Shares edge up, dollar set for worst week since Sept as Omicron fears ebb

Hong Kong, Most Asian share markets edged higher on Friday and the safe-haven dollar was on the back foot, on signs the Omicron variant would not significantly derail global economic growth.


The greenback was headed for its worst week since September while other risk-friendly assets from bitcoin to the Australian dollar held onto their recent gains buoyed by ebbing concerns over the severity of the new COVID-19 variant, Reuters reported.


MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) rose 0.2%, and Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) inched 0.1% higher, after the S&P 500 (.SPX) had finished at a record closing high.


Some markets, however, fell on tighter measures to contain the spread of Omicron. Chinese blue chips (.CSI300) slipped 0.32% a day after rising infections in the northwestern city of Xi’an resulted in a lockdown of its 13 million residents.


“As it looks like neither tapering nor the Omicron variant will have too much of an effect on the economy, globally, money is flowing into equities,” said Steven Leung executive director for institutional sales at UOB Kay Hian in Hong Kong.


The U.S. Federal Reserve said last week it would accelerate tapering of its massive bond buying programme and paved the way for three interest rate hikes in 2022, but this did not roil markets as it did in 2013 when the Fed tapered its post financial crisis quantitative easing.


Meanwhile, economists believe the Omicron strain of COVID-19 is unlikely to prevent a second straight year of above-trend growth, even as they – and more importantly epidemiologists and public health experts – try to assess the variant’s impact on health services given its apparent reduced severity yet increased transmissibility.


U.S. equity and Treasury markets will be closed on Friday for the holiday.


In currency markets, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers was at 96.067, little changed on the day but was down 0.6% since Friday’s close – its worst week since early September.


The dollar has lost ground on most currencies, barring the yen , another safe haven. The Japanese currency was at 114.38 per dollar on Friday and 82.75 against the Australian dollar , almost the same level as in late November when news about the Omicron variant first emerged.


The Aussie was at $0.7236, just off its five-week peak of $0.7252 hit overnight, and the pound which struck a month high of $1.3437 on Thursday, was last at $1.341, up 1.4% on the week.


“Cautious optimism that Omicron is less severe than Delta is supporting risk assets,” said FX analysts at CBA in their daily note.


The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was 1.4926 at their Thursday close having touched more than a one-week high of 1.5010% earlier in the session as investors sold government bonds as part of the risk-on mood. UST/

In line with the same trend, bitcoin rose 4.5% on Thursday, its best day in nearly two weeks and held onto those gains on Friday in Asia, trading just above $51,000.


Trading patterns in the world’s largest cryptocurrency are gradually becoming more aligned with risk-on and risk-off moves in traditional markets as institutional investors’ influence grows.


Oil prices fell on Friday in thin, holiday trade snapping a three-day rally. Brent crude futures slid 0.47%, to $76.49 a barrel. U.S. markets are closed.


The weak dollar helped spot gold to continue to edge up 0.6% on the day, and 1.15% on the week to $1,818 per ounce.



Source: Bahrain News Agency


In UAE Desert, Camels Compete for Crowns in Beauty Pageant

LIWA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — Deep in the desert of the United Arab Emirates, the moment that camel breeders had been waiting for arrived.


Families hauled their camels through wind-carved sands. Servers poured tiny cups of Arabic coffee. Judges descended on desert lots.


A single question loomed over the grandstand: Which camels were most beautiful?


Even as the omicron variant rips through the world, legions of breeders from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar traveled to the UAE’s southwestern desert this week with 40,000 of their most beautiful camels for the Al Dhafra Festival.


The five-man jury at the annual pageant insists beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. Camel aesthetics are evaluated according to precise categories determined generations ago. Only female camels participate because males fight too much, authorities said.


As hundreds of woolly black camels trotted through the dusty pastures, necks and humps bobbing, one of the organizers, Mohammed al-Muhari, outlined the platonic ideal.


Necks must be long and slim, cheeks broad and hooves large, he told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Lips must droop. They must walk tall with graceful posture.


“It’s not so different from humans,” al-Muhari said, his robe sparkling white amid clouds of dust.


The high standards have prompted many breeders to seek an advantage, using banned Botox injections to inflate the camel’s lips, muscle relaxants to soften the face and silicone wax injections to expand the hump.


Festival spokesman Abdel Hadi Saleh declined to say how many participants had been disqualified over plastic surgery this week. All camels undergo rigorous medical exams to detect artificial touch-ups and hormones before entering Al Dhafra Festival.


Since Emirati investigators began employing X-rays and sonar systems a few years ago, Saleh said the number of cheaters has plummeted.


