BROAD//SHEET
Thursday, June 27, 2019
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Video clip of the day

This is what netaji attitude looks like. A BJP MLA thrashed a municipal corporation official with a cricket bat—in the presence of cameras (watch it here). The official’s crime: he was trying to empty a building as part of an anti-encroachment drive. Explaining his actions to journalists, Vijayvargiya said, "[I]n the BJP, we've been taught, pehle aavedan, phir nivedan aur phir danadan” (first request and then attack). He is now in jail. 

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EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...

The biggest news story today, explained.

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A shocking photo of a tragedy on the US border

The photo of a father and his 23-month old daughter has raised new and urgent questions about Trump’s immigration policy.

 

What’s this photo? The Associated Press photo shows the bodies of a father and daughter lying face down in shallow water on the banks of the Rio Grande river. The toddler’s arm is around her father’s neck, and she is tucked inside his shirt. 

 

Who are they? Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter Valeria, refugees fleeing from El Salvador. Martinez was planning to present himself and his family—including his wife Tania—at the US border and formally ask for asylum.

 

So what happened? The US-Mexico border is jammed with refugees due to a new immigration policy called “metering.” It drastically reduces the number of migrants allowed to request asylum each day. Frustrated and desperate, Martinez decided to cross the Rio Grande river which separates Mexico from Texas. He first swam across with his daughter to the US side, and left her on the river bank. But when he went back into the water to get his wife, the child jumped in after him, and was swept away by the current. He tried to rescue her, but both drowned instead.

 

That’s terrible… Yes, but hardly rare.  Last year, 283 migrants died crossing the same border. The sheer numbers of stranded and desperate migrants has made such tragedies increasingly common. Two babies, a toddler and a woman were found dead on Sunday. Three children and an adult died in April when their raft capsized on the same river. And a 6-year-old from India, Gurupreet Kaur, was found dead earlier this month in the Arizona desert.

 

So why has this photo become a big deal? A single image can capture an ongoing tragedy with greater power and impact than thousands of headlines. It happened with the little Syrian toddler who became the symbol of the refugees fleeing ISIS. The most famous instance is the Napalm Girl who delivered a searing indictment of the US policy of napalm bombing Cambodia in the seventies.

 

What does the US government say? You mean, Trump. Well, he blamed the liberal US laws which allow anyone to present themselves at the border and ask for asylum. "Open borders mean people drowning in the rivers,” he said, “If they fix the laws you wouldn’t have that. People are coming up, they’re running through the Rio Grande. It can be a rough river at times.” (Watch the clip here)

 

So what now? There has been plenty of outrage, but very little is expected to change in terms of US policy. The attention, for now, is on the other migrants—the ones who are being held in inhumane conditions in detention camps (see our explainer here). The Republican-led Senate and the Democrat-led House have each passed a bill to fund the proper care of migrant children—but they have significant differences. But Trump may well veto such a bill if it doesn’t give him his wall or more money for beefing up border forces. 


Learn more: Time has the best most comprehensive report on the tragedy and its causes. It also looks at the controversy over the media’s use of the photo—is it exploitative or necessary? Associated Press has a moving and must-read interview with Martinez’s mother who speaks about the photo. CNN has the sad story of the little Sikh girl who was found dead in Arizona. Vox has everything you need to know about America’s border crisis.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

steering clear of politicians carrying sports equipment

We gotta new RAW head: Samant Goel was one of the key strategists of the Balakot air strikes. He is also implicated—though not accused—in an FIR issued by the CBI as part of its investigation of its former deputy, Rakesh Asthana.

 

Aww, our H-1B monopoly is safe: Everyone take a deep breath. Mike Pompeo says there is no plan to cap work visas for Indians. (Times of India)

 

The geopolitical problems of flying from India: Donald Trump’s confrontation with Iran is driving up airfares for Indians. The reason: Airlines have been forced to reroute flights to avoid the Iranian airspace. Some flights are steeper by 27%, especially those headed to the East Coast of the United States. (Quartz)

 

Semi is better than fully arranged: at least when it comes to marriages in India. According to a UN report, the rising popularity of semi-arranged marriages—where parents suggest, but the woman decides—in urban areas has led to less marital violence and greater freedom for women. (NDTV)

 

Judd Apatow’s perfect comeback: Donald Trump refuted the recent allegation of rape in his usual crass style, claiming “she’s not my type”—to which Apatow tweeted this.

 

Kim Kardashian has offended the Japanese: with her new line of shapewear labelled Kimono—which she has copyrighted, of course. Our question: Who wears one-legged shorts? (BBC)

 

Why are young people in India: still so conservative? The reason may be religion. According to a recent survey, those who place a high value on religion have negative attitudes toward gender equality and homosexuality. The silver lining: millennials are less religious than past generations. Speaking of generations, we enjoyed this quick Indian reworking of the traditional Gen X, Boomer, Millennial, Gen Z categories. (Mint)

 

The world’s best restaurant: is Mirazur, a Mediterranean restaurant in a town outside Nice in France. At #4 is Gaggan Anand’s Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok. If you want to go there though, you better get there fast. He plans to shut it down in 2020. (CNBC has more on the list)

 

The first trans character in the Marvel universe: is Indian. (Pink News)

 

When you completely miss the mark: Lol. This photo is both priceless and impossible to explain.

 

This is the face of feminism: It takes serious courage to say no to #ForcedHijab in a place like Iran. We love this video of brave women just saying no!

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THE POP-UP

Unexpected, thought-provoking and always worth your time

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The ‘High Art is Weird’ Edition

We are always in awe of those old paintings that hang in hushed museums. But the truth is that there is a lot about classical art that is plain weird to us modern folks. For example: why doesn’t anyone smile? And why don’t women have any body hair?

Where’s the fricking body hair?

We’re used to all those porn and movie goddesses being perfectly shorn and shaved. But why is supposedly great art no different? This is an excellent read on the feminine beauty standard of “the hairless ideal” in paintings dating back to ancient Greece.

Read: The Taboo History of Women’s Body Hair in Art | Artsy

Sex, Love etc 2

Don’t say ‘Cheese!’  

Have you asked yourself why people don’t smile in classical paintings? At best, you get a mysterious smirk a la Mona Lisa. Was there no one to bully her into saying cheese? The answer is slightly nerdy, sorta long, but entirely worth your while.

Read: The Serious and the Smirk: The Smile in Portraiture | Public Domain Review

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