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India’s prime minister turns a non secular occasion right into a political one, Jeff Bezos challenges a tabloid newspaper and music’s greatest stars prepare for the Grammys. Right here’s the most recent:
Modi chases votes on the Kumbh Mela competition
Each six years, tens of tens of millions of Hindus make a non secular pilgrimage to the northern state of Uttar Pradesh to take a dip within the holy waters of the Ganges River — considered one of the holiest occasions within the Hindu calendar and among the many world’s largest gatherings of humanity.
This yr’s competition aligns with nationwide elections which are anticipated to be held in April or Could, offering Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist bloc, the Bharatiya Janata Social gathering, with a prized alternative to woo voters and deflect from political and financial woes.
By the numbers: Mr. Modi and his shut ally, Yogi Adityanath, a monk turned chief minister of the state, have spent $600 million to show this Kumbh into probably the most lavish one but, including 9 new freeway flyovers; 22 bridges; 20,000 trash cans; 122,500 bogs; and a brand new airport terminal.
Evaluation: Critics argue that Mr. Modi and his social gathering have politicized faith in a secular nation, usually catering to a Hindu base on the expense of minority communities, comparable to Muslims.
Individually: A nun’s accusations of rape towards a bishop in Kerala have shaken the nation’s Catholics, driving a wedge between those that have known as for reforms and those that need to preserve unity amid rising a using tide of Hindu nationalism.
A princess’ disappearance sheds gentle on Dubai’s darkish facet
Sheikha Latifa — considered one of 30 youngsters of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum — tried to flee to the U.S. by way of India final March, informing her buddies that she can be free quickly.
Lower than per week later, she went silent and, in December, her household launched photographs of her again at residence. Her mysterious case has since develop into a stain on Dubai’s globalized picture.
Background: In a secret video she recorded earlier than her deliberate departure from Dubai, Sheikha Latifa described her lifetime of constricting privilege.
She mentioned she first tried to flee the dominion a few years in the past however was taken again instantly and held in solitary confinement for greater than three years by which she was continuously overwhelmed and disadvantaged of medical care.
At 19, when she was launched, she nonetheless wasn’t free: She may spend her cash solely on hobbies and sports activities. She wasn’t allowed to check medication, as she needed, or journey.
Evaluation: Just like the accounts of ladies who’ve tried to flee Saudi Arabia, Sheikha Latifa’s case has marred Dubai’s glittering picture, reminding the world of the few freedoms ladies have there, no matter standing or nationality.
In different information from the area: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia mentioned in 2017, the yr earlier than the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Turkey, that he would use “a bullet” on Mr. Khashoggi, in accordance with present and former American and overseas officers with direct information of intelligence experiences.
How Jeff Bezos took up a combat with a tabloid newspaper
In a shock weblog publish final week, Jeff Bezos, the founding father of Amazon, accused the tabloid newspaper The Nationwide Enquirer of “extortion and blackmail,” spurring federal prosecutors to assessment his claims.
Explainer: Final month, The Enquirer revealed an 11-page exposé on Mr. Bezos’ extramarital affair with Lauren Sanchez, a former host of the Fox TV present “So You Suppose You Can Dance.” The piece, which included paparazzi pictures of the couple and their textual content messages, appeared a day after Mr. Bezos introduced he was divorcing his spouse of 25 years, MacKenzie.
The piece set off questions that the protection was politically motivated. David Pecker, the chairman of American Media Inc., which publishes The Enquirer, is near President Trump, who has repeatedly derided Amazon and Mr. Bezos’ different firm, The Washington Publish.
After The Enquirer revealed the piece, Mr. Bezos started his personal investigation into how the paper obtained his personal messages and its motives.
Mr. Bezos’ response: In his weblog publish, Mr. Bezos mentioned the paper was threatening to publish graphic images of him, together with a “below-the-belt selfie,” if he didn’t publicly affirm that The Enquirer’s reporting was not motivated by politics.
“If in my place I can’t stand as much as this type of extortion, how many individuals can?” wrote Mr. Bezos. You’ll be able to learn excerpts from his weblog publish right here. And right here’s a timeline of how occasions unfolded.
Evaluation: “Through the use of a digital platform to carry his facet of the story on to the plenty, Mr. Bezos has completed one thing each admirable and in addition slightly scary,” writes Kara Swisher, our tech opinion columnist. “It’s maybe the very best illustration of the in-your-face aggressiveness that has made him the richest man on this planet.”
How a mine exploded right into a deadly tidal wave of mud in Brazil
When a mining dam collapsed within the city of Brumadinho final month, it unleashed a deluge of poisonous mud that stretched for 5 miles, crushing houses and workplaces and killing greater than 150 individuals.
However the tragedy was hardly a shock, specialists informed us.
Evaluation: There are 88 mining dams in Brazil constructed just like the one which failed: huge reservoirs of mining waste held again by little greater than partitions of sand and silt.
Much more alarming, at the very least 28 sit straight uphill from cities or cities, with greater than 100,000 individuals residing in particularly dangerous areas if the dams failed, an estimate by The New York Instances discovered.
How we all know: Our group interviewed engineers and locals to take an expansive have a look at the catastrophe, reconstructing the mud’s lethal journey and illustrating how these dams are constructed and what led the one in Brumadinho to crumble.
Right here’s what else is occurring
Thailand: Hours after his sister entered the race for prime minister, King Vajiralongkorn rebuked the transfer as “extremely inappropriate,” successfully ending her candidacy, in an episode that upended the already unstable political panorama.
South Korea: The nation signed an settlement to share the price of the American army base there, rising its contribution by eight.2 p.c. The settlement goals to ease fears that President Trump would possibly use the discount of U.S. troops as a bargaining chip when he meets with North Korea’s chief, Kim Jong-un, this month.
Turkey: Ankara condemned China’s mass internment of its Uighur Muslim minority as a “nice disgrace for humanity” and urged Beijing to shut down the camps in Xinjiang, mentioned to carry an estimated million individuals. It was a uncommon rebuke from a Muslim-majority nation. China dismissed the assertion as a “critical violation of the information.”
Huawei: The Chinese language firm threatened authorized motion towards the Czech Republic after its cybersecurity company issued a proper warning in regards to the dangers of utilizing Huawei expertise, becoming a member of a rising wave of skepticism in Europe towards the telecom large.
Grammys: The music business’s annual award ceremony kicks off imminently, with Alicia Keys internet hosting. Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Cardi B and the nation singer Kacey Musgraves are among the many nominees for album of the yr, however will that be sufficient to place out issues in regards to the present’s lack of range?
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai: The younger island within the South Pacific, birthed in an underwater volcano eruption 4 years in the past, may unearth clues about how water formed the panorama of Mars.
Ideas for a extra fulfilling life.
The efficiency immortalized a transfer that re-entered the general public consciousness not too long ago, when Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, mentioned he had dressed as Jackson and completed the moonwalk throughout a dance contest in 1984.
The transfer, by which the dancer glides backward whereas showing to stroll ahead, impressed Mr. Northam, in addition to the title of Jackson’s 1988 autobiography. In it, the performer describes the moonwalk as “a break-dance step, a ‘popping’ sort of factor that black children had created dancing on road corners within the ghetto.”
Jackson didn’t invent the moonwalk, which had been carried out for many years by a variety of entertainers (albeit usually by a extra literal title, the backslide). However it was the King of Pop who can be remembered, as one dance critic put it, “coasting backward throughout the stage, step by gliding step, as if on a cushion of air.”
Chris Stanford, on the briefings group, wrote immediately’s Again Story.
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