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THESE countries citizens are MOST interested in gold price 


In the backdrop of a turbulent economy caused largely by Covid-19, many individuals are looking to add an element of stability to their investment portfolio and to do so, gold has emerged as a popular investment option.


Interested in alternative investments, gold bar specialists PhysicalGold.com utilised online analytics tool Ahrefs to establish which countries citizens are most keeping a track of gold price. 


PhysicalGold.com found that India is in the number one spot, with an astonishing average of 3,720,600 online searches per month from Indians trying to discover what the gold price is. That is the equivalent of 120,019 online searches each day!


In second place is the United States, as there is an average of 2,506,000 online searches a month from Americans keen to find out what the gold price is.


United Arab Emirates (UAE) is in third place with an average of 521,000 online searches every month from curious Emiratis regarding the price of gold.


In fourth place is the United Kingdom where there is an average of 519,300 online searches each month from Brits checking the price of gold.


Canada (381,400) and Australia (348,900) are among the other countries where there are more than 300,000 online searches per month from those monitoring the price of gold, respectively ranking fifth and sixth.


At the other end in 20th position is Bangladesh, where there are an average of 33,950 online searches a month from Bangladeshis interested in gold price.


Dan Fisher (a gold specialist from PhysicalGold.com), provides answers to five of the most asked questions about investing in gold:

Q: Is gold a good investment?

A: “Gold is unlike volatile asset classes that generate quick returns, it has always been a steady investment vehicle that can deliver solid returns as a medium to long-term investment. Gold investing is unique as the price tends to increase when many other asset classes such as stocks and bonds fall, so it provides a good balance to your investment portfolio”.


Q: How does gold investment work?

A: “The idea behind gold investment is that the underlying value of gold increases over time. Historically this rate of increase is higher than inflation, so the value of your investment increases in real terms. Investing in gold can take the form of physical bar and coins, gold equity funds, mining shares or exchange-traded funds (ETFs)”.


Q: What key advice would you give to beginners?

A: “Gold investing follows the common rules of buying the investment at a low price and selling at a higher price. There is no interest received for holding gold, so profits are only made on capital appreciation. The gold price tends to rise when the economy takes a downturn and other investments fall in value. The gold price can move down as well as up, so it’s advised to hold the gold over a medium to long-term period”.


Q: What’s better, stocks or gold investment?

A: “A mixture of gold and stocks is ideal.  Both investments can rise and fall in value. However, while stocks can fall to zero (if a company goes bankrupt), physical gold will always have its intrinsic value. Gold tends to rise when stocks fall, so the two have an inverse relationship”.


Q: Is it better to buy gold coins or gold bars?

A: “For most, buying coins is better than bars for gold investment. Coins provide more flexibility to sell small parts of the holding and can fetch higher prices when you wish to sell. In the same way that larger bars are cheaper per gram than small ones, buying gold coins in bulk can also achieve price discounts”.

COVID-19 fails to dampen spirits of startups seeking early-stage funding in APAC during Q1 2021, finds GlobalData


The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the venture capital (VC) investment landscape in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, but it has not dampened the spirits of startups and organizations seeking early-stage funding (seed, Series A and B). In fact, early-stage funding rounds accounted for 66.6% share of the total VC deals during the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. 

An analysis of GlobalData’s Financial Deals Database reveals that a total of 1,260 VC deals (with disclosed funding rounds) were announced during Q1 2021. Deal volume decreased by 4.5% from 396 in January to 378 in February before bouncing back by 28.6% to 486 in March. Despite the fluctuating trend, the share of early-stage funding rounds remained more than 65% during all the three months of Q1.

Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Early-stage funding has been dominating the APAC VC deals landscape and the trend continued even in Q1 2021. Amid the uncertain scenario, VC investors are showing caution in placing big bets. Only seven early-stage funding rounds had deal size of more than or equal to US$100m.”


Early-stage funding rounds accounted for 65.2%, 68% and 66.7% share of total VC deals announced during January, February and March, respectively.  

Other funding rounds including growth/expansion/late-stage funding rounds (Series B, C, D, E, F and H) collectively accounted for around 30% of the total deal volume.

While most of the funding rounds’ share as a proportion of total deal volume kept fluctuating during the three months of Q1, the share of Series C funding rounds increased from 6.8% in January to 8.7% in February and reached 10.7% in March.

Mr Bose concludes: “Despite the current volatile headwinds, VC investors seem to be willing to take risks by investing in early-stage startups. They seem to be viewing the current scenario as a window of opportunity to financially back new ventures with fresh ideas.”

Russia: MEPs deplore military build-up, attack in Czechia and jailing of Navalny


  • The price for Russian invasion of Ukraine would be severe
  • Full support for Czechia in diplomatic row with Russia
  • Russian authorities and President Putin fully responsible for fate of Alexei Navalny 


Parliament is deeply concerned by the recent Russian military build-up on Ukraine border and revelations of Russian agents behind explosions in Czechia

In a resolution adopted on Thursday, MEPs confirmed how deeply worried they are about Russian military posturing close to the country’s border with Ukraine as well as in illegally occupied Crimea.


Should military build-up lead to an invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the EU must make clear the consequences for such a violation of international law and norms would be severe, MEPs agreed. Such a scenario must result in an immediate halt to EU imports of oil and gas from Russia, the exclusion of Russia from the SWIFT payment system and the freezing of assets and cancellation of visas for Europe of all oligarchs tied to the Russian authorities.


Russian aggression in Czechia and the situation of Alexei Navalny

The resolution also deplores the revelation that the Russian intelligence services set off the explosion of an arms depot in Vrbětice, Czechia, in 2014, in which two Czech citizens were killed.


MEPs express their deep solidarity with the people and authorities of Czechia, as well as their firm support for the country in the ensuing diplomatic row with Russia and the tit-for-tat expulsion of embassy staff by both countries.


Parliament also reiterates its call for the immediate and unconditional release of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, whose sentencing is politically motivated and runs counter to Russia’s international human rights obligations. The text reminds the Russian authorities and President Putin personally that they bear full responsibility for Alexei Navalny’s health and bodily integrity and they must take all necessary measures to protect his physical and mental well-being.


For all the details and content in the resolution, it will be available here once adopted (29.04.2021).


It was approved by 569 votes in favour, 67 against with 46 abstentions.

Human rights: Pakistan, Bolivia and the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America


  • Pakistani authorities must release Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar from jail
  • Europe and Latin America must step up cooperation to combat the pandemic
  • Bolivian authorities must free imprisoned former President Jeanine Áñez


On Thursday, Parliament adopted three resolutions assessing the human rights situation in Pakistan and Bolivia, and the COVID-19 situation in Latin America.


The COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on the Latin American continent, MEPs say, expressing their solidarity towards all victims and their families, as well all those affected by the health, economic and social crises.

The resolution calls on European and Latin American governments, EU institutions and Latin American integration bodies to step up bi-regional cooperation and to improve preparedness, access to basic healthcare, and to manage widespread vaccination plans more efficiently.

The EU and its member states must cooperate with the authorities in Latin American countries in need and deploy the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and other solidarity funding, MEPs say. They urge the international community to increase their efforts to strengthen the capacity of the COVAX initiative to distribute vaccines, while recognising the EU’s leading role in efforts to secure fair and equitable access to safe and effective vaccines in low- and middle-income countries.

The resolution in full will be available here. (29.04.2021). It was adopted by 597 votes in favour, 51 against with 43 abstentions.

Blasphemy laws in Pakistan, in particular the case of Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel

MEPs are concerned for the health and wellbeing of Pakistani couple Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel, who were sentenced to death on blasphemy charges in 2014. Since their conviction, based on deeply flawed evidence, they have been held captive and isolated from each other and their families, while their appeal process has been postponed repeatedly, MEPs say.

The resolution notes that Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws, despite never having led to official executions, incite harassment, violence and murder against those being accused. Parliament calls on the Pakistani authorities to release Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar immediately and unconditionally and to overturn their death sentence.

Should they need to leave Pakistan, EU countries must issue emergency visas and offer international protection to the couple, MEPs urge, as well as for their lawyer Saiful Malook and others that stand accused for peacefully exercising their rights.

For all the details, the resolution will be available in full here. (29.04.2021). It was adopted by 681 votes in favour, 3 against with 6 abstentions.

Bolivia and the arrest of former President Jeanine Áñez and other officials

Parliament condemns the arbitrary and illegal detention of former Bolivian interim President Jeanine Áñez, two of her ministers, and other political prisoners in the country.

The text states that, on 13 March, Ms Áñez, two of her ministers and other individuals who made up the interim government from 2019 to 2020 “were detained on charges of ‘terrorism, sedition and conspiracy, and are accused by prosecutors of taking part in a coup in 2019.”

A former Second Vice-President of the Bolivian Senate, Ms Áñez assumed the interim presidency of Bolivia after her predecessor Evo Morales stepped down in 2019 following accusations of a fraudulent re-election, political unrest and violent protests.

The resolution underlines that former President Áñez fully complied with her duties under the Bolivian constitution when taking up the post of interim president. MEPs demand that she and the other political prisoners in Bolivia be immediately released and provided with all the medical assistance they need to ensure their well-being.

For all the details, the resolution will be available in full here. (29.04.2021). It was adopted by 396 votes in favour, 267 against with 28 abstentions.

MEPs demand ambitious action to combat child poverty


  • More use of existing funds needed to address child poverty
  • Possibility of establishing a European Authority for Children to be examined
  • Member states should step up action to protect children against online abuse


Parliament urges Council and Commission to be ambitious in the delivery of new plans that aim to lift 5 million children out of poverty by 2030.

In a resolution adopted on Thursday, MEPs urge the member states to adopt swiftly the recommendation on the European Child Guarantee and to make use of existing European, national and regional funds to deliver on concrete measures that contribute to eradicating child poverty and social exclusion. In order to support and monitor the implementation of the recommendation by member states, they call on the Commission to examine the possibility of establishing a European Authority for Children.


MEPs recall that the creation of this instrument, that ensures that each child living in poverty has access to high quality and free healthcare, education and effective access to decent housing and adequate nutrition, was a longstanding demand of the Parliament. They also call on the Commission and the Member States to support the creation and reinforcement of universal public childcare, education and healthcare networks.

COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to distance learning, increasing the gap for children in poverty or in remote areas who often lack access to an internet connection, digital tools and infrastructure. MEPs urge the member states to address learning disruptions and educational inequalities caused by the COVID-19 crisis and to propose long-term solutions such as promoting digital literacy and the use of educational tools adapted to distance learning.


Since children in isolation spend more time online, there is an increased risk of exposure to online abuse such as child pornography and online bullying. MEPs call for specific strategies to protect children from online sexual abuse and exploitation such as information campaigns in member states for both parents and children and development of new technologies to detect and eliminate materials containing child pornography.


The resolution was adopted by 510 votes to 42 and 139 abstentions.


The new EU strategy on the Rights of the Child, together with an accompanying proposal for Council Recommendation establishing a European Child Guarantee was published by the European Commission on March 24. The Child Guarantee is a concrete deliverable of the Action Plan on the European of Social Rights which proposes a target of lifting at least 15 million people out of poverty or social exclusion by 2030 in the EU, including at least 5 million children.

Ranked: THESE countries have the MOST female billionaires


  • The United States has the highest number of female billionaires in the world with 85 in total and their collective net worth is an estimated $555.9 billion
  • Germany (29) and China (26) are among the other countries with more than 20 female billionaires – with an accumulative net worth of $102.5 and $165.7 billion respectively
  • Interestingly, France has five female billionaires, one of which being the richest women in the world with a personal net worth of $73.6 billion - Francoise Bettencourt Meyers

Female billionaires are significantly less in the spotlight when compared to male billionaires.

Interested in personal wealth, MoneyTransfers.com analysed the latest data from Forbes World’s Billionaires List (2021), to establish which countries in the world have the most female billionaires.


MoneyTransfers.com found that the United States has the most female billionaires with 85 in total. The collective net worth of these 85 female billionaires is an astonishing $555.9 billion.


Alice Walton, heiress to the renowned retail empire of Walmart, is the richest woman in America with a colossal net worth of $61.8 billion! Alice Walton is followed by Julia Koch, who has a net worth of $46.4 billion.


In second position is Germany as there are 29 female billionaires in the country. The accumulative net worth of the 29 female billionaires is $102.5 billion. Additionally, seven of the 29 female billionaires are from the healthcare industry in Germany.

China is in third place with 26 female billionaires. The combined net worth of the 26 female billionaires in China is an eye-watering $165.7 billion. Yang Huiyan is the richest woman in China with a net worth of $29.6, a fortune which the 39-year has largely amassed from the real estate industry.


Italy (13) and Hong Kong (10) are among the other countries with 10 or more female billionaires, respectively ranking fourth and fifth.

Pharmaceutical tycoon Massimiliana Landini Aleotti is the richest woman in Italy with a net worth of $9.1 billion, whilst the same is true for tech innovator Zhou Qunfei in Hong Kong with a net worth of $15.4 billion.  


Interestingly France is in eight position with five female billionaires. The total net worth of the five female billionaires is $95 billion. 77% of this $95 billion is attributed to Francoise Bettencourt Meyers. As the granddaughter of the founder of personal care giants L'Oreal, she has a net worth of $73.6 billion – making her not only the richest women in France but the world!


At the other end in joint 10th spot is Israel, Norway, Russia and the United Kingdom with three female billionaires each.


*Methodology for the Research

  •  MoneyTransfers.com analysed the latest Forbes World’s Billionaires List (2021) and from their data sought to find out how many female billionaires there are in different countries across the world.
  • To do so, MoneyTransfers.com used the ‘country/territory’ indicator from the Forbes research to group the female billionaires by country. Once this was done, the countries were ranked from highest to lowest in terms of number of female billionaires and from this, the top ten countries were presented for the final data set/table.  
  • To add context to the data, MoneyTransfers.com also identified for each of the countries in the top 10 the industry the female billionaires are most prevalent in. Where this was not possible for certain countries, the term ‘various’ was used to indicate this. Whilst for other countries where ‘diversified’ is stated, this means most female billionaires’ business activities/financial investments are not limited to one set industry in that given country.

Statement by the Commonwealth Secretary-General on the COVID-19 situation in India


Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland

Speaking on the impact of the latest surge in COVID-19 cases in India, the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: 

“On behalf of the whole Commonwealth family, I want to express our deep concern and solidarity with the people and the Government of India as your national agencies mobilise to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and as the latest wave of infection continues to spread so distressingly in your country. 

“We are immensely grateful for the support provided by the Government of India to small and vulnerable member countries of the Commonwealth earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, it was an immensely generous and practical response to this global emergency. 

“And as your country so compassionately acted to support others in their time of need your fellow Commonwealth nations and the institutions which serve them would wish to do all we can to reciprocate in that same spirit of mutual support. 

"As such we stand ready to assist in any way that we can and have called a Commonwealth Secretariat rapid response meeting to consider what practical support the Commonwealth Secretariat and our member countries might offer together to be able to help you with your heavy burden.

“As a family of nations, we value our brothers and sisters in India and we, along with the wider Indian diaspora, all of whom have family and friends affected, share your anguish at the impact of this devastating and terrible disease and commit to supporting the Government and people of India in any way possible.”

MEPs approve update of the EU’s space programme


  • €14.8 billion programme for the 2021-2027 period
  • Will support navigation, earth observation and civil protection projects
  • Aims to strengthen Europe’s strategic autonomy and security


The new iteration of the EU Space Programme adopted on Tuesday will improve flagship initiatives such as Galileo, Copernicus and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS)

The 2021-2027 EU space programme, adopted by Parliament on Tuesday evening, will fund projects that provide high-quality space-related data as well as services with key socio-economic benefits and potential to create jobs. It also aims to strengthen Europe’s strategic autonomy, its security and its role in the space sector.

The bulk of the €14.8 billion budget will be allocated to Galileo and EGNOS, the EU's global and regional satellite navigation systems, as well as Copernicus, the EU's Earth Observation programme.

The programme will also finance space security, such as the Space and Situational Awareness (SSA) programme and the new Governmental Satellite Communication initiative (GOVSATCOM) to support border protection, civil protection and humanitarian interventions.

The programme upgrades the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) Agency by expanding its tasks and transforming it into the new EU Agency for the Space Programme.



“With an ambitious budget of 14.8 billions euros and a clear governance, the new Space Programme sets the legal framework to foster innovation, to boost the EU industrial competitiveness and strategic autonomy and to secure our technological leadership at global level” said rapporteur Massimiliano Salini (EPP, IT). “As demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic, the application of space technologies can be fundamental for the implementation of public policies and in controlling the outbreak through monitoring and tracking services. By creating the conditions for the development of the space upstream and downstream markets, the EU Space economy will play a pivotal role in the recovery of our Union.” he added.



On 6 June 2018, the European Commission presented the new Space Programme. It aims to ensure investment continuity in EU space activities, encourage scientific and technical progress, and support the competitiveness and innovation capacity of the European space industry.

On 10 November 2020, the European Parliament and German Presidency of the Council had reached a political agreement on the 2021-2027 Multi-annual Financial Framework and new own resources, followed by an agreement on the Space Programme on the 16th of December. On the 19th of April, the Council adopted its first reading position. The text is now endorsed by Parliament in early second reading. It will enter into force retroactively on 1 January 2021.


Infographic: German Automotive Groups Emerging Best from the Crisis, and May Be at the Forefront of E-Mobility as Soon as 2025


  • German carmakers least effected by declining revenues during the pandemic
  • 39.4% of cars produced by VW, BMW and Daimler in 2020 went to China
  • In terms of electric vehicles, Volkswagen could catch up with Tesla as soon as 2025


The major German car manufacturers have recorded a 10.1% drop in sales over the course of the pandemic, meaning that they have fared better than any other car producing nation in the world. This is shown in a new infographic by Kryptoszene.de


French manufacturers have suffered the greatest declines. Sales slumped by 20% in 2020 compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, operating profits at VW, BMW and Daimler fell by 26%, with the largest car manufacturers worldwide down 37%.


Automotive companies have above all benefited from strong business with China. 39.4% of vehicles produced by the three DAX-listed companies went to the Middle Kingdom.


In Germany, 19.1% fewer new passenger cars were registered in the crisis year 2020 compared to 2019. 46.7% of these were petrol cars.

In absolute numbers, electromobility is yet to starrt playing a major role - although this could quickly change. More and more companies are focusing increasingly on e-mobility. While Tesla has been the leader in this field so far, the tide could soon turn.


Tesla put 0.4 million electric cars on the road in 2019, whereas Volkswagen only managed 0.1 million. By 2025, however, Volkswagen may catch up with the US pioneers in this respect, with both companies set to put 1.5 million electric cars on the road in that year, according to current forecasts.  


The full story with the infographic, facts and more statistics:




April 27, 2021 - Transaction Network Services (TNS) is strengthening its already robust portfolio by bringing its popular Managed Hosting solution to Japan Exchange Group’s (JPX) Tokyo-based colocation facility.  


With its colocation at JPX, TNS now offers a full suite of low-latency services including order routing and market data access for the exchange’s impressive portfolio including the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), Osaka Exchange (OSE) and Tokyo Commodity Exchange.  By connecting with TNS, organizations can also access TNS’ global network which includes more than 365 feeds for 110 exchanges in 22 countries. 


“TNS is a welcome addition to our colocation facility and connectivity roster,” said Ryusuke Yokoyama, Senior Executive Officer and CIO at JPX. “TNS’ well established and trusted reputation as a specialist financial connectivity provider complements our objective to provide traders with a range of technologically advanced connectivity options. We look forward to working with the TNS team and expanding JPX’s access to their customers.” 


TNS’ Managed Hosting Solution is highly flexible and provides the benefits of proximity co-location, such as ultra-low latency exchange access and client cross connects, without the high cost and complexity of researching, procuring, installing and managing trading infrastructure themselves.


“This is an exciting development for TNS and a fantastic additional service we can now offer to latency sensitive traders,” said Jeff Mezger, Senior Director of Product Management for TNS’ Financial Markets business. “Being within the JPX colocation facility allows us to offer traders not only the ability to host their equipment at the site but also enables TNS to deliver access to other exchanges available globally on the TNS network.” 


Trading on foreign exchanges requires investors to have a knowledge of, and be in compliance with, different rules and vendors, which can create significant complexity. TNS simplifies this by having a local presence that addresses language and cultural barriers.


TNS’ connection to JPX also means it can make its ultra-low latency TNS Layer 1 offering available for JPX traders. TNS Layer 1 can deliver connectivity in as little as 5 to 85 nanoseconds, making it up to 10 times faster than traditional layer 3 architectures. 


TNS brings together over 2,800 financial community endpoints, supported by a global, 125-strong point-of-presence footprint. Specifically designed and engineered to address the needs of financial market participants worldwide, TNS offers a range of connectivity, colocation, cloud, market data and VPN solutions within its infrastructure as a service (IaaS) portfolio. Its solutions are monitored 24x7x365 by TNS’ Network Operations Centers in the US, UK and Australia. For further information visit tnsfinancial.com.   

MEPs hold final debate on future EU-UK relations before signing off agreement


In a debate on Tuesday, Parliament’s political groups argued in favour of the agreement that sets the rules of the future EU-UK relationship.

Most MEPs as well as Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the Portuguese Council Presidency stressed they regret the UK’s departure but argued for voting in favour of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK. It is the best option to cushion against the worst effects of Brexit and to ensure the integrity of the Single Market, they added.

Referring to unilateral UK measures in breach of the Withdrawal Agreement and its protocol on Northern Ireland, most speakers argued that the agreement will provide additional legal tools to prevent and protect against unilateral divergence from the obligations to which both parties signed up.

After four months of intense scrutiny, MEPs also underlined that Parliament will continue to play an active role in closely monitoring that the UK fully carries out its obligations.

Later today, Parliament will vote on whether to give its consent to the agreement and on a resolutionsetting out its evaluation of and expectations from the deal. Results are announced on Wednesday 28 April at 9am.

Watch the recording of the debate here and the press conference following the debate here.

On 24 December 2020, EU and UK negotiators agreed on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishing the terms for future EU-UK cooperation. To minimise disruption, the agreement has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021. Parliament’s consent is necessary for the agreement to enter into force permanently before it lapses on 30 April 2021.

Tesla Delivered a Record 185K Vehicles in Q1 2021


Tesla delivered and produced a record number of vehicles in the first quarter of 2021. According to data presented by Tradingplatforms.com, Tesla delivered an estimated 184,800 vehicles in Q1 2021.

Tesla Sets Company Records for Deliveries and Production in Q1 2021

On the back of a strong second half of 2020, Tesla continued its strong performance into the new year. The American electric vehicle(EV) company set a company record by delivering 184,800 vehicles to its customers in the first quarter of 2021. The figure is close to a 109% YoY increase from 2019’s Q1 figures and the largest quarterly deliveries recorded by Tesla.

Tesla also produced a record amount of vehicles in Q1 2021 with 180,338. Production only rose by .3% QoQ but increased by a staggering 76% YoY.

Sales of Tesla vehicles were primarily driven by two new models, the Model 3 and the Model Y which saw sales increase significantly. Combined the two new models accounted for 182,780 deliveries in Q1 2021, a 13% QoQ increase. As a result, Tesla’s Model 3 was ranked as the best-selling plug-in EV globally in 2020, with worldwide unit sales reaching an estimated 365,000 units in 2020

In contrast, deliveries for Tesla’s older models, the Model S and the Model X fell dramatically in the first quarter of 2021. Combined deliveries of the older models decreased by 89% QoQ to just 2020 units in Q1 2021. 

Rex Pascual, editor at TradingPlatforms added; 

“Tesla’s strong performance in the second half of 2020 serves as a great foundation for an even more successful 2021. In the last few years, Tesla has established itself as a market leader in rich EV markets such as the USA and China and is poised for a bright future as EV becomes even more mainstream globally in the coming years.”

You can read more about the story with more statistics and information at:  https://tradingplatforms.com/blog/2021/04/21/tesla-delivered-a-record-185k-vehicles-in-q1-2021/

Every Action Counts and the Sooner we Take Action, the Higher Chance Humanity can win against Climate Change.



The Earth Day Special a new Planet Classroom Podcast illustrates how young people globally continue to bring energy and passion to the work of protecting and restoring our planet and our communities. Youth activism, imagination and entrepreneurialism continues to remind us we must prevent the coming disasters of climate change and work individually and together to restore our earth.

In Planet Classroom’s Earth Day Special Orb the show’s virtual host introduces an inspiring group of artists, activists, educators and youth critics who discuss the films Peace Boat, I’m a Child, Olivia’s Birds, Sanctuaries of Silence, and Team Marine. Guests share how their personal and local experiences with environmental issues translate to awareness, art, and individual actions to restore our earth. “Every action counts and the sooner we take action, the higher chance humanity can win against climate change.” says Youth critic Bao Tran.


Listen to the Podcast

Watch the films

Learn about Planet Classroom

Follow @PlanetClassroom on Twitter


Contact Information:

David Wine



The Planet Classroom Network, organized by CMRubinWorld, brings together musicians, dancers, video game creators, filmmakers, learning innovators and emerging technologists from all over the world to entertain, educate and engage youth, and to provide a rich cultural experience at a time when art and learning institutions everywhere are not accessible. Curators and content contributors include Global Nomads, Global Oneness, the Martha Graham Dance Company, Commffest, KIDS FIRST!, Dream a Dream Foundation, OddWorld Inhabitants, Psyon Games, Challenge 59, LXL Ideas, Alliance for Young Artists & Writers/Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Creative Visions Foundation, Battery Dance, SIMA Classroom, Young Voices for the Planet, Bard Conservatory, Taking It Global, Materials for the Arts, Book Creator, XTalks, NFFTY, Young People’s Chorus of New York City, The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace, Ryan Wong Classroom, The Global Search for Education, Voice America, Addiction and Art, Rocketium and Brandartica. Young people from around the world played a significant role in conceptualizing, creating, and producing the network’s vision and programming.


Subscribe to Planet Classroom Network YouTube channel

Movie Studio, Hotel and Mixed-Use Entertainment Complex Opening in the Mid-South 

Memphis, TN, April 15, 2021 ― MVP3 Entertainment Group, LLC, an entity formed in Memphis that focuses on purpose-driven films, music and television productions, while giving back to nonprofits, recently partnered with ATWEC Technologies, Inc., (ATWT on the OTC Markets) to start an entertainment mecca in the mid-south.  
ATWEC Technologies sells child safety solutions to schools and day care centers worldwide. ATWEC and MVP3 partnered to create MVP3 Studios & Partners, LLC, the umbrella for a multi-use center that will have six production sound stages, music recording studios, television network, retail, museum, art gallery, restaurants, office space rental, indoor sports complex and family entertainment.  
This venture will also include hospitality that features a 150-room hotel, developed by The Worsham Hotel Group (based in Atlanta), which develops limited and full-service hotels, boutique inns and private owned residences. 
“We have formed the ultimate entertainment powerhouse with three brands. All different cultures, businesses with the same mission and the like-minded spirit to make a difference to help Memphis and the surrounding cities get back on their feet economically within the entertainment industry. We want to be the example that this world needs to come together. My motto is, ‘You got sticks, I got a match and together we can make a fire,’” said Marie Pizano, CEO/Founder of MVP3 Entertainment Group.
This trifecta entertainment powerhouse will be the home of MVP3 Studios, ATWEC Center and a hotel (name/brand TBD with the Worsham Hotel Group), and will include approximately six movie theaters that will show blockbuster hits and new theater releases from MVP3 Studios. 
Darnell Stitts of ATWEC Technologies had a vision that mirrored Pizano’s. “As fate would have it, after engaging in conversations and exchanging some of the same visions for the Majestic Complex, we decided to form an alliance to accomplish both our goals,” Stitts said. “Marie is a major piece to the puzzle that is needed to ignite the fire that we both share. Together, we can ignite the sticks and keep the fire lit for all to enjoy its heat.”
MVP3 Studios & Partners has purchased the property owned by Michael Lightman Realty Company, The Majestic Theater, an 80,000-sq.-ft. building, and the 20 acres of land that it resides on at 7051 Malco Crossing, at the corner of Riverdale Rd. and Malco Crossing in Memphis.
“We have our own slate of films, plus we’re partnering with other production companies that share our vision for content. We have also partnered with film distribution companies and have a structured business plan that will work on bringing the city together, while creating multiple revue streams to encourage economic growth, tourism and redefine what this entertainment industry needs to bring back its integrity in media and music. Partnering with ATWEC Technologies, and its innovations, we will be able to sanitize the air with their KV-X Sterilization System for the movie studio, hotel and family center,” added Pizano.
Phase 1 is scheduled to open July 1, 2021, with six movie theaters, dining, movie refreshments, catering, events and a rental theater for hosting corporate events, presentations, singer/song-writer nights and more.
Phase 2 will open in late fall with retail gift shops, music recording studios, TV network and office rental space. Phase 3 is the 150-room hotel, and Phase 4 will showcase new technology, sports complex and family center with plans for an indoor theme park.
For more information about the MVP3 Studios visit www.MVP3studios.com <https://u7061146.ct.sendgrid.net/ls/click?upn=TeZUXWpUv-2B6TCY38pVLo9kwWvjsMm0rKiGt0yC3p8heU4En1dLYPMg4jvpyFNmTByAS-_BzL71Iq2G9-2F1EmNzIPxI-2B5SwSa70PlsN-2FdpYzhaR0jawbygwqvW0IMsVssnYarX4xf8MGPLMI791LQWqxxBmioBlIVcrVdj-2F2PoToownhwTnSepMGJkAUNd4rvSqeQSV6cwVYMuqtzMKa-2FHAvpjm6yzyHfqGdHIO6qjbJ3DA5IzzLGnc00-2FM8YBHOctv3EI02HakR-2FkG41gVWYaEiBbRKx5a6BhGwEnUsswQYnDWklwEMbsBM0FXtVOH-2B7roO0m81o83WhCONHKvvKnQ8GFb2KlQQipap1mHwJb8wl04Lxs-2B0U38WYSTvCzAgBS-2BGLtAwBRxoEZu-2BtFh5pIidrublyC5IT7iIOCBejepkK1taz4-3D> . 

LightAir IonFlow fights the spread of COVID-19


  • Swedish virus inhibitor demonstrates virus destruction within minutes
  • Scientifically and independently proven on viruses in the air and on surfaces
  • Well-established technology with over 250,000 units sold


LightAir IonFlow virus inhibitor is scientifically and independently proven on viruses in the air and on surfaces, and together with the development of vaccines, can actively contribute to halting the spread of COVID-19.

New tests from a leading European research institute, IrsiCaixa, show that LightAir's IonFlow technology destroys engineered SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 viruses in drop form on surfaces. This additional evidence extends the earlier findings of a seven-year scientific study from Karolinska Institute, which showed the technology's effectiveness against aerosols and how it destroys airborne viruses and greatly reduces the spread of infections. 

The new tests measured out various versions of engineered viruses – pseudoviruses – that mimic the entry of specific corona viruses into cells. The conclusion is that IonFlow technology has a clear inhibition on viral entry when viruses are present in droplet form on exposed surfaces. The ultrahigh-density ionization process attacks the protective protein shell of the virus, thus neutralizing it: preventing it from attaching to, and infecting, human cells.

“IonFlow continuously attacks the virus in the air and on surfaces, while destroying its infectious capabilities. It is great that we now have supplemented the previous in-depth study from the Karolinska Institute, which so clearly shows how our technology prevents the spread of a number of viruses,” says Lars Liljeholm, CEO of LightAir. “Providing pharmaceutical treatments and creating vaccines is important. But it’s not only about that. Innovative technology is also clearly a part of any answer to pandemic viruses. We’re proud to provide a proven solution for reducing infections in offices, schools, homes and other shared spaces.”

Currently, more than 250,000 IonFlow units have been installed globally. A single unit generates approximately 30 billion electrons per second, which transform into negative ions when they meet oxygen molecules in the air. This electron production results in a concentration of more than 19 million negative ions per cm3, sufficient to continuously disinfect about 50m2 of indoor space.

“The virus inhibition provided by LightAir IonFlow, in combination with the medical-grade air purification of the LightAir CellFlow, creates an unbeatable path for a responsible re-opening of offices and schools,” says Rob Jansen, founder and CEO of Habitat Solution, distributor of LightAir in the Benelux region. “Indoor air quality is extremely important for all of us, not least during the ongoing pandemic. But since it also affects quality of life and health aspects in general, as well as our energy and productivity levels, air purification will be at the top of the agenda for years to come.”

Disneyland Paris will cost €1.4m and 2 million antibacterial wipes to clean!

  • The priciest theme park to clean is Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in China – costing €14m and 20.7 million antibacterial wipes!
  • In second is Disney World Florida, costing €5.2m, or 7.2 million antibacterial wipes
  • In third place is Shanghai Disney Resort (€2.8m) and fourth Disneyland Paris (€1.4m)
  • To clean ten of the biggest theme parks on Earth would cost a whopping €30.6m and 42 million wipes


With interest increasing by 65% in the past three months*, we’re excited for a day out like going to a theme park whenever restrictions ease.

Theme parks must prepare for their reopening, but they also have to ensure they are cleaned top to bottom, which is no small feat.

