Monday, July 8, 2019
Score of the day: 2-0

The US women’s football team beat Netherlands 2-0 in the World Cup finals. The returning champions looked virtually unbeatable throughout the tournament. Given their star player Meg Rapinoe’s open disdain for the President, it is unlikely that they will be invited to the White House. In any case, they’re now gearing up for their next big win: equal pay.

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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The Karnataka government going down, down, down

From the moment of its victory in 2018, the ruling Congress-JDS alliance has fended off multiple BJP attempts to poach its MLAs. It may have finally lost that battle over the weekend. 


First, the political math: There are 224 seats in the Karnataka Assembly—not including the Speaker. The Congress-JDS alliance has 118 (Congress-78 + JD-37+ BSP-1 + Independents-2). The majority required to stay in power: 113.


Ok, so what happened: Of these 119 MLAs, one Congress leader resigned on July 1. Now, another 13 MLAs (10 Congress + 3 JDS) have tendered their resignations. If the parties are unable to hold on to at least some of their MLAs, the alliance’s numbers will dwindle to 104—and it will lose its majority. Point to note: BJP has 105 seats, and is the largest party in the Assembly.


Why is this happening? Various parties and MLAs have offered various reasons:

  • Five of the fleeing MLAs are from Bangalore. They claim that the government has neglected development projects in their constituencies and ignored their demands.

  • The biggest shocker for Congress is the resignation of Ramalinga Reddy—a loyal veteran considered “the face” of the party in Bangalore. He is unhappy because he was denied a cabinet post.

  • Congress-JDS leaders have long accused the BJP of trying to poach its candidates—and with good reason. A Congress spokesperson said, “The new word for ‘aaya ram, gaya ram’ is MODI—Mischievously Orchestrated Defections in India.”


Is this BJP’s doing? The party fervently denies it. A senior BJP leader said, “It’s the failure of the Congress leadership, its move to go for an opportunistic alliance, and the internal crisis that have led to this situation.” While he is confident that the current government “is going to fall, for sure,” he said the party is taking a ‘wait and watch’ position: “Let things become clear, let there be no ambiguity.”


Then again… Ten of the fleeing MLAs are holed up in a hotel in Mumbai. According to The News Minute, “Sources in the BJP say that former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa's personal assistant Santosh, MLA Ashwathnarayana and CP Yogeshwar ushered 11 rebel MLAs from Raj Bhavan to Bengaluru's HAL Airport, where they boarded a private charter flight said to be owned by BJP MP Rajeev Chandrashekar's company Jupiter Capital.”


What happens next? Both Congress and JDS are scrambling to woo back their legislators with promises of mantri posts. Their best hope: persuading four Bangalore MLAs to take back their resignations before the Speaker returns on Tuesday -- which is when he will be forced to accept them if they are still in place. Meanwhile, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy plans to ask the governor to postpone the monsoon session of the legislature scheduled to begin on July 12. The reason: the moment the session starts, the BJP will demand a show of strength.


The most likely outcome: Given their precarious position, the ruling alliance will most likely lose its majority -- sooner or later. Then either the BJP will be invited to form the government as the largest party (if it can gather more defections), or there will be fresh elections. That will suit BJP just fine given its strong showing in the recent Lok Sabha elections where it won 24 of the 28 parliamentary seats.

The bottomline: Karnataka is the first domino to fall in the crisis triggered by Rahul Gandhi’s resignation. Uncertainty and instability at the top leads inevitably to disloyalty throughout the ranks.

Learn more: Indian Express has more details in its overview. Times of India reports on the frantic attempts to woo back the “rebel MLas.” India Today explains the political math. Broadsheet explained the history of poaching in Karnataka politics in January.

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taking speedy balti baths to save water

Your union budget update is here: Here’s a quick round-up of reactions:

  • The Wire has a lengthy round-up of the highlights. Its Instagram post, however, offers a more painless summary of the budget’s ten main points.

  • The stock market didn’t like the budget—and crashed 394.67 points—and global ratings agency Moody’s was sceptical about its “competing goals.” 

  • But Harsh Goenka in Economic Times sees in it a “big ticket agenda” for infrastructure development that will pay off in the long run.

  • The biggest tax shocker in the budget was the surcharge on the wealthy. Those making Rs 2 to 5 crore now have to pay 39% in tax; Rs 5 crore-plus will pay 42.47%. However, only 102,000 people of India’s 1.3 billion population report an income of over Rs 1 crore. Mint argues that ‘soak the rich’ is bad policy that will give poor returns.

  • Also in Mint: Why a $5 trillion economy is a dangerous distraction for India.

  • Shekhar Gupta in The Print argues  that the union budget reveals why the the Indian middle class are “Modi’s muslims”—willing to forgive him for fiscal policies that hurt their wallet.


