From the most-watched Super Bowl ever to "Chubby Hearts" in Hong Kong – Here are today's Headlines

Super Bowl LVIII this past Sunday was the most-watched Super Bowl ever.

From the most-watched Super Bowl ever to "Chubby Hearts" in Hong Kong – Here are today's Headlines
Usher performs during the halftime show of the NFL's Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., February 11, 2024. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

To start off, we're looking into:

Most-watched Super Bowl

The backstory: Every year, Americans gear up for the Super Bowl. If you're not familiar with it, the Super Bowl is where the top National Football League (NFL) teams compete for the championship title. Since its kickoff back in 1967, the Super Bowl has been drawing in millions of viewers with its adrenaline-pumping gameplay, epic halftime shows and those witty and viral commercials everyone talks about for weeks. 

More recently: The NFL's popularity has steadily been going through the roof over the years. Last year, NFL games were all over the top TV charts, grabbing 93 out of the top 100 spots in the US. And the Super Bowl? Last year, it drew a whopping 115.1 million viewers.

The development: Super Bowl LVIII this past Sunday was the most-watched Super Bowl ever, with an average of about 123.4 million viewers tuning in. Click the link here for more on what made this year's event a smash hit.

Xi and Putin’s recent phone call

China Russia ties
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin attend a presentation of a Haval F7 SUV produced at the Haval car plant located in Russian Tula region, at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 5, 2019. Maxim Shipenkov/Pool via Reuters/File Photo

The backstory: Over the past few years, ties between China and Russia have been gradually strengthening. For instance, last year, China's President Xi Jinping went on the first foreign trip of his third term to Moscow, while Russian President Vladimir Putin also made a rare visit to Beijing in October. Trade between the two has also been going up, particularly since the Ukraine-Russia conflict began in 2022. In that year alone, trade surged by about 30%, reaching a record US$190 billion. A few things helping boost trade are China buying discounted oil from Russia and Russia relying more on Chinese goods due to Western sanctions.

The development: Last week, ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations, Xi and Putin had a phone call to discuss the deepening collaboration between their nations. This comes as they mark 75 years of diplomatic ties this year. Click the link here for more.

MethaneSAT is coming for polluters

MethaneSAT Google
A rendering of a satellite that will be used to track methane emissions is shown in a handout from MethaneSAT. Google and environmental group EDF will unveil a partnership to expose large sources of climate-warming emissions using AI and a methane-hunting satellite that will launch next month. MethaneSAT/Handout via REUTERS

The backstory: Around 30% of Earth’s climate change issues are related to methane emissions from things like industrial cattle farming and extracting fossil fuel. In the first 20 years after methane enters the atmosphere, it’s more than 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide (CO2) when it comes to global warming. But it’s hard to track since it’s invisible to the human eye and sometimes challenging to pinpoint in satellite images. And research has shown that many polluters are probably lowballing the actual amount of methane they are emitting. So, it’s hard to know how accurate our data is.

More recently: As a potential solution, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has been working on the satellite MethaneSAT to check out methane levels over the world’s top oil- and gas-producing regions. The EDF partnered with the New Zealand Space Agency and has other big backers like the Bezos Earth Fund.

The development: On Wednesday, Google announced it would be working with the EDF using its AI and cloud technology to help track emissions observed by MethaneSAT, which is set to be launched into orbit by Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket next month. Click the link here for more.

To end, we'll look into:

AI in the fashion industry

fashion AI
A model presents a creation from the Michael Kors Fall/Winter 2024 collection during New York Fashion Week, in New York City, U.S., February 13, 2024. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Do you ever wonder how fashion design houses are able to predict what the hottest trends will be ahead of time, year in and year out? Well, people known as fashion or trend forecasters are behind it – think the Anna Wintour character from “The Devil Wears Prada.” But now, after the quick progression of artificial intelligence (AI) over the last year or so, many industries are seeing its impact – and fashion is one of them. 

Since the first color reports came out in 1915, people have been predicting what the next fashion craze will be. And the companies that forecast trends the way we know of today started coming about in the ‘60s and ‘70s. But AI is a new tool that’s changing the way this business works. Click the link here for more.

In other news ...


📉Market snapshot and key quotes:

  • In the US: US stocks closed higher on Wednesday as Wall Street aimed to recover from previous losses.
  • In Hong Kong: Hong Kong stocks rose on Wednesday after the Lunar New Year break as investors hoped for measures to boost China's economy.

📊Top gainers/losers and company news:

  • In the US: Lyft shares surged 35% after strong Q4 earnings.
  • Robinhood Markets jumped over 13% with better-than-expected Q4 earnings. Bitcoin has also surged, reclaiming a US$1 trillion market cap and passing US$51,000 on Wednesday.
  • Airbnb sank over 2% despite beating revenue expectations.
  • In Hong Kong: Meituan jumped over 5%, rose 3%, and  Alibaba climbed 2.2%

👀The numbers everyone is watching:

  • In the US: The US is set to release key data like CPI, PPI and housing stats.
  • In Hong Kong: No specific events or data are expected in China due to the Lunar New Year celebration.

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

More headlines ...

📰Middle East update: The Lebanon-based Hezbollah group and Israel have been fighting almost daily since the Israel/Gaza conflict broke out in October. On Wednesday, rockets were launched from Lebanon on Israel, killing at least one and wounding several. Israel retaliated later that day using its fighter jets, killing at least four civilians and wounding nine others. 

There's also growing fear of Israel invading Rafah, Gaza's most southern city bordering Egypt, where more than a million people have collected to seek shelter. The UK has warned Israel to think twice about this move. US director of the International Crisis Group, Michael Wahid Hanna, said to the Financial Times that the US is the only power that can stop Israel from invading, and Egypt has said that it will suspend its peace agreement with Israel if it invades. The UN aid chief has said invading Rafah would lead to "a slaughter."  

