Mint Lite | Turkey-Greece talks, Agent Orange case, Indian drugmakers & more4 min read . Updated: 25 Jan 2021, 09:46 PM IST
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Turkey and Greece resumed bilateral talks on Monday aimed at addressing long-standing maritime disputes, diplomatic sources said, ending a five-year hiatus after months of tensions in the eastern Mediterranean. The neighbouring countries, both members of NATO, are at odds over the extent of their continental shelves in the Mediterranean, energy rights in the region, air space and the status of some islands in the Aegean Sea. They made little progress in 60 rounds of talks from 2002 to 2016, reports Reuters.
EU weighs response to Navalny arrest
European Union foreign ministers on Monday debated the 27-nation bloc’s response to the arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and a weekend police crackdown that saw thousands taken into custody during protests in support of President Vladimir Putin’s most well-known critic. More than 3,500 people were reportedly taken into custody during the nationwide protests. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told AFP that “under the Russian constitution, everyone in Russia has the right to express their opinion and to demonstrate. That must be possible. The principles of the rule of law must apply there, too—Russia has always committed itself to that."He and other ministers called for the immediate release of the protesters. Navalny was arrested earlier this month when he returned to Moscow after spending months in Germany recovering from an attack in Russia with what experts have said was the nerve agent Novichok.
Agent Orange case in French courts
A French court on Monday heard a case against more than a dozen multinationals, accused by a French-Vietnamese woman of causing grievous harm to her and others by selling the Agent Orange defoliant to the US government which used it to devastating effect in the Vietnam War, reports AFP. Tran To Nga, born in 1942 in what was then French Indochina, worked as a journalist and activist in Vietnam in her 20s. She filed the lawsuit in 2014 against 14 firms that made or sold the highly toxic chemical, including Monsanto, now owned by German giant Bayer, and Dow Chemical. Backed by several NGOs, she accuses the companies of being responsible for injuries sustained by her, her children and countless others, as well as for damage done to the environment. The US ended the use of defoliant chemicals in the war in 1971, and withdrew from Vietnam in 1975, defeated by the Viet Cong.
Taiwan expelled thousands of Chinese dredgers
Taiwan expelled nearly 4,000 Chinese vessels illegally dredging sand from its waters in 2020, authorities said Monday, a more than six-fold increase on the year before as Beijing seeks to heap pressure on the democratic island. China has taken an increasingly belligerent tone towards Taiwan under President Xi Jinping—especially over the last twelve months with Beijing's jets and bombers buzzing the island at a record rate. But the waters surrounding Taiwan have become another hot zone. Taiwan's coastguard on Monday told AFP it recorded a huge spike in Chinese sand dredgers illegally entering its waters. Up to November last year, it expelled 3,969 vessels, compared to 600 in 2019 and 71 in 2018. China’s leaders view Taiwan as their territory and have vowed one day to seize it, by force if necessary.
Shining spot for Indian drugmakers
Indian generic drugmakers have immense potential for growth in Vietnam which currently meets bulk of the domestic demand by importing medicines, Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research said in a report on Monday, reports the Press Trust of India. Vietnam's domestic pharmaceutical industry is currently able to meet just 53% of the country's demand, representing significant opportunities for Indian drugmakers as the country is among the leading global producers of generic medicines, the report noted. India is Vietnam's third largest supplier of pharmaceutical products, with an export turnover of $198 million in the first nine months of 2020. In addition to finished products, the country also provides raw pharmaceutical materials, and generic medicines for the Vietnamese market. The medicines and raw materials imported from India are reasonably priced and meet the diverse needs of Vietnamese, especially those living in remote areas, Fitch Solutions said.
Record satellites sent to space
A new world record has been set for the number of satellites sent to space on a single rocket, reports the BBC. The 143 payloads, of all shapes and sizes, rode to orbit on a SpaceX Falcon rocket that launched out of Florida. The number beats the previous record of 104 satellites carried aloft by an Indian vehicle in 2017. It's further evidence of the major structural changes taking place in space activity that are allowing many more actors to get involved. This shift is the result of a revolution in robust, miniaturised, low-cost components—many taken direct from consumer electronics such as smartphones—that mean pretty much anyone can now build a capable satellite in a very small package. And with SpaceX offering to transport those packages to orbit for just $1m, the commercial opportunities will continue to open up. San Francisco's Planet company had the most satellites of all on the flight— 48.
Curated by Sohini Sen. Have something to share with us? Write to us at feedback@livemint or tweet to @shohinisen