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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Explained Highlights: Who is Tetsuya Yamagami, the man who shot Shinzo Abe; why Boris Johnson finally resigned; and more

From Shinzo Abe's efforts in strengthening India-Japan ties to BJP's focus on Pasmanda Muslims in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, a look at the best explainers through the week.

Written by Monojit Majumdar | New Delhi |
Updated: July 11, 2022 2:35:04 pm
Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assassinated; Boris Johnson resigns as UK PM; and more.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, died on Friday (July 8) after he was shot in Nara, Japan, by a 41-year-old man identified as Tetsuya Yamagami. Few details were immediately available on Yamagami, but he was previously in the Japanese navy, known as the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF). Read our explainer to know more about him.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi on Thursday (July 7) at the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting. On the sidelines of the two-day meeting that concluded on July 8 in Bali, Indonesia, the two ministers discussed border issues. The 17th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit will happen in November in Bali. After Indonesia, India will assume the presidency of G20 from December 2022. What is the G20? We Explain

Boris Johnson has resigned. This is something everyone had been expecting this week — but the Prime Minister had refused to go. Until Thursday (July 7). But the Prime Minister has been finally pushed out of the office he insisted on clinging to as his government, battered by endless scandals and crises for a year, collapsed around him over the last couple of days. How and from where did the final push come? Read our Explainer.

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23:29 (IST)08 Jul 2022
Explained: What is CAATSA, the US law to sanction transactions with Russia, and how is India impacted?

On Thursday (July 7), US Democratic Representative Ro Khanna said the US government must not impose sanctions on India under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for its purchase of S-400 missile weapons system from Russia.

“US should take additional steps to encourage India to accelerate India’s transition of Russian-built weapons and defence systems while strongly supporting India’s immediate defence needs,” said Khanna. He noted the “Chinese aggression” at Indian borders, outlining India’s need for the system. Read More

23:27 (IST)08 Jul 2022
Explained: What is the G20, of which India becomes president later this year?

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi on Thursday (July 7) at the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting. On the sidelines of the two-day meeting that concluded on July 8 in Bali, Indonesia, the two ministers discussed border issues.

The 17th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit will happen in November in Bali. After Indonesia, India will assume the presidency of G20 from December 2022. What is the G20? We Explain

23:26 (IST)08 Jul 2022
Explained: How tainted football administrators Blatter and Platini escaped criminal charges

Influential administrator Sepp Blatter and French legend Michel Platini, removed from positions they held in football as chiefs of FIFA and UEFA over allegations that they exchanged fraudulent payments while in power, have been given a clean chit.

The investigations had been going on since 2015 — and after six years, the lack of sufficient proof has allowed both men to escape any criminal charges. Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court delivered the verdict on Friday. Read More

20:58 (IST)08 Jul 2022
Explained: Who is Brittney Griner, the WNBA star currently under detention in Russia?

Celebrated US basketball star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges in a Moscow court on Thursday (July 7), with hopes of a more lenient sentence, in light of the tense relationships between the US and Russia since its invasion of Ukraine.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist has been in custody since February 17, when two vape cartridges containing small amounts of cannabis oil were found in her luggage while she was at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. Cannabis oil is an illegal substance in Russia, and if charged with large-scale transportation of drugs, Griner could face up to 10 years in prison. Read More

17:22 (IST)08 Jul 2022
Explained: What Shinzo Abe, who had a special rapport with Narendra Modi, achieved for India-Japan ties

Shinzo Abe, the former Prime Minister of Japan, has died, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK announced on Friday (July 8). He had earlier been unconscious and showing no vital signs after being shot at and wounded at an election meeting earlier in the morning. He was 67.

NHK said, “According to LDP officials, Shinzo Abe, the former Prime Minister, who was shot with a gun during the speech, died at a hospital in Kashihara City, Nara Prefecture, where he was being treated.” Read More

17:20 (IST)08 Jul 2022
Explained: Who are the Pasmanda Muslims, the group that the BJP is reaching out to?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reported to have asked the BJP national executive in Hyderabad last weekend to reach out to “deprived and downtrodden sections” in communities other than Hindus, which was understood to be a message to the party to focus on groups such as Pasmanda Muslims in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The direction came after the BJP’s victories in the Lok Sabha by-elections in Azamgarh and Rampur, where Muslims are an important part of the electorate. The party is also thought to have gained some Pasmanda votes in the 2022 Assembly elections, and Danish Azad Ansari, a Pasmanda leader, was subsequently inducted into the second Yogi Adityanath government. Read More

20:00 (IST)07 Jul 2022
Explained: How a cancer drug cuts risk of death in Covid-19 patients

A newly published phase-3 study for the drug sabizabulin, initially developed to fight cancer, has shown that it cuts risk of death by about one-fourth in patients hospitalized with moderate to severe Covid-19. The study – funded and conducted by the drug manufacturing company Veru – was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Read More

19:38 (IST)07 Jul 2022
Explained: What is a derecho, a storm that turned the sky green in the US?

