Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Sarawak preschool children in state-owned kindies taught basic sign language to promote inclusivity in society
Axiata postponing the listing of its e-wallet business, Boost.Germany halts USD11.5 bil Russian gas pipeline as Putin escalates tension. Chinese scientists invented salt-tolerant rice: "seawater rice"
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
16-year-old boy chess grandmaster Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa beat world number one Magnus Carlsen in an online championship at the Airthings Masters rapid chess tournament.
The Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Ministry has assured that there is an adequate supply of Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kits (RTKs) with some 18 mil units in the market currently. RTK prices range between RM4.90 to RM19.90, with 80% sold under RM10 per unit.
Edison Chen earned HKD40 mil from the sale of his non-fungible tokens (NFT) last week. Some internet users thought it was too scary, what do you think? NFSW!
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah warned there has been a sharp increase in education clusters from 61 during epidemiology week (ME) 6/2022 to 92 in the latest epidemiology week 7/2022.
Cilisos.my ran an experiment on self-test kits- it got a Covid-19 positive individual to test out 10 different RTKs to test the effectiveness of such test.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
PAS seems to always paint an impression that its priorities are more often than not misplaced. This time around, it is making a scene out of Loh Siew Hong’s success in obtaining custody back of her children. PAS Ulama Council has urged the government to ensure that Loh Siew Hong’s children’s status as Muslim “will not be disturbed and forced to return to apostasy” and voiced their concern that her children would return to their original religion of Hinduism.
To recap, her 3 children all below the age of 18 were taken away from her and unilaterally converted to Islam by their father, who is now serving jail time for drug-related offense. Other demands include that unilateral conversion to be allowed with the consent of either mother or father, which is in defiance of the Federal Court and unconstitutional.
When it comes to more pressing matters like corruption and child marriage, their voice is hardly heard.
Preschool children in Sarawak are now learning basic sign language as a way to promote inclusivity in society, says the state’s Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Minister Fatima Abdullah. The lesson was introduced this year at the state-owned Sedidik kindergartens to teach children to communicate with the deaf.
Great initiative by Sarawak. Not too late for us, the older folks, to learn - watch the video below for some basic sign languages.
Dr Vinod Kumar Joshi, the retired dentist, will be awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for exceptional services to fighting cancer. He established the Mouth Cancer Foundation in 2004 to provide professional support to patients, carers and survivors of mouth cancer as well as neck and head cancers.
Tham Yau Kong - the adventurer will receive the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) or outstanding services in environmental, historical and cultural conservation. He was the first person to research, trace and walk the exact route of the infamous 160-mile long Sandakan to Ranau Death Marches of 1945, during which some 2,000 British and Australian prisoners of war perished. He has been sharing his experience and knowledge by offering guided tours.
The above OBE and MBE awards do not carry the title ‘Sir’ (‘Dame’ for women). A quick summary here on the British honours system rewards.
Berjaya Assets Bhd has been sued by Violet Circle Sdn Bhd for RM97.6 mil for pulling out of an agreement to acquire the balance 50% stake in Sarawak gaming firm Megaquest Sdn Bhd. Berjaya Assets, through its subsidiary Tropicfair, entered into a share sale agreement in Jul 2016 with Violet Circle for the acquisition but called it off in mid-2020.
Megaquest is involved in the operations of number forecast lotteries in Sarawak. Tropicfair’s decision to rescind the agreement is due to the core operating business of Megaquest being substantially impaired, causing the transaction under the initial share sale agreement to suffer a material adverse change.
On a separate note, the founder of Berjaya Group, Vincent Tan, is related to Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau, as his wife is the businessman's niece. Andy Lau sang a happy birthday song to the tycoon who turns 70 today, as seen in an Instastory uploaded by his daughter, Chryseis Tan.
Gamuda Bhd announced that it had been awarded an RM1.45 bil MRT project in Singapore. Its Singapore joint venture (JV), comprising Gamuda Bhd Singapore Branch and Wai Fong Construction Pte Ltd, has been awarded the contract for the design and construction works on the Defu stations and tunnels by the Land Transport Authority of Singapore worth SGD467 mil (RM1.45 bil).
