FWD Launches First-in-market Big 3 Critical Illness Insurance Plan to Plug Singapore’s Protection Gap

FWD Launches First-in-market Big 3 Critical Illness Insurance Plan to Plug Singapore’s Protection Gap

Priced from as low as one-third[1] the cost of a traditional critical illness (CI) plan, the FWD Big 3 CI plan offers one-time full pay-out upon diagnosis of any cancer, heart attack or stroke — which collectively account for 90% of all CI insurance claims in Singapore


SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 29 July 2020 FWD Singapore (“FWD”) has launched a first-in-market insurance plan – Big 3 Critical Illness Insurance – that offers working adults comprehensive financial protection against three leading causes of death — cancer, heart attack or stroke — that together account for 90% of all critical illness (CI) insurance claims in the country.

This newly created plan is available from as low as one-third[1] the cost of a traditional CI insurance policy, providing a more affordable choice for working adults in Singapore. For example, a 35-year-old non-smoking male can get S$50,000 of coverage from as low as S$18 a month. According to a study[2] published by the Life Insurance Association (LIA) in 2018, a patient diagnosed with a critical illness requires at least S$316,000 to cover family needs and support recovery that would take approximately five years. However, the study revealed that the average critical illness coverage for a working adult in Singapore is just S$60,000, or about 20% of the recommended coverage. FWD Singapore offers this new Big 3 Critical Illness Insurance plan — which is available in three coverage sums of $50,000, $100,000 and $200,000 — aiming to help Singaporeans plug the shortfall in their CI protection gap.

Sociologist Tan Ern Ser attributed this worrying protection gap to the heavy financial constraints and pressures faced by many working adults in Singapore. Associate Professor Tan, who researched on family issues and social policies at the National University of Singapore, explained, “I believe most people would like to have adequate critical illness insurance cover, but they don’t, or feel, they don’t have enough disposable income to pay for all sorts of insurance, important as they are, and this is most likely because they have multiple financial commitments, such as to parents and children, and servicing housing loans.”

Against this worrying backdrop, FWD Singapore CEO Khor Kee Eng said, “The Big 3 Critical Illness Insurance offers all working adults an affordable solution and an important safeguard for their dependents, young and old. As the LIA study clearly states, inadequacy in critical illness insurance coverage among them can lead to significant social and economic impact for their loved ones, especially given the prevalence of cancer, heart attack or stroke in Singapore. We will continue to ride on our customer-led approach to innovate more easy-to-understand products to support Singaporeans.”

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Singapore, with one in five Singaporeans likely to contract a form of the disease in their lifetime, while an average of 17 lives are lost to heart diseases or stroke every day, according to 2018 statistics from the Singapore Heart Foundation.


The FWD Big 3 Critical Illness Insurance plan is a protection policy that provides coverage for heart attack, cancer and all stages of cancer. Insured customers will receive a one-time full pay-out of the insured sum upon diagnosis of any of the three diseases, to enable them to focus on recovery and taking care of their financial commitments and those of their loved ones. The other key features of the product are:

  • No medical examination — The application process can be completed fully online at Applicants need only to answer one health declaration and does not require medical examination like applying for traditional CI plans.
  • Comprehensive yet affordable protection — A 35-year-old non-smoking male can get S$50,000 of coverage from as low as S$18 a month.
  • Guaranteed cover up to age 85 — Residents between 18 and 65 years old (both inclusive) with a valid NRIC or FIN number can buy the FWD Big 3 Critical Illness Insurance, with the guaranteed option to renew up to age 85.
  • Death benefit — In the event of death, we pay a lump sum benefit of S$20,000.
  • All stages of cancer — FWD is the first digital insurer that offers full pay-out for all stages of cancer.
  • Enhanced coverage with riders — Guaranteed one-time full pay-out should you suffer from or require procedures from any of the 24 covered heart and neurological conditions that affect your brain (11 conditions) or heart (13 conditions) function. These include coronary artery disease and bacterial meningitis.

Kee Eng added, “For insurance, the moments of truth come in three areas, namely the affordability and extent of coverage, the ease of the application process and most crucially, the ease of making a claim. We believe the Big 3 Critical Illness Insurance satisfies all three criteria and clearly demonstrates how FWD is changing the way people feel about insurance in Singapore.”

[1] Information correct as of 25 June 2020 according to internal proprietary research. Base plan comparison is for All stage Cancer, late stage Stroke and late stage Heart attack against similar plans (not identical) in the market.

[2] The Life Insurance Association’s Protection Gap Study 2017

About FWD

FWD Group spans Hong Kong & Macau, Thailand, Indonesia,
the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia, offering life and
medical insurance, general insurance, employee benefits, Shariah and Family
Takaful products across a number of its markets. 


FWD is focused on creating fresh customer experiences, with
easy-to-understand products, supported by digital technology. Through this
customer-led approach, FWD aims to become a leading pan-Asian insurer that
changes the way people feel about insurance.


