Researched by: Rachel John, Nirmal Bhansali, Aarthi Ramnath & Anannya Parekh
Asia Cup: India decimates Sri Lanka
Mohammed Siraj took an astonishing six wickets for 21 runs—devastating Sri Lanka’s batting line-up which could only manage a paltry 50 runs at the end of 15.2 overs. India wrapped up the victory in just 6.1 overs—to take home the cup. Watch Siraj’s incredible four-wicket run in a single over below. Indian Express has a good read on why India looks in great shape for the World Cup. ESPN has the match report.
China’s disappearing ministers
In June, Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang went missing from public view for weeks—and was later replaced by Wang Yi—without explanation. The defence minister Li Shangfu seems to be headed for a similar fate. Rumours are that he is under investigation on charges of corruption—which is a chronic problem in the Chinese military. Why this is notable, according foreign policy experts:
It’s kind of shocking that in three months China has disappeared both the foreign and defence ministers. These are two critical foreign interlocutors but China feels no obligation to inform the international community how or why [the ministers have gone]. It reinforces how inward China has turned.
Vox has more on why these purges matter to Xi.
Turkey threatens to exit EU
Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, President Recep Erdoğan implied that his nation may break with the European Union. He said: “The EU is making efforts to sever ties with Turkey. We will evaluate the situation, and if needed we will part ways with the EU.” Turkey applied to join the union in 1999, and accession talks began in 2005. But they have been frozen since 2018 because of what the European Parliament calls “democratic backsliding.”
Why this matters: Turkey has served as a communication bridge between the EU and Moscow—often helping broker deals. Losing that vital link will push the world one step closer to an open Cold War. Speaking of which: Poland has banned all cars with Russian registration plates. (Quartz)
A 100-hour siege in Anantnag
On September 13, three officers—from the Army and J&K police—were killed in the Anantnag district during a gunfight with suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants. They are now hiding in a heavily forested area—and are under siege by the Indian Army. The siege has now lasted over 100 hours—as the military continues to fire mortars and rockets, hoping to smoke them out. It is becoming one of the longest operations in Kashmir in recent years. The Hindu has more on the change in terrorist tactics in the Valley.
A new home for cheetahs?
As you know, the greatly hyped Cheetah Project at the Kuno National Park is falling apart. As of now, nine have died—including three cubs—due to a variety of reasons (See: our Big Story). And the remaining 15 are now being kept in enclosures. All of which raises many concerns for the next batch of African cheetahs, which will arrive at the end of the year. The new plan is to house them in the Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary—also in Madhya Pradesh.
Experts attached to the project remain upbeat: “With 14 of the 20 imported cheetahs alive, we’ve had a mortality of 30% which is within the defined range for short-term success.” And officials are already talking up a cheetah safari program. But its critics remain sceptical:
They are far from being free-ranging cheetahs and are still confined to the larger enclosure… "We will be compounding our errors by importing more African cheetahs. We need to locate and secure sufficient suitable habitat of about 5,000 sq.km. and ecologically restore them before importing more cheetahs," [wildlife conservationist Ravi] Chellam said.
Indian Express has more on the grand new plan.
A key link between Neanderthals and Covid
An Italian study shows that genes inherited from our Neanderthal ancestors are strongly linked to serious cases of Covid-19. They explain why some people were more likely to be hospitalised and even die. Looking at 10,000 cases in Bergamo—which suffered one of the highest tolls in Europe—they concluded:
Their study… identified several genes associated with the development of severe respiratory illness. Three of those genes belonged to a group of variations in DNA, or haplotype, inherited from Neanderthals. The Italian study found that people who carried the Neanderthal haplotype were twice as likely to develop severe pneumonia from a Covid infection than those who didn’t, and three times as likely to be hospitalised in intensive-care units and put on ventilators.
Point to note: The study doesn’t explain why other parts of Italy or Europe did not witness similarly high death tolls—or establish if people in Bergamo are more likely to have these genes. (Wall Street Journal)
Akasa targets job-hopping pilots
A mass exodus of pilots has forced the airlines to cut back its operations since August. They left even though the airline hiked salaries by up to 40% in June. Since the carrot hasn’t worked, Akasa is wielding the stick. It has sued 43 pilots for Rs 220 million (22 crore) for not serving their notice period. The company claims their actions forced “last-minute cancellations that stranded thousands of customers causing significant inconvenience to the travelling public." (Mint)
A big new scheme for artisans
The PM launched a Rs 130 billion (13,000 crore) program that will offer loans, training and marketing support to artisan communities. The Vishvakarma scheme will offer people involved in 18 specific trades loans up to Rs 3 lakh, at 5% interest. These range from carpenters to sculptors, cobblers, doll-and-toy makers and tailors. Although the aim is to help backward castes, some of their leaders are ambivalent:
These people largely migrate from the villages to the cities to escape the stigma attached to their caste-based occupations, and to seek better lives and better education for their children. The new scheme will push them back into their (traditional) occupations in the villages and deprive their children of the possibility of quality education. They can neither become entrepreneurs nor become part of mainstream education or administration.
