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The world's biggest iron ore miner, Rio Tinto’s chairman will step down next year to take responsibility for the destruction of ancient rock shelters, the latest in a string of high-profile departures over the blasts. Simon Thompson will step down after next year’s annual general meetings, while non-executive director Michael L’Estrange, who led the review into the company’s handling of the incident, will retire in May. Last year’s destruction of the 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge rock in Western Australia for an iron ore mine sparked a massive public and investor uproar. For more updates, here’s Mint Lite

British budget to aid recovery

British finance minister Rishi Sunak
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British finance minister Rishi Sunak

British finance minister Rishi Sunak unveiled his annual budget Wednesday promising measures to safeguard businesses and jobs, while tackling virus-fuelled debt. Ahead of the budget statement in parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government said it would extend its furlough scheme paying the bulk of wages for millions of private-sector workers until the end of September, five months longer than planned. Sunak will also say that once the economy is “on the way to recovery, we will need to begin fixing the public finances".The multi-billion-pound furlough scheme has contributed to soaring government debt, which Sunak may tackle in part by announcing a rise in corporation tax or a levy on company profits.At 19%, Britain’s corporation tax rate is the nation’s lowest on record and one of the smallest in the Group of 20 bloc of wealthy nations.

New hurdles for sovereign funds

Sovereign wealth funds will have to navigate growing regulatory scrutiny across some of their favoured areas for investment such as pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, technology and logistics
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Sovereign wealth funds will have to navigate growing regulatory scrutiny across some of their favoured areas for investment such as pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, technology and logistics

Sovereign wealth funds will have to navigate growing regulatory scrutiny across some of their favoured areas for investment such as pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, technology and logistics, a new report said on Wednesday. Infrastructure was their top investment by sector, accounting for 26% of total deal volume from July 2019 to September 2020, followed by services and technology, according to the Sovereign Wealth Funds report, a collaboration between IE Center for the Governance of Change and ICEX-Invest in Spain. Pharma, software and biotech attracted the largest investment by industry, accounting for about 19% of deals .Regulators have focused more closely on some of those areas in the aftermath of the pandemic.Governments of about 50 countries have imposed rules on exports of products used in the public health response to the covid-19 pandemic, according to UN data.

India offers vaccine help to Syria

India offers vaccine help to Syria
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India offers vaccine help to Syria

India, which has shipped critical supplies of covid-19 vaccines to nations globally, has said it stands ready to work with the United Nations and its agencies to ensure the doses are delivered to people of Syria facing “dire" situation compounded by the pandemic, winterization and food insecurity. Speaking at the UN General Assembly high-level panel on the human rights situation in Syria, India’s deputy permanent representative to the UN ambassador K. Nagaraj Naidu said India continues to stand with the people of Syria in the grave hour of need. India has extended $12 million in humanitarian assistance through bilateral and multilateral channels and last July, more than 10 MT of medicine supplies have been delivered to help Syria cope with the pandemic.

EU vaccine-passport still a dream

EU vaccine-passport still a dream
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EU vaccine-passport still a dream

The European Union is still months away from issuing covid-19 immunity certificates, raising the risk of another lost tourism season for the bloc’s aviation and hospitality industries. The European Commission is working on “establishing a trust framework and a digital infrastructure that would facilitate the authentication of" such documents, according to a briefing note circulated to national delegations in Brussels Tuesday. EU leaders were informed last week that “the technical work underpinning such a platform could require three to four months. EU member states are at loggerheads over the use of “status certificates," which will be used to confirm that their holders have recently tested negative, fully vaccinated, or recovered from the coronavirus and are thus presumed to be immune. The bloc’s tourism-dependent economies have been pushing for the introduction of such digital passes.

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

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