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Are the Taliban returning to Kabul?
Parley by The Hindu
access_time2 days ago
After 20 years of fighting, the U.S. is set to end its military operations in Afghanistan by August 31. Since May 1, when U.S. troops started withdrawing from Afghanistan, the Taliban have made rapid territorial gains in the country. They have taken control of dozens of northern districts and several of the country’s key border crossings, mounting pressure on the Ashraf Ghani government. Here we discuss the Afghan situation, India’s options, and the prospects for a peaceful settlement. Guests: Avinash Paliwal, Deputy Director of the SOAS South Asia Institute, London; Jayant Prasad, a former Indian civil servant, who had served as India’s envoy in Kabul. Host: Stanly Johny Read the Parley article here. You can now find The Hindu’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for Parley by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Why was Yediyurappa replaced as Karnataka CM? | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time3 days ago
Basavaraj Bommai became Karnataka’s 30th Chief Minister of Karnataka on July 28. He went from being Home Minister in the Cabinet of B.S. Yediyurappa to displacing him as the Chief Minister in a matter of 48 hours. Several reasons have been trotted out as to why BJP felt the need to replace Yediyurappa – his age, the fact that dissidence against him was on the rise within the party, and that corruption allegations had made him vulnerable. But while all these may have played a role they do not, in themselves, provide a convincing explanation as to why Yediyurappa’s departure was in the party’s best interests. So, what explains the departure of the BJP’s tallest leader in the State in the middle of his term as Chief Minister? What are the implications of the choice of Basavaraj Bommai as Yediyurappa’s successor? And will Yediyurappa fade away into retirement or continue to play a role in active politics? Guest: K.V. Aditya Bharadwaj Host G. Sampath
Where is India-U.S. relations headed in the Biden era? | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time4 days ago
On Wednesday, July 28, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited India and held key meetings with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as well as representatives of civil society organisations. In this episode, we look at the main takeaways of the visit and ask where India U.S. relations are headed as they deal with shared concerns on Afghanistan and China among other issues. We also ask how the Biden administration's strong emphasis on promoting democratic values abroad figured during the visit, and how New Delhi views its approach to democracy and the contrast from the previous Trump era. Guest: Suhasini Haidar, Diplomatic Affairs Editor, The Hindu Host: Ananth Krishnan, China correspondent, The Hindu Read more:  https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/antony-blinken-holds-talks-with-nsa-ajit-doval-meets-civil-society-representatives/article35577671.ece https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indian-democracy-is-powered-by-its-freethinking-citizens-blinken/article35583397.ece
Will consensual adult sex work be criminalised by the new anti-trafficking Bill? | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time5 days ago
There has been considerable debate over the Trafficking in Persons (Prevention, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021, which is likely to be introduced in the ongoing monsoon session of the Parliament. The objective of the Bill is “to prevent and counter trafficking in persons, especially women and children, to provide for care, protection, and rehabilitation to the victims, while respecting their rights, and creating a supportive legal, economic and social environment for them, the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has said. The National Investigation Agency, a counter-terrorism agency, has been made the nodal investigative agency for trafficking crimes. The Bill also states that the consent of the victim could be immaterial, leading to concerns that it would criminalise. Other concerns raised include draconian penal provisions, including death for some offences, and a heavy-handed approach that does not adequately address the root cause of trafficking -- poverty. Guest: Kaushik Gupta, an advocate practicing in Kolkata who heads a team of lawyers from West Bengal and Maharashtra, at the anti-trafficking collective Tafteesh. Host: Zubeda Hamid
The making of China’s ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time6 days ago
In this episode, we are examining the rise of what's being called China's wolf warrior Diplomacy, referring to an increasingly assertive brand of fiery diplomacy from many of Beijing's diplomats and foreign envoys. What exactly is wolf warrior diplomacy? Is this new diplomacy a change in merely style, or also a change in substance? What does history tell us about how domestic political trends in China shape Beijing's external behaviour? What do these changes mean for countries like India and their relations with China? Guest: Peter Martin, journalist and author of China's Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy. Host: Ananth Krishnan, China Correspondent, The Hindu
Will the new e-commerce rules really favour consumers?
Parley by The Hindu
access_time9 days ago
In June, the Union Consumer Affairs Ministry came out with a list of proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection Act of 2019. These include appointment of a Chief Compliance Officer and a Resident Grievance Officer, provisions of fall back liability, registration of e-commerce entities and seeking an end to flash sales. The Centre claims that these amendments try to rein in unfair trade practices adopted by e-commerce companies and intend to take care of the interests of consumers. But not everyone agrees. Here we discuss the proposed amendments in a conversation moderated by. Guests: Prithwiraj Mukherjee, an Assistant Professor at IIM, Bangalore; Anupam Manur, an Assistant Professor at the Takshashila Institution. Host: Prashanth Perumal J Read the Parley article here. You can now find The Hindu’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for Parley by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
What are India’s prospects at the Tokyo Olympics? | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time10 days ago
With the Tokyo Olympics finally kicking off this week, one year late, there is both excitement as well as uncertainty around the event. Tokyo is still under a COVID emergency, and there are many who worry that the Olympics shouldn’t become a public health catastrophe. In Japan itself, public opinion is sharply divided. In fact, one of the biggest Olympic sponsors, Toyota, has said that they won’t be running TV ads in Japan – which is one indicator of the public mood about the Games. But despite the misgivings around the pandemic, the show is set to go on, and in India, there is already plenty of buzz about medal prospects. We try and get a sense of what’s in store in the coming weeks in Japan, both within the sporting arena and beyond. Guest: Rakesh Rao, Deputy Editor, Sports, The Hindu Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu
Does India need a Ministry of Cooperation? | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time11 days ago
During the recent Cabinet reshuffle, the government announced the creation of a Ministry of Cooperation. The Ministry’s mandate, the government says, “is to provide a separate administrative, legal and policy framework for strengthening the co-operative movement in the country”. Opposition parties have called it an attempt by the Centre to take over a a domain that comes under the State governments. Critics have also read political significance into the fact that this ministry is being headed by Home Minister Amit Shah. So, why do we need a Ministry of Cooperation, and how will it impact the vast universe of India’s co-operatives? Guest: Professor C. Shambu Prasad, Institute of Rural Management, Anand Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu
The Pegasus saga and the legality of surveillance in India | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time12 days ago
An international group of news publications are reporting that a spyware known as Pegasus has been used to spy on politicians, journalists, and activists in at least 10 countries. Reports from the group, which includes The Wire in India, The Guardian in the U.K., and Washington Post in the U.S. among others, suggest that in India, at least 40 journalists, sitting Cabinet Ministers, and holders of Constitutional positions were possibly subjected to surveillance. The Pegasus spyware is graded as a cyberweapon and NSO states that its clients include only authorised government entities from various countries. This leads to some problematic inferences, particularly in India where the target list includes Opposition leaders, social activists from leftist organisation, journalists who have written against the government and constitutional officers who have reportedly not toed the government line. In this podcast, we discuss the constitutionality of electronic surveillance in India and whether the laws that govern them are robust enough. Guest: Apar Gupta, lawyer and Executive Director of the Internet Freedom Foundation. Host: P.J. George
In Punjab, what's at stake for Sidhu, Capt Amarinder, and the Congress party? | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time13 days ago
With less than a year to go for the Assembly elections, the infighting in the Punjab unit of the Congress party has been making the headlines. The two main protagonists are Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu. Punjab, incidentally, is one of the handful of states where the Congress has done well and the BJP is on a weak wicket. Capt. Amarinder is often touted as a rare Congress success story that comes when regional leaders operate with autonomy. But Sidhu has not only openly challenged Capt Amarinder’s leadership, he also has the ear of the party’s high command in Delhi, which seems ready to go the extra mile to accommodate him. With Assembly elections due early next year, what are the options for the Congress, which needs to resolve this conflict in order for its campaign to take off? Why does the Congress high command find it important to keep Sidhu happy? Guest: Varghese George, Associate Editor, The Hindu. Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu
Is the Indian stock market in a bubble?
Parley by The Hindu
access_time14 days ago
Since the nationwide lockdown announced by the Prime Minister in March 2020, the Indian economy has faced its worst contraction in history. Yet, the country’s stock indices, the Sensex and the Nifty, have almost doubled in price from the low that they hit in April 2020. Many analysts and even the Reserve Bank of India now believe that stocks are in a bubble. Here we discuss the current state of Indian markets. Guests: Alok Jain, a SEBI-registered investment adviser and a momentum investor; Anand Srinivasan, a value investor and the author of Ordinary Stocks, Extraordinary Profits Read the Parley article here. You can now find The Hindu’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for Parley by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Will measures like U.P.'s draft population control Bill work? | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time16 days ago
Over the past few weeks, the debate on population control in India has been re-ignited. Uttar Pradesh, the most populous State in India, has introduced a draft bill that says that those with more than two children will be debarred from government-sponsored welfare schemes and from contesting in elections to local bodies, while incentives for those who adhere to the two-child norm include subsidies to buy land and build houses. Assam's Chief Minister recently advised the minority community to adopt "decent population control measures" and calls have come from Karanataka too, for the adoption of a two-child policy. Even while data shows us that India's fertility rate is declining, our population is set to grow, and to overtake China by 2027 or earlier. But do we need a two-child policy? Do such government regulations on family size work? How have other countries, especially those in Asia, explored population stabilisation measures? Guest: Poonam Muttreja, executive director, Population Foundation of India Host: Zubeda Hamid
The battle between big tech in China and the Communist Party | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time18 days ago
In this episode, we are looking at the battle unfolding in China between its big tech companies and Communist Party regulators in the wake of the latest tussle in this on-going tug-of-war. On June 30, the ride-hailing app Didi, which dominates the China market, raised $4.4 billion in its much-anticipated listing on the New York Stock Exchange, the biggest Chinese listing since Alibaba. Days later, its value would crash with regulators announcing an investigation and taking the extraordinary step of banning Didi from registering users and removing its app from app stores. The Didi episode follows November's shock suspension of an IPO by Alipay, the financial payments arm of Alibaba. What is driving the tensions between the Party and Big Tech? Where is China's tech sector headed? What do the moves mean for the global ambitions of China's Internet giants? Guest: Santosh Pai, Honorary Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi Host: Ananth Krishnan, China correspondent, The Hindu
