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☕️ Revisit 2022, in 7 minutes
TM: KL Tower concession sold to focus on core business, buyer selection "taken up by govt". Physics explains why time passes faster as we age. Russia rejects Ukraine's 10-point peace plan.
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And that’s it — our final issue for 2022. We hope you have gained an iota of wisdom, insight and knowledge by reading our newsletter. Have a good yearend and see you folks in 2023! Signing out with the song It’s a Beautiful Day!
“Lord I thank you for sunshine,
Thank you for rain,
Thank you for joy,
Thank you for pain,
Cos it’s a beautiful day-ay-ay-ay-ay”
- Lyric from It’s a Beautiful Day by The Kiffness x Rushawn
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
The six banking giants (JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley) in the US will see their first trillion-dollar decade of pure profit, not revenue. A startling achievement, given that the banking industry is plagued with scandals and has paid fines in the tens of billions.
8.02% — the growth pace of Vietnam’s economy in the year to December, making it the fastest-growing economy in Asia. Signs of a global economic slowdown are showing as exports declined by 14% year-on-year, the second straight month of fall and inflation hits 4.55%.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is becoming less lean-y as it has straightened by 1.6 inches over the last two decades, according to a recent study. An earlier project to straighten the tower that ended in 2001 saw it straightened by 15 inches.
Read: How was the Leaning Tower of Pisa stabilised
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Covid-19 pandemic’s PTSD may be triggered as 2023 is looming around the corner
Following the fall down of China’s strict zero-Covid policy in the past few days, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham has advised the public to take precautionary steps, including taking booster shots, especially for front liners and high-risk groups. DG Hisham also told via his Facebook post that the bivalent vaccine that received conditional approval on Dec 14 might be available by next year. In the meantime, DG Hisham advised the public to take Pfizer’s monovalent vaccine as the second booster shot.
A monovalent vaccine is a vaccine with one strain or component of a virus, while a bivalent vaccine is a vaccine with two strains or parts of a virus. Initial clinical trials for the updated boosters have shown that bivalent Covid-19 boosters provide broader protection against Covid-19 illness than monovalent boosters and can lengthen the period of protection from severe illness and/or death, especially from the omicron variant.
Speaker has received notice of vacancy from Bersatu VP
As the political turmoil in Sabah is entering a new chapter, Dewan Rakyat’s Speaker Johari Abdul stated that he had received a letter from Bersatu’s vice president, Ronald Kiandee, informing the former that four MPs have vacated their seats by changing their political allegiance. In the letter, Ronald mentioned that there were casual vacancies instigated after four MPs contested in GE15 as Bersatu members (which is the opposition at the federal level) supported the government when the Parliament convened on Dec 19. However, according to the law, the related MPs must first submit a written notice to the Speaker if said ‘casual vacancy’ did occur before any decision could be made.
Telekom Malaysia was invoking the ‘it is not my fault, it is yours’ policy regarding the KL Tower debacle
Telekom Malaysia (TM), in its response to the KL Tower debacle, stated that its decision not to continue the KL Tower concession was merely a business decision as the telecommunication giant wanted to focus on its core business of telecommunications and technology. On top of that, TM said that the government owns KL Tower and the selection process for a new concessionaire was done by the government. The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has opened an investigation to probe into this fiasco.
Putrajaya is drafting up laws to make Malaysia not the ground zero for foreign spy activities
From the killing of the North Korean leader’s half-brother to the abduction of Palestinians by Mossad, it will be no surprise if the new James Bond movie will be inspired by the espionage tales that happened in this country. So in order to further prevent this country from becoming the staging ground for clandestine activities, the government is drafting legislation to address this issue. The law will also serve as a guideline for civil servants on dealing with foreign officials without spilling national secrets. Plus, the National Security Council (NSC) director-general, Rodzi Saad, also told the press that a multi-agency task force would be set up to counter the foreign espionage activities in this country.
Pahang, the silent state that started to enter the spotlight for good and bad
Nasdaq-bound Graphjet Technology, a world-leading producer of single-layer graphene, which has various applications from electronics, and battery technology to advanced composites, will be building an RM400mil, 20-acre integrated plant in phase 3 of the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park. The plant will be completed within 18-20 months after the company concludes its RM6.64bil listing on Nasdaq.
Lee Chin Chen, the Bilut assemblyperson, made history by becoming the first non-Malay deputy speaker in the Pahang legislative assembly.
The Sessions Court has charged two former Pahang State Secretary's office (SUK) staff members for collectively using their respective identification numbers to add 29 individuals to the state’s honours and awards management system website, which would make it possible for the individuals to receive ‘Datuk’ and ‘Datuk Seri’ titles, even though they were not qualified to be furnished with those awards. The duo, Mohd Isa and Muhammad Amer Syafiq, are facing a possibility of up to seven years in jail or up to RM100,000 fine or both if found guilty.
