Friday, September 6, 2019

Number of the day: 74

A 74-year old in Andhra Pradesh has become the oldest woman to give birth. Mangayamma’s twin girls were conceived through in vitro fertilisation and she had a caesarean delivery. She and her husband are delighted to finally become parents, but other doctors are questioning the wisdom and ethics of her doctors. 

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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Chidambaram being sent to Tihar Jail

The former Finance Minister’s bure din just got a whole lot worse. On Thursday, he was dispatched to India’s most notorious prison.

A very brief background: on Chidambaram’s alleged original sin: the INX Media case. He is being investigated on charges of corruption and money laundering. The primary allegation is that he and his son Karti conspired to protect INX Media—Indrani and Peter Mukherjea’s company which grossly violated foreign investment regulations. (Our previous explainer has all the details if you need it.)


Next, a quick timeline: On August 20, the Delhi High Court revoked Chidambaram’s interim bail, and the next day he was arrested and taken into CBI custody for interrogation. He was held in a special suite in the CBI headquarters—where he remained until yesterday. Then things got worse and he was sent to Tihar instead.


Why is he in jail now? For many days, Chidambaram and his lawyers have been doing their best to keep him out of an actual prison. They even offered to extend his time in CBI custody, or alternatively, keep him in custody of the Enforcement Directorate. However, he suffered two big reversals yesterday:

  • First, the Supreme Court turned down his appeal aimed at restoring his anticipatory bail—the one revoked by the Delhi High Court in August. The court declared that in a case of money laundering, a suspect can use his freedom to “definitely hamper effective investigation”—by hiding funds, tampering with witnesses and evidence etc. 

  • Next, after the highest court cleared the path to arrest, a special CBI court in Delhi dispatched him to Tihar jail until September 19. The reason: the term of his CBI custody had expired so he either had to go to jail or be set free on bail. 


So this is a big deal, right? Yes. Chidambaram is one of the most senior and prominent leaders in the Congress party. And his imprisonment is no small matter. But it is also part of a broader anti-corruption campaign targeting Congress leaders. In Karnataka, the Enforcement Directorate recently arrested DK Shivakumar, a powerful state party leader, on charges of tax fraud. Also in custody: Ratul Puri, the nephew of Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath. He is charged with money laundering in a prominent defence deal—which, BJP claims, also implicates the Gandhi family. (More on that in our explainer here)


Learn more: Times of India has the most details on court rulings. Indian Express has more information than you need on Chidambaram’s prison cell and daily jail routine. And again: here’s the Broadsheet explainer on the INX Media case which also includes lots of links to other reporting.

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feeling seriously tempted by Mukesh Ambani’s digital wares

Kashmiri student lynched in Rajasthan: Mir Faiz, an engineering student at a college in Alwar, was forced to wear a salwar kameez and walk through the market. When he tried to hide in an ATM kiosk, Faiz was dragged out by a mob, tied to an electric pole and beaten. What did the police do? According to Faiz’s brother, “They treated my brother like a criminal by grilling him even after he narrated his ordeal. Instead of arresting the miscreants for brutally assaulting him, the police kept my brother in a lock-up for no rhyme or reason.” The police claims they “have received conflicting versions of the incident and it is still not clear whether he was forced to wear a woman’s dress or he wore it on his own. He is being questioned by intelligence agencies.” Guess no one has shown them this damning video then. (The Telegraph)

BoJo’s brother quits the government: The PM’s younger brother, Jo Johnson, is resigning as an MP and minister because he is "torn between family loyalty and the national interest.” Jo supports remaining in the EU and is apparently upset by his sibling’s decision to oust the 21 rebel Tories who voted to block a no-deal Brexit. Political analysts are calling it "unbelievable timing.” And if you care, folks on Twitter are keeping a very long tally of all the things that Johnson has now lost—including his own brother. (BBC)

Facial recognition is coming to Delhi airport: Starting on Friday, authorities will start a three-month trial for passengers boarding Vistara airline at Terminal 3. How this will work: dedicated ‘e-gates’ will authorise entry into the airport, at security, and when boarding the plane. The good news: participation is purely voluntary… for now. (Economic Times)

Amazon Delivery is coming to Bengaluru: The company plans to launch its food delivery service in the city next month, followed by Mumbai and Delhi. And it plans to charge its member restaurants a mere 5-6% commission—a fraction of the 20% charged by its rivals Zomato and Swiggy. (Mint)

Jio Fiber is here! The broadband service will offer six prepaid plans at prices ranging from Rs 699 to a very pricey Rs 8,499 a month—and at speeds ranging from 100Mbps to 1Gbps. The welcome offer also includes lots of freebies. NDTV has a series of handy charts to help you navigate the many details. 

