Mint Lite | India growth forecast, tracing covid, Apple, migrant crisis & others4 min read . Updated: 19 Nov 2020, 09:58 PM IST
Stories, opinions, news and views that matter, from around the world
Oxford Economics has revised downwards its India growth forecast over the medium term to an average 4.5% over 2020-25, from its pre-pandemic projection of 6.5%, reports the Press Trust of India. According to the global forecasting firm India's post covid scars would be among the worst in the world. Beyond 2020 though, according to the report, India remains one of the most rapidly growing economies in their baseline. It also expects private investment to continue to be held back by both macroeconomic and financial factors.
The detectives tracing covid
An indigenously developed testing kit for coronavirus disease based on the gene-editing technology CRISPR—called Feluda—was launched in Delhi on Thursday by the Tata group. This is a paper-strip kit and is likely to be cheaper than current and popular RT-PCR test. It is believed to be equally accurate with a sensitivity of 96% and specificity of 98%, meaning it can accurately detect both positive and negative cases. It was approved for use by the Indian Council of Medical Research in September. In USA too, a similar CRISPR based covid test has been approved by the USFDA, called Sherlock, named again after a famous fictional detective. Meanwhile, while Delhi cases keep rising, a spill-over effect can be seen in neighbouring Haryana and Rajasthan as well. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has deputed high level Central teams to Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Manipur.
Apple’s throttling act
Apple has agreed to pay $113 million in order to settle allegations from more than 30 American states that it purposely slowed down iPhones to mask battery issues and get users to buy new handsets, Reuters reported. The allegations go back to 2016 when the California-based company quietly updated software on models of the iPhone 6, 7 and SE to throttle chip speeds so that ageing batteries on the devices would not send power spikes to the phone’s processor and cause it to shut down abruptly. States maintained that Apple acted deceptively and should have replaced batteries or disclosed the issue. Millions of users were affected by power shutoffs, according to an Arizona court filing. Apple also agreed that it would for the next three years provide “truthful information" about iPhone power management across its website, software update notes and iPhone settings.
No decoupling for China
Chinese President Xi Jinping laid to rest all speculations of China decoupling or separating itself from the US and other trading partners amid tension with Washington and Europe over technology and security. According to Associates Press, Jinping has promised to open China’s market wider but has not announced any initiative to respond to complaints that the ruling Communist Party improperly subsidizes and shields technology and other industries from foreign competitors. Many analysts believe the Communist party's decisions such as using its own standard for mobile phone and technology would enourage customers to adopt to only Chinese suppliers. This might, they believe, split the world markets into smaller segments with incompatible industry standards, hurting productivity. The comments came after Sunday’s signing of the world’s largest free trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, by Beijing and 14 other Asian neighbors.
Canary island’s migrant crisis
Migrant arrivals have been putting pressure on Spain’s Canary island for a while. Now, in an effort to manage the steady stream of incoming migrants, the Spanish government has decided to open a second migrant holding camp. This announcement comes at a time while Spain faces criticism from local authorities and human rights groups. Officials on the ground say that they can’t adequately care for the thousands of migrants who have arrived by boat in recent weeks. Originally built for 400 migrants to take shelter in red cross tents, the Arguineguín pier in the southwest coast is now crowded with migrants, some sleeping on the concrete as they plead for a place to live in. Officially, police can hold migrants who arrive without authorization for 72 hours, unless they need to be kept longer to complete a quarantine for testing positive for covid-19. So far, 79 of those currently held have tested positive.
Students discover penguin colony
Sir David Attenborough’s new program on the plight of penguins has led a bunch of students from London’s Stirling High School to discover a new colony of emperor penguins in the Antarctic, reports the BBC. It started with the students designing an algorithm to identify penguin colonies from satellite imagery. Then, researchers from the British Antarctic Survey used higher-resolution imaging to confirm the colony. The findings of the study reveals nearly 20% more emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica than previously believed. But researchers will have to keep a keen eye on these new colonies, lest they too fall prey to climate change. Emperor penguins, just like polar bears, depend on sea ice for vital life activities like breeding, feeding, and molting. Too little sea ice can leave them in danger from predators while too much sea ice would increase their efforts to find food.
Curated by Sohini Sen. Have something to share with us? Write to us at feedback@livemint or tweet to @shohinisen