An Egg Crackdown
December 15, 2021
Last week, we shared a story about the United States boycotting the Winter Olympics in China. We asked our readers if they felt countries should boycott the Olympics in a similar fashion, and as promised, we’ve compiled the results.
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” – Orson Welles
An Egg Crackdown
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a Hindu nationalist base, and since his administration began in 2014, the country has gradually begun to push Muslims and other religious groups to the sidelines. Religion has gradually expanded into the country’s everyday life, and one more recent example of this is India’s suppression of eggs. Local governments throughout the country have enacted laws that adhere to Hindu religious doctrine, and many Hindus – mainly among the elite caste levels – are vegetarian.
Beginning last month, at least five cities have banned the sale or display of meat, fish, and eggs on the street, including the huge city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, which was also Modi’s stomping grounds before he was elevated to Prime Minister. This week, just after sunset, a group of authorities swept through the neighborhood to confiscate any contraband from street vendors, including gas canisters, bread, vegetables, plates, glasses, stools, and of course the eggs themselves. Eggs are a huge part of the street food culture in Gujarat, with one food cart operator saying he can prepare eggs 156 ways.
Even devout Hindus don’t always agree on how to observe the religion, with many pointing out that some of the stricter tenets are unattainable for lower castes. Authorities were not anticipating such a fervent backlash to their egg confiscation efforts, and after a lawsuit and protests, Ahmedabad officials are allowing the sale of forbidden foods to resume while the courts decide how to move forward. Indian food is regionally and economically-based, but the rise of Hindu nationalism from the Bharatiya Janata Party has brought meals to the forefront of the debate about separating church and state.
The B.J.P. decided to blame local governments for the confusion about food bans, with the state’s chief minister, Bhupendra Patel, saying “some people eat vegetarian food, some people eat nonvegetarian food. The B.J.P. government does not have any problem with it.” Meanwhile, food-based chaos has blazed through the country. Slaughterhouses were shut down in the name of Hinduism, leaving hundreds unemployed. Muslims have been lynched by mobs after being accused of slaughtering cows. One local leader is protesting a school’s lunch plan that provides eggs to students. This ire towards eggs is odd, since they became a symbol of the country’s economic progress as more families entered the middle class in India and were able to afford them. (NYT, $)
Ignorance Isn’t Bliss
- The United Nations Security Council presented a historic proposal on Monday, which plans to cast climate change as a threat to international peace and security. The years-long effort to make global warming a central consideration for the global body was denied after Russia decided to veto the proposal.
- Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia complained that the proposed resolution would turn “a scientific and economic issue into a politicized question,” divert the council’s attention from “genuine” sources of conflict in various places, and give the council a pretext to intervene in virtually any country on the planet. India also voted “no” on the proposal, while China abstained from voting. The other 12 members of the council voted for the proposal.
- India and China questioned the idea of tying conflict to climate, and they predicted trouble for the Glasgow commitments if the Security Council started weighing in more. The proposal was spearheaded by Ireland and Niger, and their ambassadors expressed their disappointment in the results of the vote on Monday. “The force of the veto can block the approval of a text,” said Niger’s ambassador, Abdou Abarry, “but it cannot hide our reality.” (AP)
Bill-ding A Safer Internet
- A committee of MPs (members of parliament) has created a wide-ranging series of proposals to amend Britain’s online safety bill in an effort to protect children and vulnerable people and penalize tech companies. The recommendations by the joint committee on the draft online safety bill will tackle an industry that has become the “land of the lawless.”
- The committee’s Conservative chair, Damian Collins MP, stated that “A lack of regulation online has left too many people vulnerable to abuse, fraud, violence, and in some cases even loss of life.” The online safety bill currently covers websites and apps that offer user-generated content, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube, as well as search engines such as Google.