Established in Asia in 2013, FWD started operations in
Singapore in 2016 and is the insurance business of investment group, Pacific
Century Group. For more information please visit


CIFI Wins Multiple Awards From Institutional Investor  For Fourth Consecutive Year

CIFI Wins Multiple Awards From Institutional Investor For Fourth Consecutive Year

CIFI’s subsidiary Ever Sunshine also enters the ranking and wins multiple awards for the first time


HONG KONG, CHINA – Media OutReach – 28 July 2020 – CIFI Holdings (Group) Co. Ltd. (“CIFI” or the “Group”, HKEx stock code: 884), a leading real estate developer engaging in property development and investment in first-, second- and leading third-tier cities in China, has won multiple awards for the fourth consecutive year in the “All-Asia Executive Team Rankings” organized by Institutional Investor, an international financial magazine in 2020. CIFI also has been rated as one of the “Honored Companies” in Asia.


Awards (Property, Overall Ranking) won by CIFI:

  • “Best CEO in Asia” Mr. LIN Feng, 3rd Place
  • “Best CFO in Asia” Mr. YANG Xin, 3rd Place
  • “Best IR Team in Asia”, 1st Place
  • “Best IR Program in Asia”, 3rd Place
  • “Best ESG in Asia”, 3rd Place


In addition, Ever Sunshine Lifestyle Services Group Limited (“Ever Sunshine”, HKEx stock code: 1995), which is a subsidiary of CIFI that was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on 18 December 2018, has also made it to the “All-Asia Executive Team Rankings” for the first time since its listing and has won multiple awards showing industry recognition.


Awards (Property, Overall Ranking) won by Ever Sunshine:

  • “Best CEO in Asia” Mr. ZHOU Hongbin, 1st Place
  • “Best CFO in Asia” Mr. ZHOU Di, 1st Place
  • “Best IR Professionals in Asia” Mr. YAN Xian, 1st Place
  • “Best IR Program in Asia”, 1st Place
  • “Best ESG in Asia”, 1st Place


Recognized as an authoritative ranking by industries, “All-Asia Executive Team Rankings” celebrates the outstanding companies and management teams in Asia. This year, a total of 1,921 buy-side analysts and 611 sell-side analysts had participated in a vote on the selection of winners at the invitation of Institutional Investor. They rated the listed companies within the scope of their research according to a number of criteria used in evaluating performance in corporate governance.


For more details, please refer to:

About CIFI (Group):

Headquartered in Shanghai, CIFI is one of China’s top real estate developers. CIFI principally focuses on developing high-quality properties in first-, second- and selective third-tier cities in China. CIFI develops various types of properties, including residential, office and commercial complexes.


To learn more about the Company, please visit CIFI’s website at:

Prudential and PAI Health enter partnership to deliver a new way to measure physical activity on digital health app, Pulse

Prudential and PAI Health enter partnership to deliver a new way to measure physical activity on digital health app, Pulse

Prudential enhances customer offerings and engagement by introducing the science-backed Personal Activity Intelligence score across 11 Asian markets


HONG KONG, CHINA and VANCOUVER, CANADA – Media OutReach – 28 July 2020
– Prudential Corporation Asia (Prudential)
and PAI Health today
announced that PAI Health’s science-backed activity metric for heart health,
known as Personal Activity Intelligence, will be featured in the Pulse by
Prudential (Pulse) digital health app, the first of its kind to offer holistic
health management to consumers in Asia.

PAI Health services will be available to
Pulse users across 11 markets in Asia. PAI
adds to a growing suite of services on Pulse, which provides access to health
and wellness tools and real-time information to consumers across the region.
Since the launch of Pulse in August last year, the app has already been
downloaded over 6.5 million times.

Mr. Nic Nicandrou, Chief Executive of Prudential
Corporation Asia, said, “It has never been a more important time than now to
help people build health resilience and boost immunity by adopting a more
active lifestyle. Through Pulse, we are committed to providing leading
technology, content and services to help people live healthier lives. We are excited to add PAI Health’s programme
to our platform and provide new actionable heart health insights to users, so we
can help them live healthy and well, for longer.”

The collaboration will allow Pulse users to
benefit from a ground-breaking new activity score and health programme that guides
people to better health, by quantifying the exact level of physical activity
each person needs to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. Derived from
one of the most comprehensive health studies (the HUNT Study), and recently
validated with a large US population of over 56,000 participants, maintaining a
PAI score of 100 or more has been associated with a reduction of mortality risk
from cardiovascular disease and other lifestyle diseases by an average of 25%,
with the potential to extend people’s lives by an average of five years.

Users require a compatible heart monitor
wearable to enable the PAI feature in the Pulse app. The PAI feature is device-agnostic,
meaning it can be used with any leading wearable brands including Apple, Garmin
and Fitbit devices. Users can set and achieve health
goals, track physical and nutrition activities, receive feedback, coaching and
guidance on their health and fitness, as well as access useful content and
insights. For those without an existing device, Huami, a healthcare services
technology company and world-leading maker of smart wearables, will be a featured partner enabling customers to purchase their
affordable Amazfit devices directly via the Pulse app

“PAI is becoming the new health standard for physical activity,
addressing the global health problem of inactivity that has reached concerning proportions,”
says Sally Powell, General Manager of PAI Health. “Given that PAI is so
inclusive, being suited to all fitness levels and recognising all forms of
physical activity, we are delighted that Prudential will be introducing PAI in
the Pulse app. This will motivate millions of users to become more active with
a potential to make profound improvements in public health.”