So just how big of a feat is this, and how much will it cost? OnBuy.com crunched the numbers to find the costs of cleaning ten of the biggest theme parks in the world!



Dear cod! In first place is Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, estimated to cost €14.9 million to clean. The huge 20.72km2 resort in Zhuhai, China, hosts a range of rides and shows and is the world’s largest oceanarium. Not only that, OnBuy calculated it would take around 20.7 million antibacterial wipes to disinfect - surely that’s another addition to the resort’s 5 Guinness World Record standing.

In second place is Disney World in Florida, costing an estimated €5.2 million and 7.2 million antibacterial wipes to make covid-friendly. According to research by ClearItWaste, that’s almost 30x pricier than cleaning rapper Drake’s apartment for a whole year!

The Disney resorts in Shanghai, Paris and California clinch third, fourth and fifth place respectively. Shanghai’s costs around €2.8 million (3.8 million wipes), Paris’s Magic Kingdom would set owners back €1.4 million and 2 million wipes, and California’s Disneyland Resort would be charged at €1.3 million and 1.8 million wipes to clean.

Finally with over 11 million annual visitors, last but not least is Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan. The park’s 130-acre area would still cost a whopping €450,275.52 and 622,494 wipes to clean.


The full data breakdown of each theme park can be found HERE.




Coinbase IPO: Bitcoin investors must expect more government scrutiny of crypto

Bitcoin investors should be braced for – but not put off by – “much greater government scrutiny,” warns the boss of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The warning from Nigel Green, CEO and founder of deVere Group, comes on the day Coinbase, the biggest cryptocurrency platform in the U.S., prepares for its public debut.  

It launches its initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq under the symbol COIN starting on Wednesday.

On Tuesday on the deVere Crypto app, Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, hit all-time highs of $64,000.

Mr Green says: “Coinbase’s direct listing is a truly momentous day for the cryptoverse.

“Should it hit its private market valuation of $100 billion, it would immediately become one of the 85 most valuable companies in the U.S.

“Of course, this is driven by the fact the world’s two biggest cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum, to which Coinbase is intrinsically linked, have risen 800% and 1,300% respectively over the last year.”

He continues: “But with these astronomical price jumps, and as they become increasingly embedded in the global financial system, and, critically, as the direct listing on the Nasdaq will reach a wider investment base other than the usual crypto evangelists, investors must expect much greater government scrutiny.

“Governments, central banks and regulators will be keen to protect the currency status quo.

“We should expect considerably higher levels of regulation in the crypto market.  Indeed, I believe it is inevitable.”

Mr Green goes on to add: “However, Bitcoin investors shouldn’t be put off by the likelihood of greater government scrutiny.  

“Major draconian clampdowns are unlikely as digital currencies are increasingly regarded as the future of money – even by traditionalists.  They can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

“Indeed, proportionate regulation should be embraced. It would help protect investors, shore-up the market, tackle criminality, and reduce the potential possibility of disrupting global financial stability, as well as offering a potential long-term economic boost to those countries which introduce it.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “The Coinbase IPO underscores that cryptocurrencies in some form or another are here to stay – and the market is only set to grow.
“Because of this, investors should know that regulation will become a greater priority.”

Boeing’s Revenue Has Dropped By Nearly 50% Since 2018 – $58.16B In 2020


Boeing is one of the biggest companies in the world, but the airline giant has had a very tumultuous last couple of years. Even before 2020’s Coronavirus pandemic, the company was already experiencing sharp declines in various metrics due to a major global controversy around one of its aircraft. According to data presented by Buyshares.co.za, Boeing’s revenue of $58.16 in 2020 was a 42.5% decrease compared to 2018’s record-high revenue of over $101B - a CAGR of -24.16%.


Boeing's Revenue Almost Cut In Half Since 2018

Back in 2018, Boeing was flying high after crossing the $100B mark in revenue for the first time in company history. However late in 2018 and early in 2019 one of Boeing’s new aircraft models, the 737 MAX 8, experienced two crashes in the span of 5 months. Both crashes put the blame on Boeing’s new MCAS flight control system and resulted in the grounding of the entire global fleet of the 737 MAX and orders for the new model were either suspended or cancelled.

As a result Boeing's revenue dropped by 24% YoY in 2019. To further compound the crisis that Boeing was already facing, the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 resulting in a huge downturn for the entire travel and tourism industry. This caused Boeing's revenue to drop a further 24% YoY in 2020. From 2018-2020 Boeing's revenue experienced a CAGR of -24.16%


Boeing Falling Behind Rivals Airbus

The entire airline industry was significantly impacted by the pandemic of 2020. Many countries closed their borders to protect their citizens from the onslaught of the pandemic putting a halt to global mobility. As a result, both aircraft providers suffered significant drops in revenue in 2020 with airbus experiencing a 37% YoY drop.

However, Boeing’s problems began prior to 2020 and 2019’s safety issues are still causing Boeing to lag behind Airbus in orders and deliveries. In 2020, Airbus registered 383 gross orders compared to Boeing’s 184. After calculating for contractual adjustments and cancellations Boeing’s Net Orders falls considerably to -1194 for 2020, compared to Airbus’ 268.

In 2020 Airbus also delivered almost 400 more aircraft than Boeing, amounting to 566 and 157 respectively.


Boeing Cut Costs in 2020 In Response to Pandemic

As a form of damage control, Boeing initiated a few cost-cutting initiatives in 2020. Boeing cut R&D expenditure by 23% YoY in 2020 its lowest allocation since 2005. Boeing is the larger employer of the two aircraft manufacturers with a workforce of 141,000 in 2020, after downsizing by 20,000 from 2019.

You can read more about the story with more statistics and information at:  https://buyshares.co.za/blog/2021/04/07/boeings-revenue-has-dropped-by-nearly-50-since-2018-58-16b-in-2020/

Tripadvisor Suffered a 61% YoY Decrease in Revenue in 2020 - Almost A Billion Dollar Drop


The travel and tourism industry was one of the hardest-hit industries by the COVID-19 pandemic and the world’s most visited travel and tourism website was not spared. TripAdvisor had one of its worst years and experienced a historic drop in revenue. According to data presented by TradingPlatforms.com, TripAdvisor experienced a 61% YoY decrease in revenue in 2020, a loss of almost a billion dollars in one year.


Lockdowns Crippled Global Mobility Dealing Massive Blow To The Tourism Industry

At the beginning of 2020 countries around the would shut their borders in an attempt to mitigate the already devastating effects of COVID-19, crippling the strong momentum of the tourism industry. Tripadvisor, one of the most popular travel booking and accommodations websites globally, was not immune to the effects of the pandemic and suffered tremendous losses in 2020.

Since 2014, Tripadvisor and the travel industry in general, have been trending upwards in many economic and financial metrics. That year marked the first time Tripadvisor earned more than $1B in revenue, a figure it has not gone below of until the events of 2020. Tripadvisor posted revenues of $604M in 2020, almost $1B less than 2019’s $1.56B revenue. This is a 61% YoY drop from 2019 and nearly a 62% drop from the record high of $1.61B set in 2018.


The revenue set in 2020 is the lowest since 2010 when the company was merely 10 years old.

Cost Cutting Measures By Tripadvisor - Almost 40% Drop In Employees and Over 50% Drop In Spending

Tripadvisor implemented several cost-cutting measures in response to the pandemic. Selling and Marketing expenses dropped to $316M in 2020, their lowest level since 2012 and 53% lower than 2019’s figure of $672M. The company also made the difficult decision to downsize its number of employees significantly, only a year after investing in its workforce.

In 2019 Tripadvisor increased its workforce by 25% reaching a little less than 4200 employees. Workforce reductions were then introduced in 2020, with the number of employees downsized by 38.1% to just under 2600. The figure is the lowest number since 2013 and 23% less than 2018’s number, the year prior to Tripadvisor expanding its workforce.


Despite these reductions, Tripadvisor still posted a significant net loss of $289M in 2020.

You can read more about the story with more statistics and information at:  https://tradingplatforms.com/blog/2021/03/30/tripadvisor-suffered-61-yoy-decrease-in-revenue-in-2020-an-almost-billion-dollar-drop/

Cannabis Sector Highest Growing Industry In Canada - 50% GDP Growth In 2020


Cannabis has become more accepted in more recent times around the world, making it a tremendous growth opportunity for investors. Canada was one of the first countries to show an open mind with cannabis, where medical cannabis has been legal since 2001. Since then, Canada has legalised recreational cannabis and is reaping the benefits of a budding industry. According to data presented by TradingPlatforms.com, the cannabis industry in Canada was the highest growing industry in terms of GDP in 2020 - a 49.5% growth from 2019.


Cannabis Sector Saw Almost 50% Growth In GDP Despite Difficult 2020

Medical Marijuana had been legal in Canada since 2001 making it one of the first countries to embrace its potential. In 2018, Canada legalized recreational Marijuana, giving birth to an industry that has gone from strength to strength since. In 2020, the Cannabis industry was the highest growing industry in Canada in terms of GDP- 49.5% growth from 2019.

COVID-19 had a tremendous negative effect on Canada’s economy with many industries reporting negative growth. The Cannabis industry was one of only five industries to report growth in 2020. The second highest growing industry was Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting with only an 11% growth while the three remaining industries experienced less than 4% growth each.


Sales Of Legal Cannabis Doubled After Its First Full Year

Recreational cannabis was legalised in October 2018 and in its first three months, retail sales amounted to 150M Canadian Dollars (C$) or just under 120M US Dollars. In its first full year of legality, sales of recreational marijuana reached almost C$1.2. This figure more than doubled in 2020, to C$2.62B.
In December of 2020, the monthly sales of recreational marijuana reached its highest ever value at C$298M which is more than double 2019’s figure and over 10% more than the previous high of C$270M set in October 2020.


Cannabis Sector A Booming Industry In Canada

Through its legalization in 2018, Marijuana is now only policed and regulated to the same level as alcohol and tobacco. This allowed Cannabis to establish itself as an industry, giving Cannabis entrepreneurs a more legitimate platform to flourish. As of June 2020, there are approximately 769 Cannabis stores in Canada, with the province of Alberta having the most with 372.

The production and manufacturing of Cannabis have also boomed in Canada since 2018’s legalisation. As of December 2020, Canada has approximately 275 Cannababis growing businesses and 85 cannabis product manufacturing business.


Medical Marijuana Has Become Popular Alternative to Traditional Medicine

Medical Marijuana has been legal and available in Canada since 2001 and since then many Canadians have turned to Cannabis to help with some common ailments and symptoms such as sleeping disorders, depression and anxiety disorders. As of March 2020, there were almost 330,000 registered Medical Marijuana patients in Canada.

Over 35,000 Canadians are also registered for personal production of Medical Marijuana as of March 2020 and 499 licenses have been issued for the cultivation and/or sale of Medical Marijuana as of September 2020.

You can read more about the story with more statistics and information at:  https://tradingplatforms.com/blog/2021/03/29/cannabis-sector-highest-growing-industry-in-canada-50-gdp-growth-in-2020/

Empowering Africa: Parliament defines strategy for a new EU-Africa partnership


  • Commission plans a good basis for future relationship between Africa and the EU
  • Strategy should aim to empower African governments
  • Parliament set out its stance on education, agriculture, gender, debt relief and migration


Europe and Africa must move away from a donor-recipient relationship, Parliament says, as MEPs vision for a deeper relationship between the two continents.

On Thursday, MEPs adopted a wide-ranging strategy for a new EU-Africa partnership by 460 votes in favour, with 64 votes against and 163 abstentions.


The strategy emphasises that human development must be at the centre of future EU-Africa relations, prioritising education, including teacher training, reducing early school leaving, and concentrate on the inclusion of girls. A future EU-Africa strategy should also aim to improve health care and national health systems.


Additionally, MEPs call for cooperation on issues such as the green transition, energy, digital transformation, sustainable jobs, good governance and migration, as already identified by the Commission and the European External Action Service.


Empowering Africa

MEPs underline that the EU-Africa relationship must “move beyond the donor-recipient relationship”. Instead, the EU and Africa should cooperate on equal terms, as part of an EU-Africa strategy that empowers African governments to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), curb climate change, and foster gender equality, among other targets. To achieve this, MEPs call for substantial funds to be earmarked for the SDGs in the upcoming external financial instrument NDICI - Global Europe.


Expectations for a future strategy

Parliament’s expectations for the future EU-Africa strategy also include long-term EU financial and technical support for African countries to boost climate adaptation, and today’s report includes a demand for Europe to support African regional integration with the intention of eventually helping to reduce the continent’s dependence on foreign imports.


The EU also has to encourage African ambitions for a continental free trade area, while international lenders, such as the IMF and the World Bank, should do more to relieve African government debt, MEPs stress.


Finally, they demanded the EU protects sexual and reproductive health and rights in the new partnership, alongside the safeguarding of the human dignity of refugees and migrants.



Rapporteur Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (Renew, FR), said: Africa, in all its diversity and desire to release its untapped potential, will have a decisive impact on the future of the world. Our African friends are our allies and all Europeans have to grasp the importance and the opportunity that this partnership offers to us. This Parliament wants a partnership that places human relationships at its centre, which starts with reinforcing Africa's healthcare systems; we also have to implement an EU-Africa Green Pact. To succeed, we will need all 27 member states - and not just a select few – to actively engage in this partnership.”


Next steps

The resolution will contribute to the development of the future EU-Africa strategy. The process will be concluded with the adoption of the joint strategy at the EU-African Union Summit, to be held later this year.



In 2020, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the renewal of the EU-Africa relationship.

Beijing’s Tourism Revenue Dropped by 53% in 2020 - Loss of Over ¥330B 


The tourism industry was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the city of Beijing saw the momentum of the industry halted in 2020. Beijing had become an increasingly popular tourist destination prior to the pandemic with revenue from inbound tourism recorded at $5.16B in 2019. According to data presented by TradingPlatforms.com, Beijing’s total revenue from tourism decreased by over 53% in 2020 for a staggering loss of ¥330B or $50B.


Beijing Revenue From Tourism Dropped By Over $50B After Years Of Growth

China has long moved on from its isolationist policies and has long encouraged the mainland as a travel destination for tourists. Revenue from China’s tourism sector grew at a strong 13.8% CAGR from 2010-2019 to ¥5.7T or almost $880B. In 2019, China was the fourth most visited country by foreign tourists with 65.7M arrivals for the year.

Beijing is one of the leading tourist destinations in China and the city has been enjoying the growth of the tourism sector until the pandemic of 2020 hit. From 2016-2019 Beijing’s tourism revenue experienced a 5.53% CAGR, rising to a value of ¥622.7B in 2019. However, COVID-19 shut borders around the world, crippling global mobility and disrupting the momentum built up by Beijing’s tourism industry. Beijing’s revenue from tourism dropped over 53% in 2020 to just over ¥291.

Beijing suffered a staggering loss in revenue specifically in inbound tourism where revenue dropped from $5.16B in 2019 to just $480M in 2020.


COVID-19 Hit China Early - Caused Massive Disruption in H1 of 2020

China felt the effects of COVID-19 before much of the rest of the world did. A clear example of this is in the drop in weekly Airbnb bookings from the period between January 5th to March 7th when the Coronavirus was just news to the rest of the world of what was happening in various parts of China. Beijing experienced a dizzying 96% drop in weekly AirBnB bookings compared to just 46% in Seoul and 29% in Tokyo in this time period.

The number of domestic tourists is estimated to have dropped by as much as 62% in the first half of 2020 compared to the year prior with revenues dropping by as much as 77%. By the end of the year, China had experienced a 43% drop in domestic tourists and a 52% drop in revenue from domestic tourism.


Tourism in China Projected To Completely Recover Within 5 Years

In 2019, the absolute economic contribution of tourism in China was estimated at $1.67T. This fell sharply to just $745.5B in 2020 - a decrease of more than 55% but still the largest in Asia and the second-largest overall after the USA. However, projections have the figure bouncing back up by over 40.5% in 2021 to $1.04T. The figure is projected to surpass pre-pandemic levels for the first time in 2023 when the absolute economic contribution of tourism is projected to be at $1.75T.

Despite the turmoil of 2020, China’s absolute economic contribution from tourism is projected to have an impressive CAGR of 20.75% from 2021-2025, reaching more than $2.67T by the end of the forecast period.

You can read more about the story with more statistics and information here

1.3M Electric Vehicles Were Sold In China In 2020 – Projected For 51% Increase By 2021


China has become a relatively rich market for Electric vehicles (EVs) in recent times, and companies like Tesla have pounced on the opportunity. China posted a record number of EVs sold in the country in 2020 despite the global downturn of the automotive industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data presented by TradingPlatforms.com, 1.3M EVs were sold in China in 2020 - a rise of 8% YoY but is projected to grow by over 51% in 2021 to almost 2M.


EV Enters Mainstream, China One of Promising Markets Despite Negative Effects of Pandemic

EVs have entered the automotive mainstream in recent times with Tesla setting the tone for affordable and yet stylish EVs. In 2019, the global EV market was valued at just over $162B and is expected to see tremendous growth in the next decade. The global EV market is projected to have a compound annual growth rate of 22.12% in the period from 2019-2026 and rise to a value of almost $803B in 2026.

China is a particularly strong market for EVs where a record number of EVs were sold in 2020. However, recent policy changes around the EV industry in China and the more recent Coronavirus pandemic slowed down the strong momentum EVs once generated. Despite this, the number of EVs sold in China still saw a modest increase of 8% YoY from 2019-2020 to a record 1.3M units sold.

Demand is also expected to rebound after 2020’s sharp downturn for the entire industry and EV sales are projected to increase by over 51% to almost 2M EVs sold. Automotive industry expert Chris Jones noted: “Prospects are very good for China’s EV market in 2021. There is already an excellent network of standardized public EV chargers in China, good government support and now a return to strong consumer demand.”


SAIC-GM-Wuling and Tesla Carried Chinese EV Industry Through Turbulent Time

Two brands and their vehicles carried the Chinese EV industry through a difficult period caused by the pandemic; SAIC-GM-Wuling and Tesla. The Tesla Model 3 was the most popular EV in China for a time until the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV entered the market in the middle of 2020. As of July 2020, the Tesla Model 3 was the most registered new electric car in China with the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV already following closely behind.

An estimated 11,000 Model 3’s had been registered by that period while 7,250 Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV had already been registered despite deliveries only starting in the same month. By the end of 2020, SAIC-GM-Wuling had become the most popular EV brand in China with an estimated 177,000 units in car sales compared to Tesla’s 137,460 units.

The two brands offer two very different EVs and yet found shared success that carried the Chinese EV market through a difficult time. Jones further notes: “If it had not been for the huge success of these two very different EVs, the Chinese EV market would have declined in 2020. Between them, the two models represented one in five of all EVs sold in China.”

You can read more about the story with more statistics and information here  

Human rights breaches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bahrain and Cambodia


  • The DRC authorities must thoroughly investigate the murder of Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio, a military police officer and the driver of the vehicle
  • The Bahraini authorities must commute the death sentences against Mohammed Ramadan and Husain Ali Moosa
  • The Cambodian government must end its repression of the political opposition and human rights defenders


On Thursday, Parliament adopted three resolutions taking stock of the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bahrain and Cambodia.

The situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the assassination of the Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio and two of his staff


The European Parliament condemns in the strongest terms the killing of Italian Ambassador to the DRC Luca Attanasio, his driver Mustapha Milambo, and Vittorio Iacovacci, an Italian military police officer, during an attack on their convoy in the eastern part of the country on 22 February.

Gunmen ambushed the ambassador and his staff whilst they were travelling in a UN vehicle from Goma to visit a UN World Food Programme (WFP) school project in Rutshuru.

MEPs call for a thorough, independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the murders. They welcome the DRC President Félix Tshisekedi’s commitment to launch an inquiry and call for full cooperation with the Italian authorities and the United Nations.

Persistent and serious human rights abuses and international humanitarian law violations against civilians in the eastern DRC are of serious concern, MEPs say. These include summary executions, sexual and gender-based violence, and the large-scale recruitment and use of children by armed groups, as well as the killing of civilians by members of the DRC security forces.

For all the details, the resolution will be available in full here (11.03.2021). It was adopted by 669 votes in favour, 4 against with 17 abstentions.


The human rights situation in the Kingdom of Bahrain, in particular the cases of death row inmates and human rights defenders


MEPs are deeply concerned that ten years after the Bahraini ‘Arab Spring’ uprising, in 2011, the human rights situation in the country continues to worsen. Arbitrary arrests continue, the death penalty is still being applied, human rights defenders are prosecuted and harassed, and civil and political rights and freedoms of association, assembly, and expression continue to be denied.

The resolution strongly condemns the sentencing to death of Mohammed Ramadan and Husain Ali Moosa, and urges the Bahraini authorities, and in particular His Majesty Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, to halt their execution immediately. Their sentences must also be commuted and there must be a retrial that fully complies with international fair trial standards and excludes evidence obtained under torture, MEPs say.

The European Parliament further strongly deplores the lifting of the de facto moratorium on the use of the death penalty in Bahrain and calls on the authorities to introduce immediately a new moratorium on the use of capital punishment as a step towards its abolition. MEPs also demand that all human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience in the country be immediately and unconditionally released.

The Bahraini government must stop harassing human rights defenders and immediately lift the travel ban on them, MEPs stress. The country’s authorities must also guarantee that human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate activities under all circumstances.

For a complete overview, the resolution will be available in full here (11.03.2021). It was adopted by 633 votes in favour, 11 against with 45 abstentions.


The mass trials against the opposition and civil society in Cambodia

Parliament calls on the Cambodian government to stop harassing, intimidating and charging members of the political opposition, trade unionists, human rights defenders, the media and civil society actors with crimes for politically motivated reasons. It also urges the country’s security forces to refrain from unnecessary and excessive force against those engaged in peaceful protests.

The resolution demands that the Cambodian authorities release, without delay, all persons who have been detained for exercising their human rights, and demands that all charges against these people be dropped. The authorities must also immediately and unconditionally annul the sentences against prominent members of the opposition, such as Sam Rainsy, and all those arbitrarily sentenced alongside him.

MEPs are appalled by the escalating violations of human rights in Cambodia, including violence against peaceful protesters, the adoption of new repressive laws and the arrest of human rights defenders, journalists, opposition party activists, environmentalists, students and ordinary citizens for peacefully expressing their opinions.

They also state that targeted EU sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against Cambodian leaders and their economic interests are overdue, and urge the Council to adopt restrictive measures against the political leaders and leaders of the security forces responsible for serious human rights violations under the EU global human rights sanctions regime.

For all the details, the resolution will be available in full here (11.03.2021). It was adopted by 610 votes in favour, 43 against with 37 abstentions.

Commonwealth Day Message from Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth 

“Over the coming week, as we celebrate the friendship, spirit of unity and achievements of the Commonwealth, we have an opportunity to reflect on a time like no other. 

“Whilst experiences of the last year have been different across the Commonwealth, stirring examples of courage, commitment and selfless dedication to duty have been demonstrated in every Commonwealth nation and territory, notably by those working on the frontline who have been delivering healthcare and other public services in their communities. We have also taken encouragement from remarkable advances in developing new vaccines and treatments. 

“The testing times experienced by so many have led to a deeper appreciation of the mutual support and spiritual sustenance we enjoy by being connected to others. 

“The need to maintain greater physical distance, or to live and work largely in isolation, has, for many people across the Commonwealth, been an unusual experience. In our everyday lives, we have had to become more accustomed to connecting and communicating via innovative technology – which has been new to some of us – with conversations and communal gatherings, including Commonwealth meetings, conducted online, enabling people to stay in touch with friends, family, colleagues and counterparts, who they have not been able to meet in person. Increasingly, we have found ourselves able to enjoy such communication, as it offers an immediacy that transcends boundaries or division, helping any sense of distance to disappear.

“We have all continued to appreciate the support, breadth of experiences and knowledge that working together brings, and I hope we shall maintain this renewed sense of closeness and community. Looking forward, relationships with others across the Commonwealth will remain important, as we strive to deliver a common future that is sustainable and more secure, so that the nations and neighbourhoods in which we live, wherever they are located, become healthier and happier places for us all.”

WATCH the video of the Commonwealth message from Her Majesty The Queen here

Almost One-Third of USD Billionaires In the World Are From China


In 2020 China became the first country to have more than 1000 billionaires among its citizens. Despite the hardships of 2020, China added over 250 more billionaires, allowing them to reach an important milestone. According to data presented by TradingPlatforms.com, There are now 1058 billionaires in Greater China, over 32% of the world’s total billionaire population.


China Added 259 Billionaires in 2020, Extends Lead on USA

2020 was an unprecedented year in many aspects with many industries negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, 2020 actually saw the biggest wealth increase of the last decade with an average of 8 billionaires being added to the billionaire list every week for the whole year.

Impressively, China added more billionaires to the list than the rest of the world combined in 2020. China added 259 billionaires in 2020 making them the first country in the world to have 1000 ‘known’ USD billionaires with a total of 1058 - over 32% of the world’s total billionaire population. This gives China more billionaires than the combined total of the next three countries on the list; USA (696), India (40) and Germany (19). In the last 5 years alone, China has added 490 billionaires to the list while the USA added 160.

Notably, 2020 marked the first time, perhaps in hundreds of years, that the continent of Asia had more billionaires than the rest of the world combined, accounting for over 51% of the entire planet’s known billionaires.


New Industrial Revolution In The Aftermath Of COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 reshaped many landscapes with the world needing to adapt to a ‘new normal.’ As drastic as the events of 2020 were, long term thinking and mentality of businesses and industries may have shifted after the learnings from the pandemic. When the pandemic’s first wave hit many developed markets at the beginning of 2020, massive amounts of wealth was wiped out in the first two months of the coronavirus outbreak. However, soon after that, an almost V-shaped recovery took place spearheaded by a global economy needing to go digital.

Experts explained: “EVs, e-commerce, blockchain and biotech have been the fastest growing industries of the past year…. We are currently right in the heart of a new industrial revolution, with the ABCDEs – that is AI, blockchain, cloud, data and e-commerce - creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and leading to a concentration of wealth and economic power on a scale never seen before. The world’s billionaires now have US$14 trillion of wealth between them, more than the GDP of China last year.”

As a result, tech billionaires such as Elon Musk ($197B) saw an incredible increase in their wealth in 2020, even propelling the enigmatic billionaire to become the richest person in the world, a title that he alternates with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($189).


More Blockchain Billionaires on 2020 List

Blockchain, in particular, grew strongly in 2020, adding 11 billionaires to the list for a total of 17 billionaires from the new industries of crypto exchanges, investors, and crypto miners. In total, blockchain wealth amounted to $77B in 2020, led by Brian Armstrong of Coinbase with $11.5B.

You can read more about the story with more statistics and information at:  https://tradingplatforms.com/blog/2021/03/10/almost-one-third-of-usd-billionaires-in-the-world-are-from-china/

This year Commonwealth Day will be celebrated on 8 March across the world in a series of virtual events, beginning on 7 March with a service at the UK’s Westminster Abbey (to be broadcast by the BBC). 

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, will give her annual message on ‘A Celebration for Commonwealth Day’ during the BBC programme. 

Across the Commonwealth, communities will celebrate the day through a range of activities including virtual flag-raising events, online gatherings of civic and faith communities, and school readings, where permitted. 


In her Commonwealth Day message <https://thecommonwealth.org/sites/default/files/inline/D17437_2_V6_SGO_CWday_2021_SG_Message_J_Woodside_EMBARGO.pdf> , the Secretary-General Patricia Scotland described this year as one of “hope, opportunity and progress” for the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion people. 

She said: “Too often, too many of us can think we are powerless. This is particularly true in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges such as climate change or devastating events like the global pandemic. 

“Especially in our current forced isolation and separation from each other, it can be too easy to forget our common connections or our long bonds of friendship and family.” 

The Secretary-General went on say: “So while the challenges may seem insurmountable alone, I know that as a Commonwealth family, though we may be apart, we stand together, united in purpose… Let us work together for a more equal and equitable, a more hopeful future for our Commonwealth and for our world.” 

The day will be guided by this year’s theme ‘Delivering a Common Future’, which will highlight how the 54 Commonwealth countries are ‘innovating, connecting and transforming’ to help achieve priority goals such as tackling climate change, promoting good governance, achieving gender equality and boosting trade. 

This year Commonwealth Day falls on the same date as International Women’s Day. The Commonwealth Secretariat will host a number of events <https://thecommonwealth.org/commonwealth-day>  in observance of these days. 

Commonwealth citizens are encouraged to join the Secretariat’s social media campaign by naming extraordinary women leaders in their communities using #SheLeadsTheWay. (view toolkit here <https://thecommonwealth.org/sites/default/files/inline/CW-day_SocialMediaToolkit_2021_March.pdf> ) 

Commonwealth Day has been observed every year since the 1970s. This is the first virtual celebration due to COVID-19. 

A video of the Commonwealth Day messages from Her Majesty The Queen and the Commonwealth Secretary-General will be available online on the Commonwealth Secretariat’s website <https://thecommonwealth.org>  at 17:00GMT on 7 March.

MEPs call for additional EU sanctions against Russia over Navalny’s imprisonment


MEPs strongly condemn Alexei Navalny’s arrest and call on the EU to extend sanctions against Russian officials to cover those involved in his jailing.

In a debate with EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday afternoon, MEPs called on the Russian authorities to immediately release Russian opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, stressing that his arrest and the way it happened clearly contravene international law and the Russian constitution.

MEPs also demand that EU sanctions currently being applied to Russian officials responsible for poisoning Mr Navalny should be enlarged to cover those involved in his imprisonment. For all such purposes, the EU must not hesitate to use its new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, members stressed.

Some MEPs also argued that much more must be done to hold the Kremlin effectively accountable for its human rights abuses and for politicising the Russian justice system. Several called on the EU, and some national and regional governments in particular, to finally move ahead with cancelling the remaining work on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as a means to impose proper economic sanctions against the Russian government.

Others stated that the Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be afraid of following in the footsteps of Belarusian dictator Aliaksandr Lukashenka, and is therefore doing his utmost to arrest critics of the regime.

You can watch the debate again here. A resolution on Mr Navalny’s arrest will be put to the vote on Thursday.

New EU-UK agreement is welcome but thorough scrutiny remains, insist lead MEPs


Foreign Affairs and Trade MEPs welcome the new EU-UK agreement as a good deal but demand proper parliamentary scrutiny powers and thorough access to information. 

On Thursday morning, members on the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committees held a first joint meeting on the new EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, intensifying the parliamentary scrutiny process of the deal reached by EU and British negotiators on 24 December.


MEPs welcomed the agreement as a good solution, albeit thin. A no-deal would have brought a disaster for citizens and companies on both sides, speakers emphasized. At the same time, they stressed that the parliamentary scrutiny of this deal must go beyond mere ratification, insisting on thorough access to information and a clear role for Parliament in the implementation and future monitoring of the agreement.


In addition, members also highlighted the importance of fostering a close dialogue between the European Parliament and Westminster on future EU-UK relations.


They regretted that many aspects, including the Erasmus programme, foreign policy, security and defence cooperation, were not included in the negotiations on the future partnership. Some expressed concern about the future for environmental standards, as the new UK emissions trading system has only been in place since 1 January without clarity on how to link it up with the EU one.


For all statements and interventions, you can watch the meeting again here. (14.01.2021)


Rapporteurs’ remarks

Kati Piri (AFET, S&D, NL) said: “Parliament’s red lines will continue to be central in the scrutiny process. I welcome the fact that the EU managed to secure a single, clear governance framework. This will allow EU and British citizens, consumers and businesses legal certainty about the applicable rules and will ensure robust compliance guarantees by the parties.


“At the same time, it is also important to be frank: we did not want or choose Brexit. So it is with regret and sadness that we acknowledge that this was the democratic choice of the British people. And sadly, the agreement itself falls far short of the Political Declaration that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself signed just months prior to the negotiations.”


Christophe Hansen (INTA, EPP, LU) said: “It is a very thin agreement. But I welcome the fact that there are no quotas and tariffs, and with that we avoided falling back to WTO rules that would have hurt a lot of our sectors, including agriculture and cars.


“I regret very much that the UK decided not to take part in Erasmus. This jeopardises the future for 170,000 Europeans in the UK and 100,000 UK students in the EU. I also regret that future Geographical Indications are not covered, which is contrary to the Political Declaration.


“I would have liked that services were reflected somewhat broader in the agreement. Nevertheless, regulatory cooperation on financial services will be negotiated until March.


“It is important not to let the consent drag on forever. Provisional application is not the legal security that businesses and citizens deserve after all these years.”


Next steps

The two committees will in due course vote on the consent proposal prepared by the two standing rapporteurs to allow for a plenary vote before the end of the provisional application of the agreement.


In addition to the plenary vote, Parliament will also vote on an accompanying resolution prepared by the political groups in the UK Coordination Group and the Conference of Presidents.



The new Trade and Cooperation agreement has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021. For it to enter into force permanently, it requires the consent of the Parliament. Parliament has repeatedly expressed that it considers the current provisional application to be the result of a set of unique circumstances and an exercise not to be repeated.


MEPs on the International Trade Committee held a first meeting on the new EU-UK deal on Monday 11 January, during which they promised thorough scrutiny of the agreement. Read more here.

