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General view of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo: )
General view of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo: )

Mint Lite | Agrochemical sector, Trump, travel trends, desert farming & others

Stories, opinions, news and views that matter, from around the world

Countries are increasingly seeking self-reliance ever since the virus-induced lockdowns upended global supply chains. Abu Dhabi, for example, aims to boost investment in projects for farming in the desert - and even space. The Abu Dhabi Investment Office has said it would spend as much as $41 million to develop, in partnership with other companies, technologies for producing food in dry conditions. It will also work with an entity that uses the International Space Station to research producing food in space and extreme climates on Earth.

Agrochemical sector growth likely

The agrochemical sector is likely to see a sharp rebound this year, according to Crisil Ratings’ latest report
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The agrochemical sector is likely to see a sharp rebound this year, according to Crisil Ratings’ latest report

The agrochemical sector is likely to see a sharp rebound this year, according to Crisil Ratings’ latest report. The sector is likely to see a growth of 12-14% in the current fiscal year, largely due to a sharp recovery in offtake from domestic agriculture sector and continuing healthy exports. Higher area under cultivation and 4% increase in minimum support prices during the kharif season for key crops is likely to boost agrochemicals consumption this year, Crisil Ratings director Sameer Charania said to PTI. While 65% of agrochemicals demand is derived from kharif or summer season, an above average monsoon in the first half of the year, coupled with the present water reservoir level will ensure a healthy increase in the coming winter season for Indian crops as well. The report estimates, overall foodgrain production may exceed the initial target set by the government at 3,000 lakh tones.

Azerbaijan-Armenia sign peace deal

After a month of violence, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia have signed a deal to end the military conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region
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After a month of violence, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia have signed a deal to end the military conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region

After a month of violence, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia have signed a deal to end the military conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The conflict over the territory—which has simmered for decades despite international efforts to reach a peace deal—erupted into fresh fighting in late September. Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced plans to deploy Russian peacekeepers along the frontline in Nagorno-Karabakh and the corridor between the region and Armenia. However, the news was not taken lightly by Armenian protesters who marched to the prime minister’s official residence in Yerevan, after the ceasefire was announced on Tuesday. According to Reuters, the month long unrest had given rise to fears of a wider regional war with Turkey supporting its ally Azerbaijan. Russia meanwhile has a defence pact with Armenia and a military base there.

To concede, or not to concede

US president Donald Trump has yet to concede defeat to his Democratic challenger Joe Biden
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US president Donald Trump has yet to concede defeat to his Democratic challenger Joe Biden

US president Donald Trump has yet to concede defeat to his Democratic challenger Joe Biden. He’s levelled allegations of voter fraud and is preparing to mount legal challenges to last week’s election results, and is seeking an emergency injunction in Pennsylvania, the state that took Biden past the halfway mark of 270 electoral votes. Not that Trump has to concede by law, but it’s been a graceful tradition of a peaceful transfer of power in the US. In 1992, George H.W. Bush failed in his re-election bid, and reportedly said he’d been given the “Order of the Boot". In 2000, Al Gore called up George W. Bush to concede and called back to un-concede as the recount in Florida went sideways. After the Supreme Court halted further recount, Gore finally conceded.

Global travel trends likely to change

According to the International Air Transport Association, losses for the industry can cross $84 billion in 2020
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According to the International Air Transport Association, losses for the industry can cross $84 billion in 2020

A study by satellite communication company, Inmarsat, has revealed that many people do not plan to go back to their earlier travel regime, even after the coronavirus pandemic has subsided. Months after most companies have carried on majority of their work remotely, businesses have realized that travelling might not be required after all. The survey was done with 10,000 global respondents, 83% of whom are reluctant to fall back into their old travel habits and 31% will travel less often by air. Within the Asia-Pacific region, only one quarter of people are confident of travelling again in the next six month, lest they catch the covid-19 virus. While this can help save costs for companies, it can have a major impact on aviation, which gets about 55% to 75% of their profit from corporate travelers. According to the International Air Transport Association, losses for the industry can cross $84 billion in 2020.

Philippines deals with novel poachers

Struggling with rising cases of coronavirus, residents of Philippines have turned towards gardening for a quick way to relax their anxious nerves
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Struggling with rising cases of coronavirus, residents of Philippines have turned towards gardening for a quick way to relax their anxious nerves

Struggling with rising cases of coronavirus, residents of Philippines have turned towards gardening for a quick way to relax their anxious nerves. The gardening craze, AFP reports, is being called a plantdemic and has made prices for the greens shoot through the roof. Some plant sellers have seen a tripling of daily turnover, with prices for some varieties of monsteras reaching 55,000 pesos each, compared with 800 pesos before the pandemic. The rise in demand however has also given rise to a new problem—poaching. Rangers patrolling the forests of Zamboanga were asked to watch out for plant thieves, after officials noticed some species posted on social media could only be found in the region's protected areas. Removing threatened species from the forest is illegal or requires special permit. But catching these miscreants can be tough after the plant has been sold in the market.

Curated by Sohini Sen. Have something to share with us? Write to us at feedback@livemint or tweet to @shohinisen

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