Researched by: Nirmal Bhansali & Anannya Parekh
China slides into deflation
New data shows that prices of consumer goods and prices have fallen in the country for the first time in two years. The cost of food, transportation, and household goods all declined in July. In particular, pork prices were down 26%, and vegetable prices were down 1.5%. The last time prices went down was in 2021—but for good reason: the pandemic. Why this is worrying: it’s a sign of weakening consumer demand—and comes amid concerns that the Chinese economy is stagnating. Experts are blaming China’s unusual situation on the government’s refusal to invest in a significant post-pandemic stimulus package. (CNN)
Also doing poorly: WeWork—which warned it may shut down in its regulatory filings: “Substantial doubt exists about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.” But the rise of ‘hybrid working’—a combo of going to office and working from home—may offer an opportunity for a comeback. (Quartz)
World Cup schedule: The latest changes
The dates of nine games have been changed—including the hotly anticipated contest between India and Pakistan. That match has been moved forward by one day—to October 14—so it doesn’t coincide with the first day of Navratri. This has a domino effect on other games—since teams need at least two days to rest between matches. The Telegraph has all the changes.
Good/bad news for WhatsApp users
The messaging service will let you do all sorts of things on your video call—like share your documents, photos, and even your shopping cart. This comes accompanied by support for landscape mode. What this means: those interminable Google Meet calls may soon be replaced by interminable WhatsApp Meet calls. Sigh. See the screenshot below. (TechCrunch)
The digital privacy bill become law
The highly problematic bill that offers citizens very little protection from government snooping was passed in the Parliament—without opposition (See: our Big Story on the bill). In fact, there was no debate because opposition leaders in the Rajya Sabha did not show up for the vote in protest. What to look for: if someone will file a petition challenging the law’s constitutionality. You can see the empty Rajya Sabha below—it’s truly depressing. (TechCrunch)
Goodbye Kerala, hello Keralam
The legislature passed a unanimous resolution demanding the union government to change the name of the state—from Kerala to Keralam—which is how the state is referred to in Malayalam. FYI: this will require a constitutional amendment since the Constitution contains references to Kerala. What caught our eye was this line in the resolution: “Urgent measures are needed, under Article 3 of the Constitution, to amend it as ‘Keralam.’” Lol. (The Hindu)
Pension paisa for PR campaigns
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has found that many states used funds allotted to the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) to fund PR campaigns. Much of this money was meant to be distributed as part of rural pension schemes. But the governments instead spent the money on giant hoardings advertising various welfare programs. We are speechless. (Indian Express)
MTV erases male pop stars
We usually complain about ‘manels’—without a single woman speaker—at conferences etc. But MTV seems to have leaned a bit too hard in the other direction. There isn’t a single male nominee for their biggest categories in the Video Music Awards—Video of the Year and Artist of the Year. This is unprecedented:
The largely female dominance in the category (Sam Smith identifies as non-binary) comes as a first for the award show, which has long seen a strong, at times overwhelming, male showing for Video of the Year. Prominent past male winners have included Justin Timberlake, Kendrick Lamar, Panic! at the Disco, and, most recently, The Weeknd, who took home the title in 2020.
The women, however, have been nominated in multiple categories. Taylor Swift has landed eight nominations—while Doja Cat, Kim Petras, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Olivia Rodrigo have five each. (InStyle)
Two things to see
One: The debate over a no-confidence motion tabled by the Opposition—against the PM—sparked an unexpected controversy. This is the BJP version of what happened:
Rahul Gandhi misbehaved with women members inside Parliament by giving a flying kiss. After his speech, he wanted to go out as Smriti Irani ji started speaking. We, the BJP members, asked him to sit and listen to her. But Rahul Gandhi blew a flying kiss to Smriti ji and all the women members and walked away. It is totally unacceptable, inappropriate and indecent behaviour of a member.
Two: A new Holocaust museum is being built—but not in the real world. It will be part of the wildly popular video game Fortnite:
The virtual building, called the Voices of the Forgotten Museum, will let players walk its halls to read plaques describing the genocide against Jews in Nazi Germany and see photos of Jewish resistance fighters and heroic individuals who sheltered Jews.