From a Tesla-BYD showdown to Hong Kong heroes – Here are today's Headlines

On Friday, Tesla rolled out new incentives in China, the biggest auto market globally.

From a Tesla-BYD showdown to Hong Kong heroes – Here are today's Headlines
A staff member looks at Tesla's new Model 3 sedan displayed next to Model X SUV at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China September 2, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/File Photo

To start off, we're looking into:

Tesla and BYD's price wars

On Friday, Tesla rolled out new incentives in China, the biggest auto market globally. According to the company's post on Weibo, if you buy certain Model 3 sedans or Model Y SUVs before the end of March, you could save up to 34,600 yuan (US$4,807.76). On the other hand, BYD, Tesla's local rival, also dropped the price of its new Song Pro hybrid SUV by 15.4%. In short, it's a full-blown price war in the Chinese auto market, with Tesla and BYD going all out to win over customers. Here's the backstory.

"BYD is the dominant player—it has a weapon that Tesla doesn't have and that's the plug-in hybrid," said Bill Russo, a former Chrysler executive who's now CEO of Automobility Ltd., a Shanghai-based consultancy.

China's "Two Sessions" 2024

China's Two Sessions
Delegation walks out of the Great Hall of the People after a meeting in Beijing, China March 4, 2024. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

China's "Two Sessions" are in full swing from March 5 to March 11 in Beijing, involving the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). These meetings are where big policy decisions for the country happen. Last year, President Xi Jinping secured approval for a third term during these sessions, showing just how important this event is. Over 2,900 parliamentarians from China, along with reps from Hong Kong, are in attendance for this year's "Two Sessions." Here's the backstory.

"Speeches by top policymakers will be key to watch, including interviews of key ministers, such as Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Minister of Science and Technology and Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. These key ministers will discuss various policies in more detail," said Goldman Sachs analysts in a report.

Apple fined by the EU

Apple EU antitrust
European Commissioner for Europe fit for the Digital Age Margrethe Vestager speaks during an online news conference on Apple anti trust case at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium April 30, 2021. Francisco Seco/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

On Monday, Apple was hit with a massive €1.8 billion (US$2 billion) penalty from the EU in relation to a Spotify complaint about its App Store policies. Brussels also ordered Apple to stop preventing these streaming apps from letting users know about cheaper deals and subscriptions outside the App Store. This is the third-largest fine the EU has recently handed out for anticompetitive business practices. Here's the backstory.

“For a decade, Apple abused its dominant position in the market for the distribution of music streaming apps through the App Store,” EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said. “They did so by restricting developers from informing consumers about alternative, cheaper music services available outside of the Apple ecosystem.”

To end, we'll look into:

India’s wedding of the year?

Ambani Merchant wedding India
Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries, Isha Piramal, Anand Piramal, Nita Ambani, Anant Ambani, Rihanna, Radhika Merchant, Shloka Mehta Ambani and Akash Ambani stand on the stage during pre-wedding celebrations of Anant and Radhika in Jamnagar, Gujarat, India, March 1, 2024. Reliance Industries/Handout via REUTER

Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant are set to get married in July, but the party's already started. And when it comes to weddings, Indians do it big. There's no shortage of reality shows showing off lavish Indian weddings, like Netflix's "The Big Day" or Amazon Prime's "Made in Heaven."

In case you don't know who this famous couple is – Ambani is a director at Reliance's new energy business and the Reliance Foundation, as well as one of the heirs to Mukesh Ambani's Indian business empire worth hundreds of billions. That makes him the son of Asia's richest man. Merchant is pretty high-profile herself, as the daughter of Viren Merchant and Shaila Merchant, who are the founders and owners of Encore Healthcare. So, in a culture of lavish weddings, it's no surprise that these two already made major headlines with their pre-wedding festivities. Yeah – we haven't even gotten to the actual wedding yet. Click here for more.

In other news ...

