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SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
JULY 8, 2022
MCI (P) 034/10/2021
SHINE AT 37
MY FAIR LADY
A father-daughter duo recently
created Indian Air Force (IAF)
history by flying in the same
Air Commodore Sanjay
Sharma, who is a seasoned fighter
pilot, and his daughter Ananya
Sharma, who was commissioned
as a fighter pilot last December,
flew in the same formation of
Hawk-132 Advanced Jet Trainers
that took off from the Air Force
Station in Bidar, Karnataka.
The IAF on Tuesday said this
was the first time in history a
father and daughter flew in the
same formation in a mission.
“They were comrades who had
full faith in each other as fellow
wingmen would,” it added.
The combat exclusion policy
for women in the Indian armed
forces was shattered when the IAF
inducted three of them as fighter
pilots in 2016.
Since then, 15 women have
been commissioned into the
fighter stream of the IAF.
Police arrest masterminds behind
murder of Hindu tailor
Police in Rajasthan made new arrests
in the case of the execution of a tailor
in the state.
Three senior police officials on
Saturday said two Muslim men were
arrested for planning the tailor’s
murder last week in his shop in
“We have arrested the two
masterminds. We previously arrested
the two men who committed the
heinous crime,” said senior police
officer Prafulla Kumar.
Manipur landslide death toll rises
to 48, search continues
The death toll in the landslide at a
railway construction site in Manipur’s
Noney district rose to 48 on
Wednesday after one more body was
recovered from the debris.
A wall of mud and rock swamped a
camp housing railway construction
workers and members of the Territorial
Army in the state after heavy rain on
The search-and-rescue operation
continues as 14 people are missing.
Two Indians shot dead in Myanmar
Two people of Tamil origin were shot
dead in the Tamu area of Myanmar,
bordering Manipur, on Tuesday,
according to media reports.
Mr B. Go Lianmang, superintendent
of police of Manipur’s Tengnoupal
district, said: “We heard reports about
it late on Tuesday and are trying to get
in touch with the authorities on the
Myanmar media outlet Khit Thit
identified the two killed as P. Mohan,
28, and M. Iyarnar, 35.
Rules relaxed to boost foreign
inflows and stem rupee losses
India’s central bank mounted a fresh
defence of the beleaguered rupee,
announcing a raft of measures to boost
foreign-exchange inflows and stem a
rout in the local currency.
The steps include doubling
borrowing limits for companies from
overseas to US$1.5 billion (S$2.1
billion) during a financial year,
temporarily removing any interest-rate
ceiling for banks to attract deposits
from non-residents and liberalising
rules for foreigners to invest in
Twitter battles government for
control of social media content
Twitter’s decision to reject the Indian
government’s demands that it take
down content and block accounts the
government dislikes shows a tough
new tack by social media giants that
analysts say can set a precedent in the
face of growing regulatory crackdowns.
On Tuesday, the US social media
platform asked an Indian court to
overturn some of the government
orders to kill posts, which Delhi had
accused of spreading misinformation.
Twitter called the crackdown
overboard and arbitrary, with the
government demonstrating an
“excessive use of powers”.
A date for the hearing has not been
Aviation watchdog pulls up
SpiceJet over safety lapses
India’s aviation regulator has issued a
warning to SpiceJet after a review of
recent incidents by it showed “poor
internal safety oversight and
inadequate maintenance actions” by
The Directorate General of Civil
Aviation said a review of several
incidents involving SpiceJet’s planes
since April 1 showed “the aircraft
either turned back to its originating
station or continued landing at the
destination with degraded safety
On Tuesday alone, SpiceJet
reported two mid-air problems – the
side windshield’s outer panel of its
Bombardier Q400 aircraft cracked and
a Boeing 737 plane to Karachi had to
be diverted due to an indicator light
malfunctioning. Both planes landed
IndiGo staff reportedly called in
sick to apply for Air India jobs
The Directorate General of Civil
Aviation is investigating why more
than half of flights by IndiGo, Asia’s
biggest budget airline by market value,
were delayed on Saturday.
Many employees reported sick to
attend interviews at Air India, which is
on a hiring spree under new owner
Tata Group, local media reported.
The delays come as airlines and
airports globally struggle to keep up
with a sudden surge in demand as
pandemic restrictions are lifted.
Chennai cabbie beats man to
death for delay in keying in OTP
A software developer from
Coimbatore, who was with his family
for a holiday in Chennai, was on
Sunday beaten to death by an Ola cab
driver in a dispute over a delay in
sharing a one-time password (OTP).