Trade MEPs promise thorough scrutiny of the EU-UK agreement


Trade MEPs on Monday welcomed the achievements of the agreement between the EU and the UK but promised detailed scrutiny of the deal before a consent decision.

At the first discussion of the EU-UK trade and partnership agreement concluded on 24 December 2020, MEPs welcomed that it had avoided the cliff edge of a no-deal that would have brought a disaster for citizens and companies. Several of them, including Heidi Hautala (Greens/EFA, FI), said the outcome was “more satisfactory” than expected. Co-rapporteur on the consent procedure Christophe Hansen (EPP, LU) stressed: “this was first time we were organising a divorce not a wedding as we usually do for trade agreement”.


Divergence not convergence

Liesje Schreinemacher (Renew, NL) and other MEPs welcomed, in particular, the inclusion of standards in environmental protection, climate change and the labour area that cannot be undercut, the prohibition of data localisation, while trade committee chair Bernd Lange (DE, S&D) hailed the first sustainability chapter in EU trade deals that offers sanctions.

While welcoming the “divergence not convergence” free trade agreement for guaranteeing tariff-free access to the UK market while protecting the Single Market, MEPs nevertheless regretted that Parliament did not have time to consider its consent before the agreement went into provisional application. “This was a strategy by the UK to get last-minute concessions, and not to have their parliament to have a proper say. We would have preferred a proper ratification”, remarked Hansen.


Thorough scrutiny and loose ends

The committee will now scrutinize thoroughly the agreement including its “loose ends” instead of mere rubber-stamping, pledged several trade MEPs including Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D, BE). They regretted, for example, the UK not participating in the Erasmus+ program, or the lack of a deeper agreement on financial services. Other MEPs missed a regime on future Geographical Indications to protect European products.


Parliamentary role in implementation

Most MEPs insisted that democratically elected institutions like Parliament must have a role in the implementation and monitoring of the agreement or the selection of arbitration panel members. Geert Bourgeois (ECR, BE) emphasized the future role of an interparliamentary body in maintaining dialogue, while Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL, DE) called for a role of trade unions and NGOs in arbitration of fair competition violations.


Next steps

The trade committee will discuss the agreement together with the Committee on Foreign Affairs on 14 January. The two committees will eventually vote on the consent proposal and an accompanying resolution prepared by the two rapporteurs Hansen and Kati Piri (S&D, NL) at the end of February or in March.



The Trade and Cooperation agreement has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021. For it to enter into force permanently, it needs the consent of the Parliament.

Tripling Renewables Investment to Reach Climate Goal


New report confirms global investment rise in 2013-2018, but calls for considerable mobilisation of capital to recover from COVID-19 and build a climate-safe world 


Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 10 November 2020 – Global renewable energy investment increased between 2013 and 2018, reaching its peak at USD 351 billion in 2017, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Climate Policy Initiative (CPI). The 2020 edition of Global Landscape of Renewable Energy Finance highlights however, that while a cumulative USD 1.8 trillion were invested during the five-year period, the amount falls short to achieve the global climate commitments.


Renewable energy investment slightly declined in 2018, with modest growth through 2019. Although this was largely due to the decreasing costs of renewables, the total installed capacity continued to grow. The current level of investment is still insufficient however to keep the rise in global temperatures within the 1.5°C objective by mid-century. To achieve this climate goal, investment in diverse renewables technologies must almost triple annually to USD 800 billion by 2050. 


Ambitious commitments from governments are needed, backed by supporting measures such as moving subsidies away from fossil fuels. Further investments are also needed in system integration and enabling technologies that increase system flexibility such as batteries and energy storage. To that end, policies that enable the integration of new renewables capacity additions into the energy systems are needed, leading to their decarbonisation and bringing wide socio-economic benefits.


“The investment trend in renewable energy before COVID-19 was a positive one,” said Francesco La Camera, IRENA’s Director-General. “But COVID-19 has shown us that much more effort is urgently needed to put us on a climate compatible pathway and help us recover better with a sustainable, resilient economy. Decision makers must design systemic approaches to policies that encourage and speed up the flow of investment into renewables, and away from fossil fuels, and doing so enable economic growth, social resilience and welfare.” 


IRENA’s post-COVID agenda showed that average annual investments of USD 2 trillion in renewables and other energy transition-related technologies in the 2021-2023-recovery phase could create 5.5 million additional jobs in the sector. An additional 19 million energy transition-related jobs would be created by 2030, following average annual investments of USD 4.5 trillion up to 2030. 


The majority of these investments could come from private sources, if government funds are used strategically to nudge investment decisions and financing in the right direction. The capital is available, with a push from the governments to mobilise it.  Public funds are able to leverage private investments by a factor of 3 to 4 if used strategically to steer investments toward clean energy solutions and away from fossil fuels. Greater participation of institutional investors – which hold about USD 87 trillion in assets – will help to reach the scale of global investment needed. To this end, it is key to promote the use of capital market solutions, such as green bonds, that address the needs of these investors. The potential role of institutional investors for the global energy transition is further explored in IRENA’s report, Mobilising Institutional Capital for Renewable Energy, published this month.


“There is a very clear need for a rapid increase of investment in renewable energy coupled with a significant reduction and redirection of investment away from fossil fuel energy,” said Dr Barbara Buchner, CPI’s Global Managing Director. “We call for more effort and coordination among policy makers, public and private finance institutions, energy and non-energy producing corporations, and institutional investors to speed up the global energy transition. This action is fundamental to a more sustainable and resilient future.“ 


This year’s joint report analyses for the first time financial commitments to off-grid renewables technologies in developing markets, as they can bring the world closer to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 on universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030. Providing cost-effective energy solutions, off-grid renewables are essential in a time when energy access is crucial to power healthcare facilities, save lives and create jobs. While investments in off-grid renewables solutions kept growing, reaching an all-time-high USD 460 million in 2019, additional capital must be unlocked especially for income-generating activities and productive uses to improve the livelihoods and resilience of billions of women and men globally and to promote socio-economic benefits. 


Looking ahead, policy makers need to signal long-term political commitment and enhance partnerships with the private sector to boost investors confidence and attract additional private capital in the sector. To that effect, the report laid out five specific recommendations that policy makers should implement to engage private sector actors, including institutional investors, capital market players and non-energy producing companies, in the collective path to green recovery and climate objectives.

Honda appoints Gordon Brothers to manage the sale of Machinery, Plant and Equipment from its Swindon Factory


London, UK, October 13, 2020 - Gordon Brothers, the global advisory, restructuring and investment firm, announced today that it has been appointed exclusive asset selling agent of Honda of the UK Manufacturing’s (Honda) machinery and equipment from its fully integrated automotive manufacturing plant in Swindon, England.  This sale of one of Europe’s largest automotive plants will commence later this month with multiple online auctions, plus ongoing private treaty sales prior to the plant closure in July 2021.  The entire project will span 18 months and is expected to attract a global audience of prospective buyers.


The plant holds Honda production and assembly operations that cover more than 370 acres which at its peak manufactured approx. 250,000 cars per year.  The facility is due to cease production and permanently close in July 2021.

Gordon Brothers Commercial and Industrial Managing Director, Duncan Ainscough, said “We are excited to announce our appointment as sole asset selling agent for the Honda Manufacturing Equipment in Swindon.  The transaction presents a unique opportunity for us to partner with one of the largest car companies in the world and offer our expertise in commercial and industrial disposition.  The plant and machinery are very well maintained, in excellent condition and we expect to receive strong demand, making this an attractive project for our team.”  

Gordon Brothers, an expert in the disposition of commercial and industrial assets, has been privileged to work with four out of the five major global automotive companies.  Withover 1,200 engagements completed and £11 billion of automotive assets appraised, the team is well-positioned to successfully complete this major project.

More information regarding the sale, including a full asset list, will be released in due course.  The assets for sale will feature state-of-the-art automotive equipment, including engine manufacturing, vehicle assembly, a press shop, welding, injection moulding, die-casting, general machine tools and a paint plant.  The sale will also encompass office, kitchen and workshop apparatus.  The facility, located in Wiltshire, UK, will be available for inspection by appointment only.  

For more information, please visit our website here.

For any enquires on the sale, please contact Duncan Ainscough dainscough@gordonbrothers.com / +44 (0)7785 221919.

For all press enquiries please contact Nicola Goodman at BWP Group, GBcomms@bwpgroup.com


Major tech companies launch European climate initiative


500 tech companies from around the continent are committed to decarbonizing their industry


Europe’s leading tech companies, such as Delivery Hero, BlaBla Car, Wefox, Doctolib, Ecosia, GetYourGuide, Flixbus, Glovo, Cabify, Personio and major VC funds such as eVentures, Heartcore Capital, Northzone, Picus Capital, Project A, HoltzbrinckVentures, Acton Capital, Earlybird have joined forces under the initiative, Leaders for Climate Action. Their aim is to fight the climate crisis by pledging to turn their own companies carbon-neutral, building an active community that sets more sustainable industry standards, and influencing


policy-makers. Together, the current members of LFCA comprise around 100,000 employees and about a billion active users, which gives the initiative impressive potential to drive measurable climate action on an industry level.


“Our goal is to turn the whole digital industry climate neutral, influence policymakers to set a global carbon price and act as an example for other industries.” - states one of the LFCA co-founders, serial entrepreneur, and investor, Ferry Heilemann.


LFCA takes a unique approach to growth by connecting directly from leader to leader, which has proven its effectiveness. Only one year ago LFCA started out as a small group of entrepreneurs from the Berlin tech industry and grew to a full-scale international movement. Over this time, members of the community have actively worked on the reduction of their carbon footprint (-20% goal) and initiated a collective investment of over €4m in climate protection projects, saving more than 250,000 tons of CO2. This is a promising beginning, considering that more than half of the companies are still in the process of emissions measurement - as such, their efforts in reduction and compensation will only multiply this impact over the coming months.


“We bet on personal commitments. The only way for any founder or CEO to join our initiative is to fulfill the Green Pledge

This means that they have to measure, reduce, and offset their personal carbon footprint, and commit to doing the same with their companies.” - explains LFCA and Gameduell Co-Founder Boris Wasmuth - “Thanks to this clear public and personal commitment, changes in companies can go much faster than ever before.”


LFCA provides a clear framework and digital tools for climate action. Membership is free of charge but, to maintain it, companies must repeat the process of measurement, reduction and compensation from year to year. More than 60% of member companies have already implemented impactful reduction measures, such as switching to renewable energy and carbon-neutral cloud providers or maintaining stricter travel policies. The average member company aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 20% in the first year.


Going beyond the company level, the community drives climate action in finance, too. This year, more than 25 leading VC funds have joined the “Sustainability Clause” initiated by LFCA. They’ve integrated the clause into both default term sheets and shareholder agreements. As a result, many of the newly financed companies will commit themselves to measuring their carbon emissions and working on reduction measures.



LCFA is a global community of 650 digital entrepreneurs, united by the will to counter the climate crisis through their own concrete actions and demand more effective legislation from policymakers. Their vision is to turn the digital industry climate-neutral worldwide and thus set an example for other industries.

World's Five Largest Gold Producing Companies Hit $157.7bn in Market Cap, a 73% Jump Since January


Although the Covid-19 outbreak disrupted gold mine production and mineral exchanges, the stock price of the leading gold producing companies globally significantly increased in 2020. 

According to data presented by AksjeBloggen.com, the market capitalization of the world's five largest gold producing companies hit $157.7bn in September, a 73% jump since the beginning of the year. 

Newmont Corporation Market Cap Soared Almost 80% in 2020

The coronavirus crisis knocked down global physical gold demand to its lowest level since 2009, as the price of the precious metal hit new all-time highs. However, as the scale of the pandemic and its potential economic impact started to emerge, investors turned to the gold market, causing a surge in global demand for investment gold. 

In December 2019, the market cap of Newmont Corporation, the largest of the top gold producing companies in the world, stood at $29.3bn, revealed the Yahoo Finance data. The corporation, which holds significant operations in North and South America, Asia, Australia, and Africa, produced 195.7 tonnes of gold last year, a 25% increase year-on-year. 

By the middle of March, the combined value of the company's stocks rose to $35.8bn, despite the stock market crash caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The increasing trend continued in the following months, with the market cap jumping to $45bn in June. Statistics indicate the total value of stocks of the world's largest gold producer hit $52.8bn in September, almost 80% increase since the beginning of the year. 

Russia's Largest Gold Producer Polyus Witnessed the Biggest Market Cap Increase

Barrick Gold ranked second on the list of the leading gold producers globally, with a production level of 170 tonnes in 2019, nearly 20% increase from the previous year. The company's 10-year plan is based on production guidance of around 5 million ounces of gold per year.

Statistics show that the Toronto-based corporation's market capitalization surged by 67% this year, rising from $30.9bn in December 2019 to $51.9bn in September. 

The gold production level of AngloGold Ashanti, the third-largest company on this list, amounted to 102.1 tonnes in 2019, a slight decrease from the 106.1 tonnes it produced in 2018. In December, the market cap of the South African company with 17 gold operations in nine countries, stood at $9.46bn. During the last nine months, it rose to $11.66bn, a 23% jump since the beginning of the year. 

Polyus produced 88.4 tonnes of gold last year, rising from seventh to fourth place on the list of the ten largest gold mining companies globally. The Yahoo Finance data also revealed the leading gold producer in Russia witnessed the most significant increase in market capitalization among the top five gold-mining companies. In December, the combined value of the company's stocks amounted to $15.26bn. In September, it hit $30.65bn, a 100% jump in nine months. 

Statistics show the market cap of Kinross Gold, the fifth-largest gold producer globally, rose by more than 80% since the beginning of the year to $10.74bn in September. 

The full story can be read here

Six out of 10 countries with highest National debt-to-GDP ratio are EU nations


Data presented by Buy Shares shows that six European Union countries make up the top ten nations with a highest National-to-GDP ratio. From the research, Japan has the highest ratio at 268.21%.

U.S. debt continues to spike 

Greece is second with a ratio of 214.29% while the Itlay is third at 156.92%. The United States has the fifth highest debt-to-GDP ratio at 136.69% while the United Kingdom is tenth at 100.87%.

The Buy Shares report also overviewed countries with the highest GDP and also the highest national debt. As of September 3rd, the United States has the highest GDP $19.54 trillion followed by China at $14.57 trillion. Japan’s GDP almost five times less compared to the US at $4.53 trillion.

Under national debt, the United States is on top with $26.71 trillion. The debt is almost double compared to second-placed Japan with a debt of $12.15 trillion.  China has the third highest national debt globally at $7.32 trillion.

The US national debt continues to spiral to historical levels threatening the economy. According to the research report:

"The United States has seen it’s national debt spike into crisis levels even surpassing the GDP. The massive spending in stimulus packages to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic is projected to push the national debt beyond the size of the economy. Interestingly, despite the US debt hitting historical highs, the stock market in August saw the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average recover from March losses."

The U.S. is among countries that pumped more money into the economy to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The full story, statistics and information can be found here

Mark Zuckerberg owned social networks controls almost 7 billion users globally


Data gathered by Buy Shares indicates social networking platforms owned by Mark Zuckerberg have access to about 6.98 billion users as of July 2020. The figure represents 47.8% of the active users among the top 15 list of social networks or 7.68 billion users.

Facebook users account for at least 34% of the global population

Facebook leads the way with 2.6 billion users, a staggering 34.66% of the global population. The Zuckerberg flagship social network also ranks top globally. WhatsApp with about two billion active users ranks second under Zuckerberg's networks and third overall.

On the other hand, Facebook Messanger still under the Zuckerberg has 1.3 billion users ranking fourth overall. Photo sharing platform, Instagram controls about 1.08 billion active users globally to occupy the sixth spot overall.

The Buy Shares report acknowledges that Zuckerberg owned social networks continue to face stiff competition from emerging platforms like Tik Tok that have introduced new features. According to the report:

"TikTok gained huge popularity in video making due to its powerful camera tools like Pride, Face Filters 3D Mask, AR. Zuckerberg might have an edge if US President Donald Trump goes ahead and bans TikTok and WeChat, which he declared national emergencies over alleged privacy breaches. "

Notably, Facebook has a reputation for copying features from emerging competitors and incorporating them into its existing social networks.

The full story, statistics and information can be found here

Toyota Number One: Most Profitable Car Company in the World Also Leads the Way for Environmental Protection & Patents


* With an EBIT margin of 8.2%, Toyota is the most profitable automotive group

* Japanese firm with quarterly profit despite corona crisis, while competitors make heavy losses

* No other car manufacturer as close to the EU-wide target of 95 grams of co2 emissions per kilometer

* Toyota leads the way in autonomous driving with 1,143 patents


With an EBIT margin of 8.2%, Toyota was the world's most profitable automotive group last year. Even during the Corona crisis, the company generated quarterly profits of up to 110 million euros, while its German competitors posted losses, some of them substantial. As can be seen in a new infographic from Kryptoszene.de, the Japanese also took top positions in other respects.


Around every second car sold by Toyota in Europe today is a hybrid. No other car manufacturer comes as close to the new EU-wide target of 95 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per kilometre driven. Furthermore, the infographic shows that no other automotive group in the world has registered as many patents in the field of autonomous driving as Toyota, who have filed a total of 1,143. 


Last year the Japanese made a profit of 22.7 billion euros. Volkswagen achieved the second-highest winnings, although this gap is huge: the Wolfsburg-based company's profit amounted to just 12 billion euros. 


Although Toyota seems to have a lot going for it, its shares enjoy a niche existence in Germany. According to their surveys, the German demand for Toyota shares on Google is moderate. The Google Trend Score, which indicates the relative search volume, is quoted at 31. A value of 100 stands for the highest possible search demand.


"Even though Toyota seem to be doing a lot of things right, their shares are trading significantly lower than before the corona stock market crash," reports Kryptoszene analyst Raphael Lulay. "German car manufacturers such as Daimler have already been able to add significantly more value since the low - whether this is justified remains to be seen. Especially when compared directly with Toyota, the competition seems to have some catching up to do in many respects".


The full story here with the infographic, facts and more statistics

Apple’s services segment most growing with over 161% revenue increase in 5 years


Data gathered by Buy Shares shows that Apple’s services segment grew by 161.63% between the third quarter of 2015 and the third quarter of this year. The figure makes it the most growing segment for the tech giant.

iPhone revenue declines 

At the end of the third quarter of 2015, services recorded a revenue of  $5.03 billion growing to  $13.16 billion in the third quarter of this year.  In the second quarter of this year, the revenue was $13.35 billion, representing a growth of 4.95% compared to $12.72 billion in revenue recorded in the first quarter.

The segment registered a slight drop of 1.86% between the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of last year. On the other hand, Apple’s iPhone segment recorded a negative growth declining by 15.77% during the same period. In the third quarter of 2015, the revenue was $31.37 billion while currently, it stands at $26.42 billion.

During the period under review, Mac sales averaged at $6.2 billion with a growth of 17.41% during the review period.

In the third quarter of 2015, iPad revenue was $4.54 billion which has grown by 44.93% to $6.58 in the third quarter of these years. Lastly, revenue from wearables, home, and accessories had a percentage growth of 144.31%.

Apple’s 2020’ results are viewed positively considering the circumstances. According to the research report:

"Notably, Apple’s revenue from other segments was projected to drop in the second and third quarters of this year after retail stores were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. CEO Tim Cook is on record acknowledging that the company was hit by the pandemic but users now rely on Apple products to stay connected, informed, creative, and productive."

The company is set to reopen retail stores in areas that are flattening the Covid-19 curve.

The full story, statistics and information can be found here

Infographic: Volkswagen Most Heavily Indebted Group in the World with Debts of $192 Billion US


  • With a debt burden of $192 billion, Volkswagen most indebted company in the world
  • Piles of debt almost equivalent to entire nations like South Africa or Hungary
  • Daimler and BMW also in top 10 with debts of $151 and $114 billion respectively
  • Despite debts: Volkswagen has second highest EBIT margin of all car manufacturers
  • Volkswagen also holds top place on innovations index


With a burden of $192 billion US, the Volkswagen Group is the most heavily indebted enterprise in the world. This can be seen in a new infographic from Kryptoszene.de. Their mountain of debt is comparable to that of entire nations such as South Africa or Hungary. All of this despite the fact that the Wolfsburg-based company is highly profitable and has the second-highest EBIT margin of any automotive group. 

As the infographic illustrates, along with Volkswagen, two other German groups are among the ten companies with the highest debt burden - namely Daimler and BMW with debts of $151 and $114 billion US respectively. An analysis of the financial data from the 900 largest companies by market capitalization reveals that US companies carry the highest debt burden overall. Germany and companies based there are in second place. 

Volkswagen does however also stand out in other respects. They are by far the most innovative automobile group, as is shown by an index ranking companies by innovations and world firsts in various areas of technology. In terms of profitability, Volkswagen also occupies a leading position in an industry comparison, with an EBIT margin last year of 7.3%. Only Toyota scored better with 8.4%. 

"Volkswagen's burden of debt is inflated partially by their car financing division," according to Kryptoscene analyst Raphael Lulay. "Even though high debts can be problematic, depending on business development, the Wolfsburgers demonstrate that they invest the money in a forward-looking way. The company leads the way in innovation and has a higher research budget than tech giants like Microsoft and Apple as well as other car manufacturers". 


The full story with the infographic, facts and more statistics:


EU action had little effect on halting the decline of wild pollinators, say auditors


EU measures did not ensure the protection of wild pollinators, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors (ECA). The biodiversity strategy to 2020 was largely ineffective in preventing their decline. In addition, key EU policies, among which the Common Agricultural Policy, do not include specific requirements for the protection of wild pollinators. On top of this, EU pesticides legislation is a main cause of wild pollinator loss, say the auditors. 

Pollinators such as bees, wasps, hoverflies, butterflies, moths and beetles greatly contribute to increasing the quantity and quality of our food. In recent decades, however, wild pollinators have declined in abundance and in diversity, largely due to intensive agriculture and the use of pesticides. The European Commission has established a framework of measures in response to this, largely based on its 2018 Pollinators Initiative and its biodiversity strategy to 2020. It has also put in place measures with the potential to affect wild pollinators under existing EU policies and legislation. The auditors assessed how effective this action has been.

“Pollinators play an essential role in plant reproduction and ecosystem functions, and their decline should be seen as a major threat to our environment, agriculture and quality food supply”, said Samo Jereb, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “The EU initiatives taken so far to protect wild pollinators have unfortunately been too weak to bear fruit.”

The auditors found that the EU’s dedicated framework does not really help to protect wild pollinators. Although no single action in the EU’s biodiversity strategy to 2020 was specifically aimed at reversing the decline in wild pollinators, four of its targets may indirectly benefit pollinators. Yet the Commission’s own mid-term review found that for three of these targets, progress had been insufficient or non-existent. The review also specifically identified pollination as one of the most degraded elements in ecosystems across the EU. The auditors also note that the Pollinators Initiative has not led to major changes in key policies.

The auditors also found that other EU policies promoting biodiversity do not include specific requirements for the protection of wild pollinators. The Commission has not made use of the options available in terms of biodiversity conservation measures in any programme, including the Habitats Directive, Natura 2000 and the LIFE programme. As far as the CAP is concerned, the auditors consider that it is part of the problem, not part of the solution. The greening and cross-compliance requirements under the CAP have not been effective in halting the decline of biodiversity on farmland, as the EU auditors concluded in a recent report. 

Finally, the auditors also emphasise that current EU legislation on pesticides has been unable to offer adequate measures to protect wild pollinators. The legislation currently in force includes safeguards to protect honeybees, but risk assessments are still based on guidance which is outdated and poorly aligned with legal requirements and the latest scientific knowledge. In this connection, the auditors point out that the EU framework has allowed Member States to continue using pesticides thought to be responsible for massive honeybee losses. For example, between 2013 and 2019, 206 emergency authorisations were granted for the use of three neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin), even though their application has been restricted since 2013, and they have been strictly banned for outdoor use since 2018. In another report published this year, the EU auditors found that integrated pest management practices could help reduce the use of neonicotinoids, but that the EU had made little progress so far in enforcing their use.

As the ‘Green Deal’ will be at the top of the EU’s agenda in the coming decades, the auditors recommend that the European Commission: 

  • assess the need for specific measures for wild pollinators in the 2021 follow-up actions and measures for the EU biodiversity strategy to 2030;
  • better integrate action to protect wild pollinators into EU policy instruments addressing biodiversity conservation and agriculture; and
  • improve the protection of wild pollinators in the pesticides risk-assessment process.

TNS adds CBOE Europe to extensive market data roster


Transaction Network Services (TNS) has signed a new agreement with Cboe Europe, one of the largest pan-European equities stock exchange operators by value-traded, to become a registered vendor for its European equities market data.

TNS is offering its connectivity and market data service at the Equinix LD4/LD5 campus, where Cboe Europe’s data center is located, to provide traders with low-latency access for both market data and order routing services. 

“Cboe Europe has been a valuable order routing endpoint within our 2,800 strong financial community of interest for many years,” said Jeff Mezger, TNS’ Director of Product Management. “We are delighted to now be extending our relationship with this prestigious group and providing easier, more efficient access to market data from its European equities order books in London and Amsterdam.”

“We are pleased to welcome TNS as a registered vendor,” said Stephen Dorrian, Director, Market Data, at Cboe Europe. “Its technology is used for order routing by many of our trading participants, and we look forward to working with them.”

Cboe is one of the world’s largest exchange holding companies, operating markets across a diverse range of products in multiple asset classes and geographies, including options, futures, US and European equities, exchange-traded products, and global foreign exchange. Its European equities exchange offers trading in more than 6,000 securities from its markets in London and Amsterdam.

TNS offers traders access to a diverse, global network that is connected to more than 60 exchanges around the world and over 2,800 participants in the financial services industry. TNS’ managed hosting and colocation customers benefit from a lower total cost of ownership over standard ‘build your own’ options.

Specifically designed and engineered to address the needs of financial market participants worldwide, TNS provides a range of connectivity, colocation, cloud, market data and VPN solutions. In 2020, TNS celebrates 30 years of being a worldwide provider to global companies in the most mission critical industries. TNSXpress, which is TNS’ infrastructure as a service (IaaS) managed colocation platform, includes unsurpassed, ultra-low latency Layer 1 connectivity technology and robust global market data services. TNS’ solutions are monitored 24x7x365 by TNS’ Network Operations Centers in the US, UK and Australia.

For further information visit www.tnsfinancial.com


China’s investment appetite for Indian tech startups grows stronger, says GlobalData


Despite escalated border tensions between China and India over the last few years, Chinese investors have increasingly invested in the Indian startup ecosystem with a focus on Internet technology businesses, says GlobalData, a leading data analytics company.

Kiran Raj, Principal Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData comments: “Chinese investors are highly motivated to invest in the Internet startups of India, which is the second-most populous country with more than 500 million Internet users. Moreover, the lack of tech giants to invest huge amounts of money in the country’s startups at a desirable speed is often driving young Indian entrepreneurs to look out to China for quick capital.”

An analysis of the deals database of GlobalData’s Disruptor Intelligence Center reveals 12x growth of Chinese investments in Indian startups over the last four years from US$381m in 2016 to US$4.6bn in 2019. The majority of the unicorns in India (17 out of 24) are currently backed by both corporates and pure-play investment firms from China, predominantly Alibaba and Tencent.

Alibaba and its affiliate Ant Financial along with others invested over US$2.6bn in four Indian unicorns: US$1.3bn in fintech and e-commerce startup Paytm, US$500m in e-commerce startup Snapdeal, US$455m in online food and grocery delivery startup BigBasket, and US$362m in online food aggregator and delivery startup Zomato.

Tencent alongside others invested more than US$2.4bn in five unicorns: US$1.1bn in cab aggregator Ola, US$1.0bn in online food delivery startup Swiggy, US$175m in social messaging app Hike, US$100m in Fantasy sports startup Dream11 and US$71m in ed-tech startup BYJU’s.

Other notable Chinese investors active in the Indian startup ecosystem include Meituan-Dianping, Didi Chuxing, Fosun, Shunwei Capital, Hillhouse Capital Group, China Lodging Group, and China-Eurasia Economic Cooperation Fund.

Raj concludes: “Until last year, undeterred by any geopolitical tensions, China placed considerable bets on Indian tech startups anticipating significant growth in the medium to long-term. However, the recent border conflict and the tightening of India’s FDI policy amid COVID-19 as a caution to avoid takeover or acquisition of distressed assets by border-sharing nations may turn a blockade to Chinese investors in achieving their investment goals. Nevertheless, it is only a temporary measure and the long-term impact can only be realized in the future given the significant bilateral investment relations between the two countries.”

Infographic: Wirecard Market Value Collapses 10.67 Billion Euros, Despite Just 1.9 Billion Euros Missing From Balance Sheet 


  • Market losses exceed funds missing from balance sheet by 462%
  • Second-largest ever daily loss in DAX history
  • Shortsellers earned 2.7 billion euros from Thursday to Friday alone
  • Sharp rise in Google searches for Wirecard, as well as for rivals Adyen


Within a few days, Wirecard lost around 10.67 billion euros in market value. This exceeds the missing 1.9 billion euros many times over, by 462% to be precise, as shown in a new infographic from Kryptoszene.de. 

On 18th June, Wirecard shares were still trading at around 100 euros. However today the share price stands at 14.65 euros. This is a price slide of historic proportions: within a single day, Wirecard shares lost 61.8% in value, marking the second-largest daily loss in the history of the DAX, exceeded only by Hypo Real Estate.

Meanwhile, the infographics show that Wirecard's search volume on Google rose by up to 426%. However, the Wirecard scandal has also affected demand for its rivals, with the relative search volume for payment service provider Adyen also increasing by around 300%. 

Adyen is not alone in profiting from the Aschheim-based company's crisis. Above all hedge funds that gambled on falling share prices have made significant profits. As the infographics show, short sellers could have generated book profits of 2.7 billion euros on Thursday and Friday alone. 

"Anyone who compares the missing balance sheet total with the loss of market value could draw the initial conclusion that the market is overreacting," observes Kryptoszene analyst Raphael Lulay. "This may however require further thought. The loss of confidence could prove far more serious, and will only manifest itself in concrete figures in the medium term". 


The full story with the infographic, facts and more statistics:


FDI curbs, border conflict likely to add further roadblocks for growing Chinese influence in Indian start-up ecosystem, says GlobalData


Chinese investors have been making their presence felt in a big way in the Indian start-up ecosystem over the last few years. However, the recently amended FDI rules and the straining relationship following the recent border conflict between both the countries are likely to add roadblocks for Chinese investments in Indian start-ups, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

With majority of the big companies in China being state-owned, acquisitions of/investments in distressed assets by these companies during Covid-19 pandemic are seen as a potential threat and politically motivated move. In view of this, India amended its FDI policy in April 2020, which mandates government approval for all investments from nations with which it shares boundaries.

Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “While the new law entails investments to be scrutinized and not necessarily stopped, this move is largely seen as a measure to curb Chinese investments and is likely to have a detrimental impact on start-up ecosystem for developing economies such as India given the fact that Chinese companies have traditionally been the lead investors in some of the key start-ups in India, which also enabled these start-ups to scale up.”

Some examples of successful China-backed start-ups include Byju, Ola, Paytm, Zomato, Swiggy, Delhivery, Dream 11, Hike, MakeMyTrip, Oyo, Quikr, Snapdeal, Uddan and Bigbasket. Hence, with the amended FDI regulation, the companies heavily backed by Chinese investments are in a state of uncertainty for capital raising.

Meanwhile, the Startup Association of India requested the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to review the amendment and sought start-ups raising money from existing Chinese investors to be kept out of the purview of this law.

However, irrespective of the outcome, Chinese investments are likely to be clamped down, at least for some time with the latest border dispute taking anti-China sentiments to a new high.

Bose concludes: “On the other hand, though China has been enhancing its prominence, American firms still continue to dominate the funding landscape in India and with the amended FDI regulation and recent escalation of border dispute, Indian start-ups are more likely to turn towards such non-Chinese investments.”

Gold Displaces Stocks as Most Popular Investment, 31% of Germans Expect Largest Price Rises for Precious Metal


  • 31% anticipate sharpest price rises for gold
  • The lower the level of education, the more faith in gold
  • Google searches for "buy gold" at all-time high during pandemic
  • Bank of America forecasts price of gold to increase 75%


Gold is replacing stocks as the most popular form of investment; currently 31% of Germans are convinced that the price of the precious metal will outperform all other asset classes over the next 3 years. This emerges from a new infographic of Kryptoszene.de. Shares are the second most popular, with 25% regarding the asset class as a safer investment. Last year it was the other way round. 

As the infographics show, answers depended largely on level of education. Faith in gold was highest among those with a vocational diploma. Here, 36% stated that they expect the price of the precious metal to rise the most. Among respondents with a university degree or high school diploma, the figure was only 22%. 

Meanwhile, Google analyses show that search queries for gold are rising sharply. Never since records began have more people searched for gold than in 2020. 

Analysts at large financial and monetary institutions also expect gold prices to rise. Only 16% of experts at large banks such as Citigroup, JP Morgan, or LBBW forecast falling prices. According to analysis by Bank of America, the price of the precious metal could even rise by up to 75% to USD 3,000 over the coming months.

