USD since 2001, and annual losses have been rising. Compared to 6.9 billion in 2021 and 4.2 billion in 2020, 10.3 billion USD were lost to cybercrime in 2022. Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske, a spokeswoman for Surfshark, emphasised the necessity for people and organisations to exercise caution and fortify their cybersecurity defences.
Surfshark created the Data Vulnerability Thermometer, which blends open-source FBI data and research methods, to solve the growing problem of cybercrimes. The online application offers users a risk assessment, information on potential specific cybercrimes, and strategies for protection. Additionally, it provides descriptions, typologies, guidelines, and statistics for 20 different online crimes targeted at particular people.
The Data Vulnerability Thermometer also provides in-depth coverage of statistics on trends and patterns in the area of cybercrimes, including data on victim counts by age, financial effect, and the density of cybercrime globally. Losing money to cybercrime is more damaging than ever given the state of the economy and the increase in inflation rates.

Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium

Brisbane, April 26: The Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium will take place on May 12 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, hosted by Women & Leadership Australia (WLA).
Over 1,000 women are anticipated to attend this event, one of Australia’s largest gatherings of professional women.
The symposium’s subjects will include diversity and inclusion, leadership, gender parity, and this year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Cracking the Code.”
The Australian Awards for Excellence in Women’s Leadership will also be presented at the occasion, with Rochelle Courtenay (QLD state recipient) and Karen Mundine (national recipient) receiving their honours in person in Brisbane. Em Rusciano, Tiarne Shutt, Breeanna Brock, Candice Lam, Alina Dini, Dr. Mellissa Naidoo, Astrid Jorgensen, and Dr. Dinesh Palipana are a few of the keynote speakers.
For more information go here

Vertiv Wins Industry Award

Malaysia, April 26Vertiv (NYSE: VRT), a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, has been recognized as Asia-Pacific Data Center Power Solutions Industry 2022 Company of the Year by Frost & Sullivan.
The award recognizes companies that exemplify visionary innovation, market-leading performance, and unmatched customer care. 
Vertiv designs, manufactures and supports solutions that enable reliable and efficient management of critical digital equipment.
The portfolio is regularly refreshed with upgraded and new offerings, in an effort to align solutions with changing customer needs.
In 2022, the company expanded its power distribution portfolio with Vertiv™ Powerbar iMPB, a modular busbar system for seamless, on-demand power upgrades in different data center environments – an addition made possible by the 2021 acquisition of E+I Engineering Ireland Limited and its affiliate, Powerbar Gulf LLC.  

Alibaba Cloud Announced Partnership Program

Kuala Lumpur, April 26: Alibaba Cloud has launched the “Tongyi Qianwen Partnership Program” to co-create industry-specific large language models with partners. The first batch of models will cover sectors such as petrochemicals, electricity, transportation, hospitality, enterprise services, telecommunications, and finance. The program will provide underlying technology support, cloud computing, AI, and machine learning products and services to participating partners. Alibaba Cloud will work closely with partners to develop customized AI models and provide a designated cloud environment for the partners to retrain the model with their proprietary intelligence and industrial know-how. The co-built models will be available through websites and APIs for enterprise customers and developers to create various applications.
The initial partners enrolled in the program include Kunlun Digital Technology, LongShine Technology, China Transinfo Technology, Shiji Group, Yonyou Network Technology, AsiaInfo Technologies, and CICC Wealth Management. Alibaba Cloud plans to integrate Tongyi Qianwen into all business applications across its ecosystem in the near future to further enhance the user experience. Tongyi Qianwen is currently being integrated into Alibaba’s operating system for cars, AliOS, for internal tests, and IM Motors is signed up to be the first auto brand to implement Tongyi Qianwen-powered AliOS.
DingTalk, Alibaba’s digital collaboration workplace and application development platform, demonstrated various AI functions powered by the new model, including meeting notes and group chat summaries, as well as creating a mini application on DingTalk by photographing a draft idea written on paper. The model has received over 200,000 beta testing requests from enterprises in sectors such as fintech, electronics, transport, fashion, and dairy. Daniel Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group and CEO of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, stated that the partnership program aims to deliver more tangible value to enterprise customers and cater to the increasing demand for Tongyi Qianwen from different sectors.

