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 May 1 till the end of the week. This column updates regularly throughout the week.

IBD Linked To Sleep Apnea

Adelaide, May 2: A new study led by Flinders University recommends that people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) be screened for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), a common and debilitating respiratory condition.
The study found that as many as one in five people with IBD may also suffer from sleep apnoea, which is linked to a variety of medical conditions including cardiovascular disease, stroke, obesity, Parkinson’s, anxiety and depression, and gastro-esophageal reflux disease.
The researchers developed a new screening tool to identify possible sleep apnoea in IBD patients and found moderate to high risk of OSA in about 22.6 per cent of the cohort.
Many of these patients were struggling with their pain burden, weight, smoking, depression, and at least mild daytime sleepiness. The study recommends the use of an accessible OSA screening for IBD clinics to refer patients to a sleep specialist.
While the study’s online questionnaire had limitations, overseas research has already confirmed OSA is more common in people with IBD, so a simple screening tool for OSA using typical IBD clinic parameters would be a useful way to start addressing this often undiagnosed problem.

BrainBox AI Acquires ABB’s Retail

Sydney, May 2: BrainBox AI has raised $20 million to further develop its decarbonisation technology and expand global commercialisation efforts.
The Government of Québec and ABB are among the lead investors, with Québec committing $10 million. BrainBox AI’s technology aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in commercial buildings, which account for over 38 per cent of such emissions globally.
The company has also acquired ABB’s multi-site retail energy management system integrator business to accelerate the decarbonisation journey for retailers.
The acquisition will allow BrainBox AI to provide stronger operational support to its retail customer base, offering cloud and on-premise solutions for achieving ESG objectives.

Cloud Security Threats Increase

Kuala Lumpur, May 2: Palo Alto Networks has released Volume 7 of its Unit 42 Cloud Threat Report, which analyses over 1,300 organisations and their cloud workloads across all major Cloud Service Providers (CSP). The report highlights common issues that arise in cloud environments, such as misconfigurations, weak credentials, lack of authentication, unpatched vulnerabilities, and malicious open-source software packages.
Cloud users often repeat common mistakes that trigger most security alerts, and organisations have a small set of risky behaviours in their cloud workloads. Additionally, it takes an average of six days for security teams to resolve an alert, providing a lengthy window of opportunity for potential adversaries. Sensitive data is found in 66 per cent of storage buckets and 63 per cent of publicly exposed storage buckets, and is vulnerable to insider and external threats.
The report found that credential access continues to be a common tactic across all cloud threat actors, and MFA is not enforced for console and root/admin users in most organisations. Attacks on software supply chains are on the rise, with more than 7,300 malicious OSS packages discovered in 2022. Managing code dependencies is challenging, with 51 per cent of codebases depending on over 100 open-source packages.
Organisations should expect the cloud-native attack surface to expand, and there will be a shift towards cloud-native application protection platforms (CNAPPs) to enhance security against these threats. The report recommends implementing cloud-ready security measures, such as the Zero Trust approach, to help businesses identify and neutralise threats in real-time.
According to Steven Scheurmann, Regional Vice President, ASEAN, at Palo Alto Networks, as cloud usage increases globally, threat actors take advantage of undiscovered weaknesses and vulnerabilities in this technology to attack organisations. Therefore, it’s significant to contain these threats from the very start by eliminating implicit trust and continuously verifying access at every stage to mitigate the impact of threats.

PropertyGuru Asia Awards 10th Anniversary

Kuala Lumpur, May 2: The 10th Annual PropertyGuru Asia Awards Malaysia in partnership with iProperty is an awards programme that recognises and celebrates achievements in property development and design in Malaysia.
The awards programme is a joint venture between PropertyGuru, a leading property technology company in Southeast Asia, and iProperty, a prominent property portal in Malaysia.
The awards programme is accepting submissions until 30 June 2023 and has key dates for the 2023 edition listed, including the live judging days in July 2023 and the gala dinner and awards ceremony in November 2023.
The awards programme is supported by official portal partners and; official venue The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur; and official supervisor HLB.
The winners from the PropertyGuru Asia Awards Malaysia in partnership with iProperty will qualify to compete for regional accolades at the 18th PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards Grand Final in Bangkok, Thailand on Dec 8.

