Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ PM Anwar's China trip + RM20 bil MoUs
New currency heard over the weekend: Shrink-git. China: After missing Foreign Minister, now missing Defence Minister. AquaBrella - the umbrella Malaysians need, with fan + mist spray.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
A new currency was heard over the weekend: Shrink-git.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
The Mexico City Marathon may just be the biggest gathering of cheaters. About 11,000 runners, making up more than a third of the total 30,000 participants of the Aug 27 race, were disqualified for cheating following complaints that runners had used cars, bikes and public transportation to cut sections of the course. They were disqualified after missing checkpoints that were placed every 5 km along the 42.195 km course (26 miles).
The marathon sport was named after the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, which tells of Philippides, a messenger in Ancient Greece who ran 26 miles to Athen to deliver the news that the Greek army had won a crucial battle against the invading Persian army.
The US has experienced a record 23 billion-dollar natural disasters, with damage estimated at more than USD1 bil this year, affecting every region of the country, as extreme weather events increase due to climate change. 2023’s tally exceeded the record of 22 events seen in all of 2020. These 23 billion-dollar disasters encompassed floods, tropical cyclones, wildfires and winter storms, causing more than 250 deaths and more than USD57.6 bil in damages.
679,970 first-year international students in the UK were recorded in 2021/22, up by 44.9% from 469,160 in 2017/18. Of the total of 2.86 mil first-year higher education student enrolments, 22.4% were from China. The Office for Students (OfS), the regulator for higher education in England, raised the alarm on the “looming crisis” of overdependency on international students to compensate for frozen tuition fees and increased costs for domestic students. In 2017/18, international students comprised 19.4% of all higher education students and grew to 23.8% in 2021/22. Fewer Malaysians have enrolled to study in the UK during this period, declining from 15,305 to 12,135.
View report: Higher education student statistics 2021/22 — where students come from and go to study.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Two rallies happened on Malaysia Day with two different purposes and outcomes
The controversial Save Malaysia rally with the purpose of protesting against Deputy PM Zahid Hamidi’s discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) in the Yayasan Akalbudi case was attended by merely 1,000 people. The crowd marched from Kampung Baru mosque for an hour, headed towards the city centre. Kuala Lumpur police chief Allaudeen Abdul Majid said that the rally failed to adhere to the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012. Nonetheless, the police did their best to facilitate the gathering.
On the other hand, the latest edition of Keretapi Sarong 2023 (KS2023), where the public donned either colourful kain pelikat or sarongs and converged at Dataran Merdeka from multiple public transportation points, was a success and participated by 10,000 people. The annual event was created back in 2012 to create awareness on Malaysia Sarong, to celebrate Malaysia Day and to encourage the use of public transportation. Apart from Kuala Lumpur, the event was held simultaneously in other locations such as Johor Bahru, Ipoh, Kuala Terengganu and
Kuala London. Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil aims to make the event a National Month activity.
The preliminary report did not indicate the cause of the Elmina plane crash
Preliminary findings from the report stated that the unfortunate plane crash was not caused by the pilot’s error as the pilot was qualified for the flight, and investigators did not find any indications that could negatively affect the crew’s performance. Other than that, the Beechcraft 390 Premier 1 aircraft was deemed air-worthy and was maintained well. However, the report did not disclose the transcript of the final 30-minute voice recording from the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) that was successfully retrieved.
About RM20 bil worth of investments are committed between China and Malaysia
During PM Anwar Ibrahim’s visit to China in conjunction with the 20th China-Asean Expo (CAExpo) and the China-Asean Business and Investment Summit (Cabis), three memoranda of understanding (MOUs) worth RM19.48 bil were signed. Below is the breakdown of the three deals:
The first MOU between Citaglobal Bhd and Shanghai Sus Environment worth RM15 bil to explore the development of energy power plants, mainly in Malaysia;
Fun fact: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah is a substantial shareholder in Citaglobal, with a 7.97% stake as of June 2023.
The second MOU worth RM2.34 bil between PM Access World and Beibu Gulf International Port Group on matters related to warehousing and logistics cooperation to promote the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor between Guangxi, China and Malaysia; and
The third MOU between Sime Darby Oils International Limited and Guangxi Beibu Gulf Port Group worth RM2.5 bil to construct a trading and distribution centre for refined palm oil and shortening in Qinzhou, China.
