Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Ruling of the day

A judge on Tuesday issued a death warrant ordering the execution of four men convicted of the infamous 2012 Delhi gang rape. They will be hanged at 7 am on 22 January. “My daughter has got justice. Execution of the four convicts will empower the women of the country,” said the victim’s mother. Point to note: The warrant can be put on hold or cancelled if the convicts exercise their right to appeal or file a mercy petition within the next 14 days.The four death row convicts are Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Singh and Pawan Gupta.

Share | Facebook logo WhatsApp logo Twitter logo


The biggest news story today, explained.

image orange sidebar everyone's talking about image orange sidebar

The ongoing developments around #JNUViolence

It is the biggest story at the moment, and each day brings a bizarre new development. Here’s a round up of what happened on Tuesday.

Look who’s taking credit: Pinky Chaudhry (yes, you read that right), member of the Hindu Raksha Dal, claimed responsibility for the JNU attacks. Here’s the clip of his statement. And here’s a clip of his less-than-convincing interview. Yes, he’s happily shooting his mouth off to TV channels. No, there are no immediate plans to arrest him. We are shocked.

Also taking responsibility: ABVP’s Joint Secretary who acknowledged on national TV that her group’s members were instructed to arm themselves with rods, barks (sic) and pepper spray—but solely to defend themselves. 🙄 Watch the clip here.

More evidence of police inaction: Three big news stories confirm suspicions of wilful negligence. 

  • Scroll’s investigation of the FIRs registered by the police revealed that they were on campus at 3:45 pm—and had spotted masked men threatening students. But they oddly did not take any action until many hours later.

  • An internal police report shows that between 2.30 pm and 6:30 pm on Sunday, 23 calls were made to the Police Control Room (PCR) urgently seeking intervention. But the Registrar waited until 7.45 pm to hand over an official letter to Delhi Police, “seeking increased presence and deployment on the premises.” Indian Express has more details.

  • Times of India has an excellent list of the many unanswered—and damning—questions about police’s actions, or lack thereof.

  • Also: The Crime Branch—which previously claimed to have “vital clues”—has put out an appeal in newspapers asking for eyewitness statements, photos, video etc. Haan, why rely on students who were actually right there when it happened.

Government-approved fake news: Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati shared a video clip showing a person beating up students on campus. The accompanying tweet claimed: “Video bears witness to #JNU VC @mamidala90's statement that those opposing registration for Winter session of #JNU are behind violence to scuttle the academic process of varsity.” Too bad an Alt News fact-check proved that the person is actually an ABVP member.

End of ‘Occupy Gateway’: Protesters were forced out of Gateway of India and on to Azad Maidan. The reason offered by the police: “[B]ecause of them the roads were being blocked. Mumbaikars are being troubled, aspects of daily life of people are being affected.” They physically dragged away a number of demonstrators. The protest was called off soon after. Hindustan Times has the most details. 


In other anti-free speech news: The police has filed an FIR against a woman holding up a ‘Free Kashmir’ sign at the Mumbai protest. Also: two Delhi women have been evicted from their rented home because they hung an anti-CAA banner from their balcony. Their landlord was part of an angry mob that tried to storm their home in response.


Our fave moment of the protest: This wonderful reminder that resistance can be joyful. Also worth your time: This Reuters story on the Muslim women who have taken centre stage during the protests.

Last but not least, Deepika Padukone! She became the biggest Bollywood star to step up in support of the JNU students. Padukone showed up at a campus event to combat violence yesterday evening. She did not address the gathering, but gave JNU Students Union president Aishe Ghosh a hug and whispered in her ear. “She told me, ‘proud of you, take care’,” said Ghosh. A member of Padukone’s team said that she wanted to “express her anguish at the JNU violence.” Indian Express has more details and photos—and this short clip. This is the photo going viral. Also: The BJP has called for a boycott of her films.

Point to note: Ghosh—who suffered a severe head injury requiring 16 stitches—has been named in two police FIRs charging her with vandalism.


In unrelated Deepika news: As you may know, her movie ‘Chhapaak’ is going to drop this Friday. As part of its pre-release PR, Padukone released a video documenting a ‘social experiment’. She wanders the streets of Delhi made over as ‘Malti’—the acid attack survivor she plays in the movie—along with other survivors, and documents people’s reactions to her appearance. Watch the excellent Insta video here. Bonus: Femina’s cover shoot featuring Padukone and Laxmi Agarwal—the woman she plays in the movie.

Share | Facebook logo WhatsApp logo Twitter logo


becoming a DP fangirl

Iran strikes back: Tehran launched more than a dozen missile strikes at two US military bases in Iraq—calling it “hard revenge” for the US airstrike that targeted and killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani (footage here). The number of casualties is as yet unclear. A statement released by the military warned that any country housing US troops will be subject to "hostile and aggressive acts”—and that it will offer "crushing responses in case of new aggression." Meanwhile, President Trump—who promised to strike 52 Iranian sites if Tehran retaliated for the airstrike—is readying to address the nation. When Speaker Nancy Pelosi was informed of the Iranian attack, she had this immediate advice for her fellow Congress member: "Pray." (CNN)

In related Soleimani news: Fifty people have died—and 200 were injured—in a stampede at the funeral procession for the Iranian general. (BBC News)

Bharath is bandh: 10 government trade unions have called a day-long strike to call for the “reversal of the anti-worker, anti-people, anti-national policies of the Government.”  The unions also expressed solidarity with students and condemned the violence in JNU. Indian Express has details on which banks and states will be most affected.

