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Friday, March 22, 2019
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EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...

The biggest news story today, explained.

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BJP’s electoral list of candidates

Before each national election, political insiders and pundits eagerly await the announcement of the list of party candidates—which is then closely analysed to determine who is in favour with the political dispensation. BJP put out its list yesterday, and here’s what you need to know about it.

 

Amit Shah enters the neta fray: PM Modi’s right-hand man, best bro, and political soulmate will contest his first Lok Sabha election. What’s most telling is the seat chosen for the BJP president: Gandhinagar, Gujarat. That is the constituency of LK Advani, the grand old man of the party, whose prime ministerial ambitions were rudely shattered by Modi in the run-up to the 2014 elections. Advani, now 91 years old, has been entirely sidelined since. He has spoken only 365 words in the Lok Sabha over the past five years—that’s compared to 35,926 words Advani uttered in 42 debates and proceedings under the UPA regime. First, the ‘Loh Purush’ was literally silenced on the political stage, now he’s been entirely removed.

 

It’s Smriti Irani vs Rahul Gandhi, again! Irani has long been one of Modi’s blue-eyed party peeps. Eyebrows were raised when she—at the time, a no-name politico best known for her TV acting career—was given the Amethi ticket in 2014 to run against Rahul Gandhi. They were raised higher still after the elections as she bounced from one prime cabinet position to another. She lost out five years ago, and will likely do so again. While Irani’s political primacy has eroded over the years, the Amethi seat is a sign that she still remains in Modi’s favour. It’s yet another opportunity to remain relevant and visible (unlike poor Advani-ji)—especially when she attacks his manhood. Expect a lot more of that in the months to come.

 

Modi returns to Varanasi: In the last election, Candidate Modi ran from two constituencies. He predictably picked Vadodara to underline his track record as Gujarat CM. But his other, more audacious choice was Varanasi—which he turned into asea of saffron when he arrived to file his nomination papers in 2014. His opponent in the last election: A feisty but doomed-to-lose Arvind Kejriwal who was routed by nearly 3.5 lakh votes. Modi is unlikely to face a high-profile opponent this time around. Uttar Pradesh is expected to be one of the most hotly contested states, and no one has the luxury of losing on principle this time around.


Learn more: Economic Times looks at Modi’s track record in Varanasi which received a Rs 30,000 crore bonanza. This 2015 Outlook story on the fall of Smriti Irani from her lofty Education Ministry perch puts her candidacy in context.

 
 
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

trying hard not to think about the duck

 

New Zealand has banned all assault rifles: military-style semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines within a week of the mosque shootings. The decision was widely supported by the public and the opposition. This has astounded Americans more accustomed to settling for “thoughts and prayers” after each such gun-related mass killing. (CNN)

 

Your Brexit update is here: The European Union has granted an extension to Britain so it can get its act together. While PM Theresa May wanted to push the date back to June 30, EU set an earlier date: May 22. Why? Because the EU elections will be held on May 23—which would make things a bit, umm, awkward if Britain was still a (not really, then again maybe) member. However, that offer is tied to May pushing through her Brexit deal. If that fails, the extension expires on April 12. (NBC News)

 

Guess where all the Jet Airway pilots are? Looking for jobs, of course. Here’s how many of its 737 jet pilots showed up for a Spicejet pilot interview: 260. Well, that’s what happens when your broke employer hasn’t paid you for the past three months. Also ripe for poaching: Jet’s grounded airplanes (Times of India)

 

The trailer for ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’: is out and we’re happy to report that it looks way more fun than the poster. Though ‘fun’ is probably not the right word for a movie that deals with the brutal murder of actress Sharon Tate by Charles Manson. Then again, this is a Quentin Tarantino movie. (Variety)

 

The trailer for ‘PM Narendra Modi’: is out, and it doesn’t look like a lot of fun. (NDTV)

 

Who is screaming in ‘The Scream’? Edward Munch’s painting is one of the best-known pieces of Western art. But most of us may have been ‘seeing’ it all wrong. (Quartz)

 

The price of exiting Facebook: This tech columnist deleted his account five months ago, and it changed his life. The most unexpected outcome: Instagram thinks he’s a woman.  (New York Times)

 

Say goodbye to ‘helicopter parents’: Say hello to ‘snowplow parents’ who clear every obstacle in their child’s path so they never fail or experience frustration. In other words, standard ‘bada baap with beta’ behaviour in India. (Boston Globe)

 

What beauty looks like: An explosion at a Taiwanese amusement park in 2015 left Lia Jiang with burns over 90% of her body. This is her amazing photo shoot. (Buzzfeed)

 

What the Spring Equinox looks like: from space, courtesy NASA.

 

What an ancient sculpture of a threesome looks like: Author William Dalrymple tweeted out this raunchy image from the 11th century Menal Shiv Mandir. And we have the same question as him: “What exactly is the role of the duck?”

 

This ain’t your grandma’s Easter bunny: Marks & Spencer’s chocolatey rabbit treat is supposedly doing a downward dog. Twitter begs to disagree. (Metro UK)

 

This ain’t your grandpa’s energy drink: It’s called 'Natural Power High Energy Drink SX' and has been banned in Zambia because it’s spiked with, umm, Viagra. It was investigated by health officials when some poor man reported “having a six-hour erection, sweating and abnormal heartbeat” after he drank it. (Daily Mail)

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THE INFORMER

Stuff we love, buy or use

Apps that let you do more
Most times, our day feels like an endless to-do list: make that ppt, pick up dry cleaning, scan documents, make an emergency tampon run. Here’s our pick of little tech helpers who can ease the load.
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When you have to get everything done…

Reach for ToDoist. ToDoist is a deceptively simple and powerful list-making app that will restore your sanity. You can colour code, assign priority, and schedule recurring events using simple language like “Every other Friday.” At any given time, you know exactly what you need to do and when. (PS: You can also check out how this designer uses ToDoist to stay organised.)

 

Price: Free | Download: Android | App Store

The informer 2

When someone says ‘send photo of bill, please’... 

Say, no thank you! I’ll scan it instead. Using your phone camera as a scanner is quite frankly a pain in the ass.  The images are often blurry or lopsided. Evernote Scannable sets you free by automatically capturing, orienting and focusing on anything you show it, be it business cards, documents, or bills. Our favourite feature: whenever you scan in a business card, it pulls that info and adds it to your contacts. PS: There is no Android version of Evernote Scannable, but most of its features are bundled into the Android version of Evernote—which is the company’s primary note-taking app.

Price: Free |  Download: Android |  App Store

The informer 3

When you’re losing track of your period...

Get the Glow. This app can do pretty much anything you need: track your period and record your symptoms, mood, medications, and your sexual activity. The last is to help avoid pregnancy or help you get pregnant—including those who are trying artificial insemination or IVF. The best part of Glow is that it can predict your periods and ovulation and its predictions become smarter over time. Bottomline:  your period will no longer be a rude surprise.


Price: Free |  Download: Android | App Store

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