☕️ Rosmah Mansor denied it's her voice in the infamous 'Can I advise you something' audio clip
Nicol David appointed Penang Tourism Ambassador 2022. TikTok is the most popular domain in 2021, dethroning Google. HKU dismantled and removed the "Pillar of Shame" statue from its campus.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Crypto scammers pulled in USD7.7 bil in revenue in 2021, according to the blockchain data platform, Chainalysis. The 81% revenue surge was due to a new type of scam called “rug pulls”, where developers of a cryptocurrency project “unexpectedly abandon” the project and take users' funds with them.
683 pound (309.8 kg) sapphire dubbed the "Queen of Asia" is headed to auction and expected to fetch around USD100 million. Workers found the gem in a mine in the southern city of Ratnapura, Sri Lanka.
USD210 mil — the fine received by a top live streamer for tax evasion. Huang Wei, also known as Viya, was ordered to pay 1.34 billion yuan in back taxes, late fees and fines. The State Taxation Administration said she avoided taxes totalling 643 million yuan by concealing personal income and making false declarations in 2019 and 2020.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
US health regulators have approved Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck & Co’s molnupiravir for home use against Covid-19. As a result, Americans will be able to take them at home to head off the worst effects of the virus.
AstraZeneca's COVID-19 booster vaccine is effective against the rapidly-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant, according to data from an Oxford University lab study.
A study from the University of Hong Kong and The Chinese University of Hong Kong found three doses of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine fail to protect against Omicron.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
During Rosmah Mansor’s solar hybrid graft trial yesterday, she denied the voice in the ‘Can I advise you something/ audio clip is hers. However, in her Oct 6 testimony is her defence, she referred to the audio recording as that of a private conversation between her and her husband, former PM Najib Razak.
In the recording, the female voice was trying to influence the appointments of public officials to senior government posts. You can listen to the clip below.
The trial of former deputy PM, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is facing 40 corruption charges with the Foreign Visa System scheduled for Thursday (Dec 23) and Friday (Dec 24) has been postponed to Feb 3, 2022, as he is unwell. Delaying the inevitable?
Eight-time squash world champion Nicol David has been appointed Penang Tourism Ambassador 2022. She will be the face of Penang in its tourism promotions and programmes domestically and around the world. In February, she was named the World Games’ Greatest Athlete of All-time after topping a poll conducted by the International World Games Association. She was also the No 1 squash player for 108 months until Sep 2015, setting a new record.
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has unsuccessfully sought to remove Twitter posts that are critical of the government’s handling of the flood situation. Twitter, however, rejected MCMC’s request. Very efficient in taking action towards those that are critical against Putrajaya. This is a dangerous violation of the freedom of speech in Malaysia.
Dutch prosecutors have called for life in prison for the 4 suspects of Russian nationality on trial in absentia accused of downing Malaysian Airlines MH17 over Ukraine with a surface-to-air missile that killed 298 people. All 4 have refused to appear in court in the Netherlands and are being tried in absentia. A verdict is not expected until late 2022, at the earliest.
A lumpy object found by a woman whilst fishing in Marang waters has been analysed and verified not to be ambergris (very unfortunate for her), known as nature’s “floating gold”. This rare substance is highly valued at USD50,000 (RM210,000) per kg by perfume makers. Ambergris is a waxy secretion from the digestive tracts of the sperm whale found floating in tropical seas or washed up on beaches.
AWC Bhd, the integrated facilities management service provider, announced it had secured a letter of award (LoA) from the Ministry of Health for a 5-year contract to provide hospital support services valued at RM106.04 mil. The contract period starts from 1 Jan 2022 to 31 Dec 2026. This is the second contract announced by AWC this year. AWC’s current market cap stands at RM175.1 mil.
Disclosure: We are a shareholder with a *nano* stake in the company.
FGV Holdings Bhd, the world’s largest crude palm oil producer, is planning to raise RM500 mil through the sukuk murabahah programme (Islamic loan) that will be used to refinance its borrowings. As of September 30, FGV’s borrowings stood at RM3.32bil on the back of cash and cash equivalent of RM1.48bil.
For Q3 ended Sept 30, 2021, FGV’s net profit almost tripled to RM399.39mil from RM136.89mil, driven by higher crude palm oil (CPO) price and improved performance of its sugar and logistics sectors. FGV’s current market cap stands at RM5.44 bil.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Chinese gaming and social media company Tencent is divesting its stake in e-commerce firm JD.com by transferring its HKD127.69 billion (USD16.37 billion) worth of its JD.com stake to shareholders. Tencent said it was the right time for the divestment, given the e-commerce firm had reached a stage where it can self-finance its growth. Its holding in China's second-biggest e-commerce company will drop to 2.3% from 17%.
A USD6 bil proposal aims to make Kualanamu International Airport in North Sumatra province to be one of the region’s busiest airports with 50 mil passengers annually. The plans by Indonesia’s state-owned airport operator and an Indian-led consortium sparked controversy within the tourism industry as some stakeholders were not consulted.
Citigroup’s consumer banking business in the Philippines would be taken over by UnionBank of the Philippines for USD904 mil. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals.
.The University of Hong Kong (HKU) has dismantled and removed a statue from its campus site. The eight-metre-high "Pillar of Shame" by Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot to pay tribute to the victims of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing. The move by HKU has surprised many, including the sculptor himself.
Amazon's Aumsville and Troutdale warehouses in Oregon have the longest-running active Covid-19 outbreaks that have been dragging on for more than 560 days. Data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHA) showed COVID-19 cases in Oregon Amazon warehouses rose after the company rolled back some of its COVID-19 safety policies.
Crises create good opportunities for mergers and acquisitions. Crocs Inc will be taking over footwear brand Heydude for USD2.5 bil in a cash-and-stock deal, to take advantage of the surge in demand for casual shoes. The deal is expected to be concluded by the first quarter of 2022.
TikTok is the most popular domain in 2021, dethroning Google according to American technology-security company Cloudflare Inc.
Top 10 most popular domains (late 2021)
Saudi Arabia is now building its own ballistic missiles with help of China, according to satellite images from US intelligence agencies. The development could unsettle the Gulf region and complicate the Biden administration's efforts to restrain the nuclear ambitions of Iran, the Saudis' top regional rival. The early indicators of the Saudis pursuing these capabilities emerged during the Trump era.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
We do not condone vandalism. But we know rakyat’s anger. This is a lyric from Pink Floyd’s ‘Mother’
Hilarious interview by a flood victim. Glad that she could seek some laughter despite her predicament. Stay strong!
Prison Break: Beijing Zoo
We’ll be taking a short break over the Christmas weekend, so there will be no newsletters on Monday (Dec 27, 2021).
Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate!