Researched by: Nirmal Bhansali, Aarthi Ramnath, Niveditha Ajay & Rhea Saincher
Serious cyclone warning in Gujarat
Cyclone Biparjoy—brewing in the Arabian Sea—is moving towards the Gujarat coast. A government bulletin predicts it will wreak extensive damage on June 15:
There is likely to be total destruction of thatched houses and extensive damage to other houses, bending/ uprooting of power and communication poles, damage to roads, disruption of railways, overhead power lines and signalling systems, widespread damage to standing crops, plantations and so on.
Manipur violence: The latest update
The government’s plans to set up a peace committee—comprised of members of the warring factions—has stalled out. Both Meitei (the dominant community) and tribal leaders have refused to participate. Neither have any faith in the state leadership. The Kukis have called Manipur CM Biren Singh “the main perpetrator of this violence”—while Meiteis say he has not done enough to protect them. Tribal leaders allege 253 churches have been burned down during the current violence. Now the Assam CM—Himanta Biswa Sarma—has been brought in to broker the peace. (Indian Express)
iPhones drive India export numbers
Here’s a data point to think about. Indian smartphone exports nearly doubled to $10.9 billion this year—from $5.4 billion in 2022. Smartphones are now #5 in the list of top exports. And iPhones account for half of them—up from 24% last year. All of this is thanks to the rising numbers of iPhones assembled in the country. India now accounts for 5% of all such phones produced in the world—up from less than 1% in 2020. (Quartz)
An epidemic of dead racehorses
Race horses competing in top races across the United States are dropping like flies—and no one knows why. The latest tragedy involved two thoroughbreds competing at Belmont Park—who had to be put down due to ankle injuries (a death sentence for horses). In the past month, a total of 12 horses have died on the track at the prestigious Churchill Downs—which has now suspended all racing to investigate what went wrong. Around 2,000 horses die during races or training every year in the US.
One reason: They are overworked: “Horse racing has become more competitive. Horses aren’t getting the rest they need, especially in temperate places like southern California, where the animals race year-round.” And two, horses are often pumped with performance-enhancing substances or painkillers—to force them to run faster even when in pain. NBC News has the story on the horses euthanized at Belmont Park. USA Today has the big picture—including a bit about how technology could keep the horses safe.
Number of Indian reporters in China: zero!
Beijing has asked the only remaining reporter—from PTI—to leave the country. There were three other journalists from leading Indian publications—of whom one was kicked out this weekend. The other two were denied visas in April. The number of Chinese journalists in India has been dwindling as well—dropping from 14 to one. (Bloomberg, paywall, CNN)
Silvio Berlusconi is dead
The former Italian Prime Minister known for his sex scandals, flagrant corruption and rightwing politics died of cancer. Despite his appalling record of governance, he led three governments between 1994 and 2011. And he played a leading role in helping the current prime minister—Giorgia Meloni—who represents the extreme right—win the last election (see our Big Story). This photo gallery captures his colourful life. (The Guardian)
Anti-Muslim tensions rise in Uttarakhand
Two men—a Muslim and a Hindu—tried to elope with a 14-year-old girl in Uttarakhand—and were booked by the police in late May. Their arrests triggered allegations of love jihad—and several rightwing groups targeted shops and homes of Muslims. Soon posters popped up around Uttarkashi—warning Muslims to leave the state by June 15. Many of them are leaving town—including the head of BJP’s minority cell. BTW: the local waqf board has criticised the Congress party for staying silent, as well. (The Hindu)
No humans, happy animals
Not that we needed evidence but a new study shows that wild animals were much happier when humans were locked down during the pandemic. Around 175 scientists from across the globe analysed the movements of 2,300 mammals—from reindeer in Norway to Asian elephants in Myanmar. They found: “Overall, animals travelled longer distances and seemed to act more relaxed in the absence of humans and vehicles.” What’s really surprising: how quickly they reverted back to their old behaviour once we were out and about again. Why this matters: it shows that even modest steps into limiting human intrusion—such as closing beaches and hiking trails during breeding and nesting seasons—can have a huge impact. (Smithsonian Magazine)
Four things to see
India for example, India is one of the countries which had many requests around farmers protests, around particular journalists which were critical of the government, and it manifested in ways such as ‘we will shut Twitter down in India’… ‘we would raid the homes of your employees', which they did; ‘we will shut down your offices if you don't follow suit’. And this is India, a democratic country.
And here’s the clip:
Two: Philippines’ most famous volcano Mayon is showing ominous signs of life—and has triggered the evacuation of 13,000 people plus 10,000 farm animals—including cows, carabaos and goats. Not being moved to safety: dogs and pigs due to “difficulty of maintenance and lack of proper facilities.” Bah, humbug! The photo below of the volcano at night is stunning. (BBC News)
Three: This week’s instalment of trailers includes ‘Gadar 2: The Katha Continues’—the sequel to the original ‘Gadar’ that was released in 2001. This one is strictly for Sunny Deol fans, we suspect. It drops in theatres on August 11.
Four: Kajol is also staging a comeback with a Hindi adaptation of ‘The Good Wife’ —called ‘The Trial’. This one drops on Disney+ Hotstar on July 14.