Monthly Archives آگوست 2020

Aukat kya hai? Policeman often asks woman

Words have power and the choice of words can betray salient prejudices. So when the Bihar police chief said that Rhea Chakraborty did not have the ‘aukat’ to comment on the state’s chief minister, the deconstruction that immediately followed was entirely justified. Independent of how the Sushant Singh Rajput case develops, the broader issue here is how police views and therefore treats women.

In itself aukat is a gender neutral word. It is a feudal putdown that can be used to suppress the voice of both men and women along the fault lines of caste and class. But because all the residual feudalisms in our society are firmly overlaid onto a patriarchal grid, women are doubly silenced by the quizzing of their aukat...

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Points of Progress: Esselen Tribe reclaims land, and more


1. United States

The Esselen Tribe of Monterey County has reclaimed ancestral lands in Northern California after closing a $4.5 million deal with Western Rivers Conservancy. The small tribe lived on the Big Sur coast and the Santa Lucia Mountains for thousands of years before Spanish explorers set up missions in the 1700s. For centuries, they’ve been landless.

Doug Steakley/Western Rivers Conservancy/AP

Lupines cover the Adler Ranch in Big Sur on the California coast, which was recently reclaimed by the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County.

The conservancy acquired 1,200 acres in Big Sur with the hope of finding an environmentally conscious steward...

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Covid-19 Pay Cuts Are Coming to an End at Some Companies

Disney reopened the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom last month. The company will lift, as of Aug. 23, some salary reductions for executives.

Photo: Andy Martin Jr./Zuma Press

Some companies are beginning to restore cuts they made to managers’ salaries and bonuses in the early, bewildering days of the pandemic shutdowns, a sign that some industries—and their white-collar workers—are benefiting from glimmers of a recovery while millions of others continue to endure job and income losses.

In the first weeks of the pandemic, comp...

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Disquiet on contempt: Verdict brings more dissenting voices to fore

Supreme Court must heed Attorney General KK Venugopal’s objection to punishing advocate Prashant Bhushan for two tweets that the court held contemptuous. Venugopal, counting on the experience of several decades, said nine judges have spoken of judicial corruption, besides broaching this issue himself in 1987. Venugopal also has reason to be displeased with the SC registry sidestepping his consent and due process while entertaining a lawyer’s contempt petition on Bhushan’s tweets, as the rules on contempt proceedings demand.

Retired SC judges have flagged both the court’s haste amid a raging pandemic when only virtual courts are functioning, and the desirability of a larger SC bench to hear such weighty matters...

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Europe Lifts Tariffs on U.S. Lobsters

A lobster boat headed out to set traps off Portland, Maine, earlier this year.

Photo: Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

The Trump administration and European Union agreed Friday to a limited tariff rollback, providing relief to American lobster exports and to a range of European items, and providing a boost to strained U.S.-EU trade relations.

The reductions were announced in a joint statement from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan...

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How do you ‘defund the police’ in Texas? Very carefully.

A summer of protests has fed into heated debates on city councils over how much public money should go to police departments, and what their functions should be. In Texas, the discretionary power of municipal councils to redirect money from law enforcement is limited by union contracts and political constraints. But cities have begun the hard work of deciding what public safety could look like if less money went to the police. 

The cuts so far are modest but represent a break with elected officials’ historic reluctance to be seen as undermining police powers. In San Antonio, for example, a share of future tax revenues earmarked for cops will be allocated to nonprofit agencies to assume functions that are currently the purview of the police. 

Tax revenues have been hit by the COVID-19 p...

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One nation, many barriers: Reserving jobs for locals is incompatible with ‘Make in India for the world’

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan recently announced that all government jobs in the state would be reserved for locals. The BJP leader was following a template drawn by his predecessor and senior Congress leader Kamal Nath, who had earlier said that 70% of jobs in the private sector in the state would be reserved for the locals. That this may be against the principle of natural justice or constitutional tenets, is not the issue. This is a peculiar case where national parties’ leaders invoke nativist pride.

Therefore, their politics deserves to be questioned and criticised. Chouhan, an important leader, is also a BJP parliamentary board member. It’s thus expected that he would have some national obligations as well...

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U.S. Existing-Home Sales Rose Nearly 25% in July on Low Rates

A home for sale in Bexley, Ohio. In many cities, agents say the supply of homes on the market can barely keep pace with demand.

Photo: Barbara J. Perenic/Associated Press

Home sales surged in July, signaling how much the pandemic is reshaping where and how Americans want to live during this period of social distancing and working from home.

Home buyers who were reluctant to venture out in March and April when much of the country was under lockdown have returned in force since late spring...

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U.S. Economic Recovery Gains Steam While Others Stutter

The U.S. economy picked up momentum this month as companies shook off the effects of the pandemic-induced downturn, though recoveries in other parts of the world slowed, according to new surveys of purchasing managers.

The data released Friday suggest U.S. firms are seeing demand return as they reopen from the lockdowns imposed in the spring and early summer. They also indicate the economy has so far managed to weather July’s sharp rise in new coronavirus infections and business closures that threatened to knock the recovery off course.

D...

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The world’s greatest natural resource

For more than a century, prosperity has come from the ground in Wyoming. Since the Industrial Revolution, human economic progress has been disproportionately dependent on the black rocks that exist so tantalizingly near the surface in Wyoming: coal. So the people of the Cowboy State have cashed in. For many, those rocks have been the path to a better life.

But there’s a problem. What happens when there aren’t any rocks left? Or if people don’t pay as much for them anymore? Or – if you’re from another state – what if you don’t have any valuable rocks to begin with?

Natural resources are fickle things. The race to get hold of them has fueled some of the worst moments in human history...

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