From BYD taking names to a Tetris whiz – Here are today's Headlines

Founded in 1995, BYD, short for Build Your Dreams, plays a significant role in the electric vehicle (EV) scene.

From BYD taking names to a Tetris whiz – Here are today's Headlines
A BYD electric vehicle (EV) Qin moves on a street in Beijing, China October 31, 2023. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo/File Photo

To start off, we're looking into:

BYD beats Tesla

The backstory: Founded in 1995, BYD, short for Build Your Dreams, plays a significant role in the electric vehicle (EV) scene. Famous investor Warren Buffett's investment in 2008 gave China’s BYD global recognition, making it a major player in the EV market. BYD manufactures a variety of products, including electric cars, buses and batteries. It’s also a key player in China's push to expand the new energy market, competing directly with Tesla. A big moment came in the first quarter of 2023 when the company surpassed Volkswagen, becoming China's top-selling car brand.

The development: In the final quarter of 2023, BYD became the world's largest electric car company, outperforming Tesla for the second straight year. It set a new record by delivering over 500,000 battery-powered EVs by December 31, as reported in a stock exchange filing. Click the link here for more.

Jeffrey Epstein docs

Jeffrey Epstein
Demonstrators hold signs aloft protesting Jeffrey Epstein, as he awaits arraignment in the Southern District of New York on charges of sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors, in New York, U.S., July 8, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

The backstory: In 2006, Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy individual known for his associations with billionaires, celebrities and politicians, faced charges in Florida for engaging in illegal sexual activities with a 14-year-old girl. In 2008, he pleaded guilty, and the outcome was a controversial plea deal and a 13-month jail term, mostly on a work-release program. Then in 2019, Epstein faced new federal charges for sexually trafficking minors, but he died in jail before the trial. The cause of death was officially ruled a suicide. 

The development: From the beginning of the new year, documents related to a case against Epstein have been coming out in waves. One 1,300-page file mentions almost 200 individuals, including Epstein's accusers, well-known figures and politicians. Click the link here for more.

New World’s mental health program

New World Hong Kong mental health
Tourists stroll through the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, a bustling shopping hotspot, in Hong Kong, China December 5, 2023. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

The backstory: Hong Kong faces significant challenges in mental health within the workplace. According to Mind HK, a mental health charity in the city, this stems from things like inadequate physical and mental space, limited break opportunities, low job security and tense workplace cultures. To add to all this, Hong Kong has one of the world's longest working hours at 51.1 hours per week and 39% working overtime. One in four Hong Kong workers experiences symptoms of depression and anxiety, surpassing the global average by 2.5 times. 

The development: The Cheng family in Hong Kong is associated with one of the city's prominent business conglomerates, the New World Development Company Limited. Today, it’s run by the third generation of the family and has become a diversified conglomerate with its fingers dipped in many pies, from property to hotels and services. Now, the property arm of the Cheng family’s conglomerate, New World Development Co., is launching a pilot program that initially includes courses addressing topics such as identifying colleagues in need and managing mental health for managers and senior execs. Click the link here for more.

To end, we'll look into:

Morning or afternoon sweat? Which is better?

exercise fitness
Source: Pexels/Nathan Cowley

Many of us have run into the eternal workout quandary – what time of day should we exercise to reach our fitness and exercise goals? Is it in the morning before our daily work grind? After? Or during our lunch breaks?

Now, according to a study of swimmers across four Olympic games, swim times were the fastest in the evening, specifically for them, at 5:12 p.m. A separate study found that recreational cyclists saw faster trial times in the evening as well. 

Now, this has to do with our circadian rhythm – our body’s internal clock that syncs our sleep and eating time throughout the day. Our body clock takes cues from light exposure through the optic nerve and sends signals to other clocks in organs, muscles and fat tissues. These clocks can be influenced by external factors like meal times and activities, including exercise.

Now, performance aside, what about actual health benefits? When should we exercise to maximize those? Click the link here for more.

In other news ...

📰Russia and Ukraine: We have passed the 680th day of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, and here are some major updates. The UK's Ministry of Defence projects that Russia could surpass the loss of 500,000 military personnel within the next year due to escalating casualties in Ukraine. The agency also said that Russia is continuing to struggle for air superiority, evident in the recent downing of three combat jets just before Christmas, impacting ground forces' tactical objectives. Also, a missile strike by Russia in the eastern Ukrainian city of Pokrovsk killed 11, including five children, prompting Ukraine's President Zelenskiy to condemn the attack on civilian homes. Meanwhile, Denmark is set to donate 19 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine in the second quarter of this year after training Ukrainian pilots. 

📰The latest on Israel and Hamas: Israeli defense officials have predicted that the conflict in Gaza will extend for at least a year, raising concerns about civilian casualties, a worsening humanitarian crisis and regional instability. This is while the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has said it faces challenges in clearing areas that are "dense and saturated with terrorists." Many are worried about clashes with Israel's neighbor Lebanon and Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shia Islamist political party and militant group, possibly triggering a broader war. A recent airstrike near Rafah killed two journalists, underscoring the ongoing human toll of the conflict. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Israel to discuss ongoing conflicts and humanitarian concerns, emphasizing tough conversations on issues like the protection of Palestinian civilians and aid delivery. This would be his fifth visit since October when the conflict began. 