Skyports Introduces Cash-to-Master

Singapore, April 26: Skyports Drone Services, a global leader in drone logistics, surveys, and monitoring, has added Cash-to-Master (CTM) services to its repertoire of ship-to-shore services. The service was announced at the annual Singapore Maritime Week event and demonstrated at the Maritime Drone Estate, Singapore’s drone testbed. The CTM service was tested between January and April 2023 and is now being introduced as a permanent service offering in Singapore and Korea. The service provides an end-to-end digital solution that is integrated into the protocols and workflows of end-users, making it up to six times faster than traditional delivery methods, reducing the total completion time from approximately four hours down to under an hour.
The delivery of cash out to vessels requires a secure chain of custody, and digitalising the process from the point of order to completion via the order management system, together with mandatory user authentication via a one-time code to unlock the drone’s payload bay upon landing on the vessel, ensures greater efficiency and secure tracking of the parcel from start to finish. The process also elevates safety levels while executing the deliveries as the need for manual embarkation and travel by launch boat is removed.
Sanjay Suresh, APAC General Manager for Skyports Drone Services, said that the introduction of CTM services is a significant milestone for the company and the industry. Skyports Drone Services is committed to realising greater connectivity, safety, and efficiency standards through drone technology and is excited to bring this much-needed service to its customers in Singapore, Korea, and other regions in time to come. Other services currently being offered include express sample analysis lanes for bunker, water, and lubricant oil samples, and on-demand cargo deliveries for packages up to 10 kg.

Mastercard To Eliminate First-Use PVC Plastics

Singapore, April 27: Mastercard has announced that it will eliminate first-use, PVC plastics from payment cards on its network by 2028. From January 1, 2028, all newly-produced Mastercard plastic payment cards will be made from more sustainable materials and approved through a certification program. The company will support its global issuing partners through the transition away from virgin PVC. The rule change will also see all newly made cards certified by Mastercard to assess their composition and sustainability claims, which will be validated by an independent third-party auditor. Once a card has been validated, it can be imprinted with a Card Eco Certification mark.
Mastercard’s Sustainable Card Program has over 330 issuers across 80 countries voluntarily signed up, including 90 issuers in 15 markets across the Asia Pacific region. Since 2018, Mastercard has been working with major card manufacturers to transition more than 168 million cards across its network to recycled and bio-based materials, including 31 million in the Asia Pacific region. Mastercard’s issuer partners have been very receptive to this initiative, with 90 customers already opting into the sustainable cards program across Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and many other markets.
Mastercard established its sustainability efforts more than a decade ago, with a focus on financial inclusion, data responsibility, and the environment. Through its network, it collaborates with partners to bring new environmental innovations and initiatives like the sustainable cards to market. Additionally, Mastercard’s Priceless Planet Coalition is working towards restoring 100 million trees globally by 2025. In the Asia Pacific region, more than 20 partners have joined the Coalition, which is currently running 18 reforestation projects worldwide.

Vertiv Launches Single-Phase UPS (in) Asia-Pacific

Sydney, April 27: Vertiv has launched the Liebert GXE, an online double-conversion single-phase uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that is available in 6 and 10 kVA power ratings in tower or rackmount configuration. The product is designed to deliver reliable power to distributed IT networks and edge computing applications across various industry segments. The unit performs with high efficiency up to 94 per cent in online mode and up to 98 per cent in ECO mode, driving energy and operational cost savings compared to other models on the market. The flexible rackmount or tower form factor simplifies installation to accommodate various micro data center and edge computing needs.
The Liebert GXE’s runtime can be extended with up to four external battery cabinets (EBC) for longer back-up protection, and the hot-swappable VRLA batteries can be easily replaced by users without the assistance of skilled personnel and without shutdown of the loads for smoother operations and minimized maintenance costs. The unit also features an integrated 4 Amps charger providing quick battery recharge up to 90 per cent in just three hours, and an integrated battery management system to optimize battery life and recycling.
The Liebert GXE includes a user-friendly LCD color display that makes it easy and intuitive to use. The unit offers remote monitoring capabilities for quick and easy access to IT infrastructure, through the optional Vertiv Liebert Intellislot Unity Communications card and a free download of Vertiv Power Insight software. Vertiv channel partners can take advantage of a complete range of warranty extensions and service programs specifically designed for single-phase UPS systems, which can be renewed so as to cover the entire lifecycle of the product.

