>Nasal COVID vaccine in trials
The University of Hong Kong said on Wednesday the clinical trials of a nasal spray vaccine for COVID-19, jointly developed by the university's department of microbiology and mainland institutions, have been approved.
The State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases has been working on the vaccine with Xiamen University and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy. It is the first nasal spray COVID-19 vaccine approved by China's National Medical Products Administration for clinical trials in humans.
HKU said in a statement its vaccine strategy has been selected as one of five vaccine technologies by the Ministry of Science and Technology for further evaluation.
>Oracle picked as tech partner
A deal between ByteDance, the parent of TikTok, and Oracle appeared to be edging closer after reports the Chinese company had chosen the software provider as its US technology partner.
If the deal is finalized, it will help keep the popular video-sharing app running in the US.
Under ByteDance's latest proposal, Oracle will be the firm's technology partner and assume management of TikTok's US user data, sources told Reuters on Sunday.
Oracle is also negotiating taking a stake in TikTok's US operations, they said.
TikTok on Monday issued a statement to media, saying it had submitted a proposal to the US administration, which "we believe would resolve the administration's security concerns."
However, any deal for the TikTok assets must be reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, a group chaired by the treasury secretary that studies mergers for national security reasons.
>Oversight of online lending
China will accelerate the process for the inclusion of credit information about online lending in its credit reference system to improve the institutions of joint punishment for dishonest borrowers, a regulatory official said. By the end of August, more than 200 online lending platforms had been connected to systems of the Credit Reference Center of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, and Baihang Credit, China's first licensed personal credit agency, said Feng Yan, deputy director of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission's Financial Inclusion Department, on Monday.
The CBIRC has made remarkable achievements through special rectification of risks associated with internet finance.
The number of online lending platforms still operating was 15 at the end of August, down 99 percent from the beginning of 2019.
During the same period, the outstanding balance of this type of loans fell 84 percent, while the number of lenders declined 88 percent and the number of borrowers went down 73 percent, Feng said.
>Flawless diamond to be auctioned
An exceptionally rare 102.39-carat diamond may become one of the most expensive stones ever to sell at auction when it goes under the hammer in Hong Kong next month.
Although auction house Sotheby's declined to provide a pre-sale estimate, diamonds of similar size and quality have previously attracted bids anywhere from $12 million to more than $30 million.
Cut from a 271-carat rough diamond discovered in 2018 in Ontario, Canada, the oval stone has achieved top rankings in each of the "four Cs" - cut, color, clarity and carat weight - by which a diamond is judged, the auction house said.
It has been classified as "D color," the highest grading for a white diamond, and is considered to be internally and externally "flawless," placing it among the world's most chemically pure, transparent and symmetrical diamonds.
It also belongs to a rare subgroup of diamonds that contain little to no nitrogen.
Only seven D color flawless (or internally flawless) diamonds weighing more than 100 carats have ever appeared at auction before, according to Sotheby's.
Unusually, the rare oval diamond is being offered without a reserve, meaning it will be sold regardless of the size of the highest bid.
Bidding will open online from Sept 15, with the sale concluding at a live auction in Hong Kong on Oct 5.
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