THE HINDU
The Hindu, started in 1878 as a weekly, became a daily in 1889 and from then on has been steadily growing to the circulation of 15,58,379 copies (ABC: July-December 2012) and a readership of about 22.58 lakhs. The Hindu's independent editorial stand and its reliable and balanced presentation of the news have over the years, won for it the serious attention and regard of the people who matter in India and abroad. The Hindu uses modern facilities for news gathering, page composition and printing. It is printed in seventeen centres including the Main Edition at Chennai (Madras) where the Corporate Office is based. The printing centres at Coimbatore, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Madurai, Noida, Visakhapatnam, Thiruvanathapuram, Kochi, Vijayawada, Mangalore, Tiruchirapalli, Kolkata, Hubli, Mohali, Allahabad and Kozhikode are connected with high speed data lines for news transmission across the country. The Hindu with the Chennai Edition brings out supplements and features on all days of the week.
India’s Carjacking Monkeys: Animals Trained To Rob People In Rickshaws
India
Emma Flacard

India’s Carjacking Monkeys: Animals Trained To Rob People In Rickshaws

This was a different kind of monkey business. Police say they've arrested two men in New Delhi for allegedly using monkeys to rob people in motorized rickshaws.

The case came to light in early March, when a man in the Indian city's Malviya Nagar neighborhood reported that three men carrying monkeys had robbed him of ₹6,000 (about $80). The victim was sitting in an autorickshaw — a three-wheeled vehicle — when the men directed two monkeys to sit in the front and back seats, with one monkey snagging the man's wallet and running away, The Hindu Times reports.

Two of the three men were caught by the police on Thursday at a bus stand and later arrested. The monkeys were immediately handed over to the Wildlife SOS center, an animal rescue shelter, reports the Indian news site Mint. Police believe the primates had been captured from Tughlakabad Fort jungle about three months ago.

The suspects face charges for robbery, acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention, as well as violation of the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act.

The lockdown has created one of the highest recorded demand for jigsaw puzzles
BBC
Worldcrunch

Coronavirus — Global Brief: Quarantine Blues And The Power Of A Jigsaw Puzzle

The insidious path of COVID-19 across the planet is a reminder of how small the world has become. For the coming weeks, Worldcrunch will be delivering daily updates on this crisis from the best, most trusted international news sources — regardless of language or geography. To receive the daily Coronavirus Global Brief in your inbox, sign up here.


SPOTLIGHT: QUARANTINE BLUES AND THE POWER OF A JIGSAW PUZZLE

A sudden rush of stress, trouble sleeping or eating, overwhelming feelings of helplessness, general fatigue. Does it sound familiar? With approximately half the world still forced to live in lockdown, old and new psychological disorders are a widely diffused side-effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent study led by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 45% of Americans feel the current health crisis had impacted their mental health. In France, Le Figaro reported this week that 74% of adults in a recent survey developed sleeping disorders and 34% showed signs of psychological distress.

Humans are social animals — Aristotle taught us that 2,300 years before Mark Zuckerberg cashed in on the concept. And while we can acknowledge that our modern digital tools are providing instant links in the face of our respective quarantines, we are also seeing how crucial in-person interaction and stimuli are to the human experience. Those living alone or forced to put their professional activity on hold are particularly vulnerable to this enforced isolation.

Alongside the more severe threats to our emotional state is a seemingly less menacing effect: boredom. There is a fine line between enjoying some spare time to do nothing and repeatedly having nothing to do, especially when we yearn for distraction from the current uncertainty of the outside world. Board games that were piling up dust in the basement are seeing the light of day again and solo players indeed are able to play across the computer screen with friends and strangers.

Similarly, the lockdown has created one of the highest recorded demand for jigsaw puzzles, a pasttime whose time had seemed to have passed two or three generations ago. The American Puzzle Warehouse reported a jump of 2,000% in business compared to the same period last year. When the world seems to fall apart, putting back pieces together could be the ultimate satisfaction.

— Laure Gautherin


THE SITUATION: 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

  • Toll: Japan urges citizens to stay home today as new predictions warn that death toll that could reach 400,000 without tighter restrictions. Meanwhile the number killed by COVID-19 in the United States edges close to 30,000, and tops 15,000 in France.

  • WHO funding cut: President Donald Trump cut U.S. funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), blaming the organisation for mismanaging the outbreak of the global pandemic. Experts warn of risks in undermining the sole global coordinator of health contagions.

  • Markets: Stocks dip amid new forecasts that global economic crisis could be worst since the 1930s.

  • Oil Forecast: Oil demand is expected to take a sharp dive in April to a record low not seen in the last 25 years, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

  • Beijing embassy backlash: The Chinese ambassador was summoned by France, following a stream of controversial comments made by Beijing's embassy in Paris on what they perceived as the government's slow response to the coronavirus.