Most Cyberattacks Come Through Email

Kuala Lumpur, May 3: Email and collaboration security company, Mimecast, has released a qualitative report titled “Behind the Screens,” which explores the current perceptions of cyber risk by C-suite and board leaders across the world and from five sectors, including financial services, healthcare, public sector, retail, and entertainment. The report delves into their efforts to articulate risk and provides recommendations from the respondents on what leadership must do to remain protected, even as cyberattacks continue to proliferate.
The report highlights that cybersecurity initiatives often face a knowledge gap on boards, placing CISOs at a disadvantage when they need to prove ROI. Economic volatility can further exacerbate cyber risk due to shadow IT or outsourcing to untrustworthy third parties, and many security leaders believe they need a budget increase of 10 per cent to 20 per cent to address the issue. Additionally, hiring and retaining cybersecurity professionals has become increasingly difficult.
CISOs are being forced to scrutinise budgets and cybersecurity technology through the well-known “people, technology, and process” lens, and many organisations have experienced bloated or disconnected security environments over time. Security vendors must meet the needs of businesses that expect more or better functionality for the same cost.
Phishing is still a persistent threat due to attackers continually adapting their approach. Automation tools and phishing kits are making it easier for less skilled cybercriminals to cast a wider net, which can cause greater damage to businesses. The report emphasises the importance of creating a company-wide security culture, investing in awareness training in tandem with layered cybersecurity frameworks to minimise the likelihood of a successful attack.

Ross Revolutionises Live Production

Ross Video Hyperconverges live video production workflows at Broadcast Asia 2023
Ross Video Hyperconverges live video production workflows at Broadcast Asia 2023

Ottawa, May 3: Ross Video will be showcasing its latest product innovations at Broadcast Asia 2023 in Singapore from 7-9 June. The Ross team, composed of experts in the field, will be available at booth 6B3-07 to connect with attendees and demonstrate the company’s complete end-to-end workflow solutions for live broadcast, esports, stadium, worship, studio, and stage environments. Ross will be highlighting its Hyperconverged Solutions, Carbonite Ultra 60 Production Switcher, XPression Motion Graphics, X350 Pan/Tilt Head with Vision[Ai]ry Ft, and Ross PTZ Camera, among others.
Simon Roehrs, the director of sales APAC, expressed excitement about exhibiting their latest products and solutions to customers in the Asia Pacific region at Broadcast Asia 2023. Roehrs said that they are well-positioned to deliver tailored solutions that meet the unique needs and challenges of the dynamic and fast-evolving industry. Attendees of Broadcast Asia will get the opportunity to network, gain insights from industry leaders, and cover the latest trends in broadcast media and technology, content and production, esports and gaming, and investments.
Broadcast Asia is Asia’s largest broadcast technology stage that brings together the most influential regional broadcasters, media, and entertainment professionals. The Ross team’s presence and long-standing relationships in the market allow them to deliver customised solutions that meet customers’ creative, business, and technical needs. The Ross Video Asia Pacific team will be available on booth 6B3-07 to connect with customers and demonstrate the latest products and end-to-end solutions.
To attend Broadcast Asia, interested individuals can register for a complimentary visitor pass by visiting here or here.

MR D.I.Y. Debuts Disney

MR D.I.Y. Group is bringing a wide range of Disney-themed products to its three brands – MR. D.I.Y., MR. DOLLAR, and MR. TOY 

Kuala Lumpur, May 3: Malaysia’s favourite home improvement retailer, MR D.I.Y. Group (M) Berhad, today announced a new Disney-themed collection named “Always Magical”.
With more than 500 products featuring beloved Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse and Friends, Disney Princess heroines, and more, the range is now carried at MR. D.I.Y., MR. TOY and MR. DOLLAR stores nationwide. 
MR. D.I.Y.’s Disney-themed range has something for everyone – cutlery and kitchen utensils, lunch boxes, water bottles and tumblers, toys, plus home furnishings like wall clocks.  
There is also a range of Disney-themed fashion accessories like earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and sunglasses for every occasion.
To celebrate the launch of the new collection, MR D.I.Y. is also holding a promotion of selected Disney products, offering up to 30 per cent discounts and ‘Spend and Win’ contest from May 1-31.
For a limited time only, customers who visit MR. D.I.Y. PLUS at Mid Valley Megamall can snap photos at the store’s Disney-themed backdrop and participate in fun activities from May 3 – 7 and stand a chance to win prizes from MR D.I.Y.   

Airbnb Introduces Airbnb Rooms

Introducing Airbnb Rooms, an all new take on the original Airbnb.

Kuala Lumpur, May 3: What is Airbnb Rooms, and what are the new features and upgrades that Airbnb is launching for guests and hosts?
Airbnb Rooms is a new take on the original Airbnb idea of sharing a home. Airbnb Rooms aims to make guests feel comfortable staying with a host by introducing a Host Passport that provides information about the host, such as where they went to school, what they do for work, and fun facts about themselves. The Rooms category features a curated set of one million private bedrooms with redesigned filters and new privacy features.
Airbnb is launching over 50 new features and upgrades for guests and hosts to improve nearly every aspect of the Airbnb service, based on feedback from the community. These new features include total price display, transparent checkout instructions, improved maps, redesigned wishlists, simpler and more affordable monthly stays, priority customer service on a trip, and many more. The improvements are designed to make the Airbnb experience more user-friendly and convenient for guests and hosts alike.

