Our editors will be looking ahead today to these developing stories ...
Wine and spirits fair expects big crowd
The Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair is expecting crowds today as the three-day event finally opens to the public. After attracting 10,000 visitors on its final day last year, the organisers of one of the largest wine events in Asia expect wine lovers to pack the fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. More than 930 exhibitors from 37 countries and regions are taking part in the exhibition, which closes today. Participants will vote for their 'most beloved wine'. Delegations from Spain and Italy will host special tasting sections for those who have made advance reservations.
Millions of Muslim faithful mass in Mecca
Some 2.5 million pilgrims are expected to take part in the five-day haj that starts in Mecca today. Muslims from across the world have descended on the holy city in Saudi Arabia ahead of the annual pilgrimage, many with prayers for a peaceful resolution to the wave of uprisings roiling the Arab world. The pilgrimage focuses on Islam's holiest site and the birthplace of the Prophet Mohammad. This year's haj takes place following an unprecedented wave of anti-government protests in the Arab world that has toppled autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Uprisings have also shaken regimes in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria.
NBA players, owners take shot at ending lockout
NBA club owners and players will resume talks today in hopes of ending a lockout that reached 126 days on Thursday - a fight over money that has wiped out the first month of the 2011-12 season. Team owners and players have been unable to agree on how to divide annual revenue of about US$4 billion, with owners saying they need salary cuts from players to improve the fortunes of 22 clubs that are losing money. Players and team owners remain US$100 million a year apart on how to split the income. Players, who made 57 per cent of basketball-related income under the old deal that expired on July 1, have offered to take only 52.5 per cent in a new deal. Owners say that is still too much, and want a 50-50 split of revenue.
Wen in Russia for Central Asia talks
Premier Wen Jiabao will leave Beijing tomorrow for Monday's Shanghai Co-operation Organisation prime ministers' meeting in St Petersburg, Russia. He will meet his counterparts from Russia and four Central Asian nations to discuss current international and regional issues, as well as co-operation on economic and anti-terrorism measures. Observers will also be looking at talks on a Sino-Russia gas deal. China's deputy foreign minister said this week both parties were working hard to complete the deal.
Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone ideas aired
The social science academies of Sichuan province and Chongqing municipality are jointly hosting a forum on regional planning for the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone today in Neijiang , Sichuan. The central government approved plans for the zone early this year, with a view to building a key economic centre in the west of the country by 2015.