Lung Cancer Treatment Insights

Adelaide, April 28: A new study conducted by the Flinders University Precision Medicine Group has found that not all non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients are at risk of hyperprogression, a rapid acceleration of tumour growth, after beginning Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor (ICI) immunotherapy drugs. The risk of hyperprogression with ICI treatment, particularly chemoimmunotherapy, is significantly lower in treatment-naïve patients compared to previously treated patients. This offers valuable insights for medical professionals making key treatment decisions. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the fifth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia, responsible for almost one in five cancer deaths in the country. NSCLC accounts for about 85 per cent of cases.
The study, published in The Oncologist, offers significant advances in understanding the effects of ICIs, which are associated with significant treatment benefit for many patients. The research found that advanced lung cancer patients receiving ICI immunotherapy as the initial treatment, especially when combined with chemotherapy, have a much lower risk of hyperprogression compared to patients receiving monotherapy ICIs later in the disease course. The study identified elevated neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio as the strongest risk factor for hyperprogression, providing clinicians with further context to identify patients at risk of the hyperprogression phenomenon.
While rapid tumour growth following ICI treatment initiation is associated with worse survival outcomes, the low occurrence of hyperprogression in the first-line setting provides important information for medical professionals making treatment decisions. Senior author Dr Ashley Hopkins says the study is a major advancement in understanding the effects of ICIs, which have transformed the treatment of many cancers. The research suggests that first-line chemoimmunotherapy for advanced NSCLC cases carries a low risk of hyperprogression. The latest findings provide medical professionals with the information they need to make more informed treatment decisions for patients with NSCLC.

Australian PBS Benefits IBD

Sydney, April 28: Crohn’s and Colitis Australia (CCA) has welcomed the Australian Government’s decision to list new medicines, including medications for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). CCA believes that this decision will significantly benefit the estimated over 100,000 Australians who live with IBD.
People with IBD live with chronic, life-long conditions and suffer chronic pain, bloody diarrhoea, weight loss, anaemia, and fatigue, which severely impact their everyday functioning. The new prescribing policy will have a positive effect on those living with IBD by reducing costs of managing their condition through decreased costs of some regular medications and, for some, savings from less frequent routine GP visits.
The policy will also give those living with IBD increased convenience by not having to see a GP or pharmacist as often for routine prescriptions to manage their condition.
CCA particularly welcomes the inclusion of aminosalicylates on the new listings, a commonly used class of medications used to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
The new listings will reduce the financial burden of managing their condition through decreased costs of some regular medications and savings from less frequent routine GP visits.
CCA also welcomes the news that several of the medicines included in the New and Amended Listings for Increased Dispensing Quantities support those Australians living with mental health conditions.
The 60-day prescribing policy for stable, ongoing conditions was a recommendation of the clinical experts at the independent Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in 2018.
The Australian Government estimates that the new listings will save patients approximately $100 million in out-of-pocket expenses each year.
This announcement is a significant step in the right direction, and the organisation looks forward to working with the government and healthcare professionals to improve access to quality care for those living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Top 100 Thrifty Digital Brands

Kuala Lumpur, April 28: Similarweb has released its annual Digital 100 ranking, recognising the top-performing digital domains from ten critical business categories, ranked by growth.
The winners include oil rebates and special offers site,; direct-to-consumer makeup brand,; monetization tool for creators and influencers,; high-end gadget rental company,; provider of fitness equipment,; women’s intimate clothing brand,; private label credit card and alternative payments provider,; online technical training non-profit for the tech industry,; portal for mothers to find information and parenting advice,; and Capital One’s credit card travel rewards program,
The report indicates that the cost-conscious consumer and the desire for products and services beyond the mainstream have driven growth across many domains.

Lion & Lion Debuts Film

Kuala Lumpur, April 28: Lion & Lion, a Film & Content Production Studio, has released its debut short film “Love on the Line”. The film tells the heartwarming story of an elderly man who visits a telephone booth every day to make a call at 6 pm sharp, exploring themes of love, memories, commitment, and human connection. Shot on location in Seremban, the film’s powerful storytelling is enhanced against a backdrop of nostalgic settings and small-town charm.
Johnson Ling, Head of Production at Lion & Lion and Director of “Love on the Line”, says that the film conveys the message that the little things in life can make a big difference. The story aims to remind viewers that every moment counts, and that love, no matter how fleeting, can have a profound impact on our lives. Ling adds that through the film, they hope to inspire others to cherish the small moments in life and to never take them for granted.
The film was produced entirely in-house by Lion & Lion’s team of creatives, showcasing the agency’s expertise in end-to-end film production. While their services also encompass production for TVCs, branded entertainment, and digital-first content, the launch of a short film marks a significant milestone for the team. Cheelip Ong, Regional Chief Creative Officer at Lion & Lion, says that producing cinematic films and shorts that can demonstrate the capabilities of their directors and the storytelling abilities of their creatives comes naturally.
With the launch of their Film & Content Production team, Lion & Lion aims to create engaging content that builds intimacy with their audience. The film is now available for viewing on Lion & Lion’s website and YouTube channel. Ling eloquently sums up the essence of his team’s debut film with an insightful quote: “Love transcends time and space – even in the absence of our loved ones, their memories continue to inspire us to live and love more deeply.”

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