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 15 till the end of the week. This column updates regularly throughout the week.
Tasmania Crowned Most Adventurous for Food
Sydney, May 15: A new survey by HelloFresh has revealed that Australians are adventurous eaters, with an average of 2.6 different cuisines consumed per week.
While Australian cuisine is still the most popular, other cuisines like Chinese, Thai, and Japanese are also enjoyed.
Tasmania was found to have the most adventurous eaters, with residents having tried 74 per cent of the listed adventurous foods, while those in South Australia and New South Wales were the least adventurous, having tried 64 per cent of the listed foods.
The survey also revealed that over half of Australians (57 per cent) have tried pate, and a quarter (25 per cent) have tried black pudding, which are considered the most popular adventurous ingredients. HelloFresh constantly innovates its menu to meet the evolving needs and expectations of customers. In 2022 alone, it introduced over 451 new recipes and 38 new ingredients, including Konjac noodles, plant-based slow-braised meat, and tamarind chutney.
According to Hannah Gilbert, Senior Director of Product Development at HelloFresh, Australians have developed a sophisticated palate that is constantly looking for new and exciting flavors.
HelloFresh’s expert taste-testers, trained in the Australian palate, spend around 312 hours a year tasting meals before they go onto the menu to ensure they meet the needs of adventurous Australians.
Australia establishes National Anti-Scam Centre
Sydney, May 15: The Australian Government has committed $58 million in funding to establish a National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC) over the next two years. The NASC will use technology to facilitate data sharing with law enforcement agencies, the private sector, and other organizations to prevent scammers from targeting Australians. The center will also raise consumer awareness of scams and assist victims in recovering their money or identity.
The National Anti-Scam Centre will begin operating on July 1, 2023, and build data-sharing technology over the next three years. The center will work closely with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to combat specific scam activities more effectively. The first fusion cell will coordinate anti-scam efforts across the government and private sectors.
The NASC will inform finance, telecommunications, and digital platform sectors about scam reports to take timely and effective steps to prevent scams. In 2022, text messages surpassed phone calls as the most reported contact method by scammers, with almost 80,000 reports about SMS scams. The Federal Government will introduce an SMS Sender ID register to disrupt impersonation scams and help consumers determine whether a text message is from a trusted source.
The ACCC has received feedback on the future work of the National Anti-Scam Centre and opportunities to better protect consumers from scams since receiving seed funding in October 2022. The NASC will focus on coordinating anti-scam efforts across the government, finance, telecommunications, and digital platform sectors to prevent scammers from exploiting weak links.
Finalists for Women in AI Awards APAC 2023 Announced
Sydney, May 15: The Women in AI Awards APAC 2023 has announced the finalists for its 18 categories, as well as the WAI Trailblazer Award and the Indigenous Leadership in AI Award. This year, the awards will be held in Sydney on June 16 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The finalists were narrowed down to just two per category due to the exceptional standard of entries across the Asia-Pacific. The winners of each category will receive prestige, recognition, media exposure, and opportunities for collaboration. The top winners will share in a $50,000 prize pool and additional valuable prizes.
The finalists for the WAI Trailblazer Award are Maria Liuzzi and Qinghua Lu, both from Australia, while the Indigenous Leadership in AI Award finalists are Angella Ndaka from New Zealand and Andree Nenkam Mentho from Australia. The awards categories range from AI in Health and AI in Mining to AI in Climate and AI in Creative Industries. The winners will be judged based on their innovation, leadership, inspiration, global potential, and impact, as well as the positive outcomes their AI solutions can provide for their communities.
The awards ceremony will begin with an Awards Ceremony in the Domain Theatre to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women in AI across APAC, followed by a Gala Dinner in the Gallery’s Entrance Court. The event will bring together 350 guests from the AI and business community to network and celebrate the winners and finalists of the Women in AI Awards. The event is sponsored by CSIRO, NAB, Monash Data Futures Institute, and other valued partners.
Leisure Travel and New Corridors Drive Growth
Singapore, May 15: New insights from the Mastercard Economics Institute reveal that the global travel industry is rebounding in 2023, with leisure travel and pioneering new corridors around the world driving growth. Leisure and business travel are growing at the same pace, with the lifting of travel restrictions in Asia boosting global leisure travel. Mainland China’s reopening is also expected to bolster growth globally, especially in the Asia Pacific region.
Travelers are establishing new corridors, venturing further from home to new locations. They are also prioritizing experiences over things, and demonstrating new demand for the unique. Luxury travel experiences and high-end accommodation are likely to entice Chinese tourists emerging from a zero-Covid environment.
