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Japanese Investors Back Space Junk Removal Company

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With U.S. President Trump’s vision of a space force and a city in China with dreams of creating an artificial moon, more money is being allocated to space. Chengdu city officials have plans to launch an illumination satellite into space by 2020 and the satellite’s mirror-like exterior could reflect sunlight down to Earth, thus aiming to save money on electricity. Like Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has dreams in space. The Japanese Prime Minister revealed in March 2018 the country plans to launch a US$ 1 billion fund to support the development of future space companies based in Japan.

Singapore-based Astroscale, a developer of space debris removal services, raised US$ 50 million in an investment round led by the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ). INCJ is investing US$ 35 million in the round. Other investors in the round were SBI Investment Company Ltd. and Mitsubishi Estate Company Ltd. Astroscale aims to provide a service to remove the estimated 750,000 pieces of space junk that is at least 1 centimeter long. The space debris poses a threat to low orbit satellite clusters. Astroscale has its main research and development offices in Tokyo.

Temasek Holdings

On another note, Singapore’s Temasek Holdings led a US$ 30 million Series D investment round into Israeli-based Airobotics, a builder of automated industrial drones. Other investors in the round are BlueRun Ventures, CRV (Charles River Ventures), and OurCrowd.

Cryptocurrencies Creep into the Middle East

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Banking behemoth J.P. Morgan Chase disclosed its own digital currency called JPM Coin. The digital token will be used to settle payments between clients. JPM Coin will be backed by physical U.S. dollars and be based off Quorum. Quorum is J.P. Morgan’s private Ethereum-based chain. JPM Coin plans to compete with Ripple, which created XRP, another digital currency that is used for settlements. Ripple’s main target market is cross-border payments and remittances.

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority have unveiled their plans for Aber, an interbank digital currency. Both banks have indicated that Aber will be limited to financial settlements using distributed ledger technologies. It will be rolled out on a probational basis, and used by select banks within the two countries. A date for rollout has not yet been declared. A joint statement hinted at a broader application of the currency in the days ahead. If “no technical obstacles are encountered, economic and legal requirements for future uses will be considered.”‏ Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies will be employed. The plan is for ‘Proof-of-Concept’ testing, which involves studying and fully comprehending the ways modern technologies can achieve practical applications. The digital currency has the potential to become a reserve system for central payments.

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CPPIB Inks Partnership Vehicle with La Française and its Shareholder CMNE

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La Française and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) formed a strategic partnership for the launch of a real estate investment and development vehicle: Société Foncière et Immobilière du Grand Paris. The joint venture between CPPIB (80%) and Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe (CMNE) (20%), La Française’s shareholder, will invest in major real estate projects linked to the Grand Paris infrastructure in the Greater Paris area. The parties will initially allocate €387.5 million in equity to the venture. The partnership will target regeneration and infrastructure-led investments.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Norges Bank Governor Voices Opinion on Relaxing SWF Withdrawals over Specific Uses

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Øystein Olsen, the Governor of Norges Bank, which oversees the Norway Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), voiced his opinion on the Norwegian government’s plans to alter the rules that regulates the country’s SWF withdrawal rules in certain circumstances. The coalition government led by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg wants to relax the limits on SWF withdrawals in specific cases. Norway’s government seeks to raid the fund to pay for the replacement of four major state buildings impacted by a terrorist attack and a crashed Royal Norwegian Navy frigate (KNM Helge Ingstad).

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