News In Brief

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Welcome to our ‘News In Brief’ column in which we digest all the news releases for you in no more than five paragraphs. Below are snippets of all the media releases we received from May 22 till the end of the week. This column updates regularly throughout the week.

Enhancing Palliative Care Accessibility

Professor Jennifer Tieman from the Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death and Dying (RePADD) at Flinders University, was invited by SA Health to evaluate the project.  

Adelaide, May 22: Flinders University palliative care experts have conducted an innovative pilot project in South Australia, emphasizing the necessity of enhancing palliative care in residential aged care.
The project, known as the ‘Comprehensive Palliative Care in Aged Care Measure,’ aimed to improve access to quality end-of-life care for older Australians in residential aged care facilities.
The initiative was implemented in seven not-for-profit Eldercare aged care facilities in metropolitan Adelaide and 15 publicly funded residential aged care homes in regional SA.
The project incorporated various models of palliative care, including palliative care Needs Rounds, workforce education and training, a traineeship model, specialist palliative care in-reach support, and grief and bereavement support for families.
Professor Jennifer Tieman and Dr. Sara Javanparast from Flinders University’s Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death, and Dying were invited by SA Health to evaluate the project, and their evaluation highlighted the importance of strong engagement from the sector and the need for tailored approaches that consider organizational capacity, infrastructure, geography, and available resources.

CBA Launches Sustainability Action Tool for SMEs

Sydney, May 22: The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is introducing a new tool aimed at assisting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in integrating sustainability practices into their operations.
The CBA’s Sustainability Action Tool offers insights into actions that businesses can take to reduce their environmental impact and lower costs.
Recent CBA research reveals that the main challenges faced by SMEs seeking to incorporate sustainability into their business models are the cost of implementation (61 per cent), finding sustainable suppliers (30 per cent), and a lack of time and resources (28 per cent).
The Sustainability Action Tool from CBA is designed to help small business customers identify sustainable options for their processes and operations.
It provides a selection of resources and recommended actions based on their responses to a few simple questions.
Initially focusing on energy, transport, and waste management, the tool will expand in the future to include information on other sustainability topics such as supply chain management, product design, and well-being.

Mastercard Ramps Up Fraud Protection 

Sydney, May 22: Mastercard is expanding its partnership with Vesta, a leader in payment fraud protection, to combat eCommerce fraud. Vesta’s Payment Guarantee™ and risk scoring solution will be integrated into Mastercard’s MPGS platform, offering total protection for eCommerce transactions and eliminating the cost of fraud for merchants.
MPGS enables merchants to accept secure payments worldwide across various channels. Vesta’s Payment Guarantee ensures 100 percent fraud protection, allowing merchants to focus on business growth. The integration enhances fraud detection and provides peace of mind for merchants in the Asia Pacific region.

Banking Embraces Sustainable Talent

Kuala Lumpur, May 22: The Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers (AICB) recently held its 6th Chartered Banker Conferment ceremony in Malaysia, recognizing 97 newly conferred Chartered Bankers who have completed the internationally recognized professional banking qualification.
The AICB Chairman emphasized the importance of embedding environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into banking decisions to support Malaysia’s sustainable development goals and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target. He urged financial institutions to invest in talent development for climate risk and sustainability.
The AICB Chief Executive highlighted the commitment to ethical professionalism as a key to achieving ESG goals in the industry and announced the launch of the Certificate in Climate Risk program to meet industry demands.
The event also honored three distinguished banking leaders who have been conferred the Fellow Chartered Banker status.
The AICB has over 700 members who have obtained the Chartered Banker status, jointly awarded with the Chartered Banker Institute, UK.

ChatGPT Scam Detection Soars

Kuala Lumpur, May 23: Palo Alto Networks, a global cybersecurity leader, has released research from its threat intelligence team, Unit 42, highlighting the rise in scams related to ChatGPT, a generative AI technology. The study reveals various tactics employed by scammers to deceive users into sharing sensitive information or downloading malicious software.
The scammers often create fraudulent websites resembling the official OpenAI website, which hosts ChatGPT, to trick users. These websites aim to persuade visitors to download malware or disclose confidential information, despite OpenAI offering a free version of ChatGPT.
Key findings from the report include a 910 percent increase in monthly domain registrations related to ChatGPT between November 2022 and April 2023. Additionally, Palo Alto Networks’ Advanced URL Filtering system detected over 100 malicious URLs associated with ChatGPT on a daily basis.
The research also highlights the use of phishing URLs impersonating official OpenAI sites. Scammers create counterfeit websites that closely mimic the appearance of the ChatGPT official site, deceiving users into downloading malware or sharing sensitive information.
Despite the availability of a free version of ChatGPT, scammers mislead victims into believing they must pay for the service, leading them to fraudulent websites.