About Pulse by Prudential

Pulse by Prudential is a digital health app and the first
of its kind in the region to offer holistic health management to consumers.
Using AI-powered self-help tools and real-time information, the app serves as a
24/7 health and wellness partner to users, helping them prevent, postpone, and
protect against the onset of diseases. Pulse is part of Prudential’s region-wide strategy to provide affordable
and accessible healthcare to everyone across Asia by leveraging digital
technologies and best-in-class partnerships. 

Following the regional launch of Pulse in Malaysia in
August 2019, Pulse is now available in a total of 11 markets across the region
and includes a growing suite of value-add services, such as a symptom checker
and health assessment, personal wellness services, and video consultations with
certified doctors and specialists.

its launch, Pulse has been downloaded more than 6 million times in Asia to
date. Pulse is currently available on the Apple/Google Play stores in Cambodia,
Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore,
Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

more information, and to download Pulse, log on to

About PAI

PAI Health allows organizations to assess, monitor and
guide their people to better health, providing individuals with motivational
guidance on personalized recommended physical activity levels. Our mission is
to optimize anyone’s path to better health by making the science-backed
Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI) metric a global health standard through
partnerships with insurers, employee wellness programs, technology platforms,
health care providers and other industry partners. For more
information, please visit


About Prudential Corporation Asia

Prudential Corporation Asia is a business unit of Prudential
plc (United Kingdom)*, comprising its life insurance operations in Asia and
Africa, and its asset management business, Eastspring Investments. It is
headquartered in Hong Kong.

Prudential is a leading life insurer with operations spanning
six markets in Africa and 13 markets in Asia, covering Cambodia, China, Hong
Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore,
Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Through a robust multi-channel distribution
platform, Prudential provides a comprehensive range of savings, investment and
protection products to meet the diverse needs of Asian families.

Eastspring Investments manages investments across Asia on
behalf of a wide range of retail and institutional investors. It is a leading
Asia-based asset manager with on-the-ground presence in 11 major Asian markets
as well as distribution offices in North America and Europe. It has over US$241
billion in assets under management (as at 31 December 2019), managing funds
across a range of asset classes including equities and fixed income.


plc is not affiliated in any manner with Prudential Financial, Inc. of the
United States or with the Prudential Assurance Company, a subsidiary of M&G
plc, a company incorporated in the United Kingdom.


plc is listed on the stock exchanges of London (PRU.L), Hong Kong (2378.HK),
Singapore (K6S.SG) and New York (PUK.N).

Poly Leads Industry with the Most Microsoft Teams Certified Headsets Available

Poly Leads Industry with the Most Microsoft Teams Certified Headsets Available

The choice is now yours – Poly offers 2X more Microsoft Teams certified headsets and personal speakerphones than the next leading provider


– Media OutReach – July
28, 2020 – Plantronics,
Inc. (“Poly” — formerly Plantronics and
Polycom) (NYSE: PLT), a global communications company that powers meaningful
human connection and collaboration, today announced that Poly now has
the largest portfolio of Microsoft Teams certified headsets available, offering greater flexibility
and choice with more than twenty headsets and personal speakerphones certified
for Teams. This solidifies Poly as having the most comprehensive end-to-end suite of
Teams certified headsets, video devices, phones and speakerphones available.

Poly has sold nearly 17 million Microsoft compatible devices over the
last three years. Our latest portfolio of certified devices with the dedicated
purple Teams button includes the Voyager 4200 Office Series and Voyager 5200
Office Series headsets, Calisto 3200 and 5300 speakerphones,  Blackwire 3300 Series, and the recently
announced Blackwire 8225 headsets. The dedicated Teams button allows you to
instantly invoke your Teams meeting as well as receive alerts and notifications
so you never miss a beat.

“We understand that every
worker – from executives to the entry-level — may have their own preferred
workstyle. Instead of a one-size-fits-all solution, organizations should cater
to each individual, aligning their tools and endpoints with the different
workstyles to enhance productivity and efficiency,” said Pierre-Jean
Châlon, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, Poly.
“That is why we are
committed to providing a wide range of high-quality solutions that seamlessly
integrate with Microsoft Teams, providing the flexibility and choice to meet
the needs of any worker.”

With the significant
increase in home working here to stay, our need to collaborate at a distance will
remain essential. As such, Microsoft Teams usage continues to skyrocket,
having gone from 32 million users in early March 2020
[1] to 75 million users by April 2020[2], creating an even greater need for
Teams integrated devices.

“As distance and remote
working continues for many organizations, the need for a wide variety of UCC
integrated devices, including Microsoft Teams, will remain a top priority,”
said Alaa Sayed, industry director, Frost and Sullivan. “No other vendor comes
close to Poly’s deep portfolio of Teams certified devices for home, office, and
everywhere in between. Poly’s ability to offer simple, flexible and reliable
communications endpoints is just one of the reasons Poly continues to be a leading
provider of global enterprise headsets.”

Poly’s portfolio offers Teams
certified devices ranging from wireless DECT™ headset systems like Savi 8200 Office and UC Series, to premium Bluetooth® headsets
that connect to PCs and
mobiles like the Voyager family, to portable USB speakerphones like Calisto 5300.
All certified products have been rigorously tested and Microsoft certified to
ensure the best audio and user experience and have been thoughtfully designed
to work flexibly and seamlessly with Microsoft Teams — creating a one-stop shop
for your organization’s collaboration device needs whether you’re a Microsoft
Teams aficionado or just starting your journey to leverage Microsoft Teams.