Mastercard is dedicated to helping the global tourism sector recover and welcome travelers through a range of services, from market analysis and high-frequency data insights to marketing solutions and consumer engagement strategies. Providing more choice in how to pay and tailoring experiences, recommendations, and offers are strategies that keep the individual traveler at the center of engagement.
As the travel industry continues to rebound, the big question is whether flight and accommodation supply can keep up with demand. Companies that understand travelers’ expectations and provide a good experience from booking to arrival are better positioned to establish longer and more valuable relationships with their consumers.
mSE Solutions: Innovative Supply Chain Management Partner
Singapore, May 15: mSE Solutions is a team of highly experienced supply chain professionals who have been providing end-to-end supply chain management services for over 30 years. Their team of industry thought leaders translates cutting-edge ideas into optimized, value-add innovations that proactively recognize business process opportunities, mitigate risks, and create unprecedented digital supply chain management solutions.
As leading-edge innovators, mSE Solutions delivers efficient, agile, and resilient results, bringing a competitive advantage to the supply chain landscape. Their quick time to value ensures that clients achieve their desired outcomes within a short timeframe.
mSE Solutions’ coaching style is revolutionizing supply chains from concept to deployment. They prioritize the commitment to implement and deliver on their promise of “no recommendation without commitment to implement.” This approach has earned them high praise from clients, including being called “lifesavers” by a supply chain planning project manager.
To learn more about mSE Solutions and their innovative approach to supply chain management, visit their website at mSE-Solutions.com or connect with them on LinkedIn.
In summary, mSE Solutions is an innovative supply chain management partner that provides end-to-end services, prioritizes commitment to implementation, and delivers quick time to value. Their cutting-edge ideas, agile approach, and commitment to results make them a trusted partner for companies looking to transform their supply chain operations.
Zepp’s T-Rex Ultra Smartwatch Launches in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, May 15: Zepp Health Corporation has launched its latest T-Rex Ultra smartwatch in Malaysia, aimed at outdoor enthusiasts seeking a multi-environment experience.
The smartwatch features military-grade hardware and software, GPS, and monitoring and tracking capabilities.
The BioTracker PPG biometric sensor supports blood-oxygen tracking, while 2.4GHz Wi-Fi enables users to access a range of new features.
The watch is water-resistant to 10 ATM and can be used for freediving to 30 meters.
The battery life lasts a week with active use, and the GPS function features dual-band satellite and offline maps.
The Amazfit T-Rex Ultra is priced at RM1,899 and comes with two colour options, Abyss Black and Sahara.
Customers who purchase the watch on May 18th will receive a set of waterproof drybag, wind jacket, and sport bottle on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The smartwatch is available on Shopee and Lazada or on Amazfit’s website.
Data Leak Sparks Concerns
Kuala Lumpur, May 15: The recent data leak at UiTM, which exposed personal information of nearly 12,000 applicants, has raised concerns about data privacy and security. The education sector is the most targeted sector for ransomware groups in Malaysia, making this incident even more alarming. Businesses handling sensitive data must be accountable for implementing effective measures to safeguard personal data. The Palo Alto Networks ASEAN Systems Engineering Head, Malaysia, urged organisations to develop effective security strategies to uphold data integrity and upgrade cybersecurity defenses consistently to stay ahead of the attack curve.
To prevent recurring data breaches in Malaysia, organisations need to implement security measures starting from the first line of defence, giving necessary education and training to their employees. This includes digital training covering password management, secure file sharing, and safe browsing practices, phishing link training, and ongoing cybersecurity awareness initiatives. It is also essential to strengthen cybersecurity posture by hiring dedicated cybersecurity personnel, implementing comprehensive security systems, and regularly conducting security assessments to identify vulnerabilities.
The recent breach underscores the need for Malaysia to enhance its cybersecurity posture through individual data hygiene awareness or organisation-wide cybersecurity investment. Successful cybersecurity requires collective efforts to ensure data security. By being more vigilant in protecting sensitive data, individuals and organisations in Malaysia can contribute to strengthening the country’s cybersecurity.
Women’s Small Business Champion Awards Now Open
Sydney, May 15: The 2023 Australian Women’s Small Business Champion Awards are now accepting entries until 21 July 2023. The awards programme aims to celebrate the success of female small business owners in various industries across Australia. There are over 55 small business award categories and four individual categories, including the Young Small Business Champion Woman Entrepreneur, Small Business Champion Woman Entrepreneur, Australian Small Business Champion Influential Woman, and Australian Small Business Champion Icon. According to government data, female small business owners represent over one-third of all small businesses, and increasing the number of female business owners to equal that of men could add billions to the economy. The awards are sponsored by Nine Plus, CUB, NOVA Employment, Castaway Forecasting, Xcllusive Business Sales, and Big Clean, and will culminate in a National Presentation Evening Gala Event on Saturday 23 September 2023 at the new Western Sydney Conference Centre at Penrith in NSW. Visit womensbusinesschampions.com.au for more information and to submit an entry form.