States of Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois in the US were hit by a storm system called a derecho on Tuesday. As the storm rolled in, winds gusting at around 140 km per hour, snapped power lines and knocked down trees. As the storm hit, it turned the skies green, with even many experienced storm chasers claiming to have never witnessed such atmospheric optics, according to the Washington Post. What is a derecho, how did it turn the US skies green? We Explain

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14:51 (IST)07 Jul 2022
Explained: Under tax lens now, how Micro Labs made Dolo-650 pandemic’s go-to fever drug

Bengaluru-based pharmaceutical company Micro Labs Ltd, the manufacturer of Dolo-650 tablet, is under the income tax scanner for suspected tax evasion. The tax department is looking at financial records and statements of the company as part of the searches, officials said. Read our explainer to know more

14:25 (IST)07 Jul 2022
Apple’s ‘Lockdown Mode’ – how the new iPhone feature battles advanced spyware

Apple has announced a major change to iPhone security in an effort to make it harder for mercenary spyware firms like Pegasus-maker NSO Labs to target and hack users of the iPhone. This has come in the aftermath of several private cyber offensive companies finding zero-day flaws, and letting their clients — typically government agencies and authorities — to hack into the devices of journalists, activists, dissidents, etc. What is it, and how will it work? Why is Apple rolling out this feature? We Explain

13:14 (IST)07 Jul 2022
Why does Raja Sabha have ‘nominated’ MPs, and who gets nominated?

The government on Wednesday (July 6) nominated musician Ilaiyaraaja, track-and-field icon PT Usha, Telugu screenwriter V Vijayendra Prasad, and philanthropist and spiritual leader Veerendra Heggade to Rajya Sabha. The four new entrants to Rajya Sabha belong to four southern states, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.

Ilaiyaraaja, Usha, Prasad, and Heggade will serve until July 2028. The Upper House of Parliament now has nine nominated members — the other five being lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani, dancer Sonal Mansingh, politician Ram Shakal, author and columnist Rakesh Sinha, and former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. Three nominated positions are currently vacant. Read More

12:40 (IST)07 Jul 2022
Inflation to nuclear power, what’s at stake in Japan’s election?

Japan will vote in upper house elections on Sunday that have implications for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s grip on the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and his ability to push through legislation. We explain why the poll matters and also take a look at some main policy issues.

11:48 (IST)07 Jul 2022
How Omicron evades antibodies in vaccinated and unvaccinated people

The current wave of Covid-19 highlights a high risk of reinfection by the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. Why is this? Researchers analysed the antibody neutralisation capacity of 120 people infected with the original SARS-CoV-2 strain, or with the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Zeta or Omicron (sub-variant BA.1) variants. They found that unlike its predecessors, Omicron appears to be able to evade the antibodies generated by all other variants, the University of Geneva said in a press release. The researchers, from the University’s Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases, and the Geneva University Hospital, have published their findings in Nature Communications. Read More

09:27 (IST)07 Jul 2022
How much wheat do the states consume, what is the revision?

Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh — both BJP-ruled states — have demanded more wheat in place of rice and asked the Centre to restore their original allocations under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, or change the wheat-rice allocation ratio that was revised by the Union Food Ministry in May. Following a revision in May, wheat allocation under NFSA has been slashed for 10 states, of which UP and Gujarat have demanded a rollback. How much wheat do the states consume, what is the revision, and why? Read More

22:16 (IST)06 Jul 2022
As Boris Johnson teeters on the brink, the many crises of his rocky Prime Ministership

Boris Johnson’s premiership appeared to be on its last legs on Wednesday (July 6), with a string of new ministerial resignations following those of Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid, two of the United Kingdom’s seniormost ministers, on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Johnson’s nearly 3 years in power, which began with a landslide victory in December 2019, has been rocked by a series of scandals and growing criticism from within his own party.

Here’s a look at some of the major crises that have rocked Johnson’s government so far.

21:06 (IST)06 Jul 2022
A short history of the demand for ‘Dravida Nadu’, its evolution

Andimuthu Raja, the DMK MP from Nilgiris, said in the presence of Chief Minister M K Stalin on Sunday (July 3) that if the central government did not give Tamil Nadu greater autonomy, the DMK could be “compelled” to revive the demand for a “separate” state.

