current affairs

Current Affairs June 14th 2018

Get 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.

United States, Canada and Mexico win bid to host World Cup 2026

  • The United States, Mexico and Canada won the right to host the 2026 FIFA football World Cup.
  • The three nations beat Morocco in a vote by FIFA member nations in Moscow.
  • The North American bid received 134 of the 203 votes, Morocco won 65 votes.
  • The FIFA World Cup will return to North America for the first time since 1994 when the United States hosted the tournament.
  • The FIFA World Cup 2018 is being held at Russia; the FIFA World Cup 2022 will be held in Qatar.

India Ranks 177 on Global Environment Performance Index 2018

  • India came in second-last on the Global Environment Performance Index (EPI) rankings, getting 177th spot out of 180 countries, with an EPI score of just 30.57.
  • Burundi is last with an EPI score of 27.43.
  • Switzerland is the top ranking nation on the EPI, with a score of 87.42. This is followed by France and Denmark, registering scores of 83.95 and 81.60, respectively.
  • India has an Air Quality score of 5.75, which is lower than China (14.39) and Pakistan (15.69).

Wholesale inflation at 14-month high of 4.43% in May 2018

  • Inflation based on wholesale prices reached a high of 4.43% in May this year, on rising prices of prices of fuel and vegetables.
  • In contrast, the inflation a year back (in May 2017) was just 2.26%.
  • Inflation in vegetables was 2.51% in May 2018, compared with April 2018, when it was -0.89%.
  • Inflation in the ‘fuel and power’ basket shot up to 11.22% in May 2018, contrasted with 7.85% in April this year.
  • Potato inflation was at a peak of 81.93%, against 67.94% in April.
  • The previous spike was in March 2017, when the WPI inflation stood at 5.11%.

Maharashtra govt, Quebec sign pact for greater economic cooperation

  • The Maharashtra government and Canada’s Quebec province have signed a pact to increase the economic cooperation.
  • Key areas of focus are information technology, biotechnology, artificial intelligence and welfare of the tribal community.
  • CM Devendra Fadnavis signed the MoU with the Canadian PM Philippe Couillard.

Raksha Mantri inaugurates 1st BEL Representative Office in Vietnam

  • Raksha Mantri, Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the first Representative Office of Navratna Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • This was done during the Vietnam-India Defence Industry Business Meeting.
  • Sitharaman handed over a symbolic key of the Representative Office of BEL at Vietnam (VIRO) to Chairman & Managing Director, Gowtama MV.
  • The Representative Office will promote BEL’s exports which include Weapon Systems, Radar Systems, Naval Systems, Coastal Surveillance Systems and Military Communication Systems.

Sulabh founder Bindeshwar Pathak honoured with Japan’s Nikkei Asia Prize

  • Social reformer and founder of Sulabh International, Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak (PhD), was honoured with Japan’s prestigious Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture and Community.
  • Dr. Pathak received the award for his significant work in tackling poor hygiene and discrimination.
  • Launched in 1996, the award honours people in Asia who have made significant contributions in one of the three areas: regional growth; science, technology and innovation; and culture and community.
  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Infosys Chairman Narayan Murthy are among the few Indians who have won the prize in the past.

US approves $930 million deal to sell AH-64E Apache attack choppers to India

  • The US government has approved a deal to sell six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to the Indian military.
  • The 6 choppers will cost $930 million.
  • The agreement has been sent to the US Congress for approval, and will go through if there is no objection.
  • In addition to the Apache aircraft, the deal includes night vision sensors, GPS guidance and Hellfire anti-armor and Stinger air-to-air missiles.

Indian-American Dhivya Suryadevara to become CFO of General Motors

  • Indian-American Dhivya Suryadevara has been named the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of the USA’s largest automaker, General Motors (GM).
  • Suryadevara is currently the vice president of corporate finance at GM.
  • She will take over from Chuck Stevens, the General Motors’ present CFO, on September 1 this year.
  • GM’s CEO is also a woman - Mary Barra. And Mary and Dhivya are the first women in their respective positions in the auto industry.

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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:

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