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Weekly Digest #45

Updated: Jun 29

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TOP STORIES


Let the games begin (Or Not)

By: Agastya Rao



The Olympics are the biggest sporting events that ever happen. Each one is bigger than the other, with each host country trying to get one up on the preceding hosts. Amongst all the pomp, billion dollar spending, the world’s top athletes and a worldwide pandemic, should the 2021 Olympic Summer Games go ahead in Japan, or should Olympics 2020 finally be cancelled?



When are they happening-

The 2020 Summer Games were supposed to happen in, well- 2020, but due to the Sars Cov-2 Pandemic, they were postponed (just like countless sporting events) to 2021 [Note: they are still called the 2020 summer games even in 2021]. The opening ceremony is scheduled for July 23rd which means that there is a little under a month left for them.


Any safety measures in place?

There are the usual safety measures taking place- wearing a mask, sanitising and disinfecting areas. Many athletes have opted to not get the Covid-19 vaccine before the Olympic Games as they are scared of the possibility of side effects (A Covid-19 vaccine is not compulsory to participate).

For Athletes-

1. All athletes will be tested for Covid-19 before they board their flight and after they land in Japan.

2.They will not have to be in Quarantine upon arrival, but shall have to stay in a bubble, and will be tested for Covid-19 daily.

3. Athletes from countries on Japan’s red travel list may have to Quarantine.

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For Spectators-

1. International spectators shall not be allowed.

2. A maximum of 10,000 spectators shall be allowed at outdoor and indoor events

3. All spectators must wear a mask, and cheering is prohibited.


Local Public Opinion-

The general population of Japan (A reported more than 80%) are against holding the Olympic Games right now. Naturally, no one wants a super spreader on their hands, especially in their own country. Japan’s vaccination program has been extremely slow, with only 9% of their entire population fully vaccinated. Curfews and restrictions are still in place in cities across Japan, and many parts of Japan including Tokyo and Osaka are under a state of emergency.


What do the Experts say?

The experts themselves are against holding the Olympic games this summer. The members of the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association have written a letter to the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Yoshihide Suga, calling for the Olympic games to be cancelled, adding that they are overworked, and that there is barely any space for more Covid-19 Patients in hospitals.

How did the Government respond, and what’s at stake for them-

Surely after spending over 15 Billion Dollars on the Olympics, losing out on a large chunk of ticketing revenue and having to put up a better show than China who will be holding the upcoming Winter Games to be held in 2022, there is no way the Japanese Government would want to cancel the Olympic games.

The Japanese PM responded to the worries of the people by saying that Japan will still be able to hold a safe and secure Olympic Games. The bigger question is - who holds the real power to decide on cancellation of the Olympics - is it a decision to be taken by Japan’s government or by the International Olympic Committee?


What effect would cancelling the games have on athletes?


The Summer Games happen once every 4 years. They are a big event and hold an immense amount of importance for rookie and veteran athletes alike. For rookie athletes who are just starting out, the Olympics play a major part in getting their career started- performing well in the Olympic games not only brings prestige and a medal, but also lucrative sponsorship deals, government monetary support (possible governmental positions and awards) and so much more.


The same level of importance holds true for veteran athletes who may be in the last few years of their respective games, with the example of one of the arguably Greatest tennis players Of All Time, Roger Federer. He has announced that he will take a decision on whether he shall play in the games or not, post Wimbledon. However, as he nears the age of 40 and comes near the end of his career, with 20 Grand Slam titles, the Olympic Gold medal eludes him. The 2020-21 games could be his last chance at getting the shiny gold medal.


Major athletes who have pulled out, or who are not participating over major fields include-

Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Dustin Johsnon, Serena Williams



The Ultimatum: Can the games really be cancelled?

If the Covid-19 situation in Japan becomes dire (At The Paperless Press, we remain optimistic that it won’t), who has the final decision on cancelling the games? Well, the answer is rather complicated. The final decision to cancel the games, based on the contract between the International Olympic Committee and Japan, lies with the IOC.