JBL Launches New Soundbars
Kuala Lumpur, May 15: JBL, a leading audio specialist, is launching a new range of soundbars, including the JBL Bar 1300, JBL Bar 1000, JBL Bar 800, JBL Bar 500, and JBL Bar 300. The soundbars offer a variety of options for entertainment enthusiasts, including up-drivers, DTS:X 3D surround sound, detachable wireless surround speakers, and subwoofers. Each JBL Bar features Harman’s PureVoice technology to optimize voice clarity, even when loud sound effects take over. The soundbars can be easily connected to online music services via WiFi with compatible speakers and to browse integrated music platforms using the new JBL One app. Users can also personalize their listening experience with the app’s fully customizable EQ settings. The JBL soundbars allow access to over 300 online music streaming services through AirPlay 2, Alexa MRM, and Chromecast built-in™.
AFC Celebrates Grassroots Football
Kuala Lumpur, May 15: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the AFC Grassroots Football Day, which promotes football as Asia’s number one sport. The event has seen a threefold increase in reach since its launch in 2013, with 39 Member Associations (MAs) and almost 28,000 participants taking part in the 2023 edition. Despite the pandemic, the AFC has remained committed to enhancing the standards of grassroots football across Asia through virtual seminars and panel discussions for coaches and tutors. The AFC Grassroots Football Conference will return later this year.
The AFC’s MAs are also actively working to make football accessible to people from all walks of life through initiatives such as the Jockey Club Active Ageing Elderly Football Programme in Hong Kong and tournaments for children aged between 12 and 17 in Syria. AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa praised the tireless efforts of MAs and recognised the dedication of individuals striving to provide everyone with the opportunity to play football and learn valuable life lessons.
The AFC Grassroots Football Day is widely anticipated and celebrated for its joy and cheer, with millions of children exposed to the sport’s unifying power, valuable life lessons, and a healthy way of living. With 39 MAs pledging their support, the event is a testament to the AFC’s determination to become the world’s leading Confederation and bring happiness to children across Asia.
Iceotope Appoints Dr. Mullick
Singapore, May 15: Iceotope Technologies, the leader in precision liquid cooling technology, has appointed Dr. Kelly A. Mullick as Vice President of Technology Advancement and Alliances. Dr. Mullick brings expertise in immersion and cold plate liquid cooling from her previous role at Intel Corporation, where she developed Intel’s first immersion cooling warranty. She holds degrees in Chemistry and Biology, as well as an MSc and PhD in Chemical Engineering.
Iceotope CEO David Craig welcomes Dr. Mullick, noting her solid systems engineering know-how and her commitment to diversity and inclusion. As the market increasingly turns to liquid cooling for data center sustainability, Dr. Mullick’s technical and business expertise will be valuable in driving solutions. She emphasizes that precision immersion liquid cooling is essential to meet the environmental needs of processor board components and offers benefits such as heat reuse, water reduction, and greater compute density.
Dr. Mullick’s role at Iceotope involves building and maintaining alliances with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and technology partners to make Iceotope technology more accessible to the wider market. The company already has alliances with industry leaders like HPE, Lenovo, nVent, Schneider Electric, and Avnet. By expanding its ecosystem, Iceotope aims to make precision liquid cooling the preferred choice for new data center developments and upgrades, enhancing cooling efficiency, reliability, and operational sustainability.
Iceotope’s patented chassis-level precision liquid cooling solutions are designed to cool the entire IT stack, from hyperscale to the extreme edge. These solutions offer significant reductions in water usage, power consumption, and carbon emissions per kilowatt of IT equipment. Dr. Mullick’s appointment will further strengthen Iceotope’s position in the market.
Beyond her professional achievements, Dr. Mullick is a champion for diversity and inclusion, dedicating her time to preparing and supporting women and underrepresented minorities in the tech industry. She has developed workplace programs and online resources to promote greater equality in the workforce.
Alibaba Cloud Unveils New Initiatives
Kuala Lumpur, May 15: Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, has announced a series of initiatives and partnerships to empower its ecosystem partners and support their growth worldwide. At the Partner Summit 2023 in Singapore, the company introduced an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Acceleration Program, a training empowerment portal, and financial incentives to reward partner excellence.
