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Wednesday August 19 2020

Quack, Quack, Quack!

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Sanity Break #1

with wands guns (?!). It’s so wrong and yet… We were both horrified and highly amused, all at the same time.

Sanity Break #1

Headlines that matter

TIKTOK US HAS A NEW SUITOR Oracle has joined Microsoft and Twitter as of the app’s US operations. As pundits note, it's a bit of an odd decision since Oracle is a B2B company that sells database software—not exactly a great match for a platform for cheesy videos. OTOH, unlike Twitter, Oracle definitely has the cash to go shopping. Meanwhile, joined TikTok rival Triller, and already has 3000 followers. Now that will bring the kids flocking in.   Speaking of Trump: Rihanna of someone (who may or may not be her) painting ‘F**K Trump’ on a car. She’s since been dubbed .   INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL OPENS UP India is with 13 countries—including Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore—to open bilateral air corridors. Such ‘bubbles’ are already in place with the US, the UK, France, Germany, the UAE, Qatar and the Maldives. Also planning to go long haul: Vistara which three Delhi-London flights a week starting August 28—as part of the UK deal.   Temporarily banned: from Hong Kong: Air India’s repatriation flights which have been for two weeks for “carrying too many passengers infected with Covid19.” According to local media reports, the ban came into place after 11 passengers from Delhi tested positive.    > “The fact 11 passengers tested positive on the same flight shows the lab tests back in India are not very reliable…The airline > has to do deep cleaning (on its planes) and make sure it won’t happen again on future flights before they can be resumed.”   IPL GETS A TITLE SPONSOR Nope, it isn’t Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali but the fantasy gaming startup Dream11—which bagged the rights to the upcoming tournament for Rs 2.22 billion. It bid higher than its rivals Byju's (Rs 2.01 billion) and Unacademy (Rs 1.7 billion). Point to note: Dream11’s winning bid is 50% of what Vivo shelled out for the same honour. ()    THE INDIAN PANDEMIC: A QUICK UPDATE * Amit Shah is after testing negative and being discharged from Medanta on August 14. The reason: He is still experiencing “fatigue and body ache”—which are common ‘long haul’ symptoms for many Covid patients in recovery. This time, however, he has checked into the sarkaari hospital, AIIMS. * took a closer look at India’s death rate, and uncovered anomalies and likely undercounting. Also, we may not be doing as well as we think: "In China, Covid-19 deaths per million population is 3. In India it is 34. Within South Asia, the only country doing worse than India is Afghanistan and going by the trends, India will overtake Afghanistan." * A new warns that 6.1 million young Indians may lose their jobs if India takes six months—i.e. until the end of September—to flatten the curve. * 24% of 200,000-plus people tested at a leading lab across the country . This indicates they were recently exposed to the virus and recovered (See more in our explainer ). These are not random samples but self-selected—in that those who go to a lab are more likely to test positive. * Government-controlled companies (PSUs) donated billion from their Corporate Social Responsibility budget to the PM-CARES fund for Covid relief. But no one knows where this largesse will be spent thanks to the Supreme Court which has given the government in operating the trust. One reason: it isn’t funded by public funds.   SCHOOL OPENINGS ARE NOT GOING WELL A number of states in the US that eagerly opened their classrooms have been forced to shut down. And the same trend is visible in other parts of the world. One reason: You cannot reopen schools when the number of cases is still high. Related reason: young people are superspreaders. explains. Also, the WHO just : “The epidemic is changing. People in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving the spread.”   In more amusing news: Johns Hopkins University—which is going wholly online—will ask students to recreate campus life via Minecraft:    > “The plan is for Johns Hopkins to provide students with measurements to create an accurate replica of campus in the game, which > students can access through the university’s internal platform.”   Students are not impressed. has more.   CLUELESS IS GETTING A REBOOT Everyone’s favourite Jane Austen-inspired flick is as a TV series (on Peacock, NBC's streaming service not a streaming platform, sadly). This one will not focus on the lead character—ditzy Valley Girl Cher—but her BFF Dionne. PR material for the show describes it as so:   > “A baby pink and bisexual blue-tinted, tiny sun-glasses wearing, oat milk latte and Adderall-fueled look at what happens when > queen bee Cher disappears and her lifelong No. 2 Dionne steps into Cher's vacant Air Jordans. How does Dionne deal with the > pressures of being the new most popular girl in school, while also unraveling the mystery of what happened to her best friend."    In less happy news: Netflix has comedian Hasan Minhaj’s show “Patriot Act’.  In not-related entertainment news: Rhea Chakraborty has released her first statement on the charges against her. It contains many unsavoury details which we leave you to discover. has her entire statement.

Quack, Quack, Quack!

