Friday, May 3, 2019

Message of the day

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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The big scary cyclone about to make landfall

Odisha is bracing itself for Cyclone Fani which will make landfall today with wind speeds in excess of 200 km/ hour.


The cyclone: It is slated to be the worst cyclone in 20 years. The Super Cyclone of 1999—which gathered speeds of up to 300 km/hour—killed 10,000 people in the state. The outer edge of the storm will hit Puri around 11 am. At about 2 pm, it will make landfall—the point at which the centre reaches the coast. This is the fiercest and most dangerous part of the storm. It will start to lose strength as it moves up towards Bengal, and then onto Bangladesh. Fani is expected to travel close to Kolkata around Saturday morning, but will only bring heavy rain.


The disaster prep: Over a million people have been relocated as the cyclone is expected to barrel through 10,000 villages and 52 towns in Odisha. All road, train and air traffic has been suspended in coastal areas. There are no flights to Kolkata or Bhubaneswar until late Saturday evening. The government has set up 4,852 cyclone and flood shelters, and has 17 health response teams on standby.


Is this going to be really bad? The Indian Meteorological Department is aiming for a zero-casualty cyclone—which thus far has only been achieved by Hong Kong. IMD’s director general told Indian Express: “In this cyclone, there are not going to be any surprises in terms of change of track or intensity. These are the usual points of concern. No such uncertainty exists as far as this cyclone is concerned… What we need to do is to give hourly updates on intensity changes and pockets of heavy precipitation and strong winds.”

Learn more: Times of India has the details on the disaster preparations in Odisha. The Telegraph focuses on the same, except in Bengal. NDTV has the details on flight cancellations. BBC explains the difference between cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons. Indian Express explains how Fani got its name.

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giving yourself a weekend pass to do absolutely nothing

The Election Commission has no faith: in its officers. The EC voted 2-1 to overrule its own electoral officers to give PM Modi a pass for invoking the Balakot strikes in a campaign rally. What Modi said: “I want to tell my first-time voters: Can your first vote be dedicated to the brave soldiers who carried out the air strike in Balakot in Pakistan? I want to tell my first-time voters: Can your first vote be dedicated to the braves martyred in Pulwama?” What the EC said, as per the Indian Express: “Modi did not seek votes for either his party or himself while invoking the Balakot air strikes.” Also: the EC gave Rahul Gandhi a clean chit for calling Amit Shah a “murder accused.” (Indian Express)


The Supreme Court wades into Rahul’s citizenship brouhaha: It has agreed to hear a plea made by two “social and public-spirited persons” asking the EC to debar Gandhi from contesting the Lok Sabha polls because he “voluntarily acquired British nationality.” The Court dismissed a similar plea as “frivolous” back in 2015. (The Hindu)


Does #MeToo fiction capture a more complex truth: than the IRL #MeToo debate in the media? This thought-provoking appraisal of recent and older work argues that these novels “occupy the backwaters where the writer need not pander or persuade, and can instead seek to understand, or merely complicate, something for herself. They are stories about inconsistencies and incoherence, stories that thicken the mysteries of memory and volition.” These, the reviewer argues, more accurately reflect what women feel and think than what they show/perform. (New York Times)


More on the grey areas of #MeToo: Sandhya Menon—who became the face of the movement in India—raises some difficult questions about the incident in Gurgaon (an older woman slut-shamed a group of friends and earned viral infamy). Her Twitter thread which pushes past the outrage to look at how we create change is a must read.