"Current trends illustrate that gold is indeed serving as a crisis currency," observes cryptoscene analyst Raphael Lulay. "Despite the latest rise, there still seems to be much to suggest that the gold rally has not yet come to an end." 


The full story with the infographic, facts and more statistics:



Revealed: Top 10 EU Countries for Recycling Clothes


  • Recent 500% surge in people asking, “when will recycling centres open”
  • Google searches like “Clothes Recycling” currently highest in IRELAND
  • Germany, the Netherlands and France among TOP for “Clothes Recycling”
  • Luxembourg, Slovenia and Slovakia among BOTTOM for “Clothes Recycling”
  • SHOES and JEANS are the most recycled items of clothing


In January, Europe’s worst offenders for burning and binning clothes were revealed.

Since then, Saveonenergy.com/uk has found one of the positives of the current pandemic is a change in attitude toward old textiles and how we recycle clothes. We are now organising our closets with care and in an environmentally friendly way.


Rather than “burning and binning” we are turning to recycling centres to dispose of old clothes. In fact, UK-based End of Tenancy Cleaning Services recently reported a 500% surge in Google searches like “when will recycling centres open” after many were shut down due to Covid-19.

But which EU country has been most inspired by this sudden urge to organise closets and recycle old clothes?



Saveonenergy.com/uk found* Google searches like “Clothes Recycling” are currently highest in Ireland.

In fact, in the last 30 days, 12,670 people in Ireland have Googled how to recycle old clothes.

This is followed by high search results in Germany (9,390) and the Netherlands (6,840.)

At the other end of the scale we find countries like Luxembourg, Slovenia, and Slovakia.

In Luxembourg just 330 people a month search keywords like “Clothes Recycling.” While in Slovenia and Slovakia, it’s as low as 300 and 270 searches a month, respectively.


Top 10 EU Countries for Recycling Clothes












Top 10 EU Countries Recycle These Items Most

Apparently, the 5 most worn items of clothing worldwide are T-Shirts, Jeans, Shoes, Underwear and Coats.

Saveonenergy.com/uk analysed search volumes in deeper detail to find out which of the most-worn items of clothing are recycled most in each of the top 10 EU countries listed above… Shoes and jeans vie for top place!

The results show Shoes are the most recycled item of clothing in 70% of the 10 countries analysed, including Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain.

While Jeans are the most recycled item of clothing in 30% of the 10 countries analysed, including Germany, France, and Italy.



Saveonenergy.com/uk inputted several keyword variations like “Clothes Recycle”, “Clothes Donation”, and “Textile Recycling” into the keyword analytics section of online visibility and marketing tool SEMrush. Results for all 27 EU countries were inputted and analysed individually, before final results were listed.


Biodiversity on farmland continues to decline despite specific CAP measures, say Auditors


The common agricultural policy (CAP) was not effective in reversing the decades-long decline in biodiversity and intensive farming remains a main cause of biodiversity loss, according to a new report by the European Court of Auditors (ECA). The auditors found gaps in the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy and its coordination with the CAP. Moreover, the Commission’s tracking of CAP spending on biodiversity is unreliable and most CAP funding has little positive impact on it. Some CAP schemes have greater potential to improve biodiversity, but the Commission and Member States favoured low-impact options. 

In Europe, the number and variety of species on farmland have declined over many years. Since 1990, populations of farmland birds and grassland butterflies – a good indicator of changes – have decreased by more than 30 %. Intensive farming has led to a downturn in the abundance and diversity of natural vegetation and consequently animals, and remains a main cause of biodiversity loss.

In 2011, the Commission agreed a strategy to halt biodiversity loss by 2020. It committed to increasing the contribution of agriculture and forestry to maintaining biodiversity and aimed to bring about a “measurable improvement” in the conservation status of species and habitats affected by agriculture. The auditors assessed whether the CAP had helped better conserve farmland biodiversity and how the EU was achieving its targets, visiting Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Romania.

“The CAP has so far been insufficient to counteract declining biodiversity on farmland, a major threat for both farming and the environment”, said Viorel Ștefan, the ECA Member responsible for the report. “The post-2020 CAP proposal and the 2030 biodiversity strategy aim to make the CAP more responsive to challenges such as biodiversity loss, climate change or generational renewal, while continuing to support European farmers for a sustainable and competitive agricultural sector.”

The auditors found the EU’s biodiversity strategy to 2020 had not set measurable targets for agriculture, making it difficult to assess progress and the performance of EU-funded actions. In addition, there was poor coordination between EU policies and strategies dealing with biodiversity, which resulted, for example, in failure to address the decline in genetic diversity – a subset of biodiversity.

CAP direct farm payments account for around 70 % of all EU agricultural spending, but the way the Commission tracks CAP spending benefiting biodiversity is unreliable, as it overstates the contribution of some measures to biodiversity. Moreover, their effect on farmland biodiversity is limited, or unknown. Although some direct payment requirements, notably “greening” and “cross-compliance”, have the potential to improve biodiversity, the Commission and Member States favoured low-impact options such as catch or nitrogen-fixing crops. The auditors also found the cross-compliance sanction scheme had no clear impact on farmland biodiversity and the potential of greening was underdeveloped.

Rural development programmes have greater biodiversity potential than direct payments, specifically those that support environmentally-friendly farming practices that go beyond the relevant legal obligations. However, Member States seldom use high-impact measures such as result-based schemes, as opposed to the less demanding and less beneficial (“light green”) ones more popular among farmers.

The auditors recommend the Commission better coordinate the 2030 biodiversity strategy, enhance the contribution of direct payments and rural development to farmland biodiversity, track budget spending more accurately and develop reliable indicators to assess CAP impact.



The Economist Intelligence Unit have just published their new cost of living index which rates cities across the world according to the Cost of Living there. This is designed to assist companies in deciding how much their staff in those cities should be paid.  


We believe their methodology is deeply flawed as it does not take into account taxation which is one of the biggest costs. Adjusting the costs to take this into account gives a totally different result as the tables within the report illustrate.  


We also note that the cost of accommodation is also absent but understand why. It is virtually impossible to come up with an average cost of accommodation as those costs will vary wildly depending on a whole number of factors such as: 1. Size: 2. Proximity to the city centre or other sought after districts/areas; 3. Standard of accommodation; 4.Facilities within the building or nearby etc. etc.


Both the EIU and ourselves don’t attempt to deal with this issue but it would surely have a marked effect. For example, Hong Kong appears in the EIU top ten but falls out of our charts altogether due to the very low taxes.  However Hong Kong has very high accommodation costs so would surely move upwards if there was a way of costing accommodation into the mix.  


We hope you will find these statistics useful or at least interesting. Of course, by consulting Sovereign those moving to a particular city may find that the normal levels of taxation can be mitigated markedly. 


Click here to download report

Infographic: Wind and Solar Shares 5 Year Outlook, Study Forecasts 169% Price Gains


  • Wind and solar stocks expected to grow 169% by 2025
  • Fastest growing sector
  • 80% of Germans expect growing importance of wind and solar energy


By 2025, publicly traded companies from the solar and wind energy sectors could boast share price gains of up to 169%. This emerges from the findings of a new infographic from Kryptoszene.de. According to the results of the study, this could even be the biggest growth industry.  In contrast to the renewable energy sector, the value of the international stock index MSCI World ACWI is set to fall by up to 4.5%. 

According to the authors of the study, the field of electromobility could be the second greatest beneficiary. Experts are predicting share price gains of up to 108% by 2025 for leading companies in this field. 

In the future, policymakers are likely to intervene more substantially to promote climate protection, while the risk of climate change still appears undervalued on the stock exchange floor.

As can be seen in the infographic, a majority of German citizens also believe in the potential of renewable energies. 59% of the population favour solar energy, while only 4% approve of coal-based electricity. 8 out of 10 of those surveyed also stated that they expect wind and solar energy to grow in importance in the years to come.

"An evaluation of Google search queries reveals a growing interest in listed companies from the wind and solar sectors," notes cryptoscene analyst Raphael Lulay. "It remains to be seen whether the price gains live up to this - though all the signs are pointing towards a longer-lasting growth trend". 

The full story with the infographic, facts and more statistics:


Infographic: Record Growth in Property Price Index - Demand Continues to Increase 


  • Strongest real estate price rises since index began
  • High search traffic for houses and homes on Google
  • Up to 16.8% fewer property listings during corona crisis
  • Analysts anticipate price slump of up to 12%


Real estate prices in Germany have never, since the property price index’s first records from 2004, increased as sharply as from 2019 to 2020, according to a new infographic from Kryptoszene.de. Even though the number of residential listings decreased by up to 16.8% in the wake of the corona crisis, Google search queries for real estate are actually at an all-time high. 

There is high demand both for houses and apartments - likewise for both purchase and rental requests. The Google Trend Score, indicating relative search volume, is listed at the highest possible value of one hundred in all cases.

However, the infographics show that despite recent rises, investors are anticipating falling property prices. Possible insolvencies and a rise in unemployment could lead to a drop in residential property prices of up to 12%. 

"The initial data suggest that the real estate sector seems to be coming out of the corona crisis in good shape," observes cryptoscene analyst Raphael Lulay. "However, this trend is by no means certain. Decreased purchasing power in the context of an impending recession could also impact real estate prices in the medium term". 


The full story with the infographic, facts and more statistics:


Infographic: New Tesla Registrations Up 10.4% - All Other Car Manufacturers Reporting Heavy Losses


  • 10.4% rise in new Tesla registrations 
  • Market as a whole down 61.1% 
  • Tesla only manufacturer with relative gains 
  • Market value doubles since the beginning of the year


10.4% more new Tesla were registered in Germany in April 2020 than in the same month of last year. This is in spite of the considerable overall cooling of the market in the face of the Corona crisis: across all manufacturers, 61.1% fewer vehicles were registered. Here are the results of a new infographic from Kryptoszene.de.

While significantly more Teslas were registered in the Federal Republic than last year, German car companies are reporting sharp declines. For example, 48.6% fewer Volkswagen cars were registered over the period year on year. Smart came off worst of all manufacturers, with a 94.1% drop in registrations.

Tesla additionally sold 40.2% more vehicles worldwide in the first three months of the year than in the same quarter last year. The infographic shows that this trend is resonating on the trading floor: the share price has risen by around 99% since the beginning of the year, while DAX heavyweight Daimler's shares have lost up to 40.6%. 

"While most automotive companies are lamenting significant losses, Tesla seems to be cruising through the corona crisis," according to cryptoscene analyst Raphael Lulay. "Various studies show that interest in e-vehicles has risen sharply in the face of the pandemic. As the market leader in this sector, Tesla could benefit considerably from this trend". 

Read the full story here with the infographic, facts and more statistics.

Commonwealth health ministers have agreed to coordinate their response in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.


Ministers endorsed removing fees for coronavirus tests and treatment, especially for migrants and refugees, as appropriate within national contexts, and creating a voluntary mechanism to share and distribute extra medical supplies including ventilators and testing kits.

They agreed on the need for solidarity and cooperation among Commonwealth countries and that close working with the World Health Organization throughout the crisis was vital.


This statement was released following the annual Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting held on 14 May.


Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “We are now participants at an inflection point in history, and how we will be seen will be determined by how we act, right now, in this moment.  

“The virus knows no nationality, race, religion, border or economic status. It is an interconnected issue threatening our global health and world economic order, and should be dealt with as such - guided by a culture of multilateral compassion and cooperation – not competition.

“At this critical moment, invigorated by our common pain and concern, Commonwealth countries have come together to provide the salve we need to deliver a coordinated multilateral response that will help thwart the pandemic and keep our citizens safe.”

Globally, around 4.7 million coronavirus cases have been reported. Half a million of these are in the Commonwealth. Seven member states are among 12 nations worldwide that have not reported any cases.

The fast-spreading virus has contracted economies, shattered income streams and forced millions of people to stay indoors.

Health ministers backed the need for unified action to recover from the economic turmoil accompanying the pandemic, while addressing critical health challenges and health systems’ vulnerability, particularly to recurring climate-related events.

The World Health Organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “While coronavirus is an unprecedented shock to the world; through national unity and global solidarity, we can save both lives and livelihoods.

“Across the Commonwealth, countries will need to balance the demands of responding directly to coronavirus, while also maintaining essential health services.”

Ministers pledged to keep essential health services running for non-COVID-19 patients with a critical non-communicable or infectious disease while dealing with an influx of coronavirus cases.

They agreed to work with finance ministers to promote sustainable strategies to finance the implementation of universal health coverage with a focus on providing health care to women, the elderly, young people, marginalised persons and those with mental illness without facing financial difficulty.

The Gambia’s health minister Ahmadou Lamin Samateh chaired the meeting.

He said: “Not since the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 2000s has health occupied such a central position in development policy.

“With an unprecedented pandemic, straining health systems and halting the global economy, the role of resilient health systems across the world has come into full focus.”

During the meeting, ministers presented effective national strategies to address the pandemic, which included a mass test, trace and isolate strategy, digital tools to monitor health status and track transmission routes and a clear communication line.

India is in line to chair the next Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting in 2021.

COVID-19 triggers delays in projects and investment decisions in European petrochemical sector, says GlobalData


The COVID-19 outbreak has damaged supply chains and impacted labor availability across Europe, which has direct implications on upcoming petrochemical projects currently under construction/commissioning and scheduled for startup this year. Any potential delays in construction/commissioning of these plants in 2020 may spill over to 2021, and could potentially affect the scheduling for next year as well.

Dayanand Kharade, Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The pandemic has forced companies to re-evaluate their investment on new projects, which may alter final investment decision (FID) plans. Investment in new projects is expected to slow down as companies such as INEOS and LyondellBasell have announced capex cuts for 2020 in lieu of high uncertainty due to COVID-19. Other European companies are expected to follow the cue, slowing down the investment wave further.”

European petrochemical majors will be in wait-and-watch mode, as they are uncertain about further disruptions that may arise in the near future, eventually having effect on new investment plans.”

Kharade concludes: “Regional economic slowdown coupled with lower demand for single-use plastics driven by stricter regulations and increasing environmental sensitivity, is expected to hit plastics demand growth hard in 2020. Due to COVID-19 outbreak, the region’s petrochemical demand from key end-use sectors, i.e. automotive and construction have lowered. Additionally, supply disruptions and workforce shortages in these industries have elevated the challenges further.”


China's Precious Metals Retail Trade Revenue Slump by 47%


Data gathered by Learnbonds.com indicates that revenue from the Chinese retail trade of precious metals has dropped by 47%. The slump in revenue from the trade of gold, silver, and jewelry mainly occurred between January and March this year.


Coronavirus control measures fuel decline in revenue

According to the data, by the end of March 2020, the revenue was $2.08 billion (14.72 billion yuan) while revenue for January and February combined was $3.92 billion (27.72 billion yuan). This was a growth of 3.4% from December 2019’s $3.79 billion (26.79 billion yuan).

 In March last year, the revenue was $3.09 billion (21.82 billion yuan), which declined to $2.62 million (18.55 billion yuan). At the end of May, the income bounced back to $3.11 billion (22.01 billion yuans) which later slightly dropped to $3.08 billion (21.79 billion yuan) in June. July recorded the lowest revenue in 2019 at $2.47 billion(17.49 billion yuan).

The figures later rose to $3 billion (21.24 billion yuan) in August. In September, October, and November the revenue stood at $2.89 billion (20.47 billion yuans), $2.81 billion (19.86 billion yuan) and $3 billion (21.2 billion yuans) respectively.

The declining revenue at the start of this year is one of the direct impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic when China was placed on lockdown. As a result, most retail centers like malls closed down in a bid to curb the spread. According to the report:

"Many experts believe unless the coronavirus pandemic has been fully contained, there won’t be any physical demand for precious metals in China. It’s a blow to many retailers as they had stocked precious metals in January."

The data also overviewed countries with most gold reserves and China occupies the seventh position globally with 69.24 million ounces. The United States holds the top spot with 296.87 million. Other top gold holders include Germany (118.67 million ounces), IMF (99.24 million ounces), Italy (86.47 million ounces), France (85.91 million ounces), Russia (89.36 million ounces), Switzerland (36.67 million ounces), Japan (26.97 million ounces) and India (22 million ounces).


See the full story, statistics and information here

Three investment reasons to be cheerful amid the economic upheaval

Right now the world is facing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and many people across the world are going through extremely hard times.

But we also need to try and focus on the compelling positives there are now to create, build and safeguard money to reach our financial goals for ourselves and our loved ones.

The message from Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations comes as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects global growth in 2020 to fall to -3 per cent. This is a downgrade of 6.3 percentage points from January 2020, clearly a significant downward revision within a very short time period. 

Nigel Green comments: “The world has changed considerably in the first quarter of 2020. Coronavirus has sparked a truly global crisis like no other, with a horrifyingly high and tragic number of human lives lost. 

“It has also been a monstrous source of economic upheaval and uncertainty for households, businesses and governments.

“But in these most unusual of times, it’s essential to seek the positives and there are increasingly significant reasons within the market to be cheerful. 

“Looking beyond the gloom, many investors are using these to create, build and safeguard their money right now.”

He continues: “I believe that there are three main investment reasons to be cheerful.

“First, the market is cheap by historic standards and this represents a major, perhaps once-in-a-generation chance to buy top quality equities at lower prices to bolster investment portfolios.  History shows that stock markets always go up over time.

“Second the worldwide loosening of monetary and fiscal policies.  This will serve as a bridge for economies until the crisis passes and will go a long way to boost both supply and demand across all sectors. In turn, this will lead to more investment, increased confidence, and longer-term job and wealth creation.

“Third, pent-up demand will hit the global economy when lockdowns are lifted. Many people have not lost their jobs or suffered reduced incomes and have saved money during the lockdown. We can expect demand in sectors such as autos, travel, hospitality and entertainment to be strong.”

Whilst some investors appear to have not only locked down themselves, but also their financial strategies, increasingly both retail and institutional investors are “rightly looking beyond only the dark picture,” says Mr Green.

The deVere CEO concludes. “No economy – developed or emerging - has been spared this downturn, the worst since The Great Depression. The uncertain economic landscape is impacting on people’s lives and livelihoods.

“However, I also would urge investors to mitigate risks to their money and help create and grow wealth by looking towards the undeniable and compelling positive areas amid this tragic and unprecedented global situation." 

Opinion: Exercise can be good for you and your country especially during a crisis like COVID-19


By Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General


Public parks have been gated shut, beaches emptied and stadia deserted, as an unprecedented 2.5 billion people across the world are told to sit at home.

Times are tough. The Coronavirus is real and as it spreads its tentacles across the globe it is taking its toll on the lives and livelihoods of people everywhere. Measures such as closing gyms, shutting sports facilities and staying at home put a limit on a person’s mobility and exercise.

Necessary, but painful, as enforced inactivity can contribute to periods of intense stress and can lead to long-term negative health impacts.

Commonwealth athletes, ranging from Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o and West Indies’ Brian Lara to Ghana's Olympian Akwasi Frimpong, Kenya’s Eluid Kipchoge and Hellen Obiri and the United Kingdom’s Tom Daley, are sharing important information on reducing the spread of coronavirus or staying active at home.

There are several online series, virtual classes and resources, including Jamaica Moves, to help people stay active, improve mental health and reduce the risks of developing non-infectious diseases.

Building on this energy, we will soon launch the Commonwealth Moves campaign to encourage more people from the 54 member countries to stay active and exercise as we stare down this disruptive pandemic. 

So even when competitions are postponed and venues closed, sport and physical activity can be a powerful influence for good in these troubling times. It is a common denominator and a universal language, one that can unite people from different backgrounds, empower communities and contribute to rebuilding nations.

The shared love of cricket has played a role in connecting Singhalese and Tamil people in Sri Lanka. It was cricket that connected islands of the Caribbean creating one of the most powerful symbols of West Indian unity to delight the world. The Commonwealth Games, a cultural feast of sporting excellence, shines as a beacon of inclusion and diversity.

Recognising this beneficial potential, the UN six years ago declared 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The international community identified sport as an important enabler of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and highlighted its impact on health, education, social inclusion, women’s empowerment and youth development.

Many governments and organisations are using sport as a vehicle to deliver tangible projects at the grassroots level. The ‘Just Play’ initiative in the Pacific uses football games to teach children about healthy living, while Singapore’s ‘Sport Cares’ project uses sport to defy stereotypes associated with persons with disabilities.

The Commonwealth Secretariat’s ‘Peace at the Crease’ initiative which has brought people of different faiths and those of none to play and learn together in peace has already started to make its mark. Such initiatives improve people’s health, teach important skills and values, and if done well, can help unite communities.

But the reach of sport goes far beyond these local interventions. It can and should be rooted in national policy and planning so that sport and physical activity can truly reach everyone, including the poor, marginalised, refugees and victims of natural disasters and violence. But how?

We have worked with Mauritius to develop and implement a new policy which considers the impact of sport on the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) and injects it into the national vision 2018-2028. The policy is designed to make people fitter and healthier to reduce the risks of non-infectious diseases and lessen the burden on hospitals.

This holistic approach is crucial because about four in five adolescents do not get enough physical activity - and around a quarter of adults - due to infrastructural, economic and cultural obstacles. This leaves them unable to reap the potential economic, social and health benefits that can come from sport and being physically active.

We are urging all governments to invest more to address this gap. It is not only the right thing to do but is good value for money. Typically, less than 1% of the national budget is allocated to sport but its contribution to GDP is in multiples of that. In 2016, Fiji spent about 0.5% of its annual budget on sport but in return, revenues from sport contributed 1.7% to GDP - more than the country’s mining, quarrying and forestry sectors. 
In the same year, the size of Canada’s sport economy grew by 3.2% while jobs creation in the sector rose by 4.9%. This potential to create jobs will be even more important as we move to recover from the current health crisis and to rebuild shattered income streams.

The benefits are not just economic. In 2016, research found that every £1 England spent on sport generated £1.91 in social returns through contributions to a reduced risk of disease, improved wellbeing, low crime and improved educational performance.

While the gains are clear, expertise and capacity to robustly measure the impact of sport on the development targets pledged in the SDGs remain limited. 

This is where the Commonwealth has a game plan. In order to assess the value of public investments in the sector and enhance evidence-based policymaking, we are creating the world’s first common measurement approach working in partnership with UN agencies. This initiative will help countries and international bodies count and assess the contribution sport, exercise and physical education makes to the specific SDGs identified in the Kazan Action Plan.

So how does it work? For instance, we can urge countries to build more playing fields and develop plans to inspire people to take up sport if we can better measure how this contributes to achieving the SDG target 3.4, on reducing deaths from non-infectious diseases like diabetes and cancer.

Seven countries, including Japan, are currently piloting this approach. We hope Commonwealth leaders will endorse this approach at their next biennial meeting. 

At a time when climate change and numerous health crises affect people’s ongoing struggle to overcome entrenched problems, we can collectively push the progress on delivering sport for all and achieving healthy, educated, employed and inclusive societies.

The world is now in a period of a pandemic, what is important is that we all work together as one team on a united front against a common opponent.

Coronavirus prompts growing number to re-evaluate their savings


The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a ‘significant rise’ in the demand for savings solutions, reveals one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.

deVere Group reports a jump of 28 per cent in enquiries about savings plans in March.

The CEO and founder of deVere Group Nigel Green observes: “Since the coronavirus outbreak began to have an all-consuming international impact in late February/ early March, we noticed a surge in clients seeking advice on savings solutions.

“Then, when the coronavirus was officially declared a ‘pandemic’ by the World Health Organisation in the second week of March, savings planning enquiries further increased sharply.”

He continues: “Due to the terrible Covid-19 emergency, many more people are suddenly and unexpectedly feeling the financial pinch, the pandemic has put their finances under strain.

“But this has had the effect of more and more of us thinking about and valuing more than ever what really matters to us. 

“For most people, this includes ensuring that we and our loved ones are financially secure to have the opportunities and lifestyles that we desire.

“We noticed this same trend when the 2008 financial crash struck. That crisis too focused minds on the importance of saving.”

Mr Green adds: “The financial impact of coronavirus has driven home that the ‘living for today’ attitude is great, but what happens when tomorrow does come? Are you still able to fulfil your obligations? Are you still able to do the things you love with your friends and family? Are you able to maintain your lifestyle?

“The crisis will, again, underscore that we’re increasingly living in an era of personal financial responsibility.

“For instance, our experience suggests that working-age people do increasingly understand the need to save for their retirement.

“They know that governments are unlikely to be able to support them as they have done for generations before due to ageing populations and shrinking workforces; that living, health and care costs will increase significantly; that company pensions are less generous, if they exist at all; and that we’re all living longer, meaning that accumulated funds need to go further.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “The pandemic has brought savings back into sharp focus. 

“It is never too late to start saving for your future, and the sooner you start, the easier it will be to reach your long-term objectives.”

Operation IRINI in Libya: EU is united in effort to bring stability to the country


The EU is demonstrating the priority it attaches to the stabilization of Libya, says the Chair of European Parliament Subcommittee on Security and Defence


  • Enforcing arms embargo is a prerequisite for ending the conflict in Libya
  • Warring factions in the country continue to obtain arms from outside
  • Foreign powers are sending mercenaries to LibyaFollowing the Council´s decision of 31 March to launch the Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI, with the core task to implement the UN arms embargo on Libya, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence at the European


Parliament Nathalie Loiseau (Renew Europe; FR) said:

This is a new CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) military operation intended to strengthen the European Union´s efforts to enforce the UN arms embargo, which is a prerequisite for ending the Libyan conflict. The decision on launching IRINI is welcome. It comes at a time when the situation in Libya remains deeply worrying. Fighting goes on and the warring factions continue to obtain arms from outside, while foreign powers are sending mercenaries to Libya and fuelling the conflict instead of working towards its resolution.

By deciding to launch IRINI, the European Union is demonstrating the priority it attaches to the stabilization of Libya and is sending out a signal of its unity. All the Member States support the political settlement process begun with the Berlin Conference and call on the warring factions to bring about a complete cessation of hostilities.

At a time when the whole world is facing a major health crisis, it is time to heed the UN Secretary-General's call for an end to conflicts throughout the world."



At the Berlin Conference on Libya on 19 January 2020 the participants committed to fully respect and implement the arms embargo established by the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1970 (2011), 2292 (2016) and 2473 (2019).

Therefore, the Council reached a political agreement to launch a new operation in the Mediterranean, aimed at implementing the UN arms embargo on Libya by using aerial, satellite and maritime assets on 17 February 2020. In addition to monitoring the arms embargo, IRINI's mission will combat the human traffickers operating from Libya.

The mandate of Operation IRINI will initially last until 31 March 2021, and will be under the scrutiny of EU Member States that will exercise political control through the Political and Security Committee (PSC). According to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, “ministers agreed that the potential impact on migration flows would be monitored carefully and could, in some cases, lead to the withdrawal of maritime assets from the relevant area."

In parallel with the launch of Operation IRINI, the existing EUNAVFOR MED operation in the Mediterranean, SOPHIA, will permanently cease its activities.

The Golden Visa and Non-Habitual Residency in Portugal: 

Investment Options in Portugal - Webinar


Lisbon is the sunniest capital in Europe with 300 days of sunshine a year.  It is the oldest settled capital city in Europe. Non-habitual residents (NHRs) are granted substantial tax advantages.  They are not given a complete tax holiday but with careful structuring should be able to live in Portugal tax free for the 10 year designated term. But a recent change has imposed a 10% tax on pensions and a similar tax on dividends is under discussion.

For the moment, those holding a UK passport are still treated as EU residents but that is scheduled to change at the end of the year.  After that, any UK passport holder wishing to take up residency in Portugal would need to go through the normal immigration channels. The Golden Visa is a completely different matter but can be combined with NHR.

The Golden Visa is designed to attract non-EU investors who want to come to Portugal. By investing €500,000 in property (€350,000 in areas which are deemed development areas or a similar sum in an employment producing business or other approved investments) it is possible to obtain permanent residency rights in Portugal. Changes are also under discussion here and it seems likely that from the end of this year investment into all “coastal areas” which include Lisbon, Oporto and the Algarve will no longer be allowed.

The time to act is now. Join this webinar to learn about investment opportunities in Portugal.


Click here to register


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Coronavirus lockdown: Massive surge in the use of fintech apps


Coronavirus-triggered social distancing, isolation and lockdowns have driven-up the use of financial apps in Europe by 72 per cent in a week, reveals deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.

The sharp increase in the use of financial technology comes as the world readjusts to life fighting against the global health crisis and economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

James Green, deVere Group’s Divisional Manager of Europe, notes: “The world has changed in the last few weeks. The measures we’re now all taking to help the fight back against coronavirus are affecting the way we interact, live, work, and take care of our finances. 

“A new era has already begun, with digitalisation and new technologies driving the shift.  This can be seen by demand soaring for video-calling platforms such as Google Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime and Zoom amongst others, as more people from ever work remotely.

“Indeed, Zoom Video Communications has been a remarkable performer in recent times, with its shares gaining more  32% since the market began its decline in mid-February.”

“This new era has also been evidenced this week with a staggering 72 per cent jump in the use of our fintech [financial technology] apps from existing clients and a sharp increase in enquiries from potential ones.”

He continues: “Since the 2008-2009 financial crash, fintech has been filling the void left between what traditional financial services companies are offering and what clients are now expecting, especially in terms of customer experience.

“In broad terms, this means immediate, on-the-go, 24/7 access to, use and management of their money. It means personalised, on-demand services. It means lower costs.

“It can be expected that due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the steps being taken to combat it, this move towards fintech will be significantly accelerated.  

“Fintech is fast-becoming the new normal.”

deVere is one of the very few financial advisory organisations that has been actively pushing into fintech and is now widely regarded as one of the leaders in the sector.

Over the last three years, the company has developed and rolled out a suite of ground-breaking fintech apps. 

These include deVere Vault, a global e-money currency app and multi-currency prepaid card; deVere Crypto, a cryptocurrency app to store, transfer and exchange major cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin; deVere Core, an app that allows clients to monitor their investments in real-time on-the-go, keeping them informed with news and events that impact investor returns; and deVere Catalyst, a low-cost investment and savings app that offers best-in-class globally diversified funds.

James Green observes: “deVere Catalyst, in particular, has seen a surge in usage over the last week.  This app takes the hassle out of investing and gives those with little or no investment experience the opportunity to invest in well-balanced funds at a fraction of the price – thereby helping them to reach their life-enhancing long-term financial goals.”

Against the backdrop of Covid-19, last week, deVere Group, which operates in more than 100 countries worldwide, launched its Contactless Advice service.

At the launch deVere Group CEO and founder Nigel Green said: “Experts agree that very seldom is it a good idea to take a DIY-approach to something so fundamental to your life as your finances. With the financial and economic landscape shifting and evolving so rapidly, this, I suggest, is certainly not the time. 

“With this free service that offers professional, independent advice, there’s no need to do that.”

deVere’s Divisional Manager of Europe concludes: “Fintech – a significant driver of the so-called 'fourth industrial revolution' – is going to become an increasingly dominant part of our lives and coronavirus is fuelling the shift.

“I believe it’ll have a positive impact. Why? Because it is meeting evident and growing client demand for on-the-go service, it is speeding up the advance of financial inclusion across the world, plus it gives firms the opportunity to diversify, cut costs, meet regulatory requirements and further enhance the client experience.”

Coronavirus Infographic: bigger impact on the stock market than Spanish flu with 50 million deaths


  • Since February 17, 2020, the Dow Jones index fell by 34.5%
  • In 1918, Dow Jones index fell by 14.3% percent as a result of the Spanish flu
  • How long did past crises last: stock crashes of 1929 lasted 34 months, 1987 - just two months


Although the Spanish flu caused around 50 million deaths in 1918, the Dow Jones index decreased by only 14.3%. Since February 17th 2020, the US index has fallen by 34.5% due to the Corona outbreak. Losses of the German DAX are even higher.  The data is presented in the new infographic by Kryptoszene.de. The current development is compared with financial crises from the past. 

During the economic crisis of 1929, the Dow Jones index fell by as much as 89%. During the 1987 and 2008 stock crashes – by 36% and 54%, respectively (see the infographic).

In the meanwhile, the duration of the financial crises varies considerably. After the stock exchange crash in 1929, the crisis lasted 34 months before the index returned to its previous high value.  In 1987, however, it took the index just two months to recover.

“One look at the historical data shows that there are no blueprints for a situation like this”, says Kryptoszene analyst Raphael Lulay. “Least of all the Spanish flu – the death toll was around 50 million people, and yet the listed US companies recorded only minor losses. However, there is reason to believe that we might expect a sudden rise in insider buying these days, even if it does not guarantee that the crisis will end soon”.


The full story with the infographic, facts and more statistics:


Coronavirus pandemic will drive responsible (ESG) investing ‘skywards’


The coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout will trigger a ‘skyward surge’ in sustainable, responsible and impactful investing over the next 12 months, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations.

The prediction from the boss of deVere Group, which has more than $12bn under advisement, comes as Bloomberg analysis reveals that the average Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) fund fell by half the decrease registered by the S&P 500 Index over the same period during the Covid-19 crisis.