Airbnb Has A Positive Impact On Penang

Kuala Lumpur, May 23: Following the announcement of new local guidelines for short-term rental accommodation (STRA) by the Penang government, Airbnb has emphasized the significance of STRA for the growth of state-level and national tourism. The global hospitality platform encourages Joint Management Bodies (JMBs) and Management Committees (MCs) of local strata buildings to consider the long-term economic benefits of STRA while implementing guidelines at the building level.
Based on a recent survey conducted by Clearpath Strategies on behalf of Airbnb, overwhelming support for STRA in Penang was found. More than 70 percent of Penangites surveyed stated that renting out homes through Airbnb has a positive impact on their community and its residents.
A significant finding from the survey is that 75 percent of Penang residents agreed that short-term rental accommodation should be allowed in surplus vacant apartments to address the property overhang issue in Penang, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, and Selangor. Penang has the third-highest number of unsold residential properties in Malaysia, with 3,593 units valued at RM2.74 billion, according to data from the National Property Information Centre (NAPIC) as of the end of 2022.
Affordability remains a key concern for Penangites, with rising living costs making it challenging for people to afford travel. As per the survey, locals expressed their priority for affordable travel options.
Looking ahead, Airbnb has observed a growing interest among Penangites in hosting or being guests on the platform. The survey revealed that 68 percent of Penangites surveyed are interested in booking stays with Airbnb, while more than half (57 percent) intend to become hosts on Airbnb in the coming year. Over 70 percent of respondents mentioned that they have already traveled with or hosted on Airbnb.

CBA Introduces Flexible SME Deposits

Sydney, May 23: Commonwealth Bank of Australia has introduced a new innovative short-notice deposit account, called the Capital Growth Account, aimed at helping businesses maximize their cash flow. This account allows customers to earn higher interest while being able to withdraw funds with just 48 hours or seven days’ notice.
The interest rate offered is 0.75 percent/1.5 percent higher than an equivalent at-call savings account, and there are no penalties or fees for withdrawing funds after giving the appropriate notice.
In comparison, other similar accounts in the market require a notice period of at least 31 days.
Many businesses hold cash reserves for specific periods, such as covering tax payments at the end of the financial year.
CBA data shows that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have significantly increased their average deposit balances since January 2020, with a growth of 39 percent.
The Capital Growth Account provides flexibility for business owners to earn extra interest, similar to a term deposit account, without the same withdrawal restrictions.
Mike Vacy-Lyle, Group Executive of CBA’s Business Bank, emphasized the importance of cash flow for customers, particularly in the current economic environment.
The Capital Growth Account aims to eliminate the trade-off between higher interest accounts and longer notice periods or lock funds away in fixed-term deposits.
Existing Commonwealth Bank customers can apply for the account online and manage their notice deposits through various digital platforms provided by the bank.
Recognizing the ongoing uncertainties faced by businesses, the bank offers immediate fund withdrawals without serving the notice period for customers experiencing financial hardship or in vulnerable circumstances.
This approach ensures accessibility and support for those facing challenging situations.

Leon Fuat’s Successful AGM & Dividend Approval

Kuala Lumpur, May 23: Leon Fuat Berhad held its 16th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 23.
The shareholders approved all resolutions presented during the meeting.
One of the approved resolutions pertained to the payment of a final single-tier dividend of 1.5 sen per share for the financial year that ended on December 31, 2022 (FY2022).
In addition to the dividend resolution, the shareholders also re-elected Ooi Seng Khong, Ooi Kong Tiong, and Ng Kok Teong as directors of the company.
Furthermore, the resolutions to retain Chan Kee Loin, Tan Did Heng, and Tan Sack Sen as independent directors were also approved.
Baker Tilly Monteiro Heng PLT was re-appointed as the Group’s auditors for FY2023, and the directors were authorized to determine their remuneration.

Reimagining Healthy Air

Dr. Jake Robinson.

Adelaide, May 24: Flinders University ecologists stress the need for closer examination of the air we breathe, as air pollution and airborne contaminants pose significant health risks.
They emphasize the importance of understanding what constitutes “healthy air” and ensuring that our environment supports optimal air quality.
The researchers highlight the role of “bioaerosols,” airborne particles originating from living organisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes, which contribute to the invisible biodiversity surrounding us.
The researchers propose a fresh perspective on bioaerosols, considering them as agents that promote health, opening new avenues for research that can enhance human and environmental well-being.
The article coincides with the release of a book called “Invisible Friends: How Microbes Shape Our Lives and the World Around Us,” authored by Dr. Jake Robinson.

