In last week’s News Flash entitled ‘‘Money doesn’t grow on trees’’, we highlighted that the most substantial and enduring impact of Covid-19 will be the dramatically increased level of debt on almost all global government balance sheets. As a logical sequel, this week’s quote relates to the extraordinary level of money-printing by central banks. On the global political stage, news was dominated by a host of hacking allegations under which certain countries have been attempting to influence the political outcomes of their counterparts. But the nature of political interference was not only limited to foreign affairs – there were also instances of internal interference by regulatory authorities in the US and China, respectively. Thirdly, given the importance of the forthcoming US Presidential Election, we have included an incisive ‘Fact Check’ by Bloomberg on last night’s final Presidential Debate.
On the South African front, we cover internal interventions within the Ruling Party, as well as the potential introduction of new regulations which would force certain companies to become licence fee collection agents for the national broadcaster.
“If you want to refute the idea that governments can print as much money as they need to finance whatever they want to do, you can look at the success of these policies in countries like Venezuela and Zimbabwe and I think at that point you think again.”
– John Kay, a leading British economist
For more quotes by John Kay, click here
- American intelligence agencies have reported that Russia recently hacked into US computer networks in an attempt to interfere with the upcoming Presidential Election.
- Additionally, six Russian military officers have been charged in an alleged cyberattack that caused almost $1 billion in losses. The US Justice Department and the British government have accused members of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, of attempting to subvert investigations into nefarious Kremlin activities: some examples included initiating cyberattacks against Ukraine, the nation of Georgia, the French elections, the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, and the 2020 Olympics.
- The US Postal Service is still not processing election mail on time, even after being ordered by federal judges to halt disruptive changes such as banning worker overtime and late delivery trips – a Pennsylvania’s attorney general told a judge. (Trump megadonor Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general, implemented the service cuts which multiple states allege are a strategy to disenfranchise voters in the upcoming election).
- The US Justice Department and 11 states have joined together in accusing Google of antitrust violations, including illegally protecting its dominant position in the market for search and search advertising. An example of this is that Google pays Apple billions of dollars a year to have its search engine as the default option on Apple iPhones.
- Some of China’s largest tech companies, including Huawei Technologies, have expressed concern to local regulators about a proposed acquisition by Nvidia which could potentially jeopardise a $40 billion deal. For more on this, follow this link.
- Goldman Sachs has admitted to criminal wrongdoing by its Malaysian subsidiary in the 1MDB scandal. The Bank will pay fines of more than $5billion in a settlement for the foreign bribery case. In a dramatic move, Goldman will source some of the money ($174 million), from past and present executives: In recognition of the “magnitude” of the scandal, Goldman’s board announced that it will recoup a portion of compensation awarded the top executives at the time, including CEO Lloyd Blankfein, COO Gary Cohn and CFO David Viniar. It will also cut pay this year for the current chief executive, David Solomon, and his top lieutenants.
- Follow this link for a Fact Check on last night’s final Presidential Debate ahead of the election taking place in just over a week. The summary presents the different views as expressed by the two candidates on a variety of issues, as well a factual corroboration where available.
- President biographer Anthony Butler, has written an article entitled ‘’Carcerophobia epidemic may lead to Ramaphosa’s downfall”, suggesting that there are circumstances in which ANC party leaders might be tempted to interfere and replace their president with a “younger, less tarnished version who seems more decisive”. Follow this link for more.
- The ANC Free State branches that marched against the party’s secretary general, Ace Magashule, will launch a major campaign to force him to step aside next month when Mangaung mayor Olly Mlamleli and her R255-million asbestos scandal co-accused appear in court in Bloemfontein again on corruption charges.
- On regulatory interference, Deputy Communications Minister Pinky Kekana presented a proposal to parliament which would expand the definition of a TV licence to apply to streaming service users including Netflix. The minister said that because people consume content on different platforms, “we should look at how we are able to get SABC licence fees from those gadgets.” Under this proposal, Netflix and DSTV would become collection agents for the SABC’s licence fees.
Sources: Dynasty, Reuters, Bloomberg Markets, The New York Times, Daily Maverick, and Moneyweb, etc