Researched by: Rachel John, Nirmal Bhansali, Aarthi Ramnath & Anannya Parekh
A wildfire nightmare in Hawaii
A raging wildfire on the coastal town of Lahaina in Maui has claimed 93 lives—and that number is expected to rise. It is the deadliest US wildfire in over a century. At least 1,000 have been reported to be missing, while over 1,400 people have taken refuge in emergency shelters. The fires were stoked by strong winds during Hurricane Dora—giving the blaze unprecedented speed and strength:
The fire hit the coastal town so quickly and caught officials so off-guard that emergency sirens didn’t sound. Many panicked residents were unable to flee on the town’s one clogged highway and took boats or swam to safety, if they were able to escape at all.
CNN has more details on the wildfire.
Yet another Adani controversy
Deloitte India has resigned as Adani Port’s statutory auditor for a variety of reasons—that hint at financial impropriety:
The Indian unit of Deloitte raised concerns in May over transactions between Adani Ports and three entities that Adani said were unrelated parties. Deloitte said at the time it couldn’t verify Adani’s claims or determine if the business was fully compliant with local laws.
These include some flagged by the infamous Hindenburg report (explained in this Big Story) Point to note: Deloitte also quit as the auditor for Byju’s for similar concerns over bookkeeping (explained here). Bloomberg News (paywall) and The Telegraph have more details.
Also showing signs of trouble: OpenAI—which may go broke by the end of 2024. At least that’s what a report in Analytics India magazine claims. The key reasons: plummeting number of users, open source rivals and staggering losses due to the costs of running ChatGPT—which costs $700,000 per day. (Mint)
Worrying news about acid reflux meds
Proton pump inhibitors target enzymes in the abdomen that produce acid—to give relief to those suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD—a serious form of acid reflux. According to a new study, long-term use of these PPIs is linked to a higher risk of dementia. The research does not establish a cause-effect relationship, but researchers advise patients to talk to their doctors to figure out the best course of action. Washington Post has lots more on the study.
Meanwhile, in India: The National Medical Commission has issued new rules that will punish doctors who prescribe branded meds—instead of the far less expensive generic variety. The penalties include:
In case of violations, a doctor may be given a warning to be more careful about the regulations or instructed to attend a workshop or academic programme on ethics, personal and social relations, and/or professional training. On repeated violations, the doctor's licence to practise may be suspended for a particular period, the regulations said.
Lost cheetah is finally found
As you know, the greatly hyped Cheetah Project is falling apart. As of now, nine have died—including three cubs—due to a variety of reasons (See: our Big Story). To top it all off, officials lost track of the only remaining cheetah left in the wild—an adult female who went missing when her radio collar stopped working on July 21. Authorities launched an intense cheetah hunt that included more than 100 field staff—plus two drone teams, a dog squad and a number of elephants. Nirva has finally been tracked down and brought into one of the enclosures—which now house the remaining 15 cheetahs. (The Telegraph)
A big fat copyright lawsuit
Internet Archive is a non profit website that offers free access to digitised versions of audio recordings, books etc.—and considers itself the equivalent of a public library. But the world’s biggest music labels disagree. Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and others have sued the website for behaving like an “illegal store”—by distributing 2,749 audio recordings of Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra etc. And they are looking for $412 million in damages. Point to note: Internet Archive was also sued by major book publishers for the same reason. It lost the case, and has filed an appeal. (Rolling Stone, paywall, Reuters)
Three sports stories of note
Hockey: The Indian men’s team beat Malaysia to win the Asian Champions Trophy in Chennai on Saturday. This is the fourth time they have won this championship, making them the most successful team in its history. The Hindu and Hindustan Times have the highlights of the thrilling match. Watch the fireworks go off at the winning moment below.
Football: The US Congress called on FIFA—the sport’s governing body—to recognize the exiled Afghan team. Its members have been living in Australia after fleeing the Taliban—which has banned all women’s sport. The international pressure coincides with the knockout stage of the Women’s World Cup—where Australia and France made history with the longest penalty shoot out. The Aussies won the quarter-final 7-6—after a tightly contested match that was tied at 0-0. This will be the first ever. (Associated Press)
Cricket: West Indies won the fifth and final T20 International by eight wickets. India lost the five-match series 3-2—handing Hardik Pandya his first defeat as captain in a bilateral series. (The Telegraph)
Three things to see
One: Scientists have identified two new types of mole—Talpa hakkariensis and Talpa davidiana tatvanensis—in the mountains of Turkey. At least one is a completely new species—which is why this is a big deal:
It is very rare to find new species of mammals today. There are only around 6,500 mammal species that have been identified across the world and, by comparison, there are around 400,000 species of beetles known, with an estimated 1m to 2m on Earth.
Ok, so they don’t look all that special. (The Guardian)
Two: The September edition of Vogue will recreate an iconic 1990 cover featuring Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford—which ushered in the age of supermodels. This is the 30-year-old image:
Three: Veteran director Vidhu Vinod Chopra—best known for ‘Parinda’, ‘1942: A Love Story’ and ‘Mission Kashmir’—is back with a new flick. Titled ‘12th Fail’, it stars Vikrant Massey just dropped and is based on Anurag Pathak's best-selling novel. It releases in theatres on October 27. The Hindu has more details.