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Despite a dip in global spending amid the pandemic, the country’s information technology sector is set to post a 2.3% rise in revenues to $194 billion in the current fiscal, National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) said on Monday. The industry added 138,000 people to its workforce on a net basis during the year, taking the total number of employees to 4.47 million, Nasscom said in its review of the current financial year ending 31 March. IT services segment will grow 2.7% to $99 billion while business process management will see a growth of 2.3% to $38 billion.

Okonjo-Iweala becomes WTO chief

Okonjo-Iweala becomes WTO chief
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Okonjo-Iweala becomes WTO chief

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is set to be confirmed as the first woman and first African leader of the beleaguered World Trade Organization, a near-paralysed institution desperately needing a jump-start. The WTO has called a special general council meeting at which the former Nigerian finance minister and World Bank veteran is expected to be formally selected as the global trade body’s new director-general. US President Joe Biden strongly swung behind her candidacy shortly after the only other remaining contender, South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee, pulled out. The organization is also eager to conclude the drawn-out process, having been leaderless since Brazilian career diplomat Roberto Azevedo stepped down last August, a year ahead of schedule. The process of picking one of eight candidates to succeed him had initially been expected to wrap up by November.

Obamacare opens for three months

Obamacare opens for three months
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Obamacare opens for three months

Healthcare.Gov’s market for subsidized health plans reopened Monday for a three-month sign-up window as the Democratic-led Congress pushes a boost in financial help that could cut premiums by double digits. This enrolment period during the coronavirus pandemic is an early test of President Biden’s strategy to use the Affordable Care Act as a springboard toward health coverage for all. Advancing on a parallel track, the new covid-19 relief bill from House Democrats would offer a generous, though temporary, increase in subsidies for people covered by the law known as “Obamacare". While policy experts are taking note, it’s unclear how uninsured Americans will respond. Former president Barack Obama’s health law has been on the books for over a decade, but surveys consistently show that many people lacking job-based insurance do not realize they may qualify.

Czech PM loses top ranking

Czech PM loses top ranking
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Czech PM loses top ranking

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis’s populist party lost the top spot in opinion polls for the first time since 2017, as his government was accused of a bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic. The centrist populist ANO (YES) movement scored 26.5% voter support in a poll published by public broadcaster Czech Television eight months ahead of a general election scheduled for October. ANO has topped all polls with support hovering around 30% since the last general election in 2017. But the latest poll by the Kantar CZ agency put it in the second spot behind a coalition comprising the centrist Mayors and Independents movement and the anti-establishment Pirate Party. “The covid situation started to worsen again at the beginning of this year," Kantar said.

Sahel’s jihadist insurgency in focus

Sahel’s jihadist insurgency in focus
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Sahel’s jihadist insurgency in focus

France and five allies gathered on Monday to discuss the Sahel’s jihadist insurgency, with Paris looking for support enabling it to cut French troop numbers in the strife-torn region. Leaders of the so-called G5 Sahel—Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger—are attending the two-day summit in the Chadian capital N’Djamena, with French President Emmanuel Macron attending via videolink. The meeting comes a year after France boosted its Sahel deployment, seeking to wrench back momentum in the brutal, long-running battle. But despite touted military successes, jihadists remain in control of vast swathes of territory and attacks are unrelenting. Six UN peacekeepers have been killed in Mali this year alone. Islamist fighters in the Sahel first emerged in northern Mali in 2012, during a rebellion by ethnic Touareg separatists which was later overtaken by the jihadists, reports AFP.

Life in extreme cold climate

Life in extreme cold climate
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Life in extreme cold climate

The accidental discovery of marine organisms on a boulder on the sea floor beneath 900 metres of Antarctic ice shelf has led scientists to rethink the limits of life on Earth, reports the Guardian. Researchers stumbled on the life-bearing rock after sinking a borehole through the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf to obtain a sediment core from the seabed. While the boulder scuppered their chances of obtaining the core, footage from a video camera sent down the hole captured the first images of organisms stuck to a rock far beneath an ice shelf. While surveys of Antarctic marine life have found some small mobile organisms far beneath ice shelves, they have never previously found stationary filter-feeders, which survive by ingesting food that falls down on them. Their absence led many scientists to suspect that the total darkness, the lack of food and the -2C temperature was too hostile for them.

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


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