We love Citizen Queen’s A capella that captures how girl bands have evolved over decades. Just a bit of light-hearted fun to get you through hump day.
BIHAR ELECTIONS KICK OFF TODAY The first phase of the elections will across 16 districts. ICYMI: read on the election and the issues at stake. Also read: on why Biharis are angry and dissatisfied with their options. ANKHI DAS IS OUT In August, a Wall Street Journal investigation found that Facebook’s policy head had repeatedly intervened to protect BJP leaders who were flagged for hate speech (our explainer ). Das immediately became a subject of great outrage—but was loyally defended by the company and FB India CEO Ajit Mohan. Now, she is headed out the door to pursue her “personal interest in public service.” In her farewell note, Das also thanked Mark Zuckerberg for creating "something beautiful for the world." Ok, Ankhi. () MUSLIM COUNTRIES TARGET FRANCE Earlier this month, a Chechen teenager beheaded a school teacher in Paris for showing disrespectful cartoons of the Prophet in class (our explainer ). * The killing came in the midst of a fresh plan to crackdown on “Islamic separatism”—with the Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron calling it a key threat to the future of France and its democracy. * But now there has been a huge backlash among Muslim countries—which view these moves as Islamophobic. * French goods have already been pulled off the shelves in supermarkets in Qatar and Kuwait. Syrians have burned pictures of Macron while Libyans have torched French flags. * The latest to join the boycott: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who a "lynching campaign”—saying, "You are in a real sense fascists, you are in a real sense the links in the chain of Nazism.” * Macron, however, remains defiant, and the other European leaders are rallying to his support. A NEW STUDY ON ‘HERD IMMUNITY’ Researchers tracked antibodies—triggered by the Covid virus—in the British population after the first wave in March/April. The key finding: the percentage of those tested with antibodies fell from 6% in end-June to just 4.4% in September. What this may mean: immunity to Covid may not last—and attaining long term herd immunity may not be possible even with a vaccine (we will need booster shots). Also: 18-24 year-olds lost antibodies at the slowest rate, while the decline was the largest for those aged 75+. Asymptomatic cases lose antibodies faster than others, as well. Point to note: The study only tested for antibodies and not T cells—which also offer immunity. () In related Covid news: In Israel, its spy agency Mossad is taking the lead in vaccine procurement. has this odd story. A GRUESOME KILLING IN FARIDABAD A 21-year old woman was shot in broad daylight as two men tried to abduct her. The killing was caught on camera and has sparked great uproar—and allegations of ‘love jihad’. According to her sister: > "When the boy tried to kidnap our sister in 2018, police didn't do anything and instead asked us to reach a reconciliation. The > boy was asking her to convert and marry him. Our sister obviously didn't agree." The tragedy has triggered violence and protests. has more details. ROHIT SHARMA SAGA CONTINUES When the team for the Australian tour was announced on Monday, it did not include Sharma’s name—much to everyone’s shock. The reason offered: A hamstring injury. And yet Sharma was seen practising at the nets with the Mumbai Indians. Also: Mayank Agarwal—who also has a hamstring issue—has been picked for the squad. Now, Sunil Gavaskar has stirred the pot by greater “transparency”: > “We are talking about the Test matches, which are a month and a half way. What actually is the problem with him will help > everybody. And if he is practising in the nets for Mumbai Indians, then honestly I don't know what kind of injury it is… The > Indian cricket fan deserves to know, more than anything else." MEGA BUDGET FLICKS ARE COMING! Some of the South’s biggest directors are working on a slate of Rs 200 crore multilingual films that will be released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu and other languages—starring some of Bollywood’s biggest stars. Examples: * Baahubali director SS Rajamouli has Ajay Devgn and Alia Bhatt alongside Jr NTR and Ram Charan in his upcoming movie ‘RRR.’ * Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan will be seen with Prabhas in an unnamed film from Telugu production house, Vyjayanthi Movies. * Prabhas is also slated to star in ‘Adipurush’ with Saif Ali Khan. * The second movie in the ‘KGF’ franchise will feature Sanjay Dutt along with Kannada star Yash. has more details. In related news: Four Telugu directors—Krish Jagarlamudi, Shiva Nirvana, Nandini Reddy and Ajay Bhupathi—will co-direct a Netflix anthology of four short love stories. () A NEW KIND OF MEDIA COLLECTIVE Eleven online news organisations have come together to form an organisation to represent digital news media. It is called Digipub News India Foundation—and includes the likes of Scroll, The News Minute, Quint and News Laundry. () KAZAKHSTAN EMBRACES BORAT When the first Borat film became a blockbuster, the actual nation of Kazakhstan was very very unhappy—and even banned the film. Anybody would be a little peeved at being misrepresented as a nation of horse urine-drinkers. But this time around, the country’s tourism board has decided to embrace the sequel: > “In Covid times, when tourism spending is on hold, it was good to see the country mentioned in the media… Not in the nicest way, > but it’s good to be out there. We would love to work with Cohen, or maybe even have him film here.” The virus changes everything. ()
‘’ is a powerful one-minute film made by a 19-year old Kerala teenager that captures the shackles that bind every Indian woman—from cradle to grave. Read more about it . (h/t founding member Kruthika Ravi Kumar)
TWO INTRIGUING TRENDS One: The hottest pandemic pet is a… snail. And people are posting pictures of their slithery acquisitions all over Insta. magazine has the story. Two: The buzziest wellness book right now touts the virtues of a Dutch concept called ‘niksen’—the art of doing absolutely nothing! You can read about the book over at the (or this older piece on the concept in magazine). TWO INTRIGUING MASKS One: developed by a Japanese startup can act as your UN interpreter—and translate your speech into eight languages… if you speak Japanese, that is. Still, it’s pretty darn cool. Two: MIT engineers have designed a mask that doesn’t just repel the virus but actually kills it—using a heated copper mesh. The upside: they don’t need to be sanitised and can be used over and over again. has the story.
TWO MASK THINGS One: Say hello to our foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar who evidently has a in face coverings. Two: A ‘Beauty and the Beast’ themed for ye old Disney fans. TWO EXCELLENT FACE-OFFS One: Are you secretly dreaming of a down-and-dirty between Joe and the Don? Dreams do come true. Two: Did you know Thai banks have mascots? Did you know they all compete in an epic ? Well, now you do.
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