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Track 2

All the chatter and goss from around the world.

Track 2
Illustration by Saahil
Track 2

Trump’s problem is that for every American who admires him, many others dislike him. His popularity threatens to force other Republicans to indulge in nationalist and protectionist rhetoric.”

The Daily Telegraph
Editorial after the first US Republican presidential debate

The Big Idea

‘Merkelling’, inspired by the German chancellor, is to be named “youth word of the year” by Langenscheidt. It means “do nothing, make no decision, express nothing of yourself”.

Spain, UK, France
Taking The Salute

Many world leaders have traditionally looked forward to be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations. But after Barack Obama’s presence on the occasion this January, the coveted invite from New Delhi seems to have attained an added gloss. Three European powers—Spain, UK and France—are now lobbying to ensure that the chief guest of the 2016 R-Day celebrations is from their country. PM Modi will travel to London later this year. Therefore, another engagement with David Cameron so soon looks unlikely. Indo-French ties are already on strong footing after the Rafale deal. The choice could fall on Spain, which has not had a head of government visiting Delhi in decades. But there can always be a surprise.

Watch this space

The infamous NaMo suit, auctioned for an eye-popping Rs 4.31 crore after uncomfortable questions were raised about its donor, is often seen to have been the starting point of his decl­ine in public perception. Now, a limited edition watch worth £3,97,000 (approximately Rs 4 crore) has put Russian President Vladimir Putin in a spot. Questions are being raised on how Put­in’s spoke­sman, the 47-year-old Dmitry Peskov, seen wearing the Richard Mille Tourbillon Skull 052-01 watch at his wedding last weekend, could afford it. Its value is over four times his annual income. Opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s question on how Peskov got the watch, since it was not shown as a gift in the official filings, has left Putin and his team speechless for now. As it did Modi’s till the auction route was found to dispose of it.

The Daily Telegraph

Look who is offering advice to John Sewel, the “married peer in charge of upholding standards in the House of Lords who has been caught on video snorting cocaine with a pair of £200-a-night hookers”? Jonathan Aitken, who resig­ned from the British cabinet 20 years ago for telling a lie on oath about a hotel bill. Aitken, who spent 18 months in prison for perjury, tells Sewel (and indeed all those who fall from grace) that there’s still life to be had after disgrace but there are no quick fixes or swift solutions. Act I is learning to survive the media battering and paparazzi hounding. Act II is re-establishing relationships among family and friends. And Act III is about rebuilding a broken life. “Don’t be in denial, let alone self-justification. Don’t blame anybody else. Learn to be patient. Avoid self-pity. Crush the faintest tendencies towards arrogance,” writes Aitken. “As one of my heroes, Richard Nixon, said to me: ‘Failure is not falling down. Failure is falling down and not getting up again to continue life’s race.’”

Diplomatic Chatter

Foreign envoys are talking about... British Universities

Time was when an Oxbridge degree was seen as a surefire ticket to success. But Yanis Varoufakis’s resignation as Greece’s finance minister in the wake of the economic crisis there has reopened debate on whether a British education is actually bad news in the modern economic era. Why? Varoufakis studied economics at Essex and mathematical statistics at Birmin­gham—and look where it took his country!

Nehru, who went to Trinity College, Cambridge, is seen to be the one responsible for the Hindu rate of growth, with his state planning. Bhutto went to Christ Church, Oxford, and nationalised steel, chemicals, cement and banking, saying,  “Socialism is our economy.” Julius Nyerere, who read economics and history at Edin­burgh, “encountered Fabian thinking” that made Tanzania the byword for a bloated bureaucracy, shortages, low growth. Kenya’s Jomo Keny­atta went to the LSE, as did Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah and Canada’s Pierre Trudeau. Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, of Fitzwilliam College, Cambri­dge, is among the exceptions.

Contributed by Pranay Sharma and Pritam Sengupta

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