From Foxconn breaking it off with Vedanta to twin baby pandas – Here are today's Headlines

India has been on a mission to amp up its chip production and stop relying so much on foreign manufacturers like the US and China.

From Foxconn breaking it off with Vedanta to twin baby pandas – Here are today's Headlines
A wafer on display as Taiwan's Foxconn holds its annual shareholder meeting in New Taipei City, Taiwan May 31, 2023. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File Photo

To start off, we're looking into:

Foxconn-Vedanta breakup

The backstory: India has been on a mission to amp up its chip production and stop relying so much on foreign manufacturers like the US and China. And it seems like several companies are interested and making plans to set up semiconductor factories in India.

More recently: Foxconn is the Taiwanese manufacturing giant behind Apple products. Last September, Indian conglomerate Vedanta announced it would partner with Foxconn to build display and chipmaking facilities in India’s Gujarat.

The development: The giant just announced that it’s pulling out of the joint venture. It said that it had been collaborating with Vedanta for over a year, working on semiconductor ideas. Both companies mutually decided to end things, and now Vedanta will own the venture completely, as it’s taking it over from its holding company. Click the link here for more.

Uber CFO plans exit

Uber CFO Nelson Chai stepping down
The logo of Uber is seen at a temporary showroom at the Promenade road during the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023, in the Alpine resort of Davos, Switzerland, January 20, 2023. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

The backstory: Ride-hailing giant Uber had been operating without a CFO for over three years before Nelson Chai hopped on board in 2018. Before taking the job, Chai held senior positions at places like the New York Stock Exchange, Merrill Lynch and CIT Group. With his expertise and experience getting through the 2008 financial crisis, he was a great fit to steer Uber's financial ship in the right direction.

Chai's time as Uber's CFO had its fair share of highs and lows. Uber grew quickly and went public in 2019. In 2020, the company made big moves, including buying food-delivery startup Postmates for US$2.65 billion. It spent another US$2.25 billion on logistics operator Transplace the following year. But COVID brought lots of challenges.

The development: Now, in a big exec shake-up, Chai reportedly is planning to leave the company, according to inside sources. Click the link here for more on this development.

The Netherlands returns cultural artifacts

The backstory: The Netherlands has a brutal colonial history that spans different regions of the world, but for this story, but let’s focus on Sri Lanka and Indonesia. In the 1600s, Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch East India Company and later came under the control of the Dutch government in 1796. It didn’t become independent until over 300 years later, in 1945. Sri Lanka has a similar history, with the Dutch controlling most of it by 1665. During the centuries of colonial rule, the Dutch took home cultural objects which were often looted by troops. At the moment, there are about 300,000 colonial objects owned by the Dutch government in the Netherlands.

The development: Last week, the Dutch government announced it would be returning some artifacts taken from Sri Lanka and Indonesia during colonial times. On Monday, the Netherlands and Indonesia had a ceremony to hand back hundreds of these cultural items. Click the link here for more.

To end, we'll look into:

The Sriracha shortage

Sriracha is a star hot sauce with a cult following, with fans all over the world. The first version of the sauce was made in the town of Si Racha in Southeast Thailand back in 1949 by a woman named Thanom Chakkapak. First serving it up to family and friends, the sauce was such a hit that everyone urged her to bottle and sell it.

Then, in the 70s, a Vietnam-born Chinese man named David Tran began working on his own version of the sauce in California, where he started commercializing Sriracha sauce in 1983 – rooster logo and all – through his company Huy Fong Foods. Tran’s recipe used a lot of red jalapeños, which are mostly grown in Mexico. By the 2010s, you could find Sriracha in refrigerators around the world.

Until now, that is. We’re actually going through a Sriracha shortage, which is driving spicy food lovers crazy. Click the link here for more.

In other news ...


📉Market snapshot and key quotes:

  • In the US: US stocks rebounded on Tuesday, recovering from a three-day drop, with traders awaiting the upcoming release of crucial inflation data later in the week.
  • In Hong Kong: Hong Kong stocks rose on Tuesday on news of a potential economic boost in mainland China, specifically in the property sector.
  • The Chinese government and central bank unveiled plans to support struggling onshore developers, including extending loan maturities and granting more flexibility to commercial banks in managing stressed loans.

📊Top gainers/losers and company news:

  • In the US: Salesforce saw a 3.4% surge after announcing an upcoming across-the-board price increase in August.
  • Activision Blizzard climbed 10% as a federal judge denied the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) request to halt Microsoft's acquisition of the video game company, bringing the deal one step closer to finalization.
  • In Hong Kong: Tech stocks rallied as optimism grew over the end of China's crackdown on internet platform operators. With that, Alibaba rose 2%. climbed 1.8% and Meituan jumped 0.7%.

👀The numbers everyone is watching:

  • In the US: The consumer price index report is due on Wednesday, followed by the producer price index on Thursday, which will give investors a sneak peek into wholesale price pressures.
  • Several key companies, including BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup, are set to report quarterly earnings, marking the beginning of the second-quarter earnings season.

