Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Price tag of the day: $17.40

That’s the price of a new line of bespoke “luxury, hand-crafted KitKats” that are going on sale in the UK. These custom-made “Create Your Break” KitKats can be made from a selection of 1500 flavours, including salted caramel chunks and rose petals—wrapped in packaging that features personalised names and messages. This in a country on the brink of Brexit. Forget cake, let them eat Kit Kat… 

Share | Facebook logo WhatsApp logo Twitter logo


The biggest news story today, explained.

image orange sidebar everyone's talking about image orange sidebar

The global climate summit at the United Nations

The world’s leaders met in New York on Monday at the UN Climate Action Summit. Despite a worldwide global climate strike over the weekend, some of the most powerful countries refused to promise the urgent action demanded of them. 

Tell me about the summit: Convened ahead of the annual UN General Assembly, the summit was aimed at spurring governments to do more to avert catastrophic climate change. Given clear and mounting evidence of a crisis, Secretary General Antonio Guterres had urged leaders, “Don’t come to the summit with beautiful speeches. Come with concrete plans ... and strategies for carbon neutrality by 2050.” This summit had a sense of urgency that has been missing in recent years

Why is it so urgent? As of today, the world has warmed by 1.1°Celsius (2°F) since pre-industrial times—i.e. 1850-1900. If we simply keep doing what we are doing, that temperature will rise by 2.9°Celsius and 3.4°Celsius by 2100—which will have catastrophic effects on the planet (See our explainer here). We must keep that increase below two degrees at all costs. To do that, governments have to triple their commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions. And a target of 1.5 degrees will require increasing them fivefold. We will endure the effects of climate change—droughts, flooding, species extinction, rising sea levels—but the planet will still be liveable. More importantly, we have to take action now before it is too late. 

So what happened? Sadly, not enough. But first, let’s look at the few high points:

  • Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg made a furiously passionate speech that moved even an audience of jaded diplomats. Be sure to watch this clip that made waves yesterday.

  • 77 countries announced plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Some asset fund managers said they will get to a net-zero portfolio of investments by the same year. And dozens of businesses said they would aim to achieve the target of 1.5 degrees. (See full list of commitments here)

And this isn’t enough? No, not with the biggest players—and offenders—refusing to do their bit. 

  • The biggest among them is the US government which did not even speak at the summit. Trump has already signalled his intention to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord—which set the target at 1.5 degrees. 

  • China did not announce any new pledges to take stronger action—pointing its finger at the US to justify its position. 

  • Also not interested in upping their game: Japan and Australia. Russia merely reaffirmed its commitment to the Paris accord without any mention of its massive petroleum industry.

What about India? PM Modi made an excellent speech calling for a global ‘jan andolan’ to fight climate change, saying, “The time for talking is over—the world needs to act now.” And he promised that India would increase its target of non-fossil fuels from 175 gigawatts to 450 gigawatts by 2022. However, he made zero mention of reducing our use of coal or cutting our fossil fuel emissions.

Point to note: The 77 nations committing to carbon neutrality by 2050 do not include the biggest carbon polluters—China, the United States, India, Russia and Japan.


The bottomline: The world’s biggest economies are in an arms race of development that is inarguably unsustainable. The single-minded focus on maintaining or increasing GDP rates has blinded us to the disastrous price of doing so. As Thunberg said, “People are suffering, people are dying. All you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear.” 

Learn more: Here is all the background and context you need:

  • Axios summarises the UN report released ahead of the summit. Broadsheet, however, explained exactly why the UN's targets matter—and what will happen if we don’t meet them. See also: our explainer on the effects on the Himalayan glaciers.

  • Also highly recommended: Nature’simmersive feature which explains the ‘hard truth’ of climate change numbers in a series of charts.

  • National Geographic also uses charts to issue a climate change report card. You can see at a glance which nations are trying and which are not.

  • IndiaSpend explains why climate change poses the greatest peril for Indians who live in some of the most threatened parts of the world. It is a must-read.

  • On Greta Thunberg: Here again is the must-see clip from her speech—and this brilliant clip of her staring daggers at Trump in the hallway. If looks could kill…

  • Want to know more about Thunberg? Wired has a profile. Or even better: check out her Ted Talk. We also recommend Irish Times on why Greta triggers angry men.
Share | Facebook logo WhatsApp logo Twitter logo


getting on Amazon Prime to binge-watch ‘Fleabag’

Trump plays both sides of the border: After cosying up to PM Modi on Sunday, Trump had a one-on-one with Pakistan PM Imran Khan. He held a presser with his other BFF and this is what he said:

  • He really, really wants to play peacemaker on Kashmir: “I have a very good relationship with PM Modi and I have a very good relationship with PM Khan. I have never failed as an arbitrator… I have done it before. But I have to be asked by the other side.” The ‘other side’ being India which isn’t interested in participating in Trump’s dream threesome.

  • He distanced himself from Modi’s remarks on Pakistan being a hub of terrorism: “I heard a very aggressive statement yesterday from India. I was there. I didn’t know that I was going to hear that statement, I have to say, from India, from the Prime Minister."  

  • And when he was asked about Pakistan’s role in promoting terrorism, he changed the subject to Iran. Then he went on to praise Khan: “I heard they are making great progress [in fighting terrorism]. You have a great leader.”

