Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Putrajaya not ruling out suing Goldman Sachs in 1MDB case
MOF acquires 20.77% of Boustead Naval Shipyard for RM1. US Judge: AI-generated art can’t be copyrighted. Are zebras black with white stripes or white with black stripes?
1. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Just how durable is a flip smartphone? YouTuber Mrkeybrd put to test the durability of Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 vs Motorola’s Razr 40 Ultra as he recruited volunteers to open and close the flip smartphones repeatedly on a live stream titled "The Great Folding Test II” that ran for around a week. The Razr 40 Ultra broke down after 126,367 flips vs 401,146 flips for the Galaxy Z Flip 5, double the lifetime estimate from Samsung.
Sabah has the highest number of unemployed people in the country, with 29% or 169,800 jobless in the state out of the total 588,700 unemployed nationwide. The unemployment rate in Sabah hit 7.7% in the first quarter of the year, more than double the 3.5% for the whole country. Sabah’s unique labour issues and conditions make the unemployment issue difficult to address: mainly SMEs in Sabah made it difficult to provide high wages, and employees in Sabah comprised not only locals but also foreigners with various documents such as the IMM13 (Filipino refugees), Kad Burung-Burung, stateless and illegal immigrants. The state government, together with the Federal government, is setting up a council to address this state-specific labour issue better.
Would you change your legal name for free sandwiches for life? Nearly 10,000 people in the US said ‘yes’ in response to Subway’s Name Change Challenge competition, where the winner will get USD50,000 in gift cards (doesn’t sound like a lot for a lifetime supply). The winner has to change their legal first name to “Subway” within four months and “provide satisfactory proof”. This campaign aims to promote the sandwich chain menu overhaul.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Putrajaya vs Goldman Sachs?
In a recent interview with CNBC’s Martin Soong, Anwar Ibrahim hinted at the potential for legal proceedings against US banking giant Goldman Sachs in relation to the 1MDB money laundering scandal. While discussions and negotiations are on the table, the notion of lawsuits has not been ruled out. PM Anwar said the bank has “not been too forthcoming” so far.
In January, the PM demanded the US bank to honour its 2020 settlement, in which the bank was to pay USD2.5 bil while guaranteeing the return of USD1.4 bil of 1MDB assets seized by authorities around the world, in exchange for Malaysia dropping charges against the bank. PM Anwar added that the settlement by the previous administration was “too light”, and he was re-evaluating the matter. Watch the CNBC interview here.
Selangor swears in Amirudin Shari for a 2nd term as Menteri Besar
Now we can put to rest the uncertainty of Amirudin’s future as Selangor MB. The Selangor Pakatan Harapan has taken his oath for a second term as MB together with 10 state executive councillors. Graced by Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and dignitaries, Amirudin's reappointment follows a recent state polls victory for the PH-Barisan Nasional alliance, securing 34 seats out of 56.
During the ceremony, the Sultan, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, reprimanded the community group’s politicians and political party leaders (watch here) who used abusive and foul language, including dragging the royal institution during their political campaign. The Sultan has reminded these parties to mind their manners, especially when they are in another state or people’s homes. Though no specific references were made by the Sultan, once again, the name Sanusi pops into our head. But we could be wrong; it could just be some other person.
In the Court: Lim Guan Eng, Zahid Hamidi
Former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has been ordered by the Court of Appeal to pay RM250,000 in general damages to former Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim in a defamation case tied to the Penang undersea tunnel project. The court ruled that Lim’s statements had imputed wrongdoing to Abdul Azeez without sufficient verification, and the timing of these remarks raised concerns due to their proximity to GE14 in 2018.
Datuk Seri Khalid Mohamad Jiwa (aka Datuk K, the husband of Siti Nurhaliza) testified as the defence witness in Deputy PM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s Yayasan Akalbudi corruption trial. He told the court that his business partner, Wasi Khan, was introduced to Zahid Hamidi in 2015. Wasi was trying to seek Zahid’s intervention as the then deputy PM to request TNB to loosen its condition on the capital requirement of one of its contracts, which Zahid turned down, saying it would constitute an offence. In return, through Yayasan Akalbudi, Zahid provided the RM10 mil capital to bid for the contract, which has been repaid. Datuk K added that Zahid is a generous person, a philanthropist and will always help someone in need. We must add, too, a very kind man to have extended a huge financial help. An angel investor, perhaps.
His kindness was on display again yesterday when he stopped his entourage to help a motorcyclist involved in an accident. Watch him in action here.
YTL Power International Bhd has confirmed a report in The Edge Malaysia weekly that the company is partnering with KDEB Waste Management Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned unit of state-controlled Menteri Besar Selangor Inc, to set up a RM4.5 bil waste-to-energy (WTE) plant in Rawang, with a gross generating capacity of 58 megawatts. The plant — Sultan Idris Shah Green Energy Plant — is slated to be built on a 245-acre site in Rawang and will utilise municipal waste to generate the power. The company’s share price closed at a record high of RM1.80 and has rallied 150% year to date., giving it a market cap of RM14.68 bil.
For a price of RM1, Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd will sell a 20.77% stake in the troubled Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS), responsible for the failure of the delivery of the littoral combat ship (LCS) project, to the Ministry of Finance. The government will eventually acquire 100% of BNS in order to ensure the completion of the LCS project. BNS has net liabilities of RM848.45 mil as of end Dec 2022. To recap, the RM9.13 bil project was supposed to deliver 6 LCS units by 2021. Until today, RM6.083 bil has been paid with not even a single unit built. The contract has been revised higher to RM11.2 bil, units to be delivered reduced to 5 and with first LCS to be delivered in Aug 2026.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and the Malaysian Foundation for the Blind have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on various programs benefiting the visually impaired community. The development of the country's first English-Bahasa Malaysia braille dictionary is one of the initial initiatives. The MOU includes plans for vocational training, education certificates, and research for the visually impaired.
Singapore’s experts are aiding local investigators in retrieving voice recording data from the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) of the crashed Beechcraft Premier 1 aircraft in Elmina. The damaged CVR’s ‘memory puck’ component was successfully removed, then sent to Singapore's Technical Transport Safety Bureau for data retrieval. The investigation team is set to provide a preliminary report within a month.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
US Judge: AI-generated art can’t be copyrighted
A US federal judge upheld a finding from the US Copyright Office that a piece of art created by AI is not open to protection, in a ruling delivered to turn down Stephen Taler’s bid challenging the government’s decision to refuse to register his own AI system as the sole creator of an artwork called “A Recent Entrance to Paradise” (view the art here). In short, the judge ruled that copyright can only be granted to works created by humans as the judge said that humans are an “essential part of a valid copyright claim” and “human authorship is a bedrock requirement of copyright”. For the legal minds, you can read the entire ruling here.
This ruling could have potential consequences for Hollywood studios and ongoing actors’ and writers’ strikes. AI is the key issue in the strike, as it concerns the technology that could be used to write screenplays or reproduce actors’ likenesses.
In this case, the judge also cited the famous “monkey selfie” case, which one could call it a weird case that escalated unexpectedly. The case involved photographer David Slater claiming copyright on an image that a monkey took with Slater’s camera. Slater was sued by the monkey, technically, as animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) took Slater to court on behalf of the monkey, but the judge ruled that the monkey could not own the copyright of the images of himself. Both parties reached an out-of-court settlement, which will see 25% of any future revenue from the image be donated to charities dedicated to protecting the monkey’s species, crested macaques, in Indonesia.
More lawsuits: Financier vs Disney, Customers vs Qantas
TSG Entertainment, a long-time financing partner of 20th Century Fox studio, which Disney acquired in 2019, has sued Disney, alleging the House of Mouse committed a number of transgressions, including withholding profits and cutting deals to boost its streaming platforms and stock price, hence depriving the group “out of hundreds of millions of dollars”. In an audit of a sampling of 3 films it financed, it found that it had been underpaid by at least USD40 mil. TSG has helped co-finance around 140 films, one of which is “Avatar: The Way of Water”, amounting to around USD3.3 bil in the studio’s content since 2012.
Australian airlines Qantas Airways has been sued in a class-action lawsuit, alleging the airline failed to refund passengers for flights cancelled during the Covid-19 pandemic. It illegally benefited by retaining billions of dollars of customer funds. According to the lawsuit, the airline enriched itself with interest-free financing at customers’ expense by issuing flight credits with strict conditions of travel instead of a cash refund. The airline has also pressured passengers to redeem their credits or lose them entirely. Qantas had some AUD2 bil (RM5.96 bil) in Covid-19 related travel credits, with remaining AUD400 mil unclaimed as of July. This practice sounds very, very familiar, closer to home.Do we have a case here?
The Japanese government will be deciding today when to release the treated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant that was damaged by the devastating tsunami in 2011. More than 500 Olympic swimming pools volume of this water has accumulated since the incident. With space running out, it will be released into the sea. Best to enjoy your raw sushi and omakase for the last few times before unless you want to dine on some X-Fish.
Adyen, the payment processing company and Stripe equivalent of Europe, saw its share price collapsed by 39%, wiping out EUR18 bil (USD20 bil) in its market cap after reporting its slowest revenue growth on record. The company’s revenue for the first half of the year grew 21% year-on-year to EUR739.1 mil, but this wasn’t impressive enough to investors. Adyen has been deemed a growth stock as it consistently reported revenue growth of 26% each half-year period since its 2018 stock market debut.
A celebratory moment for Spain’s women's football team after winning the Women’s World Cup turned into a night they will not forget for the wrong reason as the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, has been slammed for kissing Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the post-match celebrations. He plants a kiss on the cheek of every other Spanish player after they received their medals, but he kissed Hermoso on the lips. Some described this as “sexual abuse”, given Rubiales is a “man of power over Hermoso”, and called on FIFA to take action against Rubiales.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Are zebras black with white stripes or white with black stripes? Justkeepthinkingsg explains, as the answer really isn’t that black or white.
As shared last week, the Panama Canal is crucial to trade routes. Watch how this canal was built out of mountains and the marvellous engineering behind it.