From a new all-sports streaming platform to Taylor Swift's private plane – Here are today's Headlines

Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery are now teaming up to create a new streaming platform.

From a new all-sports streaming platform to Taylor Swift's private plane – Here are today's Headlines
Feb 3, 2024; Mobile, AL, USA; American running back Emani Bailey of TCU (9) runs with the ball during the second half of the 2024 Senior Bowl football game at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

To start off, we're looking into:

Sports streaming collab

The backstory: You know how cable TV used to be the go-to for watching your favorite shows and movies? Well, over time, things have been shifting. More and more people are saying goodbye to cable and embracing streaming services like Netflix. Why? Because streaming is super convenient, offering a wide range of entertainment options at your fingertips. Plus, streaming lets you watch whatever you want, whenever you want, as long as you've got an internet connection. 

Netflix, in particular, has been leading the charge with millions of subscribers worldwide. Other companies like Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount have been trying to keep up by launching their own streaming platforms, but none have achieved the same level of success as Netflix. 

More recently: Streaming services have also been making big strides in the sports arena. For example, Warner Bros. Discovery's Max started offering live sports last year for about US$10 a month. Meanwhile, Prime Video and Apple TV+ have also entered the sports streaming market. Amazon secured the rights to Thursday Night Football, while Apple offers a Major League Soccer pass.

The development: Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery are now teaming up to create a new streaming platform exclusively for sports. Click the link here for more.

Meta will label more AI images

artificial intelligence deepfake
Meta AI logo is seen in this illustration taken September 28, 2023. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/

The backstory: Artificial intelligence (AI) deepfakes have been causing quite a stir lately. These are videos or images where AI technology swaps one person's face with another. The interest in this tech skyrocketed over a year ago, mainly due to the excitement around OpenAI's ChatGPT.

To give you a clearer picture, deepfake algorithms learn from tons of facial data to create convincing content of people doing or saying things they never actually did. The problem? Deepfakes can be used to spread misinformation or create harmful material, which could have serious consequences. For instance, during the recent US Democratic presidential primary, there were reports of fake calls supposedly from President Joe Biden, urging voters not to go to the polls in New Hampshire.

More recently: To tackle this, tech companies are teaming up. The Content Authenticity Initiative led by Adobe is one such effort. They're pushing for things like digital watermarks and labels on AI-made content. President Biden even signed an executive order in October backing more AI regulation. Google is also on board and is planning to slap labels on AI-generated content on YouTube and other platforms.

The development: Meta announced on Tuesday that it would identify and label images created by other companies' AI services that get shared on their platforms, Facebook and Instagram. Click the link here for more.

Alibaba stock buyback

A man walks past the Alibaba booth during the first China International Supply Chain Expo (CISCE) in Beijing, China November 28, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo

The backstory: Alibaba, founded in 1999, used to be China's most valuable tech company. It's big in the e-commerce and cloud market, but now it's facing new competitors like PDD, owner of Pinduoduo and Temu. China's economy has been in a bit of a slump recently, with people having cut down on spending. With that, Alibaba fell short of expectations when it came to revenue in the December quarter. It grew just 5% year over year, which was slower than in previous quarters. The company has also lost some of its market share to PDD and ByteDance, owner of TikTok. 

More recently: Last March, the company announced plans to split into six independent businesses, each with its own CEO and board of directors. This means each unit could independently go public, which Alibaba wanted to do with its cloud division. But that plan was later scrapped over worries about US curbs on chip exports to China. This and the low turnaround in the cloud unit eventually led Morgan Stanley to downgrade the firm. PDD then overtook Alibaba as China's most valuable e-commerce company in December.

The development: Alibaba just announced a new US$25 billion stock buyback on Wednesday to reassure investors about its outlook. Click the link here for more.

To end, we'll look into:

Taylor Swift’s private jet

Taylor Swift private jet
Taylor Swift poses on the red carpet as she attends the 66th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 4, 2024. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

After making history on Sunday by winning her fourth Grammy award for album of the year, Taylor Swift is in Japan to perform in Tokyo for four nights this week. She will then probably fly back to the US to see her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, compete in the Superbowl on Sunday. This jet-setting racks up about 31,200 kilometers (19,400 miles) on her private plane before she heads back to Asia for a nearly month-long tour ahead of a European leg that ends in August. 

But Tay Tay, usually the world’s sweetheart, has been facing criticism about the amount of carbon emissions she produces with her private jet. According to sustainability marketing firm Yard, she allegedly emitted around 8,300 metric tons of emissions in 2022 – 1,184 times an average person’s footprint. Click the link here for more.

In other news ...


