Super Nintendo World News Is Imminent, Says Universal Japan

USJ has revealed a new promotional trailer for the park in the form of the music video ‘We Are Born To Play’ by Galantis ft. Charli XCX.

The video has been shared on the official Nintendo YouTube channels in both Japan and North America and shows off the Switch, and the Super Mario World and Super Mario Kart themes

Apart from this, there’s a brief glimpse of the wristband at the very end of the clip, that will connect with a phone app and will apparently “redefine” theme parks.

Super Nintendo World may well be one step closer to opening its magical doors, as an official announcement has just been teased by Universal Studios Japan.

According to the tweet shared below (with translation provided by Japanese Nintendo), news on the theme park will be shared on 13th January at 7pm PT – so that’s 10pm Eastern, and 3am/4am the following morning for the UK and Europe. The announcement came alongside an image showcasing a logo for the park.

Now we’re fully aware that this is an announcement of an announcement (groan), but it could well be worth keeping an eye out for this at the time mentioned above. Nothing’s confirmed yet, of course, but we imagine we may well be hearing about the park’s official opening date or even perhaps be treated to a quick look around the park itself. We’ll make sure to share any worthwhile news as it appears.

In recent months, we’ve heard about a wristband that is set to “redefine what a park experience is like” and even seen leaked images of the park’s construction. The theme park is located at Universal Studios, Japan.

Australia fires: Players struggle with poor air quality at Australian Open

A player was forced to retire from Australian Open qualifying after suffering a coughing fit brought on by the poor air quality resulting from ongoing bushfires in the country.

Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic had to be helped off court after she retired at 6-5 5-6 against Swiss Stefanie Vogele in the first round in Melbourne.

“It was really bad. I never experienced something like this,” Jakupovic said.

“I was really scared I would collapse because I couldn’t walk any more.”

Qualifying was delayed by an hour on Tuesday and practice was temporarily suspended because of the air quality.

Organisers said the conditions were expected to improve and would be “monitored constantly”.

Asked about the decision to continue with qualifying, Jakupovic said: “I think it was not fair because it’s not healthy for us.

“I was surprised. I thought we would not be playing today but we really don’t have much choice.”

People in Melbourne were advised to stay indoors and keep pets inside on Tuesday.

At least 28 people have died and an estimated 10 million hectares (100,000 sq km) of land has burned since 1 July.

Eugenie Bouchard also left the court during her qualifying match against You Xiaodi, complaining of a sore chest. The Canadian returned after a medical timeout and won 4-6 7-6 6-1.

Jakupovic, world ranked 180 in singles, added: “I’m angry and sad. I’m more sad because I had the win [in my grasp] and I just couldn’t finish it.

“I don’t have asthma even and I don’t have breathing problems from the heat.”

Australian Open organisers said prior to Jakupovic’s retirement: “Further decisions will be made based on onsite data, and in close consultation with our medical team, the Bureau of Meteorology and scientists from EPA Victoria.

“As always the health and safety of our players, our staff and our fans is our priority.”

Maria Sharapova’s exhibition match in Kooyong, which is in the east of the city, was also called off after both players complained about the air quality.

The Russian was trailing Germany’s Laura Siegemund 7-6 5-5 when the match was ended.

“I started feeling a cough coming toward the end of the second set but I’ve been sick for a few weeks so I thought that had something to do with it,” Sharapova told broadcasters after the match.

“But then I heard Laura speak to the umpire and she said she was struggling with it as well.

“We were out there for over two hours, so from a health standpoint it’s the right call from officials.”

Yen slips, yuan ascends as U.S. drops China FX manipulator label

The yen plumbed eight-month lows while China’s yuan climbed to its highest level since July on Tuesday, as the U.S. Treasury Department reversed its decision in August to designate China as a currency manipulator.

The announcement came as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He arrived in Washington ahead of Wednesday’s signing with U.S. President Donald Trump of a preliminary trade agreement aimed at easing tensions between the two countries.

“Washington’s decision to lift its designation of currency manipulator on China has added to the positive mood that has been already in place ahead of the signing of the trade deal,” said Minori Uchida, chief currency strategist at MUFG Bank.

People familiar with the negotiations said that although the manipulator designation had no real consequences for Beijing, its removal was an important symbol of goodwill for Chinese officials.

