Top News this Week (7 Jan)


Rounding up top investing articles from around the web, including articles shared on Twitter.

‘Miracle’ Japan Airlines evacuation: Dos and don’ts in a plane emergency (Straits Times)

Japan Airlines (JAL) has won plaudits from aviation experts for its rapid and orderly evacuation of all passengers and crew aboard an Airbus A350-900 jet that collided with a coast guard plane during landing at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

Within minutes of the aircraft being engulfed in flames on the runway of Japan’s busiest airport, all 379 people on board had made a safe exit. The incident happened at 5.46pm (4.46pm Singapore time) on Jan 2.

While everyone on JL516, a domestic flight from the northern city of Sapporo, escaped from the burning wreckage, five of the six crew aboard the smaller coast guard aircraft died.

Many people around the world have described the smooth and successful evacuation of the commercial jetliner as a “miracle”, but some experts say otherwise.

Successful evacuations are not just the product of a well-trained cabin crew but also the actions of passengers who play a key role in minimising safety risks. Passengers aboard the JAL flight were largely reported to have exited the plane without their luggage, paving the way for a swift retreat.

Ex-FAS deputy director duped football body into disbursing over $609,000 to firms linked to him (Straits Times)

A former deputy director at the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) exploited his position to ensure that the sporting body’s supply contracts were awarded to companies linked to him or his wife.

Rikram Jit Singh Randhir Singh has admitted to dishonestly inducing FAS to disburse $609,380, from which he and his wife, Asya Kirin Kames, made a profit of $127,896.

Their profits have been seized by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) and will be returned to FAS, the court heard.

Lazada cuts staff amid speculation of upcoming IPO (Straits Times)

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Lazada spokesman said: “We are making proactive adjustments to transform our workforce, to better position ourselves for a more agile, streamlined way of working to meet future business needs.”

The spokesman declined to disclose how many workers in Singapore or South-east Asia were affected and whether staff had received a severance package.

He said: “This transformation necessitates that we reassess our workforce requirements and operational structure to ensure Lazada is better positioned to future-proof our business and people.”

The Straits Times understands that a round of layoffs was also conducted in October 2023.

Following Alibaba’s split into six main business units in March 2023, reportedly to unlock shareholder value and jumpstart growth, the Singapore-headquartered firm now operates under Alibaba International Digital Commerce (AIDC), which also includes e-commerce platforms Daraz and Trendyol, as well as online store AliExpress.

The latest job cuts come amid speculation regarding AIDC’s potential initial public offering in the United States in 2024, first reported in May 2023.

1.27 million Singaporean households to get $500 CDC vouchers each from Jan 3 (Straits Times)

The new edition of CDC vouchers provides households with $200 more help than the last tranche in 2023. As with the previous round, half the vouchers can be used at supermarkets, and half at hawker stalls and heartland merchants.

The January 2024 CDC vouchers will be disbursed to about 1.27 million Singaporean households and cost the Government $635 million. As at 8pm, more than 450,000 households have claimed their vouchers.  

China unveils new images of its next-generation aircraft carrier (CNA)

Chinese state media unveiled new images of China’s most advanced aircraft carrier yet, including next-generation launch tracks that can catapult a wider range of aircraft from its deck.

First shown to the public in June 2022, the Fujian was entirely designed and built domestically.

Indonesians head to the polls in February. Here are key issues dominating the elections (CNBC)

  • Indonesia is poised to select new leaders as President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is set to step down in October.
  • The world’s third-largest democracy has plans to move its capital and ambitions to become a global electric vehicle hub.
  • Voters have largely focused on the presidential race, but the country’s limited opposition representation in parliament has contributed to a low bar for passing controversial laws.

South Korean opposition leader recovering from surgery after being stabbed in the neck (CNN)

Lee was touring the construction site of the Gadeokdo New Airport and talking to reporters when he was attacked, leaving the politician with a 1-centimeter laceration on the left side of his neck, Kwon said in an earlier statement.

Lee suffered “suspected damage to his jugular vein” and doctors were concerned he may have additional bleeding, Kwon said, citing doctors.

Kwon described the attempt on Lee’s life an act of “terrorism” and “a serious threat to democracy.”

Earlier in the day Democratic Party’s floor leader Hong Ik-pyo said Lee was “in a conscious state” in hospital.

The assailant, who was arrested at the scene, is a man in his sixties, according to Busan police. He approached Lee for an autograph before carrying out the attack with an 18 cm (7 inch) long knife purchased online, the police said in a briefing.

Red Sea crisis boosts shipping costs, delays – and inflation worries (CNBC)

  • To avoid attacks by Iran-backed Houthi militants based in Yemen, carriers have already diverted more than $200 billion in trade from the Red Sea.
  • The threat of violence in the key Middle Eastern trade route has already led to longer shipping times and higher freight costs.
  • Adding to the strain, about 20% of vessel capacity isn’t being used due to a massive drop in manufacturing orders, according to industry experts.

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