If you are of a certain age, you will be delighted with this Meesha Shafi remix of Nazia Hassan’s ‘Boom Boom’. If you are not, welcome to the fan club… Also: Since the video is age-restricted (for inexplicable reasons), you will have to head over to to view it.
MYANMAR UPRISING: AN UPDATE The death toll has risen —and includes nearly 50 children, but the military only admits to 248. And the military has started —including a beauty blogger and an actor. It has also started publishing ‘wanted’ lists of dissenting celebrities in the media. As of now, 2,750 have been detained in connection with the protests. The latest of which is the ''—where people place flowers inside shoes to honour those killed. In more encouraging news: The Biden White House appears to be reversing Donald Trump’s lopsided Middle East policy (He was openly pro-Israel, or more specifically, pro Benjamin Netanyahu). The new government announced $235 million in aid to Palestinians. has more. RAKESHWAR SINGH MANHAS RELEASED! The jawan who was abducted after the ambush that killed 22 CRPF soldiers has been released. Manhas was set free after the government between the Maoists and “a team of two eminent people, including a person from the tribal community.” His family, including his young five-year-old daughter who , is delighted. has more details. taken after his release: THE GREAT PANDEMIC: A QUICK UPDATE First, the numbers: We are still setting new records for daily new cases, which crossed yesterday. Maharashtra reported 56,286 infections (43% of the cases), followed by Chhattisgarh (10,652) and Uttar Pradesh (8,474). We are now marginally behind Brazil—which is #2 in the world—in terms of total Covid cases. Ten states—Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Kerala and Punjab—are witnessing a steep rise. They also account for of the new number of deaths. More alarming: Our positivity rate—the number of tests that turn up positive— from 2.19% to 8.4% in the past seven days. The vaccine shortage: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope the vaccination drive has come to a halt in various districts—and were shut down in Mumbai. He claimed that the state had only received 7.5 lakh doses—which the government upped to 17 lakhs. But Tope insists—given its population size—the state needs at least 40 lakhs a week. But at a meeting with Chief Ministers, the PM that no one state will be given priority in doling out the vaccines—which runs contrary to all expert advice on curbing the second wave. OTOH, the government has cleared all workplaces that employ at least 100 eligible employees to conduct vaccination drives. has the guidelines. Post-vaccine infections: you should not be surprised if you become infected after one or even both doses of the vaccine—which, experts say, is designed to prevent severe disease and deaths. () Oxford vaccine woes: Australia and the Philippines of AstraZeneca’s vaccine for younger people, while the African Union dropped its plans to buy the shot. Related good read: Bloomberg News () on how the company's unintentional mistakes changed its global status from the “Favoured child” to the “Problem child.” And here’s why that’s no good: > "If people keep beating this vaccine up, nobody's going to have the confidence to use the darn thing, and then we've got a > massive problem-because it's deployable, it's cheap, you can use it globally, and it's clearly highly effective." Covid care issues: Rajasthan has filed a written complaint with the Union government, pointing to the disastrous performance of PM-Cares ventilators. The problem: “The ventilators run for 1-2 hours and then they stop working”—which is potentially lethal in an ICU. The bigger problem: 60% of the state’s ventilators were received under this scheme. Good related read: on glaring gaps in India’s Covid protocol—which includes treatments that don’t work, like plasma therapy and Hydroxychloroquine. () AMAZON’S SCORCHING INDIA GROWTH The company released its India numbers for the past 10 years and they’re impressive: $3 billion in exports of Indian-made goods, and one million jobs created. Of these, it chalked up $1 billion in exported goods, and created 300,000 jobs since January 2020. Next on Jeff Bezos’ India to-do list: “to digitally enable 10 million businesses, handle e-commerce exports worth $10 billion and create 1 million additional jobs in India in the five years to 2025.” Is he trying to say something to our Reliance-loving government? lol () A NEW BABRI MASJID CONTROVERSY? A Varanasi court has ordered the Archaeological Survey of India to investigate the Gyanvapi mosque which sits adjacent to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The ASI has been tasked to “trace as to whether any Hindu temple ever existed before the mosque in question was built or superimposed or added upon at the disputed site.” This is in response to a petition to return the land upon which the mosque sits to the temple. The reason: Mughal emperor Aurangzeb allegedly pulled down parts of the old Kashi Vishwanath Temple to build it. The