The ISV Acceleration Program aims to provide global ISVs with financial incentives and technical support to expand their business opportunities in Southeast Asia. Partners will receive assistance in optimizing marketplace listings and leveraging Alibaba Cloud’s sales team and channel partners. Enhanced technical support and resources will enable ISVs to build, publish, and operate their solutions on the cloud platform.
Additionally, Alibaba Cloud launched the Partner Empowerment Portal to provide training, certifications, and educational content on cloud, AI, and Web3 technologies. The portal aims to empower 500 global partners, including channel partners, Managed Service Partners (MSPs), and ISVs, in the current financial year.
To benefit partners outside China, Alibaba Cloud introduced new financial incentives, including discounts and rebates for resellers and distributors, along with joint go-to-market initiatives. These incentives are part of the company’s $1 billion investment announced in 2022 to support global partners’ technology innovation and market expansion.
Furthermore, Alibaba Cloud unveiled collaborations with IBM on a security solution for APAC businesses, integrating IBM’s security products with Alibaba Cloud’s capabilities. They also partnered with Avalanche, a blockchain platform, to provide a solution for businesses to deploy metaverses on the Avalanche public blockchain. Additionally, Alibaba Cloud is collaborating with training partners to bolster talent development in Southeast Asia through the SEA Talent Empowerment Program.
Alibaba Cloud recognized various partners for their collaboration and innovation over the past year, honoring eight companies as Asia Partners of the Year, including IBM and AI Rudder. Currently, Alibaba Cloud collaborates with approximately 12,000 partners worldwide, including Salesforce, VMware, Fortinet, IBM, and Neo4j.
FedEx Express Introduces Electric Vehicles to Its Fleet in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, May 15: FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., has announced the addition of electric vehicles (EVs) to its fleet in Malaysia as part of its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental impact and promote sustainable logistics. The company has successfully incorporated two EVs for parcel pick-up and delivery operations in the Klang Valley, contributing to a reduced carbon footprint and improved air quality in urban areas. FedEx plans to expand its EV fleet in Malaysia to further advance its emissions reduction goals.
Tien-Long Woon, the managing director of FedEx Express Malaysia and Thailand, emphasized the company’s commitment to promoting EVs and reducing CO2 emissions. FedEx recognizes the benefits of EVs in achieving sustainability goals and is actively integrating them into its operations. The company’s actions align with the Malaysian government’s efforts to promote EVs and work towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
FedEx has already deployed electric vehicles across the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa region, with China having the largest EV fleet. The company has also conducted EV tests in India, Thailand, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates to support its emissions reduction objectives.
As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, FedEx aims to achieve carbon-neutral operations. Vehicle electrification is a key focus area, and the company aims to operate an all-electric global pickup and delivery (PUD) fleet by 2040. To reach this goal, FedEx Express plans to purchase 50 per cent of all new PUD vehicles as electric by 2025 and achieve 100 per cent by 2030.
In addition to vehicle electrification, FedEx implements various initiatives to efficiently manage resources and reduce its environmental impact. These include fuel-saving measures, investments in renewable energy, and the implementation of sustainable packaging solutions.
FedEx’s decision to introduce EVs to its fleet in Malaysia aligns with its goal of creating a better world and delivering the best results for its customers, communities, and the planet. The initiative reflects the company’s commitment to sustainability and its role in the business community as a leader in operating sustainably while providing high-quality products and services.
For more detailed information on FedEx’s sustainability goals, refer to the company’s latest ESG Report.
Support Local, Boost Economy
Sydney, May 15: Australian Made Week, running from May 15 to May 21, celebrates local makers and growers and urges Australians to support them. According to Roy Morgan research, if every household spends an additional $10 a week on Australian Made products, it could inject an extra $4.8 billion into the economy annually, creating up to 9,500 new jobs. Australian Made Chief Executive Ben Lazzaro emphasizes the economic impact of purchasing goods with the Australian Made logo and urges consumers to look for the trusted green-and-gold kangaroo symbol, recognized by 99 per cent of Australians.
Australian Made holds significant trust among consumers, with 93 per cent of Australians confident that products displaying the Australian Made mark are genuinely made or grown in Australia. In a nationwide poll, 86 percent of respondents consider it important to buy Australian Made, with Hobart residents leading the way at 93 percent importance. The reputation of Australian products for high standards in craftsmanship, safety, and quality also adds to the motivation for supporting local businesses.
Tennis legend and Australian Made Week ambassador, Ash Barty, encourages all Australians to participate by purchasing genuine Australian products bearing the green-and-gold kangaroo symbol. Barty highlights that supporting local communities can be as simple as buying sporting equipment or a bag of apples, emphasizing the significance of buying local and encouraging others to do the same.
