Week #6: Looking East

Week #6: Looking East

December 07 to December 13, 2015. Week #6


The Big National News

The Japanese Prime Minister is here on a three-day visit.

After months of touring other nations, our PM, for a change, is hosting this time. The guest? His counterpart from Japan Mr Shinzo Abe.

This is a high profile visit with a lot of exciting possibilities. If all goes well – as it certainly seems to be – we could be looking at a long-term partnership with Japan on multiple fronts.

So what’s the visit about?

Continue reading “Week #6: Looking East”

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Weeks #4 and #5: Dissent and Deceit

Weeks #4 and #5: Dissent and Deceit

November 23 to November 29, 2015. Week #4.
November 30 to December 06, 2015. Week #5.


The Big National News

“It’s your privilege that I tolerate you.”

This seems to be the new YOLO. People losing their shit over some screwed up interpretation of a very fundamental founding principle of civilised society – coexistence.

What the hell are you talking about?

Well, if, in the past fortnight, you didn’t once come across the word “intolerance” then you are definitely on the wrong website. Go watch Bigg Boss.

This is what has happened. Aamir Khan said his wife feels threatened sometimes and wondered if they should move out of India. That’s it. That was it! The media went full retard.

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A complaint was lodged with the Delhi Police (obviously, because that’s the solution) against Aamir over the remarks. Meanwhile, hundreds of activists of the Hindu Sena on Tuesday staged a loud demonstration outside Khan’s residence in Mumbai against his statement on intolerance. They were detained by the police and security beefed up around Aamir’s house.

Further stoking the ongoing debate on the rising intolerance in the country, BJP parliamentarian Yogi Adityanath said that people were free to leave as it will reduce the country’s population.

That’s right. Mr Yogi has found the solution to India’s population problem: emigration in ones and twos.

Read the full report here.

Meanwhile, Chennai continued to drown.

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Things have gotten worse in the Tamil Nadu Capital as rains have returned with no signs of relief in sight.

Floods in Chennai

For the first time in history, all three wings of the Indian Armed Forces have had to coordinate and work in tandem against an internal disturbance.

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That’s the airport for you. Looks more like a shipyard, innit?

Read Quartz India’s report on Why Chennai Keeps Going Underwater?


Other National News

The tech-savvy PM.

Our Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi ji prides himself in his ability to use the technology. But this time he went a step too far. Press Information Bureau of India (PIB), released this image of the PM surveying the Chennai floods:

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Turns out, the image was FAKE!! The Twitterati found it and called out the PIB on it. And the internet being the internet, went tizzy spoofing it.Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 8.41.30 PM.png

So much so that even the Wall Street Journal picked it up.

A New Chief Justice.

Supreme Court judge T S Thakur was sworn in as 43rd Chief Justice of India. Justice Thakur took over from Justice H L Dattu who retired on Wednesday.

Speaking of, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to examine if social networking sites like Facebook and WhatsApp can be prosecuted for use of their platforms to circulate offensive and vulgar material but turned down a plea to block the sites.

So your social media is safe, for now! Read more.


International News

Paris Climate Conference, 2015, a.k.a. COP21

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COP21, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

The world leaders are grappling with a problem they are nowhere near solving: how to ensure a future that keeps the planet’s climate livable. One week in, there are reasons to be very worried—and some hopeful notes.

The talks have rolled over huge potholes on the road to change. Coal power plants are still being built apiece. Big sources of emissions, like the meat industry, are absent from negotiations. And climate-change skeptics are finding sneaky new ways to derail progress.

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Paris marks the first time all countries—not just developed ones—have been truly involved in the emission-cutting process. That’s thrown up the problem of fairness: in order to grow their economies, countries like India plan to use vastly more energy in coming years. That means more emissions—but why should they limit the prospects of their people to balance rich nations’ carbon debt?

Things still look deeply gloomy for many. Kiribati, a low-lying island nation in the central Pacific, faces the need to relocate 100,000 people, as rising sea levels flood homes and contaminate water. Some say it’s already too late to prevent the people of such states becoming “climate refugees.”

International meetings on emissions have a patchy record. But things are being done better this time. Nations submitted their plans ahead of the conference, rather than at it. The meeting is more effectively organized; leaders made a diplomatic show at the start rather turning up at the end to broker last-ditch deals. Will it be enough? In one more week, we might know.


Hot on the Internet

OnePlus Two goes invite-less.

The Chinese smartphone manufacturing company has finally gotten rid of its invite-only purchase policy. On the brink of its second anniversary, OnePlus has scrapped the ‘invite’ requirement for the OnePlus 2 smartphone. Starting next week, the phone becomes open to public.

Oh! And the Game of Thrones Season 6 Teaser is OUT!!!


This Shit is Weird

Seeing as this post is already very long, I had almost decided to skip this section. But then I found this brand new video from PSY. (Remember Gangnam Style?). The video is not even a week old and it’s already been viewed close to 30 million times!