However, if there is a considerable threat to the safety of participating athletes, organisers etc, then it is still up to the discretion of the IOC.

Now, the Olympics are insured, and for a large sum of money- but there may still be a considerable loss of money for both Japan and the IOC. The IOC earns most of its revenue from broadcasting and TV rights, which wouldn’t exist if the Olympics did not happen.


The Olympic Charter clearly states that the IOC should “ensure the health of athletes” and promote “safe sports”. The question then would be - at what point does the situation become dangerous for the health of athletes? If Japan agrees that there is a giant threat to its citizens, they may pull out- but at this stage, it seems unlikely.


Well, let the games begin.




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Cover Story-


Crazy Cuisine!

By: Mihir Rao

I don’t consider myself that big of a foodie, but I love tasting new food and I’m sure many of you do too. Some of my favourites include Pizza (the good kind), Sushi, Thai Curry, and of course Indian cuisine can’t be left out. Almost all of the foods I listed have something in common with each other, but the rest is quite different, and that’s what makes the food special. But just how different are they?

There are three deciding factors which determine the type of cuisine a country has:


The Land:

Of course, this is one of the main factors, since no food can be prepared without this. If the soil is of a different type, the food also would be different. Even with foods that only consist of meat, the type of land that the animals inhabit makes a difference, too. For example, the taste of the food would change if you would change the soil to another type.

Distance from the Sea (😂 this reminds me of geography):

Nothing much can be said about this, but this is also a factor. In India, coastal areas are normally the place to get seafood, and that’s right, since it’s so close to the sea. The further you go from the sea, the more the food changes.

Culture:

Lastly, we have the culture. What people believe also factors a lot into their food, and it’s extremely apparent.

Let’s get into some examples:


Italian cuisine:

Ah, a world favourite, and understandably so. The Italian cuisine that we know is mostly based on different types of flour, and different toppings are added. With pizza, flour is made into dough that is rested for some time. Later, the sauce is prepared using fresh tomatoes, garlic, among other ingredients. Then, the sauce is put on to the dough, and the dough is shaped into a disk, where toppings are added, and it’s cooked. Types of pizzas change as one moves from one part of Italy to another. But, I missed something. The Cheese. One of the main components of pizza is the cheese, and to me, pizza wouldn’t be the same without it. Fresh mozzarella cheese is added, and that is the pizza. There are many other wheat flour based dishes, such as pasta (Which comes in a plethora of types) and I simply cannot list all of them.



Japanese Cuisine:

Japanese food is an acquired taste for some people, but I wholeheartedly love it. One of their most popular dishes, dare I say the most popular, is Sushi. Sushi is a dish prepared with rice, seafood (often raw) and a slew of other ingredients that change the type of Sushi. You can have vegetarian Sushi, and even vegan Sushi! Nowadays, Sushi is associated with Japanese cuisine, but you can find some traces of it in other parts of East Asia!



Indian Cuisine:

I can’t end the article without including this, because frankly, Indian cuisine is extremely diverse. In the coastal regions of India, there are many dishes that include seafood. In the southern region of India, there are dishes like dosa, vada, and many more. In North India, you have dishes such as butter chicken, naan, and pav bhaji!

As you can see, there is a TON of variety between different countries, and some of them follow patterns, and some don’t. Nevertheless, I implore you to try new food, and maybe you might find a new favourite! Until then, Stay Positive!








Disney Version 2.0 - Fresh and Diverse: The start of something wonderful?


By: Abhimanyu Rao


Over the past few years, the Disney universe has become more and more diverse, adding several characters of various descents into its various franchises, especially the ‘Disney Princess’ franchise. The franchise’s most recent venture, ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’, is based on the cultures of Southeast Asian countries, and adds even more diversity to its lineup of characters.