The OTP was needed to verify the
Mr H. Umendar, 34, was rushed to
a nearby hospital, where he was
The driver of the vehicle,
41-year-old Ravi, tried to flee from the
scene but was caught by the locals and
handed over to the police.
Investigators raid Vivo offices on
suspicion of money laundering
Chinese smartphone maker Vivo on
Tuesday said it was “cooperating with
authorities” in India following reports
that investigators raided dozens of its
offices on suspicion of money
The searches make Vivo the latest
Chinese tech company to face scrutiny
by Indian investigative agencies, after
similar raids against Xiaomi and
Huawei earlier this year.
A Vivo spokesperson confirmed that
the Enforcement Directorate – India’s
financial crime-fighting agency – raided
multiple locations and seized company
Police nab popular vaastu expert’s
killers in Karnataka
Karnataka Police nabbed the two men
who fatally stabbed vaastu expert
Chandrashekhar Angadi, popularly
known as Chandrashekhar Guruji, at a
hotel in Hubballi on Tuesday.
Mahantesh Shirur and Manjunath
Marewad, who are believed to be
Mr Chandrashekhar’s former
employees, were detained in Ramdurg
while trying to escape in a car.
According to the police, the accused
approached the vaastu expert
disguised as his devotees while he was
at the lobby area of a hotel in Hubballi
and then stabbed him repeatedly on
the chest and abdomen.
Mr Chandrashekhar collapsed and
died from his injuries.
Elephants of Madurai temples get
their own swimming pool
The Meenakshi Sundareswari Amman
temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, is
constructing a swimming pool for its
About 70 per cent of the work is
complete and the pool, which costs
Rs23 lakh (S$40,815), will be thrown
open for Parvati to swim in two weeks’
The Madras High Court in a recent
order directed temples to provide their
elephants with their natural habitat.
The Subramanian Swamy and
Kallazhagar temples in the district
already have pools for their elephants.
Father and daughter fly fighter jets in same formation
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(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
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July 8, 2022
“This Kali talks about
choosing love instead of
hate amid racial
– Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai
Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai has
courted controversy by tweeting a
poster of her recent documentary in
which Goddess Kali is shown smoking.
The poster has been slammed for its
objectionable content and on Tuesday
Delhi Police filed a case against her for
allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
The director, who is from Tamil
Nadu, is a film student in Toronto. She
was among 18 graduate students cho-
sen under a multiculturalism pro-
gramme by the Toronto Metropolitan
Hours after the poster created an
uproar last Sunday, Manimekalai is-
sued a clarification on Twitter, saying
the film centres on the events that take
place one evening when Goddess Kali
strolls on the streets of Toronto.
“In my film, Kali chooses me as a
spirit, holds a pride flag and a camera
in her hands, and meets the First
Nations (indigenous people), people of
African, Asian and Persian descent,
Jews, Christians, Muslims and the
mini-universe that one can capture
across any cross-section of Canada,”
she told the BBC.
Manimekalai added that the god-
dess she depicts in her film “champi-
ons humanity and embraces diver-
sity”. “As a poet and filmmaker, I
embody Kali in my own independent
vision,” she said.
Manimekalai, who tweeted in
Tamil, went on to say that she did not
have anything to lose and that she
wanted to speak without fear.
In a subsequent tweet in Tamil, she
said: “If the price is my life, I will give
The picture she tweeted last Sunday
shows a woman dressed as the Hindu
goddess and smoking a cigarette. A
pride flag flies In the background.
The Madurai-born filmmaker
tweeted that she was “super thrilled to
share the launch” of the film at the
Aga Khan Museum in Toronto as part
of its Rhythms of Canada segment.
The poster sparked outrage among
Indians in Canada and India, with
netizens slamming it for hurting Hindu
Kali is sacred to Hindus, who con-
sider her to be a source of power and
symbol of good over evil.
Hours after her tweet, the hashtag
#ArrestLeenaManimekalai trended on
Twitter, with some seeking Indian
Home Minister Amit Shah’s interven-
tion. A police report was made against
the filmmaker in New Delhi by lawyer
Vineet Jindal. He said such depictions
should not be tolerated and legal
action should be taken against her.
“The way this lady has portrayed
Goddess Kali is completely offensive
and objectionable,” he said.
