What the world is readinghttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/what-the-world-is-reading-127/

What the world is reading

Taking a cue from the repeated rumours about senior MQM leader Farooq Sattar being shot down,Nadeem F Paracha writes in his latest column

Dawn

Cry wolf and let slip the birds of Twitter

Taking a cue from the repeated rumours about senior MQM leader Farooq Sattar being shot down,Nadeem F Paracha writes in his latest column on Dawn.com that the age old habit of rumour mongering in Pakistan is turning deadlier by the day in the age of Twitter and 24-hour news channels. Citing left wing intellectual Aitraz Ahsan’s book,The Indus Saga,Paracha points out that the custom could have originated in the period between the decline of the Mughal Empire and the arrival of the British colonialists. “It is during this time that Ahsan claims people of this region developed the habit of accusing malicious outsiders working with the ‘corrupt rulers in Delhi’ for all the economic and political misery that the people faced and of taking and making up rumours to substantiate such theories,” writes Paracha. He wonders that while the free media and availability of internet provides opportunity to investigate the validity of the conspiracy theories and rumours,that is not the case at all. “But,of course,where’s the fun in doing this? Especially when one can actually reflect one’s political and social wishes and desires by generating and/or highlighting rumours and then get an adrenaline rush after watching the rumour turn into ‘news’,” he writes.

The New Yorker

Is there hope for Francis on gay rights?

Pope Francis comes from one of only 11 countries where same-sex marriage is legal. Yet any Catholics who were hoping that new leadership would modernise (even a little) the Church and its teaching when it comes to the issue of homosexuality,will likely be disappointed,writes Richard Socarides in his latest opinion piece in The New Yorker. Socarides quotes Herndon Graddick,president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation,who says “In his life,Jesus condemned gays zero times. In Pope Benedict’s short time in the papacy,he made a priority of condemning gay people routinely. This,in spite of the fact that the Catholic hierarchy had been in collusion to cover up the widespread abuse of children within its care. We hope this Pope will trade in his red shoes for a pair of sandals and spend a lot less time condemning and a lot more time foot-washing.”. Summing up the new Pope’s view on gay rights,Socarides writes,“So far,there is nothing in Pope Francis’s record to suggest that the Church will be any more welcoming to gay Catholics or on the subject of gay rights.”

The Observer

Move over Brangelina,ahoy McAvoy!

In her recent article for The Observer,Vanessa Thorpe writes that a new British “golden acting couple” is out there to replace the celebrated pair of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. “Standards have been set when it comes to golden couples of stage and screen… Since the 1960s there have been occasional challenges,one from Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson,perhaps,for the title of Britain’s premiere theatrical partners. But quietly,even reluctantly,since they do not desire it,a talented new pairing has staked a claim: Anne-Marie Duff and her husband James McAvoy,” she writes. “Arguably,given their surnames and McAvoy’s recent appearance in Macbeth,if we must have Brangelina,perhaps we can now adopt MacDuff as a composite name for the couple. And,since the Shakespearean phrase is actually misquoted and then corrected in the BBC’s production of Gaiman’s Neverwhere this weekend,we do perhaps have licence,just this once,to cry out: “Lay on,MacDuff!,” she concludes.