Australian Events Unify, King Chairs

Peter King.

Melbourne, May 4: Three major business events associations in Australia, the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB), the Australian Convention Centres Group (ACCG), and the Exhibition & Events Association of Australasia Ltd (EEAA), have unified to create the Australian Business Events Association. This move comes after years of calls for a single, strong association to represent the sector to government and the broader business community. A recent survey revealed that 84% of respondents wanted a unified body.
Peter King, the former CEO of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, has been appointed as the independent chair of the board. King believes that a consolidated and united association can commission much-needed research, create policy, tackle sustainability, develop career paths, link with international and domestic trade opportunities, and advocate to government. The Australian Business Events Association will focus on advocacy, research and policy, development of the industry, services members need to run their businesses, and promotion of the sector as a great place to work and do business.
The membership categories are designed to ensure engagement within the industry is accessible to all, regardless of business size. The association will have State and Territory Chapters, sector groups, and special interest committees to ensure that issues around the country and within different sectors are brought to the table. Interested parties are invited to follow developments closely as the association is looking to fill the post of CEO. The Australian Business Events Association aims to ensure that the people and organisations who deliver approximately 480,000 business events annually can thrive, create jobs, and contribute to the economy.

CSIRO, Microsoft Expand VariantSpark

Sydney, May 4: Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, and Microsoft have partnered to bring VariantSpark to Azure Marketplace, expanding the accessibility of the scalable machine-learning framework. VariantSpark enables researchers to quickly and accurately analyse high-dimensional genomic data to find novel disease genes or predictive biomarkers. It was created by CSIRO to address the limitations in traditional genome-wide association studies, which have led to breakthroughs in disease prevention, personalised medicine, and drug development.
With the new collaboration, VariantSpark will be able to analyse data sets from other cloud providers and analyse patient annotations directly from FHIR-enabled electronic medical records. The new VariantSpark on Azure Marketplace also offers baseline security settings that can be customised based on the deploying organisation’s IP address. The architecture is tied to a resource group, making cleaning up the deployment once used easier. Researchers who are already set up on Azure can access VariantSpark within the same secure VPN, which means less security and privacy risks when moving around genomic data sets with sensitive personal information.
Researchers from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and China have already shown interest in VariantSpark in the Azure Marketplace. With its ability to handle big data, VariantSpark’s expansion to Azure Marketplace is expected to enhance research in areas such as cancer diagnosis, genetic diseases, and drug discovery. This collaboration between CSIRO and Microsoft represents a significant step forward for medical research and highlights the importance of accessible and secure big data analysis.

Mum turned Accidental Artist Discovered

Australian Mum becomes an accidental artist and gets discovered by a New York Art Gallery.

Sydney, May 4: Award-winning photographer, videographer, and author Zahrina Robertson lost her motivation and purpose before the pandemic hit.
Accidentally scrolling through YouTube, she stumbled upon a video of a painter talking about colours that drew her in instantly.
She felt a physical reaction and picked up a brush to paint.
Zahrina’s soul was crying out for more, and she found what she had been searching for in painting.
She shared her paintings on social media, and the New York Art Gallery discovered her work and offered her the opportunity to exhibit.
Her art collection, Meditative Lightscapes, is a place where light and nature blend into colorful meditative oil paintings.
Losing her mojo led Zahrina to discover a part of herself that she never knew existed, and she encourages others not to lose faith in their intuition, take small steps, listen to their intuition, and be open to new experiences.

Billy Dib’s Adversity Tips

Sydney, May 4: Billy Dib’s book, “A True Heart, The Fight Of My Life,” chronicles his journey from childhood to becoming a 2-time World Champion Boxer.
As a young boy, he faced challenges such as chronic asthma and bullying in a tough Sydney suburb, but he never gave up on his dreams.
With resilience and humility, Billy learned to fight back with the strength of his faith, and his destiny was set when he walked into the Sutherland PCYC boxing gym. In his autobiography, he shares the highs and lows of his life, from triumph and victory to heartbreak and despair.
Through his candid and vulnerable account, Billy takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster.
He shares the elation of becoming a World Champion, his encounters with international rock stars, and his friendships with iconic boxers.
Despite the many days when he could have given up, Billy’s surrender to his faith and his desire to be the best father to his son kept him going.
He shows readers that with determination, perseverance, and the right mindset, it’s possible to overcome even the toughest obstacles.
In this book, readers will get a glimpse into the life of a boxer who refused to let his circumstances define him.
It’s a story of resilience, hope, and the power of faith to conquer even the most challenging of circumstances.

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