Home >News >Business of Life >Mint Lite | New education policy, Covid in Mumbai slums, Amazon & other news

After three decades, India has a new education policy. The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the new National Education Policy (NEP). The aim is to increase spending on education to 6% of the gross domestic product, up from the current 3-4%. Among the other changes: the HRD ministry is now known as the education ministry, foreign universities can set up India campuses, the MPhil course has been discontinued, and all higher educational institutions will have a single regulator. For the rest of the national and world news, here’s Mint Lite.

Over half of Mumbai’s slum residents may have been infected

About 57% of slum-dwellers in Mumbai have tested positive for antibodies for the coronavirus in a serological survey of about 7,000 people
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About 57% of slum-dwellers in Mumbai have tested positive for antibodies for the coronavirus in a serological survey of about 7,000 people

Just days after a survey found that about a quarter of Delhiites have had covid-19, Mumbai health officials have said that more than half of the residents of Mumbai’s slums are probably infected with the novel coronavirus. About 57% of slum-dwellers in Mumbai have tested positive for antibodies for the coronavirus in a serological survey of about 7,000 people, conducted by the Mumbai’s municipal corporation, Niti Aayog and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. In contrast, the survey found that only 16% of those living outside the slums had been exposed to the virus, pointing to the vast social, economic and infrastructural inequities in urban India. About 65% of Mumbai’s 12 million people live in its slums, where physical distancing is hard to enforce. On Wednesday, India’s covid-19 case count crossed 1.53 million, just two days after it breached the 1.4 million mark. This is the seventh consecutive day that COVID-19 cases have increased by more than 45,000. Maharashtra remains the worst affected state with more than 400,000 cases. Urban areas continue to have a higher case count that other parts of the country. Mumbai’s civic authorities are reading the results as a positive sign, saying it means the city is “inching towards herd immunity". A few days ago, WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said “herd immunity"—when enough people become resistant to a disease to stop its spread—is still a long way off for covid-19.

The light shines on Bezos

The world’s biggest e-retailer is growing and gaining market share during the pandemic as shoppers sheltering at home shift their purchases online
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The world’s biggest e-retailer is growing and gaining market share during the pandemic as shoppers sheltering at home shift their purchases online

A day after Jeff Bezos appears before a US congressional sub-committee examining monopoly concerns, Amazon will announce its second quarter results on Thursday. The world’s biggest e-retailer is growing and gaining market share during the pandemic as shoppers sheltering at home shift their purchases online. Its already lucrative cloud business is also growing. Amazon’s shares have risen 25% since 30 April, but the company has warned that expenses for covid-19 testing and other safety and staffing measures could outpace rising revenue in the second quarter. Analysts now say these pandemic-related expenses could touch $4 billion—the question is whether investors will continue to prioritize growth over profit when the results are declared. Amazon reported operating income of $3.1 billion in the second quarter of 2019, and forecast that quarterly operating income could rise or fall by $1.5 billion this time.

China’s India ore binge

China’s iron imports from India highest since 2012
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China’s iron imports from India highest since 2012

China’s purchases of iron ore from India touched an eight-year high in the first half of 2020 despite the pandemic and rising tensions between the two countries. Supply from China’s main sources, Australia and Brazil, was disrupted due to the covid-19 outbreak, but China’s steel output continued at the same pace this year. Shipments of the raw material from India more than doubled to 20 million tonnes between January and June this year compared to the same period last year, according to China’s customs data. It was also the highest since the first half of 2012, when India exported 27.8 million tonnes. While India’s exports are rising, it is still a fraction of China’s total iron ore imports of 547.2 million tonnes in the first half of 2020, Bloomberg reports.

In Congo: covid, ebola

Coronavirus and Ebola are testing the limits of Congo’s healthcare system
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Coronavirus and Ebola are testing the limits of Congo’s healthcare system

Coronavirus and Ebola are testing the limits of Congo’s healthcare system. After two years, the country is witnessing a renewed Ebola outbreak while it’s battling the pandemic. Authorities have reported a sharp increase in Ebola infections in the remote northern parts of the country, just a month after they managed to contain an outbreak in the east. This year, so far, more than 2,300 people have died of Ebola in Congo, Wall Street Journal reports. The country of 88 million has registered over 8,800 covid-19 cases, with 208 deaths. Testing is limited and the real number of infections could be higher. Containing this outbreak may be harder as the international community is hesitant to deploy health workers, and donors and the government are running out of cash. Ebola is far deadlier than covid-19, killing around two-thirds of those it infects. Congo is also battling measles—an outbreak has killed 6,000 since 2019.

On road to rebuild Mosul

The first phase of a project to rebuild Mosul’s 12th century Great Mosque of Al Nuri has been completed with the help of 300 Iraqi residents pitching in to remove mines and munitions
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The first phase of a project to rebuild Mosul’s 12th century Great Mosque of Al Nuri has been completed with the help of 300 Iraqi residents pitching in to remove mines and munitions

The first phase of a project to rebuild Mosul’s 12th century Great Mosque of Al Nuri has been completed with the help of 300 Iraqi residents pitching in to remove mines and munitions, collect historical artefacts, and classify and document them. This is part of a $50.4 million restoration project financed by the UAE and implemented by Unesco. The second phase, which includes slowly rebuilding churches and heritage homes, will begin at the end of 2020. Many buildings and artefacts in the historic Iraqi city were destroyed between 2014 and 2017 when IS held it. Statues in its museum were defaced and restorers say it will be at least a decade before it can be reopened. Mosul station, once a stop on the route of the famed Orient Express, is also a rusting relic now. Mosul was the gateway to Turkey, and to Europe. The last train passed through in 2010, before 80% of the station was destroyed in a battle with IS.

Curated by Shalini Umachandran. Have something to share with us? Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com or tweet to @shalinimb

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