📉Market snapshot and key quotes:

  • In the US: US stocks climbed on Wednesday as investors reviewed quarterly results. 
  • In Hong Kong: After a 4% jump the day before, Hong Kong stocks fell on Wednesday, with investors snatching up profits.

📊Top gainers/losers and company news:

  • In the US: Snap dropped over 34% due to disappointing revenue figures and weak guidance.
  • Automaker Ford saw a 6% increase after topping Q4 estimates and giving higher guidance.
  • Roblox jumped over 10% after beating estimates and providing strong full-year guidance.
  • In Hong Kong: Chinese EV makers were mixed, with BYD and Nio rising over 1%, and Xpeng and Li Auto each losing over 1%.

👀The numbers everyone is watching:

  • In the US: The US will share wholesale inventories and jobless claims data. 
  • In Hong Kong: China will release PPI and CPI data this week.

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

More headlines ...

🗞️Middle East update: Hamas responded to the 135-day ceasefire proposal backed by Israel and the US that was mediated by Egypt and Qatar with a list of demands. The group wants a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces, an exchange of hostages and the dead, the reconstruction of Gaza and an end to the war after the three phases of 45-day truce periods, according to a draft proposal seen by Reuters. Israel PM Netanyahu rejected the offer, calling it "delusional." But US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there was still room for negotiation. Meanwhile, for months, the Houthis have been attacking ships in the Red Sea, disrupting the global trade route. Iran has warned the US not to strike a ship that US officials believe is carrying intelligence to help the Houthis continue attacks in the Red Sea. On Wednesday, the US conducted an airstrike that killed the commander of an Iran-backed militia in Iraq.

📰Russia/Ukraine update: Russia launched 64 missiles and drones, according to Ukraine, targeting many cities across the country on Wednesday, killing at least five people and injuring dozens more. The Kremlin has also confirmed that former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who was spotted in Moscow this week, interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is the first time a Western reporter has interviewed Putin since the Russia/Ukraine war began. No interview details have been released yet, but it's expected to be posted on Carlson's website and on X. 

💣Bomb blasts in Pakistan: Just ahead of Pakistan's parliamentary elections, two bombs exploded in Balochistan on Wednesday at two of the candidate's offices, killing at least 30 people and wounding dozens more. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks. 

✈️China Defence debut: At Saudi Arabia's annual arms exhibition, China took the spotlight with its J-10 fighter aircraft, showcasing its growing ties with the world's fifth-biggest weapons spender. This was the first time state companies showed their weaponry under a single brand, China Defence.

⚽Messi plays in Japan: After the controversy footballer Lionel Messi caused in Hong Kong by not playing in a match against the local team due to an injury, the Argentinian played in Japan just a few days later. But Hong Kong fans are still angry, wondering how he was able to play so soon after not getting off the bench in Hong Kong. "Smiling in Japan but sulking in China, what can I say?" a Weibo user wrote in one of the most upvoted comments on the trending topics.

💐Former Chilean President dies:  Former Chilean President Sebastian Pinera died from drowning after a helicopter crash on Tuesday. Of the four on board, Pinera was the only one who didn't survive, and a state funeral is being held on Friday, according to a statement from the Chilean government. 

🏆Matchstick Eiffel Tower: Richard Plaud spent eight years building a 7-meter (24-foot) Eiffel Tower model out of hundreds of thousands of matchsticks to beat the existing world record. But he was denied a Guinness World Record title because officials said he used match sticks with the red tips cut off, which disqualified him. 

🤑Disney invests in Epic Games: On Wednesday, Walt Disney Co. announced it's acquiring a US$1.5 billion equity stake in Fortnite maker Epic Games. It's part of a collab involving Disney franchises like Star Wars, Marvel and Avatar. If you're a Fortnite player, this means you'll be able to watch, shop and play with Disney characters in the game.

👏Trapped killer whales escape: Yesterday, we reported that in the sea just off the coastal town of Rausu in Hokkaido, a dozen killer whales were trapped in icy waters with no way for locals to help free them. But now they're believed to have escaped, according to local officials.

✈️Amelia Earhart's plane found?: Almost 90 years after pilot Amelia Earhart went missing during her expedition to be the first woman to fly around the globe, a wreckage has been found at a depth of 4,800 meters (16,000 feet) that could be the missing plane. It's currently being debated how the wreckage will be recovered, if it is Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan and where the wreckage and any remains will go. 

Quiz Time!

Editor's correction: Yesterday's newsletter did not give the correct answer to the quiz at the bottom. The correct answer to yesterday's quiz was #3, Estée Lauder.

Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery are collaborating on a new streaming service for what?

  1. Animated films
  2. Classic movies
  3. Stand-up comedy
  4. Sports

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Written and put together by Joey Fung, Alisha Khan and Christine Dulion

**The answer to the quiz is [4]