Thursday, April 11, 2019

Quote of the day

“Perhaps if the BJP—a right-wing party—wins, some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached,” said Pakistan PM Imran Khan, unleashing a tsunami of glee among BJP rivals and critics. The award for Most OTT Response goes to Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, who tweeted, "Pakistan has officially allied with Modi! A vote for Modi is a vote for Pakistan.”

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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The Election Commission showing signs of life

After weeks of outcry over the EC’s seeming inaction in the face of flagrant violations of the Model Code of Conduct, the commission suddenly lurched into action.


First, some background: A month before an election, the Election Commission (EC) institutes rules that govern the behaviour of parties and their candidates. These restrict the promotion of any political party that may give it an unfair advantage. The MCC was imposed on March 10 and is in effect until the results are announced on May 23.


Ok, so what happened? The EC halted the release of ‘PM Narendra Modi’, a hagiographic biopic, a day after the Censor Board cleared it. The film, which stars Vivek Oberoi as Narendra Modi (and received the PM’s blessing), was set to release today. Its director, Omung Kumar, had been on a PR blitz denying any political motive, calling it “a story about struggle,” much like his other movie ‘Mary Kom’.


Why was it banned? It’s not banned, just temporarily blocked until the elections are done. The EC took action after the Supreme Court directed it to determine “whether the film will tilt the electoral balance in favour of any political party.” Pushed to take a position, the commission decided, umm, that it may just do that. Hence the decision to block its release in order to ensure "a level playing field" and "free and fair elections.”


Anything else? Remember NaMo TV? (refresher here) That’s next on the EC scanner. The BJP has finally admitted that the channel is run by the party’s Information Technology cell. Electoral authorities have been playing pass-the-parcel with this particular hot potato. The EC asked the media monitoring committee (which certifies political advertising) to take a call. The committee politely declined, saying it’s not their job. This puts the commission back in the hot seat, and a decision is expected today.


Also under scrutiny: This clip of Modi’s speech at a political rally in Maharashtra, exhorting the audience to “dedicate your vote to the brave men who conducted Balakot airstrikes, to the CRPF men who lost their lives in Pulwama attack.” The EC has asked for a report from the Chief Electoral Officer in the state.


Learn more: Times of India has the most details on the blocked biopic. Huffington Post asked tough questions of director Omung Kumar. Quint did the same with Vivek Oberoi. Oh, if you want to know what you’re missing out on, here’s the movie trailer.  Broadsheet did an explainer on NaMo TV. Indian Express has a lot more on the laws governing satellite DTH channels

The Broadsheet Events In Bombay And Bangalore

We know you are. Just as we also know that many of you are planning to come show your pretty face… because we’re psychic like that. But in case you don’t know what we’re on about, here are the details.


What’s happening? ‘The Great Election Swayamvar: When meets Indian politics.’ That’s what we’re calling our election 2019 event aimed at helping women make an informed decision about their vote -- and have lots of fun doing it. We promise you an evening of political dating games, nibbles and wine.


Why is this happening? We want to encourage women to think about who they vote for, whether they vote, and the consequences of their choices. Also: offer an overview of their choices in the 2019 election.


Why does it matter? Here are some good reasons why:

  • 21 million women simply go missing come election time—they show up on the census but not the election rolls.

  • Now add in the fact that the overall urban voter turnout was a whopping 9.5% lower than the national average in 2014.

  • Also: While the national gender voting gap is down to one percent, the urban gender gap remains more than twice as wide.

  • Finally, take into account the ‘income gap’—i.e. the better educated you are, the less likely you are to vote.

When you add up all the ‘gaps’, the urban, educated woman is among the constituencies most likely to fall right through them.


So why doesn’t she just vote? Media stories most often claim it’s because she is ‘privileged’ and  ‘apathetic’. We know that it’s because many women feel alienated—by the media’s relentless focus on toxic political rhetoric, obsession with caste math, and inability to make a meaningful connection between her life values and priorities, her choices and her vote. Well, we want to change that.


How do I say 'Yes, I'm there!'? Yay, Here are the details:


Please be sure to RSVP as spaces are limited. We look forward to a fun and energising evening with you.


PS: It’s not just women, but also minorities and dalits who are amongst the most disenfranchised in India. Broadsheet would love to highlight and champion other organisations who are working toward the empowerment of all these voters this election year. So please send us your suggestions.

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itching to get away on your summer vacay

Let the polls begin! The national election kicks off today in 91 constituencies across 20 states and union territories. The states to vote today include Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Odisha, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep. (Quint)


This is what a black hole looks like: Scientists used a global network of telescopes— awesomely named Event Horizon—to capture the first-ever picture of a black hole. "We have seen what we thought was unseeable," said the director of the project. (CNN)


Uber’s mega-sized IPO party: The company will sell around $10 billion worth of stock in its initial public offering, and is seeking a $100 billion valuation. Slated for Thursday, it will be the biggest tech IPO since Alibaba went public in 2014. (Reuters)


Indian cities you don’t want to be in right now: Nagpur was the hottest city in India at 44.1°, followed by Khargone, Madhya Pradesh (43.5°) and Adilabad in Telangana (43.3°). Here is the top ten list.


Because you be loving pretty photos: Here are some stunning entries to the National Geographic’s Travel Photo Contest—including a gorgeous one of the Taj Mahal. (Daily Mail)


Indians heart their YouTube: India is YouTube’s largest and fastest growing audience in the world—with more than 265 million monthly active users. Around 85% of YouTube consumption happens on mobile, 60% of which is outside of the six largest metros in India. It’s free and on our phone. What’s not to like? (Economic Times)


A tiger tragedy in the Sunderbans: A tiger was caught in a deer trap and died in one of the most well-protected sanctuaries in the country. It’s not being called a case of poaching since its body parts were intact. The last recorded instance of tiger poaching was in 2008. (Times of India)


We need to protect our screens from our kids: A three-year-old boy repeatedly entered the wrong password, and locked his dad's iPad until 2067. The message said: “Try again in 25,536,442 minutes." (CNN)


Dogs don’t like jerks either: A new Japanese study found that dogs don’t like people who are “nasty” to their owners, and will even reject a treat from them. Ok, now we’re impressed. (People)

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Unexpected, thought-provoking and always worth your time

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The 'different kinda music' edition

Yes, we love our ‘Top 40’ songs, and we eagerly follow all those Coachella updates. But the best gems in music are often hidden. Here are two different kinds of lists that unearth them for you.


A Different Kind of Music Festival

With all the buzz about Coachella, many of us will be jonesing for a ‘music festival’ fix. Sadly, thanks to our very hot summers, all the best Indian music melas take place over the winter. But if you happen to be heading to Europe or North America, here’s a list of off-the-beaten-track festivals to check out—and they’re far cooler than Burning Man which inspired them.

Check out: Skip the Dust and Head to These Five Burning Man-Inspired Festivals Instead | Vice

Sex, Love etc 2

A Different Kind of Music Video

What happens when a famous and talented artist is asked to direct a music video? The results range from Damien Hirst’s wildly surreal take on Blur’s ‘Country House’ to the deeply emotional version of David Bowie’s ‘Where Are We Now?’ directed by Tony Oursler. What we liked most about this list: Even when we didn’t know the song or the artist, watching them offered genuine pleasure… sort of like looking at art.

Check out: The Strange and Stunning Results of Artist-Directed Music Videos l Artsy

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