For a full list of Poly
Microsoft Teams certified devices now available for order and shipping, please visit here for more information.

[1] “Microsoft announces new Teams features as usage
skyrockets nearly 40 percent in a week” (The Verge, March 2020)

[2] “Microsoft Teams now has 75 million daily active
users” ( Business Insider, April 2020).

About Poly

Inc. (“Poly” — formerly Plantronics and Polycom) (NYSE: PLT) is a global
communications company that powers meaningful human connection and
collaboration. Poly combines legendary audio expertise and powerful video and
conferencing capabilities to overcome the distractions, complexity and distance
that make communication in and out of the workplace challenging. Poly believes
in solutions that make life easier when they work together and with our
partners’ services. Our headsets, software, desk phones, audio and video
conferencing, analytics and services are used worldwide and are a leading
choice for every kind of workspace. For more information visit

Poly, the
propeller design, and the Poly logo are trademarks of Plantronics, Inc. Bluetooth
is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use by Plantronics,
Inc. is under license.  All other
trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

CakeRush kicks off to spread the sweetness around the Philippines

CakeRush kicks off to spread the sweetness around the Philippines

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Media OutReach – 27 July
2020 – CakeRush – an industry leader in
delivering sweet treats across Malaysia, has now spread its’ wings over to the
Philippines. A subsidiary of Limitless
Technology Sdn Bhd, CakeRush’s holding brand boasts a portfolio of the best
gifting resources across South East Asia — including Flower Chimp, a flower
delivery service operating in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and more.


Launched on the
7th of July 2020, CakeRush Philippines intends to become the country’s
top platform for customers looking for cakes of all sorts — partnering with a wide
variety of bakers, right from humble home-bakers to well renowned local
favourites to meet every sweet need in the market.


array of offerings include all sorts of decadent cakes, cookies, brownies, and
unique cakes that come inside of a can; all of which come in a variety of
flavours — with plans of further extending their range of offerings.


With the use of
proprietary logistics technologies, CakeRush provides a seamless stream for
both, its customers and bakers, eliminating every hassle involved in the
ordering a cake — right from its creation to reaching to its recipient.


CakeRush prides
itself in being the most efficient in the online cake delivery realm — with not
only the best quality and range of offerings, but also in terms of service and


With a
frictionless channel for its bakers, and an array of choices for its consumers,
CakeRush covers all bases of the cake process, including free delivery on all
orders across Metro Manila — and plans of spanning across all of the
Philippines in the near future.


Providing a
superior alternative to going out to purchase a cake, especially during these
trying times, CakeRush is set to successfully spread the sweetness across the

About Limitless Technology

Founded in 2016
by German entrepreneurs Maximilian Lotz and Niklas Frassa, Limitless Technology
saw its beginnings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — eventually expanding across South East Asia
through Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore. 

catering to consumers in the gifting and lifestyle e-commerce segment, the group
strives to serve the growing demand for gift delivery services across South
East Asia with high caliber technologies, services, and teams.

The company has consequently attracted significant venture funding from local
and international investors, and is currently venturing out into new markets
and additional brands.

Infor and Nippon Systemware Forge Alliance to Market Infor CloudSuite Industrial ERP Package for Japan’s manufacturing Industry

Infor and Nippon Systemware Forge Alliance to Market Infor CloudSuite Industrial ERP Package for Japan’s manufacturing Industry

Partnership to build core business systems to accelerate the digital shift for customers


JAPAN – Media OutReach – 27
July 2020 – Infor/Infor
Japan K.K. and Nippon Systemware Co., Ltd. (NSW; Headquarter: Shibuya-ku,
Tokyo; President and Chief Executive Officer: Shoji Tada) today announced the provision
of Infor CloudSuite Industrial, Infor’s enterprise resource planning (ERP)
package for the manufacturing industry in a newly-inked partner agreement to
help Japanese customers accelerate their digital journey. Under the
partnership, NSW can sell or otherwise provide Infor CloudSuite Industrial as a
supply chain solution (ERP) for managing sales and production planning. This
will enable both Infor and NSW to provide even higher value-added solutions
that span both the engineering chain and supply chain.

With multi-language,
multi-currency, and multi-site support, Infor CloudSuite Industrial is an ERP
package for manufacturing companies with global. operations It is already used
in over 6,000 locations globally, including over 1,400 locations in the
Asia-Pacific and over 200 locations in Japan alone.

NSW has a long history of
achievement and expertise across the engineering chain (product lifecycle
management and product data management), managing data related to design and
manufacturing in the manufacturing industry. In recent years, it has combined
the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide
solutions for delivering instructions and collecting performance data in
production environments, while supporting its customers through their digital
transformation (DX).

This alliance is off to a
promising start to fulfil current market and business needs, with the ERP
package having already been trialed by a medical devices manufacturer in a
project to rebuild its core business system, including its global sites. Going
forward, Infor and NSW will continue collaborating in the areas of Infor
CloudSuite Industrial and other solutions for the manufacturing industry as
both parties help build core business solutions that support digital
transformation for customers.