How expenditure on health during the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the country | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time19 days ago
As the second-wave of the COVID-19 pandemic raged this year, reports poured in of economic distress. Not only were thousands of Indians left without livelihoods due to the lockdowns, they also had to cope with the trauma and expenditure of a loved one who had contracted COVID-19. Media reports indicated that the costs ran into lakhs for hospitalisations, compounded by the desperate search for oxygen and black maketeering of drugs. India has one of the highest rates of out-of-pocket expenditure in health in the world, at over 60 per cent, and recent data has shown a decline in household income as well as a rise in gold loans during the pandemic period. In this podcast we discuss, the enormous strain health expenses have placed on Indians, the role of the public and private sector in the pandemic, and what role insurance has played and could play in the health sector in India. Guest: Dr. Rama V. Baru, Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University Host: Zubeda Hamid
Can Djokovic's PTPA make professional tennis more equitable for the players? | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time20 days ago
Can tennis as a sport do better for the lower-ranked players? This question has recently become a talking point for two reasons. First is the formation of the Professional Tennis Players Association, or the PTPA, by Novak Djokovic and Canadian player Vasek Pospisil. The PTPA hopes to get some more by way of collective bargaining power for the players. The second is a report published in the New York Times suggesting that the players’ share of the revenues generated by the sport is much lower in tennis than in some of the other sports. While it is common knowledge that lower-ranked tennis players really struggle to cover their expenses, the pandemic-induced suspension of tournaments brought fresh spotlight to their precarity. Can tennis administrators be expected to do better when it comes to taking care of the players? Should tennis players unionise? Can tennis be made viable as a career option even for those ranked, say, between 150 and 400 in the world? Guest: Vijay Amritraj, former professional tennis player and popular commentator. Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu You can find The Hindu’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and other platforms. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Should only elected legislators be eligible for chief ministership?
Parley by The Hindu
access_time20 days ago
The option provided in the Constitution should be used with honesty, not just to tinker with politics. The sudden exit of Tirath Singh Rawat as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, a development the Bharatiya Janata Party sought to explain in terms of a constitutional roadblock to being elected as a legislator with in six months, has led to thickening speculation about the fate of West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee, another unelected Chief Minister. Here we discuss the road ahead. Guests: M.R. Madhavan, is President and co-founder of PRS Legislative Research, a public policy research institution; S.Y. Quraishi, served as 17th Chief Election Commissioner of India from July 2010 to June 2012. Read the Parley article here You can now find The Hindu’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for Parley by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
The need to enable domestic drone and counter-drone innovation | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time23 days ago
In this episode of the In Focus podcast, we try to understand the threat from drones and where the country stands in terms of preparedness On June 27, explosives were dropped inside the Jammu Air Force station, injuring two IAF personnel. They are believed to have been dropped using drones, the first such attack in the country. The threat from drones has been regularly flagged in the recent past after instances of them being used by terror groups to drop drugs, arms and ammunition from across the border in Jammu, and also in Punjab. In this episode of In Focus, we try to understand this new threat and where the country stands in terms of preparedness and policy framework. Guest: Group Captain R.K. Narang (Retd), who has been researching on UAVs and has written the book “India’s quest for UAVs and challenges”. Host: Dinakar Peri
Afghanistan’s future and India’s options as U.S. exits Bagram | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time24 days ago
Nearly 20 years after invading Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and al-Qaeda, the United States military on July 3 vacated Bagram, its biggest airfield in the country. Meanwhile, fighting raged amid the U.S. exit and the Taliban’s march through northern Afghanistan has continued to gain momentum with the capture of several districts. In this episode, we look at where Afghanistan is headed and examine its uncertain future as the U.S. leaves. What are the prospects of a peace deal amid the uptick in violence? Will the Taliban return to Kabul? What are India’s stakes and how should Delhi deal with the Taliban? What will be the role of other regional powers such as China and Russia? Read Suhasini Haidar's interview with Hamid Karzai Read ‘What lies ahead for Afghanistan after U.S. exit?’ by Stanly Johny Guests: Suhasini Haidar, National Editor and Diplomatic Affairs, The Hindu; Stanly Johny, Foreign Editor, The Hindu Host: Ananth Krishnan, China correspondent, The Hindu
Draft E-commerce Rules: Why are online retailers concerned? | In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time24 days ago
The Consumer Affairs Ministry last month issued a set of new draft e-commerce rules that has some of the top e-commerce sites rather worried. According to the government, these rules seek to protect consumer interest, prevent unfair trade practices, and encourage fair competition. Among other things, the rules bar certain kinds of flash sales and mis-selling, and make it mandatory for them to appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal contact person for coordination with law enforcement agencies, and a resident grievance-redressal officer. On the face of it, these rules do not seem unreasonable, especially from the consumer point of view. But e-retailers such as Amazon and the Tatas have expressed concerns. The government has now extended the deadline for public comments on the proposed amendments to July 21. So, what is likely to be the impact of these amended rules? Will they truly benefit consumers? And why are online retailers so concerned? To discuss these questions and related issues, we speak with Kazim Rizvi, founder-director of The Dialogue, a New Delhi–based research and public policy think tank. Read: Draft e-commerce policy moots conformity assessment measures for online retailers Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu
Did the judiciary fail Father Stan Swamy? | In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time26 days ago
Tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy died in custody on July 5, 2021, aged 84 and in the middle of a long battle for medical bail. Fr. Swamy, a Jesuit priest, had worked with tribals in Jharkhand for over five decades, organising them for land, water and forest rights. The National Investigation Agency accused him of having links with the Maoists and arrested him in connection with the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case last October. He was charged under the anti-terror law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Fr. Swamy was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and had applied for bail multiple times, but his pleas were rejected. After he passed away in custody, many activists and political leaders have sought accountability from the government and the judiciary over this tragic death. What were the reasons Fr. Swamy was unable to get bail, especially given that he posed zero flight risk? K. Venkataramanan, Associate Editor at The Hindu explains some of the systemic problems with India’s bail jurisprudence in general, and the UAPA in particular, that could have had a bearing on the unfortunate case of Fr. Stan Swamy. Guest: K. Venkataramanan, Associate Editor, The Hindu Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu
Why the NFT craze is here to stay | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time29 days ago
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs as they are known, have been around since 2017. But they suddenly went mainstream this year, attracting the attention of both crypto-currency traders and general investors. The sale of a tokenised digital art work titled ‘Everydays – The First 5000 Days’ by an artist called Beeple, for $69 million, appears to have unleashed an ‘NFT bubble’, with some analysts comparing to the ‘Tulip bubble’ of the 17th century. Are NFTs primarily a digital art-related phenomenon – a way to trade digital art and other digital collectibles? Or will they have a wider impact in the offline world as well, extending to domains such as music, fintech, and real estate? We demystify NFTs in this episode of In Focus with Dr Merav Ozair. Dr  Ozair is a FinTech Faculty member at Rutgers Business School. She is a data scientist, a quant strategist, and a Crypto/Blockchain expert.
Canada’s residential school graves: How to hold settler states accountable for cultural genocide | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time1 month ago
In recent weeks, Canada has been rocked by the discovery of a large number of unmarked graves of indigenous children. In the last week of May, the remains of 215 children were found on the grounds of a former residential school in British Columbia. And last week, another 751 unmarked graves were found at the site of a similar residential school in the province of Saskatchewan. They graves point to Canada’s colonial practice of having special residential schools that indigenous children were forced to attend. These schools were State-funded and operated by the Church. They have been in operation since the mid-19th century, with the last one closing only in 1996. What was the idea behind these schools? How were they allowed to operate for so on? And what does the discovery of these unmarked graves of children – which are basically undocumented deaths – mean for the rights of Canada’s indigenous people going forward? Guest: Prof. David MacDonald, Professor of Political Science at the University of Guelph. He is the author of The Sleeping Giant Awakens: Genocide, Indian Residential Schools, and the Challenge of Conciliation. Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu
The past and future of China's Communist Party at 100 | In Focus
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time1 month ago
On July 1, China's Communist Party turns 100. In this episode, we are looking at how the Communist Party of China got to this landmark and to where it is today, the evolution in its politics, its governing philosophy, its ideology, and increasingly, its turn to nationalism. We will look back, and forward, on this significant political anniversary for China, and examine how changing domestic priorities under Xi Jinping are increasingly impacting China's external behaviour and policies. We will look at how, as the party turns 100, its increasingly confident global posture, as China seeks a greater global role, will impact both India and the region. Guest: Rana Mitter, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, University of Oxford, and author of China's Good War: How World War II is Shaping a New Nationalism Host: Ananth Krishnan, China correspondent, The Hindu
Can the CBSE’s plan objectively assess students of Class 12?
Parley by The Hindu
access_time1 month ago
The CBSE has prepared a tabulation scheme to determine the marks that students of Class 12 will be awarded in this pandemic year, upon completion of schooling. How reliable is such a scheme against the backdrop of the digital divide, and can it be improved? Here we discuss the road ahead for assessing students. Guests: Uday Gaonkar, a teacher in a rural school in Karnataka’s public system who has worked in science teaching and learning; Anita Rampal, Professor and former Dean, Faculty of Education, Delhi University. Host: G. Ananthakrishnan Read the Parley article here. You can now find The Hindu’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for Parley by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Is there a case for a separate COVID compensation fund? | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time1 month ago
Recently, the Supreme Court heard a plea seeking compensation to the families of those who have died from COVID-19 or post-COVID complications. The petitioners, citing Section 12 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and a 2015 notification, said that the Centre should make ex gratia payment of ₹4 lakh to each of the victims’ families. But the government has been reluctant to commit to any such compensation. It has said that given the magnitude of the COVID-19 death toll --- which is nearly 4 lakh as per official figures (and likely to go up) – this would mean paying ₹4 lakh to nearly 4 lakh families, which may not be feasible. Is the government obliged under the law to pay compensation for COVID deaths? How credible are arguments that payouts of this magnitude are not financially feasible or advisable? How realistic is the idea of setting up a dedicated COVID Compensation Fund, which has been mooted by the Opposition? For more clarity on these questions, we speak to Dr Abhay Shukla, who has been working on public and community health issues for over 35 years. A national co-convenor of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Dr Shukla has also been a member of the National Human Rights Commission’s committee for formulating human rights responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hosted by G. Sampath 
Taming Nadal at Roland Garros: How did Djokovic pull it off? | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time1 month ago
The 2021 French Open semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal is widely considered as one of the greatest contests the sport has seen. The match, pitting the world’s number one player against the greatest clay court player the game has seen, was a feast of high quality tennis. While a great deal has been written about the historic nature of Djokovic’s victory, it is still unclear what exactly he did differently to pull it off. After all, starting with Roger Federer, every top player of the past decade has thrown everything and the kitchen sink at Nadal and failed to break his supremacy at the French Open, which he has won 13 times, losing just twice in more than 15 years. We dissect Djokovic’s epic run at this year’s French Open, which actually began at the finals of the Italian Open in May, where he lost to Nadal in the final, and ended with another humdinger of a final against Stefanos Tsitsipas. We also delve into what Djokovic’s 19th Grand Slam means for the GOAT debate, which has so far been dominated by Federer and Nadal. Our guest for this episode is Sanjeev Kassal. Sanjeev is a winner of five National Tennis Championship (Seniors) titles and six International Tennis Federation (ITF) Seniors titles. He has been a commentator and interviewer at the Commonwealth Games, the 2012 London Olympics, the 2013 French Open, and many of India’s Davis Cup matches.