Waqf board plans to challenge the ruling—which may in fact contravene the Supreme Court’s Ayodhya ruling that effectively shut the door on any more such Babri Masjid-style cases. () BANGLADESH’S BIG METHANE PROBLEM Analysis of satellite data shows that the 12 highest methane emission rates detected this year were over Bangladesh. The satellite company said: “It has the strongest sustained emissions we've seen to date where we can’t clearly identify the source.” These mysterious “plumes” are especially worrying since Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change—with a higher propensity for ‘extreme weather events’ and rising sea levels. The government blames the situation on paddy fields: “When farmers flood their fields, bacteria in the waterlogged soil can produce large quantities of the gas.” Also: landfill gas, which is released when trash breaks down. () TIGER WOODS WAS SPEEDING The golfing legend was involved in a catastrophic car crash that left him severely injured. The latest police report says that he was driving as fast as 87 miles (140 km) per hour—which was double the speed limit for that road. The conclusion: “Driving at an unsafe speed for the road conditions and the inability to negotiate the curve of the roadway caused the Feb. 23 crash.” In other words, he was hurtling down a hill at high speed. The report also ruled out intoxication or any such contributing factor. () A TELLING MOMENT OF SEXISM On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with two of European Union’s presidents—Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen. Then the scandal of the ‘two seats’ occurred—which left von der Leyen perched awkwardly and at a distance on a sofa. After a huge social media backlash, Michel : “I deeply regret the image given and the impression of a kind of disdain or contempt for the president of the European Commission and women in general.” See below: In more inspiring gender-related news: A Polish teenager has designed a Facebook page that pretends to be an online beauty store—but is actually manned by a team ready to help rescue victims of domestic violence. How it works: “If someone places an order and provides their address, that's a signal for us that a police response is required right then and there.” () GOVERNMENT SOLD YOUR CAR DATA According to a new , the government sold the entire database of Indian vehicle registrations to a private company called Fast Lane Automotive Private Limited (FLA). The going price for the copy: Rs 1 crore per year to access it as and when FLA needs. Also this: State governments—which share vehicle registration data with the Centre—were not consulted, or given any of the revenue. This when transport is a state subject. INDIA SOARS IN BIRD COUNT The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is a four day global bird-spotting event to track bird populations and migration patterns. India came in #2 in species count—a first for us—with 965 species reported, including 28 new ones. The most commonly spotted bird in India are the Myna, followed by the Red-vented Bulbul—which has dethroned the House Crow. has more on this delightful story. PESKY PARTICLE DEFIES THE RULES A muon is the “heavier sibling” of the electron—and was discovered back in the 1930s. Also this: > “Like electrons, muons have a negative electric charge and a quantum property called spin, which causes the particles to act > like tiny, wobbling tops when placed in a magnetic field. The stronger the magnetic field, the faster a muon wobbles.” Now, the ‘Standard Model’ of physics is the best explanation humans have come up with that predicts with great precision how particles behave—including the frequency of the muon’s wobbling. But a landmark experiment found that the damn muon wobbles much faster than the Standard Model dictates. It doesn’t sound like much, but this is one of the biggest discoveries in physics. The reason: It is “the biggest clue in decades that physical particles or properties exist beyond the Standard Model.” And that’s Nobel-worthy territory. () TWO GROUNDBREAKING SURGERIES One: A Japanese Covid patient has become the world’s first living donor lung transplant recipient. Surgeons transplanted part of healthy lungs from her husband and son to replace her lungs—which hardened and shrank after she developed pneumonia when infected with Covid. () Two: Doctors performed the world’s first windpipe transplant surgery on a woman in New York City. Her trachea had become badly damaged after she was intubated during a severe asthma attack. Now, replacing a windpipe may seem simple, but it is actually the hardest to replace: > “For one thing, the inside of the trachea is lined with tiny hairlike filaments called cilia that beat synchronously and help > sweep particles out of the lungs. But the biggest challenge in a transplant is getting blood to the trachea. For decades, > doctors thought that blood supply was supported by a network of tiny vessels, which would be impossible to reconnect > surgically.” has more on this miraculous operation.
