Researched by: Nirmal Bhansali, Anannya Parekh, Niveditha Ajay & Rhea Saincher
Wrestlers’ #MeToo protest is suspended!
After a six-hour meeting with Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, the wrestlers have agreed to suspend their protest until June 15. Thakur has promised that a chargesheet will be filed against WFI chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh by that time—and elections will be held by June 30. No Brij Bhushan relative will be allowed to run for office. In fact, the opinions of three leading wrestlers—Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat—will be taken into consideration when picking candidates for the top posts. Interesting to note: the wrestlers refused Thakur’s suggestion they issue a joint statement after the meeting. Indian Express has more on the deal that was struck.
PGA Tour & LIV: A romcom ending
The context: The world’s leading golf league—the rather stodgy Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Tour—started out hating LIV Golf—a slick new tournament backed by Saudi moneybags. Many stormy spats ensued—and PGA suspended any golfer who dared to stray into the LIV camp. These players in turn sued the PGA etc etc.
The happily ever after: As with any clichéd love ishtory, this one has ended in shaadi. The two have agreed to become one in a (un)holy union that will create a yet-to-be-named company. The agreement includes the DP World Tour—aka the PGA European Tour. LIV’s rich papa—i.e the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund—will invest billions to help the new couple company get started. But true love has its haters. The golfers who turned down juicy LIV contracts—and took PGA Tour’s side in the golf maha-yudh are not amused. More so, since none of them—including Tiger Woods—knew about this secret deal. The cupid who helped inspire the deal: none other than hamara IPL:
[PGA Tour chief Jay] Monahan has recognised the potential for team golf, which is at the heart of the LIV project. It wants its line-ups to attract billionaire investment in the way cricket's Indian Premier League has done.
Who can resist the lure of lucre? CNBC has details of the deal. BBC News has more on what it means for golf. This Big Story has everything you need to know about LIV and the golf wars. Quartz has every Saudi plan to “sportswash” their human rights record.
Bad football news for the Saudis: Despite their best attempts to woo Lionel Messi with an eye-watering contract, the football legend is headed to Inter Miami. He told a Spanish outlet: “I made the decision that I am going to Miami. I still haven’t closed it one hundred percent. I’m missing some things but we decided to continue my journey there.” The news is sure to break the heart of Barcelona fans—who were hoping the GOAT would end his career with them. (CNN)
Moving on to cricket: India had a terrible first day at the Oval—in the World Test Cricket final against Australia. The Aussies scored 327 for 3 thanks to Travis Head and Steve Smith—who were at the crease at the end of the day with 146 and 95, respectively. (The Telegraph)
Stranded in Russia: An Air India story
Why do bad things always happen to Air India passengers? This time, they were terrorised not by urinating passengers but by an engine malfunction. The flight to San Francisco from Delhi had to make an unplanned landing in the remote town of Magadan, Russia. The 16-member crew and 216 passengers were given makeshift accommodations—in a school. And many of them are unhappy:
Some people were sent to a school and are lying on mattresses on the floor. The toilet facilities are not right. Language is a barrier. The food here is very, very different. There’s a lot of seafood and non-veg. Some people are just eating bread and soup. Older people running out of medicine.
This vid shared by Tarun Shukla shows the dismal state of affairs—though to be fair, one can’t expect much more in a small town besieged by travellers:
Air India has announced that a ferry flight is headed out of Mumbai to rescue the passengers—and take them to San Francisco. (Indian Express)
Chris Licht’s ugly exit from CNN
A damning profile published in The Atlantic cost the CEO his job. The man who replaced Jeff Zucker 18 months ago was brought down by plunging profits, an alienated newsroom and a series of terrible decisions—including hosting a Donald Trump town hall meeting. New York Times and Axios have details while New Yorker explains what it means for US news.
Meta separates Facebook & Insta
To keep German antitrust authorities happy, the company will now allow you to keep your Facebook and Instagram accounts separate from one another:
Meta plans to introduce a new Accounts center that will inform users about the company’s data-sharing policy and allow customers to make “a largely free and informed decision about whether they want to use Meta’s services separately or in combined form.” Meta will only be able to use the combined data for advertising purposes if users decide to opt into using the services in a combined form.