The project comprises the construction of one underground station and two tunnels, to commence in Q2 2022 and be completed in 2030. The Defu station is part of the 29-km Cross Island Phase 1 project, consisting of 12 stations and is Singapore’s 8th MRT line. Gamuda’s market cap currently stands at RM7.47 bil.
edotco manages and operates a regional portfolio of over 42,000 towers across Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Pakistan and Laos. The telco group has been advised that the political upheaval in Myanmar will pose a challenge to its listing.
As for Boost, it will await the decision on BNM’s announcement on the winner of its digital banking licenses as its value will significantly be enhanced with the digital bank license.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Temasek, one of Singapore’s significant sovereign wealth funds, led a USD200 mil funding round of Amber Group, a crypto investment company that provides liquidity and market-making services, at a USD3 bil valuation - up 3x from 7 months ago. Other investors include existing investors Sequoia China, Tiger Global Management, and the venture capital arm of Coinbase.
The company has more than 1,000 institutional clients, more than USD5 bil in assets under management and has processed more than USD1 tril worth of transactions. It’s spreading its wings to more geographies as it announced that it has received regulatory approvals from Australia, Switzerland and the UK.
No surprise, with Temasek onboard, the startup has moved its HQ from Hong Kong to Singapore.
The Russia-Ukraine tension increased further as Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a presidential decree recognising the independence of 2 separatist regions in eastern Ukraine - Donetsk and Luhansk, drawing widespread criticism from the West for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty.
In an hour-long address on Monday, Mr Putin said Ukraine was an integral part of his country's history and described eastern Ukraine as “ancient Russian lands”.
Following Putin’s action to recognise two breakaway regions formally, Germany halted the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline project. The pipeline, completed in Sep 2021 and built at the cost of USD11.5 bil and mostly owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom, provides a route between Russian gas production sites and mainland Europe. The pipeline is currently idle as it awaits certification from Germany and the EU. The pipeline with a capacity of transporting 55 bil cubic meters of natural gas a year to Europe will ease growing energy prices in the continent. Europe secures 40% of its gas needs from Russia and higher in Germany at 50%.
The US deemed this pipeline a geopolitical threat as it would deepen Europe’s dependence on Russia and make European nations less likely to challenge Russia.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has been upgraded to a buy rating after 10 years on Tuesday by Bernstein Research analyst Stacy Rasgon. Rasgon upgraded the chipmaker based on growing market share, a strong portfolio of computer chips to rival that of Intel and a relatively cheap stock price. Bernstein last had an “outperform” rating on AMD back in 2012, when its shares were priced USD2 per piece. AMD closed at USD114 yesterday.
Thailand’s PTT Oil and Retail Business is investing THB93.5 bil (USD2.9 bil) over the next five years to transform its business from one that is reliant on the oil business to an f&b business. With a network of over 2,000 gas stations and also owning Thailand’s largest coffee franchise, Cafe Amazon, with about 3,000 stores along with bubble tea brands, fried chicken and sushi bars, PTT plans to leverage its wide gas station network to grow its f&b business and reduce its oil business profit contribution from 75% to 45%.
It also plans to triple its EV charging stations in its gas stations to reach 300 and add another 150 with other partners.
Chinese scientists have created new salt-tolerant rice strains, known as “seawater rice”, in the hope of safeguarding food security from the threat of rising sea levels. The test field, located in Jinghai, a land made of salty, alkaline soil where crops can’t survive, produced 100 hectares of rice. The test field recorded a yield of 4.6 metric tons per acre last year, higher than the national average. China has 1/5 of the world’s population but only 10% of the Earth’s arable land, further increasing the urgency to turn barren lands into productive farming fields.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
PornHub 2021 Year in Review - world’s most viewed categories.
Philip Crowther, an AP reporter, fluently reported on the Russia-Ukrain conflict in 6 different languages.
Harrowing experience for workers on a gondola at TS Law Tower as strong winds caused it to swing violently in the air.