ESG refers to a class of investing also known as “sustainable investing.”  The umbrella term covers three main factors. ‘E’ is for ‘environment’ and includes issues such as climate change policies, carbon footprint, and use of renewable energies. ‘S’ is for ‘social' and includes workers’ rights and protections. ‘G’ is for ‘governance’ and includes diversity of the board and corporate transparency.

Mr Green comments: “The coronavirus pandemic will trigger a ‘skyward surge’ in sustainable, responsible and impactful investing over the next 12 months for three key reasons.

“First, before the pandemic, research has revealed that investments that score well in terms of ESG credentials often outperform the market and have lower volatility over the long-run.

“Since the Covid-19 public health emergency up-ended the world, the latest broad analysis shows that ESG funds have typically continued to outperform others.”

He continues: “Second, the coronavirus pandemic has underscored the vulnerability and fragility of societies and the planet.  

“It has underscored that increasingly companies will only survive and thrive if they operate with a nod from the wider court of public approval.

“It has underscored the complexity and interconnectedness of our world in terms of demand and supply, in trade and commerce – and how these can be under threat if not sustainable.”

Mr Green goes on to add: “Third, demographic shifts will support the trend.  Millennials - those who were born in the time period ranging from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s and early 2000s – cite ESG investing as their top priority when considering investment opportunities.

“This is crucial because the biggest-ever generational transfer of wealth – likely to be around $30trn - from baby boomers to millennials will take place in the next few years.”

In January, deVere Group carried out a global survey that revealed 77% of millennials said that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing was their top priority when considering investment opportunities.

This survey highlighted that whilst traditional factors – such as anticipated returns (10%), past performance (7%), risk tolerance (4%) and tactical allocation (2%) – are important factors in millennial respondents’ investment decision-making, they are no longer enough by themselves.

Nigel Green concludes: “ESG investing was already going to reshape the investment landscape in this new decade – but the coronavirus will quicken the pace of this reshaping.

“Investors are increasingly aware that it is possible - and increasingly necessary - to make a profit while positively and proactively protecting people and the planet.

“As such, they will be making investment decisions after measuring the sustainability and societal impact of a sector or company as these criteria help to better determine their future financial performance, or in other words their risk and return.” 

Demand for Amazon Fresh Food Delivery Services Increases 10x - How Amazon benefits from the Corona Crisis


  • Google searches for Amazon Fresh have increased tenfold and reached their peak value
  • Amazon share price experiences below-average losses since the corona outbreak
  • 25% of Americans shop online more due to the coronavirus
  • Corporation advertises 100,000 new jobs


In the last two weeks, the number of searches for Amazon Fresh on Google increased tenfold in Germany – as can be seen on a new infographic by Kryptoszene.de. When the quarantine was imposed, the score reached its peak value of 100 - the highest possible search volume.

Meanwhile, it's not just Amazon's grocery delivery service that's being used. To cope with the rising demand, the corporation has opened 100,000 new positions. Historically, Amazon's stock exchange price losses were always comparatively small. In the last four weeks, Amazon's stock price has dropped by 8.5% – far less than by other listed companies. Facebook shares have lost 30% in value in the same timeframe.

According to the infographic, consumers are changing their shopping habits in the eye of the virus pandemic. 25% of US citizens said they prefer to order more online. This could give Amazon's already strong development further boost. Already in Q4 2019, the online retailer again surpassed the previous quarter by 25%. 

"The data make it clear that Amazon will be one of the companies that will profit from this crisis, at least in short-term", said Kryptoszene analyst Raphael Lulay. “The development can also play into the hand of the corporation long-term. Some people that now order from Amazon Fresh have not even considered it in the past. They will likely remain loyal to the delivery service even after the pandemic is over'. 


The full story with the infographic, facts and more statistics:


Commonwealth develops tracker to help countries monitor coronavirus


The Commonwealth has developed a coronavirus tracker that shows daily cases in member countries.

The tracker collects data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and shows the total confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in the affected member countries.

The tool is designed to help countries prepare and respond to the pandemic.

The disease, caused by coronavirus is known as COVID-19, has infected more than 218,000 people and killed 8,800 in over 100 countries.

Assistant Secretary-General Nabeel Goheer said: “Coronavirus has rapidly spread across the world affecting people, livelihoods and nations.

“The Commonwealth, as an organisation that believes in innovation, has prepared this tracker that offers real-time and accurate insight for governments to make informed decisions on this worsening crisis.”

As of 23 March, the online tracker shows 12,707 Commonwealth citizens have been infected and 340 have died in some member countries.

A Commonwealth analysis suggests access to hospital beds and ventilators are limited in many countries, which could present a major challenge if coronavirus is not contained early enough.

Kathleen McCourt, President of the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation, said: “Commonwealth nurses and midwives are at the forefront of the global Covid-19 response.

“They are reporting inadequate access to personal protective equipment, being asked to work in unfamiliar environments and inconsistent or absent access to testing for healthcare workers

“We are encouraging national organisations to contribute data to the Commonwealth coronavirus tracker. This data will better prepare and equip healthcare workers to tackle this global emergency.”

She urged Commonwealth countries to work with health professionals to ensure healthcare workers are protected and able to care for their patients safely and appropriately.

The tracker is part of the Innovation Hub, which Secretary-General Patricia Scotland established in 2018. The online hub promotes the cutting-edge ideas and innovations of the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion people, 54 member countries and 90 accredited organisations.

A Commonwealth’s health protection policy toolkit is available on the Innovation Hub. The toolkit looks at the effects of pandemics on global security and offers solutions to strengthen health protection systems.

The environmental impact of YOUR favourite movies and shows


Netflix Movies:

  • The energy generated from 80 million views of ‘Birdbox’ is the equivalent of driving more than 146 million miles and emitting over 66 million kg of carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • The energy produced from 73 million streams of ‘Murder Mystery’, translates to driving over 104 million miles and generating greater than 47 million kg of CO2


Netflix Shows:

  • 64 million views of ‘Stranger Things’ season three is comparable to more than 420 million driving miles and producing over 189 million kg of CO2
  • The energy amassed from 45 million views of ‘Umbrella Academy’ is the equivalent of over 364 million driving miles and emitting more than 164 million kg of CO2


Given the unfortunate times we are currently in, more people than ever before are going to be reliant on online content services such as Netflix to provide them with a much-needed distraction from the coronavirus crisis.   

But are we aware of how energy intensive streaming is? For an individual to stream video content, it must travel through a complex network (i.e. cables, routers, data centres etc.) that runs on vast sums of electricity. This electricity in turn generates carbon dioxide (CO2) – which can leave a devastating impact on the environment.

Interested in the carbon footprint from streaming, energy comparison site SaveonEnergy utilised official viewership figures to discover what watching Netflix’s top original movies and shows is equivalent to in terms of miles driven by a car, and the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted.


Save on Energy found that the energy generated from Netflix users’ total 80 million views of the thriller ‘Birdbox’ is the equivalent of driving more than 146 million miles and emitting over 66 million kg of CO2.


To put that into context, the equivalent of driving from London (United Kingdom) to Istanbul (Turkey) and back 38,879 times.


The energy produced from 73 million streams of Adam Sandler’s ‘Murder Mystery’ translates to driving over 104 million miles and emitting more than 47 million kg of CO2.

Since taking a return flight from London (United Kingdom) to Los Angeles (United States) creates 1,650 kg of CO2 per person – this means an individual needs to fly 28,610 times from London to Los Angeles and back to produce the same amount of CO2 amassed by every Netflix user who has watched ‘Murder Mystery’.


Save on Energy discovered that the energy accumulated from the 64 million streams of ‘Stranger Things’ season three is comparable to driving more than 420 million miles and emitting over 189 million kg of CO2.

This is effectively driving from Marrakech (Morocco) to Cape Town (South Africa) and back 28,391 times. 

Subsequently, the energy garnered from 45 million views of the ‘Umbrella Academy’ season one, translates to driving more than 364 million miles and emitting over 164 million kg of CO2.

Flying from London to Perth and back produces 3,153 kg of CO2 per person – this means an individual would need to fly 52,046 times from London (United Kingdom) to Perth (Australia) and back to produce the same amount of CO2 generated from those who have watched ‘Umbrella Academy season one’.


Linda Dodge an Energy Expert from SaveonEnergy commented:

“We are in unprecedented times. With most sources of entertainment outside the home such as cinemas, sporting events and clothing stores are now closing to safeguard against the spread of coronavirus – people will have no choice but to find different ways to keep themselves occupied in the home. One of the biggest ways is going to be the TV – with Netflix a popular outlet for many due to the depth of movies, shows and documentaries available to binge watch. But in doing so, people unfortunately don’t realise the amount of electricity they will be burning to do so and consequently, the carbon dioxide it will go on to emit. Whilst it’s significantly less CO2 emissions from Netflix than say driving or flying, people should not try to binge watch too much. Try where possible, doing things which don’t involve extensive and prolonged use of electricity, internet and smart devices. This includes breaking up time with activities that will aid personal development such as reading, puzzles, arts, crafts, cooking and indoor exercise”.


For full details into the research, please see: https://www.saveonenergy.com/uk/does-online-video-streaming-harm-the-environment/


*All figures in this research are approximates. 




VC funding activity in AI technology space remained steady despite fewer big ticket deals in 2019, says GlobalData


The artificial intelligence (AI) technology space witnessed growth in venture capital (VC) investments volume and value in 2019 despite fewer big ticket deals, according to GlobalData, a leading and data analytics company.

A total of 2,018 VC funding deals (with disclosed funding value) worth US$31.8bn were announced in the AI tech space during last year. This was a growth from 1,627 VC funding deals (with disclosed funding value) worth US$30.7bn in 2018.

While the deal volume grew by 24% in 2019 compared to 2018, deal value grew by only 3.6%, indicating a decline in the average deal size. The average deal size, which stood at US$18.9m in 2018, declined to US$15.8m in 2019. The decline could be attributed to the announcement of relatively lesser number of big ticket VC deals in 2019 compared to 2018.

The number of US$100m+ deals decreased from 64 in 2018 to 60 in 2019. The share of such deals as a proportion of the total deal volume and value also decreased from 3.3% and 45.2% in 2018 to 2.2% and 37.4% in 2019, respectively. Moreover, 2019 also did not witness the announcement of any billion-dollar deal, whereas 2018 witnessed one such deal. On the other hand, low value deals (investment <=US$10m) accounted for more than 70% of the total deal volume in 2019, which is an increase from 67.7% share in 2018.


Please click here for chart


China experienced the most notable decline in the announcement of US$100m+ deals, with the country witnessing the announcement of only 10 such deals (US$2.1bn) in 2019 compared to the announcement of 26 such deals (US$6.9bn) in 2018.

In contrast, the US experienced growth in the announcement of US$100m+ deals from 31 (US$6.2bn) in 2018 to 37 (US$8.5bn) in 2019, offsetting the decline in China.

Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “While the VC investors remained cautious in committing big ticket investments in China due to its trade tensions, slowdown and mounting debt, the US was the savior and remained the undisputed leader in VC fund-raising for AI-start-ups. Though VC funding activity in China was initially expected to rebound during 2020, it would be interesting to see how the situation unfolds post the coronavirus outbreak.”

Global market sell-off will ease with some investors set to ‘make a fortune’


The sell-off on global stock markets will ease as liquidity measures are rolled out – and some investors will make a fortune from the volatility – affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations.

Nigel Green, the chief executive and founder of deVere Group, is speaking out after coronavirus fears triggered the largest one-day fall on many global indices – including the FTSE and the Dow Jones - since the “Black Monday” market crash in 1987.

Mr Green comments: “Global markets were thrown into turmoil Thursday as fear gripped investors over the jump in confirmed coronavirus cases and as governments around the world introduced measures to try and halt the spread, which contributed to the panic.

“All assets - even safe-haven ones such as gold and Treasuries - were being shed in order to shore up cash reserves to meet margin requirements.

“This was a temporary phenomenon. 

“Whilst some volatility will remain as no-one can truly know where the bottom is due to the unpredictability of this public health crisis, the global sell-off will ease as central banks roll-out liquidity measures.”

This prediction was also made earlier in the week by the deVere CEO who noted: “Markets are looking for good reason to return to being bullish – which has been their default position for an unusually long time – and actions being taken by central banks could provide just that in days to come.”

He added: “We expect global stock markets to have recovered significantly before the year-end.”

On Friday Asia-Pacific markets staged sharp recoveries, European and U.S. ones are expected to follow suit.

Mr Green observes: “The coronavirus is an unprecedented public health crisis, with many tragic consequences that cannot and should not be underestimated or dismissed. 

“It has spooked the markets to historic levels.

“Yet many investors will use the temporary volatility as important buying opportunities, with some set to make a fortune from the turbulence.

“Fluctuations can cause panic-selling and mispricing. Sought-after stocks can then become cheaper, meaning investors can top up their portfolios and/or take advantage of lower entry points. This all typically results in better returns.

“A sensible fund manager will assist investors to seek out the opportunities that turbulence creates and mitigate potential risks as and when they are presented.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “As ever in times of market volatility, many investors will be using the fall-out of the coronavirus outbreak as a chance to generate and build wealth.”


10 Largest IPOs Attracted 20x More USD than Top 10 ICOs


Data compiled by Finbold.com indicates that all-time high Initial Public Offerings have received 20 times more funding compared to Initial Coin Offerings. According to the data, the top ten IPOs cumulatively raised $183.4 billion compared to $8.58 billion under ICOs.

Comparing IPOs and ICOs

IPOs are led by well-established processes under a private company that seeks to go public while ICOs are a way of crowdfunding for startup companies under blockchain technology. According to the report:

“The data was compiled to give a comparison between the size of the financial playground of the investors and the amount of US dollars at play.”

The leading IPOs are dominated by Asian firms where Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group remains the highest IPO in history. The group listed on the New York Stock exchange raised $21.80 billion.

Hong Kong’s AIAGroup Limited has the second-highest IPO in history after raising $20.5 billion in 2010. US-based General Motors is third on the list after raising $20.10 billion.

Another Chinese entity the Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank) $19.20 billion followed by 

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China which fetched $19.10 billion.

Other leading IPOS include NTT DOCOMO ($18.4 billion), Visa ($17.9 billion), Enel ($17.4 billion), Facebook ($16 billion) and Deutsche Telekom AG ($13 billion).

On the other hand, EOS remains the largest ICO of all time by raising $4.20 billion followed by messaging platform Telegram which returned $1.7 billion.

Other notable ICOs include Petro ($735 million), TaTaTu ($575 million), Dragon ($320 million), Hdac ($258 million), Filecoin ($257 million), Tezos ($232 million), Sirin Labs ($158 million) and Bancor ($153 million).

In recent years, ICOs have lost popularity due to factors like scams and disappointing product developments.


Access the full data and story here: https://finbold.com/10-largest-ipos-attracted-20x-more-usd-than-top-10-icos/

Gold demand rises by 97% due to coronavirus, Bitcoin also on the rise 


  • Gold and Bitcoin searches have exploded since the coronavirus outbreak
  • Search volume on Google for "Gold Investment" is 97% higher than last year
  • Milestone: demand for gold at an all-time high
  • Crypto-information platforms enjoy up to 30% more visitors since the coronavirus outbreak


Gold demand breaks record levels: the search term "Gold Investment" has reached the peak of its popularity in Google compared to January and February. Compared to the same period last year, the relative search volume increased by around 97% worldwide. This information derives from research by Kryptoszene.de based on Google Trends. The sharp increase in demand coincides with the outbreak of the coronavirus, which makes a correlation highly likely.

While the virus was still dormant in December 2019, the industry platform "Gold.de" recorded around 2.2 million visitors monthly, according to the study by Kryptoszene.de. A month later, there were already 3.7 million visitors. Since then, the price of gold has risen from $1,528 to $1,676 per troy ounce. 

However, increasing gold demand is not the only thing worth noticing. Bitcoin – the most popular cryptocurrency, often referred to as "digital gold” – is also on the rise. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, the number of visits to crypto-information platforms and exchanges has increased by up to 30%. 

"The demand for limited natural assets is increasing rapidly," says Kryptoszene analyst Raphael Lulay. "The coronavirus seems to have a huge impact on this. But other global events, such as the increasingly open rivalry between China and the United States and the precarious situation in the Middle East, may cause uncertainty as well." 


Here is the detailed article with further interesting information and infographics:


Hansa Biopharma announces long term follow-up data that demonstrates 2-year graft survival of 89% after imlifdase treatment and transplantation


Two poster sessions were highlighted at the Cutting Edge of Transplantation summit 2020. Balancing equity and utility in the face of an organ shortage

Lund, Sweden March 6, 2020. Hansa Biopharma, the leader in immunomodulatory enzyme technology for rare IgG mediated diseases today announced that two posters sessions were hightlighted at the Cutting Edge of Transplantation summit 2020, Thursday March 5th.

A poster with Professor Stanley Jordan, Professor at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles and Dr. Tomas Lorant, VP and senior medical director of R&D,, Hansa Biopharma as the lead authors on data from “Long-term Outcomes of Sensitized and Crossmatch-Positive Kidney Transplanted Patients after Desensitization with Imlifidase” was presented.

The poster highlights that 43 (93%) of the 46 transplanted patients had a functioning graft after 6 months. 3 graft losses occurred in the crossmatch positive group leaving 36 (92%) of these 39 patients with a functioning graft at 6 months. No further graft losses occurred up to 2 years after transplantation. 2-year death censored graft survival was 24 out of 27 patients (89%), and overall graft survival was 24 of 30 patients (80%).

The kidney function assessment demonstrated that 28 (87%) of the 32 patients with data, and 23 (88%) of the 26 crossmatch positive patients, had a well functioning kidney at 6 months.

In a second poster session authored by Darren Stewart, United Network for Organ Sharing, Joshua Lee and Kristoffer Sjöholm both Hansa Biopharma “The Impact of a Positive Crossmatch on KAS Patients and Organs” was presented

The presentation highlights that reallocating kidneys due to postive crossmatch affects the refused organ by significantly increasing cold ischemia time and the eventual discard of approximately 25 kidneys annually. Patients refusing an organ due to a positive crossmatch had longer waiting times and a significant number ended up dying or being delisted.

Furthermore, fewer patients with cPRA ≥99.9 who experienced a postive crossmatch refusal, received a transplant (30%) compared to other postive crossmatch refusal waitlist patients (45%). It was concluded that technologies and therapies to reduce crossmatch refusals could potentially have a positive impact on patients and kidney allocation.

Christian Kjellman, CSO and COO at Hansa Biopharma comments, 
“We are very exited about how imlifidase potentially can increase the access to transplantation and that the long term follow up data is in line with best expectations in this group of challenging patients with a very high medical need”.

All abstracts from the Cutting Edge of Transplantation can be found on Amercan Society of Transplantation web at www.myast.org

Marijuana infographic: cannabis stock demand sees annual low while sales are predicted to surge up to 432% by 2025


  • Sales of cannabis-containing beverages will rise 162.5% by 2025
  • Expected sales of sweets containing CBD are even higher– 432% by 2025
  • Sales of medical cannabis in Germany increased by 51% between January and October 2019
  • Demand for cannabis stocks worldwide is at its lowest level in a year


A new Kryptoszene.de infographic sees the demand for marijuana stocks is at its annual low, while the industry is expected to demonstrate a substantial sales growth of up to 432% in the upcoming years. According to the infographic, the sales of cannabis-containing drinks in Canada alone could rise to 162.5% by 2025. Even stronger growth awaits sweets containing cannabidiol (CBD) – the anticipated growth is 432% by 2025. 

Besides, there is substantial development in the field of medical cannabis in Germany. While it still seems uncertain whether the federal republic will legalize cannabis for leisure purposes any time soon, in a few months, marijuana will be legally harvested for the first time in the history of the country. In January 2019, sales of medical marijuana in Germany generated €8.23 ​​million. A few months later, in October 2019, the sales were already at €12.44 million. The global market appears to be growing as well: 60% of USA states allow for the legal purchase of cannabis for medical purposes.

Nevertheless, Google's search volume for cannabis stocks is at its lowest level of the year. "Quite a few investors have burned themselves on the volatile securities in recent months and years," says Kryptoszene analyst Sebastian Schuster. "For a long time, it seemed as if the supply was far greater than the demand. However, if the sales forecasts prove to be true, it may only be a matter of time before the industry attracts more investors again". 


The full story with the infographic, facts and more statistics you will find here:


Sales of cannabis products expected to see a 5x growth until 2023 making the industry a US$ 23,7 billion market


A new Kryptoszene infographic shows the cannabis industry is expected to see an increase in sales up to 374% until 2023. In only three years, a rise in demand for CBD-products will most likely result in a turnover of US$23,7 billion in the United States. 

While companies have sold cannabis products with a worth of US$620 million in 2018 and $5 billion in 2019, the market will continue to grow reaching a turnover of $7,38 billion in 2020, $10,89 billion in 2021, $16,06 billion in 2022 and $23,7 billion in 2023.

Last year, Kryptoszene.de has reported on problems of cannabis overproduction. According to the new data, this supply-demand gap will now close down. Due to new areas of application more cannabis products will potentially find their ways into the market. Sales of CBD skin care products could rise from US$710 million in 2018 to $959 million in 2024.

“We are still in the early years of a professional marijuana industry,” Kryptoszene Analyst Sebastian Schuster commented, “the market takes some time to find the right balance between a steady production on one side and good products in high demand on the other side. But over the coming years we will get closer to that balance.”

The infographic sets the cannabis growth expectations in relation to other promising markets, such as gaming and medical technology. While the gaming industry is expected to grow 8,29% over the upcoming years, medical technology is anticipated to grow 46,91%. Neither one is likely to really compete with the 374% rise of the cannabis market.


The full story with the infographic, facts and more statistics you will find here:


Germans walk themselves into poverty by their savings choices; British have 176 % more assets despite lower income


  • Household net income in Germany is 17% higher than in Great Britain
  • Brits are 176% more wealthy than Germans
  • Germany is far behind – 33rd place of assets per capita
  • The average return on German investments is 4.9% – that is extremely low (GBR – 10.2%)


Rich Germany, poor Germany: despite a good income, the Germans are unable to build up a fortune, as shown on an infographic by Kryptoszene.de. Switzerland, the average wealth is around 545% larger. But also, in countries like Ireland, Italy, and Austria, citizens own more than twice as much as the Germans.  The evaluation shows that the risk aversion and the poor selection of foreign investments are to blame.

Germans relatively rarely invest in assets perceived as risky, such as stocks or cryptocurrencies. Almost one in ten Germans hold securities, but returns on foreign investments are much lower than in other countries. Namely: the average return Germans receive from foreign investments is 4.9%. Market leaders are Americans with 10.6%. Only the Finns get even worse returns than Germans.

Calculations by Kryptoszene.de show how massive the effects are after just a few decades: Germans who invested $10,000 in 1975 could now look at a handsome fortune of around $86,000 in the average return achieved in the Federal Republic. With a return of 10.2% (UK average), their wealth would have already increased to $871,168. The gap would be even bigger if we take the average return of the Americans: $10,000 of investment would have resulted in assets of $931,066.

"Many factors influence the German wealth's inability to withstand an international comparison," says Kryptoszene analyst Raphael Lulay. "Overall, it is clear that Germans tend to prefer savings accounts, and that the population, afraid of loss of income, prefers not to invest at all. Besides, the development is strengthened by the skepticism towards new assets and a low percentage of property owners."


Here is the detailed article with further interesting information and infographics:


High value VC investments remained concentrated in the US and China during Q4 2019, finds GlobalData​


Please click here for enlarged chart

The US and China remain the most preferred investment destinations for venture capital (VC) investors globally. High value VC investments (>=US$100m) also remain concentrated in the US and China with both countries collectively accounting for around 70% of volume of such deals and capital raised though these deals in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2019, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The US witnessed 42 high value deals and remained the largest recipient of high value deals in volume terms during Q4 2019, followed by China with 28 such deals. However, China surpassed the US in total VC investments raised through these high value deals.

Some of the notable high value VC funding raised by American firms during Q4 2019 included US$635m raised by Bright Health, US$500m raised by 1debit (Chime) and US$400m each raised by Databricks and Convoy.

On the other hand, funding raised by Chinese firms were also much higher in value compared to American firms. Some of the notable high value VC funding raised by Chinese firms during Q4 2019 included US$3.7bn raised by Tenglong Holdings and US$3bn raised by Kuaishou Technology.

Aurojyoti Bose, Financial Deals Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Asia-Pacific is undergoing an evolution with countries in the region closing in on the gap with the US, signaling significant VC investors’ traction despite slowing economy in some of the key markets, geo-political tensions and trade dispute with other nations. The trend suggests VC investors, though cautious, are showcasing confidence in start-ups in the region.”

Asia-Pacific countries other than China that made it to the list of top ten countries by high value deals included India, Hong Kong and South Korea. These four countries collectively witnessed more than 40 high value deals worth ~US$15bn during Q4 2019, which is much higher compared to its European counterparts.

Germany, France and the UK, the three European countries to feature in the list of top ten countries, collectively raised less than US$2bn across seven high value deals during Q4 2019.

Within Europe, Germany surpassed the UK in terms of high value deals volume as well as the capital raised through these deals during Q4 2019. France, despite relatively lower number of high value deals, also outpaced the UK in terms of capital raised through high value deals during the quarter.

Bose concludes: “The high value VC funding activity is likely to continue and remain strong in the US in future. Moreover, with improving conditions and built-up investor confidence, Asia-Pacific countries such as China and India are likely to witness a surge in VC funding activity and high value deals. Going forward, we may see more companies like Alibaba emerging from the region.”

Coronavirus: Markets rally – is it growing bubble or knee-jerk reaction?


Global financial markets are shrugging off uncertainty regarding the serious and ongoing international issue of the coronavirus outbreak – but beware of a bubble, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.

The warning from the chief executive and founder of deVere Group, Nigel Green, comes as U.S. stocks closed on Wednesday at record highs, and as the FTSE 100 and European stocks staged a comeback after taking their cues from Asian markets.

The markets’ reaction is in response to claims by China that they are progressing towards a coronavirus vaccine and to the plans by the country’s central bank to support the vulnerable economy by pumping in liquidity.

Mr Green says: “A serious and ongoing issue, such as coronavirus, and the major uncertainty it causes, would typically send global financial markets in to a tailspin.

“Whilst the coronavirus remains the number one threat to financial markets currently, they seem to be buoyed on Chinese state media reports of a breakthrough in attempts to find a cure to the current strain.

“However, these claims have been largely dismissed by the World Health Organisation, confirmed cases and the death toll are rising, and countries across the world are ramping up precautions and preparations for coronavirus.”

He continues: “With this in mind, the question is posed: Is this a simple knee-jerk reaction from the market on some positive news? Or is there a classic bubble situation developing in some financial markets?

“It would seem investors are showing signs of displacement- when they become enamoured with a new invention, technology or, in this case, a cure – which can lead to a boom and euphoria, when asset prices skyrocket. These are all stages of a classic bubble situation.”

Mr Green adds: “Investors should monitor the situation carefully.  The true economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak will not be known for some time.

“However, we do know that it is going to have a serious, negative and far-reaching impact on China’s economy, which is already severely burdened by the prolonged trade dispute with the U.S.  

“Of course, this multifaceted, downside trajectory of the world’s second-largest economy can be expected to have adverse knock-on effects for the fragile and largely interdependent global economy. Indeed, it could stall it.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “Knee-jerk reaction or growing bubble? Time will tell.

“But despite the alleged progress on coronavirus and despite the stimulus announced by China’s central bank, China’s already fragile economy, and the flimsy phase-one U.S.-trade deal could create the perfect storm to trigger a significant economic global slowdown.  

“This would suggest that investors should now take steps to mitigate risks to their wealth.”

Hundreds of thousands in northwest Syria caught in a humanitarian catastrophe, aid agencies warn


As hostilities continue to escalate in northwest Syria, eight aid agencies are today making an urgent call for an immediate ceasefire as they warn that hundreds of thousands of people – the majority of them women and children – fleeing the unrelenting violence are caught in a humanitarian catastrophe.

At least 150,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the past two weeks, bringing the total number who have been displaced since December 1 to over half a million.


David Miliband, CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said:

“In the past two months, close to 300 civilians have been killed as a result of the intensifying hostilities in northwest Syria. If this violence continues, up to 800,000 people currently in the firing line will be left with few options for safety.

“In addition to civilians themselves, civilian infrastructure continues to come under attack – a hallmark of the Age of Impunity. In the past two weeks, two hospitals have been hit by airstrikes, with reports that several patients and medical staff were injured. One of the ambulances we support was damaged and put out of action for over a week, and we have had to relocate an entire fleet of IRC-supported ambulances as a result of the intensity of the fighting. The IRC is urgently calling for an end to the violence and for those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law to be held accountable. One such opportunity is through the UN Board of Inquiry into attacks on civilian infrastructure in northwest Syria, whose findings should be made public, and those responsible identified and held to account." 


Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA, said:

“In 2019 alone, there were 85 attacks on healthcare facilities in Northern Syria. The first month of 2020 has seen this appalling trend continue. Escalation of fighting and attacks on healthcare have forced hundreds of thousands of Syrians to flee for their lives with their families, in order to find safety.”

“After multiple attacks on hospitals in Idlib, our maternity and pediatric hospital became the only functioning medical facility for miles around. It has been overwhelmed with women and children seeking urgent medical assistance. Sadly, we had to suspend the provision of emergency medical care and evacuate patients and staff from the facility, after a nearby hospital was hit by several airstrikes a few days ago. There is an urgent need for critical health support for pregnant women, mothers and newborn babies in northwest Syria. The effects of this conflict have been devastating to the civilian population. Women and children, in particular, are at risk and need immediate protection and life-saving services.”


Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children, said:

“Children in northwest Syria are terrified. They see bombs and shells falling on a daily basis. Their lives have already been torn apart by years of conflict having witnessed their homes, schools and hospitals destroyed and their loved ones killed before their eyes. Now, all they are trying to do is escape the violence as their lives are being thrown into turmoil once again. Parties to the conflict need to respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law and spare the children and the civilians the brunt of the conflict.”


Jan Egeland, NRC’s Secretary-General, said:

"Tens of thousands of Syrian families are sheltering along the Turkish border as a result of the military offensive by the government of Syria and its allies. Camps are hosting five times their intended occupancy and rental prices have skyrocketed in towns in the northwest. Turkey has generously hosted millions of refugees from Syria over the years, this is clear. But the fighting is squeezing people further and further north and at the moment they have nowhere else to go. We are calling on Turkey to let these terrified families seek safety either across the border or in areas Turkey controls in Syria. Turkey cannot be expected to take on the responsibility of accepting more refugees alone. NRC calls on the international community to urgently step up and provide significant additional support."


Andrew Morley, President and CEO of World Vision International, said:

“The conditions people are being forced to endure in Idlib are dire. Since April last year, close to 900,000 people have been newly displaced. The exodus of people is staggering, and tens of thousands more are joining them every day. Children are sleeping in flooded fields with no running water or proper protection from the elements. We’ve provided blankets, heaters and cash, but people have no money to buy fuel and have told us that they are now burning clothes and trash to keep warm. It is bitterly cold in Syria at the moment, and families are resorting to ever more desperate measures to protect their children and ensure that they survive the winter.”


Kieren Barnes, Country Director, Syria, Mercy Corps, said: 

"We know the decision to flee is often a last-minute one, and it's forcing families into the winter, with little or no support, and our teams are barely able to keep up with waves of people who are escaping the violence."


Bahia Zrikem from Humanity Inclusion said:

“In the past, people were able to rent accommodation from local people who opened their homes to them, but this is becoming more and more difficult as there are simply more people than homes available and conditions are becoming increasingly desperate. Many of those who have fled are sleeping in their cars or camping by the side of the road because there is simply nowhere else for them to go. They urgently need assistance. They need food, shelter, fuel to keep warm and many are in need of health care, especially elderly and persons with disabilities. With thousands more vulnerable people set to arrive in the coming days, the needs will only continue to grow and it will become ever more difficult to meet them.”

To prevent this catastrophic situation from deteriorating further, the International Rescue Committee, CARE, Save the Children, NRC, World Vision International, Mercy Corps, Humanity Inclusion and People in Need are calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities in addition to immediate access to safety for the millions of civilians currently under fire.

The international community must condemn this ongoing violence and commit to holding those responsible for violating International Humanitarian Law to account. After nine long years of suffering for Syrian civilians, a peaceful solution to this conflict is now more urgent than it ever has been.


Experiences of those who have recently fled their homes:


Ahmad* said:

"Thank God my children and I are able to take shelter in a cellar and under a roof. Many people who fled their homes could not find a home and do not have a tent to install themselves somewhere. Many displaced families are sharing their acquaintances and relatives are sharing their homes in northern Idleb and Aleppo countryside. Also, I saw many families spending the night in their own cars to continue their journey in the morning and keep looking for somewhere safe to protect their families. I also heard of many cases where people have spent the night in the wild. The situation in Idlib and the countryside is beyond imagination and things are getting worse every day. The sounds of shelling and airstrikes are really horrifying even when they hit in a remote area. I do not know what is going to happen next but I can say things are getting worse and it does not seem things will be better soon. The worst thing one can imagine is to leave home."


