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Society

India’s Women Are Fighting Air Pollution — And The Patriarchy

India is one of the world's worst countries for air pollution, with women more likely to be affected by the problem than men. Now, experts and activists are fighting to reframe pollution as a gendered health crisis.

MUMBAI In New Delhi, a city that has topped urban air-pollution charts in recent years, Shakuntala describes a discomfort that has become too familiar. Surrounded by bricks and austere buildings, she tells an interviewer: "The eyes burn and it becomes difficult to breathe". She is referring to the noxious fumes she routinely breathes as a construction worker.

Like Shakuntala, women’s experiences of polluted air fill every corner of their lives – inside homes, in parks and markets, on the way to work. Ambient air in most districts in India has never been worse than it is today. As many as 1.67 million people in the country die prematurely due to polluted air. It is India’s second largest health risk after malnutrition.

This risk of exposure to air pollution is compounded for women. Their experiences of toxic air are more frequent and often more hazardous. Yet “policies around air quality have not yet adequately taken into account gender or other factors that might influence people’s health,” Pallavi Pant, a senior scientist at the Health Effects Institute, a nonprofit in the U.S., told The Wire Science.

“It’s unacceptable that the biggest burden [rests on] those who can least bear it,” Sherebanu Frosh, an activist, added. People like her are building a unique resistance within India.

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Russia Announces Annexation, Aung San Suu Kyi Jailed, MIA Liz Truss

👋 Ia Orana!*

Welcome to Thursday, where Russia announces it will formally annex four Ukraine regions, Myanmar’s former leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is sentenced to three years in jail, and the inventor of the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker gets rewarded. Meanwhile, Persian-language Kayhan-London looks at the Iranian regime's tools in crushing opposition, in the light of recent mass unrest in the country.

[*yo-rah-nah - Tahitian]

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Commonwealth Countries Will Now Decide To Keep Calm, Or Move On

A difficult colonial history shared by 52 of the 56 current members of the Commonwealth was deftly obfuscated by pomp and circumstance. With the Queen’s passing, tensions may now bubble to the surface.

-Analysis-

NEW DELHI — Turning 21 on April 21, 1947, the then Princess Elizabeth in a broadcast from South Africa dedicated her life to the Commonwealth and Empire, declaring that her “whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong”.

Four and a half years later, she was proclaimed queen and spent the first few decades of her reign watching that "imperial family’" shrink rapidly. In 1957, Ghana and Malaysia became the first colonies to seek independence after her accession; Britain’s last colony, Hong Kong, was returned to China in 1997. In the intervening four decades, Empire crumbled, leaving only memories of the time when Britannia ruled the waves.

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All Eyes On Southern Ukraine, Baghdad Clashes, Pumpkin Ride

👋 Da'anzho!*


Welcome to Tuesday, where Ukraine launches a counteroffensive to retake Kherson in the south of the country, deadly clashes rock Iraq after cleric al-Sadr resigns, and the world record for pumpkin paddling (you read that right) gets broken. We also turn to Ukraine’s news platform Livy Bereg to see how Russian propaganda plays out across European countries.



[*Eastern Apache]

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India
Faisal Devji*

As India Turns 75, A Look Back At Gandhi's Thoughts On Freedom

It was typical of Gandhi to bring opposites together, by noting that the very experience of hatred had made love possible by allowing Indians to take responsibility for their own actions and so the future.

As the day of India’s independence approached, Gandhi was frequently asked how it should be marked. His response was invariably to criticize the new government’s costly plans of celebrating it with spectacle and entertainment to recommend fasting, spinning and prayer instead.

This was not simply because of the violence then sweeping much of the country, or even to give the poverty of India’s millions its due, but so as to reflect upon the grave responsibilities that were the true gift of freedom. He spent Independence Day in riot-stricken Calcutta, trying to identify India’s freedom in the very midst of partition’s violence.

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Ideas
Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd*

What Britain Can Teach India About Religion And Politics

Rishi Sunak, a Hindu of Indian origin, is in the running to become the UK's next prime minister. His religion has not factored at all into debates — a fierce contrast to a religiously divided India.

-Analysis-

NEW DELHI — Rishi Sunak, a British politician of Indian origin, is in the running to be prime minister of the United Kingdom. He's competing against Liz Truss to lead the Conservative party after Boris Johnson's resignation. After Kamala Harris’s attempt to be the Democratic Party’s candidate for U.S. president, he is the most recent person of Indian descent in the West to try to reach the political pinnacle.

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Society
Sukanya Shantha

India Faces Eternally Complex Child-Care Question: What To Do With Kids Of Women Prisoners

While growing up inside a prison leads to a range of difficulties for children, those separated from their mothers and left on the outside also face different traumas. In this in-depth reportage for India's The Wire, journalist Sukanya Shantha talks to mothers who had to give birth in jail and those who went without seeing their children for years to keep them protected.