Quartz has more on that story.
As for Meta India: The company rolled out its paid verification service in India for the price of Rs 699 per month—for both Facebook and Instagram. The Telegraph has more on what that will buy you.
Get ready for ice-free Arctic summers
Typically, Arctic ice builds up during the winter and then melts in the summer—reaching its lowest levels in September. According to a new study, that cycle may be broken by the 2030s—even if we sharply cut global emissions. The month of September may become ice-free by the 2030s—as will the period between August and October by 2080. This, in turn, would have a knock-on effect:
Once Arctic summers become ice-free, the buildup of sea ice in the colder seasons will be much slower, [lead author Seung-Ki] Min said. The warmer it gets, the more likely the Arctic is to stay free of sea ice further into the colder season.
The receding ice triggers even worse effects in the long run. The white Arctic ice helps reflect the sun—away from earth. When the ice melts, it exposes the “darker ocean”—which absorbs more heat and causes additional warming. (CNN)
Also a dire sign of climate change: Smoke from wildfires across Canada has blanketed tens of millions of people in smoke. New York City and Toronto had the worst air quality in the world overnight. Most of the smoke is coming from Quebec—where 150 fires are still burning. Canadian officials predict this may well become the worst wildfire season on record. You can see the Statue of Liberty swathed in the kind of smog that would make Delhi air feel healthy. (BBC News)
The benefits of male masturbation
A new study confirms that self-pleasure is indeed a good thing—and originated in ancient primates:
What we can say is this behaviour was present around 40 million years ago, in the common ancestor of all monkeys and apes. It’s not that some species woke up one day and started doing it. This is an ancient, evolved trait.
While it may seem to be “costly, distracting, wasteful and even risky” behaviour (sez who?), it has evolutionary advantages—at least for males. It may help them get females pregnant:
For example, a low-ranking male may masturbate just enough to increase their arousal before sex, meaning they inseminate their partner faster — and before a burly competitor has the chance to knock them off and spoil the fun. Masturbation could also help males to shed old sperm, leaving them with fresher, more competitive sperm for sex.
Masturbation could also help reduce sexually transmitted diseases by flushing out the genital tract. Sadly, we don’t know enough about female masturbation to reach any conclusions about its benefits. (The Guardian)
US UFO stories get wilder and wilder
An Air Force veteran David Charles Grusch has revealed that a top-secret UFO retrieval program has found alien spacecraft—with dead pilots inside them. The former intelligence official—who served on the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force—claims that he has handed over documentation to Congress:
Grusch said the recoveries of partial fragments through and up to intact vehicles have been made for decades through the present day by the government, its allies, and defence contractors. Analysis has determined that the objects retrieved are “of exotic origin (non-human intelligence, whether extraterrestrial or unknown origin) based on the vehicle morphologies and material science testing and the possession of unique atomic arrangements and radiological signatures,” he said.
Interestingly, his account is corroborated by other intelligence officials who say: “The non-human intelligence phenomenon is real. We are not alone. Retrievals of this kind are not limited to the United States. This is a global phenomenon, and yet a global solution continues to elude us.” Hmm, makes us nostalgic for Chinese balloons. The Debrief has the exclusive—while Futurism lays out why the claim is not credible.
In other odd but credible news: Scientists have discovered a virgin birth—but not of the human kind (thank the lord!). A female crocodile laid a clutch of eggs back in 2018—which was strange since she’d been living alone in a Costa Rican zoo for 16 years. A newly published paper reveals that one of the eggs was not sterile—and yielded a “perfectly formed but stillborn baby crocodile.”
Why this is notable: Parthenogenesis—reproduction with only genetic material from the mother—has never been seen in crocodiles though it does occur in cobras, condors etc. Also, given their close relationship with dinosaurs—it may have been common among those great beasts, as well. (New York Times)