Sonia Gandhi has said the group of 23 Congress leaders who wrote a letter demanding collective leadership and internal elections for the party should get together and find a new chief. This comes a day before the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting on Monday and about two weeks after the letter was sent by a group of sitting MPs and former ministers. Another group has sent in a letter demanding Rahul Gandhi’s return as party president. After a long time, today’s CWC meeting will be one to closely watch. For the rest of the national and world news, here’s Mint Lite.
IITians pass out as ‘avatars’
IIT Bombay hosted its 58th convocation, and its first one online, on Sunday with more than 2,700 students watching their “digital avatars”, created from their photographs, receiving their degrees from the institute director. The institute re-created the campus virtually so that students could join in and wander around, hang out in the canteens and hostels and feel like they were on stage, collecting their degrees. The chief guest was Nobel laureate Duncan Haldane of Princeton University, who “presented” medals to the award winners. The students took a synchronised pledge at the end of the ceremony. IIT-Gandhinagar, too, hosted its convocation, the ninth since it was founded, on Sunday with more than 450 students getting their “symbolic degrees in digital mode”, according to a statement from the institute. Across the country, and the world, hundreds of thousands of students are missing out on their graduation ceremonies and entering the job market from their homes.
PUTIN CRITIC STILL IN COMA
Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who collapsed on a flight after drinking what his supporters believe was poisoned tea, is still in a coma. He has been shifted from Siberia to a hospital in Berlin. Navalny, 44, has been a thorn in the side of President Vladmir Putin and the party that supports him, United Russia, for almost a decade. Doctors at the Russian hospital where he was treated before evacuation said they do not believe he was poisoned. The Kremlin has said it is not yet clear what caused the illness. Navalny has consistently exposed official corruption in Russia with investigations, and served multiple jail terms. In 2018, he attempted to challenge Putin for the presidency but was disqualified. Last month, a Russian court fined the anti-corruption group Navalny founded for refusing to delete its 2017 YouTube film that accuses former prime minister Dmitry Medvedev of holding a massive chain of luxury properties.
WHERE VCs ARE GOING
Across the world, schools have been closed for months, and the debate about whether and how to reopen amid a pandemic is raging. Online learning is here to stay but the current models aren’t able to solve problems like learning outcomes and socialization. It’s why so many VCs are betting on edtech startups. Globally, $4.1 billion flowed to edtech companies so far this year, up from $2.6 billion last year. In India, VC funds to Indian edtech tripled in H1 2020 (see chart). Every sixth venture capital dollar went to an edtech startup. A recent Goldman Sachs report said edtech is among the few sectors where price competition is low and the segment profitable. Edtech will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of covid-19, and it expects 100% y-o-y revenue growth in FY21. For more, read Startup Inc.
A DISASTER IN 25 SECONDS
Data from the black boxes of a Ukrainian plane that went down in January shows it was hit by two missiles, 25 seconds apart, and passengers were alive for some time after the impact of the first blast, Iran said on Sunday. The announcement by the head of Iran’s civil aviation organization marks the first official report on the contents of the cockpit voice and data recordings, which were sent to France for reading in July. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight with a ground-to-air missile on 8 January, just after the plane took off from Tehran. All 176 people on board were killed. Iran later acknowledged it as a “disastrous mistake” by forces on high alert during a confrontation with the US. Iran has been in talks with Ukraine, Canada and other countries that had citizens aboard the downed plane, and who have demanded a thorough investigation into the incident.
IT’S FINE FOR ILLEGAL RAVES
As worldwide restrictions on get-togethers continue, police are finding themselves breaking up illegal parties, and governments are introducing fines. A week after Goa police busted a rave party, Peruvian cops raided a Lima nightclub that was hosting an illegal bash. At least 13 people died while trying to flee. Peru shut clubs in March and banned family gatherings this month as its virus count crossed 580,000, South America’s second highest infection rate. In UK, cops broke up some 300 illegal parties over the weekend. It has introduced fines up to £10,000 for those organizing parties of over 30 people from August-end. In Australian hotspot Victoria, party hosts will be fined A$2000 and each guest A$200. About 1,500 people in Leipzig, Germany, meanwhile, partied at an indoor gig on Saturday, organized by University of Halle, to understand how covid-19 spreads at big events, and how to prevent it.
Curated by Shalini Umachandran. Have something to share with us?
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