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Xi Jinping caught everyone off-guard while celebrating China’s $20 billion sea bridge

Wednesday October 24 th 2018

Xi JinpingDamir Sagolj/Reuters

  • After 10 years, 420,000 tons of steel, and at a devastating cost in lives and renminbi, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is officially open.
  • The announcement on Tuesday came by way of a strangely curt Xi Jinping, China’s president.
  • Xi gave an abrupt two-second speech that, it is fair to say, was not what everyone was expecting. “I announce the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is officially open,” Xi said Tuesday.
  • It was an exercise in absolute concision for a president who, almost a year ago to the day, opened the Communist Party congress in Beijing with a granular three hour and 23 minute mega-speech.

After 10 years, 420,000 tons of steel, and at a devastating cost in lives and renminbi, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is officially open — and the announcement came by a strangely curt Chinese President Xi Jinping in the port city of Zhuhai.

The opening ceremony itself was shrouded in some of the same trademark confusion that has dogged the mega-project since its inception in 2009, with the big day having only just been announced late last week.

In an unexpected and breathtaking display of brevity, Xi declared the world’s longest sea crossing — a 35-mile (55-kilometer) bridge and underwater tunnel connecting Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland Chinese port city of Zhuhai as open — with a very abrupt two second speech that, it is fair to say, was not what everyone was expecting.

With these accurate, although possibly less-than-historic words, China’s strongest leader since Mao Zedong caught the 700-strong audience including gathered media and dignitaries on the hop:

“I announce the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is officially open.”

It was an exercise in absolute concision for a president who, almost a year ago to the day, opened the Communist Party Congress in Beijing with a granular three-hour and 23-minute mega-speech summarizing his thoughts on a new era in socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Instead, before an audience of top officials including the Vice Premier Han Zheng and Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, Xi said his piece at the strategically located port of Zhuhai and left the podium as electronic fireworks flailed about on a television in the background.

Reporters on the ground, including Bloomberg Bureau Chief Fion Li were quick to express their surprise and disappointment.

Rhetorical revelry is a party tradition

Chinese leaders have a proud tradition of ponying up when history called for it.

Deng Xiaoping, who was diminutive in stature but a political juggernaut, made a career with pithy insights Chinese speakers around the world still quote and reexamine today.

And while Mao Zedong may have presided over some of the least poetic policies of the 20th century, the Great Helmsman could turn a phrase when he had to, like this brutal and blunt firecracker from 1957.

As General Secretary of the Central Committee of China’s Communist Party, President of the State, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Xi has quickly and effectively concentrated influence into his own sphere.

And the event looked tailor-made for a long-winded reflection on China’s increasingly successful exercise of soft power, its sheer engineering audacity and the political genius of building a 55-kilometer crossing that continues to grow the mainland’s security apparatus and authority on both the semi-autonomous gambling enclave of Macau and the city-state financial powerhouse of Hong Kong.

But in the end, the president perhaps decided to let the massive, looming achievement speak for itself.

It’s all part of the plan

The bridge is part of China’s ambitious “Greater Bay Area Master Plan” to integrate Hong Kong, Macau, and the manufacturing powerhouse Guangdong Province’s nine biggest cities to create a combined $1.5 trillion tech and science hub to rival even Silicon Valley.

The 55 kilometer mega-structure is a typically intimidating, awe-inspiring and slightly pointless statement of state authority and universal purpose. It rises from the Sun and Moon Bay in Zhuhai port like some giant, disoriented concrete serpent, and snakes off mercurially into the distance.

The air here is very thick too, with southern Chinese humidity and the ever-present eerie grey-brown pollution that wafts in blooms from heavy manufacturing out of the Pearl River Delta — the factory floor of the world — ensuring the mega-bridge in all its glory will be largely obscured from view year-round.

What it does provide, however is direct access to both potentially wayward semi-autonomous regions, binding the gambling enclave and the city-state tighter to the breast of the motherland. Indeed, it may be the angst of an ever-encroaching China that has tilted the president to such a rare and unexpected pithiness.

Commentators have been quick to describe the project as a white elephant, noting that the lightly traveled crossing can hardly be a push for convenience, but rather another covert expansion by Beijing as it extends its reach back into the supposedly autonomous enclaves of Hong Kong and Macau.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is the second major infrastructure project binding Hong Kong to the mainland opened in just a few weeks, following a new high-speed rail connection that opened in September — the first time Chinese security were stationed on and bestowed authority in Hong Kong territory.

Certainly, there is anxiety in Hong Kong, with critics fearing the increasing inroads into the special administrative region’s territory by an ever-assertive mainland, while some local media has suggested that drivers on the bridge will be closely scrutinized by cameras that examine even their physical condition and how fatigued a driver is becoming.

The issues of territoriality may dominate the project for years to come, the majority of the bridge is considered mainland territory and Hong Kong vehicles and drivers, already hit by restricted access, will be traveling under the laws of the mainland, Hong Kong’s transportation department has warned.

“The Hong Kong government is always out of the picture and is under the control of the Chinese government,” Tanya Chan told AFP last week. Construction of the bridge began in 2009 and was targeted for completion two years ago.

According to the South China Morning Post, 10 workers died and 600 were injured in the construction of the typhoon-proof, two-way six-lane expressway bridge that the government expects to carry 29,100 vehicles and 126,000 single-day passenger trips by 2030.

But for now, the bridge is open to some traffic, including certain buses, freight, and selected permit-holding passenger vehicles.

It’s also a gorgeous trip by ferry.

PT. Avrist Assurance Collaborates with Youth Finance Indonesia Introduce Insurance for Young Generation

JAKARTA, Indonesia, Oct. 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — PT Avrist Assurance is having a commitment to educating Indonesian people in increasing the understanding of financial products and services based on the program from Financial Services Authority. At this time, the commitment is realized to younger generation, especially students, which are in line with one of the spirit of Avrist’s social responsibility program “Nurturing the Talent“. Dozens of students from various universities in Jakarta participated in this event which was held in Campus Hall of Politeknik Keuangan Negara (PKN) STAN in Bintaro, South Tangerang.

Avrist collaborates with Youth Finance Indonesia – a non-governmental organization engaged in literacy and financial education for youth of Indonesia, held a presentation and talk shows with the theme “Millennials Face Financial Challenges“. This activity was held to introduce the importance of insurance in financial planning and management of young people from an early age in order to be able to make financial decisions wisely for their future.

During this event, Avrist gave free insurance of Personal Accident to all attendees who join this class. As mentioned by Azza Zahra, Head of Digital Marketing PT. Avrist Assurance,Providing free insurance is a way the students can experienced the feeling of having their own insurance not only in theory but also in practice.” All the participants were very enthusiastic about the free insurance and directly registered themselves on Avrist microsite where e-policy was sent directly to their personal email and they are automatically protected by Avrist for the next 30 days.

We hope through this event, the younger generation especially the students can understand the importance of having insurance in their financial planning and management and also aware the risk of life that likely to occur in daily life,” said Azza Zahra Head of Digital Marketing PT. Avrist Assurance during the event.

About Avrist

PT Avrist Assurance (Avrist) is the first joint venture life insurance company in Indonesia that has been established since 1975 under the name of Asuransi Jiwa Ikrar Abadi (AJIA). Avrist Assurance continues to grow into one of the leading life insurance companies that can compete in the life insurance industry in Indonesia.  With more than 40 years of experience, Avrist has developed several distribution channels including Agency, Bancassurance, Employee Benefit and Sharia which provides life insurance, accident and health insurance, sharia insurance, credit life insurance and pensions both for individuals and corporations. Avrist present in 23 cities with more than 400 employees, supported with more than 2,000 certified agents and cooperating with more than 850 hospital partners in Indonesia to serve the customers. 

In 2010, Avrist partnered with Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company, one of the life insurance market leader in Japan with over 130 years of experience. In line with its development, Avrist Assurance now has 3 subsidiaries there are Avrist Pension Fund, PT. Avrist General Insurance, and PT Avrist Asset Management.

With the vision “One Policy for every household in Indonesia“, Avrist is committed to advance a rewarding life for its customers, business partners and also its employees.

PT Avrist Assurance are registered and supervised by Otoritas Jasa Keuangan.

Photo –

SOURCE PT Avrist Assurance

Larry Ellison Charts a Course for the Future of Cloud

Tuesday October 23 rd 2018

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Oracle OpenWorld — In the opening keynote at Oracle OpenWorld, Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison shared his vision for a second-generation cloud that is purpose built for the enterprise and more technologically advanced and secure than any cloud on the market.

Oracle’s Larry Ellison says Gen 2 Cloud is a highly secure platform for the enterprise.

