Monday, June 17, 2019
Gift of the day

State visits by world leaders inevitably involve the exchange of swag. Most give priceless artefacts or meaningful symbols of their national culture. In this case, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping's trip to Russia also coincided with his 66th birthday. President Putin’s excellent gift of choice: a giant box of Russian ice cream. Xi’s return present: Chinese tea 🙄.

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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The India vs Pakistan snoozer

The much-hyped match proved to be a damp squib as India cantered to an easy victory in Old Trafford. The action off the field proved more engaging than anything happening on the pitch.


The result: India outscored Pakistan by 89 runs to cinch its seventh head-to-head victory in a World Cup. The match highlights included:


The best summary of the outcome: was this tweet from Scroll’s sportswriter: “So India lost the toss, Rohit threw his wicket away when 200 seemed imminent, Kohli gifted his wicket, Bhuvneshwar was injured in the first powerplay, Dhoni messed up a review... and still Pakistan are looking like losing this by a massive margin. #Rivalry.”


The off-field jingoism: As was to be expected, the lead up to the match saw its share of ‘patriotism’.

  • There were tasteless ads put out by both sides.

  • Media folks like Rahul Kanwal tweeted comparisons between the economies of India and Pakistan—which were not greeted warmly by his fellow citizens.

  • And there was fake news that a ghastly Indian fan urinating on the cricket grounds during the Aussie match is actually a Pakistani.

  • Last but not the least, Amit Shah greeted India’s victory with this Balakot-inspired tweet: “Another strike on Pakistan by #TeamIndia and the result is same.”


The good stuff: There were plenty of funny/ heart-warming tweets, quotes and memes. Our favourites include:

  • This excellent thread rounding up funny, self-deprecating Pakistani reactions to the result—accompanied by the message: “We might be winning the match but Pakistanis totally won on Twitter today!!”

  • In the same spirit, we love this clip of an ‘anti-national’ Pakistani daadi who was asked, “Pakistan achha hai ke India” (Who is better, India or Pakistan?).

  • The funniest meme on the India-Pak rivalry is hands-down this one.

  • The funniest summary of the match: this clip of Pakistani captain Sarfaraz Ahmad.

  • Also being shared as a reminder of more civilised times, this clip of the Pakistani team doing a victory lap in Chennai and getting a standing ovation.

  • Our favourite: Ranveer Singh being brilliantly Ranveer-ishimpromptu bhangra lessons included.

Learn more: The Telegraph rounds up the key post-match quotes from both sides. Indian Express explains how India managed to run up a hefty total without any fireworks in the last overs. Mint reveals that the real winner of the match is Star which is set to earn Rs 100 crore from its telecast. The Print sums up Imran Khan’s 5-tweet advice to the Pakistani team ahead of the match -- their captain didn’t follow any of it.

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yawning through India’s easy win over Pakistan

India imposes retaliatory trade tariffs against the US: After dragging its feet for nearly a year, New Delhi finally retaliated to Trump’s tariff-baiting. The US recently removed India’s preferential trade status, and had hiked custom duties on steel and aluminium imports last year. Now, it’s official: There will be new duties -- some as high as 70%—on 28 US imports, including apples, almonds, chickpeas, and certain kinds of dal. (Mint)

Hong Kong protesters scored a massive win: The island’s Chief Executive announced that she is indefinitely postponing a vote on the extradition bill. LA Times has an excellent read on how young Hong Kongers have mastered the power of a leader-less movement.

Your doctors’ strike update is here: Mamata finally made nice and offered a “humble submission” to the junior doctors asking them to come back to work. The junior doctors’ spokesperson was equally affable:” We are always open to a discussion. You extend one hand; we would extend 10. You take one step, we’ll take 10.” Alas, just when a happy ending seemed near, the Indian Medical Association has thrown a spanner in the works and called for a nationwide strike today. Stay tuned!

