Tharoor vs Gehlot for the Congress gaddi?
Elections for the post of party president will be held on October 17—the first in over two decades. And there will be no Gandhi in sight. While it isn’t official, one of the contestants may be Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor—who received the greenlight from Sonia Gandhi yesterday:
“Sources said Tharoor… told Sonia he wanted to contest for the top post. Sonia asked him to go ahead as everybody was free to contest and she had no role in the electoral process. Sources said she also asserted that there would be no candidate from her side in the election.”
He may face current Rajasthan Chief Minister and Gandhi loyalist Ashok Gehlot. But like many state party units, he too has been dutifully calling on Rahul Gandhi to take the lead instead. Indian Express has more insider goss on the election—while The Telegraph dismisses any chance of Tharoor triumphing over the Gandhi machine.
Japan faces a superstorm
Nine million people have been told to evacuate their homes as the country is battered by one of the worst typhoons in its history. Super typhoon Nanmadol has brought winds of up to 234 km/hour, and some areas forecast to receive 400mm (16 inches) of rain in 24 hours. BBC News has more details.
Hindu-Muslim violence in Leicester
Over the weekend, there was chaos and anger as Hindu and Muslim groups clashed in the UK city. Fifteen people have been arrested—and it has now become an international incident. Yesterday, the High Commission of India condemned “the violence perpetrated against the Indian Community in Leicester and vandalisation of premises and symbols of the Hindu religion.” The reporting is thin—likely because of the Queen’s funeral—here’s what we’ve been able to piece together:
The context: Tensions first began after the India-Pakistan cricket match on August 28. In the weeks that followed, a number of fake social media posts went viral. All this escalated on Saturday—when fake news of attacks on temples and mosques sparked protests.
Another video making the rounds shows a crowd chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ on one of the streets:
The city’s mayor claims there was “a concerted effort to bring people from as far away as Birmingham to raise tensions in ‘an otherwise very peaceful city’.” But there is no in-depth analysis of what is happening on the ground. We’re hoping the reporting will get better once everyone has stopped obsessing over the Queen. (The Guardian)
Monkeypox comes to China
The country reported its first case in a person who was in Covid quarantine after arriving from overseas. It is not clear if they are a foreign or Chinese national. But that didn’t stop the chief national epidemiologist from warning citizens to stop touching outsiders: “Do not have skin-to-skin contact with foreigners." Notably, the warning drew considerable criticism on social media for being xenophobic. It may also be a sign of growing fatigue with a government that imposes neverending rules to combat disease—be it Covid or monkeypox. (CNN)
Four studies of note
Employment discrimination: A new research from the global nonprofit Oxfam reveals damning evidence of employment discrimination in India: “They found that every month on average, men earned Rs 4,000 more than women, non-Muslims earned Rs 7,000 more than Muslims and those at the bottom of the caste system and tribespeople made Rs 5,000 less compared to others.” This adds to other evidence of the vast gender gap in the job market—which is actually widening in recent decades. In 2020-21, women made up only 25.1% of the labour force—a huge decline from 42.7% in 2004-05. Also this: during the early months of the pandemic, Muslims experienced the sharpest increase in unemployment—which jumped by 17%. (BBC News)
Indian philanthropy: A first-of-its-kind survey by Ashoka University looked at patterns in how Indians donate their money. We donated Rs 23.7 billion (23,700 crore) in cash between October 2020 and September 2021—of which 70% went to religious organisations. Next up: beggars at 12%—followed by family and friends (9%). Only 5% gave money to non-religious organisations. And at the height of the pandemic, only 15% of that meagre percentage went toward Covid-related areas. (Indian Express)
ADHD risk: New research out of Sweden shows that people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are more likely to develop heart disease. Specifically: “38% of [37,000 participants] with ADHD had at least one diagnosis of cardiovascular disease compared with 24% of those without ADHD." Point to note: this is an observational study—based on observing a link over time as opposed to establishing a causal relationship. The study is available over at Science Daily. (Jerusalem Post)
Diabetes & tea: A systematic review of current research—involving more than 1 million adults from eight countries—found that drinking at least four cups of either black, green or oolong tea a day lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 17%. (Neuroscience News)
Russian superstar opposes war
Alla Pugacheva is a pop legend in her country—where few leading public figures have been willing to take on President Vladimir Putin. So it’s a big deal that she finally spoke out in strong terms against the invasion of Ukraine. In an Instagram post, she declared that Russian soldiers are "dying for illusory aims that make our country a pariah." FYI: her husband, comedian Maxim Galkin, has been listed as a “foreign agent” for criticising the war. So this isn’t exactly a risk-free move. (CNN)
Three things to see
One: We all know netas love the camera, but West Bengal Governor La Ganesan Iyer took it a bit too far. He pushed Sunil Chhetri aside—right as the footballer was collecting the prestigious Duran Cup award—and possessively clutched the trophy like it was his own! (NDTV)
Two: Is there anything a Meta-owned company can’t do? WhatsApp announced that it will soon release its first original short film titled ‘Naija Odyssey’—starring NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo playing himself. Yeah, this is more of a PR move since Antetokounmpo recently signed an endorsement deal with the company—and he was recently named All-Star MVP. (TechCrunch)
Three: Aww, look it’s Farhan Akhtar conducting his own private concert with his two pooches, Jim and Ty. Yeah, this one probably belongs in The Feel Good Place—but we like to keep you guessing:)