current affairs

Current Affairs May 15th 2018

All the details of the big national and international news, so that you are up to date with the goings-on in India and the world.

UNDP to set up skill development centre in Hyderabad

  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will set up a skill development centre at Bharosa, Hyderabad, for distressed women and children.
  • This is an initiative of Hyderabad City Police and will be an integrated support centre.
  • The initiative is aimed at empowering vulnerable and marginalised women by teaching them skills and giving them training for them to earn a living.
  • It is an initiative under the Disha project and aims to make women who are affected by violence economically self-sufficient.

Government to link 200 more mandis to eNAM

  • The Union Government will link 200 additional wholesale mandis to its online trading platform eNAM (electronic National Agriculture Market).
  • Currently, there are 585 regulated mandis in 14 states linked with the eNAM.
  • 73.50 lakh farmers, 53,163 commission agents and over 1 lakh traders are registered on the platform.

Indian Army finalises Rs. 15,000-crore project to produce indigenous ammunition

  • The Indian Army has finalised a Rs. 15,000-crore project to produce ammunition in the country.
  • This will help overcome long delays in imports.
  • Under the project, a range of ammunition for its critical weapons and tanks will be produced.
  • The aim of the project is to create an inventory for all major weapons so that India’s defence forces can fight a 30-day war.
  • The long-term aim is to reduce dependence on imports.

ISRO working on environment-friendly propellant

  • Scientists at ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) are developing an environment-friendly propellant propellant blend.
  • The new experimental fuel is based on hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN) and ISRO is looking to use it to power satellites and spacecraft.

Piyush Goyal to take over Finance Ministry, Smriti Irani moved out of I&B

  • Railways and coal minister Piyush Goyal will hold charge of the finance and corporate affairs ministries till Arun Jaitley returns.
  • In the cabinet reshuffle, Smriti Irani has been assigned to handle the Ministry of Textiles, having been left out of the high-profile information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry.
  • Here’s the new-look cabinet: Piyush Goyal (Finance Ministry), Smriti Irani (Textiles Ministry), Rajvardhan Rathore (Information and Broadcasting Ministry), SS Ahluwalia (Electronics Ministry), and KJ Alphons (Tourism Ministry).

Lata Mangeshkar conferred with Swara Mauli Award

  • Singer Lata Mangeshkar was honoured with the title of “Swara Mauli” by spiritual guru Vidya Narsimha Bharati Swami at her residence in Prabhu Kunj.
  • Present on the occasion were her sisters Asha Bhosle and Usha Mangeshkar, and her brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar.
  • In 2001, Lata Mangeshkar was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India. She was only the second vocalist, after MS Subbulakshmi, to receive the honour.

WHO launches ‘REPLACE’ campaign to eliminate trans fat in foods by 2023

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a comprehensive plan to eliminate trans fats from the global food supply by 2023.
  • The WHO released its step-by-step guide called REPLACE, which aims to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from food.
  • REPLACE will target 6 key strategic actions - REview sources of industrially-produced trans fats, Promote the replacement with healthier oils, Legislate or take regulatory actions, Assess and monitor trans fats content in the food, Create awareness of negative health effects of trans fats, and Enforce compliance of policies and regulations.

Met Dept. to deploy 30 more Doppler radar systems across India

  • In the next 2 or 3 years, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) will add 30 more Doppler radar systems across the country.
  • The IMD will set up 14 in the northeast, 4 in Jammu and Kashmir, and 3 each in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
  • The Doppler radar can provide area specific rain and storm warnings, which are beneficial for disaster management and emergency response, and even for aviation.
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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

Play

This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.