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  • Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo pushing aside a fizzy drink for water at a press-meet in Budapest
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    Spectacular self-goals in this game of eyeballs

    The game that sells on beauty, with football positioned in global mindspace as ‘the beautiful game’, has seen three self-goals scored in Euro 2020 so far. Or is it four? On Tuesday, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo roused fans across the globe to raptures by playing Hungary on its home turf, a day after he casually seemed to knock $4 billion off a championship sponsor’s market value by pushing aside a fizzy drink for water at a press-meet in Budapest. Whether it was causation or correlation (an action replay offers no clarity), an open snub of its top brand live on millions […] More

  • Photo: Hindustan Times
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    The non-consumption barrier to our vaccination drive

    Most chief executive officers (CEOs) think of competition as the biggest challenge for getting customers to buy their products and services. But a much bigger challenge is non-consumption—especially when the reasons people aren’t buying have more to do with friction than with what one is selling. A recent article in The New York Times points out how clueless businesses often are of barriers in the way of prospects becoming actual customers. It describes a big population of those who haven’t gotten a covid vaccine yet, but aren’t hesitant. They’d gladly get vaccinated and put covid behind them if they could, […] More

  • Photo: AP
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    Reflections on the pandemic and our preparations for a third wave

    Had Preeta not rushed me to Indraparatha Apollo hospital, New Delhi, with the help of some friends, on 24 April, I am certain I would not have been here to write this column. Even as I lay prone in the covid intensive care unit, attached to a non-invasive ventilation machine that was pumping oxygen into my lungs, intra-veinous pipes delivering different drugs, and wired to heart and oxygen saturation monitors, it was clear to me that I was a very lucky man and the discomfort of all these attachments actually reflected my privileged situation. I was at one of India’s […] More

  • Calibrated closures: On localised lockdowns
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    Reverse migration: On the politics of defections

    Political mobilisation based on opportunistic defection can only offer limited purchase Leaders switching parties and parties recruiting turncoats are not unheard of in Indian politics. A shrinking party would lose leaders while an expanding party would gain them. The talent acquisition strategy of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) goes far beyond such familiar opportunism. In the recent years of its growth, it has built entire electoral strategies around leaders who crossed over from other parties. In Assam, its two consecutive Chief Ministers were in other parties not long ago; the current incumbent, Himanta Biswa Sarma, was not just any other […] More

  • Gautam Adani’s business empire has been expanding rapidly (Photo: Reuters)
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    The Adani Group ought to get a wider base of equity investors

    Gautam Adani’s debt-fuelled empire received a jolt this week when a newspaper reported that three of the six Mauritius-based funds that have invested most of their money in the Indian billionaire’s stocks had seen their accounts frozen by the national share depository. The Adani Group refuted the report as “blatantly erroneous”, helping to put a floor below plunging share prices. But not before $6 billion of wealth was lost on Monday. The jitters returned the next day with an announcement that the accounts for Cresta Fund, Albula Investment Fund and APMS Investment Fund are in “suspended for debit” status as […] More

  • Calibrated closures: On localised lockdowns
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    Old and slow: On World Test Championship

    India and New Zealand are vying for the latest ICC trophy in the game’s original format Ever since Australia and England played the first ever Test at Melbourne in March 1877, cricket’s longest format has constantly evolved. Timeless Tests were dispensed with and rest days within a game were discarded while faster siblings One Day Internationals and Twenty20s emerged. As the abridged variants attracted fans and commerce, Tests of recent vintage also embraced the day-and-night spectacle. Through these changes, nations have tested themselves in bilateral series with the Ashes and India-Pakistan clashes having stronger brand equity. Yet, there was a […] More

  • Photo: Bloomberg
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    Get the females and beat the disease

    But I also thought of mosquitoes. Now I have never been to Florida. But the state is known for its mosquitoes. The humorist Dave Barry lives there and has often mentioned the insects in his columns: “… as the Sun set, we experienced a sensation that I will never forget: The sensation of being landed on by every mosquito in the Western Hemisphere. There were so many of them that they needed Air Traffic Control mosquitoes to give directions.” Long story short: Florida has swarms of mosquitoes. They are constantly biting residents of and visitors to the state, so much […] More

  • Calibrated closures: On localised lockdowns
    in ,

    Old and slow

    India and New Zealand are vying for the latest ICC trophy in the game’s original format Feed By Source link More

  • Photo: iStock
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    External imbalance

    A lot has been said about our foreign exchange reserves. At a record $605 billion around the start of June, our pile is one of the world’s largest. It has been likened to a big rock of stability against any economic shock that may arise from turmoil overseas, or a sharp reversal of capital inflows caused by a rise in America’s policy interest rate, which is now expected to go up in 2023, or possibly even sooner. While it’s true India’s stash of hard currency offers us an insurance cover for external instability, it hasn’t been tested. In a monthly […] More

  • A woman being inoculated against Covid-19 at a vaccination centre on Rani Jhansi Marg in New Delhi on June 17, 2021.  (Photo: HT)
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    Covid and the Stockdale Paradox of realism and faith

    Covid has literally affected a close family member—a parent, aunt or friend—of every Indian I know. If the past few months have been horrific, it appears that the future may be worse—with many experts predicting a third wave of infections. How does one keep hopes up in times like these? The Stockdale Paradox has something to teach us. Jim Stockdale, after whom it is named, was an American soldier imprisoned by the Vietcong and one of the vanishingly few to survive eight long years of imprisonment and torture. Stockdale attributes his survival to being able to accept the harsh realities […] More

  • Photo: ANI
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    Responses to natural and man-made disasters differ

    The cause of the covid pandemic had been assumed to be natural. But US President Joe Biden recently ordered American intelligence agencies to investigate the question of its origin. If the report they submit does not comprehensively rule out the lab-leak hypothesis, the pandemic could witness a mutation of a different kind. The source of Sars-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes covid, could mutate in our understanding from ‘natural’ to possibly ‘man-made’, a momentous shift. The world has seen many disasters. They can broadly be classified either as natural disasters, like earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and floods, or man-made ones like wars, […] More

  • China’s Taishan plant saw a dangerous deterioration of nuclear fuel rods (Photo: AP)
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    China’s nuclear plant leak is no Chernobyl but still worrisome

    Is a nuclear power plant on the edge of China’s 60 million-strong Pearl River Delta megalopolis on the verge of an emergency? It doesn’t look like it—but that doesn’t mean there’s no cause for concern. The US government has been assessing a report of a leak at the Taishan No. 1 nuclear power plant west of the cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, CNN reported Monday, adding that the situation doesn’t pose a severe safety threat to workers at the plant or the wider public. A separate statement from Electricite de France SA (EDF), which owns 30% of the […] More

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