Researched by: Rachel John, Aarthi Ramnath & Rhea Saincher
The Russian mutiny: Vladimir Putin speaks
In his first remarks since the failed mutiny of Yevgeny Prigozhin (explained here), the Russian president looked visibly angry as he railed against him without uttering his name. He also attempted to claim victory:
Executive and legislative power “at all levels” consolidated against the uprising, and along with public and religious organisations “took a firm unequivocal position in support of the constitutional order,” he said. “In fact,” he added, “the entire Russian society united and rallied everyone.”
And he referred to the deal that leaves Prigozhin unpunished: “The promise I made will be fulfilled.”
In other words, Putin said nothing new—and, in fact, looked “weak” to many observers. You can watch the entire 5-minute speech with subtitles here. Meanwhile, Belarus president Aleksandr Lukashenko confirmed that Prigozhin is now in the country with a number of his soldiers—and is welcome to stay “for some time” at their own expense. The Washington Post has lots more on why not many are impressed with him or the Russian military. (New York Times)
Meanwhile, Putin’s bestie in New York: is in big trouble. An audio recording of Donald Trump discussing a “highly confidential” document about Iran has leaked. ICYMI: The ex prez has been indicted for mishandling classified documents (explained in this Big Story). New York Times and CNN have all the complicated details plus audio if you want it.
HDFC aur HDFC bank ki shaadi
Yes, it sounds confusing. Basically, the bank is acquiring its parent company—the country’s largest mortgage lender. The $40 billion deal will create a $168 billion financial services giant—the second largest after State Bank. Also: this is the largest transaction in Indian corporate history. The merger is likely to be effective from July 1. Mint has a handy guide to what it means to both their customers. (Economic Times)
Also doing very well: India’s five flagship internet stocks—including Paytm parent One 97 and Zomato. They are up 20% in 2023—and are beating their Chinese counterparts by a wide margin. Why this is very good news for Indian companies:
India's outperformance highlights a broader shift as global money managers look for opportunities outside China. While dwarfed in terms of market cap and revenue, Indian companies are luring investors given the nation's growth potential and favourable ties with the West. That's as Chinese growth stocks lag a global tech boom amid geopolitical and regulatory risks.
Bloomberg News via NDTV has more.
Indian army major storms Kashmir mosque
No, he wasn’t searching for insurgents. The major and his soldiers rounded up villagers, beat them—then forced them to open the mosque’s doors and chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’. Then this happened:
An hour and a half later, Bhat said, Arif Wagay, who calls azaan, entered the mosque for pre-dawn prayers. He switched on the loudspeaker and started reciting the azaan. “Midway, he was stopped by them (the soldiers). They yelled at him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans. I heard him chanting the slogans on the loudspeaker. He was in fact asked to recite it in rhythm — as we say the azaan,” he said.
According to local leaders, the Commanding Officer assured them that the major will be court-martialed—but the army has not made any public comment. The Wire has a detailed ground report, while The Telegraph has quotes from locals.
Speaking of ugly behaviour: The White House has spoken out in support of Wall Street Journal journalist, Sabrina Sidiqqui—who was abused by both internet trolls and BJP spokespersons. Her crime: She asked Mod-ji that question about democracy and the protection of minorities at that joint press conference with President Biden.
The White House said: “That’s just completely unacceptable and it’s antithetical to the very principles of democracy that were on display last week during the state visit.” Also being trolled—but by BJP cabinet ministers: Barack Obama. No, the White House did not speak up for Biden’s former boss. FYI: the trolling got so bad that Siddiqui posted photos of herself in an Indian cricket jersey—which made us even sadder. (Wall Street Journal)
Canada vs America: The immigration wars
Eager to one up its neighbour in the global race for talent, Canada will soon allow people with foreign employers to stay up to six months in the country—and transition to a work visa if they find a job in the country during that time. The aim is to lure digital nomads—in the hope that Canadian companies will snap them up. The other plan: open a special stream for STEM workers—as a path toward permanents residency. This one is an attempt to attract H1-B workers in the US—who have to wait decades for their green card (explained in this Big Story). (Global News)
Air India: From PeeGate to PoopGate
Ok, it’s time to start distributing diapers on airlines. After three recent incidents of passengers urinating on other people, we now have a man who has hit the perfect trifecta. He defecated, pissed and spat—mercifully on the seats and not any person. The person has been arrested and is now out on bail. FYI: if it makes you feel any better, this kind of ‘potty’ behaviour is not exclusive to Indians. Last year, a person pooped on the floor of a British Airways flight—and smeared it onto the seats. (CNBCTV18)
In other bad PR for Air India: The flight from London to Delhi was forced to make an emergency landing in Jaipur due to weather. Two hours later, when it finally got clearance to head to Delhi, its pilot flatly refused to fly the plane—because of strict limitations of flight duty time. Many of the 350 stranded passengers were sent to their destination via a chartered bus and cabs. Others had to wait for a replacement crew. (Mint)
Telegram gets in the copycat game
Meta ripped off Stories from Snapchat—and now Telegram is following suit. What will be different:
Notably, you will be able to post photos and videos taken with the front and rear cameras simultaneously in a BeReal-like style. In addition, you will be able to choose when your story expires. You can have it expire in six, 12, 24, or 48 hours. Or, you can permanently display Stories on your profile page in a way that’s similar to how Instagram lets you display Story highlights.
TechCrunch has all the deets.
Dolphin mamas can ‘baby talk’
A new study found that female bottlenose dolphins change their signature whistle—unique to each—when calling to their calves:
The dolphin signature whistle is a unique and important signal — akin to calling out their own name … When directing the signal to their calves, the mother’s whistle pitch is higher and her pitch range is greater than usual.
While “motherese” aka ‘baby talk’ is common to humans and many other animals, it serves a variety of functions. It helps babies distinguish words and learn language structures. But dolphins may be using these special whistles to make their kids pay attention—or recognise when they are being called. Science has lots of nerdy details—and more importantly cool audio of dolphin mamas.
IIT Bombay makes the list!
After eight years, an Indian institution has made it to the top 150 universities in the world. According to the latest the QS World University rankings, IIT-Bombay squeaked in at #149—for the very first time. The only other Indian institution to make it to the top 150 was the Indian Institute of Science in 2016. What’s remarkable: IIT-Bombay leaped 23 positions in just one year. FYI: MIT was #1—followed by Cambridge and Oxford. And the National University of Singapore (NUS) became the first Asian university to crack the top ten. (Indian Express)
Speaking of schools: New York City mayor Eric Adams announced that Diwali will be a holiday for public schools in the city. He said:
[T]he moment represented a symbolic declaration to those who feel unwelcome “that you are part of this city…We’re now saying New York is made for everyone,” Mr. Adams said. “No matter where you came from.”
Waiting for: Diwali lights on the Empire State Building? (New York Times)
The ODI World Cup schedule is out!
You can see the entire schedule here. But here are the highlights. The first match is on October 5 between England and New Zealand and will be held in Ahmedabad. India’s first match will be on October 8 against Australia in Chennai. The much-anticipated India v Pakistan match will be on October 15—again in Ahmedabad. Also: if India qualifies for the semi finals, the match will be played in Mumbai—unless our opponent is Pakistan. In that case, the game will be shifted to Kolkata. So Mumbai is not okay but Ahmedabad is perfectly fine? 🤔 No one seems to have an explanation for this rule. (ESPNCricInfo)