Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Najib Razak escalates SRC Int'l appeal to UN Human Rights Working Group #nevergiveup
Defence Minister: complete LCS by 2024, not interested in suing, putting anybody behind bars. Kraken - the "most transmissible" Covid subvariant. New terms: embedded finance, slowcession.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
345 mil — the number of people facing acute food insecurity in 2022, according to an estimate by the World Food Programme (WFP), a United Nations agency that coordinates the distribution of food aid. As many as 50 mil people will begin 2023 on the brink of famine. Women are the worst affected, as they are more likely to be poor and to forgo food to feed their families.
Home sales in Hong Kong have fallen 40% YoY in 2022, to their lowest level since 2008, based on data from the local land registry and projections from real estate agencies. The city struggled to revive its economy after years of harsh Covid-19 restrictions with an estimated USD27 bil loss in economic growth. The slump in one of the world’s priciest real estate markets is expected to only bottom out by mid-2023.
USD3.6 trillion (RM16 trillion) — the estimated value of the global embedded finance market size after exponential growth over the next 10 years based on projections by Bain Capital Ventures. What is embedded finance? It is the placement of financial or banking products and services on a third-party non-financial website or app (i.e. payment, or insurance products offered in a ride-hailing app).
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Justice getting closer for teenage girl allegedly raped by police inspector
Police inspector, Mohd Maliki Azmi, was charged with one count under the Penal Code and three counts under the Sexual Offences Against Children Act for allegedly raping a 16-year-old teenage girl with her consent, obtained by using his authority against the child. Mohd Maliki pleaded not guilty to all charges and requested a reduced bail due to financial constraints. The judge later granted his request, and he also asked Mohd Maliki to hand over his passport and prohibited him from disturbing the victim.
Updates on court cases:
Najib Razak’s SRC International case - Najib Razak’s lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, filed a petition to the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) to request for a release from prison or retrial of the case. Shafee reiterated that his client was not guilty and the last appeal in the Federal Court had ‘serious defects’ and went against the ‘rules of international justice’.
Shahrir Samad’s RM1mil money laundering case - The High Court granted Shahrir Samad a discharge amounting to an acquittal (DAA) after the prosecution told the court they were instructed not to pursue the case. Shahrir allegedly received RM1mil from Najib Razak, where the money was believed to have originated from 1MDB.
Former Klang MP’s case against Election Commission (EC) for holding the GE15 — The Federal Court dismissed two appeals by Charles Santiago and a Pandan voter against the EC for holding GE15 last November. The justification by the three judges of the apex court was simple - it was not a dispute if the GE15 was correct, valid and legal.
Strong announcements coming from the defence ministry:
Defence Minister Mohamad Hasan stated that the ministry will continue with the construction of the littoral combat ship (LCS) project, and he aimed to complete the ships by 2024. One statement from him that was interesting: ‘We are not interested in suing anybody or putting someone behind bars. What I’m interested in is to see the ships in our waters by July 2024’. I guess somebody somewhere will be happy.
The defence ministry will embrace the digitalisation spirit by introducing a new branch to protect the country’s cyber capacity and electromagnetic domain from foreign attacks. Some Die Hard fans will know how cyber attacks are deadly and can literally cripple any country’s basic infrastructure, such as electricity supply. What this means — Malaysians might get NSA-ed - the government having the capabilities to snoop and spy on our private lives.
Rumours of political coup in Sabah have been put to rest
Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), which are a part of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) aside from Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) were re-pledging their support for GRS chairman, Hajiji Noor to continue to lead the state as the chief minister. Both PBS and STAR thought there was no need for a vote of confidence to be held to prove whether Hajiji has the majority support. At the moment, the current Sabah government has the support of 59 assemblymen in the 79-seat state assembly.
Revenue Group Bhd told the press that two of its co-founding executives that were suspended earlier had turned out to seize a huge amount of documents from the company illegally, believed to be approximately 30 boxes of documents, without permission from the company. This news led to the company’s stock falling by 14.07% to 58 sen by Thursday’s noon break.
Malaysia’s top automotive brand, Perodua, recorded its best sales figures, having sold 282,019 units in 2022, a 48.2% increase compared to 2021 figures which were 190,291. The company thanks the industry for this achievement after conducting some ‘soul searching’ right the pandemic to maximise its potential.
