From a "Two Sessions" recap to cuddly ostriches – Here are today's Headlines

From March 5 to March 11, China held its annual "Two Sessions" in Beijing.

From a "Two Sessions" recap to cuddly ostriches – Here are today's Headlines
Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders sing the national anthem at the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 11, 2024. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

To start off, we're looking into:

China's annual meeting recap

From March 5 to March 11, China held its annual "Two Sessions" in Beijing, involving the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Over 2,900 lawmakers from China and Hong Kong attended this gathering, which aimed to chart the country's path forward. Click here for a quick recap of all that went down.

"Deflation remains a significant concern among investors regarding China's economic landscape," said Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management.

OpenAI pushes back against Elon Musk

OpenAI Elon Musk
OpenAI logo is seen in front of Elon Musk photo in this illustration taken March 11, 2024. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Just a few weeks back, Musk sued Microsoft-backed OpenAI, along with its CEO Sam Altman and President Greg Brockman. OpenAI has now officially hit back at Musk's accusations with a legal rebuttal. In a court filing, the company argued that Musk's claims are based on complicated and sometimes "incoherent" information, suggesting that his actions are actually driven by a desire to replicate OpenAI's success for himself. Here's the backstory.

"The relief Musk seeks is as extraordinary as his claims are contrived," said OpenAI in its San Francisco state court filing. "Musk requests an order compelling OpenAI to reorganize and distribute its technology in accordance with the terms of his fictitious contract."

Intel's license for Huawei

Intel Huawei
The logo for the Intel Corporation is seen on a sign outside the Fab 42 microprocessor manufacturing site in Chandler, Arizona, U.S., October 2, 2020. REUTERS/Nathan Frandino//File Photo/File Photo

Despite AMD's efforts to get rid of Intel's license to sell to Huawei, the company has managed to keep it for now, two people familiar with the matter said to Reuters. But the effect has been a big revenue gap between the two companies. For example, AMD's share of sales of Huawei laptops containing its chips dropped from 47.1% in 2020 to 9.3% in the first six months of 2023, while Intel's rose from 52.9% to 90.7% in the same period. This win for Intel has meant that Huawei can keep its footing in the global laptop market using Intel chips, while AMD is missing out on sales to the Chinese firm. Here's the backstory.

"The majority of the CPUs used in Huawei's laptops is still from Intel, so any further limitation on it would make Huawei's laptop offering quite challenging," said Emma Xu, an analyst with technology market research firm Canalys.

To end, we'll look into:

Will millennials be the richest generation yet?

Millennial wealth gap
Source: Pexels/Leah Newhouse

Millennials, people born between 1981 and 1996, are generally considered to have pulled the financial short straw compared to boomers (and even Gen X). Many are facing a mountain of student debt. They've often been labeled a lazy and financially irresponsible generation, even though they're "a sandwich generation" paying for grown children and also aging parents. Plus, we can't forget the impact of the pandemic on the job market, inflation and skyrocketing prices in the property market. All of this has made it difficult for younger generations to hit important milestones, like saving for retirement or owning a home, which previous generations could do at a younger age. 

But, according to a wealth report from global real estate consultancy Knight Frank, millennials will likely become "the richest generation in history" over the next decade. Click the link here for more.

In other news ...

📰Russia/Ukraine update: Ukraine launched a drone attack targeting Russia's fuel refineries and energy supplies in the Nizhny Novgorod region and the city of Oryol, which caused fires and explosions and disrupted production. No one was harmed. Ukraine is also reinforcing its frontline defense that's running out of ammunition by digging trenches and putting up barriers along the 2,000-kilometer (1,200-mile) front. On Tuesday, officials confirmed that the US would send a new military aid package for Ukraine worth US$300 million to supply weapons. This is the first new aid package in months, as funding proposals for the war have been stuck in Congress. 

🗞️Haiti update: This month, Haiti has been under siege by armed gangs that have attacked the country's main prison and airport as they demand PM Ariel Henry to resign. A state of emergency has been declared as the violence gets worse. Henry has now announced his resignation and a new transitional council will choose a new interim PM. 

📰Middle East update: Gaza's Hamas-run Health Ministry has said that at least 67 people were killed in an Israeli attack on Monday, the first day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. An aid ship has also set sail from Cyprus to Gaza, carrying almost 200 tonnes of food. The Iran-backed Yemeni Houthis, who have been launching attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea for months, are causing major disruptions to the global trading route. The US launched six self-defense strikes against the Houthis on Monday after they warned of escalating attacks during Ramadan. The Israeli military also said on Tuesday that it had struck "two Hezbollah military infrastructures on the Syrian front."

