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☕️ DPM Zahid Hamidi: no need to declare emergency over heatwave, might reconsider if temperature hits 40 degrees Celsius
PN17 AirAsiaX stock flew 175% year-to-date. Business broking service turning 32-year-old Japanese into a billionaire. CIA openly invites Russians to be its spy.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
The number of new OnlyFans creators surged by 40% last year, bringing the total to more than 3 mil on the fan subscription platform consisting mostly of adult content creators and is present in more than 100 countries, its CEO Ami Gan shared. The company made nearly USD1 bil in revenue in 2021 - we broke down its wildly profitable financials here.
Sexual cases involving underage people are seeing a rise, with 155 of such cases reported in the last four months of 2022, including statutory rape. Selangor police chief Hussein Omar Khan attributed the increasing figure to the lack of knowledge regarding statutory rape laws — if the victim is below 18, it is an offence regardless of consent.
883 people were executed last year, an increase of more than 50% compared to 2021, the highest in the past five years, according to Amnesty International. This statistic recorded known executions and did not include thousands thought to have been carried out in China. 90% of these executions were carried out in just three countries — Iran (576), Saudi Arabia (96) and Egypt (24). Close to 40% of all executions were for drug-related offences. View Amnesty’s annual report on death executions here.
“Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, and ages, it is the rule.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher and cultural critic famous for uncompromising criticisms of traditional European morality and religion.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
The heat wave situation in Malaysia
Deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is ruling out the possibility that the Government need to declare an emergency due to the scorching heat experienced throughout the nation. However, Zahid did not entirely throw away the ‘emergency’ button, stating that Putrajaya might consider declaring one if the temperature reaches 40 degrees Celcius.
Zahid also said that the Armed Forces and MetMalaysia are working together to conduct cloud seeding exercises over catchment areas of seven dams. The seven dams are Sungai Muda and Sungai Kedah, Sungai Melaka, Sungai Kelantan, Sungai Klang, Sungai Bernam and Sungai Similajau. Learn how cloud seeding works below.
Talking about dams and the heat wave, Penang CM Chow Kon Yeow is calling out to the Federal Government to expedite the expansion of the Mengkuang Dam in order to turn the dam into the state’s strategic reserve dam during droughts. In the event of a prolonged drought, the expanded dam could sustain the water supply to consumers for up to 10 months without any disruption. Although the expansion of the dam started in 2011 with direct Federal Government funding of RM1.2 bil, however, the progress of the project is moving slowly and only two out of four phases of the expansion have concluded. Slow is an understatement — 12 years on and it’s far from completion. China built the massive mega project Three Gorges Dam in the same period.
47 company directors nabbed for making false claims under the Penjana Kerjaya 2.0 program
The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) undertook a major nationwide operation dubbed Op Hire 2.0 to arrest 47 company directors that made false claims under the Penjana Kerjaya 2.0 program. According to the MACC, these company directors had misled the Social Security Organisation (Socso) by claiming that they have been implementing the employees’ recruitment and training programs to get the incentives. The directors allegedly made incentive claims between RM450,000 and RM2 mil — a conservative estimate, assuming one claim per director at the lowest RM450k, the total sum involved is about RM21 mil. Op Hire 2.0 is the sequel to Op Hire 1.0, where MACC arrested 74 individuals that allegedly made false claims to the tune of RM88 mil.
A district in Sabah has been designated as a Covid-19 red zone
The district of Tuaran, 40 km from the Sabah state capital of Kota Kinabalu, has been placed back into the red zone after recording an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases for the past few weeks, 26 new cases last week (May 7 to May 13) and 18 cases the week prior (April 30 to May 7). According to the Ministry of Health, areas are classified as “red zones” when 41 or more Covid-19 cases are registered there for 14 days.
However, a concerned citizen on Twitter disagrees with the red zone designation by the authority and calls the announcement a total turd that put the public in unnecessary panic.
The pre-sale for the Coldplay concert in Malaysia is sold out
We acknowledged the sacrifices of the fellow tributes that joined the mini Hunger Games to snatch the pre-sale tickets of Coldplay's 'Music of the Spheres' concert in Malaysia. According to the organiser Live Nation, all the pre-sale tickets allocated for CIMB Bank cardholders were sold out. But fellow Malaysians can try again today to secure tickets to the show of the world-renowned British rock band.
Interestingly, Coldplay has yet to perform in the country, but the rock band has already made a positive impact to the country, contrary to PAS saying that they bring no benefit to the country. Coldplay is the sponsor of The Ocean Cleanup’s Interceptor 005, which is placed in the Klang River in 2021 that cost RM3.2 mil. Interceptor 005’s purpose is to stop garbage from reaching the ocean. On paper, an Interceptor can extract 50,000kg to 100,000kg of trash daily.
The PN17 designated AirAsia X Bhd’s (AAX) share rose as much as 5.73% to RM1.66 on Tuesday. Year-to-date (YTD), AAX has astoundingly gained 175% in its share price from a measly 60 sen per share on Jan 3, 2023.
Moving forward, the financial performance of AAX will be projected to improve further with the reopening of China and the launching of new routes into the Great Wall nation to cities such as Quanzhou, Guilin, Chengdu and Tianfu.
US-based data centre provider Vantage Data Centers is planning to build its second data centre campus in Cyberjaya in a deal worth RM13.32 bil. The new data centre will be built on a 35-acre plot that will have 256MW of IT capacity. Vantage’s first data centre campus in the city is undergoing an expansion, upon completion, will boast Vantage a total of 287MW of IT capacity from both of its data campuses.
