From a break in the Epic Games-Apple fight to highlights from the Oscars – Here are today's Headlines

Apple has made a U-turn and reversed its decision to ban Epic Games from launching its own store on iOS in Europe.

From a break in the Epic Games-Apple fight to highlights from the Oscars – Here are today's Headlines
Logo of an Apple store is seen as Apple Inc. reports fourth quarter earnings in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

To start off, we're looking into:

Epic Games returns to iOS

Apple has made a U-turn and reversed its decision to ban Epic Games from launching its own store on iOS in Europe after EU officials initiated an investigation. This move allows Epic to bring Fortnite back to iPhones in Europe, a game missing from iOS devices since 2020 due to conflicts over Apple's developer terms. In a blog post, Epic announced that Apple had agreed to reinstate its developer account, signaling a commitment to enforcing the DMA. Here's the backstory.

"Apple has told us and committed to the European Commission that they will reinstate our developer account. This sends a strong signal to developers that the European Commission will act swiftly to enforce the Digital Markets Act and hold gatekeepers accountable," said Epic Games.

India seals US$100 billion trade deal

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks on after speaking with media inside the parliament premises upon his arrival on the first day of the budget session in New Delhi, India, January 31, 2024. REUTERS/Altaf Hussain/File Photo

India has just finalized a US$100 billion free trade deal with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) after 16 years of negotiations. Signed in New Delhi, this agreement means that India will gradually slash or remove customs duties on 95.3% of industrial imports from Switzerland, except for gold. Also, Norwegian exporters will enjoy reduced tariffs on specific goods bound for India. But before this deal can kick in, all five countries involved need to give it the thumbs up. Switzerland plans to do so by 2025. Here's the backstory.

Indian Trade Minister Piyush Goyal said at a signing ceremony that the deal with the EFTA bloc marked the "first time in the history of the world that we are inking an agreement with a binding commitment" for investment in a trade pact. "Investor confidence in India is at an all-time high," he added.

China’s neurosurgeon AI chatbot

China AI health care
An AI (Artificial Intelligence) sign is seen at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China July 6, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

China is now testing an AI chatbot for neurosurgeons to use at several hospitals in Beijing. The bot, called CARES Copilot 1.0, will answer questions with citations based on more than a million academic records. It should be able to process diagnostic data, too, and researchers hope AI will eventually play a more active role in the field, like warning doctors from pursuing risky procedures. Here's the backstory.

To end, we'll look into:

Oscars highlights

Oscars 2024
Ryan Gosling performs "I'm Just Ken" from "Barbie" during the Oscars show at the 96th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 10, 2024. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The 2024 Academy Awards, aka the Oscars, kicked off on Sunday, March 10, in Los Angeles, as Hollywood's elite gathered for the most prestigious awards show in the film industry. The ongoing Barbenheimer rivalry was finally settled, with "Oppenheimer" scooping up seven awards. But "Barbie" star Ryan Gosling still smashed in his rendition of the film's hit, "I'm Just Ken." John Cena made a nude appearance, and Emma Stone won her second Oscar while also experiencing a wardrobe malfunction. Let's dive into the details.

In other news ...

📰Haiti update: This month, Haiti has been under siege by armed gangs that have attacked the country's main prison and airport, as the gang demands PM Ariel Henry to resign. A state of emergency has been declared in the nation as the violence gets worse. Now, the US, Germany and other EU countries have begun evacuating their embassies as the gang situation worsens. 

🛥️South China Sea update: Tensions continue to rise over disputed territory in the South China Sea, which China claims the majority of. Manila plans to explore for energy in the waters, but a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry said on Monday that Manila's plan mustn't harm China's interests or involve other countries outside the region.  

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has also warned that the chances of armed conflict with China are much higher now than before and pushed Chinese leader Xi Jinping to set up a hotline to help limit rising tensions. 

✈️More Boeing woes: We reported yesterday that Boeing experienced a few mishaps with its airplanes last week. On Monday, at least 50 people were injured on a LATAM Airlines flight from Sydney to Auckland on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner after the plane experienced "technical" issues mid-air, causing the jet to drop suddenly. The airline did not provide much detail about what happened. "The plane landed at Auckland Airport as scheduled," it said.

📄India's citizenship law: On Monday, India announced that it'd be implementing the 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that grants Indian nationality to Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians who fled to Hindu-majority India from Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan before the end of 2014. But, many have criticized the CAA, saying it's anti-Muslim. 

👩‍✈️Pilots fall asleep during flight: On January 25, two pilots were found to have been asleep at the same time for almost 30 minutes mid-flight on Batik Air Flight A320 (Indonesia's local carrier). Both pilots have been suspended. The report by Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) found that the airplane was not on course when they woke up, but it landed safely, and no one was harmed.

🖋️Australian writer death sentence: Australian writer Yang Hengjun was given a suspended death sentence last month on espionage charges, which means that his sentence wouldn't be carried out immediately. Now, China's ambassador to Australia said on Monday that if Yang doesn't commit any more crimes, his death sentence potentially may not be carried out at all.

💰Alibaba investment: The entertainment and media arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has decided to invest at least HK$5 billion (US$639.3 million) in Hong Kong's culture and film industries over the next five years. The plan, called the Hong Kong Cultural and Art Industry Revitalisation Program, was announced on Monday and sets up a partnership between Alibaba and Hong Kong and mainland Chinese companies to produce content for film and TV and manage new talent.

💻Open-source xAI: Elon Musk recently sued OpenAI and CEO Sam Altman, saying the company had broken its promises to focus on making sure artificial intelligence (AI) was beneficial for humanity over profiting from it. One demand Musk has is that the company make its technology and research available to the public. Now, on top of the lawsuit, Musk's own AI firm, xAI, has said it will open-source its Grok chatbot, a challenger to OpenAI's ChatGPT. 

🤑Investment in the Philippines: Twenty-two US companies, including Google parent Alphabet, United Airlines and Microsoft, will invest over US$1 billion in the Philippines, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said during an official visit to Manila on Monday. She added that the money will go into areas like solar energy, electric vehicles (EVs), and digitization.

📸Kate's edited photo: We reported yesterday that after speculation over the condition of the UK's Princess Kate following abdominal surgery two months ago, Kensington Palace released photos of the Princess and her children taken last week. But, several news agencies such as Reuters withdrew the picture after publication as it appeared to have been edited. The Princess then issued a statement apologizing for any confusion, saying, "I do occasionally experiment with editing."

⛈️Rain for Hong Kong: Forecasters at the Hong Kong Observatory have said that Hong Kong expects to have cold and rainy days for most of the week, possibly with thunderstorms.

🐖RIP Pigcasso: A South African pig rescued from the slaughterhouse was destined to become the world's most successful non-human artist, creating expressionist paintings that sold for millions of rands (South Africa's currency) globally. The pig, Pigcasso, also had her own exhibition in Cape Town in 2018. Sadly, she died at almost 8 years old after suffering from chronic Rheumatoid arthritis. Pigcasso's last work of art is titled "Standing Ovation."

Quiz Time!

What country just finalized a US$100 billion EFTA trade deal?

  1. Kenya
  2. South Korea
  3. Australia
  4. India

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

**The answer to the quiz is [4]