The dollar rose as much as 0.25% to 110.22 yen, its highest since late May against the safe-haven Japanese currency. It last stood at 110.04 yen, capped at a technical resistance from Bollinger band around 110.22.

Uchida said the dollar/yen is likely to face an uphill battle beyond the 110 yen mark, because the dollar is already expensive relative to the U.S.-Japan yield gap which it tracks fairly closely.

“The main driver of the dollar/yen is the yield gap. Last year, when the dollar was above 110 yen, the yield gap was about 2.4 percentage points. Right now it is about 1.8-1.9 percentage points. And we could see a setback if the upcoming trade deal does not go beyond what has been already reported,” he added.

In addition to hopes of easing in U.S.-China trade war, solid China’s trade data helped to boost optimism on the Chinese economy and the yuan.

Exports grew 7.6% and imports jumped 16.3% in December from a year earlier, both handily beating expectations.

In the onshore trade, the yuan strengthened to 6.8731 per dollar, its strongest level since late July, gaining 0.4% on the day.

The offshore yuan also firmed to its strongest level in six months, hitting 6.8662 before easing slightly to 6.8725.

“We are likely to see a cyclical recovery in the Chinese economy during the first half of this year. Chinese firms have slashed inventories to a very low level so any moves to rebuild them could easily lead to a pick up in growth for a quarter or two,” said Ei Kaku, senior strategist at Nomura Securities.

“That should also support capital inflows. The yuan is likely to stick around 6.8 per dollar though we think it could weaken in the second half of this year due to various risks and uncertainties,” she said.

The risk-on mood in financial markets mildly supported the euro against the dollar.

The European common currency, on a recovery after hitting a two-week low of $1.10855 on Friday, last traded at $1.1137 .

Sterling came under renewed pressure after data showed Britain’s economy grew at its weakest annual pace in more than seven years in November, raising the chances of a cut to interest rates.

Sterling traded at $1.2990, having fallen to a three-week low of $1.2961 on Monday. The currency has become the worst performer so far this year with fall of 2.0% against the dollar.

Money markets forecast a almost 50% probability of a cut at an upcoming meeting on Jan. 30.

The Australian dollar was lethargic, struggling to get any lift from upbeat economic data of late, as weeks of bushfires have darkened the mood toward the economy. The currency slipped 0.1% to $0.6893.

Pensacola naval base shooting an ‘act of terrorism,’ Attorney General Barr says

The fatal attack on a naval base in Pensacola, Florida, last month by a Saudi national who was in the U.S. for military training was an act of terrorism motivated by jihadist beliefs, officials said.

Evidence showed that the gunman held anti-American and anti-Israeli views, which he posted on social media, including just hours before the Dec. 6 attack, Attorney General William Barr said Monday.

“This was an act of terrorism,” Barr said. “The evidence shows the shooter was influenced by jihadist ideology.”

The gunman was identified as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a member of the Saudi Air Force, after the attack left three service members dead. Investigators did not offer a motive. Alshamrani died after exchanging gunfire with sheriff’s deputies who responded to the shooting.

Eight Americans were injured in the attack, which lasted about 15 minutes.

Authorities said there was no evidence that Alshamrani acted with the assistance of other individuals or groups, though the government is working to unlock two Apple iPhones belonging to him.

“During the gunfight with the first responders, the shooter disengaged long enough to place one of his phones on the floor and shoot a single round into the device,” Barr said. “It also appears the other phone was damaged.”

The FBI’s crime lab has been able to reconstruct the phones, but faces serious encryption challenges in collecting evidence off the devices. Investigators have obtained a warrant to search the phones but Apple has “not given any substantive assistance” to the government in bypassing the phones’ security.

Barr would not comment on whether the government plans to take Apple to court to try to force the company’s cooperation.

In a statement, Apple said that it learned about the government’s inability to access either phone only a week ago. The company said it was subpoenaed for information from the second phone two days later — a request that it said it responded to “within hours.”

“We are continuing to work with the FBI, and our engineering teams recently had a call to provide additional technical assistance,” the statement said. “Apple has great respect for the Bureau’s work, and we will work tirelessly to help them investigate this tragic attack on our nation.”