“We easily catch them, and they realize getting caught, it’s not worth the cost to their reputation,” he said.

A great deal is at stake. Al Dhafra Festival offers the top 10 winners in each category prizes ranging from $1,300 to $13,600. At the main Saudi contest, the most beautiful fetch $66 million. Camels change hands in deals worth millions of dirhams.


But breeders insist it’s not only about the money.


“It is a kind of our heritage and custom that the (Emirati rulers) revived,” said 27-year-old camel owner Saleh al-Minhali from Abu Dhabi. He sported designer sunglasses over his traditional headdress and Balenciaga sneakers under his kandura, or Emirati tunic.


Gone are the days when camels were integral to daily life in the federation of seven sheikhdoms, a chapter lost as oil wealth and global business transformed Dubai and Abu Dhabi into skyscraper-studded hubs with marbled malls, luxury hotels and throbbing nightclubs. Foreigners outnumber locals nearly nine to one in the country.


However, experts say Emiratis are increasingly searching for meaning in echoes of the past — Bedouin traditions that prevailed before the UAE became a nation 50 years ago.


“Younger Emiratis who have identity issues are going back to their heritage to find a sense of belonging,” said Rima Sabban, a sociologist at Zayed University in Dubai. “The society developed and modernized so fast it creates a crisis inside.”


Camels race at old-world racetracks in the Emirates, and still offer milk, meat and a historic touchstone to citizens. Festivals across the country celebrate the camel’s significance. Al Dhafra also features falcon racing, dromedary dancing and a camel milking contest.


“People in Dubai may not even think about them, but young people here care deeply about camels,” said Mahmoud Suboh, a festival coordinator from Liwa Oasis at the northern edge of the desert’s Empty Quarter. Since 2008, he has watched the fairgrounds transform from a remote desert outpost into an extravaganza that draws camel lovers from around the world.


In a sign of the contest’s exploding popularity, about a dozen young Emirati men who call themselves “camel influencers” filmed and posed with the camels on Wednesday, broadcasting live to thousands of Instagram followers.

The digital likes have proven important this year, as the coronavirus pandemic curtailed tourism to the festival and dampened the mood. Police checked that visitors had received both vaccine doses and tested negative for the virus. Authorities nagged attendees to adjust their face masks, threatening fines. There were few foreigners or other spectators strolling the site Wednesday.


Each category in the 10-day pageant is divided into two types of camels: Mahaliyat, the tan breed that originates from the UAE and Oman, and Majaheen, the darker breed from Saudi Arabia. Wednesday’s showcase focused on 5-year-old black Majaheen camels.


For hours, judges scrutinized each camel, scribbling lists of the animal’s body parts for scoring purposes. Breeders shouted to startle camels so they’d look up and show off elongated necks.


As the sun set over the sands, the winning breeders were called to accept their gleaming trophies. Down below in the dirt rings, camels were crowned with gold and silver-lined shawls.


“Until now we are the first in the category … We’ve received over 40 prizes (in various camel contests) this year alone,” beamed Mohammed Saleh bin Migrin al-Amri as he juggled four trophies from the day, including two golds.


Then he jumped into his Toyota Land Cruiser. The victory parade of honking SUVs and grunting camels faded behind the desert dunes.



Source: Voice of America


Turkey, Qatar Agree to Jointly Run Kabul Airport, Present Plan to Taliban

ISLAMABAD — Taliban officials in Afghanistan confirmed Friday that they had discussed plans with a joint delegation from Turkey and Qatar for firms from the two countries to run airports in Kabul and other Afghan cities.


The talks came as the international community looks for ways to scale up delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, where millions of people are facing extreme hunger.


Taliban transport ministry spokesman Imamuddin Ahmadi told VOA a preliminary round of discussions with a joint team of Turkish and Qatari companies was held Thursday. He said further meetings were planned for early next week, but no deal had been reached so far.


Before traveling to Kabul this week, Turkish and Qatari companies signed a memorandum of understanding to operate the city’s airport “on the basis of equal partnership,” Turkish media reported Thursday.


Ahmadi said other airports under discussions with the Turkey-Qatar delegation were in the Afghan provinces of Balkh, Herat, Kandahar and Khost.


Ankara agreed to provide security for the Kabul airport after the Taliban took over the country in mid-August following the abrupt U.S.-led foreign troop withdrawal from the country later that month.


Turkey helped the U.S.-backed deposed Afghan government manage and protect the airport for six years until the final international troops left the country August 31.


The abrupt, chaotic U.S. troop exit from the country damaged parts of the Kabul airport. Qatar helped the Taliban repair and make the facility operational again.