MUMBAI — Raginibai was at the construction site when a large police search team came looking for her. Her husband was found brutally murdered, and his body — wrapped in a jute bag — had been buried several feet under the construction debris close by. The police suspected that Raginibai, along with a man they claimed was her “lover,” was involved in the murder. Raginibai denied this charge vehemently.

But at that moment, neither her husband’s death nor the police’s suspicion could unsettle her. The well-being of her five-year-old son, who shadowed her everywhere at the construction site in Taloja, on the outskirts of Mumbai, was all that she worried about.

Raginibai, a landless migrant labourer and a Dalit woman from Kalahandi — one of the most backward districts in the eastern Indian state of Odisha — feared that the police would take her child away and she would never be able to see him again. In desperation, she requested that the police hand her child over to a person she claimed was her sister. This was a claim that the police was legally bound to — yet never bothered to — independently ascertain.

Raginibai was arrested on November 15, 2019. She was pregnant at the time. She gave birth to a girl, her third child, inside an overcrowded Kalyan district jail, over 50 km away from Mumbai city.

Her eldest, a 12-year-old daughter, was away at Raginibai’s mother’s house in Odisha at the time of the arrest. With no parental support or financial backing, her daughter had to drop out of school and is now being forced into child labor in a paddy field, many kilometers outside her village.

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In The News
Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet, McKenna Johnson and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Google Blocked In Part Of Ukraine, New Indian Head Of State, Neutron Stars

👋 Ola!*

Welcome to Friday, where Google is blocked by pro-Russian separatists, a Rio favela suffers one of its most deadly police raids, and India has a new president. Meanwhile, El Espectador’s María Mónica Monsalve reports on the delicate environmental question of mining extraction in Colombia, which aims at joining the minerals boom that will accompany the global energy transition.

[*Aragonese, Spain]

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Society
Arfa Khanum Sherwani

Journalism In A Zero-Trust World: Maria Ressa Speaks After Rappler Shut Down Again

The Rappler CEO and Nobel Peace Prize winner spoke with The Wire's Arfa Khanum Sherwani about how journalists everywhere need to prepare themselves for the worst-case scenario of government-ordered closure and what they should do to face up to such a challenge.

HONOLULU — For someone who’s just been ordered to shut down the news website she runs, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa is remarkably cheerful about what may happen next.

In a speech she gave to a conference at the East-West Center here on challenges the media face in a “zero trust world”, Ressa said that she and her colleagues were prepared for this escalation in the Philippines government’s war on independent media and will carry on doing the work they do. “If you live in a country where the rule of law is bent to the point it’s broken, anything is possible…. So you have to be prepared.”

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In The News
Joel Silvestri, McKenna Johnson and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Ukraine Mall Terror, 46 Migrants Dead In Texas Truck, Sardinia Beaches

👋 你好*

Welcome to Tuesday, where at least 16 die as Russia strikes a shopping mall in central Ukraine, 46 people are found dead inside a truck in Texas and Bangkok airport authorities make a surprising discovery in two women’s luggage. From India, Banjot Kaur writes in news site The Wire about the dangers of yoga malpractice — and the need for nationwide regulation.

[*Nĭ hăo - Mandarin]

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Society
Banjot Kaur

Taking A Position: A Call To Regulate Yoga In India

Trained practitioners warn that unregulated yoga can be detrimental to people's health. The government in India, where the ancient practice was invented, knows this very well — yet continues to postpone regulation.

NEW DELHI — Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the observance of the eighth International Yoga Day from Mysuru, in southwestern India, early on the morning of June 21. Together with his colleagues from the Bharatiya Janata Party, he set out to mark the occasion in various parts of the country — reviving an annual ritual that had to take a break for the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yoga is one of the five kinds of alternative Indian medicine listed under India’s AYUSH efforts — standing for "Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and naturopathy, and Homeopathy." Among them, only yoga is yet to be regulated under any Act of Parliament: All other practices are governed by the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM), Act 2020.

Yoga and naturopathy are taught at the undergraduate level in 70 medical colleges across 14 Indian states. The Mangalore University in Karnataka first launched this course in 1989; today, these subjects are also taught at the postgraduate level.

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In The News
McKenna Johnson, Joel Silvestri, Lisa Berdet and Lila Paulou

EU Leaders In Kyiv, Israeli Gas Deal, Tesla Warning

👋 Ello-hay!*

Welcome to Thursday, where France’s Macron, Germany’s Scholz and Italy’s Draghi all arrive in Kyiv, the EU secures a deal to wean itself off Russian gas, there’s sign of LGBTQ+ progress in Thailand and data warns about Tesla driver-assisted cars crashing. Meanwhile, for Ukraine media Livy Bereg, Oleksandr Detsyk analyzes the tricky art of hitting Russia with the right sanctions so as not to trigger a global economic crisis.

[*Pig Latin]

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