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India’s drug regulator has declined permission for a proposal from Dr Reddy’s Laboratories to conduct a large study in the country to evaluate Russia’s Sputnik-V covid-19 vaccine and has asked it to test the vaccine in a smaller trial. It said that safety and immunogenicity data from early-stage studies being conducted overseas is small, with no inputs available on Indian participants. Meanwhile, the executive director of the European Medicines Agency has said a covid-19 vaccine is “looking unlikely" by the end of the year. For more updates, here’s Mint Lite.

IBM to break up over cloud

IBM, the world’s first big computing firm, is splitting into two public companies, marking years of efforts to diversify from its legacy businesses to focus on high-margin cloud computing
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IBM, the world’s first big computing firm, is splitting into two public companies, marking years of efforts to diversify from its legacy businesses to focus on high-margin cloud computing

IBM, the world’s first big computing firm, is splitting into two public companies, marking years of efforts to diversify from its legacy businesses to focus on high-margin cloud computing. IBM will list its IT infrastructure services unit, which provides outsourcing services including technical support for data centres, as a separate company with a new name by the end of 2021. Investors cheered the move by CEO Arvind Krishna, who also engineered the $34 billion Red Hat deal for the 109-year old company last year, sending shares up almost 11% in pre-market trading, Reuters reports. This may shore up IBM’s fortunes, which had disappointing recent quarterly results even as rivals, including Microsoft, SAP, Accenture and Infosys, stole a march on it. IBM has shifted focus to cloud growth in recent years, aiming to make up for slowing software sales and seasonal demand for its mainframe servers.

Soon, first female boss for WTO

For the first time in its 25-year history, the World Trade Organization is set get a woman as director-general
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For the first time in its 25-year history, the World Trade Organization is set get a woman as director-general

For the first time in its 25-year history, the World Trade Organization is set get a woman as director-general. The contest has narrowed to two candidates: South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee and Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The last phase of the selection process will begin on 19 October and run until 27 October, after which WTO will name a consensus winner. If a consensus proves impossible in the current political situation, a vote will be held. The incoming WTO chief faces a host of problems, from the pandemic to the global recession. Besides working at international governance bodies, Okonjo-Iweala, 66, served as Nigeria’s finance minister and as foreign affairs minister. Yoo, 53, is South Korea’s trade minister. During her 25-year career in government, she has helped expand her country’s trade network through bilateral accords with China, the EU, the UK and the US.

India can’t stop spewing sulphur

SO2 raises risk of heart and lung disease and can cause acid rain. Despite the drop, India’s emissions comprise 21% of global SO2, mainly due to coal-based power generation
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SO2 raises risk of heart and lung disease and can cause acid rain. Despite the drop, India’s emissions comprise 21% of global SO2, mainly due to coal-based power generation

India continues to emit the world’s most sulphur dioxide, but for the first time in four years SO2 emissions declined 6% in 2019, going by a report from Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air based on NASA satellite data. SO2 raises risk of heart and lung disease and can cause acid rain. Despite the drop, India’s emissions comprise 21% of global SO2, mainly due to coal-based power generation. In 2015, the environment ministry introduced emission limits for thermal power stations but the 2017 deadline has been shifted to 2022, and now power generators are seeking further extension. In contrast, China, the world’s big-gest coal burner, saw SO2 emissions drop 5% last year and 87% since 2011, due to stronger emissions stand-ards and increased use of scrubbers at power plants.

Extreme poverty haunts South Asia

The devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic is pushing millions of people in South Asia into extreme poverty, the World Bank has said in its bi-annual report
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The devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic is pushing millions of people in South Asia into extreme poverty, the World Bank has said in its bi-annual report

The devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic is pushing millions of people in South Asia into extreme poverty, the World Bank has said in its bi-annual report. It forecast a record economic contraction of 7.7% this year for South Asia, where a quarter of humanity lives. The World Bank warned workers in the informal sector were being hit the hardest, and private consumption was unlikely to recover quickly from the blow, reports Reuters. India, South Asia’s biggest economy and with a covid-19 caseload second only to the US, is likely to see its economy contract by 9.5% this year, the report said. It also warned that South Asia’s economies could end up worse than the forecast as the pandemic continues to surge, making foreign investors more wary, limiting the ability of governments to increase spending and putting more strain on banking systems already heavily burdened with bad loans.

Please make way for aquarium yoga

A yoga group in Hong Kong held chair poses and other asanas on Thursday against a unique backdrop: a giant aquarium filled with sharks, manta rays and other aquatic life
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A yoga group in Hong Kong held chair poses and other asanas on Thursday against a unique backdrop: a giant aquarium filled with sharks, manta rays and other aquatic life

A yoga group in Hong Kong held chair poses and other asanas on Thursday against a unique backdrop: a giant aquarium filled with sharks, manta rays and other aquatic life. Hong Kong’s cash-strapped Ocean Park has started offering fitness activities such as yoga, hiking, meditation and dance classes to offset losses due to covid-19 restrictions that have battered tourism, reports Reuters. The 43-year-old theme park and Hong Kong Disneyland were shut most of the year, only reopening in September. Both parks, which had a bad year in 2019 due to the protests in Hong Kong and competition from other players, are mandated to operate at a maximum of half-capacity and face masks remain compulsory. Ocean Parks is $770 million in debt according to its latest annual report. It secured a $696 million government bailout in May, which it said would help it stay operational for another year.

Curated by Shalini Umachandran and Pooja Singh. Have something to share with us? Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com or tweet to @shalinimb

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