Now in its third year, Australian Made Week is being promoted through various media channels, including TV, radio, print, and online advertisements featuring Ash Barty. Australian Made businesses are urged to share custom-made marketing assets and use the hashtags #AustralianMade and #AustralianMadeWeek across their communication channels and social networks. By doing so, they can contribute to the awareness and success of the initiative.
Malaysian Genomics Expands to Bangladesh
Kuala Lumpur, May 15: Malaysian Genomics Resource Centre Berhad (MGRC) has announced a strategic cooperation agreement (SCA) with Toticell Limited for the distribution of its products in Bangladesh. Toticell, based in Dhaka, specializes in regenerative healthcare, focusing on treatments for musculoskeletal conditions.
Under the agreement, Malaysian Genomics and Toticell will collaborate on the distribution of cosmeceutical products, genetic screening tests, CAR T-cell therapy services, and other areas of mutual commercial interest.
The CEO of Malaysian Genomics, Sasha Nordin, expressed excitement about the partnership, citing Bangladesh’s vast market potential and rapid economic growth. The country is identified by Goldman Sachs Inc. as one of the Next Eleven, with substantial growth potential.
Azri Azerai, Executive Director of Malaysian Genomics, stated that the collaboration with Toticell aligns with the company’s strategic expansion plan, which includes global diversification.
This partnership with Toticell follows MGRC’s previous announcement of strategic cooperation agreements with several Dubai-based parties. These agreements involve specialist healthcare providers in spinal injuries, healthcare services, nutrition and weight loss, and coordination and development of partnerships.
Furthermore, MGRC recently appointed Aswath Ramakrishnan as its new Independent Non-Executive Director. Mr. Ramakrishnan brings a wealth of experience in commercial litigation, shipping and maritime, defamation, and intellectual property litigation, among other areas.
Employment Growth, Wage Signals
Sydney, May 16: The Australian HR Institute’s (AHRI’s) first Quarterly Australian Work Outlook report reveals that nearly half of Australian workplaces anticipate an increase in employment growth during the June 2023 quarter. The report provides insights into the work environment and includes AHRI’s Net Employment Intentions Index, which measures the percentage of employers planning to hire or reduce staff levels. The index for the June quarter stands at +45.
Despite the positive recruitment conditions, the report suggests that wages are not experiencing significant upward pressure. Employers forecast a mean basic pay increase (excluding bonuses) of +3.3 per cent in their organizations for the 12 months leading up to April 2024. Public sector employers expect higher pay increases (+4.4 per cent) compared to the private sector (+3.2 per cent) and the not-for-profit sector (+2.2 per cent).
AHRI CEO Sarah McCann-Bartlett notes that while the job market remains tight, wage inflation is not currently a major concern. The report raises questions about whether the anticipated employment growth is primarily aimed at filling existing job vacancies or indicative of sustained jobs growth that could further impact recruitment difficulties and potentially wages.
The data presents a mixed outlook for employers and policymakers, as strong employment intentions might lead to inflationary pressures. However, the survey data does not indicate a significant increase in pay inflation. McCann-Bartlett emphasizes that despite high job vacancies, nearly half of employers facing recruitment challenges are still struggling to fill positions.
Additional key findings from the report include higher AHRI Net Employment Intentions Index expectations in the public sector (+54) compared to the private sector (+44) and not-for-profit sector (+39). Furthermore, 16 per cent of employers are planning redundancies for the June 2023 quarter, while 47 per cent of recruiting employers report difficulties with finding suitable candidates. The employee turnover rate for the 12 months ending April 2023 is 12 per cent, with 20 per cent of organizations experiencing an annual turnover of 20 per cent or higher.
For the complete report, visit AHRI Research.
Bitdeer‘s Q1 Financials: Growth Amid Crypto Market Challenges
Singapore, May 16: Bitdeer Technologies Group (NASDAQ: BTDR), a leading technology company in the cryptocurrency mining industry, announced its unaudited financial results for Q1 2023. Despite macroeconomic and crypto-market headwinds, the company maintained robust performance and sufficient cash flow. While recording a net loss of $9.5 million, Bitdeer achieved a non-IFRS adjusted profit of $2.8 million and non-IFRS adjusted EBITDA of $18.5 million. The company optimized costs, expanded its fleet of mining machines, and increased its proprietary hash rate. Bitdeer is also partnering with Druk Holding & Investments to develop a carbon-free mining datacenter in Bhutan, ordering 30,000 new mining machines for the project.