Apart from Perodua, the top foreign car brand in this country, Honda did not do too badly by exceeding its sales target of 80,000 units, recording 80,200 units sold for 2022. This 51%increase in sales compared to 2021 figures was driven by City, City Hatchback and HR-V sales, which were the top three best-selling models.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Meet the Kraken - the latest omicron subvariant
Kraken or XBB.1.5, a descendant of the omicron subvariant, is currently the most dominant variant in the US. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it is the “most transmissible sub-variant” so far and has been detected in 29 countries. Scientists pointed out that Kraken has a key mutation that allows it to bind more tightly to cells and boost its transmissibility. There is no data on the severity of Kraken, but there’s no indication at the moment that it makes people sicker than previous variants. In any case, stay safe and mask up.
In the UK: Royal family drama, Goodbye Panda
In Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare, he claimed that his brother Prince William physically attacked him at Prince Harry’s London home in 2019 and detailed the altercation in the book. The row was sparked by comments Prince William made to Prince Harry, who was critical of his marriage to Meghan Markle.
UK’s only giant pandas, Yang Guang and Tian Tian, will be saying goodbye to Edinburgh Zoo and the UK and return home to China by year's end. They arrived in Edinburg in Dec 2011 as part of a 10-year arrangement (2 years extension) with the China Wildlife Association and were expected to breed but failed.
KYP — Know Your Panda:
Giant pandas are difficult to breed in captivity, with bears losing interest to mate naturally or simply not knowing how.
A female panda ovulates only 2 out of 3 days during spring, in which she is fertile for only 24-36 hours.
The first attempt to breed pandas in captivity began in 1955 - only eight years the first-ever captive-bred giant panda was born.
Panda International estimates the population of giant pandas is currently 1,864, with approximately 600 in captivity.
More panda facts at PandaInternational.org.
Bankruptcy battles in Cryptoland
This is a rare instance when it pays to read the T&Cs. A federal court judge in the US ruled that cryptocurrencies deposited into interest-bearing accounts (Earn programme) at the bankrupt crypto lending platform Celsius Network actually belong to the firm instead of the users that deposited - thanks to the fine prints that the court says is “unambiguous”. Celsius had roughly 600,000 accounts with a collective USD4.2 bil in value in its Earn programme as at 10 Jul 2022.
This ruling matters as Earn programme accountholders are now considered as unsecured creditors as compared to secured creditors - priority will be given to the latter when it comes to asset distribution, with the former receiving scraps.
Read the court ruling here.
There is a 4-way battle for disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s 7.6% stake in the trading app Robinhood worth USD470 mil. The four parties laying claim are SBF himself, FTX, crypto lender BlockFI and an individual FTX Creditor. Authorities have decided that no one will win this battle, at least for now, as the Department of Justice (DOJ) has decided to seize this asset. The DOJ said these competing claims will be resolved through a forfeiture proceeding instead of a bankruptcy proceeding, as the former process will aim to stop criminals from financially benefitting from their crimes.
NASA is seeking Elon Musk’s SpaceX assistance to see whether it is capable of sending its Dragon capsule to return 3 crew members on the International Space Station (ISS) to Earth after a docked Russian Soyuz capsule that was due to return the crew members was found to be leaking coolant.
Watch the damage in space here.
Paramount Pictures is being sued for more than USD500 mil over its 1968 ‘Romeo & Juliet’ nude scene alleging sexual abuse, sexual harassment and fraud. The suit was filed by the main actors, then teenagers, who portrayed Romeo and Juliet - Leonard Whiting, 72, and Olivia Hussey,71, as they claimed they were “secretly” filmed nude or partially nude despite assurances that there would be no nudity. The pair is seeking damages of more than USD500 mil, matching the amount the film has earned since 1968. Something feels weird, that it took them more than half a century to come out and file this suit.
Slowcession - add this new word to your economics and finance vocabulary. This term was coined by Moody’s Analytics predicting that the world’s largest economy, the US, will avoid a recession this year and face a slowcession instead - a scenario where there is no economic growth nor economic downturn.
This is amongst the largest policy-induced mortality crises in human history - larger than the combined number of deaths caused by famines in the Soviet Union, Maoist China, North Korea, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and Mengistu’s Ethiopia.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
The sad, depressing reality of female rape victims as discovered by a PhD in Forensic Psychology
Killer whales, not dolphins, chasing a boat in the Gulf of California
Have a good laugh and weekend folks!