While first generation clouds are built on decade old technology, Oracle’s Gen 2 Cloud is built specifically to help enterprises run the most demanding workloads securely. With a unique architecture and capabilities, Oracle Cloud is able to deliver unmatched security, performance, and cost savings. Additionally, only Oracle Gen 2 Cloud is built to run Oracle Autonomous Database, the industry’s first and only self-driving database. 

The foundation for Oracle’s Gen 2 Cloud, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is designed to run any enterprise workload securely. Oracle’s modern IaaS offers native support for Oracle Autonomous Database and delivers new levels of security from core to edge to protect critical data.

Ellison spoke at length about the current state of the cyber defense, which he said, “is just not good enough.” To address that paramount issue, he announced new Oracle Cloud Infrastructure security services that are highly automated, detective and predictive to help remediate threats. Reinforcing Oracle Cloud’s unmatched security, Ellison illustrated how Oracle Autonomous Database uniquely scans for security threats and applies security updates while running to help prevent cyberattacks and data theft. 

He also discussed Oracle Autonomous Database, the world’s most popular and technologically advanced database. Revolutionizing data management, Oracle Autonomous Database manages, tunes and patches itself, enabling users to innovate faster on a highly secure platform that allows users to pay for only what they use.

Extending Oracle’s autonomous database capabilities, Ellison previewed new deployment options, including dedicated Exadata Cloud Infrastructure and Cloud at Customer. Customers can choose to deploy their Autonomous Database on Dedicated Exadata Cloud Infrastructure for workload isolation to enable even greater security and reliability for mission-critical workloads. Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud at Customer is ideal for customers who choose not to move to a public cloud because of regulatory requirements but want the benefits of Oracle Autonomous Database in their own data center.

Ellison also shared benchmark test results during short demonstrations that highlighted the huge performance gap between Oracle and Amazon. The benchmarks compared Oracle Autonomous Database against key offerings from Amazon: Oracle Database running on Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), Amazon Aurora, and Amazon Redshift. The direct comparisons also showed Oracle Autonomous Database’s ability to continue running without interruption during database updates, highlighting the difference between Amazon’s 99.95 percent reliability and availability SLAs, which exclude most sources of unplanned and planned downtime, and Oracle’s 99.995 percent SLA guarantees.

Quotes from Ellison’s keynote:

  • “The design goal of Oracle’s Gen 2 Cloud is one secure platform to run everything. It’s easy to say, very hard to do, to build a secure cloud. It required a fundamental re-architecture of our cloud.”
  • “We’ve used a lot of the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning to find threats. You’re not fighting with both hands tied behind your back anymore.”
  • “Our goal has always been as we move from one generation of computing to the next, to protect your investment in data and applications and make it easy to lift and move that into the next generation. We did that with Gen 2 Cloud.”
  • “With Oracle Autonomous Database, there is nothing to learn and nothing to do, which makes it really easy to use. Developers are more productive, they bring up new applications, they do a better job of analyzing data. Your system is more reliable. It never goes down.”

Try Oracle Autonomous Database for free.

About Oracle
The Oracle Cloud offers complete SaaS application suites for ERP, HCM and CX, plus best-in-class database Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from data centers throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), please visit us at

About Oracle OpenWorld
Oracle OpenWorld, the industry’s most important business and technology conference for the past 20 years, hosts tens of thousands of in-person attendees as well as millions online. Dedicated to helping businesses leverage Cloud for their innovation and growth, the conference delivers deep insight into industry trends and breakthroughs driven by technology. With hundreds of demos and hands-on labs, plus exhibitions from more than 250 partners and customers from around the world, Oracle OpenWorld has become a showcase for leading cloud technologies, from Cloud Applications to Cloud Platform and Infrastructure. For more information; to register; or to watch Oracle OpenWorld keynotes, sessions, and more, visit Join the Oracle OpenWorld discussion on Twitter. 

Future Product Disclaimer
The preceding is intended to outline our general product direction. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. The development, release, timing, and pricing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products may change and remains at the sole discretion of Oracle Corporation.

Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer
Statements in this article relating to Oracle’s future plans, expectations, beliefs, and intentions are “forward-looking statements” and are subject to material risks and uncertainties. Such statements are based on Oracle’s current expectations and assumptions, some of which are beyond Oracle’s control. All information in this article is current as of October 22, 2018 and Oracle undertakes no duty to update any statement in light of new information or future events.

Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.