VTEX Named a ‘Major Player’ in IDC MarketScape

Singapore, May 24: VTEX, a global enterprise digital commerce platform, has been recognized as a ‘Major Player’ in the IDC MarketScape report for Worldwide Retail Commerce Platform Software Providers 2023.
This marks VTEX’s first appearance in the report. The evaluation highlights VTEX’s expertise in the retail sector, particularly its well-established multichannel platform services and consumer-engaging solutions such as Conversational Commerce and Livestream Shopping.
Mariano Gomide de Faria, founder, and co-CEO of VTEX, emphasized the importance for brands to choose partners committed to the balance between freedom and low-maintenance architecture, especially in the face of a challenging and evolving retail environment. Gomide de Faria stated that forward-thinking CEOs and CIOs prioritize simplification and time to market, making the inclusion in the IDC MarketScape report a significant recognition for VTEX.
With over 2,600 customers and more than 3,400 active online stores across 38 countries, VTEX supports leading brands like Motorola, Whirlpool, and Hearst. The company’s ability to unify experiences for retailers across channels and create engaging opportunities between brands and customers contributed to its recognition as a ‘Major Player’ in the evaluation, according to Ornella Urso, Research Manager at IDC.
The report also highlights VTEX’s expertise in integrating experiences across multiple channels, including digital, physical, social, and chat platforms, continuously enhancing native capabilities to improve the seller experience with its marketplace. VTEX focuses on providing a seamless customer experience and meaningful engagements between brands and customers.

Samaiden’s Q3 Revenue Growth

Kuala Lumpur, May 24: Samaiden Reports Q3 FY2023 Revenue Growth Despite Lower Profit Samaiden, a renewable energy specialist, has announced a revenue of RM44.56 million for the third quarter ended 31 March 2023, driven by rapid progress in ongoing projects.
However, profit before tax for the same period decreased by 52.53 per cent due to lower margins, increased staff costs, and listing expenses.
The company’s EPCC services accounted for approximately 99.96 percent of its revenue, while electricity sales from its solar PV facility contributed to the remainder.
In the nine-month period ending 31 March 2023, Samaiden experienced a 29.37 percent increase in revenue, reaching RM125.56 million.
However, profit before tax decreased to RM9.48 million compared to the previous year.
Samaiden’s Managing Director, Chow Pui Hee, highlighted the positive impact of government initiatives and private sector commitment to reducing energy costs and embracing ESG principles, supporting the renewable energy industry in Malaysia.
Chow Pui Hee emphasized the company’s readiness to provide comprehensive EPCC services for clean energy systems and power plants, aligning with Malaysia’s energy transition plans and ESG commitments.
Samaiden’s recent MoUs in Cambodia further demonstrate their commitment to sustainable economic activities, including RE projects alongside railway tracks and a biogas project in Preah Sihanouk province. With an outstanding order book of RM245.55 million as of March 31, 2023, Samaiden anticipates a positive contribution to revenue and profit in the next three years.

OCTO: Maximize Cloud ROI

Kuala Lumpur, May 25: Alphaus Inc. is expanding its cloud financial management solutions to cater to SMEs and large enterprises in Japan and Southeast Asia.
The company introduces OCTO, a SaaS-based FinOps platform that enables effective collaboration between finance, FinOps, and DevOps teams in optimizing cloud costs.
OCTO offers centralized account management, smart visualization, and advanced tag management for AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
The platform provides comprehensive cost optimization capabilities, including auto-pilot optimization and detailed metrics for measuring success.
Alphaus aims to solve the challenge of tracking and understanding cloud costs, empowering businesses to manage and optimize their cloud spend, generate savings, and impact their bottom line.

Kennedy Awards Welcomes Sponsors!

Sydney, May 26: The Kennedy Foundation is thrilled to announce a new sponsor for the prestigious Kennedy Awards program, Bamboo Airways, further enhancing its support for Australian journalism.
Bamboo Airways will generously provide round-trip flights to Vietnam for the winner of the Outstanding Travel Writing award category.
Additionally, long-time Kennedy supporter, Melia International Hotels, will once again offer luxurious accommodation at their 5-star hotel in Hanoi to this year’s deserving winner, creating an exceptional prize package.
The 2023 Kennedy Awards are now accepting entries, providing an exciting opportunity for journalists to showcase their exceptional work.
The submission period will remain open until July 1, allowing participants ample time to vie for this prestigious recognition and the extraordinary prizes offered by Bamboo Airways and Melia International Hotels.

ChatGPT Apps Scam Users

Kuala Lumpur, May 26: Sophos, a cybersecurity company, has discovered fraudulent apps posing as legitimate ChatGPT-based chatbots, tricking users into expensive subscriptions on the Google Play and Apple App Store.
These “fleeceware” apps offer minimal functionality and bombard users with ads, coercing them into signing up for costly subscriptions.
Sophos investigated five such apps, charging users from $10 per month to $70 per year, resulting in substantial profits for developers.
Fleeceware apps overcharge users for already free features, employ social engineering tactics, and manipulate ratings with fake reviews.
While Google and Apple have implemented guidelines, developers find ways to circumvent them. Education and caution are essential to protect against these scams, and affected users must follow store guidelines to unsubscribe properly.

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