London Fintech Week 2018 is pleased to announce the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of America and IBM as event headliners, alongside Société Générale, Consensys, IOTA, Thomson Reuters and Oracle.
The event, sponsored by Census.xyz, returns for its fifth year and will bring together between 3,000-5,000 leading fintech thinkers throughout the week from around the globe to engage in one of the world’s leading financial services ecosystems.
With Brexit looming in the background, London Fintech Week offers the opportunity for attendees to come and hear from leading influencers and decision makers, and discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead for the city and beyond.
The conference will feature 40 international companies exhibiting over the course of the week, with each day dedicated to a different theme including; Fintech Disruptors, Capital Markets & Wealthtech, Blockchain & Crypto-Finance, and Investor, ICOs & Start-ups.
The event will kick off with the Blockchain Hackathon Weekend at Cocoon Networks on Friday 6 July, sponsored by 5th Element Group – Decade Of Women #HackQuantum; an organisation dedicated in uniting women with universal frontier technologies. Following the workshop,the event will culminate into a four-day exhibition and conference with networking drinks each evening starting on Monday 9 July, and then a series of workshops on Friday 13 July. The exhibition and conference will be taking place at London Queen Elizabeth II Centre (London QEII), Broad Sanctuary in Westminster.
Commenting on the announcement, founder of London Fintech Week and Census.xyz, Luis Carranza, said: “In the five years since we first launched London Fintech Week, so much has changed in the fintech space, but the momentum and disruption in financial services continues.
“It is exciting to be part of the history that is unfolding before our eyes, and London Fintech Week allows us the opportunity to get to know and work alongside the innovators that are driving these changes.”
He added: “We are pleased that Census will announce an exciting project at the event that lets people earn value from the data they already create and allows them to take more control of their personal data.
“We are also thrilled to continue our partnership with 5th Element Group and its Decade Of Women #HackQuantum series. As a former refugee and the seventh of nine children, I have personally seen how empowering women through the right tools and resources can have a lasting impact on families and the greater community. This series is empowering more women to get into Blockchain not just for crypto, but to leverage the technology in a way that improves entire communities”
Amber Nystrom, Founding Principal, 5th Element Group and Fifth Element Fund, and Acting President, Decade Of Women said: “Together with partners from around the world, on March 8th, 2018 we elevated the International Day of Women into a full Decade Of Women to reject incrementalism and actuate a solutions pathway to deliver UN Sustainable Development Goal #5, gender equality and equity for women and girls worldwide. For the first time in history, with blockchain, smart contracts and digital assets, we can do what no generation has been able to accomplish: to create an economy that values all human genius and ensures a sustainable future for people, planet and prosperity – with no one left behind.
“We are honoured to partner with Fintech Week London, Abt Associates, Global Partnerships Forum, Blockchain for Impact and the Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development to bring forward our second Decade Of Women #HackQuantum, dedicated to true quantum leap solutions for women levering frontier tech to create a dignified, unified and decentralized world. With the first Decade Of Women #HackQuantum launched in Nigeria, we look forward to see what London can bring to make the impossible – possible! This round, if there is a team that meets a new Quantum Leap SDG Prize level, they will be able to present to top impact investors from around the world on September 21st at UN global quarters in NY. Bring it on London!”
Climate extremes seen harming unborn babies in Brazil’s Amazon
By Jack Graham
(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A new study that links extreme rains with lower birth weights in Brazil’s Amazon region underscores the long-term health impacts of weather extremes connected to climate change, researchers said on Monday.
Exceptionally heavy rain and floods during pregnancy were linked to lower birth weight and premature births in Brazil’s northern Amazonas state, according to the researchers from Britain’s Lancaster University and the FIOCRUZ health research institute.
They compared nearly 300,000 births over 11 years with local weather data and found babies born after extreme rainfall were more likely to have low birth weights, which is linked to worse educational, health and even income attainment as adults.
Even non-extreme intense rainfall was linked to a 40% higher chance of a child being low birth-weight, according to the study, published on Monday in the Nature Sustainability journal.
Co-author Luke Parry said heavy rains and flooding could cause increases in infectious diseases like malaria, shortages of food and mental health issues in pregnant women, leading to lower birth weights.
“It’s an example of climate injustice, because these mothers and these communities are very, very far from deforestation frontiers in the Amazon,” Parry told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“They’ve contributed very little to climate change but are being hit first and worst,” he added, saying he had been “surprised by just how severe these impacts are”.
Severe flooding on the Amazon river is five times more common than just a few decades ago, according to a 2018 paper in the journal Science Advances.
Last week, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro visited the neighbouring state of Acre in the Brazilian rainforest, which is under a state of emergency after heavy flooding.
Parry said local people had adapted their lifestyles to deal with climate change, but that “the extent of the extreme river levels and rainfalls has basically exceeded people’s adaptive capacities”.
The negative impacts were even worse for adolescent and indigenous mothers.
The study said the “long-term political neglect of provincial Amazonia” and “uneven development in Brazil” needed to be addressed to tackle the “double burden” of climate change and health inequalities.
