Researched by: Rachel John, Nirmal Bhansali, Aarthi Ramnath & Anannya Parekh
Manipur violence: The latest update
For nearly a month, the state has been torn apart by violence between the dominant Meitei community and the Kuki tribes (see: this Big Story). While Home Minister Amit Shah is in the state to help broker the peace, the violence has taken a nastier turn. More than 40 alleged tribal extremists have been killed by the Army. And unnamed “sources” claim that they have been stealing weapons from the military, as well:
[M]ore than 1,000 weapons and 10,000 rounds were looted from Manipur Police Training College, two police stations, and an IRB battalion camp in Imphal by Meities, while police stations in Churachandpur were attacked and looted by Kukis.
Wrestlers #MeToo protest: The latest update
The context: On Sunday, wrestlers decided to hold a ‘Mahila Samman Mahapanchayat’ in front of the new parliament on Sunday—in defiance of police orders. They were then stopped and dragged away by the officers. About 700 of them—including the top athletes like Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia—were detained at various police stations, and later released. Since April, the wrestlers have been protesting alleged widespread sexual abuse in the sport. And it starts at the top—with wrestling federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh—who is also a BJP MP. For details on the sexual abuse, see our Big Story.
What happened now: According to the FIR filed by the Delhi police, a number of the wrestlers have been charged with “rioting and disorder”—others have been accused of using “assault and criminal force.” Police officials also insist that they will not be allowed back into Jantar Mantar—though the protesters insist they will not back down. FYI: according to the police, while the Jantar Mantar is a notified site for protests, you have to apply for permission to stage a protest at that location. Ah, the ultimate kryptonite of democracy: paperwork. (Indian Express)
Mahi ve: CSK scores a big IPL win
It came down to the last ball of a match that was disrupted twice by rain. First, it was moved from Sunday night to Monday. Then the number of overs batted by the Chennai Super Kings was reduced to 15—when fresh downpours interrupted the game. In the end, the whistle podu side prevailed—defeating the Gujarat Titans by five wickets. The score, however, is misleading. The game came down to the very last two balls—when Ravindra Jadeja hit a six and a four to seal the CSK victory. FYI: MS Dhoni left fans guessing about his retirement, saying ambiguously:
This is the best time to announce my retirement. But the amount of love I have received all over. The easy thing would be to walk away from here, but the harder thing would be working hard for 9 months and try to play another IPL. It would be a gift from me, won’t be easy on the body.
Biden cuts a debt ceiling deal
The context: The US government typically runs a budget deficit—and borrows money by issuing securities like a Treasury bond. The debt ceiling puts a limit on how much it can borrow. Once it hits the cap, the government cannot issue any more securities to pay its bills—and runs the very real danger of defaulting on its debts—which would cause chaos in the global economy. Until now the Republicans have been refusing to raise the debt ceiling.
What happened now: The White House and the House Republicans have managed to hammer out a deal in the nick of time—right before Uncle Sam was expected to run out of money on June 1. The debt ceiling will be raised for two years in return for caps and cuts in some federal spending.
But the deal still has to pass Congress—where rightwing Republicans are already in revolt. And many Democrats are not happy with the White House’s concessions: “The cuts in the package are almost certainly both too modest to win the votes of hard-line conservatives and too stringent to win the votes of progressives in the House.” In other words, America remains in great risk of default. (New York Times)
Content warning: The item below describes a gruesome killing.
An appalling murder in Delhi
A teenage girl was repeatedly stabbed and bludgeoned to death in plain view of passersby—and not a single person intervened. One of them said:
When I was passing through the spot, I saw that a girl… was lying lifelessly on the ground while the accused was hitting her with a boulder lying nearby by throwing it onto her and subsequently kicking her… He was very angry and there were two to three other passersby there at the time…I got scared as he was holding a knife in his hand.
She suffered 20 stab wounds and her skull was crushed by a boulder. It took another half hour for anyone to call the police—while her body lay in a corner. The killer was her boyfriend. Indian Express has more on the victim.
Say hello to Ola Prime Plus
The taxi service is launching a premium service that offers nicer cars, top-rated drivers and—most importantly—guarantees zero cancellations. It will initially be available for select customers in Bangalore starting Sunday. Of course, it will cost more than the regular Ola cab. The big question: just how pricey will it be? (Economic Times)
The first ‘made in China’ airliner
The first commercial aircraft made by the Chinese company Comac flew from Shanghai to Beijing. The C919 can fly 3,500 miles with 192 passengers—and is comparable to a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320. To be clear, while the plane is technically manufactured in the country—most of its components are sourced from the West. For now, it will be deployed on domestic routes. Why this is notable:
While the plane’s debut marks a starting point in challenging Boeing and Airbus, it will be many years before we see a big shake-up in the global market, and that will depend on how well the plane performs, he said. Comac has a better chance than most manufacturers to disrupt the status quo, given its top-level backing, China’s deep pockets and a captive domestic market.
A new Congress-era corruption scandal
The context: The government has been most diligent in investigating cases of alleged corruption dating back to the UPA government. It has been hot on the heels of the shady 2010 AgustaWestland deal—to buy 12 helicopters from the Italian company Finmeccanica. OTOH, it has been less than keen to answer questions about the Rafale purchase in 2015—when the government allegedly forced Dassault to choose Anil Ambani’s company as a local partner—and paid a higher price for the aircraft (both deals explained in this Big Story).
What happened now: The CBI has registered a case against the British aerospace and defence company Rolls-Royce—not to be confused with the car manufacturer—on charges of bribery. Also charged: alleged arms dealers Sudhir and Bhanu Choudhrie. The deal involved the purchase of 24 Hawk 115s for £734.21 million (Rs 7,490 crore at current exchange rates) and an agreement to manufacture another 42 aircraft in partnership with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The wrongdoing dates back to the 2003-2012 period. To be fair, no one has mentioned the Congress party… yet. (The Telegraph)
An important health update
Founding member Lavisha Parab sent in this important heads up about the first shingles vaccine launched in India, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. It is called Shingrix and is highly recommended for people over the age of 50 and who had chickenpox as children. FYI: Shingles is an extremely painful disease—marked by painful rashes. There is no way to protect yourself against shingles once you’ve had chickenpox. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. After you recover from chickenpox, the virus enters your nervous system and stays inactive for years—and can be triggered by low immunity or stress. Mayo Clinic has more details on shingles. FYI: some studies link shingles to Alzheimer’s.
Two things to see
One: Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk started the game as the darling of the crowd at the French Open—but was later booed when she refused to shake hands with Aryna Sabalenka after losing in straight sets. The reason: Sabalenka is from Belarus—which is Russia’s closest ally in the war. Oddly, it is Sablenka who had to field the tough questions in the post-game presser:
“First of all, when I get questions about Ukrainians, they [journalists] ask me: ‘So, you know that they hate you?... About the war situation, I said it many, many times, nobody in this world – Russian athletes, Belarusian athletes – supports the war. Nobody. How can we support the war? Normal people will never support it.
Two: The famous Grand Canal in Venice has turned a fluorescent green for mysterious reasons. One theory suggests this may be the handiwork of angry climate change activists—who recently added charcoal to Rome’s Trevi fountain, turning its water black. In any case, it is not a good look. (BBC News)