Get your weekend started with the top 5 stories from today’s edition: Salman Rushdie stabbed in New York; big tech divided on self regulation; India’s talks with NATO; what to watch this weekend; and more.
1) Author Salman Rushdie is no stranger to controversy. Three decades ago, he spent years in hiding under police protection after Iranian officials called for his execution over his controversial book, ‘The Satanic Verses’. On Friday, the author was stabbed on stage in New York, right before he was about to begin a lecture, and airlifted to a local hospital in critical condition. Rushdie was on a ventilator on Friday evening, with a damaged liver, severed nerves in an arm and an eye he was likely to lose, his agent told The Associated Press.
🔴 How one book changed his life: Since the publication of The Satanic Verses in September 1988, the British-Indian writer who won the Booker Prize for his Midnight’s Children (1981) has faced innumerable threats to his life. On February 14, 1989, Iran’s religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced a fatwa on Rushdie for “insulting Islam” with his novel. The repercussions of this would continue to be felt for decades to come.
🔴 Rushdie at Express Idea Exchange in 2013: “Yes, I would write The Satanic Verses again.” That was Salman Rushdie in January 2013, in The Indian Express, where he had dropped by for Idea Exchange, the newsroom’s weekly interaction with newsmakers.
2) Earlier this week, The Indian Express learnt that India held its first political dialogue with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in December 2019. Attended by senior officials from the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Defence, the meeting was to ensure that the dialogue was primarily political in character, and looked to avoid making any commitment on military or other bilateral cooperation. Shubhajit Roy explains what the alliance is, why India’s talks with NATO are significant and what the next steps are for the country.
3) There is a growing divide among internet companies on setting up a self-regulatory body — to address complaints by social media users — as an alternative to the Centre’s Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC). While Snap and Google oppose an industry proposal to create such a body, Facebook and Twitter are learnt to be in support of the body’s creation.
🔴 Why Snap and Google oppose it: They have flagged concerns over the potential inability to legally challenge any final content moderation decisions of a self-governing body, in addition to the difference in the moderation policies of different platforms, many executives aware of these discussions told The Indian Express.
🔴 MeitY’s reccomendations: In proposed amendments to the Information Technology Rules, MeitY has suggested setting up Grievance Appellate Committees (GACs), even though the Ministry said it is open to a self-regulatory body of social media companies to handle such issues.
4) In our opinion section today, political analyst Sanjay Kumar writes about how after Nitish Kumar’s break-up with the BJP in Bihar, the state is headed for ‘Mandal 2.0’ politics: “The latest turn of events will certainly mean a realignment of social and political forces in Bihar. The state seems to be all set for Mandal 2.0 politics with the JD(U) and RJD aiming to mobilise OBCs and other marginalised sections of voters while the BJP would try to maximise on upper castes votes while also making inroads amongst the Dalits and OBC voters, especially the “lower” sections of the latter, with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha election.”
5) This week, Shubhra Gupta reviews the latest Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer, ‘Lal Singh Chaddha’: “Given that it is Aamir who is known for his meticulous building of a character, and the source material which overcomes its heavy doses of schmaltz by a superb performance by Hanks, ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ should have been a movie we could take home with us. But it is the train which gathers speed, not Laal’s meandering tale, which only kicks in towards the last half hour.” (2⭐)
Johnson & Johnson is set to end sales of one of its most iconic products. Which product is it?
A. Baby powder
(🤫 Pssst… the answer is in today’s edition of The Indian Express. Get it here)
Until next time,
Rahel Philipose and Varsha Sriram