Hadil* who fled Maarat an Numan, said:

“There was relentless bombing, and soldiers were closing in on the village, so we were forced to leave the house. We had to walk a long distance before we arrived here safely. The situation was very bad when we fled. There were continuous bombing and warplanes flying over us. The roads were being targeted, shells fell where we were walking. We stopped during the day and resumed by night. We took only what was necessary. We left all our belongings behind. I only wanted my children to be safe. We’ve been here for 20 days and we live with my cousin. He has an unfinished building that my four children and I share with my in-laws. That’s 12 other families. I can’t begin to describe how difficult it is to live with that many people. There is a lot of tension all the time.”


Farrah* said:

“Things are very expensive. Tea, sugar, rice, everything is very expensive… even bread … we cannot afford to eat, we struggle to find money to buy food every day. Being displaced has ruined us. I don’t want to buy meat or tomatoes, I only want to prevent my children from starving…We no longer even dream of buying tomatoes and meat… Yesterday our neighbours thankfully gave us a pound of rice.. we cook whatever people can give us… I have not bought vegetables for quite some time, I only buy cheap things, like parsley, that’s it…but a chicken, for example, today costs 3000 SYP. It’s impossible for us to buy one…we need to be frugal to survive.”


*Names have been changed to protect identity   

Bitcoin price likely to rise until coronavirus peaks


3 February 2020 – Bitcoin’s price is likely to continue to rise until the coronavirus peaks, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial services and advisory organisations.

The comments from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as the price of the world’s most influential digital currency has gained more than 10 per cent in a week.

It is also up 30 oper cent since the end of 2019, making 2020 the best start to the year for Bitcoin since 2012.

To date, there have been 17,335 confirmed cases of the potentially deadly Sars-like virus, including 362 deaths. Mainland China remains the epicentre of the outbreak, although cases have been reported in more than two-dozen countries including the UK, Japan, Thailand, the U.S., Spain, Australia and Germany.

Mr Green says: “The ongoing upward trajectory of the price of Bitcoin correlates to the spread of the coronavirus.

“The more individual cases that are identified, the more countries around the world that are affected, and the greater the impact on traditional financial markets, the higher the price of Bitcoin has jumped.

“In this regard, we can expect Bitcoin’s price is likely to continue to rise until the coronavirus peaks which, according to a prestigious research group in Hong Kong, is likely to be in late April or early May.”

He continues: “Why have investors been piling into Bitcoin recently?  Because it is increasingly regarded as a safe-haven asset in times of uncertainty.

“Bitcoin, known as ‘digital gold’, shares characteristics of the traditional yellow metal including being a store of value, scarce, being perceived as being resistant to inflation, and a hedge against turmoil in traditional markets – many of which have been pushed in a tailspin since the coronavirus outbreak.”

The deVere CEO says: “Whilst coronavirus and geopolitical tensions have certainly been underscoring the reputation of decentralised, non-sovereign, secure currencies, such as Bitcoin, as safe-havens, they are somewhat peripheral drivers for why cryptocurrencies are now regarded as the future of money.

“These key other factors include that they are digital, they are global, they solve real-life issues, big tech and institutional investors are coming off the sidelines, and worldwide demographics – the growth of the native digital generation - are on the side of crypto, meaning the future is, too.”

Mr Green concludes: “Whilst there will be minor peaks and troughs – as in all markets - I predict the overall trajectory of Bitcoin to remain upward until such time as coronavirus peaks.”

Volt Casino Commence Final Testing For The Launch of Volt City


Friday, 31st January; 2020, Malta – Volt Casino are proud to announce that they are in the final stage of testing for Volt City, due to be officially launched in the very near future. 

Volt City is a Volt Casino project which has been in development for some time and, when complete, will offer players a brand-new way to play, through gamification that is based on the concept of building one's very own virtual city.

Exclusive to Volt Casino's state of the art loyalty program, Volt City goes beyond a generic rewards system to encourage the creation of cities within which players can win casino rewards. This is the future of casino loyalty. 

To build their city, players use Volt Crystals which are collected through their gameplay. With their Volt Crystals, they can develop their virtual world, building living areas, industrial zones and other amenities to ensure the care of their city's citizens. Players will also need to conquer city challenges and gain Mystery Boxes where they are guaranteed casino rewards. 

Watch this space for an announcement on the official launch date to come very soon.

In the meantime, Volt Casino will be exhibiting at the iGB Affiliate London conference, where they invite affiliates to visit the stand for the chance to receive an exclusive invitation to a sneak peek at the new Volt City, ahead of its launch.

Volt Casino can be found at stand J14.

"We are extremely excited to be in the final stages of testing for Volt City and are proud of the work our team have done to develop such an innovative, state-of-the-art gamification process to tie into our loyalty program. Attendees to the iGB Affiliate London conference are encouraged to stop by the Volt stand for a chance to take a sneak peek." Daphne Xerri, Head of Casino at Volt Casino.


To find out more visit https://voltcasino.com/



Volt Casino is operated by Fair Play Bets Ltd and is the home for top-notch online slots and live casino games. The casino has a varied selection of games from titan providers such as NetEnt, Microgaming, Wazdan, BeeFee Games (BF), Playson and Fugaso. Volt holds licences issued by Malta Gaming Authority, The UK Gambling Commission and Curaçao eGaming and is the best available source of excellent online casino action, unrivalled loyalty program, wager-free rewards, secure deposits, first class customer service and reliable payouts. Volt Casino will be at iGB Affiliate London 5th – 8th February. Visit us at Stand J14.

Tax havens cost the European Community EUR 170 billion a year


EU Member States lose EUR 170 billion a year due to tax avoidance practices exercised by the wealthiest citizens and multinational corporations operating in the EU. “As the sense of small and large entities facing unequal treatment fuels populism across Europe, we must definitely tackle this problem”, said French Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire at the Polish House in Davos. 

During the 50th Global Economic Forum in Davos, findings of a report on EU tax havens, drawn up jointly by the Polish Economic Institute (PIE) and Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK), provided grounds for a discussion at the Polish House.

The discussion was attended by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, French Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire, and OECD Secretary-General Jose Angel Gurria, with Piotr Arak, Director of the Polish Economic Institute, acting as the moderator.

The countries worst-hit by tax avoidance include Germany (losing 29% of its potential tax revenue, corresponding to EUR 18 billion) and France (24%, i.e. EUR 11 billion).

“We must counteract this phenomenon by establishing a fair tax system that will pave grounds for true solidarity in the international communityˮ, said Beata Daszyńska-Muzyczka, President of the Management Board of BGK, in her opening speech which launched the expert debate.

The losses arising from cross-border tax avoidance within the last seven years clearly reflect the scale of EU tax havens. Their aggregated sum exceed by one-fourth the entire EU budget for 2014-2020 set at EUR 960 billion.

“It is hardly possible for an average EU citizen to avoid paying taxes, which makes it difficult for people to understand how large corporations can do so without breaking the law. As the sense of small and large entities facing unequal treatment fuels populism across Europe, we must definitely tackle this issue,” said French Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire.

According to Le Maire, whether this problem is solved once and for all depends not only on measures taken by individual EU Member States but also on their concerted effort. The French Government has struck a preliminary deal with the USA regarding a digital tax impacting, inter alia, the U.S. leading tech companies (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple). France has made a concession to avoid the outbreak of tariff war, postponing the tax payment from April to December 2020.

“President Emmanuel Macron has sent a clear message that he is expecting a global remedy. For the last 3 years, France has been incessantly drawing attention to the problem and its potential solution, i.e. digital tax. We cannot allow large corporations to pay lower taxes only because they have not marked their physical presence in a given country”, stressed the French Minister of Finance.

EU companies transfer their profits from the countries of their operations to other EU Member States due to less stringent tax systems.

As revealed by the PIE and BGK report, the countries which benefit most from this artificial profit shifting process, and are regarded by the European Commission as EU tax havens, include Belgium, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg and Malta. In 2016, the Polish State Treasury lost 11% of the total CIT revenue (corresponding to approx. PLN 3-4 billion) due to profit transfers abroad.

Legal regulations that are less stringent encourage artificial profit shifting. In addition, such countries act as intermediaries in the process of transferring funds further to traditional tax havens such as the Cayman Islands.

“We should make a distinction between two issues: tax evasion by the wealthiest citizens and aggressive tax optimisation applied by multinational corporations. The situation is more complex in the latter case, because it is currently permitted by law. Companies which shift their profits to countries with less stringent tax systems are acting unethically but within the framework of applicable laws”, said Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General.

To effectively bring to justice the wealthiest citizens evading taxes, OECD is applying the system of automatic exchange of information for tax purposes covering a hundred countries. This facilitated the processing of reports on 50 million bank accounts where a total of EUR 5 trillion was deposited (which is roughly a third of the value of American economy). This way EUR 102 billion due tax has been recovered. By the end of 2020, OECD is planning to announce its recommendations for modifying international tax law.

Only in the EU, the aforementioned EUR 170 billion of loss per year includes EUR 60 billion on account of profits shifted to tax havens by corporations, EUR 46 billion on account of assets shifted abroad by wealthy citizens, and EUR 64 billion loss on frauds and other unlawful activities related to VAT payments in intra-EU transactions.

“Before 2015, Poland was listed among the EU countries with the largest VAT gap (ranging from 25 to 27%). This gap has been reduced to 8-9%. The changes in the tax system have been the main driving force of a strong and firm growth of Polish economy over the recent years. It has been possible thanks to reducing taxes paid by small and medium enterprises, while at the same time eliminating defective legal provisions which had been making fraud possible. We have done out share of work. Now it is time for similar solutions across the European Community. It is time for the European Commission to take the bull by the horns”, said Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki.

The Polish Prime Minister also stressed that the declared VAT gap value in all Member States (EUR 150 billion), or loss on tax evasion by corporation or wealthy citizens (EUR 160 billion), has been nearly equal to the annual EU budget.

The report by PIE and BGK lists suggestions for solving the tax evasion issue. A “black list” of Member States considered to be internal tax havens and a system of sanctions imposed by the European Commission are only a few of the ideas. Setting a minimum CIT rate for the entire EU might also help.

The Polish Economic Institute (PIE) is a public think-tank dealing with economic issues. The research focus of PIE covers predominantly international trade, macroeconomics, energy and digital economy, as well as strategic analyses related to the key areas of Poland’s social and public life. PIE provides analyses and expert opinions for the purpose of delivering the Strategy for Responsible Development, and disseminating Polish research in the field of economics and social studies across the country and abroad.

Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) is a state development bank whose mission is to support the social and economic development of Poland and the public sector in the fulfilment of its tasks. The Bank is a financial partner actively supporting entrepreneurship and making effective use of development programmes. It is the initiator of, and the participant in, cooperation between business, the public sector, and financial institutions.

Source: PAP Press Centre

BGK, the Polish state development bank, opens next representative offices abroad


Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) has opened its third representative office abroad in London. There are also plans for opening offices in Amsterdam, Singapore, Washington and several other places.

After Brussels and Frankfurt am Main, Polish entrepreneurs will be assisted by BGK in expanding their business also in London. In addition to supporting Polish companies on the British market, the representative office in the capital of the United Kingdom will also be tasked with monitoring regulations concerning the British economy and building relations with financial markets. Beata Daszyńska-Muzyczka, President of the Management Board of BGK, believes that London will maintain its important role in the world of finance despite Brexit.

The representative office in London is the third one opened by BGK. The Bank already has offices in Brussels and Frankfurt am Main. The Gherkin, a famous skyscraper in the financial district of London, houses the new representative office.

In addition to monitoring regulations related to the British economy and building relations, BGK's representative office in the UK supports the foreign expansion of Polish companies and promotes Poland and the Polish economy.

“The philosophy behind our presence in various locations is related to the activities of other development banks. It is an opportunity for us to build relations in important locations – both financial regulatory centres of the world,” emphasised Beata Daszyńska-Muzyczka.

BGK actively supports the foreign expansion of Polish companies. Creating a network of foreign representative offices by BGK significantly strengthens Poland's footprint on external markets. Thanks to the financing provided by BGK, Polish companies are already present in 69 countries and 6 continents.

BGK opened its first representative office in Brussels in 2018. In 2019, another one was opened in Frankfurt am Main. After London, the Bank is planning to open similar offices in other European countries (Amsterdam), as well as in the United States (first of all in Washington) and Asia (Singapore).

“Choosing Brussels felt natural to us. After all, it is the place where regulations affecting the entire European economy and banking system are created. And Frankfurt am Main is another financial hub in mainland Europe. Some financial institutions even chose to relocate there following Brexit. However, we firmly believe that London will still be an important link in the global financial system,” stressed Beata Daszyńska-Muzyczka.

Maciej Barański, Head of FDI-Central Europe in UK Embassy, said:

“The opening of the London representative office of BGK, which was actively supported by the Department for International Trade, is a significant and highly desirable step in the process of building an infrastructure to support the internationalisation of Polish companies, and especially the entry into the British market, which is becoming a springboard for global expansion.”

BGK is a Polish state-owned development bank whose mission is to support the social and economic development of Poland and the public sector in the implementation of its tasks. The Bank is a financial partner actively supporting entrepreneurship and effectively making use of development programmes. It is also the initiator and participant of cooperation between business, public sector and financial institutions.


Source: PAP Press Centre

Cannabis Market Faces Serious Problems Worldwide: Black Market, Overproduction and High Expectations


  • Canadian example: almost 62% of cannabis sales take place on the black market
  • Hundreds of tons of unsold cannabis are stored in Canada and the United States
  • Cannabis legalization around the world has been progressing much more slowly since 2018


Kryptoszene.de shows in a new infographic that cannabis companies are facing three major problems: black market, overproduction, and the slowly progressing legalization.

The infographic shows that sales on the black market are significantly higher than legal ones: in the first three quarters of 2019, the sales on the Canadian black market reached $930 million, while the revenue on the legal market peaked at $570 million – one possible reason: very diverged prices.  In the last quarter of last year, the price per gram of cannabis on the black market reached $5.73, while the legal market was asking for an average of $10.30.  It also shows that the price difference increases over time.

The second problem for cannabis companies is overproduction. In Oregon, USA alone, there are 450,000 kilograms of cannabis in storage. In Canada, around 315,000 kilograms were left unsold last year.

Closely intertwined with the second problem is the fact that legalization in many regions of the world is proceeding much more slowly than many have assumed based on previous developments.  In 2014, 20.5 million people around the world lived in an area where cannabis was legalized.  The following year it was already 242% more – 70.1 million. However, from 2018 to 2019, the "legalized world population" increased by only 11.1%.


To view the infographics and detailed article click on the following link:


President Andrzej Duda opened the Polish House in Davos, organised by PZU and Pekao S.A.


During the 50th World Economic Forum in Davos, Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, opened the Polish House, where, for the second time, PZU and Pekao S.A. arranged a meeting place for promoting Polish economy and the Three Seas Initiative region. This year's leitmotif of debates held at the Polish House is #Growing Europe, placing emphasis on the growth and investment potential of Central and Eastern Europe.


“This place demonstrates that we are present and visible globally. All the more so, I am happy that PZU and Bank Pekao S.A. have taken up the task of organising the events. Here, together we will show the strength of the Three Seas Initiative to global investors,” said President Duda during the opening ceremony at the Polish House. He stressed that he had been a fervent advocate of the idea to create such a place, and he was particularly proud of making it possible.


During this year’s Forum, guests to the Polish House, featuring the most prominent figures of the world of politics and economy, will discuss, i.a., the sustainment of high economic growth rates in 11 CEE countries, and regional cooperation as part of the Three Seas Initiative. It is all about promoting international transport, energy and digital links in our part of Europe, the issue of creating optimum conditions for enterprise development in technologically advanced industries.


The participants of debates hosted by PZU and Bank Pekao S.A. will also discuss a new model for the region's growth in the view of the gradual loss of the competitive advantage that Poland and other CEE countries have been enjoying, such as labour costs being lower than in other countries or the inflow of EU development funds. They will also try to find answers to the question of how to reduce the development gap in relation to the most prosperous countries in such areas as digital economy and new technologies.


“We are opening the Polish House in Davos for the second time. This is a vital initiative from the point of view of promoting Poland’s economic achievements. It is also an excellent opportunity to meet and discuss the future of economic cooperation in our part of Europe as part of European Union structures. Thirdly, it is a place for Polish companies building their international position to meet the international world of business, politics and science,” said President of PZU Paweł Surówka during the opening ceremony.


“I hope that the Polish House will become part of the Davos landscape, and that in the following years we will be very active at the World Economic Forum, hosting outstanding entrepreneurs, economists and leaders. This year, we will discuss how to sustain the high economic growth rate in Poland and in the region in the face of new challenges related to Industrial Revolution 4.0 and the ever-present digitalisation,” stressed Marek Lusztyn, President of Pekao S.A.


He noted that the bank was present in Davos also due to Polish companies which had been building Poland’s success over the recent years. “As Bank Pekao, our intention is to play the role of a guide and provide financial support on international markets they are entering with a view to gaining international experience and effectively competing in this global village,” said Mr Lusztyn.

In addition to President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish House in Davos will welcome renowned economists, including Professor Nouriel Roubini, representatives of multinational companies and consultancy firms (e.g. Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, McKinsey, and Deloitte), think-tanks (e.g. Atlantic Council), Polish enterprises, and journalists from Poland and other countries.


The most prominent issues addressed during the jubilee 50th World Economic Forum in Davos include climate change and its impact on the natural environment and economy, Industrial Revolution 4.0, demographic, social and technological change affecting education, employment and entrepreneurship.


Source: PAP Press Centre


North America continues to dominate the venture capital funding activity despite decline in volume and value in Q4 2019, says GlobalData


North America experienced a dip in venture capital (VC) investments; however, the region continued to attract the highest number of investments and funding during the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2019, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.


The region experienced a decline in VC investments from 2,700 deals worth US$29.9bn in Q4 2018 to 2,237 deals worth US$29.13bn

in Q4 2019.


Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData, says: “The reasons for slowdown are growing investor cautiousness in the US on the backdrop of volatile trade relations with other countries and political uncertainty due to the impeachment trial of the US president and the upcoming presidential election.”

Despite the weak funding activity, North America has seen some notable deals during Q4 2019 including US$650m secured by Quibi Holdings, US$635m secured by Bright Health, and US$566.5m secured by Citizen Energy.


In contrast, the Asia-Pacific region saw an increase in VC volume and value from 1,133 deals worth US$20.9bn in Q4 2018 to 1,635 deals worth of US$24.7bn in Q4 2019.


Top deals announced in this region during Q4 2019 included US$3.7bn secured by Tenglong Holdings Group, US$3bn secured by Beijing Kuaishou Technology, Ltd. and US$1.5bn secured by Oravel Stays Private Limited.


China saw an increase from 664 deals worth US$15.4bn in Q4 2018 to 945 deals worth of US$15.4bn in Q4 2019. India saw an increase from 180 deals worth US$2bn in Q4 2018 to 258 deals worth US$5.8bn in Q4 2019. Japan also saw an increase from 47 deals worth US$238m to 102 deals worth US$654.6 million.


Europe witnessed an increase from 797 deals worth US$5.3bn in Q4 2018 to 948 deals worth US$7.6bn in Q4 2019.

Top deals announced in this region during Q4 2019 included US$290m secured by Celonis GmbH, and US$220.3m by Picnic B.V.

The UK saw an increase in deal volume from 296 deals Q4 2018 to 312 deals in Q4 2019. However, there was a decrease in the deal value from US$2.2bn in Q4 2018 to US$2.1bn in Q4 2019.


Germany saw a massive increase from 94 deals worth US$803.6m in Q4 2018 to 171 deals worth US$1.68bn in Q4 2019. France also witnessed an increase from 66 deals worth US$555.4m in Q4 2018 to 122 deals worth US$1.8bn in Q4 2019.


Even the Middle East and Africa regions has seen an improvement in VC funding activity from 135 deals worth US$1.1bn in Q4 2018 to 191 deals worth 1.4bn in Q4 2019.

PZU Lays a Cornerstone of the Three Seas Region’s Global Development


Representatives of 12 Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)’s biggest and most dynamic companies have signed today a memorandum establishing the Business Council of Growing Europe. The objective of the initiative is to promote Central and Eastern Europe as an attractive investment destination for global investors and encourage cooperation between business leaders of the region. The initiative has been initiated by PZU of Poland and embraced by 12 founding companies from CEE.


Signing of the memorandum constituting the Business Council of Growing Europe took place in the presence of distinguished guests: Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President of the Republic of Croatia, Egils Levits, President of of the Republic of Latvia, Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia, Georgette Mosbacher, Ambassador of the United States America to the Republic of Poland, as well as leading representatives of business and think-tanks: John Rogers, Vice President, Goldman Sachs; David McCormick, Co-CEO, Bridgewater Associates; Karan Bhatia, Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google and Fred Kempe, President and CEO, Atlantic Council. 


The motto of the Business Council is “Growing Europe” to emphasize the key feature which the 11 CEE countries have in common: stable growth. The memorandum establishing the Business Council has been signed at the Polish House in Davos during the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum by 11 international companies originating from Central and Eastern Europe and including PZU, Banca Comercială Română, Bolt, Bulpros,  Exponea, Gedeon Richter, OTP Bank, Pekao SA, Prezi, Riko Group, Triglav Group, and UiPath.


The objective of the Council is to promote Central and Eastern Europe as an attractive destination for global investors and to present the region as a development hub of high technology, a booming destination of investments in infrastructure, and renewable energy sources. According to the memorandum, the participants will organise joint events promoting the region, take part in panel discussions and meetings at leading economic conferences and events, participate in the activity of working groups, and partner with consultancies.


“The region is well-positioned to become the most attractive investment destination both in Europe and globally. It offers economic, political, and social stability while generating stable economic growth throughout economic cycles. By joining our forces, we can raise awareness about the dynamism, entrepreneurship, and innovation of this part of Europe. By doing this, we want to send a positive signal both to the entire European Union and the world: Europe is not defending its status quo, Europe is Growing, invest in Growing Europe,” said PZU CEO Paweł Surówka. “From now on, Central and Eastern Europe have a Business Council, it has a voice, it has engaged business leaders who want to work for its promotion together.”


 “We believe that the CEE region offers great investment opportunities at the global level, but it is currently too fragmented to successfully compete for capital on the global level. Therefore, we support all activities aimed at unifying and increasing the promotion of the region and establishing closer business ties. We find this new initiative – Growing Europe to be an important step towards those goals”, said Andrej Slapar, CEO of Triglav Group.


“Fostering digital transformation and ensuring a trustworthy deployment environment for artificial intelligence and business automation has never been higher on the European Commission’s agenda as they are now,” said Vargha Moayed, Chief Strategy Officer at UiPath. “This technology will have far-reaching impacts on the way we work, and we at UiPath believe we have an obligation to the CEE and the rest of the world to support the future of work. We are proud to be a founding member of this initiative and look forward to working with its other founding members to successfully transform the CEE into a hub for future digital growth.” 

"In the ten years since we founded Prezi in Hungary—having started in the middle of an economic recession and taking on formidable competition with Microsoft, Apple and Google—we have grown our business globally to over 100 million users and now have offices in Budapest, San Francisco, and Riga, Latvia. Our success shows Central and Eastern Europe can participate in and contribute to a global economy. We are proud to be a founding member of the Growing Europe CEE Business Council to accelerate growth, innovation, and investment in the region,” said Peter Arvai, CEO and co-founder of Prezi.


“Central Europe today is a landmark of resilience and ambition to grow. Our region has an unmatched value proposition of highly skilled people, business environment stability and democratic aspirations. We add today a commitment of the business environment to contribute a vision in policy, investment and social transformation that will see Central Europe becoming a global hub for business and ideas,” said Sergiu Manea, CEO of Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR).


The transition of Central and Eastern Europe has been unprecedented. Within only 30 years, the countries previously cut off by the Iron Curtain have become full-fledged members of the European Union, NATO, and the World Trade Organisation. After joining the global free market with a burden of the centrally planned system, their economies have become a key driver of EU’s growth, as attested by macroeconomic statistics.


The combined GDP of the 11 countries in the Three Seas Region (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia) is close to EUR 1.2 trillion. The countries of the region generate 20 percent of the EU’s economic growth. Foreign direct investments in CEE were equal to only 2 percent of EU FDI in 2015, rising to 15 percent in 2018, a 7.5-fold increase within three years.


Another strength of the region is the potential of its population, currently totaling 100 million. A high percentage of the professionally active population aged 25-64 in the former Eastern Bloc countries of the Three Seas region has higher education, representing the region’s huge human potential. Poland alone ranks above Spain or Italy as measured by the combined number of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) graduates. According to PISA tests, young people in Poland and Estonia are global leaders in all three areas covered by the survey: reading and interpreting skills, mathematics, and reasoning in natural sciences.


Growing Europe Business Council Founding Members

PZU Group is the largest financial institution in Poland and in Central and Eastern Europe. The Group is led by Powszechny Zakład Ubezpieczeń S.A. (PZU) – a company quoted on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. The history of the PZU brand goes back to 1803 when the first Polish insurance company was established. For over 200 years, the core of PZU Group is insurance activity, which aims to ensure a sense of peace and security for our clients through the offered comprehensive insurance protection in all crucial areas of private, public, and economic life.


Bolt is the leading European transportation platform that’s focused on making urban travel easier, quicker and more reliable. The company’s services range from ride-hailing to micromobility and food delivery. Founded by Markus Villig, Bolt launched in 2013. It’s one of the fastest-growing transportation platforms in Europe and Africa with investors including Daimler, Didi Chuxing, Korelya Capital and TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus. Bolt has more than 30 million users in over 35 countries globally.


Banca Comercială Română (BCR), a member of Erste Group, is the most important financial group in Romania, providing universal banking operations (retail, corporate & investment banking, treasury and capital markets), and covering specialty companies working on the leasing market, private pensions and housing banks. BCR is Romania’s No. 1 bank in terms of asset value (over €15 bn.), in terms of client base and in terms of savings and credit. BCR is also Romania’s most important financial brand, judging by the client trust rate and by the number of persons who consider that BCR is their main banking partner.


Bank Pekao S.A., founded in 1929, is one of the largest financial institutions in the CEE region and top 3 universal banks in Poland with ca. PLN 200bn assets and market capitalization of ca. PLN 30bn. Through the second-largest branch network, Bank Pekao serves over 5.5m retail customers. As the leading corporate bank in Poland, Bank Pekao serves every second among the largest corporations in Poland. Status of a universal bank is underpinned by market-leading private banking, asset management, and brokerage operations.


BULPROS is a global digital transformation company, one of the fastest-growing technology organizations, recognized by the prestigious rankings of Deloitte "Technology Fast 50 in CE" and "Technology Fast 500 in Europe, Middle East, and Africa", Inc. 5000 Europe, Financial Times 1000 Europe, and McKinsey’s report “The rise of Digital Challengers”, etc.  Its offerings include Digital Solutions, Cyber Security, Cloud and Support Services, Technology Services and Sales Services, with a focus on Financial Services and Insurance, Professional Services, Telecommunications, Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Retail.


Exponea’s Customer Data and Experience Platform (CDXP) ingests and analyzes all of a company’s customer data, stitches and enriches it with AI, and activates it to intelligently orchestrate personalized experiences across all touchpoints, in real-time, at scale. Exponea has been rated the number one Customer Data Platform by G2Crowd and helps brands like River Island, Olukai, and Missguided be truly customer-centric.


Gedeon Richter Plc., headquartered in Budapest, Hungary, is a major pharmaceutical company in Central Eastern Europe, with an expanding direct presence in Western Europe, China, and Latin America. Having reached a market capitalisation of EUR 3.2 billion (USD 3.6 billion) by the end of 2018, Richter's consolidated sales were approximately EUR 1.4 billion (USD 1.6 billion) during that year. The product portfolio of Richter covers many important therapeutic areas, including Women's Healthcare, Neuroscience, and Cardiovascular Medicine.


With 120 years of experience, Triglav Group is the leading insurance group in Slovenia and one of the leading groups in South-East Europe, where it is strengthening its position and expanding operations. Its key business pillars are insurance and asset management. Triglav Group's financial strength and profitability are confirmed by high credit ratings “A” assigned by S&P and AM Best. The Group's parent company Zavarovalnica Triglav is one of the largest and most liquid companies on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange.


OTP Group provides high-quality financial solutions to meet the needs of its almost 20 million private and corporate clients in 12 countries in the Central and Eastern European region through nearly 1700 branches and 5000 ATMs, internet and electronic channels. Among the European banking groups, the OTP Group boasts one the best capital and liquidity position and is always able to provide the conditions for stable operations and growth.


Prezi is a global leader in visual communication tools, helping a wide range of people, including business professionals and educators, reach their audiences more powerfully. Prezi's products uniquely let users arrange content on a single canvas, using dynamic movement and spatial context to increase engagement and understanding. Founded in 2009, Prezi has offices in San Francisco, Budapest, and Riga, Latvia, with a community of 100 million users that have created the world’s largest database of public presentations. Prezi’s investors include Accel Partners, Spectrum Equity and TED conferences.


Riko is an internationally established engineering company that provides comprehensive technological solutions for industry, energy, environmental protection, logistics systems, and construction. Riko develops integral solutions using efficient, state-of-the-art, and eco-friendly technologies for various industries, including the automotive, tractor, railway and aircraft industries, as well as the energy, environmental protection, logistics, and construction sectors. 


UiPath is leading the ’automation first’ era—championing a robot for every person and enabling robots to learn new skills through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Through free and open training, UiPath brings digital era skills to millions of people around the world, improving business productivity and efficiency, employee engagement, and customer experience.  


Source: PAP Press Center

Markets DISMISS Trump impeachment – but monitor China trade relations and Coronavirus


The bullish financial markets are indifferent to the Trump impeachment trial – more concerning is the U.S.-China trade deal and the Coronavirus, says the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial services and advisory organisations.

The comments from deVere Group chief executive, Nigel Green, come as U.S. President Donald Trump’s historic impeachment trial got underway on Tuesday in the Senate, with Democrats calling for his removal from office and Republicans determined to have him acquitted.

Mr Green says: “A major geopolitical event such as the impeachment trial of a U.S. President would, typically, send shock waves through financial markets.

“This has not been the case here. The seemingly relentlessly bullish markets have largely shown indifference to the impeachment process. 

“This is because investors see the likelihood of Trump being removed from the White House following a Senate trial as almost zero.”

He continues: “However, what is far more likely to cause market jitters in the coming weeks are vulnerable trade relations between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies.

“U.S.-China phase one deal has stopped additional tariffs being imposed on each other’s goods.  However, it does not address serious structural issues of trade between two vastly different economies, one which has enormous state capacity. In addition, the sheer number of goods – amounting to $200bn –that China will need to buy from the U.S. could, ultimately, make the deal unworkable.

“The hard part is negotiations yet to come.”

Mr Green goes on to add: “Markets will also be weighing concerns regarding the spread of the Coronavirus that has afflicted hundreds in China so far – as hundreds of millions prepare to travel during the Lunar New Year period. It’s the largest annual human migration on Earth.

“The World Health Organisation is meeting on Wednesday to discuss the situation.  An upscaling of the threat could depress markets and hit consumer sentiment and spending.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “This bull market isn’t bothered about Trump’s impeachment trial. It will be closely monitoring other major issues, including the U.S.-China trade dispute – the far-reaching impact of which is likely to outlive Trump’s presidency.”

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Ideagen and ExecuJet MRO Services in Global Software Project


Ideagen’s Q-Pulse, Q-Pulse Risk and Academy will be rolled out across all ExecuJet MRO

sites globally


NOTTINGHAM, UK, JAN 21, 2020 - Dassault-owned, ExecuJet MRO Services, is to roll out several software applications from Ideagen across its global operations to standardise a series of processes as it prepares for a three year growth project.

Q-Pulse, Q-Pulse Risk and Academy will handle processes associated with quality, safety, risk and training across ExecuJet MRO Services’global sites.

Ideagen’s software will play a central part in ExecuJet MRO Services’ digital transformation programme as it looks to grow the business following its recent acquisition by Dassault Aviation.

Graeme Duckworth, President of ExecuJet MRO Services and the company’s remaining Founder, said: “This is an exciting project and one that will play a significant part in our growth strategy for the foreseeable future.

“The project with Ideagen is one that we are undertaking as part of our Group-wide internal digitisation project which will increase our business globally – both in regards to possible additional geographical locations and in the services we can offer.”

Dassault Aviation Company acquired ExecuJet MRO Services in March, 2019, and took ownership of the company’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities from business aviation services provider, Luxaviation.

The acquisition strengthened the French airframer's global support footprint with the addition of ExecuJet’s bases across the world, located in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and the Middle East.

Ideagen’s Q-Pulse, Q-Pulse Risk and Academy software products will now be rolled into each site, with the company’s Compliance team working with Q-Pulse and Q-Pulse Risk while its Technical staff focus on Academy. The project also may see ExecuJet adopt Ideagen’s PleaseReview software – its document review, redaction and co-authoring product – in the future.

Mr. Duckworth added: “We are in a unique situation where we are owned by one of the major business jet OEMs in the form of Dassault Aviation, and yet we are a multi-OEM facility in our own right that represents Bombardier, Gulfstream and Embraer to name a few.

