Researched by: Rachel John, Nirmal Bhansali, Aarthi Ramnath & Anannya Parekh
Manipur violence: An ‘abduction’ of Kukis?
The last Kuki-Zo residents of Imphal say they are being forcibly evicted from their homes by security forces:
These 24 residents were evacuated from Imphal by security personnel soon after midnight on Saturday. Jimmy Touthang, who was among them, alleged that the evacuation was forced and that it felt “more like an abduction.”... In just a T-shirt and shorts at the time of the evacuation, he said security personnel denied his request to pack some of his belongings. “We were not given time to pack our things. We were not even informed where they were taking us.
An unnamed source in the military said the families were moved out on the request of the local administration—as members of the tribal community have become “vulnerable targets” in a Meitei-dominated city. (Indian Express)
The plan for one big fat election
The government has set up a high-ranking committee to look at a proposal to hold a single election for state legislature, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha seats—all at the same time like the American system. It will be headed by former president Ram Nath Kovind. The other seven members include Amit Shah, retired senior bureaucrats and judges and ex-Congressman Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The only Opposition party leader—Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury—withdrew from the committee. The reason: the committee is “an eyewash” whose “terms of reference have been prepared in a manner to guarantee its conclusions.” The committee’s remit is not to look at the merits of a single election. Rather it is expected to recommend a framework and specific amendments to the Constitution and other existing laws to make it happen. Frontline has a lot more details.
ISRO aims for the sun
After making history on the moon, India has launched its first mission to observe the Sun, Aditya-L1 is headed for the region that lies exactly in the middle of the Sun and Earth—Lagrange point 1. This is where their gravitational forces cancel each other out, allowing the spacecraft to hover in space—in a “parking spot.” There it will orbit the Sun at the same rate as the Earth. BBC News has lots more on the mission’s goals. And you can see the launch vid below.
Meanwhile, on the Moon: The lunar rover and lander have been put in “sleep” mode—after two weeks of wandering around the Moon. Pragyan travelled over 100 metres (330 feet)—confirming the presence of sulphur, iron, oxygen and other elements. But it is now in hibernation—in a bid to extend its life:
The Chandrayaan-3 lander and rover were expected to operate only for one Lunar day, which is equivalent to nearly 14 days on Earth. That is because the electronics are not designed to withstand very low temperatures, less than minus 120°C, during the nighttime on the Moon.
The hope is that by putting it to sleep, the rover and lander may be able to survive the 14-Earth days of night. According to one ISRO scientist:
We are trying to keep the receiver on the lander switched on and try to maintain the battery at an optimum temperature. Whether the systems wake up after the night will depend on whether the battery lasts throughout this period. It is like putting your phone on power saving mode till a charging cord is available. The charging cord for the lander and rover will be sunrise at the end of the lunar night.
Indian Express has more on the plan.
Meta eyes paid model in the EU
The EU recently passed the Digital Services Act—which imposed new restrictions on tech platforms’ ability to monetise user information to sell ads. In response, Meta is considering a paid version of Facebook and Instagram—to compensate for the lost revenue. Why this matters:
For nearly 20 years, Meta’s core business has centered on offering free social networking services to users and selling advertising to companies that want to reach that audience. Providing a paid tier would be one of the most tangible examples to date of how companies are having to redesign products to comply with data privacy rules and other government policies, particularly in Europe.
IPL teams dream of IPOs
Three franchises have approached the cricket board with their plans to raise capital. The parent companies of Kings Xi Punjab and Delhi Capitals are weighing a public listing—while Rajasthan Royals is looking to raise private equity funds. Why this sudden interest? A number of these companies now own teams around the world in similar leagues—and an IPO allows them to consolidate and cash into that expansion. FYI: this is at a very preliminary stage, but it points to the creation of global cricket franchises—which seem inevitable now. (Mint)
As for the World Cup: The cricket board announced the 15-member Indian squad—which doesn’t have many surprises. Rohit Sharma will remain captain—and the usual star batters like Shubham Gill, Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya have been retained. KL Rahul has been declared fit and will return to the team. The only notable omission: Sanju Samson. (Indian Express)
Burning Man is washed out
The context: Each year, around 600,000 people travel to a remote part of Nevada every year—and live in a temporary city for about a week. The iconic festival is supposedly all about free-spirited creativity—but has long since turned into a destination for fabulously rich tech bros. Most recently, climate change protesters blocked people travelling to Burning Man—calling the festival out for its carbon footprint: “[E]ach Burning Man generates about 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide. That’s more than about 22,000 gas-powered cars produce in a year.”
What happened now: A series of rare storms left people stranded in the Black Rock Desert. Attendees were asked to shelter in place—because the deep, slippery mud makes it impossible to leave:
It could be several days before the ground dries up enough for people to leave and for this reason, they have been told to conserve their food, water and fuel. The festival's toilets are also out of use, revellers say, because the service vehicles cannot drive on the mud to empty them.
A ‘handout’ that really helps
An intriguing new study out of Canada shows that giving a large sum of money—specifically $7,500—to homeless people can make a huge difference. Contrary to popular belief, the 50 participants did not spend their money on booze or drugs. Instead, they spent it on rent, food and clothes. FYI: they were told they could do whatever they wanted with the money. Quote to note: “‘[I]f you give people a larger sum of cash upfront, it triggers long-term thinking,’ as opposed to just keeping people in survival mode.” (Vox)
Three things to see
One: With elections looming in the horizon, the Opposition alliance INDIA is also jumping into the biz of PR stunts. This one was notable for two reasons. It involved one male neta—Lalu Prasad Yadav—teaching another male neta—Rahul Gandhi—how to cook. And the dish—Champaran mutton was not safely vegetarian. FYI: the vid is every bit as detailed as a proper cooking guide.
Three: The artwork of three modern Indian masters—Sayed Haider Raza, Francis Newton Souza and Tyeb Mehta—fetched record bids at Mumbai’s Pundole’s auction house. Raza’s painting ‘Gestation’ sold for Rs 517.5 million (51.75 crore)—making it the most expensive piece of Indian art ever sold at auction. (Mint)