Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Message of the day

“Thank you, all you beautiful people!” That’s for everyone who came to Broadsheet’s election swayamvar in namma Bengaluru last night. The audience was lively, thoughtful and well-informed, as was the conversation. We feel a whole lot better about the state of Indian citizenship this morning. Stay tuned for our next event coming to a city near you!

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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The destruction of Notre Dame cathedral

One of the world’s great historic monuments caught fire last night and nearly burnt to the ground. While the structure remains intact, the damage has been devastating.


The cathedral: The construction of Notre Dame began in 1163, and was completed over 200 years. It is considered to be a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and is visited by over 12 million tourists each year. The last time it suffered great damage was during the French Revolution, and soon after fell into decay. The monument was restored to its former glory in the mid-nineteenth thanks to Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, which brought public attention to its neglect. As one expert explains, "The novel made people realize that the cathedral, which in some respects is the protagonist, was a national treasure. It came to represent Paris around the world, along with the Eiffel Tower."


The fire: started around 6:50 pm, minutes after the building closed for tourists. More than 400 firefighters attempted for hours to put out the fire. At one point on Monday night, fire officials worried that the blaze might destroy the entire structure. President Trump suggested using “flying water tankers” which became a talking point in French media—forcing the government to tweet, “All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircrafts which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral."


The cause: While the exact cause remains to be determined by investigators, experts suspect the fire was sparked by torches or welding or cutting equipment. The cathedral was undergoing a $6.8 million renovation.


The damage: Cathedral spokesman said the building has suffered “colossal damage.” The entire roof has been destroyed, and its medieval-era wooden interior entirely gutted. The greatest symbol of loss: the cathedral’s iconic spire. "I ran to the cathedral and saw the spire of the cathedral falling," said an onlooker, "Something just collapsed inside me. One of the worst things I've ever seen."


The silver lining: Notre Dame’s twin bell towers have been saved. Also saved: a number of precious artefacts and relics, including a crown of thorns supposedly worn by Jesus Christ before his crucifixion. Many other treasures had been removed earlier as part of the renovation.


What’s next: President Emmanuel Macron pledged, “We will rebuild it [the cathedral] together. It will undoubtedly be part of French destiny and our project for the years to come." He announced an international fundraising campaign and called on the world’s “greatest talents” to help in the effort. French billionaire François-Henri Pinault—husband of actress Salma Hayek—has already offered 100 million euros towards the effort.

Learn more: Washington Post sums up the details and has an architectural etching which makes clear which parts of the building were damaged. Also from the Post: this piece on the iconic paintings of Notre Dame by Henri Matisse (our lead image is a Matisse, as well). NBC has footage of the fire and the moment when the cathedral’s iconic spire fell to the ground. CNN lists (with photos) the priceless artefacts inside Notre Dame. The Guardian has the best summary of its historic past. Our favourite: This Buzzfeed photo gallery that not only documents Notre Dame’s past, but also offers hope for its revival. 

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failing miserably to stick to your diet biohacking plan

EC raps a few knuckles: With election rhetoric dipping to sewage-level toxicity, the Election Commission took to task four politicians: Yogi Adityanath, Mayawati, Maneka Gandhi, and Azam Khan. Yogi and Mayawati have been banned from campaigning for 72 hours for making appeals to communal sentiment. As for Maneka Gandhi, she lost two days of campaigning because… see next item. Azam Khan received the same punishment for making a repugnant reference to his rival Jaya Prada’s “khaki underwear.” (Indian Express)


This is Maneka Gandhi’s governance plan: for her son Varun’s constituency, Philbit: “We win in Pilibhit every time, so what is the parameter that we work more for one village and less for the other. The parameter is that we segregate all villages as A, B, C, and D. The village where we get 80% votes is A, the village in which we get 60% is B, the village in which we get 50% is C and the village where we get less than 50% is D. The development work first happens in all A category villages. Then comes B and only after work in B is done, we start with C. So this is up to you whether you make it to A, B or C and no one should come in D because we all have come here to do good." This is days after she threatened to deny Muslim voters jobs if they didn’t vote for her. No comment required. (NDTV)