Well, now you know where he got it from!!


That’s it for this week. See you next Sunday. And don’t forget to subscribe!!

Week #3: A Drowning City

Week #3: A Drowning City

November 16 to November 22, 2015. Week #3


The Big National News

Over the week, a massive flood engulfed the city of Chennai, bringing life to a standstill. Over a 100 dead and over 12000 people evacuated. (Full report)

How did it happen?

After three days of intermittent rainstorms, Chennai records 245 mm of rain. The Chennai Meteorological Department had been forecasting the onset of a harsh monsoon for the last two months. When it did arrive no one quite believed it was happening.

So it was Nature’s fault!

Not quite.

Over the years, water bodies across the city have been filled up and built upon, often by politicians with interests in the real estate business, say environmentalists. The result:  During incessant rains, water overflows and floods the city.

And this was not the first time either. After the Tsunami moment in 2004, floods due to the monsoon/human causes came in 2005, 2010, 2013 and now 2015.

How did I miss it?

Like the hook of an out-of-form batsman, the floods were terribly timed.

“In the wake of the horrors recorded by and on the international networks about the terror strikes in Paris, Chennai’s ordeal is irretrievably local. In a city of five million, or thereabouts, a hundred dead, or thereabouts, does not warrant too much media space.” Says Geeta Doctor in this first person account of the disaster.

How are the people doing?

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has sought help from the Army to launch relief and rescue on a war footing.

Nine National Disaster Response Force teams are working in Tamil Nadu, besides state teams.

As many areas in Chennai have been inundated, road traffic has been severely hit and schools and colleges have been ordered to remain closed till Tuesday. Boats are being used in flooded areas to rescue stranded people.

Schools and colleges in Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram have been ordered to remain closed till further notice. Anna University has postponed exams scheduled to take place from November 16-18.

And of course, you can now order an Ola Boat in Chennai!

Click here for more photos.


Other National News

Seventh Pay Commission

The Seventh Pay Commission on Thursday recommended an increase in pay and allowances of 23.55%, a 24% rise in pensions and one-rank-one-pension for central government employees and paramilitary personnel. These changes are estimated to cost an extra Rs 1.02 lakh crore to the government in 2016-17.

Why? Because the government employees need to be fairly compensated for the work they are not doing!

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New Missiles in the Arsenal 

The nuclear-capable surface-to-surface Agni-IV missile successfully test-fired by the Indian Army from newly named Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast.

Capable of hitting a target at a distance of 4,000 km, the missile is equipped with 5th generation onboard computer and distributed architecture. It has the latest features to correct and guide itself for in-flight disturbances.


International News

Paris Blasts continue to be the hot topic of discussion in the international space. Things are getting really heated up now with Russia continuously bombing Syria.

Note: A special post covering the Paris Blasts exclusively is coming soon.


This Shit is Weird

You think your name is not fine?

The internet won yet again when it found a guy called “Phuc Dat Bich”. No seriously, that’s his real name!

Read the full story here.

Also, you know the world is losing it when Oxford Dictionary names an “emoji” the  Word-of-the-Year!!


Hot on the Internet

Recreating History

A team of Greek architects, engineers, and archeologists have come up with an ambitious plan to recreate the iconic Colossus of Rhodes as a brand new construction project, using twenty-first century standards, techniques, and technologies.

Rather than standing one hundred feet tall, their proposed Colossus would tower nearly five times as high—almost five hundred feet—and contain a cultural center, library, exhibition hall, and lighthouse to look out over the Rhodes harbor.

Read more about this wonderful project.


That’s it for this week. See you next Sunday. And don’t forget to subscribe!!

Week #2: History is For Fools

Week #2: History is For Fools

November 8 to November 15, 2015. Week #2


The Big National News

After much hullabaloo on matters like church attacks, beef ban, cow slaughter and Dadri lynching, the point of debate now moves down south to Tipu Sultan.

On November 10th, the Congress government of Siddaramaiah in Karnataka stirred up the hornet’s nest by celebrating the first ever “Tipu Jayanti“.

Reasons being the 18th-century ruler of Mysore was a “secular ruler”, “a model king in the entire country” and “a section of people criticise him out of prejudice”.

The chief minister’s contention was widely contested. The protests turned violent and a VHP leader was allegedly hacked to death. Several others suffered grave injuries.

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My God!! Our politics is the true reality TV. In your face, Bigg Boss!!

Read the Logical Indian’s excellent ‘for’ and ‘against’ discussion of the real roots of Tipu Sultan. Other Readings: DailyO; The Hindu; Indian Express


Other National News

Celebrating Human Spirit:

In a historic move, the state of Kerala has become the first in the country to roll out a transgender policy, a first of its kind, envisaging to end the societal stigma towards the sexual minority group and ensure them non-discriminatory treatment.

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The policy ensures them equal access to social and economic opportunities, resources and services, the right to equal treatment under the law, the right to live life without violence and an equitable right in all decision-making bodies.