Vaping’s deadly secret uncovered: A mystery lung illness has killed at least two people in the United States. There have been 215 suspected cases of this severe respiratory disease linked to vaping. Until now, scientists didn’t know exactly what was causing it. That mystery has now been solved. It is an oil derived from Vitamin E and found in cannabis products. While it is completely harmless when eaten or applied to the skin, its molecular structure makes it deadly when inhaled. (Washington Post)

Facebook is leaking data, again!  A security researcher has discovered an unsecured database containing 419 million phone numbers plus their associated Facebook ID—and in some cases names, genders, and countries. Users in the United States, UK and Vietnam are the most affected. Nope, there’s no way to find out if you have been exposed as of now. (MIT Technology Review)

In happier Facebook news: It has launched its dating service in the US and 19 other countries. No, India isn’t one of them. Oh, and it’s also integrated with your Insta—coz you really, really need to be thinking about hooking up at all times and on all platforms. Verge has all the details. 

Kiran Nagarkar is dead: The beloved author of ‘Ravan & Eddie’ passed away at the age of 77. He suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage. His last years were marred by sexual harassment allegations—which also tainted the release of his final book ‘The Arsonist’. (Indian Express)

Scarlett stands by Woody Allen: In a new interview, Johansson doubled down on her support for the director accused of molesting his daughter, Dylan Farrow. “I love Woody,” she says, “I believe him, and I would work with him anytime.” (Hollywood Reporter)

Your daily quota of sunshine items: includes the following:

  • A bit of good news for those 2,702 trees in Aarey colony.The Mumbai municipal authorities are hell-bent on cutting them down, but now they have found an unexpected champion in the Shiv Sena which has filed a plea in the High Court to save them.

  • Virat Kohli having an odd philosophical moment. Umm, what’s with that photo?

  • Ivanka Trump’s very expensive and very green dress—which does not hold up well in windy weather.

  • Singer Sam Smith rocking heels and a lace shirt on the red carpet.

  • The happy news that Indigo is entering into a partnership with SonyLIV to offer inflight entertainment on your mobile device. 

  • The fun discovery that the Loch Ness monster may in fact be a giant eel.

  • A reenactment of ‘Animal Farm’ featuring a cat and a number of baby llamas.

  • This fabulous collection of iconic fashion photos.

  • This clip featuring a confused bulldog and a silly goat that just makes us giggle.

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Stuff we buy, use or love.

Travel Apps We Swear By
Whether you are travelling for pleasure or work, technology can be the best travel companion a girl can have—especially when you are travelling a great distance or in very unfamiliar territory.
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When you are headed for foreign shores...

Download Google Translate. You can type out words and phrases (or just write with your finger), or point your camera at menus and signs. The audio translator helps you speak to the locals. And it has offline language packs for all the times you don’t have wifi. All this in about 100 languages, though only 59 languages can be used offline. (Bonus app: If you want to learn the essentials in a local language, go for TripLingo. It has a phrasebook, flashcards, and even offers formal, casual or slang versions of any given phrase. More details here.)

Price: Free | Google Translate | Google Play | App Store

The informer 2

When you’re dreading sleepless nights of jetlag…

It’s time for TimeShifter. This is a revolutionary app that is personalised to your unique sleep pattern and travel plans. It’s a huge help especially if you travel for business, and have zero time for recovery.  It shows you when to avoid/seek daylight, reach for that latte, nap and sleep. You can buy a single plan for a particularly critical trip, or an annual subscription if you are always on the go. Oh, and your first plan is free.

Price: Rs 340–Rs 1,700  | TimeShifter | Google Play | App Store  

The informer 3

When you want to upgrade your travel photos...

Embrace Prisma, the photo editing app that uses AI cloud processing to turn your run-of-the-mill travel photos into gorgeous pieces of art. It applies the looks of painters like Van Gogh, Picasso, Munch and many more to your pics, and—if you have an iPhone—to your videos. Becoming a great artist has never been this easy. And yeah, it works just as well with your selfies.

Price: Free | Prisma | Google Play | App Store

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Note: These products are personally picked by the editors. We do not receive any revenue from the brands recommended.

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