The statement added that Apple had quickly complied with several earlier requests for access to iCloud backup material, account information and transactional data.

“The queries resulted in many gigabytes of information that we turned over to investigators,” the company said. “In every instance, we responded with all of the information that we had.”

Alshamrani was scheduled to complete a three-year U.S. Air Force Foreign Military Sales training program in August. The training, which includes English language coursework and aviation and pilot instruction, was funded by Saudi Arabia.

At least 21 other Saudi nationals who were in the country for military training were found to have possessed “derogatory material.” Investigators found that 17 of the nationals had jihadist or anti-American content and at least 15 of them had “some kind of contact with child pornography,” Barr said.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has unenrolled the 21 members from their programs and will be reviewing each case under the country’s own military and criminal codes, according to the attorney general.

“Further, the kingdom has assured us that if we later decide to charge any of those being sent back to Saudi Arabia in connection with this counterterrorism investigation, they will be returned for trial,” Barr said.

Barr added that the kingdom has cooperated with the investigation and assured the United States that it will be given access to any person or any documents needed in the case.

Christian Eriksen: Tottenham midfielder to play despite Inter Milan links

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho says Christian Eriksen will play against Middlesbrough on Tuesday, despite being linked with a move to Inter Milan.

The Serie A side are expected to know more about their chances of signing the midfielder, who is no longer a first-team regular, within the next 48 hours.

Asked about his recent performances Mourinho said: “Is this the best Christian Eriksen?

“I have to be honest and say no. I know the reasons, I’m not an idiot.”

Eriksen, 27, has already indicated he has no wish to sign a contract extension at Spurs and wants to experience life outside England.

The Dane, who helped Tottenham reach the Champions League final in June, has appeared 25 times for the club this season, although eight of his appearances in the Premier League matchday squad have been as a substitute.

He made Mourinho’s starting XI for a league match for the first time in January, more than a month after the Portuguese boss took over from Mauricio Pochettino.

“A player in this situation, even if he wants – and I am not criticising him… It’s normal a player in this situation doesn’t perform in the highest level,” added Mourinho.

“But he is helping us in matches he has played for us. He’s had positive performances and contributions like against Olympiakos and Norwich.”

Eriksen started against Boro in their FA Cup third-round match, which finished 1-1, and looks likely to again when they play the replay at Tottenham Stadium.

“He plays tomorrow,” said the Spurs boss. “After that I have a match on Saturday and he maybe plays on Saturday again.

Canadian court denies media request to broadcast Huawei CFO hearing

A Canadian court on Monday denied a media consortium’s request to broadcast a portion of hearing seeking to extradite Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou to the United States.

The consortium’s application, which Meng and the Attorney General of Canada opposed, sought to record and broadcast the “double criminality” portion of the proceedings set for Jan. 20, according to the ruling issued by the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

The consortium, consisting of 13 media organizations, says the “double criminality” portion of the proceedings will involve only a question of law, and that question will not directly engage Meng’s fair trial rights since it does not pertain to her guilt or innocence.

A crucial test in Canadian extradition law is “double criminality”, which means conduct must be illegal in Canada as well as in the country seeking extradition.

One of the reasons Meng was against media’s request was because she thought broadcasting of the hearings could compromise her fair trial rights in the extradition proceedings, and in a trial in the U.S. if she is extradited.

The Attorney General backed Meng and said there were risks of distorting the public perception of the proceedings and of disturbing the serenity of the court process, and the cumulative effect of those factors on Meng’s right to a fair trial in the U.S.

Meng, 47, was arrested at the Vancouver International Airport on Dec. 1, 2018, at the request of the United States, where she is charged with bank fraud and accused of misleading the bank HSBC about Huawei’s business in Iran.

Privacy activists beg Google to ban un-removable bloatware from Android

For much of Android’s existence, Google has adopted a relatively hands-off approach that lets manufacturers ship units with pre-installed bloatware which, in many cases, cannot be easily removed. This has infuriated users and privacy advocates alike, leading 50 of the latter to pen a blistering open letter to Google and Alphabet chief Sundar Pichai urging him to take action.

Privacy International, along with dozens of other civil rights organisations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and ACLU, wrote: “Privacy cannot be a luxury offered only to those people who can afford it.”

