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Home >News >Business Of Life >Mint Lite | Fight against Covid, Eritrea base dismantling, increments & more

There are some encouraging signs in the fight against the pandemic, with new global infections slowing sharply, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There were 2.7 million new covid-19 cases in the week ended 14 February, the lowest since October. The death toll is also beginning to ease, but at a less dramatic pace. Meanwhile, the United Nations is pushing for a worldwide vaccination effort. In the UK, scientists are set to carry out the world’s first study to deliberately expose volunteers to the new coronavirus to speed research.

Are increments back this year?

Are increments back this year?
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Are increments back this year?

Indian companies are expected to dole out an average increment of 7.3% to employees this year amid faster-than-expected economic recovery and revival in business and consumer confidence, according to a survey. The first phase of the 2021 Workforce and Increment Trends Survey by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India also said the average increment this year will be higher than 4.4% seen in 2020 but lower than 8.6% given by companies in 2019. As many as 92% companies that participated in the survey plan to give an increment in 2021 compared to just 60% last year. The survey covered around 400 organizations. Out of the 60% companies that gave an increment in 2020, a third of them did that off cycle, while among those that did not give an increment last year, only about 30% plan to compensate employees for the previous year through higher increments and/or bonuses.

UAE dismantles Eritrea base

UAE dismantles Eritrea base
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UAE dismantles Eritrea base

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is dismantling parts of a military base it runs in the East African nation of Eritrea after it pulled back from the grinding war in nearby Yemen, satellite photos analysed by the Associated Press (AP) show. The UAE built a port and expanded an airstrip in Assab beginning September 2015, using the facility as a base to ferry heavy weaponry and Sudanese troops into Yemen as it fought alongside a Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels there. But the country once praised as “Little Sparta" by former US defence secretary Jim Mattis appears to have found the limits of its military expansion in Yemen’s stalemate conflict, experts say. After it withdrew troops from the conflict, the satellite photos show it began shipping off equipment and tearing down even newly built structures. Emirati officials did not respond to questions from the AP.

M&As to help SGX scale up

M&As to help SGX scale up
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M&As to help SGX scale up

Singapore Exchange (SGX) is exploring mergers and acquisitions (M&As) to drive its ambitions as a multi-asset exchange. The bourse has operations in place across asset classes and now will concentrate on bolstering them, chief executive officer Loh Boon Chye said in an interview on Wednesday. That means seeking deals that bulk up the foreign exchange, fixed income, data and capital markets connectivity businesses. SGX had previously set a goal to have the fixed income, currencies and commodities segment, along with data, connectivity and indices, double revenues by about 2025. It may reach that goal before the initial target date, he said, adding the segments combined could account for 50% of revenue by then. The bourse is hardly a newcomer on the M&A front though.

Texans rescue cold-stunned turtles

Texans rescue cold-stunned turtles
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Texans rescue cold-stunned turtles

The brutal cold snap that has frozen Texas hasn’t only numbed unprepared people to the bone—thousands of turtles have been caught off-guard too, reports Reuters. Thousands of sea turtles unused to the plunge in temperatures have been washing up on the beaches of South Padre Island, off the southern coast of Texas. Volunteers have brought some 4,700 of them to a convention centre, where they are being kept in tubs and enclosures before they can be released when the water is warmer. According to conservation centre Sea Turtle, normally only 100-500 turtles wash up on the beaches in south Texas each winter. “Cold-stunned" is a condition where cold-blooded animals suddenly exhibit hypothermic reactions such as lethargy and an inability to move when the temperature in the environment around them drops. Texas has faced massive energy blackouts triggered by the unusual cold spell.

Ancient Spanish bathhouse found

Ancient Spanish bathhouse found
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Ancient Spanish bathhouse found

A decorated 12th-century Islamic bathhouse, filled with geometric motifs and skylights, has emerged from the walls and vaulted ceilings of a popular tapas bar in Seville, Spain, reports the Guardian. Last summer, the owners of the Cervercería Giralda decided to take advantage of local roadworks and the coronavirus pandemic to set about a long-delayed renovation. Although local legend and the odd historical document had suggested the site may once have been an ancient hammam, most people had assumed the Giralda’s retro look was down to the Islamic revival style, in which architect Vicente Traver built the bar and hotel above it in the early 1920s. The explorations soon uncovered an exquisite piece of design dating back to the 12th century when the Almohad caliphate ruled much of what is now Spain and Portugal as well as a large swath of north Africa.

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



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