📰Russia/Ukraine update: Audio of German air force officials discussing giving Ukraine long-range missiles, possible strike targets and the operations of UK troops in Ukraine has been leaked by Russian sources. Concerns have now been raised about Germany's national security, and it's being pressured to provide an explanation of how this breach of security happened. 

🤝NATO military exercises: Over 20,000 soldiers from 13 countries are taking part in military exercises in Norway, Sweden and Finland in light of Finland's recent NATO membership and Sweden's joining the bloc soon. The exercises, called Nordic Response, demonstrate the ability of these countries to cooperate with one another through cross-border exercises over the next two weeks. 

⚠️Haiti in state of emergency:  We reported yesterday that a group of armed forces attacked Haiti's largest prison, leading to a lot of escaped prisoners, as a major gang leader looks to overthrow PM Ariel Henry. The country has now declared a state of emergency following the attack.

Haiti state of emergency
Haitian soldiers patrol outside the Toussaint Louverture International Airport following a gunfight with armed gangs on the surroundings of the airport, as the government declared state of emergency amid violence, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, March 4, 2024. REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol

👨‍⚖️Trump gets the green light: There's a rarely used constitutional rule in the US that prevents people involved in insurrection from holding public office, which some states have been trying to use to keep former President Donald Trump off the ballot for the upcoming election in November. But the US Supreme Court just unanimously ruled that he can appear on ballots this year, overturning a Colorado Supreme Court decision that said he had lost his right to run after trying to overturn the 2020 election results.

✈️New search for MH370?: On March 8, it will have been a decade since Malaysia flight MH370 disappeared on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Beijing with 239 people on board. It's believed the flight went down over the Indian Ocean, but no trace of it has ever been found. Now, Malaysian authorities are considering looking again for the plane after a marine exploration company has offered to resume the search and only be paid if it finds anything. 

🎤China scraps annual press conference: One of China's most widely followed events is an annual press conference given after the close of the yearly parliamentary meeting. But this year, breaking a 30-year tradition, the event has been canceled, as well as the rest of these annual press conferences for the remaining term of China's parliament ending in 2027, National People's Congress spokesperson Lou Qinjian said.

🤑Bezos back on top: For the first time in more than nine months, Elon Musk isn't the world’s richest person anymore. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos beat Musk on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index after Tesla shares fell over 7% on Monday. Musk now has a net worth of US$197.7 billion, while Bezos is sitting pretty at US$200.3 billion.

📈Nvidia's on fire: Chipmaker Nvidia has been on a wild ride, with skyrocketing shares and recent milestones like overtaking Alphabet in market cap and even beating Amazon and making it to the US$2 trillion club. Now, it's passed another marker by overtaking Saudi Aramco in market value, making it the world's third-most valuable public company after Apple and Microsoft Corp.

🚗Tesla production in Thailand: Elon Musk's electric vehicle (EV) company, Tesla, is in talks to potentially build a production factory for EVs and batteries in Thailand that'll be run on 100% green energy, according to an official from the PM's office.

💼Singapore updates employment pass: Singapore will increase the salary requirement for foreign workers to qualify for an employment pass to S$5,600 (US$4,170) starting next year, up from US$3,700, in order to create more job opportunities for locals. 

🐙New Octopus card: Hong Kong's Octopus travel card is getting an upgrade with the launch of a new physical card by the end of this month that can be used in 320 cities in mainland China. The card can be topped up with Hong Kong dollars, and it'll be automatically charged with the equivalent renminbi for use in the mainland.

🧑‍🚒Hong Kong heroes: As if firefighters weren't already considered heroes for all they do to save people, some Hong Kong firefighters used human oxygen masks to help revive cats that had inhaled smoke in a residential fire on Sunday. All of the residents were evacuated safely, the fire was put out and seven cats were rescued from the scene. Way to go, heroes!

Source: Facebook/hkanimalpost

Quiz Time!

What tech giant was just massively fined by the EU for anticompetitive practices?

  1. Apple
  2. Microsoft
  3. Alphabet
  4. Meta

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

**The answer to the quiz is [1]