The Indian High Commission in
Canada said it has received complaints
from leaders of the Hindu community
in Canada about “disrespectful depic-
tion of Hindu Gods on the poster of a
“Our Consulate-General in Toronto
has conveyed these concerns to the
organisers of the event,” it said. “We
urge the Canadian authorities and
event organisers to withdraw such
The Aga Khan Museum on Tuesday
expressed “deep regret” for inadver-
tently causing offence to the Hindu
“Toronto Metropolitan University’s
project presentation was hosted in the
context of the museum’s mission to
foster intercultural understanding and
dialogue through the arts,” it said.
“Respect for diverse religious expres-
sions and faith communities forms an
integral part of that mission.”
Manimekalai asked people to
choose “love over hate” amid the
“If you see the picture, don’t post
the hashtag #ArrestLeena-
Manimekalai, post the hashtag #lovey-
ouLeenaManimekalai,” she said.
“This Kali talks about choosing love
instead of hate amid racial differ-
The depiction of religious figures on
screen is a sensitive issue in India. In
2015, the country’s censorship board
demanded several cuts in the Bolly-
wood film Angry Indian Goddesses,
which showed images of Hindu god-
Deities are a recurring theme in
Manimekalai’s films. Her 2007 docu-
mentary Goddesses was screened at
the Mumbai and Munich film festivals.
Her 2019 film Maadathy – An
Unfairy Tale told the fictional story of
how a young girl from a marginalised
caste is immortalised as a deity.
Manimekalai said the scene in the
poster depicts the goddess showing
love as she “kindly accepts the ciga-
rette from the working-class street
dwellers at the park around the Kens-
She added that in village festivals in
south India, people often dress up as
Kali, drinking country liquor and danc-
“We artists cannot be choked by
the climate of fear. We need to be
louder and stronger,” she told the
Indo-Asian News Service
When monsoon rains hit Mumbai each
year, residents find their social media
feeds awash with flood memes – from
Venetian gondolas plying the city’s
deluged streets to office workers com-
muting on inflatable dinghies.
This year, a research institute hopes
social media can play a more practical
role by asking residents to tweet about
floods in their neighbourhoods and
using the data to issue geographically-
specific flood alerts in real time.
“Since we cannot monitor flooding
across the city ourselves, we thought
of seeking the help of the community,”
said Mr Subimal Ghosh, head of the
Climate Studies department at Indian
Institute of Technology in Bombay.
Around the world, climate re-
searchers are increasingly using data
gathered via social media to help
monitor weather events such as floods.
They said the data could be used to
improve emergency response and res-
cue efforts, and make forecasting more
accurate, which will become all the
more vital as climate change fuels
“We need participatory models for
climate adaptation as we will be hit by
more extreme weather in the future.
We will be able to show real-time
flooding like how Google Maps shows
red for traffic,” said Mr Ghosh.
Mumbai recorded “extreme” rain-
fall – more than 200mm of precipita-
tion in 24 hours – about a dozen times
between 2017 and 2021, civic data
shows. That is double the number of
such events during the previous five-
The IIT-Bombay project, launched
in June, will use digital elevation maps
that show an area’s height above sea
level, spatial rainfall data and tweets
from local residents.
Tweets noting “ankle-deep” or
“knee-deep” water, for example, will
be harvested from Twitter using an
automated system that will try to
extract flood depth and location infor-
mation. This will be used to give
real-time flood information on a portal
for the entire city.
“Which areas need water to be
pumped out first, how can the traffic
be controlled and how can people
reach home?” Mr Ghosh said.
“The city needs a resilience plan.”
Low-income neighbourhoods are
worse-affected by floods, particularly
in cities like Mumbai, which has a
large population living in informal
settlements, a World Bank report
states, pointing to poor drainage and
land-use planning as key factors.
While the city launched a flood
forecasting system two years ago and
installed massive drainage pumps in
low-lying areas, storm-related disasters
such as building collapses and land-
slides are common in the monsoon
months, researchers said.
“Flooding is an unavoidable reality,
and what we are not able to do is
minimise the damage caused by
floods,” said Mr Prasoon Singh, lead
with the Centre for Global Environ-
ment Research of New Delhi-based
The Energy and Resources Institute.
“Crowdsourcing information can
validate forecasts, help tweak predic-
tions and improve relief and rescue
He added that information garnered
on social media could also be fed into
historical data sets.
Mr Ghosh said he hoped the Mum-
bai project would help city residents
go about their daily business – even
during the monsoon season.
“My daughter was in school when it
started raining heavily and buses were
stranded on flooded roads. Parents
were worried and didn’t know how to
reach the school. Real-time informa-
tion is crucial.”
Thomson Reuters Foundation
Community tweets to be used to map Mumbai floods
Railway tracks in Mumbai submerged during heavy rain.
Smoking goddess poster sparks row
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