Revenue for Q1 2023 was $72.6 million, mainly influenced by changes in Bitcoin prices. Self-mining revenue reached $13.2 million, while revenue from Cloud Hash Rate was $18.0 million. General Hosting revenue remained stable at $22.1 million, and Membership Hosting generated $16.5 million. The gross profit margin was 18.6 per cent, impacted by increased electricity and depreciation costs due to mining datacenter expansion. Operating expenses totaled $24.7 million, down from $45.7 million in the same period last year. Bitdeer’s net loss was $9.5 million.
Adjusted profit for Q1 2023 reached $2.8 million, compared to $25.6 million in the corresponding period of 2022. Adjusted EBITDA was $18.5 million, reflecting a decrease in revenue and increased electricity costs. The company had $173.9 million in cash and cash equivalents as of March 31, 2023. Bitdeer’s total managing hash rate was 18.3 EH/s, with a proprietary hash rate of 5.7 EH/s. The company mined 552 Bitcoins during the quarter and deployed approximately 196,000 ASIC mining machines.
In a strategic move, Bitdeer partnered with Druk Holding & Investments to establish an environmentally sustainable mining operation in Bhutan. The company aims to expand its global footprint and enhance its existing data center capabilities in Northern Europe and North America. The collaboration involves deploying 30,000 mining machines onsite, further bolstering Bitdeer’s position in the industry.
Note: EH/s refers to exahashes per second, a unit of computing power used in cryptocurrency mining.
HelloFresh Launches Winter Warmers
Sydney, May 16: HelloFresh is introducing a ‘Winter Warmers’ recipe collection to satisfy Australians’ cravings for comforting winter dishes.
The collection is inspired by upcoming food trends for winter 2023, featuring retro favorites like chowders and meatloaves, as well as one-pot and slow-cooked meals for convenience and minimal cleanup.
Pies, a beloved winter dish, offer a great way to incorporate vegetables and rich flavors. Some of the Winter Warmers recipes include Creamy Prawn & Corn Soup, Mini Beef Meatloaves & Mash, and Pork & Rosemary Pie.
HelloFresh aims to provide accessible and easy-to-follow meal options for a cozy winter season.
Olympic Contenders Await Rivals
Sydney, May 16: The Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Paris 2024 Asian Qualifiers Round 2 draw ceremony is set to take place on May 18 at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Twelve teams have advanced to Round 2, including the seven group winners from Round one and five highest-seeded teams.
Uzbekistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Chinese Taipei, and India emerged as Round 1 winners to join Australia, China PR, DPR Korea, Japan, and Korea Republic in the quest for Olympic qualification.
The teams will be divided into three groups for Round 2, scheduled between Oct 23 and Nov 1.
Each group will compete in a single round-robin league format at one of three centralized venues: Australia, China PR, or Uzbekistan.
The host member associations will be drawn into separate groups.
In Round 3, the three group winners and the best-ranked runners-up will advance to play two home and away matches in February 2024.
The winners of the Round 3 matches will secure the two spots reserved for Asia in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Paris 2024. In the previous edition of the Olympics in Tokyo 2020, Japan exited in the quarter-final stage, and Australia finished fourth after a close defeat in the bronze medal match against the USA.
The draw for Round 2 will be conducted based on the latest FIFA Women’s World Ranking, with teams divided into four seeding pots.
Don’t miss the draw ceremony of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Paris 2024 Asian Qualifiers Round 2 on May 18 at 11am here.
Westpac Offers Tap to Pay on iPhone
Sydney, May 17: Westpac today announced it has enabled Apple’s Tap to Pay on iPhone contactless payment technology – a new, easy and secure payment option for business customers to accept in-person contactless payments with their compatible iPhone.
Tap to Pay on iPhone accepts all forms of contactless payments – including Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards and other digital wallets – using only an iPhone and Westpac’s EFTPOS Air iOS app, removing the need for additional hardware or payment terminals.
Using Tap to Pay on iPhone in the EFTPOS Air app, at checkout merchants will simply prompt the customer to hold their contactless payment near the merchant’s iPhone, and the payment will be securely completed using NFC technology.
Tap to Pay on iPhone also supports PIN entry, which includes accessibility options. Apple’s Tap to Pay on iPhone uses the built-in features of iPhone to keep the businesses’ and customers’ data private and secure. When a payment is processed, Apple doesn’t store card numbers on the device or on Apple servers.
Starting today, Tap to Pay on iPhone is available on Westpac’s EFTPOS Air iOS app and it’s easy for merchants to set up and use. On an iPhone XS or later running iOS 16.4 or later, simply download Westpac’s EFTPOS Air app from the Apple App Store.
Westpac’s EFTPOS Air iOS app is powered by software from Australian payment technology provider Quest Payment Systems (Quest).
AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup Revealed
Kuala Lumpur, May 17: Eight teams await the draw ceremony for Round two of the AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup Indonesia 2024 Qualifiers. Thailand, Australia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Korea Republic, India, Philippines, and the Islamic Republic of Iran will be divided into two groups of four.
The groups will compete in a round-robin format at a centralized venue between Sept 16 and 24.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the AFC U17 Women’s Asian Cup Indonesia 2024. The host nation is yet to be determined.
Indonesia will host the tournament for the first time.
Sophos Report: Ransomware Attacks Decline in APJ
Kuala Lumpur, May 17: Global cybersecurity company, Sophos, has released its annual “State of Ransomware 2023” report. The study reveals a slight decline in ransomware attacks in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region, with 68 per cent of organizations surveyed experiencing ransomware incidents in 2022, compared to 72 per cent in the previous year. Of those attacked, 71 per cent had their data successfully encrypted, and 49 per cent of those paid the ransom, a decrease from last year’s 55 per cent. However, paying the ransom resulted in higher recovery costs and longer restoration times compared to using backups.
The report highlights that organizations paying ransoms incurred double the recovery costs ($750,000) compared to those relying on backups ($375,000). Additionally, 45 per cent of organizations using backups recovered within a week, while only 39 per cent of those paying the ransom achieved the same timeframe. Chester Wisniewski, Sophos’ field CTO, expressed concern about the persistently high encryption rates and emphasized the need for faster disruption of ransomware schemes.
The report identified exploited vulnerabilities as the most common root cause of ransomware attacks in APJ organizations (37 per cent), followed by compromised credentials (28 per cent). Furthermore, 30 per cent of cases involving data encryption also involved data exfiltration, indicating a growing trend of combined tactics by attackers. The education sector reported the highest levels of ransomware attacks, with 79 per cent of higher education and 80 per cent of lower education institutions falling victim.
Globally, 46 per cent of organizations that had their data encrypted paid the ransom. Larger organizations, especially those with revenues over $500 million, were more likely to pay, potentially due to having cyber insurance coverage. Sophos recommended implementing stronger defenses, such as endpoint protection with anti-exploit capabilities and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), as well as maintaining backups, practicing data recovery, and patching vulnerabilities regularly.
The “State of Ransomware 2023” report compiled data from a survey of 3,000 cybersecurity/IT leaders across 14 countries. Respondents represented organizations with 100 to 5,000 employees and varied revenue levels. The full report provides additional global findings and sector-specific data.
Largest Asia Trenchless Event
Kuala Lumpur, May 17: Trenchless Asia, Asia’s biggest trenchless industry event, has been inaugurated by Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. This year’s event, held from May 17th to 18th, is the third time it is being organized in Malaysia and is set to be the largest trenchless event in Asia. With government investments driving underground utilities projects, the market for sustainable infrastructure techniques is experiencing unprecedented demand. Over 150 businesses from 25 countries are showcasing their products and services in the exhibition space, which spans over 5000sqm.
The conference program for Trenchless Asia features four expertly curated streams by Dr. Dec Downey, CEO of Trenchless Opportunities Ltd. Thought leaders and experts will present the latest innovations, techniques, and insights into major infrastructure projects in Asia and worldwide. The event has received overwhelming support in Malaysia, emphasizing the industry’s significance in the country and the wider Asian region. The Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change, Indah Water Konsortium (IWK), and the Department of Industrial Relations (JPP) are among the supporters of Trenchless Asia.
Sponsors for Trenchless Asia include Goodeng, JBP Composites S.L., TangXing, USAE, Vermeer, XCMG (Platinum Sponsors), and I Green Engineering Sdn Bhd (Bronze Sponsor). The event offers not only a dynamic exhibition and conference but also a rewarding social and networking program, fostering connections among professionals in the field. Paul Harwood, Managing Director of Westrade Group Ltd, expressed gratitude to the supporters and sponsors for their contribution to the event’s success. Faizal Othman, President of the Malaysia Association for Trenchless Technologies (MATT), highlighted the mission of MATT to promote trenchless technology and expressed optimism that events like Trenchless Asia 2023 will foster innovation and create a conducive ecosystem for the sector’s growth.
Swift Revolutionizes Securities Transparency
Sydney, May 17: Swift’s new Swift Securities View service, launched in January, has gained significant momentum, with 34 leading financial institutions signing up.
The service enhances transparency in post-trade processing and helps reduce costly settlement fails. By utilizing an ISO-standard Unique Transaction Identifier (UTI), Swift Securities View allows participants to quickly identify trades at risk of failing and take preemptive action.
This automated tracking system covers all stages of the settlement process, benefiting asset managers, brokers, global custodians, and central securities depositories (CSDs).
