Our editors will be looking ahead today to these developing stories ...
Victoria Park's annual shopping spree winds up
The 46th Hong Kong Brands and Products Expo Fair in Victoria Park, Causeway Bay, winds up after 24 days. All eyes are on whether it has drawn a record number of shoppers and sales. The annual spending spree saw 2.4 million local and mainland shoppers last year, up from 2.29 million in 2010. Sales passed HK$500 million last year, the organiser, the Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, estimated. The expo, which began on December 10, had more than 400 exhibitors and 880 booths.
Mainland banks allowed piece of Taiwanese action
Mainland banks will be allowed to apply to purchase stakes in Taiwanese banks and financial holding companies from today, but they can only buy shares in a single bank or financial holding company, and their maximum stake will be limited to 5 per cent. The combined stake of these banks and mainland qualified domestic institutional investors can't exceed 10 per cent.
Changchun kicks off its ice and snow festival
The 2012 China Ice and Snow Festival opens in Changchun , the capital of Jilin province. More than 50 activities and events related to ice and snow tourism, snow sports and snow culture will be held, including ice fishing competitions (left). The festival has attracted more than 68 million domestic and foreign tourists in the 14 years since its launch in 1998.
All eyes on Iran as naval exercises come to an end
Iran is expected to end 10 days of naval war games that included missile tests near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which one-sixth of the world's oil is shipped. Last Tuesday, Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi threatened to close the strait if the West imposed sanctions on Iran's oil shipments. The US has strongly warned Iran against closing the vital waterway. Western powers will be closely watching for more sabre rattling from Iran after US President Barack Obama on Saturday signed into law tough new sanctions targeting Iran's central bank and financial sector.
Last-minute frenzy ahead of Iowa caucus
Republican presidential candidates will be working to pump up supporters and win over undecided voters in a mad dash of politicking before the nominating caucus in Iowa. Come tomorrow night, all eyes will be on Iowa voters as they cast the first votes in the months-long, state-by-state fight to pick a Republican challenger to President Barack Obama in the November election. Mitt Romney has long been seen as the candidate to beat, but he still faces stubborn doubts about his conservative credentials. Ron Paul's organised and energetic campaign has him neck-and-neck with Romney.
Dakar Rally shifts into top gear
After a symbolic start at the weekend, the Dakar Rally gets into top gear, with the 15-day race taking competitors from Argentina through Chile to Lima, Peru. This is its fourth straight year in South America. After three years of racing on a loop course that started and ended in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires, the race began this time in the Atlantic coastal city of Mar del Plata, with the finish 9,000 kilometres away on the Pacific coast in Peru. The rally was held in Africa until 2007, but moved for security reasons to South America in 2009. It was not held in 2008.