The original modern 'Action Girl': Modesty Blaise and her capers (Column: Bookends) (11:30)
By Vikas DattaIANS Photo Service
With there now being an abundance of formidable female characters, each as "badass" as their male counterparts, it may be difficult to believe that the "realistic" action genre of popular literature was once largely a patriarchal preserve. One capable woman set the path for her ilk.

Is the government in a pre-election haste to revamp green laws? (14:50)
By Mayank AggarwalIANS Photo Service
New Delhi, July 14 (IANS/Mongabay) It is the final leg of the current Indian governments tenure, which began in 2014. As the general elections loom, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has gone into hyperactive mode over the past year, proposing a major overhaul of the countrys environmental laws that govern its forests, fragile coasts, precious wildlife and manage the toxic levels of air pollution.

Croatia in World Cup: The story of its origin (Comment) (12:18)
By Saeed NaqviIANS Photo Service
Croatia's prominence in the football World Cup freshened memories of its origin in the war which expanded after German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher recognised Croatian and Slovenian independence, ahead of other European Union countries which were palpitating because German reunification in 1989 had already added to their anxieties.

How can the Congress shed its 'Muslim party' image? (Column: Political Circus) (12:08)
By Amulya Ganguli
Ever since the A.K. Antony committee identified the Congress's Muslim "appeasement" tag as a major reason for its electoral reverses, the 133-year-old Grand Old Party (GOP) has been unable to formulate a clear-cut policy on the country's largest minority community.

German ruling a real-life lesson for India on digital inheritance (Tech Trend) (11:34)
By Nishant Arora
New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) In a landmark ruling when it comes to post-death digital rights, Germany's highest court has told Facebook to grant a grieving mother access to her late daughter's account.

Urban observatories: A kaleidoscope for cities (Comment) (11:38)
By Noelene Marisa Yesudas & Shrimoyee Bhattacharya
The Karnataka government annually organises the "Bengaluru Innovation Challenge", covering diverse subjects. One such recent challenge focused on solving Bengalurus traffic congestion and water-scarcity problems.

For England it's deja vu: Turin 1990 (Comment) (18:28)
By Biswajit ChoudhuryIANS Photo Service
The story of so near and yet so far continues for English football, ever since the only time the team captained by Bobby Moore won the World Cup at home in 1966.

Once in a blue bloom: Kerala's famed neelakurinji set for rare mass bloom (14:30)
By Ajith Lawrence & Haritha JohnIANS Photo Service
Thiruvananthapuram, July 12 (IANS/Mongabay) Starting late July, the Anamalai hills near Munnar in Kerala will be resplendent, clad in a purplish blue carpet. The famed neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) will burst into flower - a phenomenon that occurs once in 12 years. Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the Munnar hills to behold the spectacle that lasts up until October.

Water infrastructure: Smart meters to manage an essential commodity (Column: Behind Infra Lines) (12:06)
By Taponeel MukherjeeIANS Photo Service
The "Composite Water Management Index" report released by the NITI Aayog recently highlights the issues confronting water management in India. A multi-pronged approach to tackle these problems is warranted. In a world where technology and infrastructure create synergies, smart water meters are one component of the strategy that can help us mitigate the water crisis.

Monopolies in digital space are bad for media and entertainment industry (Column: Active Voice) (11:38)
By Amit Kapoor
It was not very long ago that the daily dose of entertainment for the average Indian household came from the soaps that ran like clockwork at dinner time. Now, it is not uncommon to find those rituals replaced with discussions of the latest show on Netflix.

Reimagining employability in India: A singular imperative (Comment) (11:18)
By Amit Dasgupta
The singular expectation from university education is guaranteed employability and, thus, a return on investment. When this fails to happen, it is because the quality of education does not respond to market demand.

Elephants can adapt to human habitation but sirens stress them out (17:04)
By Neha JainIANS Photo Service
Bengaluru, July 9 (IANS/Mongabay) As more and more elephant habitats are falling under the ever-growing influence of humans, elephants are often coming into contact with people, whether they are passing through human-inhabited landscapes, or directly interacting with them, the latter of which sometimes culminate in intense conflicts.

The role of Cold War in Indira Gandhi's Emergency (Comment: Special to IANS) (13:46)
By Saeed Naqvi
Indira Gandhi declared the Emergency in 1975, plonk in the middle of the most intense phase of the Cold War. Détente was going so badly for the Americans that stand up comedians in Washington were comparing it to a wife swapping party "from where you return alone".