🚓South Korean detained in Russia: Baek Won-soon, a South Korean man, has been arrested in Russia on suspicion of espionage, although few details have been released. He was reportedly detained in January, but South Korean media said Seoul was only informed about it last month. South Korean diplomats are negotiating his release. 

✈️Boeing's troubles: Following a series of incidents last week with United Airlines aircraft manufactured by Boeing, the airline's CEO has told Boeing to stop making its delayed 737 Max 10 jetliners and to make Max 9s instead until the Max 10 gets clearance to operate. US airlines have also warned of delays in Boeing deliveries that might lead to some cutting capacity for 2024. Meanwhile, former Boeing quality manager John Barnett, who filed a whistleblower complaint with regulators in 2019 over safety issues at the company, has been found dead in what appears to be a suicide.

⚓Joint naval drills: According to a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry, Iran, China and Russia are holding joint warship exercises from March 11 to 15 near the Gulf of Oman to maintain the safety of maritime economic activity in the Indian Ocean. 

💬India's tunnel: India's PM Narendra Modi has officially opened a tunnel in disputed territory along the Himalayan border with China to move troops and weapons to places beyond the tunnel. But China has strongly opposed this opening, saying it'll "only complicate" the boundary question and "disrupt the situation" in the border areas. New Delhi has rejected China's objections, saying the area in question has always been a part of India.

👩‍⚖️Andrew Tate extradition: After the UK obtained a European arrest warrant, social media influencer and self-proclaimed misogynist Andrew Tate and his brother were arrested in Romania on Tuesday on allegations of rape, human trafficking and creating an organized crime group. They are currently facing rape and human trafficking charges in Romania. A court ruled that the brothers could be extradited to the UK once the ongoing legal proceedings in Romania conclude.

🎦Airbnb bans surveillance cams: Airbnb has introduced a new policy that bans the use of security cameras inside properties starting from next month. Its current policies have allowed security cameras in common areas like hallways and living rooms, but they are adjusting this to better protect the "privacy of our community." Property owners can still have security cameras outside, as long as they aren't in certain private areas like outdoor showers or saunas. 

📄Meta lawsuit: Meta has sued one of its former employees who had worked there for 12 years and rose to a senior position, alleging that he uploaded sensitive company documents to his personal Google Drive and Dropbox accounts before leaving the company for an AI cloud computing startup. Meta said that at least eight employees listed on those documents left Meta for this new startup last year.

🚗Xiaomi EV: China's smartphone maker Xiaomi is taking orders for its first electric vehicle (EV), the SU7, and will start deliveries on March 28 as it takes on big players like Tesla, BYD and other local competitors. According to a post on Weibo, the SU7 is on display at 59 showrooms in 29 cities across China.

🥼Apple expands research in China: Apple has announced plans to expand its applied research center in Shanghai and open a new lab in Shenzhen to boost the testing and research abilities of its major product lines, the iPhone, iPad and Vision Pro headset. This comes alongside a slowdown in iPhone sales in China, the world’s largest smartphone market. 

🐈‍⬛Poisonous cat in Japan: A cat fell into a toxic chemical tank at a plant in the western Japanese city of Fukuyama, and security video footage shows the cat running away. Residents in the city have been warned to stay away from the cat and report any sightings to the police. So far, no sightings have been reported, and the cat may have died. The company said this incident alerted them to the need for more precautions against curious animals, which is something they hadn’t really anticipated before.

🎨Art Basel: Art Basel is running this month in Hong Kong from March 28-30 at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, where pieces from galleries in 40 countries will be exhibited. Per usual, there will be a focus on art from the Asian Pacific region. The artworks will span from historical rediscoveries and the 20th century to modern, contemporary and emerging artists.

🤗Ostrich cuddles: Many people might balk at getting up close and personal with an ostrich, as they can often be aggressive and more reminiscent of a modern-day dinosaur than a bird. But in Belgium, one animal rescue is home to hand-raised ostriches that are happy to cuddle with guests. Many of the residents at the rescue, including the ostriches, are used as therapy animals for people with autism, depression, anxiety or drug problems. "Horses are also used as therapy animals, but our ostriches are more sensitive. They connect with visitors, they feel everything, and if you have negative thoughts, they step away," said rescue-owner Wendy Adriaens.  

Belgian Wendy Adriaens, the founder of De Passiehoeve, an animal rescue farm where animals support people with autism, depression, anxiety, or drug problems, offers a hug to a male ostrich Pino and a female ostrich Blondie, both 10-month-old, at Passiehoeve farm, in Kalmthout, Belgium March 8, 2024. REUTERS/Yves Herman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Quiz Time!

What US semiconductor company has a special license to sell certain chips to China’s Huawei?

  1. TSMC
  2. AMD
  3. Intel
  4. Nvidia

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

**The answer to the quiz is [3]