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Schools in Delhi will remain shut till 31 October because of the covid-19 outbreak, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said Sunday. The Delhi government had earlier ordered schools in the national capital to close till 5 October, but allowed online classes to continue. In its Unlock 5 announcement last week, the Centre allowed states and union territories to decide on reopening educational institutions in a graded manner after 15 October. Like Delhi, most states have decided to keep schools shut, with only Uttar Pradesh opting for a phased reopening. For more updates, here’s Mint Lite.

Geneva votes for highest basic wage

Geneva is to introduce a minimum wage of $25 an hour, roughly $4,100 a month, believed to be the world’s highest
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Geneva is to introduce a minimum wage of $25 an hour, roughly $4,100 a month, believed to be the world’s highest

Geneva is to introduce a minimum wage of $25 an hour, roughly $4,100 a month, believed to be the world’s highest. The move comes after nearly two-thirds of the canton of Geneva, known as one of the world’s most expensive cities, voted in favour of introducing the minimum wage on Sunday. It is to be implemented later this month. The $25 number might look big but Switzerland, one of the wealthiest nations, is struggling to save its economy from the virus and the long queues at free food distributions in Geneva continue to make headlines worldwide. Immigrants, which account for a quarter of Switzerland’s 8.6 million inhabitants, have especially been hit. The government expects the adjusted Swiss GDP to fall by -6.2% in 2020. A few weeks ago, Swiss voters rejected an attempt to tear up the country’s agreement with the EU on the free movement of people, in a referendum that echoed the Brexit vote.

Bumper winter crop on the way?

After an above-average run for the second year in a row, the monsoon has retreated from north India
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After an above-average run for the second year in a row, the monsoon has retreated from north India

After an above-average run for the second year in a row, the monsoon has retreated from north India. The monsoon usually begins in June and starts to retreat from northwestern parts by 17 September, but this year, IMD said, it began to withdraw on 28 September. Data shows India received 9% more rainfall than usual as of 26 September. Nine states recorded excess rainfall, while 20 states received normal rainfall. While June recorded 17% excess rainfall, it receded to a 10% deficit in July, and picked up again in August to record 27% excess rainfall. A Red Cross report described the monsoon flooding in India as the “largest singular disaster" this year, affecting 17 million people. For the rural economy though, the above-average monsoon implies a bumper winter-sown crop, which should improve their future earning and revive rural demand, hit badly by covid-19. Most other sectors are banking on a recovery based on rural demand.

AI gets space in the menu

AI gets space in the menu
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AI gets space in the menu

As customers discovered cooking at home during the pandemic, many restaurants have been forced to adapt to home delivery and cloud kitchens, and are now more open to technology. It’s also a reason why the venture capital money is flowing into startups targeting the restaurant segment. Total funding to foodtech this year is lower than other categories such as edtech but it’s still significant. Overall, restaurant marketplaces, tech, mealkits and online restaurants or cloud kitchens raised a total of $2.1 billion in the first six months of 2020 (see chart) across nearly 200 deals, going by Agfunder’s 2020 Mid-year Investment Review. In India, restaurant marketplace deals were buoyed by Zomato and Swiggy, each raising about $155 million in the first half of the year. They’ve since raised more rounds of funding. Online grocers, already flush with investor capital, dominated fundraising as they became an essential service for locked-down consumers. They raised $1.8 billion in funding over 76 deals worldwide from January to June 2020. The median deal size in restaurant marketplaces was also substantially higher than all other categories, at $20 million (egrocers’ median deal size is $6 million). These reflect continued demand for food delivery tech, which started out of consumer interest and continues this year out of necessity.

London Marathon, out of London

After a six-month delay, the 40th London Marathon was held on Sunday—but most of the runners were miles away from London
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After a six-month delay, the 40th London Marathon was held on Sunday—but most of the runners were miles away from London

After a six-month delay, the 40th London Marathon was held on Sunday—but most of the runners were miles away from London. Only the elite runners lapped London's rain-slicked streets on Sunday, with Brigid Kosgei winning with a time of two hours, 18.58 minutes. The other 45,000 amateur runners of all ages and abilities covered the 42km from their hometowns, logging into an app at a time and place of their choosing on Sunday and marking their time. Seven runners from Thane were among the amateurs who logged in from India. In a pandemic year—the Boston marathon went all virtual with runners have to submit their own proof of completion and Berlin, Chicago and New York have been cancelled—athletics fans were anticipating an exciting contest between reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopia’s triple gold-medallist Kenenisa Bekele. But Bekele dropped out last minute due to an injury.

Climate change threatens world’s southernmost tree

Studying unusual forests such as these will improve understanding wind’s impact on species and how treelines are moving higher as climate change
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Studying unusual forests such as these will improve understanding wind’s impact on species and how treelines are moving higher as climate change

Last year, a team of forest ecologists from the University of Colorado Denver found the world’s southernmost tree on an island at the edge of South America, Isla Hornos or Cape Horn island, where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans meet. It’s a tiny, 42-year-old Magellan’s beech or Nothofagus betuloides, bent almost horizontal due to the furious winds sweeping the island. It’s one of the windiest places on the planet. The team says climate change is intensifying the westerly winds, which may determine whether trees can continue to survive on this island. On Isla Hornos, lead scientist Brian Buma writes, they found “long stretches of dead trees along the edges of the small forests, suggesting that shifting winds caused by climate change may be killing off trees". Studying unusual forests such as these will improve understanding wind’s impact on species and how treelines are moving higher as climate changes.

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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