Researched by: Nirmal Bhansali, Aarthi Ramnath & Anannya Parekh
Wimbledon 2023: All hail King Carlos
The men’s final: The 20-year-old from Spain beat seven-time Wimbledon champ Novak Djokovic 1-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4. Carlos Alcaraz staged a courageous comeback after being walloped in the first set. The match lasted four hours and 42 minutes and was the third-longest final in Wimbledon history. Alcaraz is also the third youngest to win at Wimbledon—after Boris Becker and Bjorn Borg. ESPN has all the details of the match. The Guardian heralds the dawn of a new generation of tennis greats. Indian Express sees it as the birth of a new epic rivalry between the two men.
Something to see: South Indian Twitter went nuts when Wimbledon’s official handle shared an Alcaraz meme that seems inspired by Tamil superstar Vijay’s movie ‘Master’. This is the meme:
This is the movie poster. We leave you to decide what’s up with the Wimbledon social media team:)
The women’s final: It was heartbreak redux for Ons Jabeur—who was beaten by unseeded Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets. This is the second consecutive Wimbledon final she has lost. The last time Vondrousova reached a Grand Slam final was at the French Open in 2019. Jabeur was under intense pressure as potentially the first Arab/African to win a Grand Slam. You can see Marketa’s winning moment below. (The Guardian)
Ongoing horror in Kuno: Another dead cheetah
Two adult cheetahs relocated to Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh have died over the course of three days. This brings the total number of animals who have died to five—plus three cubs—out of a total of twenty that were brought in from Africa. These recent deaths have been attributed to the radio collars around the cheetahs’ necks by the resident South African expert Adrian Tordiffe:
It was clear that there was quite a lot of dermatitis, an infection of the skin below the collar. Because of the very wet weather, water accumulates underneath the collar and causes the skin to be constantly wet… This causes dermatitis, infection of the skin, which then attracts flies to the area, these flies lay eggs and you get maggots, the fly larvae then starts feeding on the infected tissue, puncturing holes in the skin and creating wounds.
Cheetah politics: As with all else, the deaths too have become a political issue—with the environment ministry issuing strong denials: “There are reports in the media attributing these cheetah deaths to other reasons including their radio collars, etc. Such reports are not based on any scientific evidence but are speculation and hearsay.” However, wildlife officials are sticking to their guns—and say there is reason to worry about the remaining cheetahs—which are displaying similar symptoms. They plan to recall all the remaining animals—including the 11 released into the wild—for a medical review.
The Independent has more on what experts say—while Indian Express looks at the conflicting statements released by wildlife officials and the ministry. Our Big Story has everything you need to know about Project Cheetah—including the fierce debate over its wisdom.
The missing defence deals with France
During the PM’s recent state visit, the defence ministry greenlit two defence deals—to acquire 26 Rafale Marine aircraft and three Scorpene-class submarines. Oddly, the joint statement released at the end of Modi’s visit made no mention of either agreement. A development so puzzling that it made front page news across the major newspapers. Unnamed officials now say that the two sides were unable to close negotiations.
When asked about the omission, the Foreign Secretary said, “The metrics of defence partnership are not defined by a single acquisition or non-acquisition, a single procurement, or a transaction.” Reminder: some of the biggest controversies in Indian politics have focused on single defence deals—be it Bofors, Agusta-Westland or the previous Rafale purchase. (Indian Express)
Blistering heatwaves everywhere!
The planet just experienced the hottest week on record—but the misery isn’t going to end any time soon. Southern Europe is poised to set new records—nearing 50°C—in the coming days. Parts of Italy are expected to break Sicily’s all-time high of 48.8°C. Athens has shut down its most popular tourist attraction—the Acropolis. And Spain is battling severe wildfires that have destroyed 4,500 hectares (11,000 acres) of land.
Meanwhile in the US: Phoenix, Arizona, witnessed a record-breaking temperature of 118°F (48°C) on Saturday. The city has experienced 15 consecutive days of temperatures exceeding 110°F (43.3°C)—with mobile clinics treating people with third degree burns and severe dehydration. We explained why the world is burning due to a combination of climate change and El Niño in this Big Story. (Reuters)
Quote to note: Italian meteorologist and climate expert Giulio Betti says:
European summers have gotten much, much hotter in recent years... What should worry us is that summers without intense and prolonged heatwaves simply don't exist anymore. 'Normal' summers have become a rarity.
Daily Mail vs Google: The great AI battle
The context: When social media platforms became online godzillas they destroyed the business model of traditional media. News outlets became dependent on the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to distribute their articles. OTOH, the same platforms were paying zilch for news content on their platform—while selling those eyeballs to advertisers. The two sides have clashed innumerable times across the world—without any satisfactory resolution.
What happened now: AI chatbots are the hottest thing in tech. And they have been trained on news articles across the internet—without any compensation to their creators. According to a lawsuit filed by the UK tabloid, Google harvested around one million news articles from the Daily Mail and CNN websites to help develop its chatbot Bard:
It is claimed that the tech giant targeted them because both use bullet points to summarise key points before the main text of a story. Google allegedly used the articles to test Bard’s capabilities by removing words from the bullet points and asking the AI to fill in the gaps based on the rest of the story. However, it allegedly used the articles from the Daily Mail and CNN websites without either copyright holder’s knowledge or permission.
Daily Mail claims that three-quarters of the articles used in the dataset are from its website—while the remainder were taken from CNN. Reminder: Getty Images sued the image-generation tool Stable Diffusion for stealing more than 12 million of its copyrighted photos to help train its software. Why this matters: This time around, media companies will not let big tech off easy—and this battle will shape the future of AI chatbots. (The Telegraph UK, paywall)
Delhi University’s CUET blues
Since last year, admissions to the country’s most prestigious university have been decided by a common entrance exam aka CUET. But college officials complain that the government’s rules have left thousands of seats vacant. The reason: An applicant has to declare their choice of major plus college in an order of preference—before the CUET results are released. If they change their mind, the automated system will only allow them to opt for subjects or colleges given a higher preference.
This is very different from the old method:
Before the introduction of the CUET and the CSAS, individual DU colleges set their own cut-offs for each subject, admitting students on the basis of their Class XII marks. So, the students had a complete picture about which courses they might be able to enrol in and at which college. After admission, they could still change their college and course.
But that isn’t possible any more. As a result, thousands of seats go unfilled—as they did last year, as well. The Telegraph has more details.
Two things to see
One: A female passenger on a Bangalore bus bullied a Muslim bus conductor into removing his skull cap—even though it does not violate any rule. The man has not come to work for several days now—but authorities do not plan to take any action against the passenger. It’s an eye-opening example of how everyday intimidation of minorities happens. (Hindustan Times)
Two: Moving on to happier subjects, hundreds of golden retrievers and their owners gathered in the ancestral home of the breed—Scotland. They were celebrating the 155th anniversary of the birth of the breed. The very first golden retriever puppies were born at Guisachan House in Glen Affric in 1868—bred by aristocrat Sir Dudley Marjoribanks. (BBC)