Subcontractors of the RM4.2 bil Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Expressway (DASH) are suffering, with several of them facing bankruptcy as they did not receive payments for their work in the project. This situation happened as a result of the legal battle that is still ongoing between the main contractor Panzana Enterprise Sdn Bhd, and the turnkey contractor Turnpike Synergy Sdn Bhd, which led to the non-payment of RM100mil to the subcontractors.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Bombshell rape lawsuit filed against Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Rudy Giuliani
The timing is rather apt for this lawsuit to be filed as it comes after former US President Donald Trump was found guilty of sexual abuse and defamation last week. Noelle Dunphy, a former staff of Giuliani, filed a 70-page lawsuit accusing him of forcing her to submit to sex acts as a condition of her employment — we won’t go into details of these acts here, but it is in the preceding link. You can read the full lawsuit here.
Apart from sexual allegations, she also alleged that Giuliani and Trump plotted to sell presidential pardons for USD2 mil a pop, so long as it did not go through ‘the normal channels’. It was reported that of the 240 pardons and commutations Trump granted during his term, only 25 went through the normal process. It remains unknown if any of the high-profile pardons paid the USD2 mil fee.
32-year-old Japanese inching closer to billionaire status thanks to its business broking service
Shunsaku Sagami has built a business to help Japanese small- and medium-sized companies without successors (due to its ageing population) find buyers by leveraging its proprietary database and AI. There are 620,000 profitable enterprises in Japan forecast to be at risk of closure due to a lack of successors. By 2025, there will be 2.5 mil SMEs whose owners are above 70 and half of them have no plan for succession, with shutdowns leading to 6.5 mil jobs lost and costing the economy USD162 bil in GDP.
Sagami founded M&A Research Institute 5 years ago and took the company public last June. Since then, its share price has surged 7x and boosted Sagami’s 72% stake in the company to USD950 mil. Currently, the company has 500 deals in the pipeline and has closed 62 transactions in the six months through March, recording sales of JPY3.9 bil (USD28.5 mil). The company makes its fees upon a successful deal, taking up to 5% of the deal value. It makes an average of JPY60 mil (USD439k) per sale in the latest quarter.
About AI: ChatGPT major upgrade, Google fighting fake AI-generated images
OpenAI’s ChatGPT is getting a massive upgrade this week — only for its paying subscribers. OpenAI announced that ChatGPT Plus, which uses model GPT-4, will have access to a web-browsing feature that will respond with up-to-date information. Before this, ChatGPT could only provide answers as it was only trained with data until 2021, rendering it useless with current events and developments. What this means is ChatGPT is evolving into a search engine and coming after Google’s lunch.
Other feature upgrades will include plugins to more than 70 third-party sites such as Expedia, Kayal and OpenTable, allowing users to prompt the chatbot to perform tasks on these specific websites (watch the demo here).
Here’s a compilation of “prompt-library” on social media or ways one can utilise ChatGPT in their daily routine.
Google is doing its part to fight fake, misleading AI-generated images. It’s adding two new features - the first, called ‘About this image,’ will serve additional context (e.g. first indexed by Google when it first appeared) to allow users to pinpoint the source. The second feature is even more crucial as Google will mark every AI-generated image created by tools as such and is working with other platforms and services to implement the same markup to AI-generated images.
Truepic, a Microsoft-backed startup and named one of TIME’s 2022 Best Inventions, offers a solution in the same direction as its system can ensure an image hasn’t been manipulated from capture to delivery.
Shopee parent Sea sustains profitability in the latest quarter
Sea Ltd sustained its profitability with a second quarterly profit following its first-ever profitable quarter at the end of 2022. Highlights:
Net income of USD87.3 mil in Q1 2023 vs USD580.1 mil loss in Q1 2022.
Revenue up 5% to USD3.04 bil.
Mixed performance — gaming revenue plunged 43% to USD540 mil, revenue from Shopee jumped 36% to USD2.1 bil, and revenue from SeaMoney rose by 75%.
Despite sustaining its profitability, its share price took a hit, down by 12% as it missed analysts’ net income prediction of USD223 mil. The shortfall in net income, apart from performance, was due to a USD117.9 mil impairment of goodwill associated with prior acquisitions.
View: Q1 2023 Earnings Presentation
Twitter parent company X Corp made its first-ever acquisition under Elon Musk - it acquired Laskie, a talent recruiting service. The deal value was not disclosed. Not entirely sure how a job service will fit into a social media platform. Musk plans to turn Twitter into an “everything app”, so maybe that’s it would remotely fit into Twitter’s future.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) made an open invitation via a video published on its YouTube channel to Russians from military officers, intelligence specialists, diplomats, etc., or basically anyone in the government to provide the CIA with information about Russia’s economy and leadership. To Russia, it’s treason. To the CIA, it’s intelligence.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Earlier in the month, Ed Sheeran won a copyright infringement lawsuit surrounding his hit Thinking Out Loud, ripping off Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On. Sheeran performed in court to jury that the chord progression used in his hit song is a “basic musical building block” used in songwriting and found in many other hit music. Of course, Gaye’s Let’s Get It On is more legendary — give it a listen on Spotify here and you will recognise the opening tune.
Still on the music front — Alicia' Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You beautifully done together with Queen Charlotte’s Global Orchestra to mark the 20th anniversary of the song
A good compilation by finshots.in of the luxury brands under the world’s biggest luxury conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy