From ASML talks with the Dutch government to "Dune" meeting a new generation – Here are today's Headlines

The Dutch government is reportedly in talks with ASML to keep the chipmaker rooted in the Netherlands.

From ASML talks with the Dutch government to "Dune" meeting a new generation – Here are today's Headlines
A High NA EUV tool is seen at ASML’s headquarters in Veldhoven, Netherlands, November 20, 2023. ASML/Michel de Heer/Handout via REUTERS

To start off, we're looking into:

The Dutch government wants ASML at home

The Dutch government is reportedly in talks with ASML to keep the chipmaker rooted in the Netherlands despite worries about anti-immigration sentiments. This update surfaced through De Telegraaf, a Dutch newspaper, citing unnamed sources. The government has called the initiative "Operation Beethoven," as per the report. Here's the backstory.

Egypt ups IMF deal to US$8 billion

 A general view of the new headquarters of the Central Bank of Egypt, at the New Administrative Capital (NAC) east of Cairo, Egypt, December 26, 2023. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/File Photo

An expansion of Egypt's agreement with the IMF was announced on Wednesday, adding another US$5 billion to the rescue program, bringing it up to US$8 billion. This expansion builds upon a US$3 billion program launched back in December 2022. One key move in this plan is to allow the Egyptian pound to trade more freely, loosening the government's control over its value. The central bank has also hiked up interest rates by a significant 600 basis points. Here's the backstory.

What happened to Apple’s car?

Apple Project Titan
An Apple logo is pictured in an Apple store in Paris, France, March 6, 2024. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

In January, the launch of Apple’s car was reportedly pushed back by four years to 2028. But, after spending US$1 billion a year for almost a decade on Project Titan, Apple officially pulled the plug on its car project at the end of February. The news was given to the nearly 2,000 people working on it by Apple’s COO Jeff Williams and Kevin Lynch, a vice president in charge of the effort. Here's the backstory.

To end, we'll look into:

“Dune” meets a new generation

The "Dune" film series, directed by Denis Villeneuve, is the talk of the town right now. A project of Legendary and Warner Bros. Pictures, the first film revived a sluggish, pandemic-era theater scene, and the second installment is already breaking box office milestones a week into its release. 

But the story isn't new – it stems from the original Dune saga created by sci-fi writer Frank Herbert back in the 1960s. So what is it about this 60s-era story that's resonating with young audiences today? Click here for more.

In other news ...

🗞️Middle East update: Following ongoing talks in Cairo for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which was hoped to have come before the Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins next week, a Hamas delegation has left Cairo without a deal. Egyptian and Qatari mediators said that there's been difficulty reaching an agreement over a hostage exchange and demands made by Hamas for jailed Palestinians. But, Hamas said that talks with Israel are not over. China has also called for an immediate ceasefire and described what's happened in Gaza as a "disgrace to civilization." 

Yesterday, we reported that Israel had fast-tracked plans for more than 3,000 new settlements in the West Bank region. The UN has since condemned this move, urging Israel to stop all settlement activity, pointing out that settlements are illegal under international law. Meanwhile, US officials have said President Biden will announce plans to establish a port in Gaza for humanitarian aid at his Thursday State of the Union address.

📰Russia/Ukraine update: In a visit to the Black Sea port in Odesa, which was recently attacked by Russian drones, a Russian missile came close to striking Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the visiting Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who described the moment as "intense." Five people were killed by the missile, according to Ukraine's navy.

After a call with German military officials disclosing information about UK troops in Ukraine was intercepted and leaked by Russia, UK and NATO members have expressed concerns over Germany's security. But Miguel Berger, Germany's ambassador to the UK, has said there's "no need" for his government to apologize for the incident because it was the fault of just one individual. 

🛥️North Korea's war prep: The US and South Korea have been conducting one of its largest joint annual military exercises this week amid rising tensions with North Korea. In response, the North's leader, Kim Jong Un, has overseen military drills that included taking over border guard posts. 

💬China slams the US: Top officials in China have pledged to deepen ties with Russia and criticized the US for its trade sanctions on Chinese companies, saying they've reached a "bewildering" and "unfathomable" level during an annual Foreign Minister's briefing at China's "Two Sessions" policy event.

🤝Sweden joins NATO: In a process that's stretched over two years, Sweden officially joined NATO on Thursday, handing over the final documents needed to complete the process. 

🚜Farmer protests in Poland: Over the last few weeks, farmers have been protesting across Europe against policies of the EU's Green Deal plan, an effort to slow climate change. Tens of thousands of protestors in Poland had a violent clash with the police outside the country's Parliament on Wednesday, warning that they would bring Poland to a standstill. 

✈️Boeing discloses names: After the Boeing 737 MAX 9 door plug blowout on an Alaskan Airlines flight in early January, the US launched an investigation to find out what happened. Boeing has now disclosed the names of the employees on its 737 MAX door team after criticism from lawmakers and a federal safety official for not releasing them when investigators asked.

🚓Mass murder in Canada: Late on Wednesday, seven people were attacked by knife in Ottawa inside a family home. A mother and four children were killed, along with a friend of the family, and the father is wounded and in the hospital. Febrio De-Zoysa, a 19-year-old male student from Sri Lanka who had been living with them, has been charged with six counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.  

👨‍⚖️"Rust" set shooting: In January 2023, actor Alec Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter after accidentally killing a cinematographer with a gun used on set during the filming of "Rust." The weapons supervisor on set, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, was also charged and has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter after failing to carry out proper firearms safety checks and accidentally giving Baldwin live ammunition. Baldwin's trial is set for July.

Rust involuntary manslaughter trial
Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the former armorer at the movie Rust, listens to closing arguments in her trial at First District Court in Santa Fe, N.M on Wednesday, Mar. 6, 2024. Luis Sánchez Saturno/The New Mexican/Pool via REUTERS

📄TikTok bill advances: We recently reported that lawmakers in the US had proposed a bill to force ByteDance to divest TikTok or face potential mass bans in the US. On Thursday, a House committee voted to advance the bill, putting it one step closer to a full vote by Congress.

💰India's AI push: On Thursday, India approved a 103 billion rupee (US$1.25 billion) investment in artificial intelligence (AI) projects. The money will be used to develop computing infrastructure and large language models, fund AI startups and develop AI for the public sector. 

📸Woman harassed in Repulse Bay: A video has been circulating Hong Kong and mainland Chinese social media platforms showing a woman being harassed at the beach by people believed to be mainland tourists. The men were taking photos of her, with one man putting his arms around her without consent. The video shows the woman repeatedly removing the man's arm, looking uncomfortable and expressing that she doesn't want to have her photo taken.

👩‍🍳"MasterChef Australia" in Hong Kong: Local media has reported that "MasterChef Australia" will be coming to Hong Kong to film three episodes of the show's 16th season. The Hong Kong Tourism Board said that the episodes will showcase Hong Kong's iconic landmarks, street food culture, and Michelin-starred restaurants.

🏌️‍♂️LIV Golf Tournament in Hong Kong: The LIV Golf Tournament is set to take place this weekend in Fanling, with big golfers like Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm and Joaquin Niemann coming to take part. The police have advised people to avoid driving in specific areas and asked spectators to take public transport to the tournament. 

🥊Mike Tyson comeback: Former boxing heavyweight champion and boxing legend Mike Tyson is returning to the ring in a match against YouTube-star-turned-boxer Jake Paul in a fight that'll be streamed by Netflix on July 20.

Quiz Time!

What country is chipmaker ASML Holding based in?

  1. The Netherlands
  2. France
  3. South Korea
  4. Japan

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

**The answer to the quiz is [1]