Mint Lite | US polls, India paddy procurement, pandemic cost, Machu & others4 min read . Updated: 02 Nov 2020, 09:54 PM IST
Stories, opinions, news and views that matter, from around the world
In the final day of campaigning for the US presidential elections, both US President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden would turn to swing states. Biden will campaign in Pennsylvania and Ohio, while Trump will wrap up his campaign in Michigan, the same place he concluded his 2016 presidential run. Experts believe that the results for this much-awaited election may get delayed because of the huge number of mail-in votes. Many Americans decided to vote by mail and not risk getting infected in times of a global pandemic.
Paddy purchases rise in October
India’s paddy rice purchases from local farmers increased 21% by the end of October, reports Reuters. According to the Department of Food and Public Distribution, government agencies bought 20.4 million tonnes of paddy rice between the start of the season in the last week of September and the end of October, compared to 16.8 million tonnes during the same period a year ago. Farmers however continued to worry that the new legislation could mean the government would stop buying grains at guaranteed prices. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has insisted that the new rules will only give farmers the option to sell their produce to private buyers but the government would continue to purchase staples such as rice and wheat at guaranteed prices. According to B.V. Krishna Rao, president of the Rice Exporters Association, India is also set to export a record amount of rice this year.
New Zealand gets first female indigenous MP
Nanaia Mahuta has been appointed as New Zealand first Indigenous female foreign minister on Monday. Mahuta is a Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, and sports a traditional tattoo on her chin—the first woman to do so in parliament. Mahuta’s appointment re-establishes that the incoming New Zealand parliament might just be the most diverse in the world. Under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, almost half of the country’s lawmakers are set to be women—much higher than the global average of 25%. Not just that… around 10% of the parliament are openly LGBTQ. United Kingdom, ranks a not-so-close second with 7% of the members of the House of Commons being gay. Last month, the country also elected its first MP of African heritage, its first Latin American MP and its first MP of Sri Lankan origin. Experts believe that the incoming parliament reflects the diversity within the population.
What does a pandemic cost?
Covid-19 has exposed weaknesses in healthcare and disease-surveillance globally despite similar flaws showing up during previous outbreaks. Correcting them won’t be easy, says McKinsey’s Not the Last Pandemic. Governments remain focused on navigating the current crisis, but making investments now can both improve covid-19 response and strengthen public health systems to reduce the chance of future pandemics. The economic disruption caused by covid-19 could cost between $9 trillion and $33 trillion—many times more than the projected cost of prevent-ing a pandemic. McKinsey estimates that spending $70-120 billion over the next two years and $20-40 billion annually after that could substantially reduce the likelihood of future pandemics.
Funeral homes go on strike in Spain
Funeral homes in Spain have been overcrowded ever since the country started reporting coronavirus deaths earlier this year. Now, the staff at these homes has gone on strike in a bid to demand more workers as the death toll continue to rise. According to data from John Hopkins University, Spain has recorded more than 35,800 deaths since the outbreak began. The strike came on All Saints Day, when families come to visit the graves of loved ones. In March, parking garages and ice skating rinks were turned into makeshift mortuaries. Burials were delayed by a week, and often took place in cities hundreds of miles away. Elsewhere in Europe, Slovakia tested nearly half of its population on Saturday, as part of a two-day nationwide testing drive. The EU country with a population of 5.5 million, plans to test as many people as possible, except for children under 10.
Machu Pichu opens to tourists
After eight months of being closed due the coronavirus pandemic, Peru’s Machu Pichu has once again opened to tourists, although with restrictions. Peruvian authorities organized a traditional Incan ritual to thank the Gods on Sunday as tourists once again started trickling in. Entries to the Unesco World Heritage site will be limited to 675 tourists each day—a mere 30% of its previous capacity. The citadel is a major draw for Peru’s tourism industry and thousands of people rely on visitors for their livelihood. Meanwhile, in Mecca foreign Muslim pilgrims were allowed into the grand mosque after seven months. From Sunday, around 10,000 pilgrims from abroad were allowed to perform the Umrah pilgrimage on the condition that they self-isolate for three days after arriving in Saudi Arabia. Only 10,000 Saudi Muslim residents were allowed to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage in July this year.
Curated by Sohini Sen. Have something to share with us? Write to us at feedback@livemint or tweet to @shohinisen