🗞️Russia/Ukraine update: According to Ukraine, the Caesar Kunikov, a Russian landing ship in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea, was attacked and sunk by Ukrainian naval drones on Wednesday. Ukrainian attacks on Russia's fleet in the waterway have opened up a corridor for grain exports, according to NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg. 

📰North Korea and South Korea update: Over the last few weeks, North Korea has been testing different types of missiles, and the fifth test of multiple cruise missiles took place on Wednesday, according to South Korea's military. Seoul is working closely with the US to analyze the launch, said South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff in a text message to reporters.

South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol's office told the BBC that North Korea hacked into the personal email account of the president's aide in November, which they were also using for work. "The breach was caused by a careless violation of security regulations by an individual administrator who used a commercial email for work purposes," the president's office said. 

🗞️South China Sea update: Tensions have been rising in the South China Sea over disputed territory, but the Philippines has now deployed a warship off the coast of its island Palawan to "protect its maritime interests," according to a navy official. This comes even after the Philippines and China, which claims most of the territory in the area, agreed to improve their communication on the matter last month.

💔Superbowl shooting:  Around 1 million people were in downtown Kansas City in the US on Wednesday celebrating the Chiefs' Super Bowl win on Sunday. A shooting left at least one person at the rally dead and more than 20 others injured. Police said they've recovered firearms, but it's still an active investigation. Three people have been detained, and the police have asked any witnesses or people with video at the event to come forward with any information.

⛑️Turkish miners: On Tuesday, a landslide of around 10 million cubic meters of cyanide-laced earth trapped nine gold miners in the Copler mine in Turkey's Erzincan province. Hundreds of search and rescue personnel have been deployed to try and get them out safely. But the cyanide, which is used for gold extraction, is a toxic chemical that could leak from the site and cause wider environmental damage, too. 

🚜India's mass protests: Tens of thousands of Indian farmers are advancing toward the country's capital, New Delhi, demanding a range of things, including guaranteed crop prices, debt waivers and pensions. The demand for minimum pricing on crops goes back several years, but protestors say the government hasn't come through. Protestors have said they're prepared to protest for months until their demands are met, carrying with them plenty of rations and supplies. But Indian police have been using tear gas, cement blocks, fencing, barbed wire and water cannons to stop the farmers from reaching the capital.

📩Indonesia's election: Controversial Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto has claimed victory in Indonesia's presidential election. Initial "quick counts" showed Subianto as winning 57% to 59% of votes, with more than 80% of the vote counted in the sampled polling places. The results aren't official yet, and the other candidates have not conceded defeat. But quick counts have historically been accurate about the election results.

💰Germany's economy: Even though Japan's economy grew by 1.9% last year, Germany has still taken its spot as the world's third-biggest economy mainly because of a sharp fall in the yen, according to official data released on Thursday.

📈"It was one zero":  Rideshare company Lyft saw around a 67% surge in after-hours trading after a clerical typo inflated the company's earnings outlook by a whopping 500 basis points (it should have been just 50) on Tuesday. CEO David Risher said in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday that he was to blame for the extra zero that showed up in a press release. The typo also appeared in other company documents, and Risher said his team was taking the error very seriously, noting it was corrected "within seconds of finding it." Risher added, "This was a bad error, but it was one zero in a press release."

🖥️Open AI hacked: Microsoft and OpenAI announced in a Wednesday report that they found state-backed hacking groups associated with Russia, North Korea, China, and Iran had been using OpenAI's large language models (LLMs) to train on and develop their hacking campaigns. The company has rolled out a ban on these hacking groups to keep them from using its artificial intelligence (AI) products.

⚖️Singapore Airlines sued: A former flight attendant for Singapore Airlines has sued the carrier for US$1.3 million, saying it failed to provide a safe working environment. He says he slipped on a grease patch while working on a 17-hour flight in 2019, hitting his head and being diagnosed with an injury that eventually meant the end of his career as a cabin crew member. The lawsuit is due to unfold over the next 10 days. Local media reported that Singapore Airlines lawyers have argued there was no grease patch, saying the attendant slipped in another area of the plane. They also said he'd filed work injury claims on two other occasions before. 

🏅Haughey's first gold: Hong Kong Olympic silver medalist Siobhan Haughey has won her first gold medal ever at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha in the 200-meter freestyle. It's also Hong Kong's first gold medal to be won in a global championship or Games held in an Olympic standard 50-meter pool.

Siobhan Haughey swimming gold
Swimming - World Aquatics Championships - Aspire Dome, Doha, Qatar - February 14, 2024 Hong Kong's Siobhan Bernadette Haughey celebrates winning the women 200m freestyle final REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

🎬Lisa's new acting gig: Variety reported on Monday that Blackpink's Thailand-born K-pop singer Lisa has landed a role in the third season of HBO's popular TV show "The White Lotus," which is set to begin filming in Thailand. The singer will be credited in the show by her full name, Lalisa Manobal.

💞"Chubby Hearts" in Hong Kong: British fashion designer Anya Hindmarch took her "Chubby Hearts" art installation outside London for the first time and brought it to Hong Kong for Valentine's Day, where giant heart-shaped balloons could be seen floating around the city. This also made a festive backdrop for the 180 people who decided to tie the knot on February 14. "I trust your hearts are all as chubby as mine on this splendid day, where romance is in the air," Hong Kong's chief, John Lee, said at the installation's launch on Wednesday.

Chubby Hearts Hong Kong
Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board/Hong Kong Design Centre

Quiz Time!

What year was the first Super Bowl held?

  1. 1973
  2. 1965
  3. 1967
  4. 1984

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

**The answer to the quiz is [3]