Commonwealth Games 2022: medals, medals everywhere!
India is now in fourth place with 55 medals—including 18 gold. The big wins (and losses) over the weekend include the following:
- Two Indians were on the podium after the men’s triple jump final—a historic first. Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Aboobacker won the gold and silver medals, respectively. Indian Express has a lovely profile of Paul—and his #1 fan, his grandmother.
- Indian boxers Amit Panghal, Nitu Ghanghas and Nikhat Zareen—touted as the next Mary Kom—came out on top, as well.
- We got our first mixed doubles gold in table tennis thanks to Sharath Kamal and Sreeja Akula.
- A silver can sometimes be just as sweet. Avinash Sable made history with a breathtaking run that secured him the #2 spot in the 3,000-metre steeplechase. It denied the dominant Kenyans a seventh-straight clean-sweep at the Games.
- PV Sindhu and Lakshya Sen made it to the finals of badminton singles—and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty will be competing in the doubles final.
- But the women’s cricket team had to settle for second place—after losing to Australia by 9 runs in the final.
- Indian wrestlers wrapped up their outing with a tally of 12 medals—including three gold. A big winner: Vinesh Phogat became the first Indian woman wrestler to win three consecutive CWG golds.
- FYI: the Indian women wrestlers came out to support Zareen during her big final bout. You can see Phogat hugging Zareen below.
In far less happy sports news: FIFA warned India’s top football authority—the All India Football Federation (AIFF)—that it was in danger of being banned. The reason is a little convoluted—and involves elections to replace top officials. They were delayed for various reasons—mostly because of problems with its constitution. As with almost everything else, the Supreme Court stepped in—and has ordered immediate elections.
But that order conflicts with the roadmap crafted by AIFF and FIFA—which notoriously dislikes government or judicial interference in national federations. Why this matters: for starters, the Under-17 Women’s World Cup may be in jeopardy. And a ban would be a disaster for Sunil Chhetri—who is just two goals behind Cristiano Ronaldo in the highest active international goalscorers’ list. This recent Guardian article has better details on the effects of a ban. (Reuters)
Blood and death in Gaza…again
Three days of conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) left 44 people dead—including 15 children. It marked the most serious conflict between the two sides since May 2021. The trigger: preemptive strikes by Israel targeting PIJ—which it blames for a recent wave of terrorist attacks. There is now a ceasefire mediated by Egypt in place—although Tel Aviv reserved the right to “respond strongly” if it is violated. (CNN)
Meanwhile, in Ukraine: Russian rockets targeted the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant—which is the largest in Europe. The Ukrainians claim: “Apparently, they aimed specifically at the containers with processed fuel, which are stored outside next to the site of shelling.” The UN called the attacks “unacceptable” and warned of the “very real risk of a nuclear disaster.” (BBC News)
Speaking of Ukraine: A mysterious explosion killed 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war being held in a prison controlled by separatists. The massacre is a potential war crime—and each side is blaming the other. Most evidence points to a deliberate detonation at the site. Kyiv claims that the aim was to cover up the torture and executions at the camp. The Guardian has more on the horrific conditions at the prison. (Washington Post)
A failed satellite launch
The maiden flight of a new rocket—a Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV)—failed to reach orbit when it malfunctioned in the final stage. As a result, we lost two satellites—which were placed in the wrong orbits around Earth—and they are “no longer usable.” The Telegraph has more details—or if you want the nerdy version, check out Space.com.
Meanwhile, closer to Earth: Akasa Air fared far better in its maiden flight from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. Starting Sunday, the airline will offer weekly flights on that route—adding more cities in months. So far it has announced five routes connecting Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Bengaluru and Chennai. Economic Times has that story.
And the vice president of India is…
Unsurprisingly, the BJP candidate, former Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, defeated the Opposition’s pick, Margaret Alva, by a resounding 346 votes. Alva pointed her finger at Trinamool—which decided to sit out the vote. Economic Times has a profile of Dhankar—who is a canny political player and a longtime nemesis of Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee.
In less happy news for the BJP: One of its leaders—Shrikant Tyagi—went viral over the weekend for all the wrong reasons. He was caught on camera abusing one of the women residents at his gated community in NOIDA. The cause for conflict: Tyagi has been encroaching on common areas. The BJP quickly declared it has no connection with Tyagi—although previous reporting, photos and his Twitter bio suggest otherwise. The police have since leapt into action—both to find Tyagi and protect the building’s residents who are now being mobbed by his goons (see it here). Indian Express has all the details. You can see the altercation that triggered it all below.
Also acting poorly: The Delhi police who roughed up Priyanka Gandhi. She was at a Congress party protest over inflation and unemployment. The use of this kind of force against a leading opposition leader is really quite remarkable. See the clip below. (NDTV)
Say hello to Dr Earbuds
Forget smartwatches that can track your health. Researchers have developed earbuds that can monitor the well-being of your inner ear and ear canal. The device—called EarHealth—has an upgraded microphone inside, designed to pick up sounds in the ear. It can detect three types of conditions: earwax blockage, ruptured ear drums, and common infections of the middle ear caused by colds or sore throats. How it works:
“The earbuds emit a quick chirp which reverberates through the ear canal, producing unique sounds and echoes which are captured by the microphone. The captured sounds are then processed by a custom app on a connected smartphone that relies on a deep learning algorithm to generate a profile of the user’s inner ear geometry.”
The good news: it works with both wired and wireless earbuds. (Gizmodo)
In less happier health-related news: A first-of-its-kind study in India revealed that one in 100 Indians carry a genetic variation that can lead to sudden cardiac death. What’s truly alarming:
“People who have these disorders may otherwise appear healthy but are susceptible to dangerous patterns of cardiac electrical activity that could cause palpitations, blackouts or even sudden death, typically triggered by physical exertion or emotional stress.”
Scientists are now trying to develop a test to screen for the genetic variation. The Telegraph has more details.
Anne Heche’s terrifying accident
The actor was involved in back-to-back collisions on Friday—when she was driving at high speed in Los Angeles. She first hit one apartment building—and then crashed into a house, setting it on fire. Heche was trapped inside the burning car for 65 minutes—and suffered serious burns. Mercifully, no one else was injured. Nobody knows exactly what happened—as the police have not been able to question her. But Heche has been open about her mental health struggles in the past. She is now in a stable condition—though sources say “she's lucky to be alive”—and will have a long road to recovery. (CNN)
Two things to see
Trigger warning: The clip below contains images of violence and suicide-related content.
One: Mandeep Kaur died by suicide after eight years of being tortured by her husband. Her sin: giving birth to two girls. The couple had moved to New York from a village in Uttar Pradesh. After her death, the videos of her final message went viral—as did clips of her husband’s monstrous behaviour (watch it here). Her family has filed a case in UP, while the New York police is investigating the case as a homicide. Watch the India Today video below. (Hindustan Times)
Two: We were very amused by the prank pulled by French physicist Etienne Klein—who tweeted out an ‘image’ of the star Proxima Centauri, allegedly taken by the James Webb telescope. It was actually a photo of a slice of Spanish chorizo. The intent was to make fun of all the fuss over recent photos taken by this super-powerful telescope. But many people were upset, and Klein was forced to apologise. Our takeaway: A bit of pork can be every bit as pretty as a giant star. It’s all a matter of perspective:) (Futurism)