The government is gonna get stingy: The government will chop its spending by Rs 2 trillion—which is a 7% cut. The reason: A massive revenue shortfall of Rs 2.5 trillion. The really worrying bit: right now, government spending is the primary driver of economic growth—with consumer spending slowing down and private investment almost screeching to a halt. As per the latest government estimate, our GDP grew by a mere 5% in 2019-20—compared to 6.8% the year before. Experts say the spending cuts will drag growth down even further. Reuters has more on the spending cuts. The Telegraph looks at the implications of the slowdown for the upcoming budget.

Facebook is gonna ban deepfakes: ahead of the 2020 US elections. Deepfakes are highly sophisticated fake videos that use AI to look very real (see a top ten list). Oddly enough, the new policy does not apply to “cheapfakes” or “shallowfakes”—the kind edited with simple software, and also the most popular. These will instead be fact-checked, flagged as false and be less likely to show up in news feeds. Hain? (New York Times)

Shuddh desi khana in space: Mission Gaganyaan will be India’s first manned space flight, and ISRO is making sure that its three astronauts will be well-fed. On the ISRO menu: 30 dishes, including idli sambar, upma, vegetable pulav and egg rolls. And like all doting parents, the agency is also packing food warmers to make sure its proteges have garam garam khana. See photos here.

The Chinese paddlefish is officially extinct: The giant freshwater species was native to the Yangtze River—and could reach up to 23 feet in length and weigh as much as 450 kg. Also known as the Chinese swordfish, it was around for nearly 200 million years. Scientists who conducted a large scale survey of the river failed to find 140 other previously reported species—many of which are highly endangered. Also thought to be extinct: the Yangtze River dolphin and Reeves shad. (Mongabay)

Netflix is killing our sleep: A new survey of nutritionists and trainers shows that many Indians (of the affluent variety) are working long hours, eating junk food and binge-watching way too much: “Over 50% of our nutritionists highlighted sleep deprivation due to streaming services as one of the top three social trends that affected the physical well-being of their clients in 2019.” (Quartz)

Music evokes at least 13 emotions: ranging from amusement to eroticism, anxiety, annoyance and feeling pumped up. Also: people from different cultures feel the exact same emotion when listening to a piece of music. According to this new study, “Ed Sheeran’s ‘The Shape of You’ sparks joy. And ‘ooh la la!’ best sums up the seductive power of George Michael’s ‘Careless Whispers.’” Ooh la la? Really? (Berkeley News)

Tu nahi to biwi sahi: Japanese authorities have now issued an arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn’s wife, Carole. The crime: perjury. Reminder: the former Nissan chief ducked charges of financial misdoing by fleeing Japan in a very large audio equipment box. (The Guardian)

Cool stuff we learned on the internet: includes the following:

  • The best and most awesome way to peel a boiled egg. Nope, not how your grandma taught you.

  • NASA's planet-hunting mission has found its first potentially habitable planet orbiting a star about 100 light-years from Earth.

  • There are just 700 speakers of Seke—a rare, unwritten language from Nepal—left in the world, and 100 live in New York. And half of them live in a single building.

  • The restaurant review is getting a generational makeover thanks to millennial critics who believe “a review shouldn’t just tell a reader whether to order the omu rice or the penne a la vodka [but] what financial, artistic, or societal forces are pushing [each restaurant] to be a certain way.”

Things that make you go WTF: One, Tom Hanks’ son speaking entirely in patois. Watch him here. Also: the most prolific rapist in British history. Buzzfeed has the story of Reynhard Sinaga who has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for a total of 159 sexual offences against 48 male victims.

Your daily quota of sunshine items: includes the following:

  • The weirdest gadgets from the Consumer Electronics Show. Say hello to the Bellabot food-delivery cat. 

  • Meryl Streep helping fix Helen Mirren’s dress at the Golden Globes.

  • Frieda Pinto's newly minted fiancé: a photographer named Cory Tran. Here’s everything you need to know about him.

  • The new issue of Italian Vogue which has replaced glossy photos with illustrations—to reduce the environmental impact of photoshoots. Also: it looks awesome!

  • This excellent medley of odd BFFs—cows, kittens, hens included.

  • The trailer for Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Goop Lab’. C’mon how can you resist a series that looks at energy healing, psychedelics, cold therapy, psychic mediums and, of course, orgasms.

  • Elon Musk dancing to Chinese music.

  • This lovely story about a group of 60-plus women in Mumbai who discovered the joy of dancing.

  • This lol story titled ‘PM Modi Speaks Out On JNU Violence’.
Share | Facebook logo WhatsApp logo Twitter logo


Everything we don't know about human desire

image levendor sidebar Sex, Love etc image levendor sidebar

Talking on Tinder

One of the most painful aspects of dating is making small talk—especially when you are juggling multiple matches at one time. So much so that some Silicon Valley geeks have created bots to do the work for them. This is a wonderful piece on the pleasures and perils of meeting the ‘the one’ who really talks to you.

Read: What Tinder taught me about love | The Guardian

Sex, Love etc 2

A very Japanese sex scandal

We laughed our ass off as we read this piece about love triangles, incest and unrequited love at two Japanese aquariums. More so because the protagonists are not, er, human. Love ‘Happy Feet’? Prepare to be rudely and hilariously surprised.

Read: Incest and affairs of Japan’s scandalous penguins | CNN

Share | Facebook logo WhatsApp logo Twitter logo

Or just select, copy and send this link to your friends and you score some cool swag in the process:
Follow us on
Facebook logo Instagram logo Twitter logo

Be an Ambassador

To connect with one another, get unique access, invites to private events,
exclusive content and much more.
Not a subscriber? Sign up here.
Unsubscribe Unsubscribe from this list.
Our mailing address is:
Copyright (C) *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|* All rights reserved.