Now, the astronaut wife is an astronaut too

by Rashmee

Posted on May 29, 2020 / The Focus


The SpaceX launch – the first since 2011 to take NASA astronauts into space from US soil – has been postponed until 30 May. But it has managed to provide an important and heartwarming sociology lesson while the world waits for veteran astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to take off. We have learned about the … Continue reading “Now, the astronaut wife is an astronaut too”

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Isn’t it premature, this attempt to capture how we dealt with the pandemic?

by Rashmee

Posted on May 28, 2020


The New York Times reports that several museums across the United States “have begun recording this moment of collective uncertainty in the country’s war against the coronavirus”. What that means is we’re trying to capture a moment in time even as we live through it. How valid will that be? The Times’ piece notes that … Continue reading “Isn’t it premature, this attempt to capture how we dealt with the pandemic?”

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SpaceX launch: Beacon or bad omen?

by Rashmee

Posted on May 27, 2020 / The Focus


NASA’s first manned flight since 2011 is being advertised as America’s hopeful return to space, to boldly go where no man has before. Is it really? Yes and no. Wednesday’s launch to the International Space Station, nine years after the end of the space shuttle programme, is definitely a milestone. Those nine years were the … Continue reading “SpaceX launch: Beacon or bad omen?”

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Qatar’s 2017 airlift of cows in the context of the coronavirus-induced backlash against globalisation

by Rashmee

Posted on May 26, 2020


When analysts write about a coronavirus-induced backlash against globalisation and its sprawling supply chains, I think of Qatar’s 2017 airlift of cows. It was a remarkable operation, often described as the largest airlift of cattle in history. And it sounded farfetched, this attempt to create a Wisconsin in the Arabian desert. But in July 2017, … Continue reading “Qatar’s 2017 airlift of cows in the context of the coronavirus-induced backlash against globalisation”

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Recipe for restaurant survival in a pandemic

by Rashmee

Posted on May 24, 2020


Tony Cecchini, who owns two bar-restaurants in Brooklyn, NY (and is incidentally credited with having invented the Cosmopolitan), says social distancing will be “a death sentence” to his business. “That would give me four lonely seats across the entire run of each of my bars, with guests dotted here and there slipping their masks down … Continue reading “Recipe for restaurant survival in a pandemic”

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Baklava, frites, wine, cannabis, guns. The pandemic classified them as essentials but they’re indulgences

by Rashmee

Posted on May 22, 2020


In Turkey, baklava-makers were deemed essential workers during the coronavirus lockdown because Turks like to eat the layered, flaky pastry, moistened with syrup and sprinkled with nuts at all times. Belgium allowed its friteries to stay open even as it closed down other commercial activities because it deemed the sidewalk stands that serve up French … Continue reading “Baklava, frites, wine, cannabis, guns. The pandemic classified them as essentials but they’re indulgences”

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‘Sell city, buy country’? The pandemic won’t empty London, NYC

by Rashmee

Posted on May 14, 2020


Some very clever people are writing off cities. Not altogether, but quite substantially. Consider a new piece in Politico magazine by Parag Khanna, bestselling author and managing partner of the data and scenario-based strategic global advisory firm FutureMap. The pandemic “may cause fundamental shifts in our human geography,” Mr Khanna writes. “Why choose to stay in a … Continue reading “‘Sell city, buy country’? The pandemic won’t empty London, NYC”

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O brave new world. It’s the week it opens the door and gingerly peers out

by Rashmee

Posted on May 10, 2020


This is the week the world tries to recover its nerve even though we remain months away from a vaccine for Covid-19 and still have no cure. As 15-year-old Miranda said in Act V of The Tempest: “How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world That has such people in’t!” Indeed, rather a brave attempt … Continue reading “O brave new world. It’s the week it opens the door and gingerly peers out”

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Look who’s having a good pandemic. A female ‘authoritarian’ leader

by Rashmee

Posted on May 6, 2020


Bolivia’s interim president Jeanine Anez was meant to be in the job for just the few weeks it took to organise elections after the country’s long-serving leader Evo Morales quit in November amid electoral fraud allegations. Six months on, she’s still in the Palacio Quemado, the president’s official residence. What’s more, she has rejected a parliamentary … Continue reading “Look who’s having a good pandemic. A female ‘authoritarian’ leader”

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A pandemic isn’t an existential threat to humanity; nuclear weapons are

by Rashmee

Posted on May 5, 2020


  A philosopher on the radio the other day said a pandemic isn’t as much of an existential threat to humanity as nuclear weapons. He’s probably right. Even if the coronavirus pandemic takes a terrible toll – in terms of lives, incomes, economic wellbeing – it won’t be an existential threat unless there is a … Continue reading “A pandemic isn’t an existential threat to humanity; nuclear weapons are”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK