A rescue worker looks on as Russian Orthodox believers marking Epiphany take an icy dip in a pond outside St.Petersburg, Russia (Photo: The Telegraph)

Amid all the turbulence in world stock markets, London's FTSE 100 entered bear market territory on Wednesday (triggered when share prices fall by more than 20%).  UK real estate stocks have been hit hard with Property Week reporting that more than £6.2 billion has been wiped off the value of UK listed propcos since the start of the year.  The companies focused on the Central London office market, in particular, saw significant share price falls.  On Wednesday, for example, Derwent London shares were down more than 14% and shares in Great Portland Estates were down around 12%.  However, with many companies now trading at a discount to NAV, The Weekly questions whether the real estate sell-off is an over-reaction to current global macro-economic concerns (namely the oil glut and China's bumpy transition to the "new normal" of slower economic growth).  The quality of the companies' underlying portfolios and the continuing strength of the London occupier market does suggest that the property fundamentals are being overlooked.

The REIT sector is also the focus of the St Bride's "Letter from America", which is due to hit your desks on Tuesday.  On the other side of the pond, our US colleagues predict that public to private REIT acquisitions will be a feature of 2016 with opportunistic investors taking advantage of the mismatch between share pricing and underlying asset value.  The Letter also features a poorly disguised dig at English rugby, which we have chosen to ignore (for now).  The Weekly's current sport of choice is cricket; where we now boast the world's no.1 Test bowler in Stuart Broad.  We are unashamedly fickle when it comes to restoring English sporting pride! 

North Korea's scientists have been busy.  Switching their focus this week from H-Bomb testing to alcoholic beverages, the country's official media claimed that its scientists have invented a potent alcoholic drink that does not cause hangovers.  According to the state-owned Pyongyang Times, experts have spent years trying to come up with the magic ingredients.  The resulting spirit is made with ginseng and "scorched glutinous rice" and has an alcohol content of 30% to 40% - more than enough we suspect to help you wind-down on a Friday afternoon, yet still be fighting fit to take the children to Saturday morning swim class without feeling nauseous.  Sounds too good to be true?  It probably is.  Implausible claims are a North Korean staple after all! 

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