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India, Japan, Australia and the US, the Indo-Pacific nations known as the Quad, held their first in-person meeting since the pandemic began, in Tokyo on Tuesday. India’s foreign minister S. Jaishankar said New Delhi was committed to a rules-based world order, respect for territorial integrity and peaceful resolution of disputes, without naming China. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China’s increasingly assertive actions in the region make it critical for the Quad to cooperate to protect their partners and people from “Chinese exploitation, corruption and coercion." For more updates, here’s Mint Lite.

Amazon goes all out for Diwali

Amazon India has decided to extend its Diwali sale event to a whole month this year to outdo Walmart-owned Flipkart, Bloomberg reports
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Amazon India has decided to extend its Diwali sale event to a whole month this year to outdo Walmart-owned Flipkart, Bloomberg reports

Despite pandemic restrictions easing, people are still wary about stepping out of home, leaving retailers worried about festive-season shopping. Amazon India has decided to extend its Diwali sale event to a whole month this year to outdo Walmart-owned Flipkart, Bloomberg reports. While Flipkart has decided on a six-day event, Amazon plans to start sales for India’s most important shopping season in mid-October and continue till Diwali in mid-November. In the past few months, Amazon has seen a 60% surge in new merchants on its platform. This will be the first festival season in which Amazon and Flipkart will contend with Reliance’s JioMart. Amazon and Flipkart have each invested in over $1 billion to build their capabilities in India this year. Amazon has even created 100,000 seasonal jobs, and plans to open 10 new warehouses. Flipkart announced that it would add 70,000 positions.

McAfee founder arrested in Spain

Cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee was arrested in Spain on Tuesday for tax evasion in the US
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Cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee was arrested in Spain on Tuesday for tax evasion in the US

Cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee was arrested in Spain on Tuesday for tax evasion in the US. The US justice department said he’s accused of failing to file US tax returns from 2014 to 2018 and hiding assets in the names of others. It said McAfee earned millions of dollars through the promotion of cryptocurrencies, speaking engagements, consulting jobs and the sale of the rights to his life story for a documentary, but never filed tax returns. Instead, his income was paid into accounts held in the names of others, prosecutors told AP. He could go to prison for five years if convicted of tax evasion, and a year if found guilty of failing to file taxes. McAfee founded his software firm in 1987, and sold it to Intel for $7.7 billion in 2010. In 2016, Intel announced that it had signed a deal to transfer a 51% stake in the business to TPG for $1.1 billion. The company filed to go public last month.

But what about mental health?

Mental health services disrupted
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Mental health services disrupted

The pandemic has disrupted critical mental health services in 93% of nations while the demand for mental health is increasing, shows a new WHO survey. Conducted from June-August across 130 countries, the survey highlights the chronic underfunding of mental health. Prior to the pandemic, nations were spending less than 2% of their national health budgets on mental health, and struggling to meet their population’s needs. While 70% of nations have adopted telemedicine or teletherapy to overcome disruptions to in-person services, there are disparities in the uptake of these interventions. Over 80% of high-income nations reported deploying telemedicine and teletherapy to bridge gaps in mental health, compared with less than 50% of low-income ones.

14M tonne microplastics on sea bed

While plastic pollution has been found even in the most remote regions, little was known about the levels of plastic nestled in the sea bed, till now
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While plastic pollution has been found even in the most remote regions, little was known about the levels of plastic nestled in the sea bed, till now

While plastic pollution has been found even in the most remote regions, little was known about the levels of plastic nestled in the sea bed, till now. A recent study, published in Frontiers In Marine Science, has estimated there is 14 million tonnes of microplastics—pieces of plastic that have been worn down by the elements into tiny fragments, smaller than 5 millimetres—sitting on the ocean floor. Using a robotic submarine, the research team collected samples of deep-sea sediments up to 9,800ft deep from six sites in the Great Australian Bight, up to 380km off the coast of South Australia. Close to 150 million tonnes of plastic are already floating in our oceans, according to the World Economic Forum. A previous study suggests that even if we embarked on a global effort to cut plastic consumption, there would still be 710 million tonnes of plastic that will pollute the environment by 2040.

13 cents to $15m for flawless diamond

A rare 102.39-carat diamond made auction history as the first gem of its quality to be sold without a reserve price
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A rare 102.39-carat diamond made auction history as the first gem of its quality to be sold without a reserve price

A rare 102.39-carat diamond made auction history as the first gem of its quality to be sold without a reserve price. The opening price for the flawless oval stone, cut from a rough diamond discovered in 2018 in Canada, was just 13 cents, but eventually climbed to the winning bid of $15.7 million on Monday. A private collector from Japan won the bid and named it “Maiko Star" after his second daughter. The same collector earlier bought the 88.22-carat “Manami Star" at Sotheby’s in April 2019, according to the auction house. Sotheby’s, which conducted the live auction and took online and phone bids, called the stone “one of the earth’s greatest treasures." The diamond belongs to the rare subgroup comprising less than 2% of all gem diamonds, known as Type IIA. Diamonds in this group are the most chemically pure, containing little to no nitrogen, and have exceptional optical transparency.

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

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