1. A major disruption still could push oil higher, but potential oversupply makes even that less likely. Emerging-market demand once kept supply so tight that any disruptions led to striking price moves, said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.
2. As the stars' private jets swooped in, the internet was going mad for 'the Dad bod'; the slightly flabby male physique was trending and there were plenty of examples on screen. Deborah Cole of AFP noted a “sweating, panting and shirtless” Gerard Depardieu in Valley of Love and a flash of Joaquin Phoenix's “tubby tummy” in Woody Allen's Irrational Man. When Colin Farrell strode the red carpet for the premiere of The Lobster, he looked his usual trim self – but in the film he is distinctly paunchy. To add some girth for the role of a lonely singleton in Yorgos Lanthimos' absurdist black comedy, Farrell went on a massively calorific diet that included drinking melted ice cream, he told the Hollywood Reporter. Eating “two cheeseburgers, fries and Coca-Colas, and two slices of chocolate cake at 10am is not that fun,” he said. “And I love cheese?burgers."
6. "That of course is in keeping with all of the developments that we have seen in China in recent years, including the current enormous emphasis on innovation as a major component in the transition of the Chinese economy from 'Made in China' to 'Created in China'," he said.
1. British statisticians’ unwillingness to correct known errors in the clothing price component of the RPI redistributes many billions every year from students, recent graduates, taxpayers and rail commuters to index-linked UK government bondholders, wealthy pensioners with RPI-linked pensions and rail companies.
2. Companies are always looking to save money, and outsourcing some roles to freelancers can help. Virtual assistants can perform many of the duties of full-time staffers, but with less commitment. These workers could help expand a business, or just encourage things to run more smoothly.
3. The incomes of graduates from universities listed in China's 211, or 985 key university national projects are far ahead of those from ordinary universities, the survey found.
5. Foreign property investment by Chinese companies plunged by 84 per cent last month, as Beijing’s capital controls choked off the flow of foreign acquisitions.
6. We learned about the power of human ingenuity in our solar system’s deep reaches.
1. It will be a year when the automaker begins selling its first airplane, the HA-420 Hondajet for general aviation, as well as a new hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, the FCV. Honda will return to the Formula One circuit with a new race car. The cherry on top may be Acura NSX, a gas-electric hybrid supercar that will be built and sold in low volume.
3. Regardless of whether or not you think Snapchat is worth the $3 billion Facebook offered it, one thing is clear: There's an appetite out there for so-called ephemeral networks, where content literally vanishes seconds after being received. And, contrary to popular perception, this isn't just about sexting and X-rated selfies (though it definitely is about that, too). As content on the major networks becomes more corporate and commoditized, Snapchat and services like it restore some of the fun and spontaneity to social media. Just like a real-life interaction -- where ideas flow freely and you generally don't worry about everything being recorded for posterity and broadcast to the world -- SnapChat and networks like it offer a channel for genuine, unfiltered exchange. And the kids really like it. While Facebook's own CFO officially acknowledged last month that teen use of his network is declining, the number of teens on SnapChat -- at least anecdotally -- is exploding.
5. In China, WeChat has also lured more high-end users, a group that Tencent hasn't traditionally had a strong hold over.
3. "My hair has turned white, half because of housing prices and half because of you reporters." JIANG WEIXIN, member of the CPPCC National Committee and minister of housing and urban-rural development, responding to media questions about government measures to curb housing prices
Few years in recent decades dawned with as much of a sense of pessimism as 2014. One consistent theme in the predictions for the year was that 2014 looked eerily similar to 1914. Most pundits predicted doom and gloom, especially in east Asia. Yet, while there were many horrific events — from thedowning of flight MH17 over Ukraine, to the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria and the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — we have avoided outright world war. Now that the year is closed, with no repetition of 1914, it may be wise to investigate why the pundits were wrong, particularly on their ideas around the potential for conflict in Asia.