The United States and its allies evacuated 124,000 foreign nationals and at-risk Afghans after the Taliban seized control of the capital. But thousands more people want to leave the country, mostly those who worked closely with the former government and Western militaries, fearing Taliban reprisals.


The departure of the foreign forces and financial sanctions on the Taliban have plunged Afghanistan into economic turmoil and worsened the humanitarian crisis stemming from years of war, drought and high levels of poverty.


The U.N. estimates more than half of the country’s nearly 40 million people face starvation, with 1 million children at risk of dying of “severe acute malnutrition.”


Kabul’s airport is currently the main route for flying humanitarian assistance into Afghanistan and for people who want to leave the country.


Source: Voice of America


Asian stock markets follow Wall St up as omicron fears ease

Beijing, Asian stock markets rose Friday after Wall Street hit a new high as fears of the coronavirus’s omicron variant eased. Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. Shanghai declined.


Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.6% on Thursday in the last U.S. trading session before Christmas, said an AP report.


Investor anxiety has mounted as omicron spread but moderated after authorities said it might cause less severe illness.


President Joe Biden called for more vaccinations and testing but announced no plans for travel restrictions.


Omicron looks like a “short-term disruption” instead of a “destructive headwind that knocks the economy off its course,” Edward Moya of Oanda said in a report. “The U.S. economic recovery in 2022 still looks very strong.”


The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4% to 3,629.61 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained less than 0.1% to 28,815.17. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.1% to 23,223.76.


The Kospi in Seoul added 0.6% to 3,017.93 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was 0.4% higher at 7,420.30.


New Zealand and Jakarta advanced while Bangkok retreated. Singapore was closed for Christmas.



Source: Bahrain News Agency


Global airline carriers scrap more than 2,000 flights – FlightAware

Washington, Global airline carriers have canceled more than 2,000 flights so far on Friday, the FlightAware website said, in an indication of how COVID-19 is affecting holiday travel.

The website showed that as of 8:20 a.m. Eastern Time (1320 GMT), 2,028 flights around the world had been scrapped, Reuters reported.

FlightAware said there had been 448 cancellations within, into, or out of the United States so far on Friday.

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) on Thursday said they had each canceled dozens of Christmas Eve flights, as the spreading coronavirus Omicron variant took a toll on its flight crews and other workers.



Source: Bahrain News Agency


Thailand’s Central retail group, Signa to buy Selfridges

Bangkok, Thailand’s Central Group and Austrian real estate group Signa said Friday they plan to buy luxury British department store chain Selfridges.


The deal, reportedly worth 4 billion pounds ($5.4 billion), adds to Central’s collection of posh retailers that includes Rinascente in Italy, Illum in Denmark, Switzerland’s Globus and The KaDeWe Group in Germany, The Associated Press (AP) reported.


Selfridges was founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge and is controlled by the billionaire Weston family of Canada. The group owns 18 department stores including a historic property in London’s Oxford Street shopping district.


Central is the retail flagship of the Thai billionaire Chirathivat family. Selfridges is a nice trophy as it expands globally from its base in Thailand, where the retailing conglomerate owns many department stores and malls.


“We are looking forward to working with the management teams and the colleagues across Selfridges Group as we seek to create a world-leading luxury retail company,” Tos Chirathivat, executive chairman and CEO of Central said in a statement.


Signa Holding was founded by Austrian real estate investor Rene Benko. In 2019 it joined with RFR Holding to buy New York City’s iconic Chrysler Building.


  1. Galen Weston acquired Selfridges in 2003. The company was offered for sale after he died in April.


His daughter, Alannah Weston, who is chairman of Selfridges Group, said the sale was the “successful realization of my father’s vision for an iconic group of beautiful, truly experiential, department stores.”


The acquisition took months of negotiations and is subject to regulatory approvals.



Source: Bahrain News Agency

Press Releases

CHTF 2021 to Kick off This Month Showing Latest Trends in Hi-tech World

SHENZHEN, China, Dec. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The 23rd China Hi-Tech Fair (CHTF 2021) will be open on December 27-29, 2021 at the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center and Shenzhen World Convention & Exhibition Center, while the virtual exhibition will last five days from December 27 to 31. As China’s largest, most effective and influential tech event, CHTF is a platform for international exchanges and cooperation in the fields of economy and technology.

Themed “Advance Quality Development and Build a Novel Development Pattern”, CHTF 2021 will feature exhibitions, conferences and business networking events. The display categories will include IT, Environmental Protection & Energy, Construction Innovation, New Materials, Smart Healthcare, and Semiconductor Display. International exhibitors representing Belt & Road countries will be the highlights.