It’s, like, you think he really, really likes you. And then you catch him hanging with that other woman—and THEN he tells you he doesn’t believe in monogamy. Jeez!

Why is Farooq Abdullah under detention? The former CM of Kashmir was detained under the Public Safety Act on September 14. The dossier used to charge the 82-year old leader “runs into 21 pages and lists 27 charges, 16 police reports, three FIRs and 13 statements in favour of the abrogated Article 35A.” One example cited as “justifying acts of terror” is this statement by Abdullah: “If Article 370 is temporary, then Jammu and Kashmir’s ties with India are also temporary.” (Indian Express)

Your Emmys update is here: And it includes the following:

  • Mashable put together a collection of the best and worst moments. BBC offers an overview of the biggest winners—and the biggest surprise among them was ‘Fleabag’ which won four awards.  (We totally ❤️it)

  • Michelle Williams made an amazing speech on equal pay. If you like acceptance speeches, here is a neat round-up of the big ones.

  • Natasha Lyonne made a failed attempt to clap like a normal human being.

  • Gwyneth Paltrow took a slo-mo stab at walking in very uncomfortable heels and dress.

  • The audience sniggered at Kim Kardashian and half-sis Kendall on their first outing as presenters.

  • Billy Porter made history when he became the first openly gay man to win best actor in a drama.

  • Cosmopolitan has a fun list of red carpet looks. Or you can check out who Vogue voted as ‘best dressed.’

  • Also: No one really watched the show—ratings were down by 33%.

Thomas Cook is dead; long live Thomas Cook: The 179-year old travel company went out of business overnight, leaving 150,000 travelers stranded on their overseas vacations. The UK government now has the unpleasant job of bringing them all home—with its Foreign Secretary calling it the "biggest peacetime repatriation in U.K. history." Worry not: As The Hindu explains, Thomas Cook (India) Group has been an entirely different company since August 2012 when it was acquired by a Canadian multinational investment company—and it is doing very well. BBC explains why the ‘analogue’ UK travel company went bust in a digital world. Quartz has photos of the stranded travelers.

Time for Dhoni to go? He’s been on a sabbatical ever since the World Cup, and isn’t listed for the upcoming home series against Bangladesh. And now Sunil Gavaskar has stuck his neck out to politely suggest that he may have overstayed his welcome—and other veteran cricketers agree, albeit anonymously. (Times of India

Hilsa migrates to Bangladesh: Every Bengali’s most beloved fish is changing its migratory route—and that’s why it is increasingly scarce in the Hooghly and pricey at the market. The annual hilsa catch has declined from 62,600 tons to 27,539 tons since 2003. The reason: overfishing, ineffective bans and government negligence. (Times of India)

A WeWork coup in the works: Some board members and—more importantly—its key investor, Softbank, are plotting to oust CEO Adam Neumann. The problem: Neumann doesn’t wanna go. The other problem: Neumann has so much power that he can sack “dissident board members.” What we know for sure is that any prospect of an IPO is growing increasingly remote. (Reuters)

Your daily quota of sunshine items: includes the following:

  • These moron auto drivers changing tires while driving—with one wheel off the road. Bring back those traffic fines, like, now!

  • Times of India sent a reporter to India’s first farting competition and offers a blow-by-blow account of the hilarious disaster. Thank you!

  • This ostrich offering a new definition of ‘hit and run’. 

  • Remember J Lo’s iconic barely-there green dress? Well, she wore it again—or at least a version of it, and it is even less there.

  • A young and stunning Rekha singing an old ghazal. They really did break the mold.

Share | Facebook logo WhatsApp logo Twitter logo


Unexpected, thought-provoking and always worth your time

image teal sidebar The pop up image teal sidebar

The ‘Silver Screen Woman’ Edition

Movies teach young girls what it means to be a woman—how she should behave, what ought she look like, who she should love. Here are two excellent reads that look at the woman on the Hollywood and Bollywood screen.


Lessons learned in a dark theatre

Movie critic Manohla Dargis revisits the movies she’s watched over a lifetime to discern what they taught her about femininity—good and bad. This is a thoughtful interactive read accompanied by fabulous gifs from iconic movies and interspersed with a fun array of reader responses.

Read: What the Movies Taught Me About Being a Woman | New York Times

Sex, Love etc 2

Working women don’t glow

Bollywood heroines have long held a job on screen—from Waheeda Rahman in ‘Guide’ to Vidya Sinha in ‘Rajanigandha’ to Sonam Kapoor in ‘Zoya Factor’. But one little thing has changed about our modern-day working woman—she never sweats or has a hair out of place. And as this insightful piece points out, it speaks volumes about how Bollywood portrays a woman’s relationship to her career.

Read: Does the Bollywood Heroine Ever Sweat? | The Wire

Share | Facebook logo WhatsApp logo Twitter logo

Or just select, copy and send this link to your friends and you score some cool swag in the process:
Follow us on
Facebook logo Instagram logo Twitter logo

Be an Ambassador

To connect with one another, get unique access, invites to private events,
exclusive content and much more.
Not a subscriber? Sign up here.
Unsubscribe Unsubscribe from this list.
Our mailing address is:
Copyright (C) *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|* All rights reserved.