Researched by: Rachel John, Nirmal Bhansali, Aarthi Ramnath, Priyanka Gulati & Smriti Arora
The Imran Khan comedy hour, continued
The context: Ever since Khan was ousted from power in April 2022, the former PM has been leading raucous rallies demanding fresh elections. The government, in turn, has slapped 70 cases—on charges ranging from corruption to posing a threat to the judiciary.
Where we are now: But arresting the man has proved challenging. When the cops showed up at his residence on March 5, Khan was not to be found. He simply waited out the police posse and resurfaced hours later to make fiery speeches on TV. Adding insult to injury, he even held a massive rally yesterday—to announce plans for a “historic rally” on Sunday.
But the courts have issued two fresh warrants for Khan—both of them non-bailable. And a new police posse has been sent from Islamabad to arrest him in Lahore. Though this time they are playing it safe: “Before Islamabad police leave for Zaman Park, they will contact Mr Khan's chief security officer.” We can’t stop laughing. (NDTV)
Pope Francis’ surprise move on celibacy
The context: Since the 12th century, the Catholic Church has demanded celibacy of its priests. The rule was first established to ensure they remained unmarried—without pesky wives or kids to make demands on their estate. Since then, some branches of Catholicism have relaxed the ‘no marriage’ rule—such as the Eastern Church. But for the most part, the Church has demanded its priests remain celibate singletons.
What happened now: In an interview with Argentinian media, Pope Francis unexpectedly indicated that he is open to ending the celibacy rule: “There is no contradiction for a priest to marry. Celibacy in the Western Church is a temporary prescription. It is not eternal like priestly ordination, which is forever.” And he indicated that the Vatican may follow the lead of the Eastern Church: “Yes, yes. In fact, everyone in the Eastern Church is married. Or those who want to. There they make a choice. Before ordination there is the choice to marry or to be celibate.” Well, yay for the priests. But what about the nuns? (The Telegraph, paywall)
Good news about extreme poverty
According to a new report, we may be able to eradicate ‘extreme poverty’ by 2050—reducing it to less than 2% of the world’s population. The current number is 8%. The term ‘extreme poverty’ refers to people who live on less than $2.15 (Rs 176.23) a day. Researchers predict that economic growth will eventually raise living standards—ensuring that most of us will have stable employment and incomes. Why this matters:
We know the world is going to look very different in 2050, and climate change is a huge concern for the future. But we can’t let it overshadow the fact that continued economic growth should leave almost no one in the most desperate poverty that was the lot of the vast majority of humanity for most of history, albeit decades after it could have been eradicated.
The Guardian has more on this rare bit of good news about the future.
And the #1 buyer of weapons is…
India! We are the world's biggest importer of major weapons and military equipment—accounting for 11% of the global arms trade between 2018 and 2022. This isn’t exactly surprising since we’ve occupied the top spot since 1993. Saudi Arabia is at #2—followed by Qatar, Australia and China. (The Telegraph)
Gary Lineker is back!
The football legend and host of BBC’s most popular football show has been reinstated. He was suspended for comparing the Sunak government’s new immigration policy to 1930s Nazi Germany in his tweet—which allegedly violated BBC’s rules of impartiality. But his suspension led to a widespread boycott by pundits, presenters and even players who refused to appear on-air in solidarity with Lineker.
The outcome: BBC has given in—and apologised:
Tim Davie, the director general of the BBC, apologised on Monday for the widespread disruption to sports programming over the weekend, and announced an independent review of the corporation’s internal social media guidelines.
Lineker thanked everyone for their support—but pointed out that his troubles don’t “compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away.” (The Guardian)
Monkeys trigger great archeological confusion
A new study reveals that monkeys in Thailand use stones as hammers and anvils to help them crack open nuts. Lovely, but here’s the bigger revelation: when they are busy whacking these nuts, the monkeys “accidentally create sharp flakes of rock that look like the stone cutting tools made by early humans.”
So archeologists may have long mistaken these ‘flakes’ for evidence of human-made tools. This ‘evidence’, in turn, was used to chart the progress of human technology—and date important events such as when humans entered South America:
[T]he manufacture of sharp cutting tools made of stone, which could date as far back to 3.3 million years ago, has long been seen as a key technological innovation in human history, one that's wrapped up in a host of assumptions about the evolution of unique human traits… "It has ramifications that range from, like, when did the first ever stone tools get made by early humans all the way to, like, when did people begin to move into South America," [paleoanthropologist Jessica Thompson] says.
NPR has more on this fascinating study.
And the hottest city in India is…
Mumbai—which recorded the highest temperature in the country twice in the past week. Parts of the city recorded temperatures of 35.8°C—a whopping four degrees above normal for this time of the year. Experts are blaming the unusual weather on the lack of sea breeze. (Hindustan Times)
IIM courses for the Taliban
The Afghan leadership has greenlit a four-day training program titled “Immersing with Indian Thoughts'' for its foreign ministry staff. The online course is offered by IIM Kozhikode—but is designed by the ministry of external affairs. Why this is interesting: New Delhi does not have any official diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and does not recognise the Taliban regime. (The Telegraph)
Paging all women founders!
SonderConnect is a wonderful mentoring and support network for women entrepreneurs. Every year, the organisation selects a stellar group of leaders for a four-day mentoring workshop—which also serves as a doorway to a valuable network of area experts and talented peers. Applications for the 2023 cohort are open now. Learn more and apply over at the SonderConnect website.
Full disclosure: Our founder Lakshmi Chaudhry is a member of the SonderConnect community—and an advocate of its value for women leaders.
Two things to see
One: It’s always nice when our netas display a sense of humour. The ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi party in Telangana welcomed BJP powerhouse Amit Shah with tongue-in-cheek hoardings inspired by the iconic ads for the Nirma washing powder. They make fun of leaders who defected to the BJP—and were miraculously washed of their ‘sins’—escaping law enforcement raids. (Hindustan Times)