“Android Partners – who use the Android trademark and branding – are manufacturing devices that contain pre-installed apps that cannot be deleted, which can leave users vulnerable to their data being collected, shared and exposed without their knowledge or consent,” the letter states.

The concern surrounding bloatware hinges on the fact they exist without the standard Android security model, with pre-installed apps able to access the microphone, camera, and location by default.

Presently, apps downloaded from the standard Google Play store require the user to “opt in” to access the more sensitive parts of the phone.

The open letter also cites an academic study published in May 2019 that found 91 per cent of all pre-installed apps aren’t present on the Google Play Store — suggesting they may have harmful behaviours that would preclude them from being listed on the standard Android app store.

Pre-installed apps are most commonly found on cheap handsets. The lower end of the handset market is notorious for having thin profit margins, and bloatware serves as another tool for monetisation.

The letter calls on Google to allow users to remove pre-installed bloatware, including all related background services. It also states that pre-installed apps should undergo the same scrutiny as standard Google Play store apps, with users able to control the permissions the software is allowed.

And finally, the groups argue — reasonably — that pre-installed apps should have an update mechanism. With many bloatware programs languishing on old versions, they present a serious security problem, with users unable to remedy any vulnerabilities.

NFL play-offs: Kansas City Chiefs beat Houston Texans after coming back from 24-0 down

The Kansas City Chiefs staged a thrilling comeback from 24-0 down to beat the Houston Texans 51-31 and advance to the AFC Championship game.

Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes threw for four touchdowns in the second quarter to overhaul the Texans’ early lead.

Kansas City, who will now host the Tennessee Titans, scored 41 unanswered points and dominated the second half.

Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers reached the NFC Championship game with a 28-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

Davante Adams starred for Green Bay, who will visit the top-seeded San Francisco 49ers to decide who will progress to Super Bowl 54 from the National Football Conference after they beat the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday.

“Adams had an unbelievable night,” said team-mate Aaron Rodgers, who threw two touchdown passes to Adams. “He carried us on offense. His route running ability was incredible.”

‘Chiefs just had to keep fighting’

The Chiefs now face the Tennessee Titans, who beat the Baltimore Ravens in the other American Football Conference divisional game, for a place at the Super Bowl on Sunday, 2 February.

“We didn’t start the way we wanted to – we just had to keep fighting, just go one play at a time,” quarterback Mahomes said.

“We know the Titans are a tough team. We will have to play our best and find a way to win.”

On tight end Travis Kelce, who finished the game with a hamstring injury after taking three touchdown passes, Mahomes said: “Travis was amazing, man he’s a monster.

“The way he came through with an injury and was still making plays all day long – he’s a special football player.”

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson connected with Kenny Stills and Darren Fells, and Lonnie Johnson ran in a blocked punt as the visitors raced into a 21-point first-quarter lead.

But Damien Williams scored the first of his three touchdowns five minutes into the second quarter to spark a Chiefs resurgence, with Mahomes finishing with five touchdown passes, 321 passing and 56 rushing yards.

The Texans stopped the rot with the Chiefs leading 41-24 in the third quarter as Watson scored a five-yard rushing touchdown to get the margin within 10.

But the Chiefs extended their lead, Blake Bell adding another touchdown, to leave them one game away from their first Super Bowl appearance since 1970.

Yuan soars, stocks scale heights as markets cheer imminent Sino-U.S. deal signing

Asian shares hit a 7-month high, China’s yuan jumped and safe-harbor assets slipped on Tuesday, amid signs of goodwill between China and the United States, as the world’s two biggest economies prepared to sign a truce in their trade war.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday said China should no longer be designated a currency manipulator – a label it applied as the yuan dropped in August.

China, meanwhile, allowed the tightly managed currency to climb to its highest point since July, after fixing the yuan’s trading-band midpoint at its firmest in more than five months.

The yuan sat 0.4% firmer at 6.8677 per dollar by mid session.

The moves come as a Chinese delegation arrived in Washington ahead of Wednesday’s signing of the Phase 1 trade agreement, seen as calming a dispute that has upended the world economy.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan hit its highest since June in morning trade, driving world stocks to a record high.

