Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The app of the decade

That honour belongs to everyone’s creepy stalker, Facebook. The #1 downloaded app across all categories was followed by… every other app in the Facebook family, which dominates the slots #1 through #4. The most downloaded game app from 2010 to 2019: Subway Surfers, which edged out Candy Crush. Pokemon Go came in a lame #8. But the app that we spent most time on is Netflix, followed by Tinder. Colour us unsurprised.

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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The continuing protests against the citizenship law

Delhi witnessed a fresh round of violence, the government stood firm, and the Supreme Court said nah. Here’s your anti-CAA protest update. (ICYMI: Read our explainer for details on what happened in Jamia. Need a refresher on the citizenship law? Read it here.)

Violence in Seelampur: Around 2,000 protesters clashed with police in Delhi. The police fired shots in the air, and lobbed more than 60 rounds of tear gas. Protesters threw stones and damaged vehicles, and two police booths were set on fire. Those present claim they were lathi-charged, but the police denies it. In all, 21 were injured. See photos and video. Also: A gruesome ‘protest’ picture that went viral turned out to be a movie extra with ketchup on his head.

At the courts: The Supreme Court refused to rule on petitions to launch an inquiry into police violence—and told lawyers to go knock on the door of the High Court. More worryingly, when pressed on the issue of the police entering the Jamia campus, CJI Bobde responded: “What are the officers supposed to do if the students behave like this? Won’t FIRs be filed if students pelt stones?” Now, watch this New York Times visual investigation that definitively proves that the Delhi police used excessive and brutal force on Jamia students. Enuf said.

Arrests in Jamia: The police arrested 10 men in connection to the acts of vandalism and arson committed in the Jamia Millia area. None of them are students, and most have a criminal record. In addition, seven others, including a former Congress MLA, have been charged for leading the protests and rioting. 

Government talks tough: Asked if there was a chance that the government will rethink the citizenship law, Home Minister Amit Shah said, “Zara bhi nahi, kinchit matra sambhavna bhi nahi hai” (Not even a little, there’s not even an iota of possibility). 

The rise of two heroines: The Week reports on the brave women—Ayesha Renna and Ladeeda Sakhaloon—who stood up to the Delhi police to protect a fellow Jamia student. Renna told Barkha Dutt: “If you see any injustice in the society, don't think that you are a woman...just get out, raise you voice. Men will try to make you sit inside your home. Women are always told to keep their voice low. But, no, raise your voice. Nobody is going to control you.” We are crying, not crying. Also awesome: this young woman telling it like it is. 

Also saying no to CAA: Arvind Kejriwal. He joined the ranks of CMs who have flatly refused to implement the citizenship law. The rest include CMs of Bengal, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The government claims that states have “no powers” to refuse to implement the law. Inquiring minds want to know: how many states can you shut down in one year?

Speaking up in support: 400 US students—from Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Stanford—released a statement in support of Jamia and AMU students. Read it here. Plus: PM Modi and Amit Shah were boosted by an emotional tweet of support from… Nita Ambani. Wow, didn’t see that one coming. 

Want more? If you read only one thing: check out Irfan Pathan’s column explaining why he is standing up for the protesters. Mint has a new series that looks at why students around the country are protesting. The first is a report on IIM-Bangalore. Huffington Post has an exhaustive list of all the celebs who have spoken up in support of the protests. The Telegraph has highlights of Mamata’s speech making fun of the National Register of Citizens. BBC looks at what the protests tell us about the state of the nation. 


PS: This terrifying video of rightwing goons bullying a Delhi University student from Kerala (It’s every South Indian’s nightmare-in-Delhi come true).

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eyeing your chewing gum with new respect

Pervez Musharraf has been sentenced to death: by a Pakistani court. Here’s what you need to know about it:

  • The charge is high treason. The crime: He suspended the nation’s constitution in 2007, and imposed emergency rule in order to stay in power. 

  • But, but, but… Musharraf has been in Dubai since 2016 and refused to obey orders to appear in court. So he may not be facing the noose any time soon. 

  • However, the ruling is significant. The reason: it marks the first time that an army chief has been convicted for seizing power in a nation long controlled by the military. 

  • And that’s why the Pakistani military's spokesperson said the verdict has caused “pain and anguish” among its ranks. 

  • And the military’s “anguish” is the reason why Imran Khan is hemming and hawing over a response. His government has promised to carry out a “detailed examination” of the ruling: “Legal experts will analyse the impacts of it legally, politically and in terms of the national interest, and then a government statement will be presented before the media." 

