Germany seeks more scrutiny of Belarus by top UN rights body

Germany seeks more scrutiny of Belarus by top UN rights bodyGermany has presented a resolution at the U.N.’s top human rights body that raises concerns about torture, “arbitrary deprivations of life,” and sexual and gender-based violence linked to Belarus’ disputed presidential election last month. The resolution came as the Human Rights Council prepares for an urgent debate Friday on the situation in Belarus. It points to the alleged intimidation, harassment and detention of opponents of President Alexander Lukashenko’s government before and after the Aug. 9 election.



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Virus clusters at French universities give Europe a lesson

Virus clusters at French universities give Europe a lessonThe clutches of cases are a warning sign for countries elsewhere in Europe, where most universities are readying to resume teaching and research in coming weeks. “We go back to university in conditions that are a bit extreme, and we fear we might get COVID-19,” Elise Gilbert, 20, who is studying literature at the Sorbonne, said of the overcrowding students encountered. France’s experience so far stands in contrast to what’s happening in Britain, where virus-driven changes on campuses mean university life will look a lot different this term.



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The US is putting forests at risk by ignoring Native American wildfire experts

After more than a century of being sidelined, Native American wildfire experts are starting to get a voice in federal fire policy—but the slow pace of reform could end up creating new risks.

When President Trump visited California this week, he blamed the state’s record-breaking wildfires on poor “forest management,” as he often has in recent years. There are a number of holes in this explanation: Heat and drought associated with climate change are priming forests for more explosive fires regardless of how they are managed, and years of urban development near forests has put more lives and properties at risk.

Still, forest management is indeed an important step in mitigating destructive wildfire and supporting ecological health—if it’s done right. For Trump, it appears to mean giving timber companies more license to harvest trees. But a more effective approach means giving more license to the Native American communities that have lived in the state’s forests for hundreds of years.

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Author: Tim McDonnell

India’s online shoppers will nearly double this Diwali versus 2019

Coronavirus is not getting in the way of India’s festive spirit.

The number of online shoppers in India will nearly double to around 50 million during the festive season this year, according to consultancy firm RedSeer. In 2019, there were 28 million e-tailing customers. This is despite the fact that the pandemic has severely hit the Indian economy and there have been large-scale layoffs across several industries.

The festive season in India starts with Navratri (which begins on Oct. 17 this year) and ends around the new year. As per some estimates, around 40% of all apparel, consumer durables, and electronics sales in the country happen during this period. To tap into this demand, e-commerce players such as Amazon and Flipkart hold massive sales that include new launches and deep discounts.

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Author: Ananya Bhattacharya