For those who want to drink various “happy water” but are worried about gaining weight, July may be even more unhappy. This is because there are reports that aspartame, one of the most common artificial sweeteners in the world, may be listed as a potential carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a subsidiary of the World Health Organization.
Currently, this additive is found in low-sugar drinks from Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Extra gum from Mars, and some Snapple sodas.
A food chart containing aspartame made by foreign media.
As soon as this news came out, the International Council of Beverage Associations (ICBA) immediately responded on its official website on June 29, stating that public health authorities should be cautious about this view because it contradicts high-quality scientific evidence from decades of research. Conclusions drawn from low-quality scientific research may mislead consumers, and a more extensive and comprehensive food safety review of aspartame is expected.
However, regardless of the “scientificity” of the relevant conclusions, in this era of information overload and rapid flow on the Internet, even a false piece of news can cause a huge public opinion storm. Therefore, domestic beverage companies such as Yuanqi Forest and Naixue’s Tea quickly distanced themselves and emphasized that their products do not contain aspartame.
Among them, Yuanqi Forest stated that they use erythritol, and all their products do not contain aspartame. Naixue’s Tea stated that in November 2022, they announced that all their products use an upgraded natural sweetener called “monk fruit sugar.”
So, how much impact will this news have on the current trend of “reducing sugar” and “zero sugar” products on the market?
Li Shuguang, a member of the China Food Science and Technology Society, told the media that the impact may not be as great as imagined. If aspartame cannot be used, there are still substitutes such as acesulfame, neotame, stevia, and sucralose. Zhu Danpeng, a Chinese food industry analyst, also stated that there are many alternatives to sweeteners, so it will not have a significant impact on the global food and beverage industry. Erythritol is an upgraded version of aspartame and is also favored by the capital market in the sugar substitute industry.
After the news that aspartame may be included in the list of carcinogens was released, one of the five global xylitol manufacturers, Bailingbao, saw a significant increase in stock price on the 29th, rising by 5.69%. The next day, the stock price hit the limit up, reaching 9.39 yuan per share. Other sugar substitute concept stocks that also hit the limit up include Laiyin Biotechnology. In addition, sugar substitute concept stocks such as Sanyuan Biotechnology, Fengyuan Pharmaceutical, Jinhe Industrial, and Huakang Shares also saw an increase in stock price.
“Lady with a Fan” becomes the most expensive artwork in Europe
On June 27th local time, the portrait “Lady with a Fan” by the renowned Austrian painter Gustav Klimt was auctioned at Sotheby’s in London, UK. According to reports, after 10 minutes of bidding, the artwork was finally sold for a hammer price of 74 million pounds (approximately 682 million yuan) and a final price of 85.3 million pounds (approximately 786 million yuan) including commission, setting a new record for the auction price of European artworks.
Previously, the record was held by the sculpture “Walking Man” by Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, which was sold for 65 million pounds (including commission) in 2010.
The auction house stated that the buyer was a collector from Hong Kong, China.
Klimt was a renowned symbolist painter from Austria and a key figure in the modernist art movement of the early 20th century.
In 1918, at the age of 56, he died of a stroke and pneumonia caused by the Spanish flu. “Lady with a Fan” was his last portrait painting created during his lifetime and was discovered on his easel in his studio. After Klimt’s death, the painting was initially purchased by Viennese industrialist Erwin Berler, whose family were close friends and patrons of Klimt. In 1994, “Lady with a Fan” was auctioned again, and the buyer was the current collector’s family.
“Lady with a Fan” on Klimt’s easel in his studio.
Klimt was at the peak of his artistic career when he passed away. Sotheby’s European Chairman and Global Head of Impressionist & Modern Art, Philip Newman, described the painting as “a consummate demonstration of technique and a radical departure, a heartfelt tribute to the absolute beauty.” The painting was last auctioned in 1994, when it was sold in New York for $11.6 million.
“Lady with a Fan” fully showcases Klimt’s interest in fashion, textiles, and Eastern culture. The woman in the painting is dressed in a traditional Chinese-style gown with exposed shoulders, holding a fan in a traditional Chinese red color. The background is filled with classic Chinese patterns of phoenixes, peonies, and lotus flowers.
Sotheby’s evaluation of the artwork is: this is a masterpiece by an artist who has reached the pinnacle of his abilities, full of experimental attempts to break free from boundaries.
Recently, the 34th Golden Melody Awards ceremony came to a close. However, the highlight of the event was not the winners, but a controversy that occurred during the presentation of the “Best Single Producer Award.” The presenter, Eve Ai, mistakenly announced the winner as Chen Jianwei, causing the actual winner, JADE band member Doo-Doo and producer Zhou Yidun, to be interrupted mid-speech and left embarrassed.
The day after the incident, Eve Ai apologized on social media and even broke down in tears during a live broadcast, repeatedly expressing her apologies and explaining that she was very nervous because the award was presented in both Chinese and English.
However, a card used by the presenter during the ceremony was later leaked online, and some netizens claimed that it was no wonder that she made a mistake after seeing it.
According to reports, the chairman of the jury, Chen Jianqi, also apologized, saying that his signature was too big and caused the presenter to misread the card.
As shown in the image, the left side of the card displays the award category, while the right side shows the winner, their company, and a “huge” signature from the chairman of the jury that takes up a quarter of the card. Due to its size and unique handwriting, it is possible to mistake it as the “key” content on the right side.
However, some netizens did not believe this explanation and accused Eve Ai of not understanding the nominees. They also pointed out that if the name of the winner was not correct, it should not have appeared on the card. In response, the Taiwan Ministry of Culture stated that the signature was included to ensure the accuracy of the information and that it would not be removed in the future. However, they would add a label to differentiate between different types of information.
In the past, a similar mistake occurred at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony, and some analysts believed that the design of the award card was not reasonable, which was one of the reasons why the presenter announced the wrong winner (although in that case, the presenter was given the wrong card for Best Actress).
For more information on the design of award cards and how to avoid such mistakes, please click here: Solving the Problem of Award Presentation Mistakes with One Trick.