“We welcome Nippon Systemware to the Infor Partner Network. With
Infor’s continued commitment to deliver finely-tuned, industry-specific
solutions in the cloud to help our customers maximise efficiencies and
accelerate growth, and NSW’s years of experience in the manufacturing industry
in Japan, we are confident that our combined strengths can help to accelerate
digital transformation within the manufacturing industry here”, says Shinya
Miura, Country Manager & Vice President, Infor Japan K.K.

“We are excited about the partner
agreement with Infor. This partnership will enable us to offer comprehensive
range of solutions for the manufacturing industry, covering both the engineering
and supply chains. Furthermore, together with Infor, we will provide high-value-added
services to our customers in the manufacturing industry by leveraging synergies
with our strength in IoT, AI and embedded software development.”, says Takeshi
Yamada, Executive Corporate Officer, Nippon Systemware Co., Ltd.

Media contact

Phyllis Tan

Infor Asia Pacific

+65 9799 9133

NSW (Nippon Systemware)

Corporate Division

Planning Department, PR: Someha, Kaneko

About Nippon Systemware

Nippon Systemware (NSW) was
founded in 1966. It is a one-stop provider of solutions, from building systems
to support manufacturing, distribution, and other industries, to designing and
operating IT infrastructure, and providing cloud services from in its own data
centers. It is also engaged in embedded system development, and LSI and circuit
board design and development, in the in-vehicle, communications and facilities
fields. With a focus on the fields of IoT and AI, which leverage these
capabilities, it aims to become a company that leads the digital transformation
of customers through the provision of solutions and services underpinned by its
Toami IoT platform.

For more details, see .

About Infor

is a global cloud business software provider specializing by market sector.
With 17,300 employees and over 68,000 customers in more than 170 countries,
Infor software is designed for progress. For more information, visit

customers include:

  • The top 20 companies in the aerospace
  • 9 of the top 10 companies in the
    high-tech sector
  • 14 of the 25 largest healthcare
    networks in the United States
  • 19 of the 20 largest cities in the United
  • 18 of the top 20 automotive companies
  • 14 of the top 20 companies in
    industrial distribution
  • 13 of the top 20 retailers globally
  • 4 of the top 5 brewing companies
  • 17 of the top 20 banks
  • 9 of the 10 largest hotel chains
  • 7 of the top 10 best luxury brands 

Babel Film Workshop’s Filmmaking Initiative Brings Together Hong Kong and US Students Amid Pandemic

Babel Film Workshop’s Filmmaking Initiative Brings Together Hong Kong and US Students Amid Pandemic

KONG, CHINA – Media OutReach – 27 July 2020 – Over the past five months, students from Hong Kong and New Haven
have been participating in a stay-at-home filmmaking program that guides them
to create short films about their experiences during the pandemic. The
initiative, called Film Stylo, was started by Jeremy Hung, founder of Babel
Film Workshop
, amid an arts residency at Yale, and has resulted in an
international archive of student films documenting this historic time.

Jeremy Hung speaking at a welcome reception for Yale-China Arts Fellows at Yale University.
Photo: Emily Chew / Yale-China Association

In January, Jeremy
arrived at the university for a fellowship administered by the Yale-China
Association and supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New
York. Jeremy had begun working with US students to promote arts and cultural
exchange, but school closures in March abruptly cancelled his plans. Under
lockdown at home, Jeremy launched Film Stylo as an online filmmaking initiative
to address students’ emotional wellness and foster intercultural empathy
through filmmaking.


Over 200 students
worldwide have since signed up. “Many of our students have produced their best
work as a result,” said Kieran Ryan, Head of Film at King George V School. The
films have been shared with other student filmmakers across the globe. “I feel
like I can relate to others who participated in the initiative,” reflected
Yareli Calderon Romero, a junior at a New Haven Public School. “It made my
experience feel a lot better and less lonely.”


Dr. Eunice Yuen, a Child
Psychiatry Fellow at the Yale Child Study Center, has also contributed to the
initiative’s design. “One of our goals is to foster the psychological concept
of mentalization through self-reflection, sharing, and discussion,” Dr. Yuen
said. “Mentalization helps students nourish a healthy sense of self and others
in the world, promoting empathy, diversity, and inclusion in our next
generation of students.”


After his fellowship,
Jeremy plans to develop Film Stylo into a global filmmaking platform that
provides visual literacy education and facilitates arts and cultural exchange
between classrooms around the world. “The pandemic has made it clear that
students’ lives today are dominated by technology, so it’s more important than
ever that we teach them to keep sight of what makes us human,” said Jeremy. “As
the world’s most powerful communication medium, filmmaking is the best way of
doing that.”


[See the films and sign
up at:]

Babel Film Workshop

Babel Film Workshop
began advocating and advancing visual literacy education for Hong Kong students
in 2018. Since then, it has provided opportunities for hundreds of students to
engage in the most powerful communication medium in the world by teaching film
as a universal language. Its team of filmmakers and educators is dedicated to
promoting film culture as a crucial way to increase our empathy of others. Visit
us at and get our updates on Facebook and Instagram.

