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

We’re in the second week of the nationwide lockdown. News stories are pouring in from all possible channels, including our family members, on how this pandemic is changing the way we live our present and future. While trying to stay up to date with the developments, we are also sneakily binge-watching Brooklyn-99 to take a break from living the real-life version of Black Mirror. At the same time, team Mint continues to bring out your favourite business daily. Under these extraordinary circumstances, our e-paper has been unshackled from its paywall (epaper.livemint.com), and we have introduced Mint Lite to bring you up to speed in five minutes with 10 things you need to know before you plunge into the working day.

Alone together

Each person finds her or his own version of social distancing. In Germany, where the government now allows only two non-family members to be together in public, a couple enjoys their outing in a park. In Jerusalem, ultra-orthodox Jews pray on a street outside their closed synagogue, keeping the mandated distance of two metres from one another in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Bareilly cops shower migrants with disinfectant

Millions of migrants have been on the road without food or money, and when some of them finally got home from Noida and Delhi to Bareilly, local authorities sprayed disinfectant on them. The video surfaced even as the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre for a status report on relief measures for the migrant workers trying to get home during the lockdown. “We tried to keep them safe, asked them to shut their eyes," an official told a reporter. He didn’t have an answer to how exactly spraying chlorine solution on people would kill covid-19.

Farmer dumps 25 tonnes of grapes, points to agri distress

It's a dramatic clip of 25 tonnes of fresh green grapes being tipped into a compost pit—Karnataka farmer Munishamappa dumped four truckloads because the lockdown has meant buyers couldn’t make it to his 1.5-acre vineyard. Kolar and Chikballapur districts are sitting on ready-to-harvest grapes worth 500-600 crore. It’s a problem we’re likely to see unfolding across the country as the lockdown puts restrictions on labour, harvesting, transport of produce, sale and more. This will deepen the agrarian crisis, and push down rural wages further.

Forecasters equate pandemic to Asian financial crisis

Forecasters have sharply downgraded their gross domestic product (GDP) estimates for India for the new financial year. Most of them have predicted a contraction in output for the June quarter. On Monday, S&P Global Ratings cut its estimate for India’s GDP growth for the fiscal starting 1 April to 3.5% from its earlier estimate of 5.2%. It expects the impact of the coronavirus outbreak for the Asia-Pacific region to be as massive as the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Last week, Moody’s slashed India’s economic growth projection for 2020 to 2.5% from 5.3%.

Turning to TV in times of anxiety

We don't need numbers to tell us this, but Nielsen data shows staying home can lead to a 60% rise in the content we watch. South Korea has been through it (see graph)—in the fourth week of February, when the virus peaked, 2.6 million more people watched TV than two weeks earlier. Italy recorded a similar rise during lockdown. Though India’s numbers are yet to come, data suggests streaming will be the king here.

Oil prices lowest since 2002 as storage space runs out

Global crude oil prices plunged on Monday amid concerns over the pandemic’s impact on energy demand and the ongoing price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at $20.48 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent touched $23 per barrel, the lowest since 2002, and traded at $26.02 per barrel. Meanwhile, storage tanks are filling up across the world, and space to store more crude is slowly running out. The pandemic has closed factories worldwide, but Russia and Saudi refuse to cut back on production. And the futures market is betting big.

Srinagar’s first coronavirus patient on road to recovery

A day after Jammu and Kashmir reported its second covid-19-related death, there was some good news for the region. A 67-year-old woman, who was the first person to test positive for the virus in the Valley on 18 March, seems to have recovered, taking the number of people cured in the territory to three. She tested negative on Sunday, after being treated in quarantine for about 10 days. She arrived in the city on 16 March from Jeddah, along with 41 other pilgrims, who were also quarantined. The number of cases in Jammu and Kashmir has crossed 40, with five related deaths.

As world quarantines itself, Dylan steps out with a single

Quran-time may inspire us all to fiction, film, music and art in the future, but for now, Bob Dylan’s got a jump on everyone. Last week, in the middle of a pandemic when everyone is staying home, the reclusive Nobel winner released his first original in eight years—the 17-minute Murder Most Foul. Starting with the assassination of US president John F. Kennedy, it goes into the idea of lasting wounds, and references about 70 other songs to touch on how art influences and heals. He tweeted out the link to stream the song with the message: “Stay safe, stay observant and may God be with you."

Tharoor’s termite troubles

Some juggling a workday that never seems to end, others are complaining of boredom or taking to Instagram to preach the benefits of the Slow Movement. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has an entirely different problem: He’s lost an entire shelf of books on Indira Gandhi to termites, just a year after he lost 200 books to an infestation. “Some irreplaceable out-of-print editions consumed by these tiny vandals," he tweeted with a picture of the pile on his lawn. Losing books can be hard, but it’s really not the biggest concern at a time when people are walking miles just to reach home and find a meal.

What we're watching in lockdown

Heartwarming and hilarious, ‘Quarantine Cutie’ is just the TikTok video for a time when dating is at a standstill, or you and your plus-one are stuck in different cities. New Yorker Jeremy Cohen sends a drone across the street to ask a woman dancing on her rooftop out on a date. She says yes, he hops into a zorb ball, they go for a walk.

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

Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com

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, 10:13 AM IST
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