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Jack Ma’s Ant Group is set to raise almost $35 billion through initial public offerings in Shanghai and Hong Kong, a blockbuster listing that will rank as the world’s biggest share sale ever. Ant will be valued at about $280 billion before the IPO, and will raise about $34.5 billion from Shanghai and Hong Kong before exercising its green shoe option, based on Monday’s filings. The company’s much-anticipated IPO is on track to surpass Saudi Aramco’s $29 billion sale last year. For more updates, here’s Mint Lite.

New law to tackle bad air soon

The Centre is framed a new law to tackle air pollution in Delhi-NCR and nearby areas, and is the draft legislation is likely to introduce it in the next four to five days, it told the Supreme Court on Monday. Northern India’s air quality is among the worst in the world due to vehicular and industrial emissions, stubble burning, poor solid waste management and firecrackers, and drops further during winter. The Centre said it also planned to set up a permanent body to monitor and examine issues related to bad air. Toxic air costs India as much as 8.5% of its gross domestic product, according to World Bank calculations, besides shortening the lives of citizens. India accounted for 21% of global sulphur dioxide emissions, which increases the risks of heart and lung diseases, mostly from coal-fired power plants, according to a new report from Greenpeace India and Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

Japan rejects UN nuclear ban deal

Japan has decided against signing a UN treaty that bans nuclear weapons, rejecting the wishes of atomic bomb survi-vors in Japan, who are urging the government to work for a nuclear-free world. The UN said 50 countries have ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, paving the way for its entry into force in 90 days, AP reports. The deal was hailed by anti-nuclear activists, but opposed by the US and other nuclear powers. Japan has decided not to sign the treaty though it is the world’s only country to have suffered nuclear attacks and has renounced its own possession, production or hosting of nuclear weapons. Japan hosts 50,000 American troops and is protected by the US nuclear umbrella. Atomic bomb survivors, most of them in their 80s and who have long worked for the treaty, said they would keep working to change policy. There are over 14,000 nuclear bombs in the world.

Source: Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2020
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Source: Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2020

Household wealth is rising

The pandemic has led to a drop in individual wealth, yet household wealth has increased in China and India, says Credit Suisse 2020 Global Wealth Report. Only China and India saw gains in household wealth in the first half of 2020, growing by 4.4% and 1.6%, respectively. Latin America suffered the most, with a 13% plunge, as currency devaluations aggra-vated losses in GDP (see chart). Thanks to government and central bank actions to mitigate the covid-19 fallout, global wealth rebounded from an initial slump in the first quarter of the year, adding $1 trillion by June after ending 2019 at $399.2 trillion. The top 1% of the world, with over $1 million each, hold 43% of global wealth. About 2.8 billion adults have below $10,000, collectively owning just 1.4% of global wealth.

Chileans celebrate ‘rebirth’

THOUSANDS took to Chile’s main squares on Sunday to celebrate after citizens overwhelmingly backed rewriting the nation’s dictatorship-era constitution that many see as the root cause of social and economic inequalities. With almost all the ballots counted, 78.12% people had voted “yes" in a referendum that was called after mass protests against inequality. Citizens hope the new constitution drafted by citizens will guarantee more equal rights to healthcare, pensions and education, reports Reuters. President Sebastian Pinera praised the peaceful vote, saying it was “the beginning of a path that we must all walk together". He had agreed in November to hold the referendum after a month of nationwide protests. Members of a 155-seat constitutional convention will be voted in by April and have up to a year to agree a draft text. Chileans will then vote on if they accept the text or want to revert to the previous constitution.

World’s longest tunnel gets started

After a decade of planning, work has started on the world’s longest immersed tunnel, which will descend up to 40m beneath the Baltic Sea and link Denmark and Germany. The 18km long Fehmarnbelt Tunnel, which opens in 2029, will also be the longest combined road and rail tunnel in the world. It will comprise two double-lane motorways, separated by a service passageway, and two electrified rail tracks, reports CNN. The tunnel, one of Europe’s largest infra-structure projects, has a construction budget of over $8 billion. It will be built across the Fehmarn Belt, a strait between the German island of Fehmarn and the Danish island of Lolland, and is designed as an alternative to the current ferry service from Rødby and Puttgarden, which carries millions of passengers every year. At present, a train trip from Copenhagen to Hamburg takes about 4 hours. With the tunnel, the travel time will be reduced by half.

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