Feb 2022

Feb 2022/
Monday
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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Sunday evening brought the first signs of hope as Russia and Ukraine agreed to hold negotiations. But the long-term prognosis is grim—indicating a reboot of the decades-long Cold War that divided Europe and the world. Here’s a recap of the latest developments—followed by an analysis of what comes next.

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Feb 2022/
Sunday
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Unscientific Facts

Journalists are hard-wired to look for instances of shadowy wrongdoing. This is especially true for stories that involve cronyism, conflict of interest or payoffs in scientific research and/or regulatory policy. But a New York Times story that called out a prominent Indian scientist—overseeing sugar labelling in India—shows how this bias can lead to bad reporting and misinformation. Even when there is smoke, there isn’t always a fire.

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Feb 2022/
Saturday
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Stories from the Margins

Champaca Books, the Bangalore-based independent bookstore, brings you reading recommendations from our shelves. Travel with us to Martinique, explore books about books, and discover our collection of Westland titles.

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Feb 2022/
Friday
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The Invasion

Russian forces are poised to overwhelm the nation as they close in on the capital Kyiv—in a “military operation” that has rocked stock markets and potentially the world order. Here’s everything you need to know.

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Feb 2022/
Thursday
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Hail the Creator!

It is the buzziest phrase in business. The creator economy has birthed a flood of very well-funded startups—and investors, founders and big tech companies throw the words around to indicate the birth of a golden new age of content. But what is this really about—and is it any different from the whole ‘influencer era’ we’ve barely survived?

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Feb 2022/
Wednesday
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No Money For You!

The US and its European allies have pledged “dire” economic consequences if Russia invades Ukraine. But threats are easier delivered than executed. We look at whether sanctions can prevent war—or impose an effective punishment for starting one. Also: whether those who wield the club can afford to do so.

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Feb 2022/
Tuesday
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The Highest Bidder

The TV and broadcasting rights for the Indian Premier League are on the block—and are expected to attract astronomical bids from the fattest cats in the entertainment biz: Reliance, Amazon, Disney+ Hotstar and Sony-Zee. We look at who is bidding, why—and whether IPL is really worth breaking your bank account.

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Feb 2022/
Monday
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Skating on Thin Ice

The 15-year-old Russian skater became the focus of a doping controversy at the Winter Olympics—and soon after delivered a shaky, tearful performance on ice. But the biggest question everyone’s asking is not about drugs or her prospects, but this: What price should young girls pay for achieving excellence?

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Feb 2022/
Friday
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To Be or Not To Be?

Russia is adamant it has no intention of doing so—even as it positions 150,000 troops on the border. The US insists that an invasion is just a matter of time. But will President Putin take an irrevocable step that will have serious consequences for the world—or will he blink… and still claim victory?

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Feb 2022/
Thursday
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Disco Deewana

Unlike Lata Mangeshkar’s death, the media did not mark the demise of the flashy music director with fawning tributes—perhaps because he didn’t quite have the cultural cachet of the ‘voice of India’. So we decided to give Lahiri—a man who offered us the priceless gift of cheesy entertainment—the credit he deserves.

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Feb 2022/
Wednesday
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Kathmandu Kabuki

The Supreme Court Chief Justice has been suspended in the latest twist in the ugly drama that has thrown the country in political chaos. Tangled in this mess is a diplomatic rivalry between the US and India on one side and China on the other.

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Feb 2022/
Tuesday
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Divine (Mis)Guidance

As CEO and MD of the National Stock Exchange, Chitra Ramkrishna was wholly directed by a mysterious yogi. The story—equal parts amusing and alarming—also points to the complete lack of oversight of our stock markets—which is, after all, where our life savings lie.

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Feb 2022/
Monday
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Time of Love

On this Valentine’s Day, Sandip Roy brings us the gloriously tumultuous, subversive and many times tragic ‘love history’ of India. It’s a wonderful reminder of the messy complexity of our nation and its people.

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Feb 2022/
Saturday
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Food Facts and Fiction

The wildly popular show ‘Shark Tank India’ introduced us to an exciting array of startups—all promising to deliver delicious snacks, drinks and desserts that are good for us. But an investigation of their nutritional charts reveals the three staple ingredients of the great health food scam. When shopping at the grocery store, the buyer truly has to beware.

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Feb 2022/
Friday
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No Viewers Allowed

Malayalam channel Media One lost its High Court appeal challenging the union government’s decision to revoke its broadcast licence—which is the first decision of its kind. What makes it even more notable: No one knows why it was cancelled—except the court and the government—not even Media One.

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Feb 2022/
Thursday
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Entrance Limited

Tamil Nadu is spoiling for a big fight with the union government over the common entrance exam for medical and dental schools—aka the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET). Setting the politics aside, we look at why NEET has become such a lightning rod for the debate over caste and class privilege.

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Feb 2022/
Wednesday
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Veil Wars

Soon after a handful of colleges in Karnataka banned female students from wearing the veil, protests spread across the state—and turned violent yesterday. Everyone is now waiting for the High Court to step in and make the constitutional call. We look at the latest developments and the laws involved.

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Feb 2022/
Tuesday
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Founder(ing) At the Job

Fintech success BharatPe finds itself mired in a tabloid-sized mess—with allegations of fraud and abusive behaviour against its founder Ashneer Grover. Biz types have pored breathlessly over the details, but for the layperson, this is an eye-opening story of the seedy reality of superstar startups—so often obscured by media hype. In this case, a cutting-edge tech star has turned out to be an old-fashioned family ‘bijness’—with the attendant petty thievery and greed.

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Feb 2022/
Monday
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The Voice

India’s most famous and celebrated singer passed away at the ripe old age of 92. Tributes came pouring in from every corner of India and around the world. And there were eloquent profiles and sentimental playlists galore. We’ve pulled together some of the more interesting—and often lesser known—moments in her career and her life.

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Feb 2022/
Friday
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Island Fever

Most Indians associate the island nation with holidays of the rich and famous. But Maldives is a highly important strategic asset for India—and China. That’s why New Delhi is worried by a growing ‘India Out’ movement—and a proposed Maldivian law that will make such protests illegal.

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Feb 2022/
Thursday
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An Olympian Challenge

The Winter Games kick off tomorrow amid rising Covid cases and worries about government snooping. They will be a test of not just athletic endurance—but also Beijing’s determination to show the world that China always knows best.

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Feb 2022/
Wednesday
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Budgeting Pain

Contrary to pundit predictions, the government did not present an ‘election budget’. Instead, the allocations bet big on future growth but left those suffering the most in the lurch. Stock markets are happy, the middle class is disappointed, farmers are furious and crypto enthusiasts are experiencing a lot of mixed feelings.

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Feb 2022/
Tuesday
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Survey Says…

Each year, the government rolls out the Economic Survey one day before it unveils the union budget. It is meant as a report card on the year that has gone by—and offers analysis of key opportunities and challenges.

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