After being duped by fake public officers for allegedly involved in laundering some RM1.5mil, a 60-year-old retiree was unknowingly being lured into a Macau Scam syndicate that cost him RM28,200 of his savings. The victim since then had lodged a police report in Kuantan.
Former Rompin MP and UMNO lawmaker Hasan Arifin will vacate his position as the non-executive chairman of Tenaga Nasional Berhad, effective on Jan 1.
In cementing Malaysia’s position as the regional electric vehicle (EV) powerhouse, EP Manufacturing Bhd has entered into an agreement with Hubei Dongfeng Power Auto Trade Co Ltd and Xiamen Tsingyan Hylong Motor Technology Co Ltd to assemble Lingbox EVs and exclusively sell the EVs to the Malaysia and Indonesia markets. The agreement will be valid for a period of five years, from 2023 to 2027. The Lingbox EV is expected to be the most affordable EV in the local market, predicted to be priced below RM100,000.
Sunway Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) will sell a seven-storey purpose-built hospital and land back to the party that it purchased the assets from before, Sunway Medical Centre Sdn Bhd (SMCSB), for a healthy gain of RM60mil. The RM430mil deal is also aligned with SMCSB’s direction on having full ownership and control of its assets as part of the entity’s capex strategy.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Russia rejects Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan, followed by more than 120 missiles fired across Ukraine
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told its state news agency that Russia has rejected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s “peace formula” and believes Kyiv is still not ready for the real peace talks. The 10-point peace plan (read the plan here) includes Russia respecting and restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity. However, this particular point is a contentious issue as Russia insisted that Kyiv must first accept Russia’s annexation of the 4 Ukrainian regions, which makes up about a fifth of Ukraine, in order to negotiate for peace.
Hours after the rejection, Russia fired more than 120 missiles across Ukraine in the biggest wave of attacks in months. No deaths were reported at the time of writing.
Scientists discover the secret of how glass frogs turn transparent
Glass frogs are able to turn themselves up to 61% transparent and escape the attention of predators. Scientists have long known about the frogs’ capability to make themselves see-through but did not understand how.
Now, research published in the journal Science discovered that to turn transparent, the frog packs up to 89% of its red blood cells in its liver, only circulating plasma without triggering massive clot (plasma causes blood to clot, preventing one from bleeding excessively). The frog is still able to clot when necessary, especially when injured — the ability to selectively pool and clot blood is the creature’s “superpower”.
The findings could advance medical understanding of dangerous blood clotting, which is a common life-threatening condition which could lead to a heart attack in humans.
Read journal: Glass frogs conceal blood in their liver to maintain transparency.
How not to end the year and start the new year — telling staff layoffs are coming soon in weeks
Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said in his traditional year-end message to staff that a “headcount reduction” (a nicer way to say fire, layoff) will take place in the first half of January. As much as 8% of its workforce, or up to 4,000 jobs, will be eliminated. The banking giant is on track to post about USD48 bil in annual revenue, its second-best behind only last year’s record. However, foray into consumer banking, and investment into technology have contributed to ballooning costs. Sucks to end the year with anxiety, but at least (mental) preparations can be made to face the new year.
Gaming comes back to life in the world’s largest gaming market
Unlike most countries, video games need approval from regulators for their release in China. After nearly 18 months of freeze on the game approval process by Beijing, regulators have granted publishing licenses to 45 foreign games and 84 domestic games have also received approval for December. This essentially marks the end of the crackdown by Beijing on the video games industry. 7 South Korean games were granted the license leading to South Korean listed gaming stocks to pop by 2-17%.
Twitter suffered its first widespread outage since Elon Musk took over the reins. Around 10,000 people submitted problem reports, according to DownDetector.co. Musk’s response to unaffected users: “Works for me”.
Meet Temu (pronounced TEE-moo), the cross-border shopping app that is soaring in popularity in the US, allowing shoppers to shop for dirt-cheap products from China. In a short span of fewer than four months since its launch, the app has recorded 10.8 mil downloads in the US.
Its founding story, however, is not the typical, sexy, wunderkind founder story. Temu is actually launched by Pinduoduo, the Chinese e-commerce giant that captured more than 70% of Chinese internet users by focusing on consumers in less-affluent areas. Temu is the US’s version of Pinduoduo, like how TikTok is the US’s version of Douyin.
Oil and gas giant ExxonMobil is suing the European Union (EU) over its new windfall tax on oil firms, accusing Brussels of exceeding its legal authority and that the measure is “counter-productive” as it discourages investments and undermines investor confidence. The windfall tax would cost the oil giant “over USD2 bil”. In its latest quarter, it reported a massive quarterly profit of almost USD20 bil.
Weekend Read: Physics Explains Why Time Passes Faster As You Age
Mind time and clock time are two totally different things. A paper published in the journal European Review explains the physics behind changing senses of time and reveals why the years seem to fly by the older we get.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 👁👁
Recapp 2022, in 7 minutes
The US stock market returns over 95 years. God of Fortune, where art thou?