That’s a nyet(i), then: Conservationist and Yeti expert Daniel expert says the snowman footprints discovered by the Indian Army are, for starters, way too large: “They’re saying it’s 35 inches. This is the size of a dinosaur. And we are quite sure dinosaurs don’t exist in the Makalu-Barun national park.” His theory: If the footprint sizes are accurate and consistent then it is most likely a Himalayan bear, maybe accompanied by a cub hopping right behind her. (Mint)


Blackbox warning issued for sleeping pills: US health authorities have ordered makers of popular prescription sleeping pills—Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata—carry black box warnings about their dangerous side effects. Their ingredients, namely zolpidem, eszopiclone and zaleplon, can result in patients acting in highly dangerous ways during their sleep. A number of them have suffered falls, burns, near-drowning, car crashes, or lost limbs after exposure to extreme cold temperatures. (CBS News)


Indonesia is shopping for a new capital: Seas are rising, and Jakarta is sinking (by 10 inches each year!)—and will be almost fully submerged by 2050. (Wired)


No, honey is not healthier than sugar: A new study found that so-called natural sugars—be it brown or coconut sugar or honey—are no better than ordinary table sugar. Why? Because they are just as ‘sugary’, and just as bad for you. Worse, people also feel free to overindulge in ‘natural sugars’ thinking they don’t count. (Daily Mail)


Burger King takes aim at McDonald’s: To hell with the fake old Happy Meal. The fast-food chain announced a range of “Real Meals” including Blue, Salty, Yaaas and DGAF (Don’t Give A F**k). (CNBC)


Your feel-good Friday round-up: includes the following:

  • Abid Surti, a national award-winning author who has saved millions of litres of water by going from one home to another, fixing leaking taps. He is now being honoured as a Colgate Water Hero. Watch a very brief video or read this older profile of this amazing 82-year-old on The Better India.

  • This rare video of three tiger cubs playing in the water at the Bandhavgarh National Park.

  • This clip of Priyanka Gandhi blithely handling a black cobra as she hangs with snake charmers in Rae Bareilly. However one may view her politics, we think that’s kinda fierce.

  • While on the subject of snakes, these photos of Italy’s slithery ‘serpari’ festival… just in case you thought we’re the only ones who have a religious fetish for reptiles

  • This mostly naked, hot Insta photo of a seriously thirsty Channing Tatum. He posted it because he lost a game of Jenga? Please, it’s almost as lame as this whopper from Kim Kardashian.

  • CNN’s valiant struggle to accurately cite Sushma Swaraj’s name.

  • This Tik Tok video of Thanos and Spidey doing all the right moves to a ‘Kalank’ song.


Bumble Bizz has extended its awesome campaign: to May 7. The good news: You have a little more time to nominate either yourself or another woman who has been an inspiring game-changer—be it in business, government, medicine, or some other field. Bumble will showcase them as part of their campaign starring real women on Bumble. So, hurry, download Bumble in the App Store or on Google Play or go to Bumble Bizz to apply or nominate!

(Note: This is sponsored content from a trusted brand partner)

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Stuff we buy, use or love

A List of Chic Summer Essentials
The hardest part of summer is finding Indian heat-friendly clothes that are stylish and comfortable. These creative variations on summer staples will do the trick.
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When you want to wear shorts on a night out…

Pick up this wine-coloured pair from Urth Label. We love the frilled edge and the cut. Who needs a mini when shorts can look this glam. Team it with a crop top and sandals and head out the door. (Bonus: We’re also fond of this one, also from Urth)

Price: Rs 1,899 | Ava Shorts  | Urth

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When you’re looking for a different kind of white…

Get yourself an Origami Overshirt Dress from Nete. Shirt dresses can be boring, but this one is in a league of its own. We ❤️the hand-blocked cotton kota, flamboyant flared silhouette, and whimsical floral touch. Best of all: It screams ‘effortless’.

Price: Rs 4,600 | Origami Overshirt Dress  |

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When you're feeling bright and summery...

Add this double layer stripe and check dress to your cart. Made of hand-woven cotton, this gorgeous turmeric-hued dress is perfect for a champagne brunch with the girls or your bae. Added feel-good factor: helping preserve traditional handloom weaving.

Price: Rs 3,699 | Double layer stripe and check dress | Nool

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