This is a heartening instance to see, because, for the longest of times, worldwide cinema has been whitewashed, and since the 1930s, till about very recently most of cinema, including children’s cinema, consisted of white characters, or grossly misrepresented other cultures. Now, focusing on Disney’s princesses in particular, they used to fall under the running stereotype of “helpless women in need of a knight in shining armour”, and were also, predominantly white (Aurora, Cinderella, Ariel, and of course, Snow White.). However, as the decades go by, Disney has released its shortcomings, and has been trying to fix them. (There are exceptions to this stereotype that I just mentioned, and I will get into that shortly as well)


The (former) Status Quo


Until 2009, there was not much representation of non-white main charcacters in the Disney Princess franchise. Many of you will stop me there, but read on, and you shall see how wrong your perceptions may have been. Some of the famous “represented” characters have been terribly misrepresented, and I will cover them now.



Princess Jasmine: This iconic Disney princess was actually voiced by someone who wasn’t at all from the Middle East, where Jasmine is from. She is voiced by Disney Legend Linda Larkin, who isn’t from the Middle east. Along with her, Aladdin is voiced by Scott Weigner, who again, isn’t from the Middle East. This was a prime example of “whitewashing” in cinema. This practice, which shouldn’t occur, but unfortunately, it is more common that you’d expect. (Side note - ever noticed how characters from every part of the world seem to have American accents?)



Pocahontas: Pocahontas was misrepresented in a much, much more horrific way. Her true story involves being sent away with the white invaders who invaded her people’s land, and she passed away shortly after. While I understand what Disney was trying to do, Native Americans were massacred by invaders, and they made it a love story. This would have greatly influenced the children who watched it, who would believe that the colonisation of America was a good thing, and will not associate it with what really happened.


Most other princesses: Most other early princesses were all shown as fragile people who needed a strong and brave prince to rescue them. Cinderella was a helpless young woman who was forced to do all the housework for her evil stepmother and stepsisters, until a gallant prince, who had fallen in love with her, came to her house, married her, and made her a royal. Aurora pricked her finger, and was put into an endless slumber, until a dashing prince gave her “True Love’s Kiss”. Snow White was poisoned by an apple, and almost died, but a prince came and gave her “True Love’s Kiss”. Ariel is left on a rock, helplessly dodging Ursula’s attacks, until the dashing Prince Eric manages to defeat Ursula with a ship!


You must have seen the pattern of whitewashing, misrepresentation, and stereotyping these princesses. Fortunately, there has been some positive representation as well. I have listed some of these instances:



Mulan: One of the earliest examples of correct representation, Mulan starred Disney Legend Ming-Na Wen, gives her voice to the titular hero, a fearless woman who pretends to be a man, in order to protect her aged father, and taking his place in the military when The Huns attack. A majority of the cast has Southeast Asian origin, which really gives the movie some plus points. Disney treated a folk tale with the utmost sensitivity, while still ensuring that children worldwide would love it. This is a prime example of good representation.












Tiana: The main character of The Princess and The Frog, Tiana is an African American woman played by an African American actress Anika Noni Rose. This was a great instance of the mega franchise not whitewashing a cast.











Elsa and Anna: One of the more recent Princesses, they are not officially a part of the “Disney Princess” franchise, but they have won the hearts of almost every child on the planet! They are both fiercely independent women, and do not need any handsome princes to come save them. Infact, later into the first movie, Anna ends up saving Elsa, instead of a prince. They break the “women being saved by gallant princes” stereotype, and are powerful too!


Many of the recent Disney princesses: Most of the more recent Disney princesses are very well represented. Moana is very assertive, independent, and powerful. She is very courageous, and faces off against a fire monster alone and unprotected. Merida from Brave is one of the best examples of this as well. She is a trailblazer who refuses to accept any tradition for what it is, and fights for independence, as well as for her acceptance as a capable warrior.