  • BBC News has an explainer on Musharraf. Al Jazeera explains what’s next.

The WeWork bailout is here: The company has been rewarded with a $1.75 billion line of credit by Goldman Sachs. WeWork won’t be required to post any cash collateral under the new deal. Nice deal if Papa SoftBank can get it. (Bloomberg)

Shocking state of our soldiers: An unreleased government audit report shows that army troops in high altitude areas in Siachen and Ladakh do not have snow glasses and multi-purpose boots to wear—or even enough food! Rajya Sabha sources who have seen the report say that soldiers are consuming 82% percent fewer calories than the daily recommendation. The shortfall in snow goggles ranges from 62% to 98% which exposes their faces and eyes to extreme weather. Shame!! (Economic Times)

In more news about bad numbers: India’s industrial production fell 3.8% to a two-year low in October. But a closer look at the numbers shows that the dip is far worse than first thought. The actual number was boosted by a 12-fold (and inexplicable) rise in fragrances and oil essentials—which has a weight of 0.2% in the industrial output index. But if you take away that little assist—and the rise of mild steel slabs (honestly, it doesn’t matter)—output for the rest of the 99% contracted a steep 8.8% year on year. Financial Express has a chart that explains it all. Related read in Mint: Vivek Kaul’s long piece explains why India’s demographic dividend is dissolving.

Your Insta will be fact-checked: Earlier this year, the platform tested a fact-checking program in the United States. Now, it’s being rolled out around the world. And it will work pretty much like the feature on Facebook: Fake content is buried by search and recommendation tools, and shown with a warning label if users happen to stumble upon it. (Yahoo News)

Good news about mountain gorillas: Their numbers are increasing, and they have been moved off the list of critically endangered animals. The latest numbers from Uganda and Congo show that there are now 1,063 confirmed sightings—which means conservation efforts have been a success. Also rising in the region: the number of elephants and chimpanzees. A related watch: our favourite and most amazing documentary ‘Virunga’ on Netflix. (Gizmodo)

Nope, ‘Gully Boy’ didn’t make the list: The Academy announced its shortlist for best international feature—and it did not include our superhit rap story. (Indian Express)

A 5,700-year-old chewing gum: At the dawn of the Neolithic era, a young woman threw a lump of ancient chewing gum made from birch tar in Denmark. Scientists have used that 2 cm of gum to reassemble her complete DNA, reconstruct her portrait, and test the microbes in her mouth! This is an amazing story. (National Geographic)

Things that make you go WTF: This anti-racism campaign put together by the top Italian football league, Serie A. Umm, they commissioned artist Simone Fugazzotto, who is known for painting monkeys. We will quote just one line from the story: “The unveiling of the three monkeys, who the artist describes as ‘a Western monkey, an Asian monkey and a black monkey’, was met with incredulity.” (Sky News)

Your daily dose of sunshine items: includes the following:

  • Fallon Sherrock, who became the first woman to beat a man at the World Darts Competition.

  • The happy news that your employer will have to make a full and final payment of all the money owed to you within two days of your quit date.

  • Ten amazing (and gorgeous) plant and fungi discoveries of 2019.

  • This excellent story on how AI is bringing new life to artificial limbs in India.

  • Here are the best facts about 2019, illustrated in 36 photos. Lots of sunshine packed into a single shot.

  • For all cat-lovers: nine studies that definitively prove kitties make the best pets.

  • What difference can ten years make in the field of robotics? Behold the wonder

  • On a related note: Vito the bionic cat who is an “internet superstar.”

  • Remember goofy old Kumail Nanjiani? Yup, the goofy guy from Silicon Valley. Well, he’s all gymmed up now and… wow! 

  • Want to feel instantly better? Just crack open a book and take a deep breath.
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Everything we don't know about human desire

image levendor sidebar Sex, Love etc image levendor sidebar

On a Dalit woman’s desire

We don’t want to sum up or interpret this personal essay—because to do so would do the writer, her emotions, ideas and experience great injustice. We just want you to read it.


Read: The Coming of Reason | India Today

Sex, Love etc 2

An investment guide to breakups

Do I dump him, do I not? According to researchers, the key factors that tip the scale—and determine whether a person stays or moves on—have little to do with emotions. Yes, relationship satisfaction matters, but so does ‘investment’ and ‘alternatives’. 

Read: How do you know when it’s time to break up? | The Conversation

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