Should India accept Islamic State returnees?
Parley by The Hindu
access_time1 month ago
In 2016-18, four women from Kerala accompanied their husbands to join the Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan's Khorasan Province. Their husbands were killed in different attacks and the women are now lodged in an Afghanistan prison. Authorities in Afghanistan want to return the women to India, but the Indian government has not indicated what it proposes to do in this matter. Sources say security agencies have advised against taking them back. What do international laws say about foreign fighters returning to their countries? Here we discuss the question. Guests: Kabir Taneja, a Fellow with the Strategic Studies Programme at the Observer Research Foundation and author of The ISIS Peril; K.P. Fabian, a former diplomat author and Professor at the Indian Society of International Law. Host: Suhasini Haidar Read the Parley article here. You can now find The Hindu’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for Parley by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
The ICC World Test Championship is a work in progress | The Hindu In Focus podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time1 month ago
We are looking ahead to the final of the ICC World Test Championship, billed as the World Cup of Test cricket. Over the last two years, nine teams have played several series against other opponents, accumulating points. The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic meant that not all series could go ahead, forcing the ICC to come up with a modified points system that would allow the tournament to run its course and stage the planned final. The top two teams, India and New Zealand, will play each other in a one-off Test match at Southampton starting on Friday. This is the first such championship final of its kind in Test cricket. We discuss the evolution of the WTC, the fairness of the points system, possible changes in the format and the prospects of the two sides. Guest: Sharda Ugra, independent sports journalist
Can the G7 unite to deal with the China challenge? | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
In this episode we discuss the recent G7 summit, the messages and the larger themes that emerged and the key takeaways for India. We're joined by the Hindu’s national and diplomatic affairs editor Suhasini Haidar and China Correspondent Ananth Krishnan.
Branko Milanovic on COVID-19 and inequality in capitalist systems | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
As the world stumbles through a second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that both its catastrophic toll on human life and the severe socioeconomic dislocation it has caused matter equally. Yet it is also becoming clear that there is a growing inequality associated with governments and private citizens’ responses to the pandemic – whether in terms of access to vaccines or public policy measures to support the most vulnerable sections. In this context, the work of Professor Branko Milanovic of the Stone Center on Socio Economic Inequality at the City University of New York, and former lead economist in the World Bank’s Research Department for almost 20 years, matters ever more today, especially his study of the relationship between inequality and different forms of capitalism across the world. On this episode of the In Focus podcast, he shares his perspective on this subject, including on its relevance to India, with The Hindu's Associate Editor Narayan Lakshman.
What we know about COVID-19 variants and the effectiveness of vaccines against them | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
For a couple of days in a row now, India has reported less than 1 lakh COVID-19 cases in a day, with recoveries outnumbering daily cases. Our vaccine programme, however, continues to remain sluggish with only 3.4% of the population fully vaccinated, and 14.1% having received one dose. A lot has been said about the 'Delta' variant being responsible for the second wave that ravaged the country, and a lot of questions remain about the effectiveness of vaccines against virus mutations. Since December 2019, what have we learnt about our body's response to Sars-CoV-2? Is it possible for the virus to keep mutating and developing "immune escape" properties? Does a "mix and match" strategy of using two different vaccines on a person work? And could we have done better to ensure vaccine equity, especially at a time when supplies seem to be running short? To talk to us about these issues, we have with us today Dr. Satyajit Rath, adjunct professor at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune
WTC Final tipped in New Zealand's favour? Testing time for India Women
Matchpoint Paradox
access_time2 months ago
In the latest episode of MatchPoint Paradox, Vijay Lokapally, Shayan Acharya and Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya discuss lineups for the WTC Final featuring New Zealand and India and also touch upon the one-off Test between India and England in Bristol starting June 16. Follow our complete cricket coverage: https://sportstar.thehindu.com/cricket Follow us on social media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sportstarweb Twitter: https://twitter.com/sportstarweb Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sportstarweb/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/sportstar1978 Telegram: https://t.me/sportstarweb #TeamIndia | #CricketPodcast | #WTC2021 | #WTCFinal | #WomensCricket --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/sportstar-podcast/message
Covid-19 Origins: How plausible really is the ‘lab leak’ hypothesis?
