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India continues to maintain there’s no community transmission of the covid-19 virus even as it reported a record single-day surge of 24,879 cases. The country has recorded over 20,000 cases a day for seven days running. Meanwhile, research from the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai has shown that India’s coronavirus transmission rate has increased for the first time since March. Each patient now infects an average of 1.19 people. The rate needs to be below one for new infections to reduce. For the rest of the national and world news, here’s Mint Lite.

Education in disarray

The Karnataka HC stayed the ban imposed by the state government on online classes for pre-primary to Class 10, saying the order violated constitutional provisions guaranteeing the right to education
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The Karnataka HC stayed the ban imposed by the state government on online classes for pre-primary to Class 10, saying the order violated constitutional provisions guaranteeing the right to education

Delhi University (DU) has postponed its exams once again after months of uncertainty and criticism of its plan for open book exams online, but this time the Delhi high court has directed it to file an affidavit with a detailed schedule for examinations. The undergraduate exams were scheduled for 10 July, and have now been postponed beyond 15 August. This leaves final year students in limbo. Since March, when the lockdown was announced mid-semester, DU has postponed or changed exam rules at least thrice. Meanwhile, in Karnataka, the high court stayed the state’s June ban on online classes for pre-primary to Class 10, saying the order violated constitutional provisions guaranteeing the right to education. The court clarified that schools could not make online education compulsory or charge extra fees for it. It added that the state would have to create infrastructure to provide online education in government schools during the pandemic.

Hunger will kill more people

By the end of the year, 12,000 people worldwide could die every day from hunger linked to covid-19, potentially more than will die from the disease itself
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By the end of the year, 12,000 people worldwide could die every day from hunger linked to covid-19, potentially more than will die from the disease itself

By the end of the year, 12,000 people worldwide could die every day from hunger linked to covid-19, potentially more than will die from the disease itself. A new report from Oxfam says the pandemic is the final straw for millions of people already struggling with the impacts of conflict, climate change, inequality, mass unemployment, loss of income and food systems that have impoverished millions of food producers and workers. Mass unemployment due to shutdowns and continued restrictions are affecting all countries, and informal labourers, farmers and small-scale producers suffer the most. Another warning on climate change came from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Thursday, which said the earth’s average temperature is likely to remain at least 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels in the coming five years. It warned that temperatures may even rise above the 1.5C safe limit for climate change.

CSR focuses on virus fight

Bulk of CSR funds go to Covid-19
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Bulk of CSR funds go to Covid-19

More than half the corporate social responsibility (CSR) budget of India’s top 300 companies this year has been allocated to covid-19 relief measures, and most of this has been in the form of donations to the PM-CARES Fund. The average annual CSR budget is 15,000 crore, according to Sattva’s India Data Insights CSR Covid Response & Outlook 2020-21. This year, 7,863 crore has already gone towards coronavirus-related work. Assuming companies will not allocate more to covid-19, this leaves 7,138 crore for other programmes in the areas of poverty, malnutrition, education, rural development, healthcare and sanitation. PSUs too have funnelled money into PM-CARES. They have donated 2,507 crore so far of their annual average spend of 3,000 crore, and private companies, 5,300 crore.

Road deaths drop in European Union

Dutch artist Dre Wapenaar is offering stays in tear drop-shaped tents near Borgloon, which is finding quite a few takers
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Dutch artist Dre Wapenaar is offering stays in tear drop-shaped tents near Borgloon, which is finding quite a few takers

In the EU, covid-19 lockdown laws helped reduce road deaths by an average of 36% in April, according to the European Transport Safety Council. Italy, the first European country struck by the virus, saw its road deaths drop by 84%. Other countries with tight lockdown laws like Greece and Belgium recorded a 59% fall in traffic fatalities. Belgium, meanwhile, has turned down a recommendation by the EU to reopen borders for 15 “safe" countries, including Algeria, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. Belgium’s decision follows other EU countries, including Sweden and Hungary, which refused to comply with the recommendation, saying the global crisis is far from over. Rather than vacationing abroad, some Belgians are enjoying staycations, and other Europeans are getting innovative with holidays. Dutch artist Dre Wapenaar is offering stays in tear drop-shaped tents near Borgloon, which is finding quite a few takers (see picture).

‘Scream inside your heart’

Japan’s theme parks have been open for about a month now, but they’re mostly silent
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Japan’s theme parks have been open for about a month now, but they’re mostly silent

Japan’s theme parks have been open for about a month now, but they’re mostly silent. Not because of no visitors but because the theme parks association has banned screaming on rides, as part of efforts to contain the virus spread. There’s no penalty for violating the ban, but most visitors to parks, such as Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios in Osaka and Fuji-Q Highland, are trying to hold in their howls. The associations said they were following advice from health officials, who have said coughing, singing and screaming, can spread droplets, WSJ reported. Tokyo, which had brought the virus under control with guidelines and declaring a state of emergency in April-May, is seeing a rise in cases again. Tokyo’s Fuji-Q Highland recently put out a video of two executives in suits plunging 230ft down the country’s highest roller coaster in absolute silence. The video ends with the message, “Please scream inside your heart."

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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