Raja’s comments come in a period in which the DMK government in Tamil Nadu has repeatedly and vocally disagreed with the policies of the central government, and accused it of undermining India’s federal structure. 

We explain the evolution of demand for ‘Dravida Nadu’.

20:56 (IST)06 Jul 2022
How is the Vice-President of India elected, what the Constitution says about the post

The Election Commission of India on Tuesday (July 5) issued the notification for the election of the Vice-President of India. The term of office of Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu comes to an end on August 10.

The election is scheduled for August 6, and July 19 is the last date for filing nominations. Neither the NDA nor the Opposition have announced their candidate yet, but Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Steel Minister RCP Singh resigned from their posts on Wednesday (July 6), triggering speculation that Naqvi, in particular, could be the government’s nominee for the election.

So, How is the Vice-President of India elected. We explain

Explained: How is the Vice-President of India elected, what the Constitution says about the post

20:34 (IST)06 Jul 2022
EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy to brand gas and nuclear plants as ‘green’

Supporters say it is the world’s most ambitious green investment rulebook and could direct huge sums of money into fighting climate change. Critics say it’s a “greenwashing” exercise that puts the European Union’s climate change targets at risk.

So what is the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy? We explain

19:34 (IST)06 Jul 2022
Why are ‘Just Stop Oil’ climate activists gluing themselves to artworks?

‘Just Stop Oil’, a UK-based group of climate activists, has hit the headlines over the last few months for their rather distinctive disruptions drawing attention to their cause.

On July 5, they glued themselves to the frame of a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, attributed to his pupil, Giampietrino, at the Royal Academy in London. We explain the issue

17:54 (IST)06 Jul 2022
Why are UK cinemas banning teens in suits over a TikTok trend?

Several UK cinemas have banned young people from wearing formal attire during screenings of the recently-released animated film ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ due to unruly behaviour fuelled by a bizarre new trend on TikTok.

Since the film was released last week, hoards of youngsters have been flocking to cinema halls wearing suits and referring to themselves as ‘Gentleminions’. We explain the row. 

Best of Explained: New Covid sub-variants, West’s disappointment in Russia

In the latest and potentially fatal blow to the government of Boris Johnson in the UK, two of his most senior ministers, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid, resigned within minutes of each other on Tuesday, expressing a lack of confidence in his leadership. The latest crisis for Johnson comes just after ‘Partygate’, a no confidence motion he survived, and two bypoll defeats for his party. We explain the controversy.

Many of you would have noticed a new surge in Covid-19 cases around you over the last few weeks. If the official numbers published by the government every day seem to be fewer than what you’d expect, it could be because many people are giving themselves rapid tests at home and not reporting positive outcomes, or perhaps not testing at all. Thankfully, in most cases, the illness is not severe, and very few people other than those with severe comorbidities are actually ending up in hospital.

What are the variants of SARS-CoV-2 — rather, the sub-variants of Omicron — that are causing this current spike in infections? When and where did they emerge, and how afraid should you be? Do read Anonna Dutt’s explainer.

Give a read also to Anuradha Mascarenhas’s unpacking of India’s first mRNA Covid-19 vaccine that received clearance for “restricted emergency use” in adults this week. How does GEMCOVAC-19, manufactured by Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, work, and why is its development a major breakthrough for Indian conditions?

The crisis in Maharashtra seems to be over for now (we did publish some important explainers on the various legal and constitutional aspects through the week), but the other ongoing — and deeply disturbing — story of the week, around the objectionable remarks on the Prophet, continues. Do read Nirupama Subramanian and Zeeshan Shaikh’s profile of the Da’wat-e-Islami, the radical Sunni Muslim group to which Rajasthan Police have linked Ghouse Mohammad, the man who murdered tailor Kanhaiyalal Teli in Udaipur; and Apurva Vishwanath’s fine summary of law and precedent on the clubbing of multiple cases in court, written after the Supreme Court’s angry scolding of Nupur Sharma, the former BJP spokesperson whose “loose tongue” the Bench blamed for being “singlehandedly responsible for what is happening in the country”.

The war in Ukraine has now gone on for more than four months. The West’s sanctions, among the harshest in history, were predicted to inflict unbearable pain on the government of President Vladimir Putin, and possibly lead to Russia’s economic collapse and defeat in the war. But things haven’t quite gone to script. Harish Damodaran explained why the sanctions have been less effective than the West expected, and what is likely to happen here onward.


Monojit Majumdar

Explained Editor, The Indian Express

  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
First published on: 03-07-2022 at 02:03:57 pm
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