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Japan's Nikkei closes at 15******
Tokyo stocks closed sharply lower Thursday, with the benchmark Nikkei stock index falling to a 15-month low as investors offloaded issues amid concerns over the Ukraine issue.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average dropped 478.79 points, or 1.81 percent, from Tuesday to finish at 25,970.82, marking its lowest closing level since November 20, 2020.
Markets here were closed on Wednesday for a national holiday.
The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, meanwhile, lost 23.50 points, or 1.25 percent, to close at 1,857.58.
Local brokers said that losses were extended from the morning and the market tumbled in the afternoon on reports about the situation in Ukraine.
They added that concerns were now rife that energy costs could soar, as prices for crude oil surged due to the likelihood of disruption of supplies from Russia.
"The Nikkei seems to have fallen to its bottom relative to its valuations and domestic corporate earnings. Investors will now look at how the Ukraine situation affects the real economy and central bank reactions to it," Ikuo Mitsui, fund manager at Aizawa Securities, was quoted as saying.
Other strategists said the market could fall even further over uncertainties over the Ukraine situation, as investors will switch out of riskier assets like stocks and into safe havens.
"Market participants turned risk-averse following the reports. As uncertainties remain over the situation, the Nikkei index could lose further ground following new developments," Shingo Ide, chief equity strategist at NLI Research Institute, said.
Ide added that investors are "worried that higher energy prices could cool the economy. Another concern is that the US Federal Reserve may tighten its monetary policy drastically to battle a possible rise in inflation."
By the close of play, air transportation, rubber product and glass and ceramics issues comprised those that declined the most, and issues that fell outpaced those that rose by 1,294 to 824 on the First Section, while 64 ended the day unchanged.
Rubber product-linked issues extended losses on fears of higher raw materials costs, with Bridgestone skidding down 5.4 percent, while Yokohama Rubber reversed 4.7 percent by the close.
Technology-oriented issues followed their US peers lower, with Screen Holdings and industrial robotics maker Fanuc both dropping 5.4 percent. SoftBank Group, meanwhile, ended the day 6.8 percent lower.
Heavily-weighted Nikkei component Fast Retailing, owner of the Uniqlo chain of casual clothing stores, weighed on the broader market, relinquishing 3.8 percent.
Oil explorers gained on surging prices for crude oil, however, with Japan Petroleum Exploration climbing 4.1 percent, while Inpex soared 7.2 percent.
On the main section on Thursday, 1,594.12 million shares changed hands, rising from Tuesday's volume of 1,138.93 million shares.
The turnover on the penultimate trading day of the week came to 3,628.10 billion yen (US$ 31.62 billion).
CBA regular season second stage matches to be played in Changchun******
BEIJING, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- All second stage matches of the 2021-22 regular season of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league will be held in Changchun in northeast China's Jilin Province.。
These matches had been scheduled to take place in both Changchun and Zhuji in east China's Zhejiang Province on December 25.。
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the league's governing body said the revised decision was made in view of rising COVID-19 cases in Zhejiang Province and other regions of China.。
The statement also left room for minor adjustments to the kick-off times of the second stage matches based on local prevention and control measures, with any adjustments to the schedule to be announced in due course.。
After 13 rounds of matches in the league's first stage, the Liaoning Flying Leopards lead the 20-team table with a 12-1 record. They are followed by the Guangdong Southern Tigers, the Shenzhen Aviators and the Zhejiang Lions, all with a win-loss record of 11-2. Enditem。
Beijing 2022 ignites winter sports passion in east China******
NANJING, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- As the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics draws closer, winter sports are becoming increasingly popular in east China's Jiangsu Province, where 45 winter sports venues have been built, with a total of 553,200 square meters.。
As one of the largest winter sports arenas, the skating rink in the Nanjing Olympic Stadium has seen a distinct increase in visitors in recent years. "The guests here have increased by about 30 percent annually from the year of 2018," said Yuan Jun, the man in charge of the ice sports club in the stadium.。
Statistics show that the ice sports club in the stadium now receives about 50,000 amateurs and 40,000 trainees every year, with 400 visitors on average each day during the weekend.。
Winter sports venues like the Nanjing Olympic Stadium have been springing up these years in Jiangsu, covering all the 13 cities in the province. Cities like Xuzhou, Changzhou and Huaian even built ski resorts in scenic spots.。
To inspire people's passion for winter sports, Jiangsu has issued winter sports consumer vouchers for four consecutive years. Nearly five million yuan (about 786,000 thousand U.S. dollars) consumer vouchers have been issued this year.。
The province also invited national-level winter sports coaches to attract young amateurs. Guan Weinan, a retired ice hockey national player, has helped the city of Nanjing establish an ice hockey team that won the silver medal in the national competition in 2019. Enditem。