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To start off, we're looking into:
China/US climate talks
The backstory: For almost three decades, COP, or the Conference of the Parties, has been an annual UN climate conference tackling human-caused climate change. The goal is to get countries to work together to cut down greenhouse gas emissions. In 2015, a big milestone was reached with the Paris Agreement, setting global temperature limits and aiming for zero emissions by 2050. Now, at COP28, countries are taking stock of their climate efforts. One big issue is how to go about phasing out the use of fossil fuels.
The development: China's climate envoy, Xie Zhenhua, said over the weekend that he’s been in the thick of discussions with the US and others at COP28 to find common ground on language on fossil fuels that will lead to a successful agreement. At 74, he’s been a big part of global climate discussions for over 10 years. He has plans to retire after this year’s summit and is hoping to go out on a positive note. On Saturday, he said a potential solution could come from a recent agreement he reached with his US counterpart John Kerry in California. Click the link here for more.
Klook secures US$210 million
The backstory: Founded in 2014, Klook, a travel platform based in Hong Kong, has become a major player in booking tours, hotels, transportation and restaurants across more than 2,300 locations worldwide. Klook hit unicorn status in 2018 after a US$200 million funding round toward its expansion into the US and Europe. Before that, the company secured millions from backers like SoftBank and Sequoia Capital China, now called HongShan.
More recently: Klook, which started making an overall profit for the first time this year, is adjusting to a post-COVID travel rebound. The company is as also tapping into the artificial intelligence (AI) wave, using Google's PaLM 2 for translations and is considering using AI for chatbots and content creation to bring in cutting-edge travel ideas.
The development: Klook just raised US$210 million in a funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners, marking a crucial step in its growth after the pandemic. According to Klook’s official statement, the platform's bookings hit US$3 billion in 2023, triple the amount from 2019. Click the link here for more.
The COP28 draft deal
The backstory: It’s widely considered reliable science that we have to cut down on fossil fuel use to keep the Earth from heating 1.5 C higher than pre-industrial temperatures. The farther we go over this threshold, the more extreme the effects of climate change will become, making the world more dangerous and difficult to survive in. To reach this goal, the UN has recommended that the world achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. One way to help with this is by phasing out fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources.
More recently: We’ve been keeping our eyes on the COP28 conference, which started on November 30, and the past two weeks have been dominated by one question: does the world plan on completely phasing out fossil fuels or not?
The development: A draft of the final agreement for COP28 was just released, and it’s already getting pushback. Although the draft, if it goes through, would be the first specifically addressing all fossil fuels, including oil and gas, it doesn’t include language for phasing them out. Click the link here for more.
To end, we'll look into:
One dinosaur’s last meal
What did dinosaurs really eat 75 million years ago? We know that there were species of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores, but there’s not a lot of hard evidence when it comes to exactly what they chowed down on – not from most of the fossils that paleontologists have unearthed. In 2009, researchers in Alberta, Canada found a young tyrannosaur fossil but did not realize that its stomach contents were intact, until recently; this is a very rare find!
Darren Tanke, a fossil preparator at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta, was the one who originally discovered this Gorgosaurus fossil, finding it in the Dinosaur Provincial Park. It was stuck in a rock, and Tanke had to be careful as he removed it. When scientists were able to fully study the fossil, they found parts of two small oviraptorosaur (small, bird-like dinosaurs) inside of the tyrannosaur’s stomach, preserved over millions of years. Fossils of this smaller dinosaur are actually really hard to come by, and Zelenitsky says: “Ironically, the tyrannosaur stomach actually protected the [oviraptorosaur], enabling it to be preserved—which is quite neat.” Click the link here for more.
In other news ...
📉Market snapshot and key quotes:
- In the US: US stocks went up on Monday as investors hope to keep the positive streak for the last days of 2023.
- In Hong Kong: Monday saw Hong Kong stocks close in the red, with concerns amplified by weak Chinese data.
📊Top gainers/losers and company news:
- In the US: Macy’s jumped over 19% after receiving a US$5.8 billion buyout offer.
- Pinterest rose 1.3% following an upgrade by RBC.
- In Hong Kong: Li Ning dropped over 14% after a HK$2.2 billion (US$282 million) building purchase in Hong Kong.
- Meituan fell 3.6%, Alibaba declined 2.4%, and JD.com tumbled over 6%.
👀The numbers everyone is watching:
- In the US: Watch for key data later this week, including inflation and retail sales figures.
- In Hong Kong: This week will see releases on China's 1-year MLF, retail sales, industrial production and the jobless rate.
📅To check out our economic calendar for this week, click here.
