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The EU has launched legal proceedings after the UK attempted to overturn parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement by tabling legislation on internal markets. The infringement procedure, which could come before European courts, has not derailed post-Brexit trade talks, but reflects mounting tension in Brussels as time runs short for a deal. Brussels had given the UK until the end of September to drop the contentious clauses in the draft legislation, and the deadline has lapsed. The pound dropped 0.7% against the dollar on the news. For more updates, here’s Mint Lite.

After 7 months, power generation up

Electricity generation rose in India for the first time in seven months in September, government data showed, as the removal of most coronavirus restrictions boosted power demand in most states. Activity in factories across the country expanded at its fastest pace in more than eight years last month as a relaxation in lockdowns drove a surge in demand and output. A Reuters analysis of daily load despatch data from the government’s Power System Operation Corporation (POSOCO) showed that power generation rose 4.9% in September, the first monthly increase since February. Still, India’s economy is forecast to contract by up to 10% in FY21, which would be its weakest performance since 1979, and analysts expect annual power demand to fall for the first time in almost four decades. Renewable energy output rose for the second straight month in September, driven by a higher solar-powered generation.

Human rights groups sue Trump

Human rights lawyers in the US are suing the Trump administration over an executive order, passed in June, which they say has curtailed their work for justice for victims of war crimes around the world, The Guardian reports. The lawyers say the order has forced them to cancel speeches and research and stop giving advice to victims of atrocities. They said it was an “unprecedented infringement of their constitutional right to free speech", and affected the US’ legacy of human rights work. The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday morning in New York by four law professors, and Open Society Justice Initiative. In India too, human rights activists have complained of curtailment of their activities, and earlier this week Amnesty International said it closed its offices and laid off all its staff as the government had frozen its bank accounts. The government has said Amnesty has not followed all rules relating to receipt of foreign funds.

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Paras Jain/Mint

Greater share for streaming

Weekends were usually the time for binge-watching in the pre-covid era, but with stay-at-home rules in place for the past seven months daily watching seems to have become a habit. Streaming platforms, which were playing catch-up to set-top boxes in India, have gained a larger share of the market. Netflix and Amazon Prime each managed to win 20% of the market between April and June 2020, while Disney Hotstar touched 17%, going by data from JustWatch. Until last year, Hotstar alone had a market share of about 30% while Amazon Prime and Netflix had 10% and 5% respectively. Streaming platforms have also hosted a number of Bollywood releases as theatres were closed for months during the pandemic. More than a quarter of the market is with local platforms.

Market share of streaming platforms in India, Q2 2020

Netflix – 20%

Amazon Prime – 20%

Disney Hotstar – 17%

Zee 5 – 9%

Balaji – 4%

Sony – 4%

Others – 26%

Source: JustWatch

Turkey goes strict on social media

Turkey has entered a new era of tight social media restrictions that force social media platforms like Facebook, to open offices in the country or face penalties. The measures, which came into force on Thursday amid concerns by human rights groups on increased online censorship, also include penalties for the platforms if they fail to take down contentious posts. The legislation was rammed through parliament in July, with the backing of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party. Under the rules, platforms with over one million daily users have to open commercial offices in Turkey. If they don’t, they may face restrictions on advertising and fines of up to $5 million. Weeks before the legislation was adopted, Erdogan promised to tighten government control over social media after “insults" were directed at his daughter and son-in-law when they announced the birth of their fourth child on Twitter.

Soon, smell bots to detect covid-19

Months after German researchers showed trained dogs could help detect covid-19, California-based biotechnology startup Koniku has said it is developing a robot of sorts that could sniff out the infection faster than conventional testing. Called Konicore, the device is smaller than a frisbee, resembling a flying saucer. The technology, similar to that used in detecting cancer and influenza, fuses neurons with a silicon chip to create a “smell cyborg" capable of detecting scents ranging from explosives to pathogens, reports Bloomberg. The device’s first clinical trial began three weeks ago and will examine samples from patients tested for the novel coronavirus to compare how well the smell-bot detects the virus compared with traditional methods, reports Bloomberg. Small internal trials have already demonstrated that it can accurately detect the presence of influenza A.

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