Hong Kong – Speech by FS at CEO Festive Drinks (English only) (with photos)

Speech by FS at CEO Festive Drinks (English only) (with photos)

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     Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, at the CEO Festive Drinks today (December 1):

Gucho (the Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX), Mr Nicolas Aguzin), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
      
     Good afternoon. I am delighted to join you today for this festive, “happy Friday” reception.
      
     I understand that you are CEOs and senior executives of elite financial institutions, and some of you have come or settled here not long ago. A very warm welcome.
      
     I’m sure you are here for the business and investment promise of Hong Kong, the Chinese Mainland and the Asian region. You’re here because Hong Kong is the multilevel bridge between East and West. You’re here, no doubt, also for the lifestyle: for Hong Kong’s world-class arts and culture, our night life, inviting country and marine parks, and the many delights of dim sum.
      
     Yes, Hong Kong is where you want to be, for business and pleasure, for family, education and future.
      
     As you are here, I am sure you are able to see for yourselves that after some three difficult years of pandemic, the city is quickly regaining its vigour and vitality. Our economy is bouncing back.
      
     At the moment, the world is filled with complexities, challenges and conflicts. High inflation, polarised and divided societies, geopolitical tensions, conflicts and wars. But Hong Kong has remained a safe, peaceful and vibrant city.
      
     We continue to steadfastly adhere to the “one country, two systems” principle, uphold the common law system and rule of law, maintain a friendly business environment that aligns with the best international standards, and preserve the many advantages that have made Hong Kong unique and appealing.

     These institutional strengths will continue to back Hong Kong’s high-quality development as an IFC (international financial centre) and our superconnector role in linking the capital markets and investors of the Mainland and the world. 
      
     It is true that the external environment will remain challenging for quite some time. But looking to the medium to long term, the sustained economic growth of the Mainland and Asia will present boundless opportunities for everyone.
      
     But we also know in a highly competitive world of finance, we must never stop reinventing ourselves and stay ahead of the competition.
      
     From enhancing stock market liquidity, to deepening and expanding Connect Schemes with the Mainland, and forging new partnerships with emerging markets such as the Middle East and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), we are actively seeking new avenues of growth.
      
     And that, ladies and gentlemen, is just the beginning. And we look forward to working with each and every one of you to create more enviable opportunities to be captured.
      
     Finally, I wish to thank Gucho and the HKEX for organising this welcome reception. Let’s enjoy all the drinks and good food, and the conversations and networking which certainly will bring business and prosperity down the road. I wish you and your families a happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous year ahead.
      
     Thank you.     

Festive Lights and Winter Delights at Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

Florence, Italy – WEBWIRE

Winter in Florence means enjoying culinary delights made with the most delicious regional ingredients surrounded by the citys magical lights and sparkling vibe. Each year, Four Seasons Hotel Firenze hosts a number of enduring traditions that make the Florentine festive calendar unique. From charity events to festive brunches, do not miss the chance to party like a local in Florence.

Panettone della Gherardesca

The Panettone della Gherardesca is a celebration of life, nature, and the flavours of the earths bounty such as laurel, rosemary and chestnut honey. It is an invitation to trust intuition and follow nature, to walk through the Hotels Gherardesca Garden, a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. It is also a call to travel beyond Florence, to taste sweet Apulian almonds and rich Brazil nuts. Its recipe is the result of the collaboration between Executive Chef Paolo Lavezzini, Executive Pastry Chef Mariano Dileo and the local bakery Leonardo Firenze. The box pays homage to this Panettones elegant taste, reflecting the timeless splendour of Four Seasons Hotel Firenze (1 kilogram, EUR 55).

December 10, 2023 – The Reds & the White Charity Dinner

Guests can partake in a charity gala dinner set in the Lobby of Palazzo della Gherardesca, with a dedicated menu with Savini Tartufi paired with Angelini Wines and musical entertainment. The highlight of the evening is the final auction with the chance to win a stay at Four Seasons properties around the world. All proceeds will be donated to the Patrizio Cipollini Foundation.

  • Participation EUR 225 per person

December 17, 2023 Open Day 2023

The Open Day is the most beloved festive event of Four Seasons Hotel Firenze: a tradition consolidated over the years involving restaurants and local producers, with entertainment by Radio Toscana, markets and music permeating the entire Gherardesca Garden. The proceeds of the day will be donated to Associazione Tumori Toscana ATT and will be used to create a support program dedicated to cancer patients children, and to Associazione Toscana Idrocefalo e Spina Bifida A.T.I.S.B., giving them funds to create their first shelter.

  • Entrance to the park: minimum offer of EUR 1 per adult

Christmas Eve Dinner

Wait for Christmas at Il Palagio: Executive Chef Paolo Lavezzini is honouring his grandmother by offering her traditional stuffed pasta recipe and adding some unpredictable sparkles throughout a tempting festive menu on December 24, 2023.