It said policy interventions should include antenatal health coverage and transport for rural teenagers to finish high school, as well as improved early warning systems for floods.
(Reporting by Jack Graham; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
Energy leaders grapple with climate targets at virtual CERAWeek
By Ron Bousso and Jessica Resnick-Ault
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global energy leaders and other luminaries like incoming Amazon Chief Executive Andy Jassy focused on the tough road to transforming world economies to a lower-carbon future at the kickoff of the world’s largest energy conference on Monday.
Numerous speakers at CERAWeek were prepared to talk about the energy transition and the need for future investment in renewables. But many oil and gas executives were vocal about the need for more fossil-fuel investment in coming years, even as a way of leading the world to a lower-carbon future.
“One of the most urgent things we can do to combat global warming is to back carbon-emitting companies that are committed to get to net zero,” said Bernard Looney, CEO of BP Plc, one of several European oil majors to have committed to ambitious targets of cutting emissions to reach net zero carbon by 2050.
CERAWeek was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which stopped billions of people from traveling and wiped out one-fifth of worldwide demand for fuel.
The U.S. fossil fuel industry is still reeling after tens of thousands of jobs were lost. The pandemic has instead accelerated the transition to renewable fuels and electrification of key elements of energy use. Global majors have been playing catch-up, responding to demands from investors to lower production of fuels that contribute to global warming.
The primary message on Monday, however, was that achieving net zero – where polluting emissions are offset by technologies that absorb carbon dioxide for the atmosphere – is going to be difficult.
“There just isn’t yet enough renewable energy to fuel all of the energy that people need. That’s in developed countries,” said Andy Jassy, head of Amazon.com Inc’s cloud division who will succeed Jeff Bezos as CEO this summer.
He said the company had announced its goal for net zero emissions at a time when it had not entirely figured out how to get there.
Since the 2019 conference, many of the world’s major oil companies have set ambitious goals to shift new investments to technologies that will reduce carbon emissions to slow global warming. BP has largely jettisoned its oil exploration team; U.S. auto giant General Motors Co announced plans to stop making gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles in 15 years.
Oil companies have come under increasing pressure from shareholders, governments and activists to show how they are changing their businesses from fossil fuels toward renewables, and to accelerate that transition. However, numerous speakers warned that the viability of certain technologies, such as hydrogen, remains far in the future.
Hydrogen “is a very small business at this point in time, it will scale up, and it will take a long time before it is a business that is large enough to start making a real difference on sort of planetary scale,” said Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden.
Other speakers expected to appear include several representatives from national oil companies along with CEOs of Exxon Mobil, Total, Chevron and Occidental Petroleum, though many are participating in panels focusing on the energy transition.
Mohammed Barkindo, secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, was scheduled to appear, but backed out, citing a conflict.
Some CEOs said more oil and gas investment was necessary.
“We don’t think peak oil is around the corner – we see oil demand growing for the next 10 years,” said John Hess, CEO of Hess Corp. “We’re not investing enough to grow oil and gas in the future,” he said, explaining that prices would need to rise to support that investment.
(Reporting By Ron Bousso, Jessica Resnick-Ault and Marianna Parraga; additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici, Stephanie Kelly, Jeffrey Dastin and Gary McWilliams; writing by David Gaffen; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
AstraZeneca sells stake in vaccine maker Moderna for nearly $1 billion
(Reuters) – AstraZeneca sold its stake in rival COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna for roughly $1 billion over the course of last year as the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker cashed in on the meteoric rise in the U.S. company’s shares.
London-listed AstraZeneca recorded $1.38 billion in equity portfolio sales last year, with “a large proportion” of it coming from the Moderna sale, according its latest annual report.
Shares in Moderna, which went public in 2018 at $23 per share, surged more than five times last year after it began working on a COVID-19 vaccine based on a new mRNA technology that won U.S. approval in December.
Its shot relies on synthetic genes to send a message to the body’s immune system to build immunity and can be produced at a scale more rapidly than conventional vaccines like AstraZeneca’s.
Last week, Moderna said it was expecting $18.4 billion in sales from the vaccine this year, putting it on track for its first profit since its founding in 2010.
AstraZeneca began investing in Moderna in 2013, paying $240 million upfront and by the end of 2019 had built up its stake to 7.65%.
That would be worth about $3.2 billion based on Moderna’s 2020 closing stock price of $104.47, Reuters calculation showed.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine being developed with Oxford University has not been authorized in the United States and uses a weakened version of a chimpanzee common cold virus to deliver immunity-building proteins to the body.
In December, U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co said it had sold its equity investment in Moderna, but did not disclose the details of the sale proceeds.
Asset manager Baillie Gifford on Monday disclosed in a separate filing it now held 11% passive stake in Moderna as of Feb. 26.
Moderna shares were down 5% at $146.62 in afternoon trading.
(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee, Pushkala Aripaka, Kanishka Singh and Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; Editing by Jason Neely, David Evans and Arun Koyyur)
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