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
More than a year after COVID-19 first made the headlines, the most basic questions about the origins of SARS-COV-2 remain unanswered. We still don’t know how the first human being got infected. We don’t know if this virus naturally evolved the proteins needed to infect humans, or if those mutations were engineered in a lab. At the same time, these questions – which need scientific answers – have become heavily politicised. Until early 2021, the hypothesis that the pandemic originated in a leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology was dismissed as a crackpot theory. But now a series of in-depth media reports have given the lab leak hypothesis new respectability. How do we understand this sudden shift? What are the various interests and agendas trying to influence the origins narrative? And will we ever know for sure what exactly caused a pandemic that has dislocated modern life in so many profound ways? To better understand these fascinating questions, we speak to Thomas Abraham, adjunct associate professor at the University of Hong Kong and author of Twenty-First Century Plague: The Story of SARS.
Should retired officials be barred from disclosing information?
Parley by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
Last week, the Government of India prohibited retired officials of security and intelligence organisations from publishing anything about their work or organisation without prior clearance from the head of the organisation. Serving civil servants are barred from expressing their personal opinion on policy matters and criticising the government. But once they retire, many of them take part in public debates and enrich our conversations. Here we discuss whether there should be any restrictions on the freedom of expression of a specific category of retired government officials. And if yes, what the limits of such restrictions should be. Guests: Syed Akbaruddin, India’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Dean, Kautilya School of Public Policy; G.K. Pillai, a former Home Secretary of India. Host: Varghese K. George Read the Parley article here. You can now find The Hindu’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for Parley by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Tejpal verdict: Can India move the needle on gender justice? The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
Seven years after the allegations were first made, a sessions court in Goa has acquitted journalist Tarun Tejpal of rape charges. The 527-page judgment has come under close scrutiny and many legal experts, including feminists, have found the verdict problematic. Some of the purported flaws that have been pointed out include the focus on victim’s sexual history and a certain presumption about so-called “normative behaviour” of a rape victim. The Goa government has appealed against Tejpal’s acquittal in the Bombay High Court. In its appeal, it has also argued that this is a fit case for retrial. So, how do we really understand the outcome of this high-profile case, whose trial and verdict took up seven years? Has the needle on gender justice moved at all, since the Nirbhaya case, and the celebrated amendments to our rape laws? We discuss these and other questions thrown up by the Tejpal verdict with Arti Raghavan, advocate at the Bombay High Court. Hosted by: G Sampath
The online investigators leading the search into the COVID-19 lab leak theory | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
 When proposed a year ago, the theory suggesting lab-leak origins for the coronavirus was broadly dismissed as conspiracy. Today, it is back in the reckoning. World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Tedros said in March, after a WHO-China joint mission to Wuhan dismissed the theory as being "extremely unlikely", that it required further investigation. His unexpected comments renewed interest, as did a statement from U.S. President Joe Biden in the last week of May ordering a probe into whether the origins were zoonotic or from a lab accident. One reason behind the renewed attention is the information dug up, although still only circumstantial, by a group of online investigators, called DRASTIC. In this episode, we are joined by The Hindu's Ramya Kannan who has been following their work, explains what they have found so far, and what we know and don't know about the origins of the pandemic. Show Notes Ramya Kannan, Online group digs deeper into coronavirus leak theory https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/online-group-digs-deeper-into-coronavirus-leak-theory/article34746341.ece
IT Rules: a case of overreach?
Parley by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
Last week, WhatsApp decided to legally challenge one of India’s new Information Technology rules which requires messaging platforms to help investigative agencies in identifying the originator of problematic messages. WhatsApp reckons this would break end-to-end encryption and undermine people’s right to privacy. The government responded saying it is committed to ensuring the right of privacy for all its citizens, and that it also has to ensure national security. Have these new rules been framed to adequately address the privacy versus security balance, especially in the context of social media intermediaries such as WhatsApp? Here we discuss this question. Guests: Parminder Jeet Singh, Executive Director, IT for Change; Rishab Bailey, Technology Policy researcher at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy Host: Sriram Srinivasan Read the Parley article here. You can now find The Hindu’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for Parley by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Facing a new coalition to oust him, what’s next for Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
In this episode we discuss the political situation in Israel where Benjamin Netanyahu, the country's longest serving Prime Minister, may finally be on his way-out. Eight political parties, from the right wing Yamina to the Arab-majority Ra’am have come together to form a new coalition, which, if proves majority in the Israeli Parliament, could oust Mr. Netanyahu, who has been in power since 2009. So why did this coalition form? Who are its members and what options does Mr Netanyahu have before him as things move forward? We discuss these questions today with The Hindu’s International Affairs editor Stanly Johny.
