With 48,661 people testing positive for the novel coronavirus in a day, India’s covid-19 tally crossed 14 lakh on Sunday. Recoveries touched 8.85 lakh, and the death toll is at 32,063 with 705 fatalities in a day, the health ministry said. Meanwhile, an eight-day total lockdown began in Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland, from Sunday to stem the spread of the virus. Kohima has been under lockdown from 25 July. Sikkim reported its first covid-related death, while Arunachal Pradesh has also seen a spike with more than 900 cases in the past three weeks. For the rest of the national and world news, here’s Mint Lite.
Protests rise across globe
For the past few weeks, Jerusalem residents have been protesting against the government’s handling of the covid-19 crisis, with police even arresting 12 people on Sunday to disperse demonstrators. Corruption charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have further fuelled the demonstrations. After reopening of the economy in May, infections shot up with the average number of new cases 2,000 a day. In Russia’s Khabarovsk city, thousands took to streets to protest the arrest of regional governor Sergei Furgal on murder charges, which they see as unsubstantiated. Daily protests have gone on for two weeks reflect residents’ simmering discontent with Vladimir Putin’s rule. From New York to Los Angeles, thousands marched through cities over the weekend, injecting new life into protests over racial injustice and police violence that had largely waned in recent weeks.
New date for big tech CEOs
Four big tech CEOs—Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Google’s Sundar Pichai—were to appear remotely before a congressional subcommittee on Monday, but the antitrust hearing has been moved to Wednesday. The hearings go into the effect of the Big Tech’s dominance on consumers, and on whether their business practices have been detrimental to smaller players. The committee will determine whether century-old competition policies need review. Author Scott Galloway says since the onset of covid-19, nearly every sector has shed substantial value but the four companies and Microsoft have increased in value by an average of 35%, while the remaining 495 firms in the S&P 500 are down 5%. “Every firm… appears to have incurred a transfer in value and power to your firms,” he says, adding that it is cause for concern that their “considerable advantage pre-covid” now seems unassailable.
747s ferry more cargo now
The iconic Boeing 747s are slowly being phased out. Last week, Qantas and British Airways retired their fleets, citing the pandemic-related downturn in air travel. Over the last few years, new generation twin-engine Airbus A350s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners have proved to be more spacious, and cost- and fuel-efficient than the four-engined 747s. The Airbus A380 superjumbo and the Airbus A340 are the other four-engined craft that are being phased out. Delta and Air France retired their 747 fleets earlier this year. That leaves Lufthansa as the passenger airline with the most 747s still in service (see chart), though Cathay Pacific and Korean Air still use them too. Most of the 400 747s still in service are cargo transporters as their size makes them ideal for the purpose.
The universe in 3D
After five years of work, more than 100 scientists across the world have pulled together 20 years of data to create the largest 3D map of the universe. It’s a map of more than two million galaxies, stretching from the Milky Way to objects that are more than 11 billion light years away. It shows how the universe has changed and expanded over billions of years .The project, Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), is an international quest to map the expansion of the observable universe. The hope is to find answers to a number of cosmic questions and help astronomers piece together what happened at a period of the universe’s expansion known as “the gap”. “We know both the ancient history of the universe and its recent expansion history fairly well, but there’s a troublesome gap in the middle of 11 billion years,” Kyle Dawson, the lead researcher, said in a statement. “For five years, we have worked to fill in that gap.”
Art is suffering too
Global sales of the leading auction houses, Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Phillips, nearly halved from the start of this year to 10 July due to the pandemic, according to a report, 2020 In Review, by London-based art market analysis firm ArtTactic. The total auction sales fell to $2.9 billion this year from $5.7 billion in the same period last year. However, since the auction houses were quick to leverage their mobile platforms, online auctions helped generate $412 million in the first half of this year, an almost 500% increase from the $69 million raised during the same period last year. Last year was also tough for the art industry, with total global auction sales falling 19% year-on-year. Christie’s was the hardest hit in the first half of 2020, with its auction sales falling 60% compared to the same period last year. Phillips’s auction sales declined 46.7% year-on-year, while Sotheby’s posted a more modest decline of 37.6%.
Curated by Shalini Umachandran and Pooja Singh. Have something to share with us? Write to us at email@example.com or tweet to @shalinimb