- The legislation has been criticized for being too vague and not holding enough accountability for tech firms, however, which prompted the committee to propose their amendments to the bill. The government is expected to review the revised bill early next year. (Guardian)
Additional World News
- At least 59 dead after gas tanker explodes in Haiti’s second largest city (CNN)
- Ghana to fine airlines $3,500 for each unvaccinated passenger (Al Jazeera)
- Belarus: Opposition leader Tikhanovsky jailed for 18 years over protests (BBC)
- EU slaps sanctions on Russian mercenary group Wagner (Al Jazeera)
- Bomb injures 12 at Russian school; ex-student suspected (ABC)
- Former Immigration Minister in Denmark Sentenced to Prison for Separating Couples (NYT, $)
- North Korea’s Kim might be facing his toughest moment yet (NPR)
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Reply “STOP” To End This Insurrection
- On Monday night, the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol released text messages from Donald Trump Jr., Fox News personalities, and lawmakers pleading then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to get former President Donald Trump to speak out in order to stop the siege of the Capitol as it unfolded. The texts were part of the committee’s efforts to advance a criminal contempt of Congress charge for Meadows.
- They reveal what committee vice chairwoman Liz Cheney believes to be Trump’s “supreme dereliction of duty” in the face of violent attacks. Despite receiving the texts, the former President took no action in speaking out against the attacks as they occurred, keeping silent as rioters stormed Congress’s building. One text from Donald Trump, Jr. read: “We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far. And gotten out of hand.”
- The criminal contempt charge against Meadows comes as the January 6 committee stated that Meadows refused to cooperate with their investigation. According to committee chairman Bennie Thompson, “When the records raise questions — as these most certainly do — you have to come in and answer those questions. And when it was time for him to follow the law, come in, and testify on those questions, he changed his mind and told us to pound sand. He didn’t even show up.” (CNN)
- On Tuesday, the Air Force discharged 27 members for refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The discharges marked the first expulsions from U.S. armed forces on the basis of not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. According to a spokesperson for the Air Force, all 27 discharged members received counseling on vaccines when they refused the vaccine initially.
- When they refused it a second time, they were discharged under the jurisdiction of the Pentagon’s vaccine rule. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin implemented an armed forces COVID-19 vaccine mandate in August, but allowed each branch of the military to set their own vaccine deadline. The Air Force set its deadline first among all branches, requiring service members to get the jab by November 2.
- The discharged members served with the Air Force for under six years, and the vaccination was not the only reason for their dismissal. According to the Pentagon, roughly 90 percent of all active-duty service members have been vaccinated to date, and 74 percent of all service members have gotten their shots. (CBS News)
Additional USA News
- Protesting voting rights activists arrested as Biden meets with Manchin (Guardian)
- Derek Chauvin to change plea in federal case in death of George Floyd (CNN)
- Pfizer: Final data on Covid-19 pills for high-risk adults holds strong against hospitalization and death (CNN)
- US troops behind a drone strike that killed Afghan civilians won’t be punished (NPR)
- Kentucky State Police searching for work release inmate rescued from candle factory that collapsed in tornado (CNN)
- Old St. Chuck? Schumer under pressure to deliver by Christmas (Politico)
- As a Secret Unit Pounded ISIS, Civilian Deaths Mounted (NYT, $)
Caught On Tape
- South Korea plans to introduce a new project that will use artificial intelligence, facial recognition, and CCTV to track movements of people who have tested positive for coronavirus. South Korea’s government is funding the project, which will roll out in Bucheon, a densely-populated city of almost 800,000 outside of Seoul, in January. It will hopefully overcome the human error associated with trusting the word of those who have tested positive as to where they have been or who they have seen.
- Using almost 11,000 closed-circuit video cameras, facial recognition software will analyze footage to track someone’s movements, including who they were in contact with and whether or not they were wearing a mask. Countries around the world have expanded their powers in the wake of the pandemic to help curb its spread, but this new plan in South Korea brings with it some strong privacy concerns.
- South Korea is not alone in its new attempts to properly contact trace. China, Russia, India, Poland, and Japan have all either introduced or experimented with facial recognition software as a way to monitor the spread of the virus. South Korea was already collecting credit card data and cellphone locations to contact trace, but they hope this next layer of monitoring will help alleviate some stress from the overworked contact tracing teams in a highly-populated city. (Al Jazeera)
- Venomous snake found lurking in family’s Christmas tree (CNN)
- James Webb telescope lifted atop its launch rocket (BBC)
- Leaky valve issue forces Boeing to swap out Starliner’s service module (Ars Technica)
- The space industry had a monumental 2021 (Axios)
- Antibiotic Use in US Farm Animals Was Falling. Now It’s Not (Wired)
- Scientists use the running of the bulls to gather data on the running of the humans (ABC)
- NASA’s Parker Solar Probe becomes first spacecraft to ‘touch’ the sun (CNN)
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