Conferences will include the China Hi-Tech Forum, technical seminars, business salons, product launches, and B2B meetings. Guest list:

This year’s virtual exhibition will bring together exhibitors and visitors from around the world.

If you are enthusiastic about high-tech trends or have investment and purchase intentions, CHTF 2021 warmly welcomes you to visit the fair. Free admission badges are available by registering on CHTF’s official website. Key visitors will be granted with our special services including official catalogues, VIP rest areas, working lunches, souvenirs and seat reservations for important forums and activities. To register:!/login_en

Official Website:

Facebook: @CHTFChina

LinkedIn: @China Hi-tech Fair

Press Releases

Maypharm Launches a New Professional set HAIRNA for Hair Loss Solution

SEOUL, South Korea and NEW YORK, Dec. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Maypharm is known as a manufacturer of recently successfully launched Metox botulinum toxin with a 2nd generation technological advantage and meNnus PLA filler for collagen regeneration, now is focusing on a new professional set HAIRNA for Hair Loss Solution.

New Hair Product Line consists of 5 products, a main one HAIRNA EXOSOME AMPOULE (5ml x 5 vials) with exosomes, effective in hair loss treatment; HAIRNA HAIR FILL (2.5ml), essential for hair loss prevention & normalization and additional trio of supportive HAIRNA products, which are HAIRNA SHAMPOO (300ml), HAIRNA TREATMENT (200ml) and HAIRNA TONER (150ml) to help with scalp care, hair loss issue and damaged hair cure.

HAIRNA Scalp Care Solution Line

All HAIRNA products were reported to the KFDA and recognized for their stability without any irritation during all the clinical trials. Particularly, HAIRNA EXOSOME BOOSTER AMPOULE was additionally tested to see how it improved the scalp skin, elasticity, and hair loss, and the results were satisfying.

It contains 37,000 ppm of exosome, a key ingredient to relieve hair loss symptoms, and is surprisingly effective in treating alopecia areata.

It is a product that both men and women who experience hereditary and stress-related hair loss can use directly by penetrating the scalp using an MTS needle, created especially for HAIRNA Ampoules, rather than just topical application. The exosome ingredient itself is highly effective in hair loss since the process of absorption starts right from the scalp.

HAIRNA HAIR FILL with copper, panthenol and vitamin B complex works as an antioxidant for hair by normalization hair growth cycle and prevents hair loss; prevents oxidative damage to hair follicle cells by suppression of free radicals; supplies moisturization for elasticity and shining effect.

HAIR FILL benefit is found in synergy of exosome, growth factors and active ingredients which in total strengthen scalp barrier and prevent hair loss. After balancing the unhealthy scalp, hair fill helps improving the overall scalp condition and maintaining effect for a long time.

HAIRNA SHAMPOO, TREATMENT, and TONER contain main ingredients that prevent hair loss such as L-menthol, Dexpanthenol, and Salicylic Acid, which are effective in cooling scalp heat, removing sebum and dead skin cells, moisturizing, and relieving hair loss symptoms.

Maypharm has announced HAIRNA on The Times Square Spectacular digital billboard in New York in December, 2021.

HAIRNA in New York

Maypharm is well recognized as a wholesale distributor and manufacturer around the world in Central America, Middle East, South and South-Eastern Asian countries, Europe, particularly, in China, UK, Russia, USA, Mexican market.

“While we are becoming well known as a manufacturer of Metox, we thoroughly concentrate on taking a global position on HAIRNA now. HAIRNA Full Line is available on various global online platforms, including Amazon, Shopee, Q10, Lazada.

Visit a website for a detailed information:


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Press Releases

Global Review 2021: GWM Speeds Up Globalization

BAODING, China, Dec. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Despite the tough situations of COVID-19 pandemic and chip shortages, GWM is speeding up its pace of globalization. It has participated actively in several international auto shows and released a number of featured models, showing the world an ever-expanding momentum of its globalization strategy.

GWM Speeds Up Globalization

This year, GWM’s sales network has covered over 60 countries. In order to accelerate the implementation of its strategy in Europe, GWM has established a subsidiary in Munich, Germany, and set up its European headquarters. At the same time, in order to constantly develop the global market, the company has expanded its sales to Southeast Asia, South America, Europe, North Africa, and other regions. These initiatives demonstrated GWM’s global competitiveness in the international arena.

Furthermore, GWM acquired and has put into operation new plants in Thailand and Brazil, respectively, which provide sufficient production capacity for its global markets. After seven months of preparations and improvements, GWM put into operation the Rayong Plant in Thailand in June and provided advanced production technology, driving forward the development of the local automobile industry. Two months later, it signed an acquisition agreement with Daimler AG’s factory in Brazil. The conclusion of this agreement will enable GWM to cover Brazil and the whole South America.