“So our remit is very large and varied and we believe Ideagen’s software and expertise will help us re-structure to an extent and capitalise on the opportunities that will present themselves in the future.”

Steven Cespedes, Ideagen’s Head of Aviation, said: “ExecuJet – and indeed its owner Dassault Aviation Company – are some of the largest organisations globally operating in the MRO space.

“This multi-product, global project represents an outstanding opportunity for Ideagen and once again demonstrates the sheer strength of our product suite and indeed our standing in the MRO and wider aviation community.”

Established in 1991 in South Africa, ExecuJet MRO Services specialise in airframe, avionics and engine maintenance with its engineers factory trained and certified to work on a wide range of aircraft from Bombardier, Dassault, Cessna, Embraer, Gulfstream, Hawker and various others.

Mr. Duckworth added: “All maintenance operations performed within the global ExecuJet network comply with the world’s most stringent regulatory requirements.

“Our consistent commitment to uncompromising service excellence and quality workmanship ensures efficient, reliable and safe operation of all our aircraft, and the implementation of Ideagen’s software systems will only help to enhance that.”






Davos 2020: delegates at World Economic Forum urged to commit to fintech

Davos delegates urgently need to make a big, bold commitment this year to fintech, affirms the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial services and advisory organisations.

The rallying call from Nigel Green, founder, and chief executive of deVere Group, comes as world leaders, CEOs, academics, influencers, and celebrities head to the Swiss mountain resort of Davos for the 50th annual World Economic Forum (WEF), starting on Tuesday.

Mr Green comments: “As it celebrates its landmark 50th year, the World Economic Forum 2020 has the opportunity to champion and enhance the transformation of business, which has been dubbed the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution.’

“We’re living through a pivotal moment in history in which increased and advancing technology is monumentally and profoundly changing the way we live, do business, and interact with one another.” 

He continues: “We can clearly see seismic shifts happening in the financial services industry – a sector trade and commerce is deeply reliant upon.

“The vast majority of this change is being driven by financial technology or 'fintech.'  Mobile banking and investment apps, peer-to-peer lending, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, robo-advisers, and crowdfunding are all part of this fundamental shake-up of the space.”

Mr Green goes on to add: “The momentum and energy of this evolution now need to be harnessed by delegates in Davos.  

“They need to commit to fintech by using their time, energy and resources for its research and development for three principal, positive reasons.

“First, it benefits society. Fintech can speed up the pace of global financial inclusion. It can provide access to financial services for millions of people who live in remote areas and/or who might normally not be able to use financial services because of the historical biases of traditional financial companies. Helping individuals, firms and organisations successfully manage, save and invest can only result in better, stronger and more stable communities for us all.

“Second, fintech offers companies the opportunity to be agile, to diversify, to cut costs, and to meet regulatory requirements all whilst improving the client experience. This will help them thrive in rapidly challenging times of change and disruption.

“And third, the revolution is happening with or without them. As consumers, we increasingly want all our financial services needs to be dealt with online and/or on their mobile devices. We demand personal service and instant access anywhere and at any time. This trend is only set to grow as we all become increasingly dependent on tech.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “Davos 2020 is the ideal forum in which to unite the best political and business leaders to galvanise the positive potential of the fintech revolution.

“With a slowing global economy, it is an opportunity that the world cannot afford to miss.”

Bosch Packaging Technology is now Syntegon


The new Syntegon flags in front of the company headquarters in Waiblingen​

Dr. Stefan König,

CEO of Syntegon Technology

The new Syntegon flags in front of the company headquarters in Waiblingen

• Transaction wrapped up on schedule, business development remains stable

• Into the future with a new brand and a new mission: Processing and packaging technology for a better life

• Newfound independence allows for greater flexibility

• Business to focus on intelligent and sustainable technologies

• Service offering will be expanded


Waiblingen, January 16, 2020. Syntegon Technology is the new name among the market leaders in the processing and packaging industry. Known as Bosch Packaging Technology until late 2019, the former Bosch division today presented itself as an independent enterprise at the company headquarters in Waiblingen (Germany). Syntegon Technology’s business focus is on intelligent and sustainable technologies for the pharmaceutical and food industries. Extending the service range is a priority for the company. Syntegon Technology employs 6,100 people at more than 30 locations worldwide. It posted 1.3 billion euros in sales in 2019. Bosch disclosed its plans to sell the packaging machinery division to a newly incorporated entity managed by CVC Capital Partners, a leading private equity and investment advisory firm, in July 2019. The transaction was completed according to plan, with the company gaining full independence at the turn of the year.


Transaction wrapped up on schedule as business development remains stable

The sale of Bosch Packaging Technology was completed on January 2, 2020, as envisioned. Bosch had announced in June 2018 that it intended to sell its packaging division, finding a buyer a year later in CVC Capital Partners (CVC). Bosch Packaging Technology then expanded its headquarters in Waiblingen, Germany, augmenting it with new departments required for the switch. Business developments remained stable in the interim, bucking the trend in the sluggish machine engineering sector. Sales in 2019 came to 1.3 billion euros, matching the previous year’s figure.

The new owner, CVC, aims to vigorously develop the company as a whole and expand intra-group synergies. Commenting on the closing of the sale, Marc Strobel, a partner at CVC Capital Partners said, “CVC is delighted to see the transaction completed on schedule. Syntegon Technology has a strong presence in many market segments, great technological know-how, and innovative power. We want to build on these strengths jointly with management and the entire workforce.”


Into the future with a new brand

“Processing and packaging technology for a better life!” This is Syntegon’s mission statement. The company is determined to improve the lives of consumers and patients with intelligent and sustainable processing and packaging solutions. A new corporate brand was developed over the past few months. The name Syntegon stands for synergy, technology, and focus on the future. The new corporate color green underscores the importance of sustainability and health. The square in the newly designed logo symbolizes a package as well as packaging technology’s ability to protect products.

The entire workforce will celebrate the independent company’s launch with management on January 16, 2020. The ceremony at the Waiblingen headquarters, broadcasted live around the world, will be followed by events held at the individual locations. Syntegon Technology will share the news with its business partners today. Chairman of the Executive Board Dr. Stefan König takes this opportunity to send an emphatic message: “We are building on 150 years of experience and the 64,000 machines deployed by our customers, and pursuing new avenues of business. Now, more than ever before, we are working on intelligent and sustainable technologies and embracing the collaboration with our business partners in the true spirit of partnership.”


Greater flexibility and focus on caring partnerships

This newly gained independence enables Syntegon Technology to be even more flexible. And newly added departments at the headquarters such as Purchasing and IT shorten the distances between in-house units and facilitating interaction with customers and suppliers. Whereas the company had been part of a large corporation with diverse divisions, it can now create a business framework that is an even better fit for the industry. This new setup will enable the company to enhance its profile as a leading processing and packaging company.

Syntegon Technology aims to set new priorities for services. Impelled by the spirit of partnership with its customers, the company is striving to improve its processes. One goal is to reduce response times to customer inquiries; another is to further increase the availability of service technicians. Syntegon Technology is also investing in a customer and technology center at its Waiblingen headquarters. The processing and packaging technology company collaborates with global corporations and regional market leaders and is determined to offer even more attractive services for medium-sized enterprises and startups.


Intelligent and sustainable technologies

Syntegon Technology has intensified its efforts to develop intelligent and sustainable technologies. Drawing on a deep well of experience in developing and integrating software solutions, the company uses connected components as well as components enhanced with artificial intelligence to this end. It puts a premium on ensuring sophisticated technologies are simple to use. The greater goal is to collect and evaluate data to avoid machine downtime, maximize product quality, and optimize overall plant efficiency.

The enterprise is pursuing two approaches to produce sustainable packaging – one is to use mono materials rather than conventional multilayer films, and the other is to use paper packaging as an alternative to plastic. Syntegon Technology supports its customers on the path to a sustainable future with material testing, machine applications, and innovative packaging designed to meet the requirements of products, transport modes, and regional circumstances. The company has also significantly reduced its machines’ energy consumption.


The numbers speak for themselves

A campaign to train the spotlight on Syntegon Technology’s new brand is underway. The company is letting the numbers tell the story. Featuring prominently on the website at www.syntegon.com/numbers, these persuasive figures show what Syntegon is all about. The next highlight on the agenda is the Düsseldorf interpack trade fair, where the company will present its fresh, new brand identity to customers in May 2020.

Regulation is key to cryptocurrency growth say sector experts


While blockchain and cryptocurrency are often involved in consumer payments, they are increasingly seen as a viable asset for private banking. Has the much-maligned technology gained legitimacy through regulation? And is it about to make a splash in wealth management in 2020?

GlobalData’s Private Banker International editor Patrick Brusnahan gets some views from the cryptocurrency sector.

Pavel Mateev, Wirex

“At Wirex – one of the three crypto-powered enterprises to secure regulatory approval from UK FCA – we are constantly on the alert for new and updated financial regulation, in order to maintain regulatory compliance and provide assurance to our customers. 2020 must be a groundbreaking year for cryptocurrencies, with trends that prioritise execution and innovation over-speculation or technical rallies. The long-term goal for the industry will only be a pragmatic one.”

Marc Fleury, Two Prime

“The crypto industry is at a crossroads. We see immense and untapped potential for fund formation. The key is proper capital allocation. The crypto world will continue to evolve rapidly. Many institutional financial players want to capitalise on the next crypto bull market. Expect new forms of digital assets that bridge the worlds of traditional finance and crypto.

“It is our prediction that crypto will spawn new applications in the fund-formation category in particular.”

Brian Kerr, Kava Labs

“Looking ahead to 2020, I expect that we will see a greater focus in both the blockchain and financial sectors on the development and deployment of user-friendly decentralised finance (DeFi) applications. 

“In 2020, we can expect to see more demand from investors for reliable services that can help them do more with their digital asset investments, rather than simply holding tokens in the hope that their value will increase. DeFi platforms will be perfectly positioned to meet this demand. Looking beyond 2020, you can be sure that the hype surrounding DeFi and blockchain will fade.”

Alex Lam, RockX

“It looks like 2020 may be the biggest year for blockchain and digital asset adoption yet. The year may be quieter from a technological standpoint, with fewer new products, but we will see the entrance of new players, including institutions and more traditional investors.

“Once regulation around digital assets is more concrete, I expect that mainstream financial institutions will be much more willing to embrace cryptocurrencies as governments endorse their legitimacy as an asset class.”

Michael Ou, CoolBitX

“Japan and South Korea have led the way in cryptocurrency adoption by passing legislation that either recognises digital assets as legal tender or providing a regulatory framework for blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses. Clear-cut regulations have attracted traditional financial institutions to move swiftly to the crypto market.

“At the end of the day, the benefits of regulation far outweigh the costs. Many players may be in denial, but regulation will not be the demise of crypto, and 2020 will prove that it is the catalyst that will move the industry forward.”

GlobalData’s Private Banker International editor Patrick Brusnahan concludes: “Cryptocurrency and blockchain have received a lot of hype from banks and other speculators and has never quite come through in the way everyone has expected. However, the number of experts that have persisted cannot be denied and 2020 might be the year it proves everyone right."


Ideagen Kicks Off New Decade with Strong H1 Results and Positive Growth Predictions


The UK-based global software firm today unveiled its unaudited interim results for the six months to 31st October 2019.


Highlights include;

• Adjusted EBITDA** on an IFRS16 basis grew 38% to £8.0 million (H1 2018: £5.8 million on an IAS17 basis)

  -  Adjusted EBITDA** on a like for like IAS17 basis (note 2) grew 30% to £7.5 million (H1 2018: £5.8 million). 

• Adjusted diluted EPS*** increased by 17% to 2.31pence (H1 2018:1.98pence)

• 30% rise in revenues to £27.3m (£21m in H1 2018)

• Recurring revenues represented 74% of total revenue (67% in H1 2018)

• Annual Recurring Revenue book (ARR) was up 20% at approximately £43.9 million (£36.4 million at 30 April 2019) 

  - Acquisition-led growth of £3.8 million

  - Organic growth of £3.7 million – 10% in period (H1: 2018 7%) 20% annualised  

  - 48% increase in SaaS bookings (H1 2018: 80%)

• Software as a Service (SaaS) bookings increased by 76% to £9.7m (H1 2018: £5.5m)


NOTTINGHAM, UK, JAN 22, 2020 - Ideagen today (Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020) announced a strong performance in the first half of 2019, with both revenue and EBITDA significantly ahead of the same period last year, in line with expectations. 


Revenues increased by 30% to £27.3m, recurring revenues represented 74% of total revenue (up from 67% in the same period in 2018) and SaaS (Software as a Service) bookings increased by 76% to £9.7m. This resulted in the business being able to deliver Adjusted PBT of £6m (up 25% from 2018), Adjusted EBITDA up 38% on 2018 to £8m and an increased Adjusted Diluted EPS of 2.31p (up 17% from 2018).


The success in 2019 was driven by both organic revenue growth and a number of acquisitions, including Redland Business Solutions Ltd (which was acquired in June 2019). The acquisition of Optima Diagnostics Ltd (acquired in October 2019) is expected to show a positive impact by the full year results


CEO of Ideagen, Ben Dorks, said: “We are pleased to report that we have achieved our objectives this year, significantly increasing the Group’s global footprint, particularly in the US, and delivered another year of strong revenue and profit growth, underpinned by excellent cash generation.


“Trading since the year end has remained robust and we continue to see strong demand for our products from new potential customers. The acquisition of Redland has further enhanced the Group’s portfolio of products and growing recurring revenues. Furthermore, the repeat business derived from more than 4,000 customers, provides the Board with confidence in the prospects for the Group for the current year and beyond.”


Ideagen enjoyed strong momentum in global sales with 273 ‘new logo’ SaaS customer wins and 140 ‘new logo’ on premise customer wins, including major companies such as Oxford Saudia and ExecuJet.


Mr Dorks added: “The Group has a clear and proven strategy to grow the business organically while continuing to identify and acquire businesses that offer strong synergies in terms of product, customers and geographical reach.


“Our markets remain significant and Ideagen is well positioned to deliver on opportunities across our strategic verticals and geographies.”


Ideagen develops software that allows businesses in regulated sectors, such as aviation, aerospace & defence, banking, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals, to meet their safety, compliance, audit and risk requirements. Household names, including the International Airlines Group, owners of British Airways and Iberia among others, Heineken and European Central Bank trust Ideagen to provide them with crucial software solutions.


Read the interim results report in its entirety here.


* Comparison calculated on a pro-forma basis as if acquisitions had been in the Group for the same period in the previous year

** Before share-based payments and exceptional items

*** Before share-based payments, amortisation of acquisition intangibles and exceptional items 

ERC-Funded Researcher Sir Peter J. Ratcliff Wins Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2019


The European Research Council (ERC) supported the work of Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe for five years. He is the seventh ERC-funded researcher to be awarded a Nobel Prize to date.


Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "I warmly congratulate William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza on their achievement. I am proud to say that EU funding has supported one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates to gain insights into how cells adapt to changes in oxygen levels, which is key to fighting a large number of diseases facing our society.”


The President of the ERC, Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, said: "My warmest congratulations on behalf of the European Research Council to the new Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine, William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza. We are proud that one of the highest scientific honours goes to Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, whom the ERC funded in 2008. The ERC, launched by the EU twelve years ago, has already financed over 9,000 projects run by pioneering researchers who follow their scientific curiosity. Seven of them have now been awarded a Nobel Prize. This shows that Europe contributes to breaking new ground and helps researchers to reach the forefront of research and innovation."


In 2008, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant (as co-principal investigator), worth EUR 3 million over five years, together with Christopher J. Schofield. The goal of their project was to study proteins involved in oxygen sensing in cells, namely hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) hydroxylases. With the ERC grant, they undertook ambitious interdisciplinary work into the chemistry, physiology and therapeutics of how cells sense and signal hypoxia i.e. low levels of oxygen. The project succeeded in providing a detailed structural and chemical characterisation of human hydroxylase enzymes, and also led to the development of inhibitors of these enzymes. Modulating how cells respond to hypoxia could in the future be of therapeutic use in ischaemic disease and cancer.



2019 award follows that of six other ERC grantees:

· Prof. Konstantin Novoselov was the first ERC grantee to receive a Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on graphene. He held a Starting Grant and in 2010 was amongst the youngest Nobel prize winners in history.

· Prof. Serge Haroche, ERC Advanced Grant holder, was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems.

Insurance industry M&A deals in August 2019 total US$4.04bn globally, reveals GlobalData​

Total insurance industry M&A deals in August 2019 worth $4.04bn were announced globally, according to GlobalData’s deals database.


The value marked a decrease of 15.7% over the previous month and a drop of 13.6% when compared with the last 12-month average, which stood at $4.68bn.


Comparing deals value in different regions of the globe, North America held the top position, with total announced deals in the period worth $2.69bn. At the country level, Canada topped the list in terms of deal value at $2.69bn.


In terms of volumes, North America emerged as the top region for insurance industry M&A deals globally, followed by Europe and then Asia-Pacific.


The top country in terms of M&A deals activity in August 2019 was the US with 27 deals, followed by Canada with six and the UK with five.


In 2019, as of the end of August 2019, insurance M&A deals worth $18.84bn were announced globally, marking a decrease of 68.6% year on year.


Insurance industry M&A deals in August 2019: Top deals


The top five insurance industry M&A deals accounted for 89% of the overall value during August 2019.

The combined value of the top five insurance M&A deals stood at $3.59bn, against the overall value of $4.04bn recorded for the month.


The top five insurance industry deals of August 2019 tracked by GlobalData were:


* Brookfield Business Partners’ $1.93bn acquisition of Genworth MI Canada

* The $753.3m acquisition of Frank Cowan and The Guarantee of North America by Intact Financial

* Allianz’s $741.72m asset transaction with Sul America

* The $136.72m acquisition of Coverforce by AUB Group

* Sdiptech Publ’s acquisition of Auger Site Investigations for $30.28m.

Stock markets and pound relief over last-ditch bid for Brexit deal​

Global stock markets and the British pound are set to experience a short-term boost following last-ditch talks in the Brexit negotiations on Thursday between the UK Prime Minister and his Irish counterpart.


This is the optimistic forecast from the CEO of deVere Group, the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisation.


Nigel Green’s comments follow a meeting between Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar in which they agreed that there was a “pathway to a possible deal” as they discussed the issues of customs and consent.


The UK government believed that they had gone some way to meet EU demands in their new proposals, by offering to keep Northern Ireland in the single market. They were disappointed that there appeared to be no reciprocity coming from the EU side.


Any sign of Dublin meeting that offer with a similar concession could be the start of serious negotiations towards a deal with the EU.


The deVere CEO says: “Global stock markets would almost inevitably experience a significant shock to the downside in the event of a no-deal Brexit.


“The UK would experience the worst fallout, but U.S., European and Asian equity markets would also take a considerable hit.


“In addition, while some of the impact of a no-deal Brexit has been priced-in, the value of the British pound – which is already down 17% than before the 2016 referendum – would also likely be weighed down further.”


He continues: “This is why, following the positive tone coming from Johnson and Varadkar on the main point of contention in an orderly exit from the EU – the Irish backstop –we can expect global stock markets and the British pound to experience a short-term boost.”


Mr Green goes on to add: “There is a growing sense that there’s a light in what has been a very dark tunnel. It is now imperative that the leaders of the EU and the UK use this glimmer of hope and move forward to end the paralysis.


“They must use this new momentum and act decisively and in the spirit of compromise to get a deal secured by which the UK can leave the EU in an orderly way.”


He affirms: “A deal, which leads to a well-managed departure, is likely to have a rebound effect on global equity markets could rebound, whilst the pound and euro would strengthen against the dollar.


The deVere CEO concludes: “No-deal Brexit is one of the major geopolitical headwinds affecting financial markets, but the encouraging talks between Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar will provide some relief.”


“The situation remains highly volatile and investors should remain invested and ensure their portfolios are properly diversified to take advantage of the opportunities and upsides and mitigate risks.”


Following the discussions, Mr Varadkar will consult with the Taskforce 50, and the UK Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay will meet Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, on Friday morning.

Ideagen (AIM:IDEA) Acquires Optima Diagnostics Ltd, trading as OSHENS

Ideagen plc, the UK-based, leading global software firm, today announced the acquisition of Optima Diagnostics Ltd, trading as OSHENS, for £1.8million.


Based in Canary Wharf, London, Optima is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company that has developed OSHENS, a SaaS-based Health and Safety compliance solution.


The software is currently used by around 80 customers – including Airbus, Sellafield, BAE Systems and Edinburgh Airport – across highly regulated markets such as Aerospace and Defence, Aviation and Energy.

Optima currently generates around £1m in revenues, of which around £900,000 is recurring, and generates around £100,000 of EBITDA.


Ben Dorks, Ideagen’s CEO, said the acquisition supported Ideagen’s QHSE strategy. 

He said: “Optima is a successful and profitable software company which will significantly strengthen our QHSE business unit.

“This is an exciting acquisition that will solidify our QHSE offering while strengthening our foothold in a strategic market for the company.

“Optima brings to the Group an impressive client base spread across several industries, many of which Ideagen currently operates in. We are looking forward to working with those clients, some of which will be new to Ideagen, whilst strengthening our relations with those that currently use Ideagen’s software.

“The acquisition of Optima marks an outstanding opportunity for both ourselves and our customers; significantly broadening our software capability and enhancing our overall QHSE business.”


The acquisition of Optima will also see the addition of 11 members of staff and is expected to contribute £300,000 additional annual EBITDA to the Ideagen Group following the realisation of already identified synergies.


David Hornsby, Ideagen’s Executive Chairman, added: “Optima is a valuable addition to Ideagen and is in line with our strategy of acquiring businesses that have strong IP and recurring revenues.

“QHSE is a valuable yet fragmented market and the acquisition will further enhance our market position as we aim to further consolidate this sector.”


The acquisition of Optima is Ideagen’s 18th in the last seven years and its third in 2019.

It acquired Scannell Solutions Ltd in January for £3.5m then in June purchased Redland Business Solutions Ltd, a RegTech software-as-a-service (SaaS) company which supplies regulatory and compliance software to the financial services industry, for £15.8million.


Last month, Ideagen reported that it had successfully grown its Redland business, securing nine new contracts totalling £1.2m

One million euro Helsinki Energy Challenge in search for sustainable energy production​

Helsinki is preparing the international one million euro Helsinki Energy Challenge competition to find a solution for replacing coal in the most sustainable way possible.


Helsinki is committed to its responsibility in curbing climate change. Helsinki’s goal is to be carbon-neutral by the year 2035. Currently, more than half of Helsinki’s carbon dioxide emissions originate from the production of energy used for heating. Reaching the carbon-neutrality goal requires, in addition to the other actions, that the emissions originating from the production of heat are reduced significantly.


The Finnish government has decided to place a ban on the burning of coal for energy production by 2029. As more than half of all the heating energy used in Helsinki is still produced using coal, this ban will have a major impact on the City. Helsinki does not want to settle for the most obvious solution and replace the use of coal with biomass, because biomass is not a problem-free and sustainable energy source either, due to carbon dioxide emissions and biodiversity issues and to questions related to the availability and transport of biomass.


In order to find answers for a truly sustainable, long-term and impactful energy solution for Helsinki, the Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori has launched the global one million euro Helsinki Energy Challenge. The question of the challenge is simple – how to replace coal with as much carbon-neutrality as possible and with as little biomass as possible.


The competition is arranged to provide all parties with an equal opportunity to bring their solutions to the table for evaluation on the same terms. Helsinki Energy Challenge invites solution and technology developers globally to propose their solutions. Helsinki Energy Challenge will be open globally for all – for companies, consortiums, research institutions, universities and others.


Helsinki will also challenge other cities to join in and work to solve the question of emissions-free heating. In addition to solving Helsinki’s own challenge, the Helsinki Energy Challenge aims to find solutions with potential to solve global decarbonisation targets outside Helsinki and Finland as well.


“Climate change is the most crucial challenge of our time and Helsinki is one of the leading cities championing the fight against it. Helsinki Energy Challenge aims to find solutions for Helsinki but also more broadly for other cities around the world. Our partners will play a key role in achieving this goal. The C40 network collaborates with the Challenge already at the development phase. World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council is one of our partners in ensuring our success and the global relevance of the Challenge”, says Mayor Jan Vapaavuori.


The preparation of the competition is underway. The planned duration of the competition is about one year. The competition’s start date and registration details will be published later. Helsinki encourages interdisciplinary and innovative discussions, challenging the most obvious solutions in energy production.

The background information of Helsinki’s current heating system has been published on the energychallenge.hel.fi website, to make sure that those interested in the topic can already start preparing for the competition. The organisers of the competition also welcome feedback.


EU sustains improvements in financial management for third year in a row, say Auditors​

In its 2018 annual report, published today, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has concluded that the EU accounts present a “true and fair view” of the EU’s financial position. For the third year in a row, the auditors have issued a qualified opinion on the regularity of the financial transactions underlying the accounts. This reflects the fact that a significant part of the EU’s 2018 expenditure was not materially affected by errors and that such errors are no longer pervasive across spending areas. At the same time, challenges remain in high-risk spending areas such as rural development and cohesion, say the auditors.


“Thanks to improvements in its financial management, the EU now meets high standards of accountability and transparency when spending public money. We expect the incoming Commission and the Member States to sustain this effort,” said ECA President Klaus-Heiner Lehne. “The start of a new legislative term and of a new financial programming period create a window of opportunity. Policymakers should grasp it to focus EU policies and spending on delivering results and added value.”


The overall level of irregularities in EU spending has remained stable within the range observed during the two previous years. The auditors estimate a 2.6 % error in 2018 expenditure (2.4 % in 2017 and 3.1 % in 2016). Errors were found mainly in high-risk spending areas, such as in rural development and cohesion, where payments from the EU budget are made to reimburse beneficiaries for the costs they have incurred. These spending areas are subject to complex rules and eligibility criteria, which may lead to errors.


With a renewed leadership in the EU institutions and following the European Parliament elections this year, the EU is at an important crossroads and must seize the momentum to deliver results, say the auditors. The EU’s budget accounts for no more than 1 % of gross national income of all Member States, so it is vital that its spending should not only comply with the rules but also deliver results.


The auditors also highlight challenges to EU budgetary and financial management that are of particular relevance for the new long-term budget cycle. The Member States’ absorption of structural and investment funds, which account for almost half of the current multiannual financial framework (MFF), remains low despite increased momentum and significantly higher claims in 2018. The Commission needs to take measures to avoid undue pressure on payment needs at the start of the new MFF (2021-2027), which could be caused by delayed claims from the current one. Furthermore, the increase in guarantees supported by the EU budget (€92.8 billion at the end of 2018) adds to the budget’s exposure to risk, which the Commission will have to address under the new MFF.

Notes to editors

In 2018, EU spending totalled €156.7 billion, the equivalent of 2.2 % of the general government spending of Member States taken as a whole and 1.0 % of EU gross national income. In 2018, ‘Natural resources’ made up the largest share of funds audited (48 %), while the share of ‘Cohesion’ spending was 20 % and competitiveness represented 15 %. Like last year, the auditors examined ‘Cohesion’ based on the work of other auditors in the Member States and the Commission’s supervision.


Each year, the auditors audit EU revenue and expenditure, examining whether the annual accounts are reliable and whether income and expenditure transactions comply with the applicable rules at EU and Member State level.


The EU’s accounts are prepared applying accounting rules based on international public sector accounting standards, and present the Union’s financial position at the end of, and financial performance over, the 2018 financial year. The EU’s financial position includes the assets and liabilities of its consolidated entities at year-end, both short-term and long-term.

A ‘clean’ opinion means the figures present a true and fair view, and follow the rules of financial reporting. A ‘qualified’ opinion means that the auditors cannot give a clean opinion, but the problems identified are not pervasive. An ‘adverse’ opinion indicates widespread problems.

In order to reach this audit opinion, they test samples of transactions to provide statistically-based estimates of the extent to which revenue and the different spending areas are affected by error. They measure the estimated level of error against a materiality threshold of 2 %, above which revenue or spending is considered to be irregular. The estimated level of error is not a measure of fraud, inefficiency or waste: it is an estimate of the money that should not have been paid out because it was not used fully in accordance with EU and national rules.

The annual report on the EU budget, the annual report on the European Development Funds and the summary document “2018 EU audit in brief” can be found at: eca.europa.eu.

The EU and banks are falling behind in the global fintech race: deVere CEO

The CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial organisations will tomorrow call on the EU to launch its own cryptocurrency in order to compete globally.


Joining a line-up at the Delta Summit in Malta that includes Apple co-founder Steve Wozniack and the Prime Minister of Malta, deVere’s chief executive and founder Nigel Green will say, “The European Union and traditional banks are in danger of epically falling behind in the global fintech race.”


His comments come after being invited to join a closed working business lunch on Wednesday alongside Malta government officials.


At the lunch Mr Green and the leaders and government officials discussed increased cooperation on the future of the digital ecosystem in the Mediterranean and beyond.


Ahead of the prestigious two-day Delta Summit, the deVere CEO notes: “There is no doubt that cryptocurrencies are not only the future of money, but that they are already having a major impact in the world of mainstream finance in the present.


“There are five main drivers for this. First, cryptocurrencies are borderless, making them perfectly suited to an ever globalised world of commerce, trade, and people.


“Second, they are digital, making them perfectly suited for the increasing digitalization of our world, which is often called the fourth industrial revolution.


“Third, they provide solutions for real-life issues, including making international remittances more efficient, and help bank the world’s estimated two billion ‘unbanked' population.


“Fourth, demographics are on the side of cryptocurrencies as younger people are more likely to embrace them than older generations.


“And fifth, institutional investors are coming off the sidelines and moving into cryptocurrencies, bringing their institutional capital and institutional expertise to the crypto market.”


He continues: “Another significant reason why mass adoption is on its way is due to the fact the governments around the world are increasingly considering launching their own digital currencies.


“These include China – which has the world’s second largest economy. Similarly, Dubai’s government has pledged that it will launch a state-backed digital currency, EMCASH, as a payment system for goods, services and other transactions."


He goes on to say: “Against this backdrop, it is completely bizarre that the European Union, the world’s largest trading bloc, has not yet vowed to do the same when cryptocurrencies are, clearly, redefining and reshaping the way the world handles money.


“The EU must embrace cryptocurrencies – they are here to stay and their dominance is only set to increase further. A failure to do so now could mean that it epically falls behind in the global fintech race.


“This would deny citizens all the associated benefits of digital currencies and it would be detrimental to the economy.”


Mr Green says: “It’s not only governmental organisations, the majority of traditional banks are also failing their customers in regards to fintech.


“They were caught off guard by the global crash. In the aftermath they were busy dealing with the new regulatory landscape that prevailed, evolving client expectations and, for some, the massive financial penalties.


"Fintech firms moved in and are filling the void left between what traditional banks are offering and what the ever-more digital savvy customer expects, especially in terms of experience.”


The deVere CEO concludes: “Crypto is to money what Amazon was to retail – and unless governing organisations, such as the EU, and traditional banks embrace it now, it may be too late to ever catch up in what is a truly global competition.”



Boris’ secret Brexit plans: Time to hard-Brexit proof investments​​

Boris Johnson’s reported secret plans to circumnavigate parliament and deliver Brexit means you should now consider hard Brexit-proofing your finances, warns the CEO of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organization.


The warning from deVere Group’s founder and chief executive, Nigel Green, comes as it is reported by City AM on Friday that the UK government believes it can get Brexit over the line on October 31 as the Article 50 deadline – European legislation – overrides any British attempt to stop it – in the form of the UK parliament’s Benn Act.


In addition, Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister, has warned that Boris Johnson could use ‘political chicanery’ to try to force No Deal Brexit at the end of October.


He said he worried the privy council’s powers could be abused to suspend the law designed to stop the UK crashing out.


Mr Green notes: “Under the Benn Act, Boris Johnson must ask the EU for an extension to Article 50 if no Brexit deal wins a pass through parliament by 19 October.


“The PM has said he would comply with this requirement – while at the same time saying the UK will definitely leave the EU on October 31.


“This sounds contradictory.  And maybe the reason he is saying this is his reported secret plan to use EU law to override British law and stick to the EU-imposed deadline of Halloween to deliver Brexit.”


He continues: “Mr Johnson seems determined to get Brexit done come what may – including allegedly lying to the Queen and unlawfully suspending parliament.


“So it will come as no surprise to many that he would also ride roughshod over British processes and somewhat ironically invoke European ones – to get it over the line.


“This raises the spectre considerably of a hard Brexit.”


He goes on to say: “With the pound likely to be further pummelled by crashing out, with UK financial assets – perhaps with the exception of real estate - taking a hit, and with the impact on international exports and global implications for international trade, it’s imperative that investors revise their portfolios.


“They need to ensure that they are properly diversified to mitigate the risks and are best-positioned to seize the important buying opportunities to grow their wealth.”


Mr Green concludes: “It can be expected that a growing number of UK and global investors will move their assets overseas as Britain stumbles towards a hard Brexit.”


TNS Invests in Market Data Services with Significant Euronext

Derivatives Deal​

Transaction Network Services (TNS) has strategically enhanced its growing market data portfolio by securing an agreement to become a Vendor of Record for Euronext Derivatives Market Data.


