SANITY BREAK This of famous Hollywood actors—from Al Pacino to Matthew McConaughey—calling for the reopening of movie theatres is exactly what you need to beat those Monday morning blues.
HEADLINES THAT MATTER FIRST, THE NUMBERS * Total number of cases: 425,282. Total number of deaths: 13,699. We added 15,413 new cases on Sunday. Most notable spikes: Maharashtra is up by 3,870, while Delhi added 3,000. Nope, it isn’t getting any better. * We have added 100,000 cases in . * About that death toll: notes that a higher percentage of infected women than men are dying in India: 3.3% compared to 2.9%. This is contrary to trends elsewhere in the world. * analysis shows that while their numbers are not as high as the big metros, Tier 2 and 3 cities now have the fastest growth rate. For example: Gurgaon (5.9%), Nashik and Palghar in Maharashtra (4.7%), and Chengalpattu (3.4%). * Point to note: The data shared with us is . Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, do not release any daily numbers—and Delhi, Telangana, Jharkhand and Assam offer the bare minimum, as does the Union government. There is very little information about specific districts, age, gender etc. Karnataka has now lists of its containment zones. * Silver lining: Dharavi’s growth rate from 12% in April to 1.02% in June. * Silver lining for folks in Kolkata: both Amazon and BigBasket are now poised to start in Bengal. TRUMP BOMBS IN TULSA The US President decided to hold a political mega-rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday—despite fierce objections from local officials worried about the state’s spiking Covid numbers. His campaign boasted that it had received more than a million ticket requests. The number who showed up: 6,200. for this shockingly low turnout: Tik Tok and KPop fans who registered for the free tickets and then never showed. Donald Trump: the first US President to be ghosted by kids! Related read: reports on the cult of Trump. THE ARCTIC IS HEATING UP Temperatures in Siberia reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius)—which is 32 degrees above normal! As one weather expert noted: > “Likely the hottest temperature ever recorded in the Arctic happened today-100.4 F- What's happening in Siberia this year is > nothing short of remarkable. The kind of weather we expect by 2100, 80 years early. For perspective Miami has only reached 100 > degrees once on record.” The average temperature in Siberia has been 10 degrees above normal since December. () PETROL PRICES ARE SOARING The rate for diesel is at a record high, while petrol has hit a two-year peak. And prices have been climbing steadily for over two weeks—adding Rs 8.88 per litre in Delhi. And this despite crude oil prices staying low due to pandemic worries. The reason for the spiral: Of the Rs 79.23 per litre charged in Delhi, central excise duty is Rs 32.98 and VAT is Rs 17.71. And it's no different for diesel—Rs 49.43 out of the Rs 78.27 is just taxes. () JOHNSON & JOHNSON SAYS NO TO SKIN WHITENING The company will stop selling its Clean & Clear Fairness products in India, and its Neutrogena Fine Fairness line in other parts of Asia and the Middle East. The accompanying statement : > “Conversations over the past few weeks highlighted that some product names or claims on our dark spot reducer products represent > fairness or white as better than your own unique skin tone… This was never our intention—healthy skin is beautiful skin.” Waiting for other companies to follow J&J’s cue? Ok, just don’t hold your breath. Unilever bravely announced a series of race-related initiatives on Instagram—but none of them included shutting down Fair & Lovely. has more on that story. IN RELATED ‘BLM EFFECT’ NEWS… A movement to rename Yale University is going viral. The reason: the Ivy League school is named after Elihu Yale, who was a slave owner and trader. () STILL WAITING: LIVERPOOL FANS * The team that is almost guaranteed to win the Premier League 0-0 on its first outing—extending the excruciating wait of its fans. * sketches out the upcoming matches to estimate just how quickly Liverpool can seal the deal. * Having the worst weekend: Arsenal fans. Their team has lost two games in a row in a performance that critics are calling a “restart from hell.” * takes a closer look at Arsenal’s “deep-lying issues.” has more on its bad transfer picks. ALSO POISED FOR A SHAKY COMEBACK: TENNIS Tennis tournaments are slated to start on schedule in August—in Italy, then Washington, and then the US Open in New York. But it will be less than a glorious return. For starters: prize money has plummeted, and by as much as 40% for non-major tournaments. And we are unlikely to see dazzling performances from rusty players—who have experienced the longest layoff from the courts. Also: no fans. The loss of ticket sales, hospitality suites etc. will cut U.S. Open’s net income by roughly 80%—bringing it down to $40 million. has more on why tennis is poised for an uncertain start.
