Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Possible public holiday before voting day
NFC ex-chairman said debts couldn't be paid, blaming the government. Flash flood causing havoc. Major crypto exchange faces liquidity issue, getting bailed out from Binance.
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1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the death toll from tuberculosis (TB) in 2021 rose sharply to 1.6 mil — a 14% rise since 2019. It was the deadliest pathogen in the world before Covid-19. The Covid-19 pandemic left little room for TB patients as health systems were clogged with covid patients. Fun fact — the only existing vaccine for TB, the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin, is more than 100 years old!
Someone paid £387,500 for The Bible used in “The Shawshank Redemption”, where the film’s protagonist, Andy Dufresne, concealed the hammer he used to dig himself out of prison.
There are more than 10,000 nerve fibres on the human clitoris, according to research led by Oregon Health & Science University. It’s about 20% more than the often-quoted estimate of 8,000 nerve fibres, which is believed to be derived from livestock studies.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Klang Valley folks felt the wrath of monsoon yesterday
Several areas in Shah Alam were reportedly flooded yesterday evening following two hours of heavy downpours. Shah Alam police went to the extent of issuing an advisory warning asking people to park their vehicles on elevated ground.
LRT commuters had to resort to alternative modes of transportation after work yesterday because of a “technical disruption”, which caused 16 stations (Kelana Jaya to Ampang Park) on the Kelana Jaya LRT Line to close. The exact cause of the shutdown hasn’t been disclosed. Heavy rains + additional cars = bad jams.
The National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) issued a flash flood warning for six states and one FT in the next 24 hours— Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Malacca, Kedah & Sarawak. Please stay safe, everyone.
The Star is providing readers free access to all its articles until Nov 21, 2022, in conjunction with the GE15 season. The team at The Star has also put up an infographic highlighting major manifesto pledges from three coalitions. Please remember that any pledges that include government expenditure (e.g. handouts, subsidies) must be financed. Where is the money coming from? It’ll either be from your taxes which is one of the government’s primary source of revenue or borrowings. FYI — individuals’ income tax for FY2021 was estimated to be RM36.4 bil.
Barisan Nasional’s (BN) chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the offer to create three deputy prime minister (DPM) posts still stands despite not being in the manifesto. No reasons were given for the omission.
Caretaker PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob is thinking of declaring a special holiday on the eve (Nov 18) of polling for GE15. A couple of days ago, Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin Yassin promised to declare the day after polling (Nov 20) as a public holiday should his coalition win GE15. Two leaders who truly know what Malaysians love the most — public holidays.
NFC couldn’t repay the RM253.6 mil it owes, blaming the government
National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFCorp) chairman Mohamad Salleh Ismail blames the government for failing to repay the RM253.6 mil loan. Salleh Ismail said the government had failed to deliver the infrastructure, including the Export Quality Abattoir (EQA), to enable the company to commence full production on the project. The loan was granted back in 2008 with a three-year grace period. Salleh gave another reason why NFC couldn’t repay the loans — its account was frozen.
Hartalega Holdings Bhd posted a net profit of RM28.3 mil for its Q2FY23, a drop of 96.9% YoY. The company’s CEO, Kuan Mung Leong, said global glove usage is expected to rise in emerging markets with a low glove consumption base.
Sarawak Consolidated Industries Bhd’s (SCIB) external auditor, Nexia SSY PLT, has expressed a qualified opinion on the group’s financial statement for the year ending June 30, 2022 (FY22). The qualified opinion is linked to a settlement agreement relating to six construction projects carried out in Qatar and Oman.
Explained: What is a qualified opinion
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Russian private military company founder admits to interfering in US elections
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Russian private military company Wagner Group and a close ally of Putin, has openly admitted to interfering in US elections and promised to continue doing so. This comes after he has been formally accused as a sponsor of Russia-based troll farms that seek to influence US politics.
Canadian PM accuses China of election interference
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, has accused China of attempting to interfere with Canadian elections following a local report that the 2019 federal elections had a “clandestine network” of at least 11 Beijing-backed candidates. The report alleged that Beijing had directed funds to the candidates and that Chinese operatives acted as campaign advisers. The attempted interference targeted Trudeau’s Liberal party and the opposing Conservative party. However, the Chinese foreign ministry denied these allegations, saying China has no interest in meddling in Canadian elections.
Twitter layoffs slow response to misinformation as US midterm polls open
As US midterm polls open, Twitter laying off half of its staff is backfiring on the firm as it struggles with responding to online misinformation. Researchers who study election misinformation say threats, offensive language, and rumours of election fraud have been circulating widely ahead of polls opening today. This also comes as Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk took a side by endorsing a Republican-controlled Congress, raising the risk of misinformation.