‘Kabir Singh’ director proves his credentials: Task: to make an appallingly misogynistic movie. But who is truly worthy of such a momentous undertaking? It surely ought to be a man like Sandeep Reddy Vanga who said, "When you are deeply in love and deeply connected to a woman (and vice versa), if you don’t have the liberty of slapping each other, then I don’t see anything there.” He also added: "She [the heroine] slapped him without a reason, at least Kabir had a reason to slap her. If you can’t slap, if you can’t touch your woman wherever you want, if you can’t kiss, I don’t see emotion there." Here’s the clip of the extended quote. The full interview with Anupama Chopra is available here. Also: We offer our condolences to Mrs Reddy Vanga.


A sex trafficking arrest rocks America: Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was arrested over the weekend on charges of sex trafficking dozens of minors between 2002 and 2005. Here’s why it's a big deal. One, Trump’s current Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta gave Epstein a sweetheart deal—only two minor charges and an 18-month sentence -- when he was first prosecuted back in 2008. Two, the victims allege that Epstein forced them to have sex with a number of high profile men including Prince Andrew. Three, Epstein was close to both Trump and Bill Clinton. Back in 2002, Trump said of Epstein: “He’s a lot of fun to be with… It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” 

  • Daily Beast has everything on the arrest and the sordid details of Epstein’s modus operandi. 

  • New York Times looks at the implications for the Trump White House. 

  • The Guardian has the Prince Andrew connection.

  • Also: as this clip shows, Epstein is already becoming a problem for Trump.

What the UK ambassador really thinks of Trump: Confidential cables of Britain’s man in Washington, Sir Kim Darroch, were leaked to Daily Mail. In one of them, he writes, “We don't really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction-riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.” And there’s a lot more where that came from. Surely coming soon: a Trump Twitter tantrum.  (Daily Mail)


LA suffered a 7.1 magnitude earthquake: and it looked something like this. Included: TV news anchors scrambling to get under their desks. The happy news: there was property damage but zero deaths. 


Meghan and Harry’s baby: was christened in a super-private ceremony. The family photo was awwwkward! (The Sun)


The Dubai ruler story gets a new twist: He is now claiming through “family sources” that she had “inappropriate contact” with her British bodyguard—and he caught her in the act. (Daily Mail)


Weekend reads you might have missed: include the following:

  • National Geographic charts the amazing exploits of Begum Samru, a four foot eight inch courtesan who commanded an army, ruled over a kingdom and had multiple foreign lovers.

  • The Atlantic looks at a new study which reached “a shocking set of conclusions: Watching a lot of entertainment TV does seem to have an adverse impact on your intelligence. And it also makes you more likely to vote for populist parties.”

  • Bloomberg reveals a dirty little secret: Despite facing water shortages at home, India is the world’s largest exporter of… water!

  • Mumbai Mirror spotlights the resurgence of Indipop—which always threatens to threaten Bollywood but never quite lives up to the hype. Has anything changed?

  • New York Times asks the question: The US women’s soccer team is widely admired, but why are they also widely disliked?

  • Huffington Post asks this question: Do Indian millennials need money managers?

  • BBC asks a different question: Is the American strip club dying out?


Your Monday morning pick-me-up: includes the following: 

  • A very ambitious pug sexually harassing a very unimpressed cheetah.

  • An “easy” reforestation plan that could save us from climate change. And a micro-version of the same which is saving wildlife closer to home. 

  • A Pakistani TV anchor who seems to be confused about the difference between Apple and apples. 

  • An excellent Twitter thread that asks ‘if city X were a person, it would be…’ One response: “Delhi is an old man. Distinguished, cultured, rapacious and smug. He cares about power most of all, and gets along, charmingly, with any criminal in cahoots with the state. He likes gardens, ghazals and carcinogens of all flavours.”

  • This very British sex problem. Hint: it involves a cup of tea.

  • This rocking Tik Tok granny.

  • This baby elephant which is like every human toddler ever…Wait for the totally mommy-relatable moment at the end.

  • This $1200 ‘podshare’ bunk bed which will make you very happy that you’re not living in San Francisco.

  • The good news that you can buy that hot outfit for your Insta photos without ever wearing it IRL.

  • The good news that Jaipur is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

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The best place for the best advice

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How to stay curly and fabulous!

Editor’s note: Indian women are obsessed with straightening our curly hair—often frying and frizzing it to bits in the process. Broadsheet Ambassador Jyotsna Sharma offers her personal guide to taming and proudly owning our fabulously curly mane. (PS: Neither Broadsheet nor Jyotsna receive any revenue from the brands mentioned in the guide.)


