Millions join haj pilgrimage
Millions of pilgrims are in Mecca for the start of Islam's annual haj pilgrimage, with Saudi authorities warning they will stop any disruptive protests over the conflict in Syria. Saudi officials say 1.7 million people have arrived from abroad and about 200,000 from within Saudi Arabia. Pilgrims follow a set form of rites, culminating on Friday with the Feast of the Sacrifice, Eid ul-Adha.
Bidding starts for Lunar New Year stalls
The Lunar New Year may be months away, but those planning to trade at the Lunar New Year Fair in Victoria Park and fairs elsewhere will be bidding for prime spots today. Auction prices are always closely watched as a sign of economic confidence. Prices hit record levels last year, with a fast-food vendor paying an unprecedented HK$510,000 for a stall of 7.6 metres by 4.8 metres for just five days.
US Fed discusses next steps
The US Federal Open Market Committee wraps up its final meeting before next month's presidential election, but it's not expected to take further action so soon after yet another round of quantitative easing and after recent unemployment figures showed an unexpected fall in the jobless rate to below 8 per cent, signalling that the world's biggest economy may be bouncing back.
Is Nintendo still in the game?
Japanese gaming giant Nintendo reports fiscal first-half earnings, with its once-strong game business hit by the advent of smartphones and consumers awaiting the arrival of the new Wii U console. The world's leading console maker unveiled a new online strategy in June, saying it would launch a content distribution and social network for its latest version of the Wii. Analysts say Nintendo has been slow to embrace online gaming.
Race starts for marathon entries
Applications open for the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, with many runners likely to be left disappointed as organisers cap entries at 72,000, just 2,000 more than were allowed to run this year. Registration opens online for the marathon, half-marathon and wheelchair races at hkmarathon.com and the race itself will take place on Sunday, February 24. The total prize money has been increased by 13 per cent to US$258,400 in a bid to attract more top-quality runners.
Comedian seeks serious money
Veteran director and actor Raymond Wong Pak-ming might be best known for making people laugh with his hit comedies, but the flotation of his film company Pegasus Entertainment is a serious business. The company hopes to raise HK$100 million when it floats on the HKEx's Growth Enterprise Market. Up to HK$60 million will be used on film production, including staff recruitment, and up to HK$11 million on post-production equipment, its prospectus says.