Oracle Logo (PRNewsfoto/Oracle)

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Novartis Announces Full Data From LIBERTY Study Of Aimovig

(RTTNews) – Novartis (NVS) said that the full data from the LIBERTY study of Aimovig or erenumab in episodic migraine patients who had tried and failed two to four prior preventive treatments have been published in the Lancet.

Patients treated with Aimovig had significant improvements on all primary and secondary endpoints of the study. Aimovig is specifically developed to prevent migraine by blocking the calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor (CGRP-R), which plays a critical role in migraine.

The LIBERTY data show that, compared to placebo, from baseline to the last month of therapy (weeks 9-12):

The primary endpoint showed that more than twice as many patients on Aimovig had their migraine days cut by 50% or more (30% vs.14%; odds ratio 2.7, p=0.002)
Almost three times as many patients on Aimovig had their migraine days cut by 75% or more (12% vs. 4%; odds ratio 3.2, p=0.025, secondary endpoint).

Aimovig is approved in the European Economic Area, the United States (erenumab-aooe), Canada, Australia, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

Philip Morris International Launches Next Generation of IQOS, the World’s Leading Heated Tobacco Product



In its passion and drive to provide better choices to people who smoke,
Philip Morris International Inc. (“PMIâ€�) (NYSE: PM), the global leader
in smoke-free innovation and science, has launched the next generation
of IQOS. The new IQOS 3 and IQOS 3 MULTI integrate
extensive consumer insights and feedback to improve design and user
experience while maintaining signature taste, sensory attributes and
ritual—all underpinned by strong scientific substantiation. The new
versions aim to further encourage a growing number of smokers to switch,
to the benefit of their health, public health and, ultimately, society.

The new iterations were launched today in Tokyo, Japan—the country
considered the birthplace of IQOS. The iconic brand offers the
best in taste and satisfaction in the category, and almost 6 million
adult smokers have already quit cigarettes—with more than half of those
in Japan.

“Our dream was to create a better alternative for smokers, and IQOS
has made this dream a reality; it’s a revolution for the 1.1 billion
people who smoke,� said André Calantzopoulos, PMI’s chief executive
officer. “IQOS 3 and IQOS 3 MULTI deliver significant
improvement and innovation and mark another step toward convincing all
men and women who would otherwise continue to smoke to switch to
smoke-free alternatives. IQOS consumers know that this product
changes many things in their lives—we thank them, and we thank Japan for
leading this positive change.�

Behind every development at PMI is robust science. Its scientific
assessment program is based on longstanding practices of the
pharmaceutical industry and is in line with U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) guidance. IQOS produces an aerosol that
contains on average 90 percent lower levels of harmful chemicals than
cigarette smoke. The totality of PMI’s preclinical and clinical evidence
indicates that switching completely to IQOS presents less risk of
harm than continued smoking. Evidence also shows that IQOS does
not negatively affect indoor air quality. On average, 70 to 80 percent
of IQOS users have quit cigarettes, which makes IQOS the
most compelling smoke-free alternative today.

PMI has filed a Modified Risk Tobacco Product Application (MRTPA) for IQOS
with the U.S. FDA, but the U.S. FDA has not yet completed its review of
our data. IQOS is not for sale in the United States.

To learn more about how PMI is designing a smoke-free future, please
visit the company website at

Philip Morris International: Building a Smoke-Free Future

Philip Morris International (PMI) is leading a transformation in the
tobacco industry to create a smoke-free future and ultimately replace
cigarettes to the benefit of adults who would otherwise continue to
smoke, society, the company and its shareholders. PMI is a leading
international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of
cigarettes, smoke-free products and associated electronic devices and
accessories, and other nicotine containing products in markets outside
the U.S. PMI is building a future on a new category of smoke-free
products that, while not risk-free, are a much better choice than
continuing to smoke. Through multidisciplinary capabilities in product
development, state-of-the-art facilities and scientific substantiation,
PMI aims to ensure that its smoke-free products meet adult consumer
preferences and rigorous regulatory requirements. PMI’s smoke-free IQOS
product portfolio includes heated tobacco and nicotine-containing vapor
products. As of September 30, 2018, PMI estimates that approximately 5.9
million adult smokers around the world have already stopped smoking and
switched to PMI’s heated tobacco product, which is currently available
for sale in 43 markets in key cities or nationwide under the IQOS
brand. For more information, see our PMI
and PMIScience

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