Explaining China’s move to a three child policy and how it is being received | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
In today’s episode we turn again to China and to policy decisions on family planning and population control. On May 11 we discussed China’s population census figures and why their declining birth rates were a cause of concern. The reaction to those numbers has been swift, and just six years after abandoning the “one child policy” of 1979, China’s Communist Party has now introduced a “three child policy”. The move, according to the Politburo, is to “improve China’s population structure, actively respond to the ageing population, and preserve the country’s human resource advantages'. We will discuss this issue once again with The Hindu’s China Correspondent Ananth Krishnan. Show notes: https://www.thehindu.com/podcast/why-indias-population-may-overtake-chinas-sooner-than-expected-the-hindu-in-focus-podcast/article34536778.ece https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/chinas-coercive-population-measures-serve-as-warning-for-india-experts/article34701448.ece https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/233009/1/GLO-DP-0819.pdf
Understanding the WTC Final and Team India's English summer
Matchpoint Paradox
access_time2 months ago
In the latest episode of MatchPoint Paradox, Vijay Lokapally, Shayan Acharya and Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya discuss the build up to the World Test Championship Final and India's packed English summer. Follow our complete cricket coverage: https://sportstar.thehindu.com/cricket Follow us on social media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sportstarweb Twitter: https://twitter.com/sportstarweb Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sportstarweb/ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/sportstar1978 Telegram: https://t.me/sportstarweb #TeamIndia | #CricketPodcast | #WTC2021 | #WTCFinal | #WomensCricket --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/sportstar-podcast/message
Jaishankar’s U.S. visit, and the challenges of diplomacy post the Covid-19 second wave | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
In today’s episode we’ll look at External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to the U.S. last week, a trip that was largely seen as a mission to secure various agreements relating to the supply vaccines or raw materials for vaccine production. Taking off from Dr. Jaishankar’s visit, we’ll also use the second part of the podcast to discuss some of the major diplomatic challenges that India now faces post the COVID-19 second wave. I’m joined by The Hindu’s national and diplomatic affairs editor Suhasini Haidar.
Webinar fatigue: Are you at risk? | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures have meant work-from home for many. And work-from-home means plenty of Zoom meetings and webinars, which often involve both audio and video. Studies by mental health researchers suggest that web-based official meetings are far more demanding than face-to-face, offline interactions, and over a period of time, a heavy dose of webinars can cause a host of problems – ranging from anxiety and eye strain to restlessness and disturbed sleep. These and other symptoms are often tagged together as webinar fatigue. With the pandemic looking unlikely to recede very soon, web meetings will remain a staple of professional life for some time to come. This makes it all the more important that there is greater awareness about webinar fatigue, so that people can manage it better. So, what exactly causes webinar fatigue? How is it diagnosed? Are there steps that workplaces and managers can take to prevent it? To answer these questions, we speak to Dr Manoj Kumar Sharma, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore. His area of specialisation includes the management of technology overuse, and the healthy use of potentially addictive technology.
Decoding the cryptocurrency crash and what happens next | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
Bitcoin and other leading cryptocurrencies crashed last week, with prices falling by nearly 50%. A mind-boggling $1.3 trillion of market value was wiped out. Despite such a massive crash, investors and traders on Wall Street and elsewhere continue to be bullish about cryptos such as Ethereum. And in all the mayhem, the role of tech billionaire Elon Musk remains a puzzle. And yet, diehard crypto-investors still believe that in the not-so-distant future, many banking functions will be displaced by decentralised, blockchain protocols, smart contracts, and so on, making cryptos an attractive investment option in the present. To help us decode what’s going on, and where the cryptocurrency scene is headed, we speak to Vivek Kaul. Kaul is the author of five books, including the bestselling Easy Money trilogy. His most recent book is called ‘Bad Money: Inside the NPA Mess and How it Threatens the Indian Banking System’. Host: G Sampath
Explaining the new intermediary rules for social media, the Twitter-Centre spat, and more | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
One is on the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021  which came into effect on May 26. The rules apply to various categories of online content providers such as social media platforms, OTT streaming services and online news providers. Some of its key points relate to the setting up of grievance redressal systems and having local personnel to ensure compliance with rules. One requirement for large social media providers is that under certain conditions, they will have to trace the originator of a message. This is a problem for messaging apps like WhatsApp, whose key feature is end-to-end encryption. The fear is that if an option is given to break this end-to-end encryption, it will lead to mass surveillance. WhatsApp has now approached the Delhi High Court against the rules. The other set of headlines are on the back and forth between the Centre and Twitter on the 'toolkit' issue. Twitter had marked a tweet from BJP leaders Sambit Patra on an alleged 'toolkit' by the Congress party, as 'manipulated media'. This has led to the government accusing the microblogging site of defaming India and to the Delhi police visiting the company offices. The San Francisco-based company has called the police visit an intimidation tactic. Now, where do these two sets of headlines intersect? What are the nittie gritties of the new IT rules? What are the prevailing rules on privacy? We explain in this podcast. Guest: Apar Gupta, Executive Director, Internet Freedom Foundation Host: P.J. George
Mucormycosis: What it is, and why it is associated with diabetes | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
India has so far recorded close to 12,000 cases of mucormycosis, or black fungus infection as it is commonly known. The Central government has now declared it a notifiable disease. Mucormycosis was not unknown in India, but it is now, with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to rage, that the country has seen a surge in these infections. While the increased use of steroids, needed for the treatment of severely ill COVID-19 patients is being cited as one possible reason, experts have also said that a majority of cases are seen in those with poorly-controlled diabetes. Mucormycosis can affect many organs in the body, but what is being seen now, is the rhino-orbito cerebral form -- the infection affects the sinuses, nose, eyes and then brain. Doctors have reported that patients come to them a few weeks after recovering from COVID-19, with symptoms of mucormycosis. Amphotericin B is the main antifungal drug used in treatment, though stocks are running low now in the country due to high demand. The Centre recently said five new pharma companies had been approved to produce Amphotericin-B. Earlier, only six firms were manufacturing it. To speak to us about this fungal infection, its link with diabetes and what can be done to prevent it, is Dr. V. Mohan chairman, Dr. Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre in Chennai
Is the two-state solution to Israel-Palestine conflict still alive?
