Researched by: Nirmal Bhansali, Aarthi Ramnath, Anannya Parekh, Niveditha Ajay & Rhea Saincher
Two shocking developments in Brit politics
Nicola Sturgeon: The former first minister of Scotland was briefly arrested and questioned in connection to an investigation into financial misconduct. She was released without charges but has not been cleared. The police are investigating allegations that Sturgeon’s party—Scottish National Party—misspent £600,000 ($754,000) in donations for a Scottish independence campaign. They are also looking at her husband, Peter Murrell, the former chief executive of the SNP—who was also briefly arrested in April.
Reminder: Sturgeon resigned in February saying she knew “in my head and in my heart” that it was the right time for her to step down. The last SNP leader to be arrested was Sturgeon’s predecessor as first minister, Alex Salmond. He was charged with 13 separate sexual offenses—including attempted rape—acquitted after a trial in January 2020. So Sturgeon’s problems are far less sordid. The Guardian has more details. Associated Press offers more context.
Boris Johnson: resigned as Member of Parliament—ending his 22-year political career. The reason: an investigative committee found him guilty of holding boozy parties at 10 Downing Street during the pandemic lockdown (see: our Big Story on Partygate)—and then lying when questioned about it in Parliament. Johnson stepped down in protest before he could be suspended. Washington Post has more on the investigation—while Vox looks at what Johnson’s resignation means for the Tories.
Wrestlers’ #MeToo protest: The latest update
The context: Since January, Indian wrestlers have been protesting alleged widespread sexual abuse in the sport. And it starts at the top—with wrestling federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh—who is also a BJP MP. For details on the sexual abuse, see our Big Story. The protest has been suspended until June 15 after the government assured the wrestlers that a charge sheet against Brij Bhushan will be filed by that date.
What happened now: Two top women wrestlers who have accused Brij Bhushan of inappropriately touching their breasts and stomach have been asked to produce ‘proof’ of the violations. The police is demanding photos or audio/video evidence:
The police asked the complainants to furnish the date and time of the alleged incidents, the time they spent at the WFI office, and names of their roommates and other potential witnesses especially when they were overseas. Police have also wanted details of the hotel where one of the wrestlers stayed when she visited the WFI office.
Indian Express has more details on the demands. Meanwhile, Brij Bhushan held a 50-jeep, 35 km roadshow in Uttar Pradesh—draped in a shawl bearing PM Modi’s image. He defiantly declared: “Kaiserganj Lok Sabha se chunav ladunga, ladunga, ladunga” (I will fight the election from the Kaiserganj Lok Sabha seat).
The Balasore train tragedy: Proof of human error?
The context: 288 people died and 1,000 people were injured when three trains collided in Odisha. The Railway Ministry asked for a CBI probe—claiming it was the result of a “criminal act.” Officials claimed this was a case of sabotage—with evidence of tampering. We did a Big Story explaining all the complicated details of the train crash.
What happened now: According to a Reuters investigation, an internal railway safety probe has found that railway workers may have manually bypassed the automated signalling system. But the motive was not malicious. The problem may have started with a barrier at the nearby railway crossing—to control road traffic. It had been malfunctioning for months—and was frequently repaired:
When there was a fault, the barrier would remain stuck in the closed position and had to be manually opened by railway workers, the residents said. If the barrier was open, the automated signal system would not allow a train to go past the rail-road crossing.
The preliminary probe suggests that railway workers bypassed the signalling system to fix the barrier. FYI: these kinds of interventions are common. This in turn resulted in the Coromandel Express being diverted to the wrong track—where it crashed into a goods train. Reuters has lots more details.
There’s a new Soros in town
According to the Wall Street Journal, billionaire George Soros—universally loathed by the political right—is headed for retirement. He is handing “control of his $25 billion empire to a younger son—Alexander Soros, a self-described centre-left thinker who grew up self-conscious of the family’s wealth and wasn’t thought to be a potential successor.” Alex says he is “more political” than his father—which puts him on track to inherit his father’s legacy in more ways than one:) Wall Street Journal (splainer gift link) has the exclusive—and an interview with the heir apparent.
Three big sports victories
WTC final: Australia walloped India by 209 runs in the World Test Championship finals. The match was riddled with “dropped catches, wickets off no-balls, and rash shots.” India lost seven wickets while adding only 70 runs on the final day. Yeah, it wasn’t our finest hour.
In the blame-mongering that ensued, the chief villains were selectors—who chose to bench one of India’s best bowlers R Ashwin. Meanwhile, Ravi Shastri suggested players should have chosen to sit out the IPL—which gave them only 20 days to practise before the final. But the fans were more irate at the cricket board for prioritising the IPL—and not giving players time to recover.
Captain Rohit Sharma didn’t earn himself any love by making all sorts of excuses. He suggested changing the format to a three-match final, holding the final in March not June—and not in England—and blamed the debacle on bad bowling. FYI: none of the top four batsmen—Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli—scored the runs needed to stay in the game.
A tiny bit of good news: Disney+ Hotstar will stream the Asia Cup and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup free for all smartphone users. (Economic Times)
Champions League: Manchester City won the trophy for the very first time in its history—scoring a thrilling 1-0 victory over Inter Milan. It is the second English club to win the three leagues—including the FA Cup and Premier League—since Manchester United in 1998. Of course, this seals coach Pep Guardiola’s place in the pantheon of football gods. The Guardian has an overview of the finals, and BBC Sport has more on what this means for ManCity’s legacy. You can see an emotional Pep celebrating below:
French Open: Novak Djokovic won his 23rd Grand Slam title on Sunday—defeating Casper Ruud 7-6 (1), 6-3, 7-5. He has surpassed Rafael Nadal for the most major tournament titles. New York Times has a lovely piece on what this win means for Djoko. Watch his reaction when he won below:
And there was this adorable moment with his daughter—who was waiting patiently for dad:
On the women’s side, 22-year old Iga Swiatek won her 3rd French Open in four years– beating Karolina Kuchova 6-2, 5-7, 6-4. The Guardian has more on her achievement. Also: this sweet photo of her posing with the trophy:
Netflix’s password strategy is a win!
The platform began cracking down on account-sharing in May—and has been rewarded with 100,000 new subscribers—added over just two days. Netflix had its “four single largest days” of new user sign-ups in the US. This is great news for the company—which has been punished at the stock market for its diving user numbers. Its share price has jumped by 27% over the last month. Of course, 100,000 is just a drop in the ocean compared to the estimated 100 million users who share an account. (CNN)
Two things to see
One: Here’s another reason to dislike the entitlement of British royalty. On Saturday, guards at a royal military parade were forced to march in 30°C temperature in woollen tunics and bearskin hats—for the benefit of Prince William. Unsurprisingly, a number of them fainted and had to be taken away on stretchers. William later tweeted: "A big thank you to every soldier who took part in the Colonel's Review this morning in the heat. Difficult conditions but you all did a really good job." Aww, that’s nice. You can see how messed up this is in the clip below. (CBS News)