The incurable white male-ness of Jann Wenner
Founder of Rolling Stone magazine Jann Wenner has been kicked out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame—which he co-founded and chaired until 2020. The reason: his comments in a New York Times piece—made while promoting his new book ‘The Masters’—which contains his interviews with rock legends. When asked why he had not included any people of colour or female musicians, Wenner said:
The people had to meet a couple criteria, but it was just kind of my personal interest and love of them. Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level… go have a deep conversation with Grace Slick or Janis Joplin. Please, be my guest. You know, Joni was not a philosopher of rock ’n’ roll. She didn’t, in my mind, meet that test. Not by her work, not by other interviews she did. The people I interviewed were the kind of philosophers of rock.
Jenner has now done a mea culpa: “I totally understand the inflammatory nature of badly chosen words and deeply apologize and accept the consequences.” (Variety)
Also shooting his mouth off: Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy—who has promised to “gut” the H-1B visa system—calling it a form of “indentured servitude.” He will get rid of the lottery system—where each country has a quota—and replace it with an undefined “meritocratic” process. Ofc, his parents entered the country as immigrants—presumably on a work visa. Also: Ramaswamy's pharma company has applied for such visas foreign workers at least 29 times. Our overachieving NRI has only 9% of the Republican vote—and is very unlikely to score a nomination. But many think he is parroting Trump’s more extreme lines in hopes of becoming his running mate. Read all about the raging Ramaswamy in this Big Story. (Politico)
Reliance bets on high-end luxury
Jio World Plaza is slated to be a top-end luxury mall with outlets of Gucci, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Dior et al. It is located in Mumbai within Reliance's $1 billion business and cultural hub in the business district. India is experiencing a boom in newly minted multimillionaires—looking to spend their money. The personal luxury market is slated to expand almost 12% a year in 2022-2026—to nearly $5 billion. Ofc, this is a drop in the bucket compared to China’s high-end market which will hit $107 billion by 2026. (Reuters)
Two things to see
One: Mumbai’s iconic double decker buses have been retired after 86 years of service. First introduced in 1937 in response to rising traffic, these old-fashioned beasts will make way for shiny, battery-run replacements. Here’s a beauty from 1957:
Support a unique & wonderful LGBTQ+ market
What’s this? Maya Bazaar is the biggest-of-its-kind in-person (in-real-life) marketplace for business owners, artists, and performers from the LGBTQIA+ community. The first Maya Bazaar was held in North Goa in 2021 with 40 stalls selling everything from original art, T-shirts, handmade soaps, pickles, organic herbs, local coffee, sex toys and jewellery. Throughout the day the team curates a range of performances like drag shows, music, beer pong, open mic performances, paired with delicious cocktails and yummy food! P.S. The event is child and pet friendly!
Here’s a sneak peek of the awesomeness:
Where’s this? The next event is slated for October 14 and 15 in Bangalore. But its founder—the queer feminist organisation Road to Utopia—could use your support to make this bazaar even more awesome.
How can I offer support? Of course, showing up and participating is a must! But you can also help entrepreneurs and artists in other ways. You can sponsor stalls, performances by different queer artists or become a brand sponsor.
Hmm, tell me more: Here are some cool examples of what you can support:
- Drag Shows, Stand-up Comedy, Beatboxing, Kathak, Rap, Belly dancing... You name it, and there is a queer performer with a queerer performance. The Maya Manch brings these unique gender-bending, hard-to-find star-acts to the public stage. Sponsor one or more of these bold, edgy, solo productions and add pride in your brand name! (Rs. 30,000/act)
- Or you can help spotlight one of the least known transgender communities from north Karnataka, the Jogappas—who sing of folklore and their intriguing history predominantly in Marathi and Kannada. (Rs 1,00,000)
- And you can encourage a queer entrepreneur by helping them set-up a stall at Maya Bazaar (Rs 25,000)
For more information, click here.
Ok, who do I talk to? Sanam Dembla over at email@example.com