Netflix is binging on Indian content: The platform just announced ten original film projects. The highlights include “Guilty”, directed by Ruchi Narain which is about a small-town girl who accuses the college jock of rape. The lot who gave us ‘Lust Stories’—Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap—are back with ‘Ghost Stories’. The one we’re most curious about: “Roy Kapur Films’ ‘Yeh Ballet,’ directed by Sooni Taraporevala (‘Little Zizou’), is a tale of two boys from the wrong side of the tracks who try and use ballet to transcend their challenging circumstances.” (Variety)


SBI snubs Jet Airways: The bank refused to release the Rs 1500 crore emergency funds allocated to save the airline (we did an explainer yesterday). The company board is considering a temporary shutdown. (Times of India)


Women diet, men ‘biohack’: When Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey shared his bizarre regimen of malnourishment in an interview—basically, one meal a day, and zero over the weekend—it was immediately dubbed by the media as a ‘his personal biohacking’ habits which “actually make sense.” Of course, as Monica Hesse points out, if women celebs reveal their own “intense wellness habits,” they’re widely condemned for encouraging eating disorders. To sum up: women starve themselves, tech bros ‘disrupt calories’. (Washington Post)


What does the world's largest single-building airport terminal look like? The answer, dear friends, is right here in this BBC video report on the Beijing New Airport (designed by a woman, Zaha Hadid). If you want to just look at pretty pictures, click here.


Breaking Salman Khan news: The poster for the upcoming flick ‘Bharath’ revealed a shocking fact—the Khan has finally embraced the reality that he can indeed look old—and convincingly so. Of course, the media is politely calling it a ‘new look’.


This remake of the Modi biopic trailer: was definitely not made by the BJP. See it here.


Gordon Ramsay’s new restaurant: is being billed as "an authentic Asian Eating House,” except it’s not clear what he—or his staff of non-Asian chefs—mean by either ‘authentic’ or ‘Asian’. He got called out on it and it’s making him very grumpy. (CNN)


A giant backlash against child modelling in China: This awful video of a mother abusing and kicking her 3-year old has sparked outrage and raising questions about the exploitation of little children. (New York Times)


In happier child-related news: Here is Mahi’s daughter, Ziva Dhoni, teaching Dwayne Bravo the right way to wear a cap. PS: It’s clear given her comfort with Dhoni’s teammates, this is a dad who takes his daughter to work... a lot. Nice! Bonus loving dad clip: This moment when a triumphant Tiger Woods sweeps his son up in his arms.


Taking on bad science stories: A new Twitter handle @justsaysinmice is debunking shoddy science reporting in the media. Why that handle? Because most news outlets publish hyped up claims about studies that have only been tested on mice. The account, run by a research scientist, has only put out seven tweets, but has 31.3K followers already.

This poor doggy was rescued 135 miles: out at sea, where she was found swimming in the water by oil rig workers! This miracle wrapped in a mystery has a happy ending: she is being adopted by her rescuer. (Daily Mail)

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Unexpected, thought-provoking and always worth your time

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'The ‘I Drink, I am’ Edition

The rise of ‘elective sobriety’ aside, many of us enjoy a drink or two—or far too many—on occasion. And just to be perverse, we offer both a reason to drink, and a reason to rethink your drinking.

Tomorrow is Malbec Day

At a time when there is a ‘day’ for everything—a lot of them too boring to celebrate—we’re delighted to bring you this list of international days dedicated to booze. Be it vodka to absinthe to mint julep, feel free to over-celebrate your favourite liquor/cocktail as per this handy calendar.  

Check out: Thirsty’s Guide To All Of The National Drinking Holidays In 2019 | Thirsty Magazine

Sex, Love etc 2

True or False: Red Wine is Good for You

No other alcoholic beverage screams ‘I am so effing classy’ quite like a glass of red. And unlike it’s more ‘pedestrian’ cousin—the white—it’s also supposed to be good for your health. Or so we have been told by countless stories about countless medical studies. But is it really?

Check out: Does red wine help you live longer? | TIME

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