Gulnara Samoilova’s and new book ‘Women Street Photographers’ highlights women street photographers—both amateur and professional—from 31 countries. We fell in love with this one titled ‘Sea Days.’ You can browse the entire collection over at its . PS: We love this argument as to why the descriptor of ‘women’ is necessary for street photography: “[W]ith street photographers this acknowledgment feels not only necessary but celebratory; these images were not created in the safety of a studio, but on city streets and village backroads around the world, where in the past it has not always been possible for women to take photographs—and take up space.” ❤️
SO YOU WANNA WATCH SOMETHING… : Based loosely on the dealings, stock market scam and crimes of Harshad Mehta, this Abhishek Bachchan-starrer is the highly anticipated financial crime thriller after Scam 1992. The trailer looks awesome, but isn’t impressed with the movie. Streaming now on Disney+Hotstar VIP. : The powerful head of a wealthy Kottayam-based family is felled by a stroke. Think ‘Succession’ meets Macbeth—which is the inspiration for this movie. Joji (Fahadh Faasil) is an engineering drop-out with wayward ways, the dark horse in more ways than one. says “the slow burn of tension and dread is skillfully built up,”while calls it a “sharp tale of amorality and intrigue.” Available on Amazon Prime! This is a four-part documentary about a 1988 heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. This one is about the biggest heist that shook the art world—which should also be a relief from the gruesome real-life crime docs we brace for. As says: “[S]hocking and unsettling to be sure, but after a flood of increasingly gruesome documentaries that seem to linger on crime scene photos to the point of exploitation (lookin’ at you, Night Stalker), the non-violent nature of this four-hour series is a relief.” It’s out on Netflix. : A legendary former mafia kingpin nicknamed “The Immortal Dragon” who vanishes and suddenly emerges as… a fully devoted househusband! Reversing gender roles, he does the house chores to support his working wife. We can’t find any decent reviews but we kinda love the premise. Available to watch on Netflix! A LIST OF GOOD READS * Scott Rudin is one of the most successful producers in Hollywood. He may also be the worst—the kind who breaks an Apple monitor on the heads of his assistants. has an exclusive investigation. * Do you have ‘nafas’, that ineffable quality that makes your cooking irresistible? helps you put your finger on this wonderful culinary talent that all of us recognize but can’t quite pinpoint. * Love the Oscar-nominated film ‘Promising Young Woman’? Well, here to set you right. * Could the future of scriptwriting be a collaboration between AI and human creativity? looks at the future of films. * It is easy to celebrate Work From Home as a panacea for the pandemic. But what is its economic fallout? Vivek Kaul in takes a clear-eyed look. * traced Adani’s journey to his current Port Tycoon status. * So how could Frasier afford his apartment? Devoted fans really want to know, and has you covered lol! * How do you remember a truly traumatic event and not be shattered by it? looks for answers. * We loved this in-depth account of the Keeladi excavation—one of southern India’s most important archeological digs—in by Sowmiya Ashok. * Santosh Desai in has a delightful riff on the Indian male’s obsession with facial hair—be it Narendra Modi or Virat Kohli.
The best response to the new rules on masks in cars. (h/t Founding member Shilpashree Jagannathan) Why donkeys get away with murder… : 28-day old rescued bear cub Boncuk has made his first friend at the Gaziantep Zoo. Say hello to the chimpanzee named Can. Awwww! ( the backstory and more adorable photos) A refrigerator can serve many purposes.
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