Sanity Break #2

This rendition of ‘Dil Diyan Gallan’ by the Tetseo Sisters totally made our day. Wanna know more about the brilliantly talented Tetseo Sisters from Nagaland? Here .

Sanity Break #2

Smart & Curious

IF YOU WATCH JUST ONE THING TODAY… Make it this animated film voiced by Ali Fazal and written, animated and directed by Ashutosh Pathak. It makes for highly uncomfortable viewing for very comfortable people like us. But that’s exactly why we all must watch it. This is the most valuable use of 3.5 minutes of your time. And yup, that’s all we have for you today. (Big h/t to our founding member Ananya Rane for passing this along)  

Smart & Curious

Feel Good Place

TWO DOGS BEHAVING (VERY) BADLY : : behaving very nicely (for a change)

Feel good place

Reading Habit

READING HABIT NOT-SO-BAD POETRY DAY On the occasion of Bad Poetry Day, we wondered: what is good poetry? Is a good poem written in a particular rhyme scheme, in iambic pentameter, in clear verses, or one that throws these rules out the metaphorical window? Is a good poem easily understood by everyone, or one with layers hidden between the lines? Or perhaps, a good poem simply one that evokes an emotion. As the meaning of poetry evolves (yes, we’re looking at the Insta-poetry club), here are some of our favourite poetry collections to remind you that good poetry still exists.   by Vikram Seth: While Vikram Seth’s novel-length poem, ‘The Golden Gate’, might be more famous, his quirky and fun collection of poetry, ‘Beastly Tales From Here And There’, is a must-read whether you love poetry or not. Inspired by animal fables from across the world, Seth gives his poetic take on popular stories such as ‘The Monkey’s Heart’ and ‘The Hare And The Tortoise’. Reading this collection not only made me laugh while marvelling at the author’s genius but also helped me rediscover my fondness for poetry. —Nirbhay Kanoria, TCR Co-Founder   by Allen Ginsberg: While this collection includes excellent examples of Allen Ginsberg’s work, I return to it for ‘Howl’. Considered to be one of the founding pillars of the Beat Generation, this three-part poem reads as an outpouring of emotion with long lines and vivid imagery that shocks you and takes you through the streets of a city filled with sex, drugs and turmoil. And yet, at the same time, the poem is inspiring in its ability to break cultural barriers, challenge existing norms and showcase the hope and sensitivity prevalent within a young, alternative America. —Oishani Mitra, TCR Editor   by Charles Bukowski: This poetry collection is essential Bukowksi—it has the author’s signature dry wit and emotional confessions. Here, he offers a reflection on life and the awareness of death, and makes you feel alive while making you aware of your mortality at the same time. —Prasanna Sawant, TCR Writer   BOOKS RELEASING THIS WEEK * : Rachel, who moved to Mumbai with her husband Dhruv, struggles to make an unknown city her home. With her mother-in-law coming to stay with them permanently, and Dhruv going out of the city, do these two women, who are so different from each other, manage to come closer? Read this heartfelt story by Leah Franqui to find out. (August 20, 2020) * : When author and psychiatrist Maria Konnikova approached poker champion Erik Seidel to learn about poker, little did she know that she would end up receiving lessons for a successful life. If you’re looking to learn about the best way to read your opponents and yourself and how to take good decisions (while learning a little poker along the way), then this book is perfect for you. (August 20, 2020). * : Agnes Bain wants to live a life of luxury. Unfortunately, her economic condition and a philandering husband have left her and her children poor. To cope, she takes to drinking. Only her son Shuggie stays behind while her children leave. But Shuggie has problems of his own. Find out how Shuggie tries to balance life and responsibility in Douglas Stuart’s book that has been longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020. (August 21, 2020) * : Do you want to know what drug withdrawal has in common with a broken heart, how deaf people can listen with their skin or how we could control robots with our thoughts one day? Then your search ends right here. David Eagleman’s study of brain chemistry is guaranteed to send your brain for a spin. (August 25, 2020) * : In this hard-hitting book, Wall Street journalists Bob Davis and Lingling Wei compile information through interviews with officials from both the USA and China to understand how the trade relations between the two countries went downhill, and its consequences. (August 25, 2020) We’re also looking forward to getting our hands on , and . Brought to you by IF YOU WATCH JUST ONE THING TODAY… Make it this animated film voiced by Ali Fazal and written, animated and directed by Ashutosh Pathak. It makes for highly uncomfortable viewing for very comfortable people like us. But that’s exactly why we all must watch it. This is the most valuable use of 3.5 minutes of your time. And yup, that’s all we have for you today. (Big h/t to our founding member Ananya Rane for passing this along)   TWO DOGS BEHAVING (VERY) BADLY : : behaving very nicely (for a change)

Reading Habit

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