The service aims to provide a seamless experience and decrease the industry’s operational costs, estimated at around USD 3 billion annually, which are further exacerbated by regulatory penalties like those introduced by the Central Securities Depository Regulation (CSDR) in Europe.
Since its launch a few months ago, the service has attracted participants from various areas, including asset managers, outsourcers, brokers, and custodians.
Prominent financial institutions such as Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), BNY Mellon, Credit Suisse, HSBC Securities Services, and Nomura Bank Luxembourg are among those who have joined.
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) supports the service by generating the UTI for trades confirmed through their central matching platform, CTM.
A new App for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs Launches
Sydney, May 17: A new social media platform, Boa, has been launched with the aim of democratizing access to a powerful network for business owners and entrepreneurs. Created by the team behind Australia’s leading members-only community for business owners, Club of United Business (CUB), Boa combines the best features of Twitter, Reddit, and LinkedIn to provide a robust media and networking platform. The platform was unveiled at an event attended by influential figures in the Australian business community, including Mark Bouris (YellowBrickRoad), Steven Khalil (Steven Khalil Bridal), and Amal Wakim (Equalution), among others.
Boa’s CEO, Daniel Hakim, expressed the intention to create a community where business owners can engage, share knowledge, and network in a meaningful way. The platform aims to address the limitations of existing major platforms, which are often too broad and noisy for effective communication among business owners. Boa’s lead investor, Mark Bouris, highlighted the goal of democratizing access to the resources and insights that successful individuals have traditionally enjoyed. Bouris emphasized the opportunity for Australian business owners to gain confidence, stand tall, and showcase their ideas and products on the platform.
Funded and built by CUB members, Boa embodies the ethos of tapping into the collective power of the business community. Founding users and investors include notable figures such as Gavin Rubinstein (TRG CEO), Jeremy Cabral (Finder Co-founder & COO), and Amal Wakim (Equalution Co-Founder). Boa’s focus is on improving the lives of business owners, providing them with a dedicated community to seek advice, share ideas, and network effectively.
The Boa platform offers specific community threads tailored to various interests, such as startups and capital raising, ensuring members are exposed to relevant conversations, communities, and members. It enables connections with business leaders, facilitating advice-seeking, recommendations, and collaborations. Boa’s user-friendly app features topic-based sub-communities, a news section, advanced search functionality, and meeting request features.
Access to Boa is free, requiring an Australian Business Number (ABN) or company director status. A premium version is available for $45 per month, offering additional features like account verification, boosted posts, community and event creation, and enhanced messaging capabilities. Boa aims to be an accessible and valuable platform for all business owners, providing a low-cost solution that saves users valuable time.
By joining Boa, business owners can tap into the power of the collective to grow their businesses like never before.
Risks of Unregistered Credit: Frollo Research
Sydney, May 18: Frollo, a leading open banking technology provider, has released concerning research on the rise of unregistered credit usage, such as Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) and Pay Advance services. The study reveals that the number of BNPL users increased to 32 per cent in Q1 2023, with an average monthly spend of $420 per user, while almost a quarter of BNPL users pay off their debt with a credit card, potentially creating a debt cycle.
The research highlights the lack of credit checks and reporting to credit bureaus by most BNPL and Pay Advance providers, making it challenging for lenders to assess borrowers’ repayment capacity. This poses material risks for both consumers and lenders, as lending may occur without considering affordability.
Additionally, the study shows that BNPL users are more likely to use Pay Advance, with an average monthly spending of $749, representing a 60 per cent increase compared to Q1 2022. This rise may be attributed to ongoing cost-of-living pressures and rising interest rates.
Generational differences are also apparent, with younger generations, particularly Gen Z, more inclined to use BNPL services, while baby boomers and Gen X tend to pay off BNPL debt with credit cards. Frollo’s research indicates that almost a quarter of BNPL users pay off their BNPL debt with a credit card, leading to potential financial difficulties in managing their finances effectively.
Simon Docherty, Chief Commercial Officer at Frollo, emphasizes the higher risks posed by BNPL and Pay Advance services for both consumers and lenders. He highlights the significance of Open Banking, which provides lenders with a comprehensive financial overview of potential customers, including their payment history with BNPL and Pay Advance providers.
Open Banking can play a crucial role in mitigating risks by enabling lenders to accurately assess affordability and evaluate potential risks.
In summary, Frollo’s research underscores the risks associated with unregistered credit usage, urging lenders to employ appropriate tools and technology to assess affordability and risk accurately. Open Banking emerges as a critical solution, offering a comprehensive financial picture of potential customers and aiding in risk mitigation.
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