Researched by: Aarthi Ramnath & Anannya Parekh
A notable Pakistani visitor
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto landed in Goa for a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). It is the first visit of a foreign minister since Hina Rabbani Khar came to Delhi to meet her counterpart in 2011. Since then, the only other high ranking diplomat to visit India was a senior foreign affairs adviser to the prime minister in 2016. So it’s a pretty big deal… And yet, Bhutto’s Goa sojourn is unlikely to lead to any kind of diplomatic breakthrough. There are no plans on either side to meet on the sidelines of the summit. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has instead been busy talking to the foreign ministers of Russia—and even China! (France 24)
Death threats against Alt News founder
Mohammed Zubair—the co-founder of the fact-checking website—has filed an FIR naming 15 Twitter accounts. He says the users threatened his life. One of them even couriered pork to his residence—and then shared Zubair’s address on the platform. Zubair has been on the receiving end of death threats since March:
Among those who issued threats against Zubair are right-wing columnist Harshil Mehta and former OpIndia editor, Ajeet Bharti. “The plan is on. This time he will be totally circumcised so much that he'll need a pipe to urinate,” tweeted Bharti. Some users (here and here) suggested lone wolf attacks and “Akhlaq” like treatment.
Reminder: Mohammed Akhlaq was beaten to death by a mob on the suspicion of eating beef. (The News Minute)
No country for activists
According to a new report, Brazil is the most dangerous place in the world for human rights and labour activists. It recorded 63 attacks in 2022—followed by India (54) and Mexico (44). The eye-opening stat to note: “75% of the more than 550 attacks recorded worldwide were linked to people protecting land, climate or environmental rights, and one-fifth of the attacks were against Indigenous activists.”
Point to note: 43% of these attacks are linked to multinationals or their subsidiaries. In India, companies accounted for most of the violence. The report names and shames JSW Steel—a leading steel and coal manufacturer that is mired in a battle with villagers who oppose plans to construct a steel plant in Odisha. (Al Jazeera)
Farewell password, hello passkey
Google rolled out an alternative to passwords to help you safely log in online. The passkey lets you sign in to apps and sites the same way you unlock your devices—with a fingerprint, a face scan or a screen lock PIN. Passkeys are considered a safer alternative to passwords:
[U]nlike passwords, passkeys are more resistant to online attacks like phishing. They are also more secure than things like SMS one-time codes that can be intercepted by hackers. With passkeys, user’s authentication will synchronize across all their devices running Google account through the cloud using cryptographic key pairs.
It is only available for individual users right now—and will later be rolled out for business account holders. (Mint)
Lionel Messi says ‘see ya’ to PSG
The Argentinian legend will not be renewing his contract with Paris Saint Germain at the end of June—and is likely headed to Saudi Arabia. The news dashes the hopes of Barcelona fans who were hoping their hero would end his career at the club he long called home. Rumours are that Messi will be offered an annual paycheck of $400 million—which will make Cristiano Ronaldo’s eye-watering paycheck of $200 million look small. If that’s true, then Messi will also topple Ronaldo as the highest paid athlete in the world. And Messi will be joining Al-Hilal—which is the rival of Ronaldo’s club Al-Nassr.
Messi is in a rush to leave—and was recently suspended by PSG for two weeks for making an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia. FYI: he hasn’t been a big hit with the club’s fans either—and was repeatedly booed in recent matches. Then again, Ronaldo is still being booed in Saudi Arabia 🤷🏾♀️. (Telegraph UK, paywall, Yahoo News)
Also making moves: Michelle Obama—who is launching a food and beverage company called PLEZi Nutrition. It will offer healthier, great-tasting products for kids—starting with a fruit juice that contains 75% less sugar than its competitors. However, it is not as affordable. A four-pack of 8 ounce drinks will cost just under $4.00—which is a bit pricey given that a 60 ounce bottle of orange juice costs about the same in the US. That’s an odd choice for a former First Lady who was all about good nutrition for the working poor. (NPR)
Two things to see
One: Feeling hungry? Israeli food tech company Steakholder Foods can rustle up some 3-D printed fish fillet for you. How this works: cells from fish—specifically grouper—are extracted and grown into muscle and fat. Then a 'bio-ink' suited for special 3D printers is added to them. As for its taste: “It has the flakiness of traditional fish and when fried and seasoned it is hard to tell the difference.” You can see the process in the video below. (Reuters)
Two: The trailer for ‘Dune: Part 2’ just dropped. Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya are lovely but look: Christopher Walken! The movie hits theatres on November 3. (IndieWire)