While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 15

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China’s Tencent picks Singapore as Asia hub after India, US bans

Tencent Holdings has picked Singapore as its beachhead for Asia, joining rivals Alibaba Group Holding and ByteDance in the race to build up their presence closer to home after setbacks in the US and India.

Management at China’s largest social media and gaming company had been discussing Singapore as a potential regional hub and geopolitical tensions accelerated its plans, according to people familiar with the matter.

Tencent has been considering the shift of some business operations – including international game publishing – out of its home country, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations.

China’s tech behemoths are increasingly turning to Southeast Asia in the face of growing hostility from the US and other major markets, setting up the region – with its 650 million increasingly smartphone-savvy population – as a key battleground.

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US eases China travel warning, citing coronavirus progress

The United States on Monday eased its warning against travel to China, acknowledging that the nation had made progress against Covid-19 despite frequent US criticism of its pandemic role.

The State Department still urges Americans to reconsider travel to China, but it upgraded its advice from a blanket warning not to go to the country.

The State Department separately still cautioned US citizens about the risk of arbitrary arrest in China, including in Hong Kong as Beijing enforces a tough new security law.

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Tear down your barriers, EU says after summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping

European Union leaders told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday to open up markets, respect minorities and step back from a crackdown in Hong Kong, also asserting that Europe would no longer be taken advantage of in trade.

Anxious to show that the EU will not take sides in a global standoff between China and the United States, German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined the bloc’s chief executive and chairman to deliver a tough-talking message to Beijing.

With more than a billion euros a day in bilateral trade, the EU is China’s top trading partner, while China is second only to the United States as a market for EU goods and services.

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Potential sign of alien life detected on inhospitable Venus

Scientists said on Monday they have detected in the harshly acidic clouds of Venus a gas called phosphine that indicates microbes may inhabit Earth’s inhospitable neighbour, a tantalising sign of potential life beyond Earth.

The researchers did not discover actual life forms, but noted that on Earth phosphine is produced by bacteria thriving in oxygen-starved environments.

The international scientific team first spotted the phosphine using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii and confirmed it using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope in Chile.

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Massive chunk of Greenland’s largest glacier crashes into sea

A massive chunk of ice – larger than the city of Paris – has broken off from the Arctic’s largest ice shelf because of warmer temperatures in Greenland, scientists said Monday.

The 113-square-kilometre block broke off the Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden glacier in Northeast Greenland, which the scientists said had been expected given the rising average temperatures.

“We’re observing increasing speed on this largest remaining ice shelf,” Jason Box, professor of glaciology at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, told AFP.

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A Global Asset Management Seoul Korea Magazine

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