  • Back to school? Children in Denmark up to the age of 11-years-old are being welcomed back to school today, as the Prime Minister of Australia also considers reopening schools.

  • The Quarantine King: Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who'd been quarantining in a German hotel as the coronavirus ravages his country, finally left his ‘harem" lockdown and traveled 20,000 miles home for a national holiday.

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University students in Athens clash with police forces during a protest against a government bill that would allow the creation of a special campus police force and disciplinary councils in national universities.
CLARIN

The Latest: Biden's Myanmar Sanctions, China-India Breakthrough, Cinemas For Gamers

Welcome to Thursday, where the WHO has given the green light to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for all ages, U.S. imposes sanctions on Myanmar and we go to France for a big parenting fail. We also explore the troubled relationship between oil and politics in Venezuela.

• COVID-19 latest: The World Health Organization has backed the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for adults of all ages, even in people aged over 65, which some countries have advised against. The UK variant is likely to "sweep the world," says the head of genetic surveillance programme, as the strain, first identified in September 2020, has already been detected in 86 countries.

• Biden's Myanmar sanctions: U.S. President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to impose sanctions on the leaders of Myanmar's coup as well as to block access to $1 billion of government funds.

• Trump's trial: Prosecutors to wrap up their opening arguments on the third day of Donald Trump's impeachment trial. Day 2 was marked by the presentation of new, violent footage of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots which the former U.S. president stands accused of inciting.

• China-India breakthrough: India and China have begun pulling back troops from part of their disputed Himalayan border in what is seen as a breakthrough nine months after the deadly clash in Ladakh.

• Belarus' "People's Assembly": Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has launched an "All-Belarusian People's Assembly" of 2,700 delegates to ostensibly discuss constitutional reforms. Opponents say its a smokescreen for Lukashenko to consolidate power.

• Tokyo Olympics chief to step down: Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori is set to resign following "inappropriate" sexist comments about women, which sparked public debate in Japan about gender equality.

• Geeky piggys: Scientists in the U.S. have found that pigs can play video games with their snouts.

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India's 'chicken's neck'
India
Alaric Moras

The Chinese Dragon Breathing Down India's Chicken Neck

Geopolitical and historical intrigue could lead to war-mongering along the Indian-Chinese border, but an open conflict is highly unlikely.

Just a passing glance at a map of Asia, and you can't miss the contours of the more than 4,000-kilometer-long border between India and China, the world's two most populous countries. But it may require a closer look at that same map to see what is commonly dubbed: the "Chicken's Neck" of India.

This narrow stretch of land (less than 27-km-wide at one point) is formally known as the Siliguri Corridor, and lies in the state of West Bengal, connecting India's northeastern states to the rest of the country. It was created in 1947 after the partition of Bengal between India and Pakistan, and today is surrounded by the countries of Nepal and Bangladesh, and the tiny kingdom of Bhutan.

But today the Chicken Neck is back in the headlines because of China. This most vulnerable point in India's geography appears to have pushed Delhi's unusually aggressive move in Dok La, a region comprising Bhutan and China's disputed land border: On June 16th, Indian soldiers formed a human chain in the area, preventing Chinese incursion into the territory for road construction.

Soldiers of both armies have now pitched tents opposite each other, effectively creating a military standoff, as India and China face their deepest conflict since their month-long war in 1962.

The Chicken Neck (Siliguri Corridor) in red — Wikipedia

Asian geopolitics are never simple to understand: in this case, border tensions between Bhutan and China have led to a face-off between China and India. Authorities in Delhi claim to be acting in Bhutan's best interests, and with its consent, but there is more to the standoff than meets the eye. The presence of Chinese troops in the Dok La region would make it easy for China to take control of the corridor, and as a consequence isolate all of northeast India from the rest of the country.

But the more relevant question may be: Why now? Beyond the factors on the ground are the men in charge. The countries' current leaders, Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi, have each made it clear that they want to exert their influence beyond their respective borders. Xi has been busy flexing his muscles in the South China Sea, across the straits, and now, even in Africa.

Meanwhile, Modi, unlike his predecessors, has taken more hawkish stance with countries such as Pakistan and Nepal — most often to his detriment.

While previous leaders for the two countries have avoided open conflict for more than 40 years, the current territorial skirmishes, coupled with the leaders' global ambitions, begs the question of how much longer this peace will last.

Siliguri, India — Photo: Sayantani

Still, even as both sides declare their preparedness for war, it remains a highly unlikely outcome. Even as Bhutan remains sandwiched between the two countries, with China constantly threatening to make it a vassal state, it is hard to imagine the two continental powers going to war over a border conflict in the tiny Asian kingdom.

Though the two sides are currently showing no signs of backing down, neither Beijing nor Delhi are likely to let the situation degenerate to that point. The reason is simple: even more than global muscle-flexing, both China and India will do everything in their power in the pursuit of economic growth.