The impact of this new, improved version

The impact of this decision by Disney has been greatly varied. The fresh approach allows more children to peek into several cultures of the world, in their correct and unadulterated way. This also raises children to shed possible biases, like women being weak, or previous incorrect assumptions about other cultures. This will raise more well rounded children, and help the world in the long run. While there is still a long way to go, at least we have gotten a start, and for that, hats off Disney!



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By: Agastya Rao


  1. Prosthetic arms have been known to be very cool, but very costly. Luckily, a Hyderabad based company has found a way to tackle this problem. Taking inspiration from the late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, they formed KalArm, a cost effective prosthetic arm. This affordable arm also comes with an app to assist the user. We need more innovations like this that solve people’s problems, but are also cost effective.

  2. More positive news from the side of nature. Thanks to the lockdown, marine life is returning to the Chambal River in India. For the first time in 6 years, the population of dolphins has increased! Other marine life including crocodiles have also shown an increase in population. Officials are also planning more safety measures to safeguard marine life in the area.

  3. A proud moment for many students from India, where their photos were displayed on a billboard in the famous Times Square in New York City. Students from Bengaluru and Mumbai who were interning at Morgan Stanley (the famous Investment Banking company) had their photos displayed on a giant billboard in Times Square to celebrate their hard work as Summer Analysts and Associates.

  4. There is no right age to help people, and a 64 year old Nurse from Mysore proved that. Mrs AS Geetha, a retired nurse, recently came out of retirement and distributed oxygen concentrators to remote villages and wherever people needed it, using her house as an oxygen bank.

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By: Mihir Rao

  1. Recently, Chinese scientists have found what they believe to be our closest ancestor! The species, named ‘Homo Longi’ meaning ‘Dragon Man’, was dug up in the 1930s, but it was hidden away to be protected from the Japanese Army. It was later examined in 2018 and it dates back a whopping 146,000 years! This piece of evidence shows us that this species was related to us more closely than Neanderthals!

  2. When first observed, the comet named 2014 UN271 was 29 times farther from us than the distance between the earth and the sun (29 AU) and now, the comet is closer to us than Neptune! The mega-comet (suspected to be a dwarf planet) is predicted to make a close pass by the Sun, giving us a very interesting event to observe!

  3. China aims to send a crewed mission to.. You guessed it: The Red Planet, Mars. They are planning to send the crew to Mars in 2033, and would want to send robots to scout the area before they go there themselves. However, that’s not the end of it. China has missions to Mars planned in 2033, 2035, 2037, 2041 and more! Looks like the space race is getting exciting.

  4. Recent studies indicate that the hottest planet in our solar system is not that different from our planet! Scientists found unrecognized tectonic deformation on Venus, which indicates that there must be underground movement, just like Earth. It was previously thought that Venus had an outer shell that was static, but this news proves that wrong!

  5. A new study confirms the fact that Black Holes do not shrink over time, when scientists collided two black holes in a laboratory and studied the data that it outputted. This proves Stephen Hawking’s theory right!

  6. The DRDO successfully fired an enhanced version of the Pinaka rocket on June 24th! 25 Rockets were fired in back to back and it met all the goals it was supposed to achieve.

  7. Birds that migrate have the ability to orient themselves when they are flying across the ocean, and it was said that they use the Earth’s magnetic field to do this, but the exact details weren’t clear yet. However, recently, scientists examined a protein in the light detecting cells of the Robin, and they made a shocking discovery. A mutation in the protein allowed robins to be magnetically sensitive, which meant they had an in-built compass in their eyes! However, more testing is needed to provide irrefutable proof that this is the case.

  8. When this galaxy was observed, it left scientists stunned and dumbfounded. The galaxy was ‘see-through’! The main thing that holds galaxies together: Dark Matter, was not found! Scientists are investigating this galaxy, and we shall see what the reason for this strange occurrence is.

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Entertainment quotient for the week:



Disney+

  • The Mysterious Benedict Society- The Show based on the bestselling children’s novel!

Netflix

  • Lupin (14+): Another TV show based on a book, it received rave reviews from critics worldwide.










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