Philippines is Among Asia’s Pioneers in Leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology for Bond Distribution

Philippines is Among Asia’s Pioneers in Leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology for Bond Distribution

SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 27 July 2020
– The Philippine Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), together with Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank)
and Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX), is the first in Asia to launch an
app for the distribution of retail treasury bonds enabled by Distributed Ledger
Technology (DLT). 

Philippine National Treasurer Rosalia V. De
Leon said, “The launch of Bonds.PH paves the way for all Filipinos,
particularly the unbanked, to easily and affordably invest in the BTr’s newest
retail treasury bond, RTB-24 or the Progreso Bonds. The mobile app presents a
compelling opportunity for all to invest and help the Republic raise funds for
economic recovery and COVID-19 response.” 

The app, called Bonds.PH, makes bond
investing easy. It’s completely digital and available 24/7. Filipinos,
including the unbanked and overseas workers, can invest in retail treasury
bonds by downloading the app and pay using e-wallets, online banking and
over-the-counter for as low as USD 100.  

UnionBank Vice-Chairman Justo Ortiz,
together with Treasurer De Leon, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III,
Central Bank Governor Benjamin Diokno and National Economic and Development
Authority (NEDA) Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, inaugurated the Bonds.PH app at
the recent official launch of the Progreso Bonds. 

“This is the first retail treasury bond
issuance to leverage on blockchain technology – in Asia, and likely the world,”
said Edwin R. Bautista, UnionBank President & CEO. “The Philippines is
ready to lead the way into the future and tech up the nation with innovative,
inclusive opportunities, powered by emerging technologies, for the benefit of
all Filipinos,” added Bautista. 

Bonds.PH is blockchain-enabled with
transactions recorded in a DLT-based registry in addition to the existing
system. Leveraging DLT enables immutable and tamper-proof record-keeping. 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
commended the ground-breaking endeavor, “I want to congratulate the
Philippine Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) for this important milestone,” said MAS
Chief FinTech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty.  He
added that, “2020 will be the year of commercialization of blockchain
technology in the ASEAN region, and BTr’s efforts to build a DLT registry for
bond issuance accelerates the success of the most exciting technology of our
time. The blockchain community in Singapore will work together with the
Philippines to share learnings, open-source resources and also facilitate
connecting corresponding nodes to integrate market infrastructure for
transparency and interoperability. The recently released Project Ubin Phase 5
findings by MAS will facilitate the creation of robust blockchain rails for
future value creation.”

Meanwhile, Chia Hock Lai, Co-Chairman of
the Blockchain Association Singapore (BAS) and Chairman of the Singapore
Fintech Association (SFA) said BAS and SFA are one with the MAS in fully
supporting the Philippines and UnionBank in utilizing blockchain for financial

According to Nichel Gaba, Founder & CEO
of PDAX – a fintech investment of UBX (a UnionBank subsidiary), “DLT or
blockchain technology is governance by design with its cryptography and
programmable smart contracts. This advantage allows the blockchain not only to
preserve truth, but also to automate payments, enforce rules, and facilitate
complex transactions via smart contracts at little to no cost.” 

As such, DLT reduces manual verification and
simplifies reconciliation bringing down processing time and costs. BTr
sanctioned the pioneering effort so that through this it can determine if
leveraging DLT makes retail treasury bond distribution to the unbanked feasible
and economically viable.

The Philippine Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) likewise offered its support. “With our mandate to
facilitate financial inclusion while maintaining investor protection, we support
this initiative, which makes use of Distributed Ledger Technology,” said
SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis B. Amatong. “We look forward to the results
from this initiative, which will contribute greatly to future DLT use cases for
capital markets,” he added. The Philippine SEC is among the more
progressive regulators in the world having released rules on crowdfunding, as
well as draft rules on digital assets and digital exchanges.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Central Bank,
Bangkok Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP), lauded the initiative for its impact on
inclusive prosperity, “Given our advocacy to accelerate the digital delivery of
financial services while deepening financial inclusion, we view Bonds.PH as a
welcome addition to the expanding suite of available financial products serving
wide market segments via innovative delivery channels and bridging the
financially excluded,” said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno. “From the basic easing
of the public’s access to transaction accounts to now this offering of retail
treasury bonds to the masses in a simplified yet secure manner, shows the
remarkable progress of our shared financial inclusion agenda. This surely marks
the transition of blockchain technology from its buzzword status to a feasible,
production grade solution capable of democratizing access to digital financial
services,” said the Central Bank Chief. 

look forward to the expansive adoption and success of this initiative and the
public can always count on the BSP to remain supportive of responsible digital
financial innovations,” he added.

Vice-Chairman Justo A. Ortiz, who also serves as Chairman of the Distributed
Ledger Technology Association of the Philippines (DLTAP) and the Philippine
Payments Management, Inc. (PPMI) added that, “Democratizing investment through
digital channels and Distributed Ledger Technology allows all Filipinos to
contribute to and accrue the benefits of nation building. Every Aling Belen and Mang Juan can save and
invest. Download Bonds.PH now from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store
and invest in our country!”

Executive Appointment: Mashreq appoints James as Head of FI and NBFI

Executive Appointment: Mashreq appoints James as Head of FI and NBFI

DUBAI, UAE – EQS Newswire – 27 July 2020 – Mashreq, one of the
leading financial institutions in the UAE, has recently appointed James Pearson
as the Head of Financial Institutions (FI) and Non-Banking Financial Institutions
(NBFI), part of the bank’s Corporate and Investment Banking Group (CIBG).


