Researched by: Nirmal Bhansali, Aarthi Ramnath & Smriti Arora
A win for free press in India
The context: MediaOne was taken off-air on January 31, 2022, when the union government yanked its licence for “alleged links with the Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind.” The Kerala High Court upheld the ban but the Supreme Court stepped in to issue a stay last month.
What happened now: The Supreme Court has ordered the government to issue a licence to MediaOne within four weeks. The reason: the I&B ministry refused to share evidence used to refuse MediaOne a licence—claiming the information is "sensitive" and "secret in nature." Chief Justice Chandrachud was not impressed:
Sealed cover procedures have curbed the right to fair and reasonable proceedings leaving appellants in the dark to fight out. The State is using the plea of national security to deny the rights of the citizens. This is incompatible with the rule of law. National security claims cannot be made out of thin air. There must be material facts backing it.
The News Minute has more details.
Foxconn founder for president?
Billionaire Terry Gou—the founder of one of Apple’s biggest suppliers Foxconn—threw his hat in Taiwan’s presidential ring. He will seek the nomination of the country’s main opposition party—the Kuomintang (KMT). Why this is notable: the ruling party Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is openly pro-independence—but Gou takes a softer line. He argues that improving trade with Beijing is the only path to peace: “We must honestly tell young people that it is dangerous to vote for the DPP, which ‘exalts Taiwan independence and hates and opposes China’.” This is Gou’s second bid for the presidential nomination—which he failed to secure in 2019. (Quartz)
Semester board exams for Class 12?
A government-appointed panel is expected to recommend a series of sweeping changes to the board exam system. According to its proposal, Class 12 kids will take board exams twice a year. They can decide which subjects they will be tested on in any given semester. This is the first step towards on-demand exams envisioned by the new National Education Policy (NEP). Students will also be required to take a mix of interdisciplinary courses in Classes 11 and 12—rather than specialise in science, arts etc. Indian Express has more on how that will work.
Amazon India’s brand new deal
The company has inked a broad-ranging partnership agreement with the Indian government to support certain kinds of content. It will stream speeches of President Murmu and PM Modi on Prime, promote books on Indian culture on its ecommerce platform and showcase Indian music on Amazon Music and Alexa. Also getting a boost on Prime and miniTV: content from the National Film Development Corporation, Doordarshan and the International Film Festival of India. We can’t wait: A Mann Ki Baat special on Amazon Prime. (The Hindu)
Moderate drinking isn’t good for you…
The context: Back in the 1980s, scientists identified the ‘French Paradox’—which linked lower cardiovascular disease with drinking wine every day. Since then, most research has affirmed the notion that a glass or two is actually good for you.
What happened now: A new study that reviewed the research for the past 40 years claims that most of these studies were flawed:
Scientists said that the older studies failed to recognize that light and moderate drinkers had myriad other healthy habits and advantages, and that the abstainers used as a comparison group often included former drinkers who had given up alcohol after developing health problems.
In fact, the risk of premature death increases significantly for women who drink 25 grams of alcohol a day—which is less than two standard cocktails containing 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, two 12-ounce beers or two 5-ounce glasses of wine. For men, the risk spikes with 45 grams of alcohol a day, or just over three drinks. (The New York Times)
Amsterdam embraces ‘clean aviation’
Private jets may no longer be able to land in Schiphol airport starting in 2025. The airport also wants to ban late night and early morning flights to curb noise pollution. And it has scrapped plans to build a new runway. Aircraft that fly via Amsterdam will also have to follow stricter environmental standards. FYI: Amsterdam is the fourth busiest airport in Europe—and the most used airport in private aviation. Emissions from Private jets at Schiphol have skyrocketed 683% from 2020 to 2022. (Quartz)
Speaking of airports: According to the latest annual rankings, the top four most busiest airports in the world are in the US—with Atlanta coming in at #1. Dubai came in at #5—followed by London—and New Delhi was ranked #9. The number of global travellers increased to nearly 7 billion in 2022—a 54% increase from 2021. But we won’t hit pre-pandemic levels until 2024. (CNN)
A high global rate of infertility
According to the WHO, one in six people in the world struggle to conceive. The organisation defined infertility as the inability to achieve a pregnancy after at least 12 months of regular unprotected sex. And the reports found little difference in the rate of infertility between wealthy and poor nations. But here’s what is different:
People in the poorest countries spend a greater proportion of their income on fertility care compared with people in wealthier countries, the report says. High costs prevent people from accessing infertility treatments or can catapult them into poverty as a consequence of seeking care, it adds.
But the research was unable to identify the key drivers of infertility. The Guardian has more details.
A tiger personality test
While humans have five dimensions of personality—openness, neuroticism etc—Siberian tigers have two: “majesty” and “steadiness.” A new study of 248 tigers in the Chinese Harbin reserve arrived at this conclusion after surveying the wardens:
A high score for the former [majesty] encompassed high ratings for words such as dignified, imposing and agile but low ratings on words like withdrawn or feeble. A high “steadiness” score was associated with high ratings on words like loving, obedient and quiet, but low ratings for words such as aggressive or cruel.
FYI: The ‘majestic’ variety hunt and get laid more often—and often have higher status. Still waiting for enneagrams for big cats. (The Guardian)
Rupert Murdoch, still single
The 92-year-old media baron surprised the world when he announced his engagement to a former police chaplain—who was poised to be his fifth wife. Sadly, the nuptials have been called off. We have no official explanation but Vanity Fair quotes a Murdoch source who claims “he had become increasingly uncomfortable with Smith’s outspoken evangelical views.”
Three things to see
One: Say hello to the first Apple store India in Mumbai—on Jio World Drive because all roads in India lead to Mukesh-bhai, of course. The decor is apparently inspired by the city’s iconic kaali peeli taxi art—i.e “colourful interpretations of the decals.” (Mint)
Two: The Indian Express reminded us why newspapers still matter in a world of screens. Some headlines speak a million words. The story is here.
Three: The most notable bit about this ‘Barbie’ trailer may be Ryan Gosling’s astonishing resemblance to Ellen DeGeneres. Some fans are being mean about it, but anything is an improvement on the original Ken.