Mint Lite | Grammy Awards, Hong Kong crackdown, WHO, veganism & more4 min read . Updated: 06 Jan 2021, 09:57 PM IST
Stories, opinions, news and views that matter, from around the world
Music lovers may have to wait a little bit longer to enjoy the year’s best. The Recording Academy has announced that it is scheduling the Grammy Awards ceremony to March 14, from its planned January 31 date, due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. The surges of covid-19 cases in Los Angeles prompted the organisers to shift the date of the ceremony, which is considered the Oscars of music world. Though vaccines have started being administered in the US, the cases are also climbing, especially in Los Angeles, the home of ceremonies like Grammys, Golden Globes and Oscars.
Crackdown in Hong Kong, dozens arrested
Hong Kong police arrested 53 people in raids on democracy activists on Wednesday, with authorities saying an unofficial vote to choose opposition candidates in city elections was part of a plan to "overthrow" the government, reports Reuters. Dawn raids on 72 premises saw many of Hong Kong's most prominent pro-democracy advocates arrested in the biggest crackdown since Beijing imposed a new, controversial security law in the former British colony in June 2020. The mass arrests were linked to an unprecedented, independently organised vote last July to select opposition candidates for a since-postponed legislative election. About 1,000 police took part in the raids, which also included searches of the offices of a pollster and a law firm and went to the offices of media outlets Apple Daily, Stand News, and Inmediahk. Secretary for Security John Lee said the group planned to cause "serious damage" to society and that authorities would not tolerate any subversive acts.
Oil bidding begins in Arctic wildlife refuge
The Trump administration yesterday opened bidding on drilling leases in a pristine Arctic wildlife refuge in Alaska despite tepid interest from the oil and gas industry and a pledge from incoming Democratic President-elect Joe Biden to protect the region. The move is among a slew of last-minute efforts by President Donald Trump's government to expand fossil fuel and mineral development in the United States before leaving office in two weeks, building on his years-long drive to maximize domestic production over the objections of environmentalists. Officials from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management are scheduled to open and read bids received since late December on more than 1 million acres (4,000 square kilometers) of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on Alaska's North Slope during a live video broadcast on Wednesday morning. So far, the only clear bidder on the property is an Alaska state agency.
More hedge funds for family offices
More than a third of 185 investment firms for wealthy clans plan to boost allocations amid the economic upheaval caused by the covid-19 pandemic, according to survey released Wednesday by BlackRock and Juniper Place, a London-based firm that helps asset managers raise capital, reports Bloomberg. Family offices and other investors soured on hedge funds in recent years, bemoaning high fees and lackluster returns. But the health crisis has given some of those managers a boost, particularly stock-pickers who benefited from aggressive bets on technology stocks and copious economic stimulus that drove equities to new heights. Single family offices, which have just one client, had average assets of $802 million, according to research published in 2019 by Campden Wealth and UBS Group AG. There are now more than 10,000 single-family offices globally, according to accounting firm EY.
WHO team denied China entry
The World Health Organization’s director-general complained about China’s delay in granting visas to an incoming WHO team seeking to investigate covid-19’s origins, while Japan is set to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo that could last months. Two members had already set out on their journey—one has now turned back and the other is in transit in a third country. The WHO said the problem was a lack of visa clearances. The long-awaited probe was agreed upon by Beijing in December after many months of negotiations with the WHO. The virus was first detected in Wuhan in late 2019, with the initial outbreak linked to a market. The WHO has been working to send a 10-person team of international experts to China for months with the aim of probing the animal origin of the pandemic and exactly how the virus first crossed over to humans, reports BBC.
Is veganism on the rise?
The way people eat might be up for a shift this year. A record 500,000 people have signed up to the Veganuary challenge to eat only plant-based foods for a month. The milestone is double the number who pledged to go vegan for January in 2019, reports The Guardian. A quarter of those taking up the challenge—125,000—are in the UK, and this year British supermarkets including Tesco have run television and radio adverts promoting Veganuary for the first time. People give a number of reasons for choosing to cut the amount of animal foods in their diets, from reducing animal suffering, improving health or to lessen the environmental damage caused by food production. Many people in rich countries already eat more meat than is healthy, and scientists say cutting out meat is the single best way individuals can tackle the climate and wildlife crises.
Curated by Sohini Sen. Have something to share with us? Write to us at feedback@livemint or tweet to @shohinisen