Editor’s Choice: 7 December 2017

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  • Arabs, Europe, U.N. reject Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital
  • Bitcoin charges through $14,000 as investors pile in
  • Taiwan’s competitive fees for medical services draws patients globally
  • India To Promote North Eastern Region’s Tourism In Malaysia
  • oBike to Leverage Local Business Expertise Through Global Business Partnership Programme
  • Ford set for China tie-up with Alibaba to test online, direct auto sales

Arabs, Europe, U.N. reject Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital
Arabs and Muslims across the Middle East have condemned the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as an incendiary move in a volatile region and Palestinians said Washington was abandoning its leading role as a peace mediator. The European Union and United Nations also voiced alarm at U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and its repercussions for any chances of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. Major U.S. allies came out against Trump’s reversal of decades of U.S. and broad international policy on Jerusalem. France rejected the “unilateral” decision while appealing for calm in the region. Britain said the move would not help peace efforts and Jerusalem should ultimately be shared by Israel and a future Palestinian state. Germany said Jerusalem’s status could only be resolved on the basis of a two-state solution. The last round of U.S.-brokered talks foundered in 2014 over issues including Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and Israeli accusations of Palestinian incitement to violence and refusal to recognise it as a Jewish state. (Reuters)

Bitcoin charges through $14,000 as investors pile in
Bitcoin hit a fresh record of $14,000 Thursday as investors piled in, triggering a warning the cryptocurrency was “like a charging train with no brakes” which would inevitably slip back. It touched a new a high of $14,400 in Asian trade before slipping back to $13,900, according to Bloomberg News. The rally came just a day after the virtual currency, which has been used to buy everything from an ice cream to a pint of beer, hit the $12,000 mark for the first time. The increased interest has been driven by growing acceptance among traditional investors of an innovation once considered the preserve of computer nerds and financial experts. (Japan Today)

Taiwan’s competitive fees for medical services draws patients globally
Taiwan External Trade and Development Council (TAITRA) led a group of medical experts from nine Taiwanese hospitals and clinics to Malaysia this week to establish links with local medical institutions and introduce more patients to Taiwan. As part of the visit, medical professionals also shared their success stories as well as medical experiences at the Taiwan Health Industry Forum. TAITRA’s President and Chief Executive Officer Walter Yeh said, “Taiwan has gained good recognition and credibility among the medical community for its world-class medical systems and technology. There are already 15 medical institutions in Taiwan that have achieved the gold standard in global health care certifications from JSI (Joint Commission International).” According to Taiwan government statistics, over 300,000 tourists visited Taiwan for health screening and medical services last year. More than three percent of these overseas patients, or 10,000 patients, were from Malaysia. (Media Release)

India To Promote North Eastern Region’s Tourism In Malaysia
India in its move to promote its north-eastern tourist destinations to the ASEAN region, will be embarking on promotional roadshows to Malaysia and Thailand soon. Its Tourism Ministry secretary Rashmi Verma hoped it would create more people-to-people contact, and awareness about India’s north-eastern region, so that it could enhance tourism exchange between these countries. “The Indian government is also aggressively working out packages with an international organisation, Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal as well as ASEAN countries including Malaysia, Laos, The Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand,” she told Bernama. Verma said the northeast region which encompasses eight states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim – has unique features that required special marketing campaigns. (Bernama)

oBike to Leverage Local Business Expertise Through Global Business Partnership Programme
oBike, Singapore’s first home grown smart dock-less bike sharing operator, announced today the launch of its Global Business Partnership Programme (GBPP) ─ a first of its kind ─ to partner local businesses for its on-ground operations and provisioning of oBike resources. GBPP is a franchise business model that aims to harness the expertise and resources of local businesses to better manage oBike operations in specific geographic areas within a city. This will be achieved through timely distribution, on-demand activation and upkeeping of the bikes, to enhance its service to riders. oBike has seen tremendous growth of its operations since its inception 12 months ago, and now operates in over 60 cities across 17 countries. (Media Release)

Ford set for China tie-up with Alibaba to test online, direct auto sales
Ford Motor Co. is expected to sign a deal with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd which may allow the U.S. automaker to test selling cars to consumers in China through Alibaba’s online retail arm Tmall, as well as via a new “auto vending machine” store concept, according to a Ford source familiar with the matter. Representatives of Ford and Alibaba, including Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and Ford CEO Jim Hackett, are expected to be in Hangzhou today to sign a letter of intent that outlines the scope of the new partnership. According to the source, the deal is intended to position the automaker for an emerging Chinese marketplace where more cars could be sold online. Ford’s global chief spokesman Mark Truby said the company is expected to make an announcement on Thursday in Hangzhou, where Alibaba is based, but declined to comment in advance. (CNA)

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