Parley by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
The 11-day fighting between Hamas and Israel, coupled with protests across the Palestinian territories and Israeli cities, have turned the spotlight once again on the Palestine question. The internationally accepted solution to this crisis is the so-called two-state solution. This would mean that an independent, sovereign Palestine state and an independent, sovereign Israeli state would coexist in peace. But on the ground, since the Oslo Accords were signed, there has been little progress on the two-state solution and Israel has only tightened its occupation of Palestine over the years. Here we discuss the past, present and future of the Palestine question. Guests: A.K. Ramakrishnan, a professor of international relations at the Centre for West Asian Studies, JNU, New Delhi; Nathan Thrall, the author of The Only Language They Understand and a contributor to The New York Times Magazine and the London Review of Books. Host: Stanly Johny Read the Parley article here. You can now find The Hindu’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for Parley by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
The many challenges in counting India's Covid-19 death toll | The Hindu in Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
In this episode we’re talking about the challenges of counting or estimating the death toll from COVID-19 in India. This is, of course, a complicated and polarising subject. Due to a combination of factors such as the size of India’s population, and the lack of good and accessible data in many instances, there is a difference between the officially reported figures for deaths from the pandemic and the actual death count. But to what degree is there under-reporting? This is the cause of much speculation -- the subject of many mathematical models and projections even. As we record this podcast today, the 26th of May, the New York Times has an article that projects a likely scenario in which there are 1.6 million deaths in India as against the reported figure which, as of May 24, stand at a little over 300,000. We're going to take a slightly broader approach to this issue in the podcast today and break down some of the issues with counting deaths in India, the various methodologies that are used, and the challenges of each. We are joined today by Dr. Anand Krishnan, professor at the centre for community medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He has also written two recent columns for The Hindu on counting the COVID 19 toll in India. We go through a lot of technicalities during the conversation about the processes through which mortality, not just from COVID-19 but other causes as well, are calculated. We hope that it will give you a more comprehensive picture on this issue. Episode notes: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-many-challenges-in-estimating-deaths/article32537264.ece https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/counting-the-covid-toll-in-india/article34582009.ece
When Covid-19 goes to the villages: challenges of managing the pandemic rurally | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
The COVID-19 pandemic has now entered rural parts of our country, where 65% of our population lives. Data from May shows that the case load is now 65% in rural and semi-rural areas versus 35% in urban and semi-urban areas. Even as hospital in our cities are towns are overloaded and overwhelmed, our rural infrastructure is in danger of collapsing -- with inadequate testing kits, drugs and trained healthcare professionals. There are reports of village residents having to travel for hours to try and secure a hospital bed and with deaths increasing, images of bodies floating on rivers as the people of India attempt to deal with an unprecedented crisis. The Central Government has released an SOP on Covid-19 Containment and Management in Peri-urban, Rural & Tribal areas, but how much of this is feasible? Were we unprepared for the surge of the virus in rural India? What measures can now be put in place to revamp our primary health systems that have, in many parts, been consistently ignored and under-funded for decades? To speak to us about this, we have with us today, Dr SP Kalantri, Professor of Medicine at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences and Medical Superintendent of Kasturba Hospital, Sevagram Hosted by Zubeda Hamid
Can the economy survive the second COVID-19 wave?
Parley by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the State-level lockdowns batter the economy, Reserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das this week noted that the impact of the second wave is likely to be less severe than the first one. He said that businesses and people have started to adapt to lockdowns and that the hit to demand would be much lower this time. Here we discuss the two COVID-19 waves, and how they have impacted the economy. Guests: Radhika Pandey, an economist and consultant at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy; Vivek Kaul, a business journalist and author of India’s Big Government: The Intrusive State & How It’s Hurting Us Host: Prashanth Perumal J. Read the Parley article here. You can now find The Hindu’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for Parley by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Steroids and COVID 19: All you need to know | The Hindu In Focus Podcast
In Focus by The Hindu
access_time2 months ago
In this episode we get deep into the use of steroids, in medicine more generally and in the treatment of Covid-19. Steroids like dexamethasone seem to have a very positive effect on people who have COVID that's been proven, but Experts have warned that irregular and overuse of steroids causes severe infections like pneumonia and mucormycosis. The latter disease has just been declared an epidemic in India as several states report cases. In this podcast we try and get to the root of the issue. Is the issue with the use of steroids itself and when? Or is it a problem of how much to give and how it should be carefully calibrated? Guest: Dr Vincent Rajkumar: Professor, Mayo Clinic and Editor, Blood Cancer Journal Hosted by Ramya Kannan