  • EUR 190 euro per person, drinks not included

Festive Brunches

The traditional Sunday Brunch becomes a festive feast in four different versions with dessert buffet, open kitchen to discover the Hotels behind the scenes and Santa Claus checking-in.

  • From 12:30 to 3:00 pm
  • December 25, 2023, EUR 170 per person, champagne and selected wines included
  • December 26, 2023, EUR 120 per person, selected wines included
  • December 30, 2023, EUR 120 per person, selected wines included
  • January 1, 2024, EUR 140 per person, sparkling wine and selected wines included

New Years Eve Gala

Give one last dance to 2023 and celebrate New Years Eve with a tasting dinner at Il Palagio restaurant followed by the Midnight Baccos Party in the Lobby. The five-course menu enhances the tradition based on fish and seasonal ingredients such as Tyrrhenian Sea fish terrine, caviar, pickled vegetables and brioche bread, roasted sea bass, celeriac and seafood reduction and veal cheek braised with Brunello wine, creamy potatoes and Val dOrcia lentils.

  • Participation EUR 485 per person

Tea Time

The Panettone della Gherardesca is definitely a worthy merenda (snack) at Atrium Bar, paired with Louis XIII Cognac by Remy Martin. And if one prefers a traditional afternoon tea, a special selection of pastries, sandwiches, scones and Tuscan biscuits will be served both at Atrium Bar and in the Lobby entrance, surrounded by beautiful decorations.

  • Christmas Tea Time starting from EUR 40 per person

Gift Ideas

Four Seasons Hotel Firenze knows how to tempt: from gourmet offers such as the Sunday Brunch (two people, EUR 240 including wine) or The Spa rituals such as Crystal Gems, using crystals and aromatherapy to harmonize mind, body and spirit (EUR 195), the Hotel staff is ready to inspire with perfect ideas for unique moments.

Info and bookings at ilpalagio@fourseasons.com – +390552626450. Read the full Festive brochure here.

80th Anniversary of the Festive Conference Commemorating Alisher Navoi in the Hermitage under Siege



On 10 December 2021, the Hermitage Theatre was the venue for an event marking the 80th Anniversary of the festive conference devoted to Alisher Navoi held in the Hermitage on 10 December 1941, during the total siege of Leningrad, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the great Uzbek poet’s birth.


The conference devoted to Navoi (like the event in honour of Nizami held slightly earlier, in October 1941) aimed to demonstrated the greatness of the peoples of the East who had once been part of the Russian Empire and now belonged to the Soviet Union. This period saw the formation of national consciousness among the peoples of the East, among the manifestations of which was the establishment of the Hermitage’s Department of the East and the holding in the museum in 1935 of an International Congress on Iranian Art and Archaeology – an incredibly significant event for the history of Oriental studies, both in this country and worldwide.


Opening the evening event, Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage, said that the meeting in beleaguered Leningrad took place, as Boris Borisovich Piotrovsky recalled, on the day when the trams stopped running, under extremely difficult circumstances. It was a very important event for the life and history of the museum. During the Great Patriotic War, in a Leningrad encircled by enemies, the staff of the Hermitage continued to work and, thanks to that, survived. They worked for the future, and what they accomplished did indeed have an effect on the future.


In his speech, Firdavs Fridunovich Abdukhalikov, chairman of the board of the Worldwide Society for the Study, Preservation and Popularization of the Cultural Heritage of Uzbekistan, spoke about Alisher Navoi’s significance as a man of peace, expressing ideas of humanism and righteousness.


Scholarly presentations followed, devoted to the collections of the museum and other Saint Petersburg institutions that are connected with Navoi and his era. In his contribution, Anton Dmitriyevich Pritula of the State Hermitage’s Department of the East spoke about Herat, Navoi’s native city, and the Hermitage exhibits that come for there. The presentation by Olga Valentinovna Vasilyeva (National Library of Russia) was devoted to manuscripts of Navoi’s works in Saint Petersburg collections.


Finally, some of Alisher Navoi’s ghazals were performed by Munojat Yo’lchiyeva to an accompaniment played on traditional instruments. Russian translations of the ghazals were recited by Polina Liubimova of the State Hermitage’s Department for Scientific and Educational Work.


In memory of the conference held 80 years ago, some porcelain pieces were put on show in the Hermitage Theatre that had been made in the Leningrad Porcelain Factory in 1941 and painted by Mikhail Mokh with subjects inspired by Navoi’s works, as well as a printed wartime bulletin ( Boevoi listok) of the period that included Boris Borisovich Piotrovsky’s report about the conference.