Business News/ News / Business Of Life/  Mint Lite | Top 10 news and views around the world

Counting down from Janata Curfew on 22 March, most of us are going into the second week of lockdown. Team Mint has been working from home, publishing your favourite business daily as usual, even though distribution troubles, which are being smoothed out, may keep it from reaching your doorstep. Under these extraordinary circumstances, our e-paper has been unshackled from its paywall. Do explore it at We’re also launching Mint Lite to bring you up to date with everything you need to know, and some things that you may not need to know but are just fun to know, in five minutes before you head into that remote meeting, or to scrub those dishes.

Past and Present

An extraordinary prayer in the time of a pandemic

St. Peter’S Square in Vatican City is usually packed. But last week, Pope Francis delivered a solitary sermon in an eerily empty square, closed on account of Covid-19. Six Vatican City staff have tested positive. “We find ourselves afraid and lost… All of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other," he said.

How a Bengaluru startup helped out in Wuhan

At the height of the coronavirus outbreak in China’s Wuhan, Bengaluru startup BlinkIn’s augmented reality (AR) solution lent a hand. Wuhan set up emergency medical centres on a war footing, and ventilators came from Germany. The trouble was technicians could not go to Wuhan to install them. This is where BlinkIn entered the scene. Manufacturers used its AR product Scotty to provide visual guidance from Germany. Hospital staff in Wuhan just had to click on a link and point a phone at the ventilator. AR markers helped indicate what needed to be done as a technician talked to them.

Over 13 million are on a long walk back home

Even as the number of cases of coronavirus rises every day, the immediate crisis facing the government is the mass movement of frightened migrant workers, who have lost jobs, and are trying to return home. A delivery man, 39, who set off on foot from Delhi to his hometown in Madhya Pradesh died on Saturday after walking around 200km. India has about 13.4 million interstate workers in its urban centres, according to census. This crisis highlights poor policymaking that’s ignored 90% of the workforce estimated to be in the informal sector, living day to day without security or savings.

FIIs panic, sell equities worth $15 billion in march

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold heavily in March, draining the country of close to $15 billion. This is the highest ever sell-off by foreign institutional investors in a month. As Covid-19 spread across geographies, investors rushed to dump equities typically considered risky assets, and the 21-day nationwide lockdown added to concerns of economic disruption. FIIs sold $7.54 billion worth Indian shares, while another $7.36 billion was sold in debt instruments in March. Panic sell-off by FIIs dragged benchmark indices down 25% this month.

Case Load: Virus update (As on 29 March 2020)

Total coronavirus cases in India: 1079

Death toll in India: 27

Number of fresh cases registered: 155

Patients cured/discharged countrywide: 96

US overtakes china with most confirmed cases

US President Donald Trump backed off on imposing a quarantine in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, after New York governor Andrew Cuomo criticized the idea as “totally bizarre, counterproductive, anti-American, antisocial". Instead, Trump has instructed officials to issue a “strong advisory" against non-essential travel. The coronavirus has infected more than 660,000 people worldwide, and over 30,000 have died. The US has overtaken China to become the country with the most confirmed cases in the world at more than 100,000.

Ronaldo, Juve squad give up $100 million in wages

Juventus’ first-team squad, including star forward Cristiano Ronaldo and coach Maurizio Sarri, have agreed to give up four months’ wages till June to help the club manage the economic impact of the pandemic. Juventus say this will save them €90 million ($100.5 million). But Ronaldo, on lockdown in his hometown of Madeira, doesn’t seem to be feeling the pinch—he has reportedly spent £8.5million ($10.5 million) on a limited edition Bugatti Centodieci, of which only 10 have been made. He has already donated €1 million ($1.1 million) to fund two intensive care units in his native Portugal.

In Kerala, alcohol ban deadlier than virus

The alcohol ban in Kerala seems to be killing more people than the virus itself. In the past week since the state shut all bars, seven people have committed suicide because they couldn’t get a drink. The virus has resulted in one death in the state so far. Kerala is among states with the highest per capita liquor consumption. The chief minister had delayed closing bars, saying he feared “social problems". Hospitals are now facing families asking for help with withdrawal symptoms. Along with Covid-19 guidelines, Kerala has issued regulations to manage its deprived alcoholics.

Pro tip: Crunch without a scrunch during video call

Snacking during that long online meeting? There’s a way to make sure no one hears the rustle of the chip packet. Just in time for 44 million people logging into Teams, Microsoft showed off new features, including AI software that can identify background noise that isn’t your voice and filter it out. During a demo for journalists last week, a Microsoft employee put his hand in a bag of chips and spoke. As promised, one couldn’t hear the rustling, just his voice. The software giant calls it “real-time noise suppression". We wonder why no one thought of it before.

What we’re binge watching in lockdown

IT’S A few days old, but there’s just too much joy in rewatching this minute-long video of the Italian air force trying to lift the spirits of people in lockdown while the inimitable Luciano Pavarotti sings Nessun Dorma. With coloured smoke, the jets in formation painted the sky with the Italian flag as Pavarotti’s uplifting tenor rings out: “Vincerò, vincerò! (I will win!)".

Curated by Shalini Umachandran. Have something to share with us? Write to us at

Shalini Umachandran
Shalini Umachandran is Editor of Mint Lounge, Mint’s award-winning magazine, and the Editor of Business of Life. Her areas of interest are culture and the arts, social justice, and more. Currently based in New Delhi, she has been a reporter, a podcaster and an editor for publications across India. She is the author of ‘You Can Make Your Dreams Work’, a book of 15 stories of people who switched careers. She is a former IWMF fellow, and a fellow of the Institute of Palliative Care India and St Christopher’s Hospice London.
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Updated: 01 Sep 2021, 10:15 AM IST
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