Japan’s Nikkei added 0.7% and hit its highest point in a month. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose to its highest since May and Shanghai blue chips scaled heights not touched since January 2018, though both later pared gains.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7% to a record intraday high. Gold fell and the safe-harbor Japanese yen dropped to a seven-month low.

“There have been a number of false starts,” said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics at Mizuho Bank in Singapore.

“The fact that this is really coming to the moment when the rubber hits the road is the most tangible evidence of traction in starting to resolve issues, that’s what’s driving optimism.”

Chinese economic data showing rising exports and imports in December also put a floor under gains.

Overnight Wall Street logged record closing highs, helped by sharp rises in technology stocks as investors bet firms such as Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc might have the most to gain from revived global growth. [.N]

The S&P 500 rose 0.7% to a record closing high, while the Nasdaq Composite added 1% and also closed at a record peak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.29%.

With the text of the Sino-U.S. deal yet to be finalised, some fretted the gains could leave stocks exposed should anything go awry, with modest volumes in equity markets hinting at caution.

“The market appears to be fully pricing a signed agreement,” said CMC Markets’ chief strategist in Sydney, Michael McCarthy.

“It’s buy the rumor, sell the fact… Even a delay could see an extremely negative reaction,” he said.

United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Fox Business late on Monday that the Chinese translation of the deal’s text was almost done.

“We’re going to make it public on Wednesday before the signing,” he said.

YEN, GOLD SLIP

In tandem with the rally, safe-harbor assets slid lower on Tuesday. Gold extended Monday’s fall to trade 0.6% weaker at $1538.76 per ounce.

Oil nursed losses and yields on benchmark U.S. Treasuries rose as prices fell. Brent Crude was steady around $64.37 per barrel. Ten-year Treasury note yields rose to 1.8599% compared with the U.S. close of 1.848%.

In currency markets, the yen weakened past the 110 yen-per-dollar mark while the yuan’s strength helped lift trade-exposed currencies across Asia.

Besides the trade deal, investors are also looking to U.S. inflation data due later on Tuesday and the beginning of the fourth-quarter U.S. company results season.

Big banks JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup Inc and Wells Fargo & Co are due to report earnings before market open on Tuesday.

‘Bridgegate’ scandal comes to the Supreme Court. Did prosecutors overreach?

The saga known as Bridgegate created monumental traffic jams in 2013 on the George Washington Bridge — the nation’s busiest — and tarnished the image of New Jersey’s Republican governor at the time, Chris Christie. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will decide whether the two state officials behind the scandal should go to prison.

Their attorneys say that if the court upholds the convictions for lying about why they shut down two lanes on the bridge, “it would transform the judiciary into a Ministry of Truth for every public official in the nation.”

A federal jury convicted Bridget Anne Kelly, who was Christie’s deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, who was the deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge. The jury found that they shut down two of the three bridge lanes coming out of Fort Lee, New Jersey, to punish its mayor for refusing to endorse Christie’s re-election.

Prosecutors said the two committed fraud under federal law in lying about their reason for closing the bridge by claiming that they were conducting a traffic study, which allowed them to hijack Port Authority resources. “A public official commits fraud when he lies to divert agency resources that he could not otherwise control,” the Department of Justice said in its Supreme Court brief.

What makes the case controversial is that fraud cases typically accuse public officials of diverting public resources to line their own pockets, and there’s no such claim in this case. That doesn’t matter, prosecutors said, because the state’s property was misused, specifically payments to workers who would not otherwise be on duty and wages paid to salaried employees who were roped into the scheme.

But the defense attorneys said that if the Supreme Court upholds the convictions, it would open the door to charging any public official with fraud by asserting that he or she lied in claiming to have acted in the public interest. That might include a city official who orders potholes repaired to reward the mayor’s political base while justifying it on policy grounds.

Such a reading of the law “would readily enable partisans not just to harangue and harass political opponents — but to prosecute and jail them,” the lawyers said.

The Supreme Court’s announcement in July that it would hear the case signaled that at least some justices believe the government overreached in bringing the fraud charges. If the court throws out the convictions, it could further weaken the ability to prosecute public officials for fraud.

Both former officials were sentenced to prison. Kelly has been allowed to remain free while the case is on appeal. Baroni began serving his sentence in April but was released on bond when the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

A decision will be announced by late June.