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Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Mint Lite | CCI, Niger attack, Afghan peace talks, Nasa’s space plans & more

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

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) plans to further streamline processes and also have its regional presence as it seeks to become more nimble as well as strengthen its prowess to clamp down on unfair business ways. The CCI, which has the mandate to check anti-competitive practices and also encourage fair business ways across sectors, has been making various efforts to bolster its functioning as a regulator, reports the Press Trust of India. Recently, the watchdog streamlined its combination regulations by doing away with certain disclosure requirements relating to non-compete agreements.

US senators oppose election results

US President-elect Joe Biden
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US President-elect Joe Biden

Over ten Republican US senators or senators-elect on Saturday said that they will reject presidential electors from states where Donald Trump has contested his defeat by Joe Biden, “unless and until emergency 10-day audit" of such results is completed, reports The Guardian. The move is largely symbolic and unlikely to overturn the presidential election. Nonetheless, it adds to a sense of deepening crisis affecting US democracy. Trump has refused to concede, though Biden won more than 7 million more votes nationally and took the electoral college by 306-232. The Trump campaign has lost the vast majority of more than 50 lawsuits it has mounted in battleground states, alleging electoral fraud, and before the supreme court. But Trump has urged his Twitter followers to join a protest march in Washington DC against the election result on Wednesday.

Attack kills dozens in Niger

Suspected Islamist militants have attacked two villages in Niger, with reports of dozens civilians killed
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Suspected Islamist militants have attacked two villages in Niger, with reports of dozens civilians killed

Suspected Islamist militants have attacked two villages in Niger, with reports of dozens civilians killed. Around 49 died and 17 were injured in the village of Tchombangou, while another 30 died in Zaroumdareye—both near Niger's western border with Mali, Reuters reports. There have been several recent violent incidents in Africa's Sahel region, carried out by militant groups. France said on Saturday that two of its soldiers were killed in Mali. Hours earlier, a group with links to al-Qaeda said it was behind the killing of three French troops in a separate attack in Mali on Monday. Niger's Tillabéri region, where the villages are situated, lies within the so-called tri-border area between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, which has been plagued by jihadi attacks in recent years. Areas of Niger are also facing repeated attacks by jihadists from Nigeria, where the government is fighting an insurgency by Boko Haram.

Ethiopian forces killed scores in June-July unrest

Ethiopian security forces killed more than 75 people and injured nearly 200 during deadly ethnic unrest in June and July following the killing of a popular singer
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Ethiopian security forces killed more than 75 people and injured nearly 200 during deadly ethnic unrest in June and July following the killing of a popular singer

Ethiopian security forces killed more than 75 people and injured nearly 200 during deadly ethnic unrest in June and July following the killing of a popular singer, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission told AP. The commission's report said 123 people in all were killed and at least 500 injured amid one of the country’s worst outbreaks of ethnic violence in years, a “widespread and systematic attack" against civilians that points to crimes against humanity. Some victims were beheaded, tortured or dragged in the streets by attackers. Ethnic violence is a major challenge for Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has urged national unity among more than 80 ethnic groups in Africa’s second most populous country. More than 6,000 people were displaced and at least 900 properties looted, burned or vandalized, the report said. The attacks often targeted ethnic Amhara or Orthodox Christians.

Afghan-Taliban peace talks to resume

A fresh round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban begin in Qatar Tuesday
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A fresh round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban begin in Qatar Tuesday

A fresh round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban begin in Qatar Tuesday, reports AFP. Months of deliberations between the two sides have yielded little so far, but both parties made something of a breakthrough last year when they finally agreed at least on what to discuss in the next round. Afghan government negotiators will push for a permanent ceasefire and to protect the existing system of governance, in place since the ouster of the Taliban in 2001. The first direct talks between the warring sides opened in September after months of delays, but quickly became bogged down by disputes on the basic framework of discussions and religious interpretations. The negotiations follow a landmark troop withdrawal deal signed in February by the Taliban and Washington, which saw the US pledge to pull out all foreign forces from Afghanistan by May 2021.

Will Biden impact Nasa’s space plans?

NASA's quest to put boots back on the moon will likely get less urgent after President-elect Joe Biden takes office next month
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NASA's quest to put boots back on the moon will likely get less urgent after President-elect Joe Biden takes office next month

NASA's quest to put boots back on the moon will likely get less urgent after President-elect Joe Biden takes office next month. Through its Artemis program, the space agency has been working to land two astronauts, including the first-ever female moonwalker, near the lunar south pole by 2024. That ambitious deadline, which was announced by Vice President Mike Pence in 2019, will likely be relaxed under the Biden administration, experts say. "I expect the 2024 goal to go away," space policy expert John Logsdon, a professor emeritus of political science and international affairs at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, D.C., told Space.com. That doesn't mean Artemis itself will get the axe, however. Experts believe the program and its long-term goals — establishing a sustainable presence on and around the moon, and using such efforts to prepare for crewed missions to Mars — will remain on firm footing after Biden takes office.

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

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