Researched by: Rachel John & Anannya Parekh
A giant aviation meltdown in the UK
Over 500 flights were cancelled when the air traffic control system was crippled by a “technical glitch.” As a result, flights in and out of the UK had to be cancelled—and here’s why:
When a plane is coming from say Milan to London, all the air traffic control centres will receive the flight plan from the plane. As it gets airborne, it'll be updated on the way. It's when it breaks down, that you have to put the details in of every flight by hand.
Aviation experts compared the event to the “equivalent situation for vehicular traffic would be if every road was closed in the country.” The problem has since been resolved—but authorities did not share what exactly went wrong. (CBS News)
Foxconn founder’s presidential dream
Billionaire Terry Gou will be running as an independent candidate in Taiwan’s upcoming presidential election in January. He failed to secure the opposition party’s nomination for the second time. Gou will need 290,000 signatures to become eligible to run for the top job. FYI: he favours maintaining favourable relations with China, saying: “We must honestly tell young people that it is dangerous to vote for the DPP, which exalts Taiwan independence and hates and opposes China.” Also: his chances of winning are very slim. Batting for China when Beijing is making increasingly aggressive noises is not likely to win votes. (Quartz)
BJP captures ‘Mood of the Nation’
According to the India Today survey, the party would win 287 out of 542 seats if the Lok Sabha elections were to be held today. The overall projected total for the NDA: 306. While more people are unhappy with the performance of the government—and of PM Modi—both still have the support of the large majority. For what it’s worth, Rahul Gandhi scored his highest approval rating in four years—but Modi still has a 36-point lead as the candidate best-suited to be India's next prime minister. India Today has lots more from the survey while Reuters offers a handy summary.
Nita Ambani steps down
The matriarch of the Reliance khandaan has stepped down from the board of Reliance Industries Limited—the apex company of the family empire. She is making room for the next generation of Ambanis—her kids, Akash, Isha and Anant—who will become members soon. Meanwhile, Mukesh-bhai announced his intention to mentor the three of them—and plan to quit his gig as Chairman and Managing Director in five years. (Indian Express)
Moving on to Adani: Gautam-bhai got an assist from the Indian government when the PM visited Greece last week. According to local reports, Modi raised the prospect of the Adani Group acquiring at least one port—which will serve as a gateway to Europe for Indian goods. FYI: China already controls a key Greek port Piraeus—and has turned it into the largest port in the region. The Telegraph has more interesting details on the official visit to Greece—the first by an Indian PM in 40 years.
News site targeted for Modi coverage
The South Africa news site Daily Maverick reported on a diplomatic glitch that occurred at the beginning of the PM’s trip to the recent BRICS summit in Johannesburg (explained in this Big Story):
[T]he portal reported that Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, refused to disembark from his aircraft at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria for the 2023 BRICS Summit, until Deputy President Paul Mashatile welcomed him. The new site also reported that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping when he arrived for the summit, and that the Deputy President was only dispatched to receive the Indian PM after he refused to exit the airplane.
The investigative news site claims that it was hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack the day after the story was published. And it claims the attack originated in India—and was designed to block Indians from reading the story. FYI, the South African government has called the Daily Maverick report “a lie.” (The Hindu)
Three health stories of note
Cancer numbers: A new report shows that Asian Pacific women are more vulnerable to breast and cervical cancers—specifically those living in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The number of breast cancer cases jumped by 40% in India over the past 20 years. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in India at 18.3%. And 58% of all cervical cancer cases in 2020 were detected in Asia. Worse, the number of such cases are expected to rise:
Breast cancer is further anticipated to climb by 20.9% in Asia between 2020 and 2030, while death will rise by 27.8%. At the same time, the incidence of cervical cancer is predicted to rise by 18.9%, while death will rise by 24.9%, the report found.
The Print has lots more on the report.
Processed food: Two studies show that ultra-processed food (UPF) significantly raises the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. This includes cereals, protein bars, fizzy drinks, ready meals and fast food—and food items you may not expect.
[O]ne of the researchers… said many people were unaware that food they assume is healthy, such as shop-bought sandwiches, wraps, soups and low-fat yoghurts, were in fact UPF. “It could be that foods you think are healthy are actually contributing to you developing high blood pressure,” she said.
Notably, women eat more UPF than men—perhaps for reasons that sound familiar:
“Much of it will be familiar as ‘junk food’, but there’s plenty of organic, free-range, ‘ethical’ UPF which might be sold as healthy, nutritious, environmentally friendly or useful for weight loss. Almost every food that comes with a health claim on the packet is UPF.
The Guardian has more on the two studies.
That’s bananas: Flavanols are bioactive compounds that are good for your heart and brain. And they’re typically found in fruits used to make smoothies—like apples, pears, blueberries, blackberries. A new study has found that adding a banana to your smoothie may actually decrease the levels of flavanols—by as much as 84%. So that’s one ingredient you may want to skip when you next down a smoothie. (SciTech Daily)
The mass destruction of French wine
The government plans to spend $216 million destroying surplus production of wine—enough to fill more than 100 Olympic-size swimming pools. The move is intended to help producers who are struggling to sell wine to a new generation that drinks less and is more frugal. The excess wine will be turned into pure alcohol used in other products—such as cleaning supplies, hand sanitisers or perfume. (The Washington Post)
Two things to see
One: Simone Biles is in the midst of an amazing comeback spree. Having pulled out of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics due to mental health issues, she has now won her eighth US championship title—the highest number for any American gymnast. What’s more notable: At 26, she is also the oldest to hold this record. Watch the stunning floor routine that helped clinch the title below. (NBC News)
Two: Actor and national treasure Naseeruddin Shah has made his short film directorial debut at the age of 73. The 26-minute short film ‘Man Woman Man Woman’ is a family affair—starring his actor-wife Ratna Pathak Shah and son Vivaan. Check out the trailer below and watch the complete film here. (The Telegraph)