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James possesses over 30 years’ experience in corporate and
investment banking and has worked extensively with banks, insurers, investors
and intermediaries.   He joins Mashreq
from Nomura, where he served as Head of Financial Institutions, Asia (ex-Japan).
Prior to Nomura, James worked at Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore for seven
years, where he was the Global Head of Financial Institutions Industry Coverage
and Global Head of Insurance Clients.


Furthermore, James has worked with various organizations including
ABN AMRO / RBS and Morgan Stanley where he held several leadership positions covering
the Asia-Pacific markets including roles leading the Financial Institutions sector
and Investment Banking business.


In his role at Mashreq, James will
be responsible for devising and implementing the overall business strategy for
the Financial Institutions segment working closely with Head of CIBG to deliver
a broader range of products to the bank’s clients while
driving other
growth initiatives.


Commenting on the appointment, Joel D Van Dusen, Head of Corporate and
Investment Banking Group at Mashreq Bank, said:
“I am delighted to welcome James, who brings a wealth of knowledge
across the global Financial Institutions sector to Mashreq. His addition to the
team will also enable us to benefit from his substantial experience and
relationships with Insurance, Banking and Investor clients. I am certain that his
appointment will add immense value to our Financial Institutions business, and
help to create solutions that are not just highly-relevant for our clients, but
are also aligned with our spirit of innovation.”  


James Pearson added: “It is a privilege to take on this senior role at one of the most
progressive financial organizations in the region. The banking industry is
going through dramatic change and continues to transform at pace. I am very excited
to work at Mashreq, who have always placed an emphasis on staying ahead of the
curve and delivering the best solutions to their clients. I look forward to
working with Joel and my new colleagues, as we grow our Financial Institutions
business and the Mashreq franchise as a whole.”

About Mashreq

One of the UAE’s best performing banks
for five decades, Mashreq is a leading financial institution with an expanding
footprint across the Middle East. We have international offices in Europe,
Asia, Africa and the US, and a strong presence in the financial capitals of the


As the oldest bank in the UAE, our
journey can be traced back to humble beginnings in 1967, followed by periods of
rapid growth and strategic expansion. Throughout our history, Mashreq has
differentiated itself by pioneering new-to-market concepts and launching unique
products and services. 


Our innovative approach sets us truly
apart. It also continues to win us numerous awards and accolades in all
the fields of banking we operate in — Digital, Corporate, Retail,
International, Treasury and Islamic, and across the multiple banking channels
we deploy — mobile, digital, online, traditional and telephony. 


SonicWall’s Mid-Year Cyber Threat Report Finds Malicious Microsoft Office Files On Rise, Ransomware Up in US, Globally

SonicWall’s Mid-Year Cyber Threat Report Finds Malicious Microsoft Office Files On Rise, Ransomware Up in US, Globally

  • 20% jump
    in ransomware globally, 109% spike in United States
  • 24% drop
    in malware attacks worldwide
  • 7% of phishing
    attacks capitalized on COVID-19 pandemic
  • 176%
    increase in malicious Microsoft Office file types
  • 23% of
    malware attacks leveraged non-standards ports
  • 50%
    rise of IoT malware attacks
  • Report
    analyzes threat intelligence data gathered from 1.1 million sensors in over 215
    countries and territories

MILPITAS, CALIFORNIA – Media OutReach – 27 July 2020 –
The SonicWall Capture Labs threat research
team today published the mid-year update to the 2020 SonicWall Cyber Threat
Report, highlighting increases in ransomware, opportunistic use of COVID-19
pandemic, systemic weaknesses and growing reliance on Microsoft Office files by

“Cybercriminals can be resourceful,
often setting traps to take advantage of people’s kindness during a natural
disaster, panic throughout a crisis and trust in systems used in everyday
life,” said SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner. “This latest cyber threat
data shows that cybercriminals continue to morph their tactics to sway the odds
in their favor during uncertain times. With everyone more remote and mobile
than ever before, businesses are highly exposed and the cybercriminal industry
is very aware of that. It’s imperative that organizations move away from
makeshift or traditional security strategies and realize this new business normal
is no longer new.”

Changing Landscape Leads to Waning
Malware Volume

During the first half of 2020, global malware attacks fell from
4.8 billion to 3.2 billion (-24%) over 2019’s mid-year total. This drop is the
continuation of a downward trend that began last November.

There are regional differences in both the amount of malware and
the percentage change year over year, highlighting shifting cybercriminal
focus. For example, the United States (-24%), United Kingdom (-27%), Germany
(-60%) and India (-64%) all experienced reduced malware volume. Less malware
doesn’t necessarily mean a safer world; ransomware has seen a corresponding
jump over the same time period.

Ransomware Attackers Raise Stakes Again

the global decline of malware volume, ransomware continues to be the most
concerning threat to corporations and the preferred tool for cybercriminals,
increasing a staggering 20% (121.4 million) globally in the first half of 2020.

and mobile workforces are at a turning point on the subject of security,” said
Chad Sweet, Founder and CEO The Chertoff Group. “It has never been more
prevalent for enterprises and organizations to prioritize online security and
make what used to be a luxury, a secured and protected necessity.”

