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India’s caseload may be rising but other parts of Asia are gradually easing international travel restrictions and hope to revive economies as their virus curve flattens. A Singapore-Indonesia deal announced on Monday for essential business travel will require an application and covid-19 tests both before and after travel. Singapore has similar agreements with China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia. Japan and Vietnam will allow short-term business travel with each other from the end of the month. For more updates, here’s Mint Lite.
Power supply was restored in most parts of Mumbai after its worst blackout in decades, caused by tripping or an overload that forces an automatic shutdown, disrupted transport networks and briefly hit trading volume in bond markets. The BSE and NSE continued to function normally, but trading volumes in the fixed-income market dropped as many traders at home failed to complete trades. Despite the blackout from 10am to about 2pm, the stock benchmark ended the day with gains. Airport operations and hospitals remained unaffected. Bond traders said trading volumes narrowed immediately after the outage but recovered later. Sovereign bonds extended gains, with the yield on 10-year bonds falling four basis points to 5.9% while Sensex advanced 0.2% and Nifty rose 0.1%. On Monday, the Centre also unveiled measures worth $6.6 billion to stimulate consumer demand and investment.
Europe readies for second wave
Countries across Europe are preparing tougher measures to contain the coronavirus as infections surge, but leaders are concerned that another round of restrictions could devastate the already-fragile economy, and spark public unrest. The German cabinet met on Monday to discuss new measures such as testing in nursing homes and isolating travellers from high-risk areas though a decision has not been made yet. Italy, one of the worst-hit countries in the first wave, is likely to have new rules for nightlife, sports and social events this week after Sunday saw the highest increase in covid-19 patients entering intensive care since 31 March. Last week, it made masks in public mandatory. UK will introduce a “system of alert levels" to classify areas and what activity will be allowed. France has put some cities on “maximum alert" and closed businesses, while Poland is considering introducing a state of emergency.
India has among the highest number of road accidents and deaths in the world. This year, the lockdown may have saved lives by taking vehicles off roads, but as traffic returns to normal, the risks are likely to rise. Deaths due to dangerous driving and speeding—the main causes of death on Indian roads—increased in 2019 despite the introduction of stringent penalties under the amended Motor Vehicles Act. As many as 128,798 people lost their lives due to dangerous driving and speeding—83% of all road accident deaths, a Mint analysis of NCRB data showed. This was a 2.2% rise since 2018. Most road accident deaths take place on national and state highways, even though they make up just about 5% of the Indian road network (see chart). For more, read Plain Facts.
Death for rape in Bangladesh
Following unprecedented protests against sexual violence against women in Bangladesh, the government has approved an amendment that would allow death penalty in rape cases. The draft of the Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2020, was approved on Monday, at a virtual meeting of the council of ministers, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The bill says anyone convicted of rape will be punished with “rigorous imprisonment" for life or death, raising the question whether capital punishment is the best option for a crime as gruesome as rape and enough to fundamentally shift attitudes towards sexual violence. Protests erupted last week after footage of a group of men assaulting a 37-year-old woman went viral on social media. Another case that raised the tone of the protests was of a woman allegedly gang raped in a hostel in the northern district of Sylhet.
Julius Caesar’s fountain on show
After spending decades in a basement, some of Italy’s finest sculptures, dating back to the 15th century, are on show for the public again in Rome in a show that will run till June 2021. Busts of Roman emperors, intricate sarcophagi and an ancient Greek relief carved 2,500 years ago are just some of the 92 pieces on display in the Palazzo Caffarelli, reports Reuters. The marbles belong to the aristocratic Torlonia family and represent a fraction of their 620 sculptures, believed to be the largest such private collection in the world. Initially, the huge collection was on display in a museum, but after 101 years, they were consigned to a basement in 1976 when the family made plans to convert the building into an apartment complex. Among the pieces on view is a fountain basin carved in ancient Greece that was believed to have stood in the garden of Julius Caesar when it was already considered an antiquity.
Curated by Shalini Umachandran and Pooja Singh. Have something to share with us? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet to @shalinimb
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