NDTV promoters in big, big trouble: Prannoy and Radhika Roy have been told to step down from the board of directors by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). The Roys and their holding company RRPR Holdings Pvt Ltd cannot hold any leadership position for at least two years or buy or trade stock. The problem: three allegedly shady loans which gave effective control of the company to outsiders without the knowledge or consent of shareholders. (Firstpost has the latest story; Caravan investigated these loans last year)

Whither all those generous French billionaires? After the Notre Dame cathedral nearly burned to the ground, a number of super-wealthy French people jumped in to pledge vast amounts of money. But not a franc of that has been paid so far. Instead, it is small-time individual donors—American and French—who have turned over the first big chunk of donations so far. The cathedral’s press officer says of the billionaires, “They want to know what exactly their money is being spent on and if they agree to it before they hand it over, and not just to pay employees' salaries." (Bloomberg)


OJ is baaack! Well, he’s got himself a Twitter account because he plans to “get even.” Watch the seriously creepy video clip here.


Bad news for elderly Indian parents: A survey of 30-50 year olds in Tier 1 and 2 cities reveals that elderly care is becoming a significant stressor in Indian families. A whopping 49% said they never or rarely feel happy taking care of their aging parents/in-laws. The reasons: financial stress, lack of workplace and government support, fatigue and frustration. (Mint)


Weekend reads you may have missed: include the following:

  • The saddest behind-the-scenes story on Rahul Gandhi and his pre-election delusions of becoming PM in the Sunday Guardian.

  • Why ‘Amazon’s Choice’ recommendations offer terrible choices in Buzzfeed.

  • A bold and highly controversial proposal on how to resettle large numbers of refugees in The Atlantic.

  • Washington Post on skin-bleaching as a global health crisis and why a simple ban won’t make a difference.

  • An illuminating first-person essay on living in India as a non-binary person in Times of India.

  • India Today’s feature on Chamar Studio label which is partnering with 75 top designers to make handbags—and reclaim the derogatory label of ‘chamar’.

  • The Print’s detailed analysis of the BJP leadership which reveals it to be ‘Brahmin-Baniya party’.

  • This Quartz story headlined ‘Here’s how you eat a credit card’s worth of plastic each week.’ Enuf said.


Your Monday morning pick-me-ups: is a happily assorted list of animals:

  • A goofy snow leopard puts on a ridiculous show for the camera.

  • A stubborn hawk just won’t get off the hood of a moving car -- driving the driver insane.

  • This hilarious clip of two dogs reveals humanity’s relationship with the gym.

  • This cat on a laptop offers stellar service as a substitute ‘enter’ key.

  • This baby dugong is being raised by humans who feed and cuddle it everyday—and its photos are breaking the Thai internet.

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The best place for the best advice

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How to stick to your exercise routine

We’ve all been there: made resolutions to start running, joined a yoga class, hired a trainer. It all inevitably leads us back to the sofa, nursing our wine glass and contemplating that new fad diet. Creating and sticking to an exercise routine is a whole lot easier and more healthy. Here’s how you do it:


Get the right mindset: No, it’s not about toughening up, or developing moral character. That road leads to the same old swamp of guilt and self-loathing. Be nice to yourself, start with baby steps, do what’s easy and fun, and don’t take an “all or nothing” approach. Higher you set the bar, the more likely it is you won’t reach it….and give yourself yet another reason to give up.


Look at the research: Wellness is one of the most researched subjects around. Studies give us key information that can help us make the right choices. For example, exercising with your age group is more likely to make us stick with a fitness program than doing so with other women. This guy used neuroscience to develop an extreme technique to get himself to the gym: setting aside a $100 bill that he has to burn each time he fails to keep his commitment.


Be practical: Having the right attitude is a start, but consistent exercise is also about being practical. For example, don’t schedule an early morning run if you’re not a morning person. Or if running is your regular form of exercise, then make a backup plan during the monsoon. Don’t pick a gym that requires you to sit in traffic for ages because you’ll never get out the door.


Develop discipline: No, we aren’t just plain weak or lazy. We just haven’t figured out how to create a routine—which can seem surprisingly hard. The trick is to keep it quick, simple and easy: set yourself 3-5 tasks, for 10-30 minutes, and stick to it for 30-60 days minimum.

Learn more:

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