On Chinese soil
Nvidia offers China a new chip that meets US export controls
Nvidia’s new A800 chip is the first reported effort by a US semiconductor firm to create advanced processors for China after recent US regulations effectively banned the export of advanced microchips and equipment to produce advanced chips by Chinese chipmakers. As China is a significant market for Nvidia, it makes sense to reconfigure products to avoid trade restrictions. The regulations, set in early October, would have made a USD400 mil impact on Nvidia’s chip sales to China for the firm’s third fiscal quarter. The A800 is expected to lessen the blow.
Guangzhou new Covid epicentre as outbreak widens
New Covid-19 cases surging in Guangzhou have made the global manufacturing hub China’s latest Covid epicentre, with the city now facing a potential lockdown on a scale of what the Covid Zero policy inflicted on Shanghai earlier this year. This could also dampen investor sentiment that China could soon ease its strict Covid Zero policy.
China’s super-rich watch wealth tumble amid weakening economy
The Hurun Rich list, which ranks China’s wealthiest with a minimum net worth of USD692 mil, saw only 1,305 people making the list this year, with total wealth coming up to about USD3.5 tril, down 18% from 2021. This drop comes from the slowing economy, further dragged down by the Ukraine-Russia conflict, China’s strict zero-Covid measures, and slowing economic growth in stock markets following concerns that president Xi Jinping will sacrifice growth for ideology in his third term.
The Tech Frontier
Investors dump Lyft for Uber
Lyft shares fell 20% as investors turned to competitor Uber, which is expected to increase its market share over Lyft in the next few years. Uber posted a 22% rise in active riders for the July-September period, compared to Lyft’s 7.2%, leading investors and analysts to believe Uber has done better at rebuilding driver supply.
Uber’s future isn’t entirely bright either- Mark MacGann, the whistleblower behind the Uber Files who leaked more than 124,000 files said Uber’s business model was still absolutely unsustainable.
USD3.4b in bitcoin seized by DOJ from Silk Road fraudster
The US Department of Justice seized the cryptocurrency from James Zhong, who pled guilty to committing wire fraud in September 2012 from the dark web marketplace Silk Road. The DOJ’s statement noted the bitcoin was hidden in an underground safe on a single-board computer, “submerged under blankets”, and placed in a popcorn tin in a bathroom closet. This marks the second-largest cryptocurrency seizure for the DOJ, after a USD4 bil bitcoin seizure in February 2022.
A single-board computer is a complete computer built on a single circuit board, commonly made as demonstration or development systems, for educational purposes, or as embedded computer controllers. An example is the Raspberry Pi.
Myth debunked that Bitcoin facilitates money laundering and criminal activities. In fact, Bitcoin or for that matter, blockchain, is the worst method to launder illicit proceeds as the audit trail is permanently recorded on the blockchain.
Major crypto coins fall amid rumours of pressure on major exchange FTX
Cryptocurrencies fell heavily, with the in-house token of major crypto exchange FTX dropping by almost a quarter, after “recent revelations” led to Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance, announcing his firm will liquidate its holdings of the FTX token. However, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried said the exchange was fine and that any concerns were false rumours. This follows a media report revealing a leaked balance sheet that raised concerns about FTX’s financial situation.
And then, CZ made the announcement that Binance will be acquiring FTX. Not too long ago, FTX played the white knight bailing out others. Now, the white knight got bailed out. The crazy world of crypto.
Just a few months ago, the founder of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, was on the cover of Fortune magazine.
Awarding Qatar World Cup a mistake says ex-Fifa president – Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter made the statement following a Qatar World Cup ambassador saying that homosexuality is “damage in the mind”, amid concerns about Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and the country’s human rights record.
Namibian president accuses wealthy nations of dishonesty in fighting climate change – President Hage Geingob blamed wealthier countries for the current climate crisis, and said they had turned climate conferences into talking shops. He describes the world’s poorer nations as victims of the largest polluters.
Philippines police: Prison chief behind journalist killing – Police in the Philippines have accused the head of the country’s prison service, Gerald Bantag, of ordering the shooting of radio journalist Percival Mabasa, who was shot dead last month in Manila. Mabasa had aired allegations of corruption against Bantag, and was also an outspoken critic of former president Rodrigo Duterte.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Are you a fan of DJI? Take a tour of its new office, DJI Sky City. From a drone’s eye view, indeed.
Why should motorists avoid road markings?