Battling Tough Questions:

Prime Minister Modi is out touring the UK, and he faced some proverbial chin music in his inaugural press conference at London. Modiji—who hasn’t held a proper presser in India yet—was forced to face a couple of difficult questions.

The first came from the BBC, which after asking Cameron why it took Modi so long to make a state visit, simply posed: “Prime minister Modi, India is becoming an increasingly intolerant place. Why?”
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Many such came to both the PMs. Watch the full video.

Railway Tickets Update:

Starting November 12, you can book a railway ticket online 30 minutes prior to the departure of a train. Indian Railways has also made changes in its system of preparation of chart, which would now be prepared twice.

First reservation chart would be prepared four hours prior to departure of a train while second and final one, 30 minutes before the train departs. Find more details here.


International News

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that smoking pot is a fundamental human right and has given four people the right to grow marijuana. Yes, four. For now. This whole marijuana legalization movement is really kicking into overdrive, with pot-friendly Canadian Justin Trudeau being sworn in, the UN calling to decriminalize all drugs and Ireland deciding that ‘it is a good idea‘. 

Note: I will cover the Paris terrorist attacks in the next week’s issue, so as to give a more detailed coverage.


This Shit is Weird

“Nu Couché”: The name of a painting that you can’t afford. By the artist Amedeo Modigliani. It sold for $170.4 million at a Christie’s auction, aka the second highest price ever paid for an artwork at an auction.

Find the painting here
Warning: Contains nudity. Duh! Coz the name itself mean “Reclining Nude“. These French people, I tell you!

Speaking of crazy:

#ALLMYMOVIES — What Shia LaBeouf is calling his latest ‘performance.’ He’s invited people to watch him watch every Shia LaBeouf movie in reverse chronological order.


Hot on the Internet

Google launches the YouTube Music App

Google brings the incredible power of YouTube to music streaming. With over 1 billion active users already, it is miles ahead of the (now) second best Spotify, which has only 75 million users.

Google promises that using the app will be“an endless discovery journey.” Translation: The “play next” suggestions will be dead on accurate and immensely inviting, and you will end up spending hours on the app. Just like you do on YouTube. Life 0 – 1 Google.

Read the in-depth review by WIRED.
Download the Android or iOS app.


Diwali Bonus – This funny video by EIC!!


That’s it for this week. See you next Sunday. And don’t forget to subscribe!!

Week #1: The Homecoming King

Week #1: The Homecoming King

November 1 to November 7, 2015. Week #1


The Big National News

Chotta Rajan is apprehended in Indonesia.

Real name Rajendra Nikalje (no wonder he wanted an alias)

WANTED since 27 years in India for over 70 cases of murder, drug trafficking and extortion (basically he is a seasoned all-rounder)

Rajan and Dawood were close aides until they fell out after the 1993 Mumbai blasts, which Dawood was accused of masterminding. There have been several attempts on Rajan’s life by Dawood’s gang-members. (If you are wondering where you heard this before? Once Upon a Time in Mumbai!!)

Rajan says he’ll cooperate with RAW and give up Dawood if offered a reduced sentence. (Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, Dobara!!)

Sanjay Gupta to make a film on him; Chotta Rajan will be played by Abhishek Bachchan. (Don’t bother waiting for it. It’s gonna suck!)


Other National News

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Image from Twitter

Bihar Elections: BJP loses another high-profile Assembly Election. Nitish Kumar will continue to be Bihar’s CM (for a third term); this time heading a coalition government (JDU+). 

Railway Tickets: Railway doubles cancellation fees. No Refund after the departure of the train. New rules effective Nov 12. Read more here.

IND vs SA First Test: The match ended on the third day itself. The track turned like our politicians after elections and Indian spinners had a blast while the Proteas bundled out a 108 runs short of the target. Good times! Full Scorecard.


International News

Last week, a Russian plane crashed over Egypt.

Russian officials initially said the plane broke up in midair, and that it was most likely a technical failure. But then this morning, the airline said the crash was probably caused by an “external influence.”

Meanwhile, a militant group connected to ISIS claimed responsibility, saying it was payback for Russian airstrikes in Syria. But Russian and Egyptian officials are saying ‘doubt it,’ since that group isn’t thought to have the kind of weapons needed to carry out this attack.

Read the full report on TheSkimm


This Shit is Weird

UN learns from our BJP MPs: 

Staff at the United Nations downloaded and shared child porn, transported roughly 380 pounds of weed in an office vehicle, and repeatedly threatened each other with murder, according to an annual report on disciplinary matters issued by the international organization.  Such Wow, Much Amaze!


Hot on the Internet:

You must have seen the hashtag #NaNoWriMo. It’s short for National Novel Writing Month, that is November. Every year, writers across the globe sit down to challenge themselves to complete a novel in just a month. This month.

You maybe a week late, but better late than never! So bring out that old typewriter from the attic and type away!!


That’s it for this week. See you next Sunday. And don’t forget to subscribe!!