Splainer

Tuesday, July 14 2020


Dive In

Unlike tens of millions of people around the world, we do not have to worry about losing our jobs, our homes, or our ability to support our families. We are not fighting on the frontlines of this emergency and we are much less likely to be its victims. So please. Tax us. Tax us. Tax us. It is the right choice. It is the only choice. Humanity is more important than our money.

That’s part of an open letter signed by 83 super-wealthy individuals—including director Richard Curtis and Disney heir Abigail Disney—who have urged their governments “to raise taxes on people like us. Immediately. Substantially. Permanently.” The reason: it is the only way to address the rising economic crisis and inequality triggered by the pandemic. No, none of the big boys—be it Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos—signed the letter. Point to note: Bezos’ wealth rose by $75 billion to a record $189 billion just this year. Illustration: Parth Savla

the big story

A golden scandal in Kerala

The TLDR: Earlier this month, 30 kgs of gold was seized at a Kerala airport. It has triggered a political firestorm that involves a mysteriously well-connected woman, the Chief Minister’s office and the UAE consulate. In other words, it has all the makings of a perfect masala movie. 

 

What happened here?

  • On July 5, customs officials seized a diplomatic bag that arrived in Thiruvananthapuram airport on a chartered flight. 
  • A man named Sarith Kumar showed up to claim the bag in the company of an official from the UAE consulate. 
  • When the bag was finally opened—with the permission of the consulate—it contained 30 kgs of gold hidden in bathroom fittings. The value: Rs 15 crore.
  • The consulate denied all knowledge of the illegal shipment. 
  • And it turned out that Nair was no longer an employee of the consulate, and had no authority to collect the diplomatic bag. 
  • Nair was arrested, and he proceeded to squeal.

 

Why does any of this matter?

 

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • Google’s $10 billion India plan
  • The global pandemic: A quick update
  • Student visa row heats up
  • A treasure from an Air India crash

 

Smart And Curious

  • Virtual reality porn is healthier than the 2-D kind
  • Why do we keep having the same dream over and over again?
  • How do outsiders survive in Bollywood?
  • How Dalits are ‘vetted’ for work in US tech companies

 

Life Advisory

  • Words we all in emails that make us sound weak and wishy washy
  • A free app that cancels all background noise during a video meeting
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