Researched by: Rachel John, Anannya Parekh, Aarthi Ramnath, Nirmal Bhansali, Niveditha Ajay & Rhea Saincher
The search for Titan: Sign of hope?
The context: A high-priced deep sea voyage to check out the wreck of the Titanic has ended in disaster. The submersible called Titan carrying five people—including billionaire tourists—has gone missing in the depths of the Atlantic. As of Tuesday night, (US time), the passengers only had 30 hours of oxygen left. See our Big Story for lots more.
What happened now: A sonar picked up banging sounds from underneath the water. More importantly, they appeared to have a pattern. Initially, they were heard every 30 minutes—and again four hours later. But so far, they have not been able to find its source. The Coast Guard chief said:
He described there being a lot of metal and other debris in the water around the Titanic site, adding, “That’s why it’s so important that we’ve engaged experts from the Navy that understand the science behind noise and can classify or give us better information about what the source of that noise may be.”
CNN has more on the sound—and the latest rescue efforts.
A flurry of big media-related news
Unhappy news for fact-checking: Checking the veracity of any claim will now require the permission of the government. Fact-checking organisations of any kind will have to register with the government—which is seeking “greater accountability” from them. First up will be fact-checking units of legacy or “reputed” media outlets. But others may not be allowed to register: “There is also a plan to not register ‘non-legacy’ fact checking bodies.” That reads like a not-so-subtle reference to Alt News. (Indian Express)
Goodbye Rahul Shivshankar: The editor-in-chief has been axed even as he was negotiating his role with management. The call was apparently made by Times Group chief Vineet Jain. Shivshankar was part of the founding team—but left as Arnab Goswami skyrocketed at the channel. And he returned only after Arnab left to set up Republic TV. So will Times Now get a little less toxic? No, not with Navika Kumar ruling the roost. We offer you Shivshankar’s most stellar moment as news anchor below. Sigh, we will miss him. (The News Minute)
Gannett vs Google: Gannett—the largest owner of newspapers in the US—is suing Google, for its illegal monopoly of the digital advertising market:
Google controls how publishers sell their ad slots, and it forces publishers to sell growing shares of that ad space to Google at depressed prices. The result is dramatically less revenue for publishers and Google’s ad-tech rivals, while Google enjoys exorbitant monopoly profits.
Big AI moves in Germany: The AI nightmare of many journalists is coming true. The tabloid Bild—the largest newspaper in Europe—will be laying off hundreds of editorial staff and replacing them with AI. The management ominously declared: “Roles such as editors, print production journalists, proofreaders, photo editors and assistants will no longer exist like they do today.”
The right-leaning newspaper has been reeling financially—and from #MeToo scandals. So you can see why a machine may seem more attractive on both counts. No, this isn’t funny but as we pointed out in our ‘future of news’ series (one and two)—the real threat is that people increasingly dislike the news. (Telegraph UK, paywall, The Guardian)
Good news for IVF moms
Until now, medical experts believed that it was harder to have a natural birth once you’ve had your first baby via in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). But a new study shows that 20% of such women were able to have a natural pregnancy within three years. The likely reasons:
They speculated that fertility techniques could boost natural conception, saying: “It is biologically plausible that ovarian stimulation from IVF cycles may improve ovarian function.” They also suggested that hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and reduced stress after giving birth may also help women conceive naturally.
The Guardian has more on the study.
A ‘Supremium’ Spotify is coming
The music platform will launch a more expensive subscription—that will offer lossless audio streaming—i.e higher quality sound (explained here). Right now, both Amazon and Apple give you the same at no extra charge. But rumours are that it could be included in a $19.99 “Platinum” plan. Also: Spotify may bundle audiobooks into its premium plan—giving you either a specific number of reading hours free per month or a specific number of titles. A super-expensive plan is a hard sell in India—but the audiobook play sounds like a smart move. (Bloomberg, paywall, The Verge)
Australia leaves England in ashes
The Aussies beat their arch-rivals by two wickets in the opening test match of the Ashes series. Things looked a little tricky when they were 227 for eight—but the partnership between captain Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon saved the day. BBC News has all the deets. You can watch the exultant winning moment below.
The best restaurant in the world is…
Central in Lima. In fact, there are four Peruvian restaurants in the latest World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Spain holds the spots #2 through #4—Disfrutar in Barcelona, Diverxo in Madrid, and Asador Etxebarri in Atxondo. Nope, there isn’t a single Indian restaurant on the list. The highest ranked Asian restaurant was Bangkok’s Le Du at #15. Check out the complete list over at CNN.
Splainer easter egg!
This time, we picked this panel by freelance illustrator Tomas Kucerovsky—that is titled ‘Wrong Century’. If you’re not sure what to make of it, Simcha Fisher unpacks all the nuance layers of its narrative—including the fact that she is looking at a Rubens painting titled ‘Rape of the Sabines’. Think of it as a ‘brain food’ that may prompt an interesting conversation about bodies, gender, progress, art and history.
Iceland has mercy on whales
The context: Three nations hunt whales for meat in the world: Iceland, Japan and Norway. There are strict quotas in Iceland: 209 fin and 217 minke whales. But the market has been dwindling—and animal rights activists have been putting increasing pressure to stop the practice.
What happened now: The government has suspended the annual whale hunt because it is cruel:
The Food and Veterinary Authority broadcast shocking video clips that showed a whale’s agony as it was hunted for five hours. “If the government and licensees cannot guarantee welfare requirements, these activities do not have a future,” said Svandis Svavarsdottir, the minister of food, agriculture and fisheries, in a statement on Tuesday, as she announced the suspension of “all whaling operations.”
Point to note: Whale tourism is booming in the country—so it makes sound business sense too. There is only one whaling company left in Iceland. (Al Jazeera)
Four things to see
One: We’re filing this under ‘lessons learned’. Back in 2006, Germany earned the world’s ridicule for its FIFA World Cup mascot—a pantless lion named Goleo. He was so unpopular that factories that had signed to create his merch had to shut down:
Two: Trailer time again! This one's for Zendaya’s new movie ‘Challengers’—which looks like a tennis drama with a love triangle twist. It’s directed by Luca Guadagnino of ‘Call Be My Name’ fame—and also stars Josh O'Connor and Mike Faist. The movie releases on September 15. (Digital Spy)
Three: Up next: the official trailer for ‘Lust Stories 2.’ We are most excited about Neena Gupta playing the ‘cool dadi.’ The series releases on June 29 on Netflix.
Four: The NRI clips from the PM’s visit to the US are priceless. We can’t decide what’s funnier—the less-than-enthusiastic gopis, odd little Krishna in the middle or the over-enthusiastic cheerleaders in the sidelines.