📅To check out our economic calendar for this week, click here.

More headlines ...

🚁Helicopter crash near Mount Everest: On Tuesday, a tourist helicopter flying over the Solukhumbu district in Nepal (where Mount Everest is) to see the surrounding mountains lost contact with the base after just 10 minutes of flying. It was later found crashed to the ground, with all six passengers dead.

🏃‍♂️Russian commander killed while jogging: Stanislav Rzhitsky, a Russian submarine commander, was shot to death while on a jog earlier this week in the Russian city of Krasnodar, according to Russian news. Now, the Russian media is saying that Rzhitsky might’ve been targeted by someone who was tracking him on a running app called Strava. Suspects have been identified, but the motive is still being investigated.

📢Protests erupt across Israel: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pushing for a controversial judicial overhaul that could limit the power of the country’s Supreme Court. In March, protests broke out all over Israel (especially Tel Aviv), and trade unions shut down large parts of the economy. After putting the reforms on hold for a bit, officials are now pushing parts of the reforms through, which has caused a new uprising of protests of tens of thousands of people.

📩Russia vetoes Syrian aid operation: For years, the UN has been working through Turkey to bring aid to 4 million people in northwestern Syria, which is held by rebel forces. The UN Security Council was floating a nine-month authorization renewal to continue these efforts. But, on Tuesday, Russia vetoed that renewal. Russia had proposed its own draft of a six-month renewal for the operation, but that failed to pass with enough votes in the council, signaling the aid mission could be coming to an end.  

📃Ukraine’s NATO fast-track: NATO is looking to fast-track Ukraine’s application process for joining the bloc. Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the country planned to join NATO as a way to build up its defenses. Most countries need to prepare a Membership Action Plan to prepare for joining, but at a summit on Tuesday, bloc members agreed that Ukraine could skip that step. But, Ukraine still won’t receive an official invitation until all the members agree, which is likely going to be after the war has ended.

🌎Defining the start of the Anthropocene: Right now, we’re in what’s known as the Holocene epoch, a geological era that started around 12,000 years ago and marked the right conditions for human society to evolve. But, scientists have been looking for a natural site to officially mark the beginning of the Anthropocene epoch, which is an age defined by human activity dominating the Earth. The site chosen is a sinkhole lake in Canada, which has annual sediments showing spikes from human-related climate impact starting around 1950. If the site is approved, the official declaration of the Anthropocene as a new geological epoch will come in August of next year.

📄Amazon challenges EU: Under the EU’s 2022 Digital Services Act (DSA), 19 websites were labeled as very large online platforms (VLOP), each with more than 45 million users. This forces these companies to be more effective in taking down illegal online content, managing risk, conducting external and independent audits and sharing data with authorities and researchers. Now, Amazon is challenging this label, saying even bigger rivals in these countries haven’t been included in this group.

📱Indian iPhone maker?: Tata Group, India’s second-largest conglomerate in terms of market cap, is looking to get its hands on an iPhone manufacturing company, according to inside sources. This would be the first time an Indian company has secured the rights to build iPhones in the country. Currently, the facility it’s looking at has over 10,000 employees. This could be a huge boost for India as it seeks to challenge China’s status as the factory of the world.

👩‍⚖️Microsoft wins FTC court battle: Microsoft has been trying to buy out gaming company Activision Blizzard, but this deal has been met with a lot of challenges. The EU tried to stop the acquisition for antitrust reasons, but Microsoft ended up winning that case. Now, it’s been facing a similar suit from the US FTC, but the company just won a case in California that denied the FTC’s request to block the purchase. The companies still have to appeal to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which could still end up blocking the deal if its concerns aren’t addressed.

🪐Mirror exoplanet found: In 2020, NASA’s TESS mission and ground-based observations from the European Southern Observatory in Chile discovered exoplanet planet LTT9779b, which was picked out for more observations by the European Space Agency. Now, planet LTT9779b is being called the shiniest exoplanet we’ve ever seen. It’s super hot and surrounded by clouds made of reflective silicates and metals like titanium.

🐼Panda twins: It’s a girl! And another one! For the first time in South Korea’s history, twin giant pandas have been born. Zookeepers welcomed the two baby pandas into the world at the Everland theme park near Seoul. Ai Bao, the mother of the newborns, is said to have handled the delivery well, and zookeepers believe her to be very happy.

Panda twins in South Korea
Giant Panda Ai Bao holds her baby panda with mouth after giving birth to twin at Everland amusement park in Yongin, South Korea, July 11, 2023. Samsung C&T/Yonhap via REUTERS

🧀Would you eat this?: Say, cheese! Now, again! … and again. Burger King in Thailand is debuting its new cheeseburger, except there is no burger – just cheese. And lots of it! We’re talking 20 slices of processed American cheese on a bun. Did you want sauces? Nope. Get that outta here. This is a cheese-only burger. After hearing of this wild meal, curiosity led people to go and try the odd sandwich. The consensus? It seems to be a bit much.

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Written and put together by Joey Fung, Vanessa Wolosz, Caleb Moll and Christine Dulion