SANITY BREAK If you prefer black humour—literally and figuratively—check out encounter between a white believer and the 'real' Jesus! It’s very funny and totally on point :)
SMART & CURIOUS A LIST OF CURIOUS FACTS * For all the talk of buzzing, queen bees actually to communicate with worker bees. * Speaking of bees, Japanese scientists have found a way to pollinate flowers . * are now big on Tik Tok—including “actual middle-class” or lower-middle-class homeowners showing off the “ugliness or nonsensicality of their living space.” * According to a recent research paper, there are at least 36 in our galaxy. LIFE-WITH-COVID MAY LOOK LIKE THIS in premium economy. It’s very train berth meets plane seat. The potential downside: airlines will totally try and squeeze in that middle ‘berth’ just to make us miserable. . Travel John and Pee Buddy bags allow women to pee while standing—and have chemicals that turn urine into an odorless solid that can later be thrown in trash cans. These are already on sale in the United States. , anybody? This is an outdoor ad for a Russian yoga studio. Perfect for our now endless rinse-and-repeat routines. Click the link for more. LIST OF GOOD READS * Laurie Penny in explores just how complex ‘consent’ can be—more so when women are taught not to openly express their sexual desire. This is a thoughtful and fresh take that’s worth your time. * explains why medical human trials rely mostly on male patients. It’s not just sexism that hinders the inclusion of more women. * We learned a lot from Sonam Savlani’s on how to communicate as a brand on social media—especially during a pandemic. * If you can’t write anything interesting about your privilege, don’t write anything. Sadly, Shruti Advani did not take that advice. The result: this very silly piece (read the worst bits in since FT is paywalled). The result of her silliness: This delightful send-up of Advani in the . * has a nice profile of English County cricket’s first South Asian coach—Vikram Solanki who has the top job at Surrey. * Gagan Biyani’s offers a candid story about failure—and the time he was fired as co-founder from Udemy. * Two excellent reads on Chinese khana in India. on eating the Kolkata iteration, brought to the city by its authentically Chinese residents. And on the merrily inauthentic Chinjabi that dominates restaurants in the north. * Tim Wu in the offers an illuminating take on the ‘tyranny of convenience’—and how “more efficient and easier ways of doing personal tasks” (like shopping on Amazon) has come to shape entire economies and our lives.
LIFE ADVISORY PANDEMIC GYAAN SPECIAL The drug Favipiravir: is a prescription-only drug approved for patients with mild to moderate symptoms. It is now being released on the Indian market as Fabi-flu. A strip of 34 tablets costs Rs 3,500. And typical dosage: 18 tabs on Day 1, followed by 8 tabs daily for upto 14 days. () Dreaded public toilets: pose multiple but moderate risks. Recent research warned against ‘toilet plumes’ created when we flush the toilet—which fling hordes of virus-laden particles into the air. Then there are taps, towel dispensers and—above all—crowding caused by long lines in a small space. The last being routine in India. The good news: a shared toilet is still less riskier than, say, going to a house party. () Breathing techniques: The best practice is to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. The reason: your nose produces nitric oxide that helps kill germs of all kinds. A Nobel-prize winner explains how. () Desperately looking for plasma? helps match patients with potential blood plasma donors. Now, not all experts are convinced of the value of plasma therapy in treating acute cases. But it is commonly prescribed by doctors when a patient turns critical—sending the patient’s family on a desperate quest. The reassuring bit about Dhoondh: it is an initiative of two founders who just want to help, having experienced the nightmare of Covid-19 first-hand. ()
THE FEEL GOOD PLACE announced her graduation from Oxford University—eight years after she was shot in the head for attending school—with this tweet: “Hard to express my joy and gratitude right now as I completed my Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree at Oxford. I don’t know what’s ahead. For now, it will be Netflix, reading and sleep.” We are so very happy for her! is a ‘white voice’-activated device. 😂 evidence below. = this genius Twitter thread that compiles the many cheesy posters that have played walk-on roles in our favourite movie scenes. , a belated happy Father’s Day—though this may well be a mommy otter for all we know. Hey, it’s the love that counts!
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