More headlines ...
📰Israel/Palestine update: On Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a resolution during a special session that calls for protecting health care in Gaza and continued funding for the WHO in Palestinian territories. The WHO said it hopes medicine can be "a bridge to peace" as the conflict continues. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is being described by aid agencies as "apocalyptic." Activists called for a "global strike" on Monday in support of a UN General Assembly ceasefire vote to be held on Tuesday, which comes after the US vetoed a UN Security Council ceasefire motion on Friday.
📰Russia/Ukraine update: Russia is expected to step up attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure to weaken it as winter hits the nation. On Monday, Russia launched a ballistic missile attack at Kyiv that wrecked a bunch of houses and knocked out electricity for over 100 households. But, Ukraine was able to block all eight of the missiles that came its way, limiting the damage.
💬Guyana and Venezuela talks: It seemed like fighting might soon break out between Guyana and Venezuela after Venezuela started making claims of sovereignty over a contested territory within Guyana's borders. But, on Sunday, Guyana agreed to talks with Venezuela in St. Vincent on Thursday, where they'll discuss this border issue.
💼Zelenskiy visits Argentina: As Argentina swore in President Javier Milei, the country also welcomed Ukrainian President Zelenskiy as a guest. He went to the inauguration ceremony on his first trip to Latin America, hoping to drum up Central and South American support for Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia. He's also expected to stop in the US to talk to President Biden.
🤝West Africa bloc deal with Niger's junta: West Africa's ECOWAS bloc put sanctions on Niger and has refused to recognize its new military junta government since July, when a new government was installed under a coup. On Sunday, ECOWAS recognized the junta, but the sanctions will remain in place for now. ECOWAS is pushing for the junta to install a "short transition program" to restore a civilian government.
❓Navalny missing?: Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader who was poisoned but survived, was sentenced to 19 years in prison in August after being found guilty of extremism while he was already serving time on other charges. Navalny's lawyers said they lost contact with him while he was believed to be in a Russian penal colony. They have been told he's not at either of the two colonies where they thought he might be and now they aren't sure where he is. He also didn't show up to court hearings via video link as scheduled.
🚫Hong Kong restricts imports over bird flu: There have been reports of H5N1 (bird flu) outbreaks that could affect poultry products coming from the US, UK and Poland. So, Hong Kong stopped accepting poultry and related imports (like eggs) from parts of these countries for the time being.
😡Zara boycott calls: Zara's latest marketing campaign isn't going over well, as it shows models posing in scenes with statues and mannequins missing limbs and wrapped in sheets – all in some sort of wasteland. Pro-Palestine advocates saw this new campaign and called it out for its resemblance to the devastation in Gaza, with thousands of dead wrapped in white sheets, calling for a boycott of the company. Now, Zara has pulled the campaign. Inditex, the company that owns Zara, told Al Jazeera on Monday that the photos were taken in September, before the October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel, but pulling the ad was all part of its normal process of updating content.
🤑Macy's considers buyout: Iconic department store retailer giant Macy's hasn't been performing super well lately, with sales falling pretty consistently. Now, it might be considering a buyout from the real estate investment firm Arkhouse and Brigade Capital Management, an asset management company. The two are reportedly offering US$5.8 billion for the retailer.
💵Nvidia plans a base in Vietnam: Nvidia is looking to open up more to the Vietnamese market, having already invested US$250 million there. The Vietnamese government said that Nvidia is looking to set up a base in the country and is reportedly in talks for deals with local tech companies and the government.
💍Lucky find: After a €750,000 (US$807,000) ring went missing from a Malaysian businesswoman's hotel room in Paris on Friday, authorities got involved, and rumors swirled about a possible robbery. But, two days later, hotel staff found the ring in a vacuum cleaner bag. Lucky day!
🕶️VR goggles for mice: To study the brain activity of mice better in times of danger, scientists have invented a pair of what can only be described as mini VR goggles that recreate the feeling of overhead threats, like birds of prey. With this new tech, scientists can track the mice's physical and brain activity at the same time. And in the future, they might use this same tool to look at what happens when mice are the predators as they hunt insects.
🦴Giant, ancient sea monster: The first ever dinosaur fossils discovered and recorded by humans were found in England in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the discoveries have only continued since then. On the UK's Jurassic Coast, a giant dinosaur skull fossil was just found that belonged to a marine dinosaur called the pliosaur. It's probably around 150 million years old, and it's even bigger than the humans who found it.
Where was the super-expensive ring that went missing from a hotel room in Paris on Friday finally found?
- In the toilet
- Under the mattress
- In the vacuum bag
- Lost and found
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