In terms of technology research and development, GWM established Zhangjiagang (China) Technology Center in February this year, which is the second R&D center established by GWM based on its globalization strategy. GWM has tens of thousands of R&D and design personnel worldwide so far, with R&D achievements especially in technological breakthroughs of the L.E.M.O.N. platform, the Coffee Intelligence platform, and the TANK platform.

Based on the positioning of a global smart technology company, GWM has constantly strengthened the user-centered philosophy. It places highly emphasis on the experience of global users and is gradually adapting to the locale cultures worldwide. In Thailand, as Loy Krathong is one of the most important traditional festivals, a local version of Valentine’s Day, that carries people’s wishes and prayers for life, GWM has well integrated into the life of local users by creating the super water lamp. In Chile, GWM has focused on the user groups enjoying adventures and joined self-driving reality shows with Luis Andaur, a famous local adventurer.

Thanks to the outstanding achievements in above all aspects, GWM is listed among the Top 50 Chinese Global Brand Builders in 2021, according to a joint report by Google and Kantar Brand Z.

“The only way for auto brands to surpass competitors in the real sense is to strengthen their own advantages rapidly in the next three to five years”, said Jack Wei, chairman of GWM, at the 2025 Strategy Global Launch Conference. It is expected that the company’s global annual sales target of 4 million vehicles will be achieved in 2025.

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Press Releases

Automation Anywhere to Acquire FortressIQ to Reimagine Intelligent Automation

Redefining the future of AI-powered intelligent automation and process discovery

BANGALORE, India, Dec. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Automation Anywhere, a global leader in robotic process automation (RPA), today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire cloud pioneer FortressIQ, a leading process discovery and mining company based in San Francisco.

Combining FortressIQ with Automation Anywhere will usher in a new era of intelligent automation by enabling organizations to accelerate automation initiatives and transform in a digital-first world.

“The Fortress IQ team are the pioneers of process intelligence, making this a perfect match,” said Mihir Shukla, CEO and Co-Founder, Automation Anywhere. “Together, Automation Anywhere and FortressIQ will reshape the future of automation, changing the way our customers automate, adapt, and accelerate as they pursue digital transformation initiatives. I’m thrilled to welcome FortressIQ to the Automation Anywhere family once the transaction closes.”

“Automation Anywhere is a global leader of the RPA revolution, and nearly two decades later, is reimagining automation to be cloud-native, intelligent, and designed for every person in every company,” said Pankaj Chowdhry, CEO and Founder, FortressIQ. “We share a vision to deliver and automate at scale, as well as share common values to help customers succeed on a trusted platform. This will change the industry, and I’m excited about what we can automate next.”

Building the Automated Company, Together

Demand for robotic process automation has skyrocketed as the pandemic endures and companies look for new ways to streamline business processes. Process intelligence, as part of RPA, is essential, helping companies identify, map, and analyze the multi-dimensional processes that extend across hundreds of applications and hundreds of thousands of employees.

With the acquisition of FortressIQ, Automation Anywhere will advance its AI-powered, cloud-native Automation 360 platform with process discovery, intelligence, and optimization that can scale to any system or application across any vertical. The new capabilities offer built-in intelligence that provides fast, accurate visibility on which processes can and should be automated.

“Today, organizations are focusing on improving cycle times and overall operating performance to ensure that inefficiency does not get in the way of successful transformation,” said Maureen Fleming, Program Vice President, IDC Intelligent Process Automation Research. “Tools aimed at providing insights about where a process and its individual tasks are holding back overall operating performance are becoming the de facto starting point for automation and improvement projects. Integrating process insights with automation planning and development speeds up time to value while improving the accuracy and completeness of the resulting automation.”

Automating low-value, manual tasks can free up time and resources that can then be used by organizations to adapt to changing business conditions. Automation Anywhere customers have collectively implemented nearly 3 million automations, with leading companies deploying tens of thousands of bots throughout their organizations, primarily in the cloud.

Interact with Automation Anywhere:

About Automation Anywhere
Automation Anywhere is the world’s #1 cloud automation platform, delivering intelligent RPA solutions globally across all industries to automate end-to-end business processes, for the fastest path to enterprise transformation. The company offers the world’s only cloud-native platform combining RPA, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics to automate repetitive tasks and build enterprise agility, freeing up humans to pivot to the next big idea, build deeper customer relationships and drive business growth. For additional information, visit

Automation Anywhere and Automation 360 are trademarks/service marks or registered trademarks/service marks of Automation Anywhere, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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