Astro Malaysia Holdings is finalising the purchase of a prominent visual post-production studio, Basecamp Films Sdn Bhd, to be spin-off into its new division called Astro Sound+Vision unit. The newly formed unit will provide high-quality cinema-based colour grading, Dolby Vision HDR post-production, digital lab services, and final output in 4K/HDR streaming for digital cinema. The value of the Basecamp deal is undisclosed.
Norges Bank, which manages Norway's Government Pension Fund Global, had acquired a 5.03% stake in Sarawak-based Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS) worth RM56.75 mil. The Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), also known as the Norwegian Oil Fund, is a sovereign wealth fund established in 1990 to invest the surplus revenues of the Norwegian petroleum sector. It is the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, with assets over USD1.477 tril. CMS’ market cap stands at RM1.15 bil.
Malaysia Airlines Bhd intends to fully restore its in-flight meal service by mid-November this year. The airline is awaiting the arrival of high-lift trucks, which are essential in ensuring the hot meals are uplifted at the correct temperatures while maintaining stringent practices throughout the process. 10 newly high-lift trucks have arrived ahead of schedule, and another ten will arrive in the coming months.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Casino giants hacked
US casino giants Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts revealed that they were grappling with cyberattack issues. The former, in a report to regulators, said that its casino and online operations were not affected, whereas the latter saw its hotel and casino operations disrupted for days. Caesars did not walk away unscathed as the Wall Street Journal reported the company paid half of the USD30 mil ransom demanded.
The notorious Scattered Spider (aka UNC3944), one of the most disruptive hacking groups in the US, claimed that it carried out the cyberattacks and took 6 TB of data, including data of their loyalty programme members, from the systems of both companies but said it did not plan to make the data public. The breach was done through a social engineering attack — not your super coder hacking into the system like in the movies but through plain old impersonation of an employee to obtain their credentials and access the system.
Learn: Social Engineering: Definitions and 6 Attack Types.
Spotlight on China’s military
The missing defence minister
China’s Defence Minister Li Shangfu has not been seen in public for more than 3 weeks. The Financial Times reported that he was stripped of his duties and was under investigation, though there’s no official statement from Beijing. Back in July, former Foreign Minister Qin Gang was abruptly absent from the public’s eye and it was later announced he had been removed from his post.
Chinese shipbuilding capacity >200x US
A leaked US Navy briefing, which has been confirmed to be authentic, showed that China’s shipbuilding capacity is 232 times greater than the US and is capable of producing shops at a faster rate than the US. China’s shipyards have a capacity of over 23.2 mil tons, whereas the US only has less than 100,000 tons. A US Navy spokesperson downplayed the data, saying that it was based on multiple public sources and not meant to be an in-depth analysis.
China has the world’s largest navy, with more than 355 vessels in its fleet as compared to the US with 296 ships. However, the US Navy is still widely considered to be the world’s most powerful due to its experience and technological capabilities.
TikTok was fined EUR345 mil (USD368 mil) by the European Union over lapses in the protection of children’s privacy, such as public view as default settings for teen accounts, allowing unrestricted access for anyone to view and comment on videos and “family pairing” feature, which allow parents to manage their children’s accounts, were not strict enough. Last year, Meta’s Instagram faced a similar fine of EUR405 mil over improper handling of children’s personal data.
SoftBank’s chip designing company Arm Holdings saw a successful IPO, soaring almost 25% on its listing day on Nasdaq, valuing the company at USD65 bil. SoftBank still owns a large chunk of the company, having sold close to 10% of the shares for the IPO. This IPO is the largest US IPO in almost two years. The thing with stock returns is how sustainable it is — the top 10 biggest US IPOs in the past four years are down an average of 47% from the closing price on their day of trading.
French supermarket Carrefour has started putting stickers on its shelves in the UK this week warning shoppers of “shrinkflation” where product contents are reduced but prices are not. The retailer said it wanted to put pressure on the firms making the products to keep prices down, and 26 products had been identified to have shrunk in size without a price reduction to match.