Researched by: Rachel John, Nirmal Bhansali, Aarthi Ramnath & Smriti Arora
Amritpal Singh is behind bars, finally
After leading the police on a month-long merry chase, the Waris De Punjab chief finally surrendered himself to authorities. Notably, he chose to be arrested in Rode—the ancestral village of Khalistan evangelist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Amritpal has often been described as Bhindranwale 2.0 for his separatist views. FYI: the arrest was a remarkably civil affair:
Amritpal had informed the police last night itself that he will surrender today morning after paying obeisance at the gurdwara. He also addressed the sangat (congregation) for a few minutes before the surrender.
He has been flown out to a jail in Assam—to avoid the potential for jail-breaks or protests. Amritpal has been detained under the National Security Act (NSA)—and will be kept in solitary confinement. Nine of his aides are already being held in Assam. Read our Big Stories to know more about Amritpal and his great escape. (The Hindu)
Afghanistan: terrorist incubator, again
Confidential Pentagon documents that were leaked on Discord (explained here) show that Afghanistan has become “a significant coordination site” for the Islamic State. There is evidence that ISIS had been planning at least 15 attacks as of February—focusing on embassies, churches, business centres and even the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. But a lot of this is just “aspirational plotting.” According to one US defence official, “Historically, the number of Islamic State plots in play have ebbed and flowed, with many never occurring.” Also: “We see a lot of discussion and not a lot of action at this point.” FYI: there is no sign of an Al Qaeda comeback. (Washington Post)
Another cheetah tragedy in Kuno
A second cheetah has died of unknown causes at the Kuno national park in Madhya Pradesh. The six-year-old male was relocated from South Africa in February. This is the second cheetah to die within a month. In March, a female brought from Namibia died due to kidney issues—that were known. Uday, however, suddenly became ill—and died soon after—in the midst of receiving treatment. Officials won’t know the cause until a post-mortem is performed. (Indian Express)
Amul’s #MeToo controversy in NZ
A woman working at a New Zealand farm has accused Indian members of a dairy delegation of groping her. These were reps of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation—which runs Amul. The Kiwi police are investigating the complaint. And the Gujarat coop’s Managing Director Jayen Mehta told NZ media: “I am working with the parties to see what can be done to make amends.”
Most notably: When contacted by Indian Express, Mehta said this instead:
It is because some lobbies want to derail the process of partnership between India and New Zealand for vested interests. We do not want to get into that but the incident is fabricated. The NZ Ministers have also denied the report. There is not much to read into it.
It’s not what you say but who you say it to. (Indian Express)
Meanwhile, in India: Top wrestlers are furious at their federation. Back in January, India’s top wrestlers staged a dharna at Jantar Mantar—to protest widespread sexual abuse by coaches and even the head of the wrestling federation Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. In response, authorities constituted a six-person panel—headed by boxer Mary Kom—to look into the allegations.
The report was submitted in early April but has not yet been made public—and Singh remains in office. Enraged by the lack of action and transparency, the wrestlers have returned to Jantar Mantar and are threatening to stay until their demands are heard. Gold medallist Vinesh Phogat asked, “Will the report come out after the girls, who have filed complaints, die?” Also see: our Big Story on sexual abuse in Indian wrestling. (The Telegraph)
Also in trouble: Environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta and his organisation Legal Initiate For Forest and Environment (LIFE). The CBI has filed a case accusing him of violating foreign remittance laws—which is also the charge filed against Oxfam. In the case of Dutta, he is suspected of using foreign funds to “take down India’s existing or proposed coal projects.” FYI: he is a highly respected lawyer who has won the Right Livelihood Award, which is considered Sweden’s alternative to the Nobel Prize. The Hindu has the case—while The Wire has more on Dutta and the FIR.
Bloomberg’s big fat donation
Mike Bloomberg—the billionaire founder of Bloomberg media empire—announced plans to donate all his business assets to his charity. It could potentially be the largest private donation ever since most of his personal worth of $94.5 billion comes from his 88% stake in Bloomberg LP. Quartz has more details.
Twitter blue ticks: Now you see ‘em…
Blue tick be gone! Late last week, Twitter started stripping all the legacy blue ticks—insisting that users would now have to pay for the privilege. Users other than William Shatner, Stephen King, and LeBron James who kept their blue ticks because CEO Elon Musk personally paid for their Twitter Blue subscriptions. Never mind that King was horrified: “My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t.” As Quartz notes:
Implied in King’s tweet was a sense of embarrassment: The author was worried that his followers might think he actually paid $8 for a blue checkmark. This newfound negative association with the previously coveted blue check is a popular sentiment among formerly verified tweeters in the aftermath of Musk’s takeover.
That said, Taylor Swift, Rihanna etc seem to have zero problems paying $8 a month for a ‘verified’ tick.
Blue tick returns! On Sunday, the blue ticks were miraculously restored to high-profile accounts—such as Virat Kohli or Beyoncé. But the criteria remains a bit puzzling. For instance, Ryan Reynolds has no blue tick—but the founder of the investigative organisation Bellingcat does. (BBC News)
Meanwhile, at Apple: The company is getting ready to unveil a personal journaling app—which will come preinstalled on your iPhone. Quite frankly, it sounds more like a stalker than a mental health buddy:
Jurassic (the name will surely be changed before launch) will be able to look at data stored locally on your phone to determine what a typical day looks like, with access to your contacts, your location, workouts, and more. It will make recommendations to users about what they might journal about that day, including when the app detects behaviour that is outside of the normal routine. It will even offer "All Day People Discovery," which will track the user's proximity to others, drawing distinctions between work colleagues and friends.
Ars Technica has more details.
Two things to see
One: Rahul Gandhi vacated his official residence—which he has occupied as a Lok Sabha MP for 19 years. The reason: he was convicted of criminal defamation—and therefore disqualified from Parliament (explained here). Typically, most politicians tend to overstay their welcome at plush Lutyens lodgings. But Rahul Gandhi refused the option of asking for an extension—and got a photo-op out of it. BJP may have invented ghar wapsi, but Congress is all about ghar bidaai. (The Telegraph)
Two: A Russian fighter jet accidentally bombed its own town—located 40 km from the border. Mercifully, no one was killed—though the missile left a 20-metre crater and blew up a car. You can see the footage below. (BBC News)