The ‘problem’:  I was born with curls which for the longest time felt like a great misfortune. My hair was coarse, frizzy and curly—and with each stroke of the comb they’d only get more of the same. And I’d end up looking like a lion, but with a far from majestic mane. 


The failed solutions: None of my ‘remedies’ worked particularly well. I’d blow dry my locks to perfection only to have them ruined by humidity. So I started frying (read chemically straightening) my hair—which made it lifeless and flat. After three straightening sessions that ruined my hair, I went back to square one: constant blow drying.


My ‘a-ha!’ moment: In 2018, after I delivered my baby girl, chunks of my hair started to fall out, I tried every bit of advice: changing to a milder shampoo, adding more vitamins to my diet etc. And then I stumbled upon the ‘Curly Girl Method’—and at the age of 30, I fell in love with my fabulously curly hair.


The Curly Girl Method: was developed by Massey Lorraine in her book named Curly Girl the Handbook. It basically weans us from our addiction to the very things that are ruining our hair:

  • Shampoo

  • Heat styling tools

  • Combs & brushes

  • Sulfates – namely sodium lauryl sulfate & ammonium laureth sulfate

  • Non-water soluble silicones

  • Alcohol

  • Fragrance


Curly Girl Method focuses instead on moisturizing your hair with deep conditioning, and setting the curls with a gel instead of a heat styling device. But you will have to use ‘Curly Girl Approved’ or ‘CG Approved’ products that meet the above requirements.


Using CG Approved Products: There are lots and lots of such products that you can pick up either from your local supermarket or Amazon. Here’s what I use and how:

  1. Shampoo: Now, the Curly Girl Method advocates even eliminating the use of shampoo. But that doesn’t work for all of us. I minimise my use instead, not washing my hair more than once a week. The reason: We shouldn’t be stripping our scalp of its natural oil—which is what keeps your hair healthy. In terms of brands, I have two favourites: either WOW shampoos (all of them); or Arata. 

  2. Condition: I have two kinds of wash days. On a shampoo wash day, I use a generous amount of conditioner to coat my hair completely (about 2-3 cm away from my scalp). If I have a co-wash day—typically a day between two shampoo days—then I use my conditioner like a shampoo and work it through my scalp. I use a praying hand motion along the length of the hair. Don’t worry, the conditioner will clean your hair as well. My fave brands again are WOW’s Coconut and Avocado Oil conditioner and Arata’s range.  

  3. Time to towel: I stay away from usual bathroom towels as they make curly hair frizz out. I either use an old cotton t-shirt or a microfiber towel. Also: In order to style my hair properly with the products below, my hair has to be wet not damp.

  4. Now, condition again: Now, some people just ‘leave in’ their conditioner, i.e. don’t wash it off. I use a generous dollop of leave-in conditioner to smooth and detangle my hair when it is wet—so I can minimise the use of a comb. The amount depends on the length of the hair. For example, for my shoulder length hair, I end up using the size of a ping pong ball. Again, be sure to massage it in using the praying hand motion. My brand of choice: Arata Hair Cream.

  5. Time for a curl activator: I use a tiny dollop (dime sized), mix it with water between your palms and apply—spreading it evenly from scalp to tips. Then I scrunch my hair continuously for two minutes by the watch. Do too much and it will weigh your hair down. My brand of choice: Cantu Curl Activator Cream which is pricey at Rs. 1380, but one bottle lasts a long time. 

  6. Gel in place: This helps my curls retain their shape and definition until my next wash. Again, I use a ping pong ball sized dollop for my shoulder-length hair. I first apply the gel and then scrunch my hair for one full minute. My favourite brands: Arata Gel, Set Wet Cool Hold Blue Gel, Schwarzkopf Taft Looks Marathon Power Gel.

On deep conditioning: If you’re just starting your journey—or your hair is feeling stressed—I recommend using a deep conditioner on each shampoo day. There are plenty of DIY recipes available online or you can pick up Mamaearth Argan Hair Mask.


In conclusion: Though the list of steps and products may look like a lot to do and buy, the CG method boils down to three simple steps: cleansing, conditioning and styling. And since I only wash my hair once in 7-8 days, it’s actually an easy routine to follow and maintain. As Lorraine says, “Teach a curly girl how to blow-fry her curls and she may be happy for a day (unless it rains). But then, teach her to love her curls and she will be happy for life!”


Learn more: The WikiHow guide offers more detail on each step while keeping it simple. Or go to the original source, Lorraine Massey, who offers more advice in this extended interview. Refinery 29 has an excellent guide to the 6 essential techniques for curly hair—including praying hand motion, scrunching and detangling. For more inspiration, follow Indian curly hair influencers like @thecuriousjalebi, @desicurly and @honestlizhere (pictured above) on Insta. Or join Indian Curl Pride group on Facebook.


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