😲Woman found alive days after Japan quake: Earlier last week, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck central Japan, killing more than 120 people and leaving around 200 missing. A woman in her 90s was found alive under rubble five days after in the wreckage of a two-story building in the town of Suzu, with rescue workers also finding another woman in her 40s in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest at the same site. 

🤑Heiress breaks wealth record: During COVID, many of us were stuck indoors, meaning, among other things, people wore less makeup. But with the world out of the woods, companies like L'Oréal are seeing sales rebound. Beauty giant L'Oréal's shares reached record highs in late December, making heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, at the age of 70, the first woman to accumulate a US$100 billion fortune, securing the 12th spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. 

🚗Chinese EV reaches record distances: Generally, electric vehicles (EVs) range around 130-680 kilometers on a single charge. Last month, Nio, the Chinese EV manufacturer and Tesla rival, unveiled a groundbreaking EV battery with a 1,000-kilometer range. This was showcased by CEO William Li, often referred to as China's Elon Musk, who drove from Shanghai to Xiamen to demonstrate the company's cutting-edge battery tech. Despite facing a regional cold snap, Li's Nio ET7 electric car completed the 14-hour trip without recharging, with a 3% battery charge left at the end.

🩸New blood type: Human blood is classified into four major groups – A, B, AB and O – based on the ABO system, and each of these groups can be either Rh-positive or Rh-negative, creating the eight most common blood types. Most of the global population falls into these categories, but some other less common blood groups are out there. A previously unknown nucleotide sequence has been discovered in someone in China with the rare blood type p, a subtype of the P blood group. It's believed that there are fewer than one in a million people with blood type p.

💊Elon's drug use: Remember when Elon Musk smoked a joint on the Joe Rogan podcast? Well, after that, his federal security clearance, which is essentially a clearance that lets people access classified government info and facilities, tied to his role as CEO of SpaceX was reviewed. He had to do three years of random drug testing at NASA's request. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, Musk's use of drugs, including LSD, cocaine, ecstasy, psychedelic mushrooms and ketamine, has raised concerns among execs and board members at the companies he leads. While Musk has said he has a prescription for ketamine as an antidepressant, concerns have been raised about the potential impact on his leadership over companies including Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and The Boring Co. Musk holds the top position on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net worth of US$219 billion.

⌨️The Blackberry era is back? Remember the Blackberry days? Well, a company is offering a nostalgic nod to this era. Its new physical keyboard for the iPhone comes with tactile buttons and shortcuts for US$139. For Clicks, aside from making a statement, it's also maximizing screen space without intrusion. But the reactions have been varied. "5th day of 2024 and we already found the dumbest product," wrote one user on social media. "What's next, wires for air pods?" wrote another. 

⚽China's rush to see Ronaldo: Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and his Saudi Al Nassr team are set to play games in Shanghai and Shenzhen later this month on a friendly "China Tour." Chinese football fans were all over it. The rush for tickets led to sellouts across various platforms "within seconds," with only the most expensive category seats available seconds after tickets were released. "On January 24, I will be the happiest girl in the whole world," wrote one person on Weibo. 

🎥The dark side of Mickey Mouse: "Steamboat Willie" is a classic animated short film by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks that was released in late 1928. It's considered the debut of Mickey Mouse. But this month, the film's copyright expired, and it entered the public domain in the US. In just about 24 hours, indie filmmakers leaped at the opportunity to showcase darker stories of Mickey now that it's not copyright-protected. "Mickey's Mouse Trap," an indie film coming in March, will depict a masked killer dressed as Mickey stalking young friends in an amusement arcade, while another untitled horror-comedy features a sadistic mouse torturing ferry passengers. That's one way to ruin our childhoods. 

👶Michelle Yeoh's debut as grandma: Oscar award-winning Actress Michelle Yeoh and former Ferrari CEO Jean Todt met in June 2004 in Shanghai, got engaged shortly afterward, and then finally tied the knot after 6,992 days (that is, according to their wedding program, at least). After recently celebrating their wedding in Malaysia, Yeoh shared a picture holding her step-grandson Maxime's foot, the newborn of her husband Jean Todt's son, Nicolas, saying, "A little miracle on the first day of 2024 ❤️✨ we are so truly blessed… can't tell u how happy I am for this very very special bundle of joy ❤️✨." 

🕹️Human beats Tetris: Tetris is widely believed to be unbeatable, but artificial intelligence (AI) has gotten the game to the "kill screen" point, where it crashes due to glitches. Last month, 13-year-old Willis Gibson stunned the gaming world by reaching the game's "kill screen." Inspired by the AI program StackRabbit, which reached Level 237, Willis mapped potential crash scenarios, leading to his groundbreaking accomplishment of glitching the game out at Level 157.

Source: YouTube

💓Eeyore is here for you: Japan has had a rough entry into the new year, with a Japan Airlines plane collision and a 7.5 magnitude earthquake. But a Tokyo Disneyland actor dressed as Eeyore has gone viral online after a video showed them staying in character and keeping people calm during an earthquake preparation announcement. Watch it below.

Quiz Time!

Who did Chinese EV-maker BYD outperform for the second straight year in EV sales for the last quarter of 2023?

  1. Nio
  2. Tesla
  3. Rivian
  4. General Motors

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Written and put together by Joey Fung, Krystal Lai and Christine Dulion

**The answer to the quiz is [2]