Comparatively, the U.S. and U.K. are facing different odds. SonicWall Capture
Labs threat researchers logged 79.9 million ransomware attacks (+109%) in the
U.S. and 5.9 million ransomware attacks (-6%) in the U.K. — trends that
continue to ebb and flow based on the behaviors of agile cybercriminal

Malware-laden COVID-19 Emails

The combination of the global pandemic and social-engineered cyberattacks has
proven to be an effective mix for cybercriminals utilizing phishing and other email
scams. Dating as far back as Feb. 4, SonicWall researchers detected a flurry of
increased attacks, scams and exploits specifically based around COVID-19 and
noted a 7% increase in COVID-related phishing attempts during the first two

As expected, COVID-19 phishing began rising
in March, and saw its most significant peaks on March 24, April 3 and June 19.
This contrasts with phishing as a whole, which started strong in January and
was down slightly globally (-15%) by the time the pandemic phishing attempts
began to pick up steam.

Office Lures Remain a Staple

Office is a necessity with millions of employees now more remote and dependent
on the business productivity suite of applications. Cybercriminals were quick
to leverage this shift, as SonicWall threat researchers found a 176% increase
in new malware attacks disguised as trusted Microsoft Office file types.

SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) with Real-Time Deep Memory
Inspection™ (RTDMI) technology, SonicWall discovered that 22% of Microsoft
Office files and 11% of PDF files made up 33% of all newly identified malware
in 2020. The patent-pending RTDMI™ technology identified a record 120,910 ‘never-before-seen’
malware variants during that time — a 63% increase over the first six
months of 2019.  

are too sophisticated to use known malware variants, so they’re re-imagining
and re-writing malware to defeat security controls like traditional sandboxing
techniques — and it’s working,” said Conner. 

What are the Riskiest U.S. States for Malware?

With over 1.1 million sensors
worldwide collecting threat intelligence around the clock, SonicWall’s new
‘malware spread’ data highlights the riskiest U.S. states for malware attacks.

the U.S., California, home to Silicon Valley, ranked the highest for total malware
volume in 2020. However, it was not the riskiest state — or even in the top
half of those ranked. Rounding out the top five riskiest U.S. states, based on
malware spread, is Virginia (26.6%), Florida (26.6%), Michigan (26.3%), New
Jersey (26.3%) and Ohio (25.3%).

organizations in Kansas are more likely to experience a malware encounter, as
nearly a third (31.3%) of sensors in the state detected a hit. In contrast,
just over a fifth of the sensors in North Dakota (21.9%) logged an attempted
malware attack.

method of tracking malware spread is conducted by calculating the percentage of
sensors that detected a malware attack, resulting in more useful and precise
information about whether an organization is likely to see malware in an area.
The greater the malware spread percentage, the more widespread malware is in a
given region.

Attacks Using Non-standard Ports Make Comeback
Overall, an average of 23% of attacks took
place over non-standard ports so far in 2020 — the highest mark since SonicWall
began tracking the attack vector in 2018.

By sending malware across non-standard ports, assailants can bypass
traditional firewall technologies, ensuring increased success for payloads. A
‘non-standard’ port is leveraged by services running on a port other than its
default assignment (e.g., Ports 80 and 443 are standard ports for web traffic).

Two new monthly records were set during the
first two quarters of 2020. In February, non-standard port attacks reached 26%
before climbing to an unprecedented 30% in May. During that month, there was a
surge in many specific attacks, such as VBA Trojan Downloader, that may have
contributed to the spike.

IoT Continues to Serve Threats

Work-from-home (WFH) employees or remote
workforces can introduce many new risks, including Internet of Things (IoT)
devices like refrigerators, baby cameras, doorbells or gaming consoles. IT
departments are besieged with countless devices swarming networks and endpoints
as the footprint of their corporate expands beyond the traditional perimeter.

at SonicWall found a 50% increase in IoT malware attacks, a number that mirrors
the number of additional devices that are connected online as individuals and
enterprise alike function from home. Unchecked IoT devices can provide
cybercriminals an open door into what may otherwise be a well-secured

on the cyber threat landscape, Debasish Mukherjee, SonicWall Vice President of
Regional Sales, APAC, said, “With more people working from home during the
COVID-19 pandemic, the abrupt shift to remote working has sparked an
unprecedented increase in cyber threats as opportunistic hackers take advantage
of the boundary-less ecosystem. Exploiting the new raft of vulnerabilities in
less secure situations and preying on fear, cyberspace has seen a jump in phishing
during global shelter-in-place orders and ransomware in the first half of 2020,
including a 50% spike in IoT attacks.

are also increasingly using non-standard ports to evade detection and deploy
malware, despite a continuation of a downward trend in malware volume since
November 2019 and a 32% decline in encrypted threats.”

instituting widespread work-from-home policies help to reduce the risk of
contracting the coronavirus, the pandemic has proven lucrative for cyber attackers.
Recognising the heightened cyber risks is thus important for companies working
remotely, to ensure the security of their company data and systems when
accessing crucial networks without the full protection of corporate firewalls
and other security measures. In this hyper-distributed IT reality, businesses
should adopt a fundamentally new approach to mitigate cyber threats and have a
comprehensive cybersecurity model to do so.”

To download the full mid-year update, please visit