Just a Moment News - 2023-08-19


Good morning, and welcome to Just a Moment News. Today is August 19, 2023. Let’s jump right into the news stories.

First up, Police Minister Bheki Cele in South Africa has announced a new initiative to combat crime in hotspot areas. The plan involves bolstering the South African Police Service (SAPS) by recruiting 10,000 new officers annually. Recent crime statistics reveal that the majority of these hotspots are located in major cities, with Cape Town central having the highest number of cases at 2,765. Johannesburg and Durban central follow closely behind with 2,120 and 2,104 cases respectively. Other areas mentioned with high crime rates include Mitchells Plain, Phoenix, Park Road in Bloemfontein, Roodepoort, Mfuleni, Honeydew, and Midrand. Roodepoort specifically has experienced a significant increase of 44.7% in cases compared to the same period last year. This initiative aims to address the crime problem in these areas and improve public safety.

Next, Elon Musk, the CEO of platform X (formerly known as Twitter), has hinted at the potential removal of the block feature on the platform. In response to a post, Musk stated that the feature “Makes no sense” and may be deleted except for direct messages (DMs). This suggestion has faced backlash from users who view blocking as a safety feature to control their online experience and restrict specific accounts from interacting with them. Many users rely on blocking to combat spam and harassment. While the mute feature, which simply hides posts, may remain, it is different from blocking as it provides users with more control. It remains uncertain whether Musk will follow through with this decision or if he will reverse his statement, as he has done with previous decisions.

Moving on, the CEO of Moderna, Stéphane Bancel, has come under scrutiny for his earnings in 2022. Bancel earned $398 million primarily from pre-planned stock sales, making him the highest-earning CEO among over 300 publicly traded healthcare companies. This amount is 2,435 times more than the median salary of Moderna’s employees. Despite plans to donate a significant portion of his income to charity, Bancel’s earnings and Moderna’s planned 400% vaccine price hike have drawn criticism. Other notable high earners in the healthcare industry include Veeva Systems’ CEO Peter Gassner with $308 million and Molina Healthcare’s CEO Joseph Zubretsky with $181 million. The vast income inequality and actions by companies like Moderna have sparked political criticism and accusations of an “unprecedented level of corporate greed” in the industry.

In other news, Scatec, Norway’s leading solar power producer in South Africa, is exploring the possibility of supplying solar power directly to end-users, including mining companies. This move comes as South Africa continues to face an electricity crisis due to increased energy demand, poorly maintained power stations, and debt issues with state-owned Eskom. Currently, Scatec sells power to Eskom, but they intend to expand the use of their modular solar and battery equipment known as Release. They recently secured $102 million in funding and plan to increase their capacity in South Africa from 448MW to as much as 8GW. By obtaining smaller and shorter guarantees from off-takers, Scatec aims to provide flexibility in relocating the equipment if needed. This strategy aims to address the ongoing electricity crisis in South Africa.

Lastly, Fifa’s chief, Gianni Infantino, has announced that the Women’s World Cup generated over $570 million in revenue, allowing the global governing body to break even. This is despite the prize purse increasing tenfold from the 2015 edition. Infantino praised the success of the tournament, which expanded from 24 to 32 teams. He highlighted that the Women’s World Cup generated the second-highest income in any sport, trailing only the men’s World Cup. Infantino also addressed the issue of equal pay, emphasizing the need for equality beyond just the World Cup and encouraging women to continue pushing for change. He defended the decision to have Australia and New Zealand as hosts and the expansion of the tournament against critics. The Women’s World Cup final between England and Spain will take place in Sydney on Sunday, marking the end of the tournament.

That’s all for today’s news stories. Stay informed, and have a great day! This is Erika from Just a Moment News, signing off.

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