Track 2

All the chatter and goss from around the world.
Track 2
Illustration by Saahil
Track 2
outlookindia.com
2016-08-11T12:24:55+0530

“We have to listen to what Britain wants.... Britain does not want an impasse, Germany does not want an impasse and the EU does not want an impasse.”

Angela Merkel
German Chancellor after her meeting with British PM Theresa May

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Intercepts

Australia
Anti-muslim remarks spark off twitter debate

Muslim-baiting, it would seem, has been rising at an alarming rate in different parts of the western world, with each ISIS terror attack. While the Nice attack shocked the French and the world alike, an Australian TV presenter sparked off a major controversy with her suggestion to ban entry of Mus­lims into Australia for a while. Sonia Kruger commented on Channel Nine’s Today Extra that after the Nice attack she would feel safer if borders were closed for a while for Mus­lims. The outrage among her viewers for­­ced Kruger to argue on Twitter that “as a mother” she was concerned and this should allow Australians to have a proper debate on the issue. But there were few takers for her argument and the hashtag #asamother had been trending in Australia for days, with increasing number of people accusing her for ‘racial’ views.

Venezuela
Venezuela opens sealed border to allow people hit by crisis to shop in Columbia

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More than 1,00,000 Venezuelans visited neighbouring Columbia in the weekend to shop for essential items. Venezuela, an oil rich country has been facing a severe food crisis since a slump in oil prices for over a year. The shortage of essential items has led to rioting and looting. Stores have run out of food, milk, medicines, even toilet papers. President Nicolas Maduro, fighting an opposition move to remove him from power, sees an American hand behind the crisis. Venezuelan oil production has hit a 13-year low and the economy has shrunk by over 10 per cent. The IMF predicts inflation in the country to reach 700 per cent this year, leading to an economic meltdown. The border with Columbia had been sealed to fight crime. But the economic crisis and acute food shortage has forced Maduro to open it to ease the pressure.


Must-Read

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The Times, London
Demand to probe Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘racial’ past

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the “Mahatma,” and hero of India’s independence is an icon that few are willing to criticise. But a group of scholars in South Africa who accuse him of a ‘racist’ past want a reassessment of his legacy. The controversy broke out when the Indian PM was visiting the country. Academics who have analysed old letters written by Gandhiji want a reappraisal of his legacy. “It is time to rethink the role Mahatma Gandhi played in South Africa,” Ashwin Desai, a professor at Johannesburg University who co-authored a book last year criticising Gandhi’s ‘racial’past, said. A statue of the Indian leader at the Gandhi Square was defaced this year as part of a campaign to ‘decolonise’ South Africa. Typically, there are several others who contest this view that some scholars like Desai hold.


Big Idea

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Fehmarn, an portable German beach chair that transforms into a canopy bed with portholes, allowing users to peek outside to see the stars and listen to waves breaking from the confines of its walls, is a big hit with tourists.


Diplomatic Chatter

Foreign envoys are talking about... Modi and Trump, a “natural fit”

Comparing the prime minister to a potential US president would normally be seen by the Indian establishment as a positive deve­lopment. But it’s ano­ther matter when one is clubbed with Donald Trump. South Block mandarins are still wondering if Newt Gingrich’s remarks, calling the Indian PM and Trump a ‘natural fit,’ should be seen as a compliment or not. Gingrich, former speaker of the US Congr­ess, is a champion of the Republican presidential candidate. He thinks the similarities can lead to clo­ser India-US ties and make the world a safer place. Gin­­g­­rich’s comments have started drawing sniggers from some dip­l­­­­­omats. Many of them, con­­cerned over issues like growing nat­ionalism, worry about the fate of religious minorities under this reg­ime. Some had seen the Modi-Trump  parallel long before Gingrich did. South Block argues that desp­ite a bipartisan support in Washington for strong ties with India, Indo-US ties usually thr­ive under a Republican pre­­sidency. So, if Trump occupies the White House, will a ‘natural fit’ between the two then be the most desirable outcome?


Compiled by Pranay Sharma

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