Bad news for coffee drinkers and farmers: Most American coffee drinkers probably haven’t heard of the white stem borer beetle but they’ll soon notice the damage these insects are capable of. The beetles have been attacking the bark and stems of the arabica coffee plants that make up many of India’s coffee plantations. India is currently the world’s sixth largest producer of coffee and Reuters reports that unusually warm weather this year has caused the beetles to thrive. [Reuters]
The story of the boy tied to the Mumbai bus stop: Lakhan Kale, a 9-year-old boy with cerebral palsy in Mumbai, made headlines earlier this year when it was discovered that his grandmother regularly tied him to a bus stop while she went to work. CNN reporter Mallika Kapur looks at Lakhan’s story and the reality of what life is like for millions of disabled Indians. [CNN]
Bharara addresses the rumors that have dogged him for years: No, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is not singling out Indians for prosecution. The vitriol was particularly intense last year during the Devyani Khobragade scandal, in which an Indian diplomat was arrested and charged for allegedly underpaying her nanny. The Associated Press notes that Bharara has been addressing the charges in recent public remarks:
In a recent speech at Harvard Law School, he noted the criticisms and countered them with unusual candor. Citing one commentator in India who questioned if he took up the diplomat case “to serve his white masters,” Bharara quipped about who those white masters might be.
“Presumably, Eric Holder and Barack Obama,” he said.
Is an invitation in the mail? Representative Ed Royce, the the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wants to invite India’s newly elected Prime Minster Narendra Modi to address a joint session of Congress. The congressman sent Speaker John Boehner a letter stating that that ““The United States has no more important partner in South Asia… “It is not an overstatement to say that the U.S.-India relationship will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.” Of course, just under a decade ago, Modi was denied a visa to enter the United States. [Wall Street Journal]
World War II’s forgotten Indian battle: It’s been 70 years since The Battle of Kohima and Imphal, which reporter Gardiner Harris describes as “bloodiest of World War II in India.” Despite playing a key role in the war, India’s participation in World War II has largely been forgotten by the population at large due to the legacy of colonialism and the complicated histories of Nagaland and Manipur, the two states the battle was fought in. [New York Times]
Telling her story: It’s been four days since American University law student Saba Ahmed was thrust into the public eye after she was taunted by several prominent conservatives during a panel discussion at the Heritage Foundation. After having various accusations thrown at her– including ones that said she was a Democratic Party plant or that she had been exaggerating the incident– Ahmed decided to speak out in the form of a guest blog post in the Washington Post opinions section. From the piece:
I find it deeply offensive when people misrepresent my faith, as participants in the Heritage forum did. In addition, I am a Republican, because of my conservative Islamic values: pro-life, pro-family, pro-business, pro-trade. I had been a Democrat for years but concluded that the party’s liberal values conflicted with Islam.
Ahmed also reveals that she was born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan and notes that she is the proud holder of a bachelor’s, an MBA and a law degree and is currently studying for a masters in law and government at American University. (Washington Post)
Kumail Nanjiani explains how he prepares for Portlandia: In case you missed it, The comedian was on Late Night with Seth Meyers last month dishing about Portlandia. Here’s the information the show’s producers gave him before he taped his first episode. “I get an email that says, ‘They want to buy a cell phone and you’re trying to upsell them.’ And that was it. It was two lines.” You can watch the segment in the video above.
Hari explains it all: “So before we begin, I’d like you all to know that the theme of my set tonight will be colonialism.” Those were nearly the first words out of comedian Hari Kondabolu’s mouth during his set on Conan on Monday and he delivered as promised. Watch Kondabolu riff on Chinese restaurants, the real reason the Adam and Eve story is hard to believe and ask the all important question, “What would Baloo do?” (Team Coco)
Shining a spotlight on student loans: Belle Knox, the young half-Indian porn star who made headlines earlier this year after she was outed as a Duke University student, is back in the news this week after speaking out about the crippling student loans many students face. Writing for Time.com under her legal name Miriam Weeks, she urged readers to “start paying attention to what got me here: artificially inflated demand for college that pushes tuitions sky high.” The whole piece is an interesting (and controversial) read. (Time, Jezebel)
This Indian seat belt PSA is going viral: According to the WHO, only 27 percent of Indian drivers wear a seat belt. This new public service announcement, which stars a group of hijras who call themselves The Seatbelt Crew, is trying to raise awareness and change that. “”Naughty girl,” the leader of the crew says at one point, “tell your boyfriend to buckle up.” Watch the ad, which was developed by Oglivy India, above. (NPR)
The quiet courage of Saba Ahmed: A panel discussion on Benghazi hosted by the Heritage Foundation on Monday turned nasty after several of the participants mocked and taunted an audience member who was wearing a hijab. According to Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, the panelists and audience members turned on American University law student Saba Ahmed after she asked a question about the Muslim representation at the event.
As Milbank reports, everything turned quite ugly after that:
The once and future best-selling author: Mindy Kaling is currently working on a follow up to her 2011 book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). We have to admit that we were intrigued by the book’s description. Here’s how the AV Club described it:
[T]he book will cover everything that’s happened in her life since she wrote Everyone, including her Fox show, the death of her mother, several of her friends’ marriages, and the purchase of her current home. The book will also reportedly address other issues that have been bandied about in Kaling’s public life, like her controversial Elle cover and issues of race (and dudes) on The Mindy Project.
The book will be titled Why Not Me? She told the Los Angeles Times that the phrase “has kind of been my subconscious motto my whole life.” (Vulture)
Actress Preity Zinta has filed a police complaint against her former boyfriend Ness Wadia, alleging that Wadia molested her inside a south Mumbai stadium during the IPL 2014 on May 30. (Both Zinta and Wadia co-own a cricket team together.)
That’s not neighborly:Lifehacker once described the startup Nextdoor as “private social network and helps you meet the people in your neighborhood. Whether you need to borrow a cup of sugar or find a new tennis partner, you can connect with people nearby.” (You can watch the promo for the app above). Nextdoor’s CEO Nirav Tolia recently quite literally connected with a woman nearby when he was involved in a hit-and-run car accident. Tolia was sentenced to 30 days in jail yesterday after pleading no contest to a reduced charge.
But it looks like Tolia won’t be going to jail after all. Due to “his good standing in the community,” Forbes reports that the Silicon Valley mogul will “complete the 30-day sentence through a weekend work program, where he will ‘put in eight- or 10-hour days doing paper pickups, washing school graffiti,’ said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.” (Valleywag)
Preity Zinta alleges that her ex-boyfriend abused her: The Bollywood actress filed a police complaint against businessman Ness Wadia, her former boyfriend. NDTV reports that Zinta claims Wadia “molested, abused and threatened her inside the Wankhede stadium in south Mumbai.” (The pair still co-owns the IPL cricket team Kings XI Punjab together.) Note: every piece on this case should come with a massive trigger warning. I strongly suggest skipping over reading the comments and tweets about this situation. (NDTV)