TNS’ new fully managed Euronext Derivatives Market Data service allows financial market participants to lower the cost of accessing Euronext’s extensive range of derivatives and fixed income assets. It can also be extended to provide equities market data if required.


“TNS’ low-latency, high-capacity connectivity provides optimal market data delivery,” said Stefano Durdic, Managing Director of TNS’ Financial Servicesbusiness. “We simplify the process of obtaining Euronext Derivatives Market Data and can, at the same time, help customers benefit from access to a wealth of other market data sources worldwide. We can provide raw market data feeds in the US to any TNS on-net point-of-presence, as well as hundreds of other data feeds around the world.”


Since acquiring R2G Services in January 2019, TNS has made a series of strategic investments as part of its global expansion plan, including a new dark fiber infrastructure for the New York Triangle and most recently the acquisition of NetXpress, which provides colocation, data center services, exchange and WAN connectivity globally. 


Durdic added, “We are extremely proud of the enhancements we are making globally. Integral to our new Euronext Derivatives Market Data solution aremanaged hosting services at Equinix’s LD4 data center. As we integrate NetXpress’ innovative Layer1 infrastructure, we also expect to extend our reach to Euronext’s Basildon data center before the end of the year.”


“Partnering with TNS can significantly lower the total cost of ownership versus building your own infrastructure,” said Durdic. “TNS’ bespoke architecture has been engineered for low latency and specifically designed to meet the mission-critical requirements of the financial markets. We have extensive global reach, deliver high performance and provide a superior quality of service.”


Optimized for electronic trading, TNS’ solutions were first launched in 1990 and have since grown to include a global trading extranet, managed hosting and colocation, cloud connectivity and more. TNS provides services to customers in more than 60 countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific region. For more information please visit www.tnsfinancial.com.

Supreme Court Ruling Does Nothing to Boost Confidence in UK Assets

The UK Supreme Court’s ruling that Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament was unlawful will not boost optimism in the pound and UK financial assets, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial organisations.

The comments from Nigel Green, the CEO of deVere Group, follow the unanimous judgement by the highest court in the land on Tuesday that the prorogation of parliament was “unlawful” because it had the effect of frustrating democracy.

He observes: “This is a massive blow to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his approach to Brexit.  It would suggest that the possibility of a hard Brexit – and all its associated perceived threats - has further reduced.  

“However, the ruling will not, in fact, deliver a major boost of optimism to the pound and UK financial assets because the Brexit timetable remains in place. 

“The Brexit-fuelled political uncertainty deepens, and this will temper any significant upside. Sterling and UK financial assets remain flat.”

Mr Green continues: “MPs are on their way back to the House of Commons and they have already rejected a no-deal exit. Therefore, Boris Johnson needs to get on with securing a deal with the EU that will get through parliament.

“He needs to play strongly the hand with the EU that it’s in their economic best interests to reopen negotiations. After all, the last thing they need is a no-deal and be unable to trade effectively as they do now with the UK, especially as the wider EU and global economies are slowing.”

The deVere CEO concludes: “As the saga and uncertainty continues, it can be expected that both UK domestic and international investors in UK assets are increasingly likely to move assets away from the UK to grow and safeguard their wealth.”

Earlier this month, a deVere Group survey found that there's been a 35% increase in investors seeking to reduce their exposure to UK assets (barring UK property) since Mr Johnson became PM in July.

Project Based Learning Allows School to Become the Real World

According to many experts, school must be more relevant if kids are to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution, and research indicates that students exposed to project based learning (PBL) are making significantly greater academic gains than students taught with traditional approaches. As students gain deeper knowledge about their work via PBL, they also learn real-world skills that will be invaluable to them for the rest of their lives. Thanks to real world challenges such as the United Nations’ SDG’s, project based learning is currently enjoying a revival. In this style of learning, students must address a problem that’s impacting their local or global community. The PBL process teaches students how to organize and present their thinking in a limited amount of time. Students have to collaborate with other classmates to find solutions and then present their findings to a group. All the skills involved in the work are critical for today’s world. C. M. Rubin, Founder of CMRubinWorld, asked top global teachers to share their examples of high quality PBL programs. Educator Marjo Rantanen in Finland describes an EU program in which students improved their “entrepreneurial skills” and learned to “evaluate peer work and team work results.” Prerna Kumar in India explains her students worked longer and harder and described their experience as “joyful, authentic, powerful and resourceful.” Koen Timmers, who currently has students across 6 continents researching and brainstorming 4 climate change challenges, notes: “I believe in changing people’s mindsets via education.”


Read Full Article HERE


CMRubinWorld’s award-winning series, The Global Search for Education, brings together distinguished thought leaders in education and innovation from around the world to explore the key learning issues faced by most nations. The series has become a highly visible platform for global discourse on 21st century learning, offering a diverse range of innovative ideas which are presented by the series founder, C. M. Rubin, together with the world’s leading thinkers.

Project Based Learning Allows School to Become the Real World

US millionaires demand for sustainable investments is the lowest demand level of any service in the US wealth management market, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.


According to GlobalData’s 2018 Global Wealth Managers Survey, although 90% of US providers interviewed have socially responsible investments in their HNW proposition, the demand they experience for such products is moderate at best. On a 0% (very weak) to 100% (very strong) scale, sustainable investments stand at 50.1%. This is the lowest level of any service in the US wealth management market – and it is forecast to increase only slightly over the next year.


With the number of impact investing funds on the rise, a UBS report looked at HNW investors with at least 1% of liquid assets, allocated to investments linked to environmental, social, and governance factors. Out of the countries surveyed, the US had the least appetite for sustainable investing, with only 12% of HNW individuals having them in their portfolios.


Sergel Woldemichael, Wealth Management Analyst from GlobalData says, “Although sustainable investing may not currently be the biggest money-maker, that does not mean providers should omit it in their proposition. Parallels can be drawn with robo-advice; both offerings are ahead of their time and will be key for the next generation.”


Indeed, 53.4% of US wealth managers surveyed by GlobalData believe socially responsible investments are more important to the next generation than the current generation of clients. Research shows that millennials are committed to their money having more of a social impact than their elders, and wealth managers’ views echo this.

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IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION: Social or ethical investment options are more important for the next gen in the US​


Woldemichael concludes, “As the generational wealth transfer approaches, wealth managers will need to ensure the next generation’s needs are met sooner rather than later, as heirs are likely to start influencing their parents’ investment decision even before the actual wealth transfer. Wealth managers need to adopt or expand their sustainable investments, as demand for these products will only grow.”​

InterNations Business Solutions Helps Employers Tackle the Challenges of Global Talent Mobility

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• The world’s largest expat community launches solution for corporate clients

• InterNations Founder and Co-CEO Malte Zeeck: “Supporting the social integration of expats and international hires provides international employers with competitive edge” 

• Volkswagen, Merck and Cigna among first clients of InterNations Business Solutions



Munich, 9 October 2018 — In 2018, millions of professionals relocated to another country, because they were hired by an international employer or sent on a global assignment. Employers pay a considerable amount of money to organize relocations. Yet, companies may pay an even bigger price for neglecting one of the most sensitive aspects of a relocation — the expat’s social integration. InterNations is now launching a solution which fills this gap with a powerful yet cost-efficient innovation. The world’s largest network for professionals working and living abroad, InterNations manages 420 expat communities with 3.3 million members around the world. Today, the company announced the launch of a Corporate Membership for global assignees, international hires and their respective partners. The solution enables companies to foster the social integration of expats across the entire relocation process. “Employers who help with the social integration of their expats are more competitive, because they reach higher productivity levels faster and are less prone to assignment failure or talent loss. With our global network of expat communities, we are in a unique position to provide this missing link to expat support,” says Malte Zeeck, Founder and Co-CEO of InterNations. Prior to the international roll-out, InterNations has been conducting a comprehensive pilot for its new solution, winning the cooperation of Volkswagen, Merck, Cigna and other global employers.

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A peer-to-peer based solution with a global reach

A Solution which Boosts the Social Integration of Expats


Lower assignment risks, higher employer attractiveness and a better retention are the most important benefits which employers gain from incorporating an InterNations Corporate Membership into their expat support programs. Companies are also able to reduce the workload of global mobility and HR teams, who struggle to respond to the myriad individual questions and needs which are tied to a relocation. What are safe areas around town? Which is the best school for my child? What do I need to know about the local culture? How do I rebuild a social life? As members of an InterNations community, the new expats tap into the know-how and experience of other expats and global minds, who help them with up-to-date local information. “We are excited to introduce this peer-to-peer-based model of expat support to corporate clients. Employers and relocation service providers often do not have the infrastructure to offer this rich layer of support to their expats. Also, there are many areas of need where peer-to-peer support is simply more cost-efficient than traditional expat services”, says Malte Zeeck.
 Unlike other expat communities, InterNations provides peer-to-peer-based expat support on a local level, yet across a global network of 420 communities and under one central management. In each location, employers benefit from the same proven community concept and high-quality standards, from the business hubs in New York, London and Singapore to more remote destinations.



Volkswagen to use new Solution for Partner Support


Volkswagen is one of the first companies to work with InterNations Business Solutions and commands a global workforce of 642,300 employees. The global mobility team plans to integrate the InterNations Corporate Membership into their support program offered to partners of international assignees. “Moving to another country is an exciting experience, yet most people need help with the social integration at some point. This can be especially true for partners who do not have a work permit while abroad or who take care of the family. With the option to join the local InterNations community, it becomes much easier for them to settle down in their new host country, feel connected and have a richer experience of the new culture,” says Dr. Karen Lange, Head of Global Assignments at Volkswagen.


Consulting Backed by a Long History of Expat Support


Munich-based InterNations is the largest network for global employees worldwide, with 3.3 million professionals in 420 local communities. When the company started its first expat hubs in 2007, global talent mobility was just starting to become a topic. Today, companies are managing even more complex global assignments and fighting hard to position themselves as attractive global employers. InterNations has responded to this need by launching InterNations Business Solutions, a B2B division which will support companies with global assignments and international recruiting worldwide. “Global talent mobility is becoming more complex, more diverse and more competitive. We want to provide employers with up-to-date solutions to these challenges and leverage our expertise to a B2B audience,” says Malte Zeeck. The new division is located at the InterNations headquarters in Munich and is headed by Theresa Häfner and Christoph Zeinecker. Theresa Häfner has played a vital role in building the community management and other key areas of InterNations since joining the company in 2010. She is now in charge of the product development and marketing team of the new business division. Christoph Zeinecker has worked as executive for leading companies of the relocation industry, and he founded his own internet company. At InterNations Business Solutions, he spearheads the global advisor team and acts as consultant to corporate clients across core industries. Both Theresa Häfner and Christoph Zeinecker have lived abroad for long stretches of their careers and know the challenges of relocation first-hand.


InterNations Business Solutions will complement its product development with research-based industry insights, which explore global talent mobility from the viewpoint of expats. On Tuesday, 30 October 2018, the division releases the Expat Insider 2018│Business Edition, a report geared at business leaders, as well as international recruiting and global mobility professionals. The report explores global talent mobility through expat eyes and is based on the InterNations annual Expat Insider survey of 18,100 expats globally.

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Christoph Zeinecker und Theresa Häfner, InterNations Business Solutions

About InterNations Business Solutions


InterNations Business Solutions was launched by InterNations, the world’s largest network for professionals living and working abroad with 3.2 million members and 420 communities worldwide. The goal of the new division is to develop B2B solutions for global employers. The solutions enable companies to improve the success of global assignments and to boost their employer attractiveness with regards to international top talent. InterNations Business Solutions regularly provides insights about Global Talent Mobility from an expat perspective. In October 2018, the division will publish the first edition of the “Expat Insider | Business Edition”, which is based on a survey with 18,100 expats worldwide.


To order an advance copy of the Expat Insider 2018│Business Edition, please send an email to birte.pampel@internations.org.


Find more information about InterNations Business Solutions on XINGLinkedIn and on our division website(to be released shortly).

InterNations Business Solutions Co-Heads ​

Fact Sheet InterNations 
Business Solutions

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InterNations Business Solutions Christoph Zeinecker​

InterNations Business Solutions Theresa Häfner

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About InterNations


With 3.2 million members in 420 cities around the world, InterNations (www.internations.org) is the largest global community and information site for people who live and work abroad. InterNations offers global and local networking both online and face-to-face. At around 6,000 official events and activities per month, expatriates have the opportunity to meet other global minds. Online services include country and city guides created by a team of professional writers, guest contributions about life abroad, and discussion forums to help members with topics such as the local job or housing search. InterNations membership is by approval only to ensure we remain a community of trust.


The InterNations app is available for Android and iOS and can be downloaded for free on Google Play and the App Store


Find more information about InterNations on our press pagescompany websiteFacebookLinkedInTwitter,or in our Expat Magazine.

UNCTAD – World Investment Forum, Geneva, 22-26 October

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World Investment Forum, Geneva, 22–26 October



Geneva, 9 October 2018 – More than 5,000 participants from 160 countries will meet in Geneva to thrash out major new investment-for-development initiatives at UNCTAD’s World Investment Forum 2018 in the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland from 22–26 October.


The high-level conference comes amid mounting disquiet about declining investment flows and their impact on efforts to meet the ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the international community three years ago.
“Global flows of foreign direct investment fell by 23% in 2017,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “Cross-border investment in developed and transition economies dropped sharply, while growth was near zero in developing economies. With only a very modest recovery predicted for 2018, this negative trend is a long-term concern for policymakers worldwide, especially for developing countries.”


Private sector investment in developing countries totalling $3.9 trillion a year is needed to generate economic activity to meet the Sustainable Development Goals – the core of the 2030 Agenda –according to UNCTAD research. Current levels leave an investment gap of some $2.5 trillion.


Marking its 10th anniversary, the biennial World Investment Forum remains the premier venue to forge partnerships between investment and development stakeholders to close this gap.


A unique gathering of high-level players from the global investment-development community, the forum provides an opportunity to hold an open dialogue, brainstorm solution-oriented initiatives and foster global alliances to advance prosperity for all. This year’s event comprises some 60 events, including three summits, five ministerial round tables, private-sector led sessions and several awards ceremonies.


Besides giving participants a chance to spotlight priorities for attracting and channelling investment that will drive sustainable development, the forum sessions will also focus on transformative actions and innovative financing modes for development, such as blockchain, sustainability bonds and blended finance. 


Speakers from business and special guests include more than 30 top executives of multinationals, among them Aviva, De Beers, Coca Cola, ContourGlobal, Jumia, Lavazza, PwC, Siemens Financial Services, UBS, and the heads of stock exchanges including those in Bombay, Johannesburg, Luxembourg, Nasdaq Nordic, SIX and Shenzen, as well as the leaders of sovereign wealth and pension funds.  


Fourteen heads of state and government have confirmed they will attend, including those from Armenia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Cambodia, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Lesotho, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malawi, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Switzerland.


They will be joined by more than fifty ministers from developed and developing countries and 21 heads of international organizations.


The topicality of the forum for the international investment and development communities is reflected in the number and diversity of organizations that have partnered with UNCTAD for the event.


As well as United Nations entities, 50 other organizations will be at the event, including the Commonwealth, the International Labour Organization, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the International Olympic Committee, the International Organization of Securities Commissions, the International Telecommunication Union, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Economic Forum, the World Trade Organization and the World Bank Group.


These partnerships have generated exciting new content for this year’s participants, including an in-depth look at the relationship between sport and development, co-hosted with the International Olympic Committee and, on the annual United Nations Day, 24 October, a session on the role of investment in peace and security.


 Five independent tracks will run in parallel with the main forum, with a special programme for parliamentarians, a multidisciplinary academic conference, an investment village, the 35th anniversary session of the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR), and the 2018 UNCTAD Youth Forum, taking youth entrepreneurship as its theme.


Previous World Investment Forums took place in Accra, Ghana (2008), Xiamen, China (2010), Doha, Qatar (2012), Geneva, Switzerland (2014) and Nairobi, Kenya (2016).

Sovereign Asia Focus October 2018

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Welcome to the Sovereign Asia Focus newsletter keeping you up-to-date with news and views from around this burgeoning region – Hong Kong and Singapore, in particular, where we have long-established offices.


Please click on the links below to read more and find individual contact details should you wish to discuss your needs further. 


Click here to manage your subscriptions to all Sovereign news.



China makes changes to the Individual Income Tax Law​


The National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee approved, on 31 August 2018, a second draft of the Individual Income Tax Law to amend a number of elements of the calculation and enforcement of individual income tax (IIT) in China.

The aim of the new IIT law is to ease the tax burden for low to mid-income earners while taking a tougher stance on both high-income earners and foreign workers. It includes significant changes to residency rules and the introduction of General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAARs) for individuals.

Singapore’s Global Investor Programme


Singapore’s passport is now ranked as the most powerful in the world, with a visa-free score on the Passport Index of 166. A Singaporean passport will grant visa-free access to 127 countries, while just 29 countries require a visa upon arrival and 32 countries require a visa under any circumstance.


A foreign investor who is interested in starting up a business or investing in Singapore, can apply for the SPR status through Singapore’s Global Investor Programme (GIP). This is eligible for applicants that can demonstrate both a substantial business track record and a successful entrepreneurial background.

Hong Kong is now the top city for the super-rich


Hong Kong has overtaken New York to become the top destination for the world’s wealthiest people. The number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) residing in Hong Kong rose by almost a third in 2017 to 10,000, according to an annual survey published by research firm Wealth-X.​

Singapore changes statutory requirements for AGMs and Annual Returns


As part of on-going efforts to uphold Singapore’s competitiveness as a regional business hub, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore continuously reviews the regulatory frameworks governing the companies and businesses registered in Singapore and makes necessary amendments to ensure their relevance, ease of application and efficacy.


To this end, ACRA has announced changes to the statutory requirements governing the holding of Annual General Meetings (AGM) and filing of Annual Returns (AR) to align them with a company’s Financial Year End (FYE). 



Finalists for the Innovative Use of Underground Space category​


ITA Tunnelling Awards 2018​



Since 2015, the international competition “the ITA Tunnelling Awards” seeks and rewards the most ground-breaking innovation and outstanding projects in tunnelling and underground space utilization. 


The 2018 edition will take place on 7 November, in Chuzhou-Nanjing during the 20th Chinese Tunnel and Underground works Conference (CTUC – from 5 to 6 Nov). This will be followed by technical visits on Nov 8 in Nanjing, Chuzhou and Shanghai.  


In 2018, the 3 finalists for the award of “Innovative Use of Underground Space” all have one common trend: they build bridges. Bridges from the past to the present, bridges between urban activities and nature, bridges between the underground and the surface.


The Innovative Use of Underground Space category highlights the most unexpected and accomplished projects constructed underground. These projects aim to develop both ecological aspects as well as efficient urban planning, by shrinking the gap between the surface and the underground: creating new pedestrian connections, developing new utilizations of subterranean spaces and transferring surface functions to the ground.


The 3 Finalists: 




With the rapid development of tertiary industry in China since the 1980’s, the roles of cities have gradually been transformed into distribution and service centres. But land is a non-renewable and extensive use of urban space, leading to unequal repartition of services and functions.


Intensive land use, on the contrary, is based on the selection of modes appropriate to their different intrinsic attributes. Intensive use of land generally follows three trends: Land Construction, Buildings and Traffic.


Located  in  Tanglangshan  Park  Shenyun, the project in an abandoned quarry comprises of a  “Shenyun Vehicle Section” which is  at  the north  of  Longwan  Road  in  Nanshan  District,  and  at  the  east  side  of  Nanping  Express  Highway.  The site is approximately 307 meters wide and 905m long, with  floor  space of 31.85ha  and  overall  floorage  of 168,000. 


Based on the purpose of intensive land use, Shenyun  Vehicle  Section combines and considers  both ecological  construction and business development requirements. The vehicle section mixes rail traffic, sports facilities, public facilities and a scientific research and education base.  Natural and urban space are equally integrated within the project. This site is a wonderful reflection of the harmonious co-existence between human activities and nature, creating an ecological connection between hills and contributing to the natural balance of the area





The project consists of the construction of an underground pedestrian walkway in Tianjin, in New Badalei area. It aims to connect the north and south concourses of the Heiniucheng Road freeway and the Neijiang North Road.


The underground walkway beneath Heiniucheng Road has a length of 92,6m. The tunnel was constructed with an earth pressure balance pipe jacking machine. With a size of 10,4m x 7,55m, the pipe sections used in the underground walkway are the largest in the world.


Heiniucheng Road is one of the most important roads in Tianjin with a width of 66,5m. It is the first time the super-large cross-section rectangular pipe-jacking tunnelling method was used in the watery and weak strata in Tianjin.





The Norwegian Rock Blasting Museum is an underground museum located near the Olympic City of Lillehammer in Norway.


The museum was created 25 years ago by the main stakeholders of the industry, to recognise Norway’s close and extensive history with tunnels.


The Norwegian Rock Blasting Museum is an entertaining and informative journey through the history of Norwegian tunnelling and rock blasting, with a 240 m long semi-circular tunnel as the main attraction. The tunnel display equipment and tunnelling techniques date from the beginnings of tunnelling all the way to modern computerised drilling and TBM boring.  This is a unique museum, and possibly the only purpose-built “tunnelling museum” in the world.

Betsoft Gaming Signs Content Agreement with Belgian Casino Supergame

31/8/2018 – Valletta, Malta – Betsoft Gaming will extend its European reach further into Belgium, signing a content partnership agreement with established multi-channel casino Supergame.



The agreement is comprehensive, providing for the integration of a wide range of Betsoft titles that comply with the Belgian Gaming Commission’s online regulations.


Headquartered in Antwerp, Supergame built its reputation in land-based casino over several decades, before entering Belgium’s tightly-regulated online market in 2013. Since then, the operator has distinguished itself from the competition through a commitment to world-class customer support and an emphasis on the casino user experience. As a B+ license holder, certain restrictions apply to the content that Supergame can offer to Belgian players, as Annamaria Anastasi, Marketing Director for Betsoft explains:


“The Belgian regulated market is complex, with various license tiers that govern the way games can be promoted and played. For Supergame, this meant finding a content partner who is agile and experienced enough to make sensitive adjustments to core mechanics, themes, and features to ensure that their games comply with regulations and resonate with the region’s players.”


The agreement also lays the foundation for future Betsoft game integrations, with further content also being adjusted for the Belgian market.


“Working with Betsoft, you feel straight away that they are a very professional company,” says Manou Coutard, Product Manager at Supergame. “Our team have been big fans of Betsoft’s games for some time. Their titles are visually stunning, and their 3D art is amongst the very best in the business. But more than that, we were thrilled to find a partner capable of adjusting their content to meet our unique requirements. We are confident that Betsoft will help elevate our casino to the next level.”


About Betsoft Gaming:​


Betsoft Gaming develops innovative casino games for desktop and mobile. Its portfolio of more than 190 RNG titles reaches players through partnerships with many of the iGaming industry’s leading operators. Under the SLOTS3 TM banner, Betsoft is elevating players’ expectations; these cinematic, true-3D slots blend rapid, gratifying gameplay with an audio-visual excellence more typical of movies and videogames.


An early entrant to mobile gaming, Betsoft launched the ToGo TM collection in 2012. More recently, Betsoft revealed the Shift TM environment, which supports truly cross-platform development at the same time as increasing performance, drastically reducing file size and streamlining integration.


Casino Manager, Betsoft’s comprehensive back-office platform, rolls reporting, management,
marketing, promotion, and administration into a single compelling package.


Betsoft is headquartered and licensed to operate in Malta, and holds additional licenses in Romania and Curacao. Contact sales@betsoft.com orvisit www.betsoft.com for general information and enquiries. For press and marketing enquiries, email press@betsoft.com

Brexit effect: Public opinion survey shows that EU is more appreciated than ever

The latest EU public opinion survey, conducted in September 2018, reveals a clear and growing appreciation for EU membership, reaching a record high of 68%.


The latest Eurobarometer survey, measuring public attitudes to the EU across member states, highlights that more people than ever consider their country’s membership of the European Union to be a good thing (62%). This is the highest figure recorded in the last 25 years. 68% are also of the view that their country has benefitted from EU membership – the highest figure since 1983.


Nearly all results measuring support for the EU showed a significant upturn following the UK referendum in 2016, suggesting growing concern across the continent at the impact that Brexit will have and a growing awareness, due to the difficult negotiations, of the benefits of being a member of the EU. 66% of European respondents would vote for their country to remain a member of the EU (a majority in all member states) and only 17% would contemplate leaving, with 17% undecided.


The latest Eurobarometer figures also show a growing sense of satisfaction amongst Europeans in the democratic functioning of the EU (49%), representing a three point increase since the previous survey in April, whilst 48% feel that their voice counts in the EU, though this latter sentiment appears to be on the decline in a number of countries.


The Parlemeter 2018 survey though is not all good news. Despite significant and growing support for the EU in general, half of respondents are not happy with the direction the EU is heading in, with a similar result regarding their own country. Public opinion also seems quite stable in terms of expectations about the role of the EU in the future, with 48% wanting the EU to play a more important role, as opposed to 27% preferring less.

As regards the image of Parliament across the EU, one third (32%) hold a positive view, one fifth (21%) a negative view and a relative majority (43%) remain neutral.


There is growing awareness of next year’s European elections, with 41% correctly identifying the date in May 2019 – a nine point increase over a similar survey six months ago and seven points more than in June 2013. However, 44% still could not say when the elections will be taking place, compared to 46% in June 2013.

With 51% of citizens declaring to be interested in the elections, citizens’ campaign priorities have evolved over the past six-month period. Immigration now tops the agenda (50%), followed by economy (47%) and youth unemployment (47%), whilst combatting terrorism moves down to fourth place with 44%.


Commenting on the results of the survey, President Tajani said: “As details of the UK’s withdrawal agreement are being finalised, these figures highlight growing appreciation of the benefits of EU membership across the continent. Nevertheless, there is much work to be done. Continued cooperation and solidarity at the EU level is essential in delivering answers to the concerns of ordinary European citizens.”


Guy Verhofstadt, Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, added: “The fact that 51% of UK citizens surveyed want to stay in the EU is a stark reminder of the deep divisions wrought by the Brexit decision and the need for us to find a sustainable and close long-term future relationship in the form of a broad and deep association agreement. While we must prepare for all eventualities, it appears there is little appetite in the UK or elsewhere in the EU for a so-called hard Brexit, or a costly, no-deal scenario and I hope that the outcome of the negotiations will ultimately reflect this.”



Background to the survey​


The fieldwork of this survey was carried out between 8 and 26 September 2018 among 27 474 Europeans aged 16 or more, interviewed face-to-face by Kantar Public in all 28 Member States.


Further information


Eurobarometer survey

Blockchain-based Cancer Screening – 97% accurate

Lancor Scientific’s live cancer screening technology proves global viability of blockchain-based platforms.

Thursday 18th October, London:  Lancor Scientific has launched its global cancer registry, by integrating its blockchain platform onto an early detection cancer screening device.​


The device has been developed to provide a more cost-effective, faster, securer and accurate cancer screening solution than current cervical Pap smear systems and will add more types of cancer it can screen for in 2019. It is an optimum solution to fast-track healthcare technologies in developing countries, helping to screen for a range of cancers at their earliest stages.


Lancor Scientific’s Medici Token allows holders to purchase cancer screening tests at any clinic using the Lancor Blockchain Platform (LBP). It has been validated to work alongside partner Tumour Trace’s early cancer detection OMIS (Opto-magnetic Imaging Spectroscopy) device. It also addresses data security and fragmented records in healthcare, which can ultimately save lives.


The Lancor Blockchain Platform and Tumour Trace partnership is the product of 14 years of development and $5m investment. The Tumour Trace OMIS device was invented by Professor Djuro Koruga, Tumour Trace’s Chief Scientific Officer, and emanates from his research at the University of Belgrade.


It is the first device to use light to detect the state of electromagnetism in tissue. When tissue becomes cancerous, the magnetic profile of cells changes. Healthy tissue demonstrates a diamagnetic profile, whereas malignant tissue demonstrates a paramagnetic profile.


The OMIS device takes advantage of the photoelectric effect in quantum physics. When light is shone onto tissue, the magnetic component of the reflected light from the tissue can determine how malignant it is. This also means that the device does not subject the patient to potentially dangerous ultraviolet, X-ray or microwave radiation.


The patented technology is validated and CE marked for cervical cancer, following a number of clinical trials with partners, including the NHS, totalling approximately 2,000 people. It currently runs at 90% accuracy, compared to the 60% accuracy that Pap screening offers. With the use of AI removing biological noise from samples, trials are aiming to push for 97% accuracy. Costs can also be dramatically decreased. Pap and HPV cost £30-40, whereas a cervical cancer screening using OMIS costs between £5-10, approximately.


Lancor Scientific is currently aiming to validate the OMIS device to screen for a range of cancers in the future.


Aamir Butt, CEO of Lancor Scientific, has commented:


“Lancor Scientific has dedicated itself to making effective cancer screening available to everyone, everywhere. Our technology will help people to be screened earlier than ever before, so that they can receive necessary treatment, even before symptoms occur. Blockchain technology will provide a secure infrastructure to roll-out the device and Lancor Scientific platform.


The fight against cancer is an uphill battle for everyone connected, so we hope that our solution can help people in the countries that need it the most. We are delighted to see continued progress towards this ultimate goal.”


Lancor Scientific’s advisory board features several renowned professors including, Prof. Adenike Grange, Ex-Health Minister of Nigeria, who has consulted to the Federal Ministry of Health, WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and USAID; Professor Dr. A Min Tjoa, a UN advisor and a full professor and director of the Institute of Software Technology and Interactive Systems at the Vienna University of Technology since 1994; and Dr.Khalil Razvi, a Clinical Director for the NHS.


About Lancor Scientific:


Lancor Scientific is a London-based medtech company which has created a blockchain-based global cancer registry to address issues of data security and fragmented records in healthcare.


The platform works with an early detection cancer screening device created by Tumour Trace. The patented Tumour Trace device uses OMIS (Opto-magnetic Imaging Spectroscopy) to detect the change in electromagnetism of tissue.


Lancor Scientific is aiming to raise $20m through its ICO, which is currently open to seed token purchasers. This will allow Lancor Scientific to further validate both the blockchain registry and the Tumour Trace OMIS device.


For more information, visit: https://www.lancorscientific.io

Patek Philippe Ref. 5531R World Time Minute Repeater.

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For the very first time, a minute repeater sounds local time anywhere in the world.


Minute repeaters and the World Time function play a pivotal role in the portfolio of Patek Philippe’s complicated timepieces. With its chiming watches, the Genevan manufacture has defined the benchmark for decades, as evidenced by their exceptional acoustic quality, the broad range of models and variations, and the interesting combinations with other complications. Patek Philippe’s World Time watches with cloisonné enameled dials are legendary as well; they rank among the most coveted timepieces at auctions worldwide. In the Ref. 5531 World Time Minute Repeater, the engineers in Geneva merged these two complications for the first time in Patek Philippe’s history – and also in an unprecedented way: the time is always struck as indicated by the hour and minute hands for the time zone represented by the city aligned with the 12 o’clock position.


Patek Philippe’s engineers can take on any horological challenge, including the development of innovative complications – as in the Grandmaster Chime – or combinations of functions never before attempted. This applies especially when the issue is to integrate functional mechanisms into one another. With the Ref. 5531 World Time Minute Repeater, they took on this challenge with a peerless degree of ingenuity. All other minute repeaters with 24 time zones systematically strike home time even if they and their owners are far away from home. Conversely, Patek Philippe’s Ref. 5531 World Time Minute Repeater, chimes the time, accurately to the second, at its current location.



The whole world’s time at a glance.


For over 70 years, Patek Philippe World Time (also called universal time) wristwatches have been mainstays in haute horlogerie. The Genevan manufacture instantly recognized the potential of Louis Cottier’s idea. In the 1930s, the Genevan master watchmaker invented a remarkable system capable of displaying the time in all 24 time zones as referenced by the cities printed on the dial or engraved in the bezel. In 1999, the manufacture fundamentally improved the functionality of its World Time watches by adding a patented mechanism. When moving from one time zone to another, this solutions allows all three time zone indications to be corrected with a single pusher. A single actuation adjusts the city disk, the 24-hour disk, and the center hour hand by one-hour steps without affecting the rate accuracy of the movement. Now, the challenge was to join this mechanism with a minute repeater in a way that would best address the purpose of such a watch. The result is Patek Philippe’s new self-winding caliber R 27 HU movement with the World Time function and a minute repeater.



The melody of time for any place in the world.


The owners of a World Time Minute Repeater want more than to see the time in all of the world’s 24 time zones at a glance. They also want a highly legible reading of the time at their current location, on demand also acoustically with the incomparable sound of a Patek Philippe minute repeater. This goal has now been achieved by the manufacture for the first time in horological history.


With its Ref. 5531 World Time Minute Repeater, Patek Philippe is again presenting a grand complication never before implemented in this way. The watch comes in a rose-gold case with a dial that seductively pairs technical innovation with an authentic Genevan tradition. The Ref. 5531 is a sonorous, mechanically ingenious, and aesthetically appealing manifestation of top-tier watchmaking artistry as upheld by Patek Philippe.


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