Different shades of genius - the insufferable variety across literature (Column: Bookends) (12:26)
By Vikas Datta
They can have a fair claim to be the most misunderstood minority, despite all their contributions -- solving mysteries, helping all sorts of people out of tight spots and otherwise enhancing human knowledge in myriad ways. As Jonathan Swift put it, "... when a great genius appears in the world, the dunces are all in confederacy against him." But are geniuses to blame for the way they are treated?

India can be a global beacon for democracy (Comment) (13:28)
By Frank F. Islam
In this 21st century, democracy is descending and autocracy is ascending in countries around the world. That is the conclusion and argument that Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa present in their article titled "The End of the Democratic Century" published in the May/June edition of Foreign Affairs.

Nitish Kumar: Destined to be perpetual No.2? (Column: Political Circus) (11:26)
By Amulya GanguliIANS Photo Service
The aphorism "know thyself" was explained by Greek philosopher Socrates as a phrase which referred to an "unexamined life". The renewed rumours about Nitish Kumars future plans provoke queries as to whether the Bihar Chief Minister has closely examined his life in politics.

The safest places in the world (The Funny Side) (11:00)
By Nury Vittachi
Five years ago I lived in a housing estate that was so safe that I didn't even own a front door key. Our only line of defence against evil was a deeply confused dog which barked at family members and gave strangers a friendly licking.

Scars still fresh Five years since the Uttarakhand floods (17:36)
By Mayank AggarwalIANS Photo Service
Dehradun, July 4 (IANS/Mongabay) H.P. Upreti, an ex-serviceman lives in the Shakti Vihar locality of the Srinagar town of Uttarakhand. He vividly recalls the day, five years ago, when one of the worst natural disasters struck his hometown. "The water came rushing in. It was everywhere. Its a scene I will never forget."

How to get private capital for Indian infrastructure (Column: Behind Infra Lines) (12:26)
By Taponeel Mukherjee
American investor, businessman and philanthropist Charlie Mungers famous quotation, "All I want to know is where Im going to die, so Ill never go there", is apt for a discussion on attracting private investment in Indian infrastructure. Mungers mental model of "inversion" is the relevant source for the previously mentioned quotation.

India's aviation industry needs a new model (Comment) (11:08)
By Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd)
Indias aviation industry traces its roots to December 1940, when industrialist Walchand Hirachand established Hindustan Aircraft Limited (HAL) in Bangalore (now Bengaluru), with American technical assistance and capital and land provided by the Mysore government. Soon after the outbreak of WW II, the Indian government, realising the strategic significance of this enterprise, bought a one-third stake in HAL.

Competitiveness and the path to a prosperous India (Column: Active Voice) (14:20)
By Amit Kapoor
Are most nations able to keep up economic progress while ensuring improved standards of living for their citizens? Or vice-versa? Are all productive nations prosperous? The answer is No.

Post summer recess, SC to hear Ayodhya, Aadhaar, AAP-Centre tussle (20:50)IANS Photo Service
New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) As the Supreme Court resumes work on Monday after 43 days of summer recess, all eyes are on its hearing on Ayodhya title dispute, the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and power tussle between the Delhi and Central governments.

People versus Established Order: Contradiction sharpens in New York and elsewhere (Comment: Special to IANS) (15:40)
By Saeed Naqvi
Does the stunning victory of a 28-year-old Latino bartender in New York this week over a 10-term Democratic lawmaker bear any resemblance to AAPs victory under a political novice, Arvind Kejriwal in February 2015? He thrashed Narendra Modis resurgent BJP and a Congress Chief Minister entering her fourth term. Of course, there are a thousand differences in detail but these are dwarfed by a basic similarity -- popular resentment with establishments everywhere. It is a wave sweeping all electoral democracies across the globe. I have just seen the toppling of the Italian ruling class in Rome. Wherever they can, establishments are fighting back tooth and nail. Kejriwals endless travails are part of this counterpunch.

Saving Karnataka government is vital for opposition unity (Column: Political Circus) (11:22)
By Amulya GanguliIANS Photo Service
Even as various formulas are being worked out by the opposition at the national level for taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019, including forming alliances which may not be the same in every state, the first test as to whether such khichdi or hodge-podge groups can be politically effective will be the lifespan of the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress government in Karnataka.

Glimmer of hope for co-existence of conservation and livelihood in the Gulf of Mannar (15:42)
By Arushi Dutt
Chennai, June 27 (IANS/Mongabay) The struggle for daily sustenance is a reality for many fishermen in the Gulf of Mannar on Indias southeastern coast. It is home to a rich population of marine species threatened by over-exploitation, habitat destruction and pollution.

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