While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Nov 17 edition

Multi-billion dollar Hong Kong-Shanghai link-up launches

HONG KONG - The stock exchanges of Hong Kong and Shanghai on Monday launch a much-anticipated trading link that will see billions of dollars in daily cross-border transactions and partially open up China’s closeted equities markets to the world.

After weeks of delays the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect finally kicks off, giving international investors access to companies in the world’s number two economy, while allowing mainland investors to trade shares in Hong Kong.

The link-up, which was described by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) as a “milestone", is seen as a key step towards greater financial liberalisation in China’s economy as its leaders embark on a slow process of reform.

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Obama confirms ‘evil’ murder of US aid worker Peter Kassig 

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE - President Barack Obama confirmed on Sunday the death of US aid worker Peter Kassig, calling his beheading at the hands of the Islamic State group “pure evil.”

A video released by the militants showed the beheading of Kassig, who took the name Abdul-Rahman after converting to Islam, and that of 18 men described as Syrian military personnel.

The 26-year-old was captured last year and was threatened in an October 3 video showing the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning.

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G20 pledges lift Green Climate Fund towards US$10 billion UN goal 

OSLO – A promise by Japan on Sunday to give up to US$1.5 billion (S$1.94 billion) to a UN fund to help poor nations cope with global warming puts the fund within sight of a $10 billion goal and brightens prospects for a U.N. climate pact next year.

Japan’s pledge, at the G20 meeting of world leaders in Australia, raises the total promised to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to $7.5 billion, including up to $3 billion by U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday.

The Seoul-based GCF Secretariat in a statement hailed the pledges as a turning point before a first donors’ conference in Berlin on Thursday.

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Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini envoys to return to Qatar after surprise GCC meeting 
RIYADH - Gulf leaders agreed in Sunday to return Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini envoys to Qatar, ending eight months of tense relations with the gas-rich state over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.Earlier, leaders including the emirs of Kuwait and Qatar, the king of Bahrain and the UAE vice president arrived in Saudi Arabia for a previously unannounced summit aimed at resolving their differences.Local media reported last week that leaders of the six-nation alliance, which also includes Oman, were expected to hold a meeting ahead of their annual summit in Doha on December 9-10, in a last-ditch bid to overcome internal differences.
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Tennis: Injured Federer withdraws from ATP Tour Final showdown 

LONDON (AFP) - Roger Federer pulled out of his ATP Tour Finals showdown with Novak Djokovic just before the final was due to start on Sunday, Nov 16, 2014, because of a back injury, casting doubt on his fitness ahead of the Davis Cup final.

Federer, 33, felt unable to take part in the showpiece clash at London's O2 Arena after suffering the back problem during Saturday's gruelling three-set semi-final victory over Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka.

"Unfortunately I'm not match fit to play match tonight. Clearly I wish it wasn't this way. You try all year to be ready for the ATP World Tour Finals and I didn't want to end this way," six-time Tour Finals champion Federer told the crowd during an on-court interview.

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