Eid under lockdown: Art for the interminable now, the pandemic era

by Rashmee

Posted on May 25, 2020


  The painting made its way around the locked-down world’s usual, no-touch channels of communication. There was Twitter, of course, but also WhatsApp, where people forwarded a picture of the painting to each other as an Eid greeting. It seemed to capture the moment. Of nearly two billion Muslims in the world, it is only … Continue reading “Eid under lockdown: Art for the interminable now, the pandemic era”

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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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Lessons from the sub-Saharan past on how to deal with pandemics

by Rashmee

Posted on May 23, 2020


Ever wondered how humans in Africa hundreds of years ago protected themselves from pandemics? The BBC World Service’s ‘Science in Action’ programme offered an answer, in a fascinating conversation with Professor Shadreck Chirikure, Head of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town. Communities practised social distancing, the Professor said, by dispersing settlements, … Continue reading “Lessons from the sub-Saharan past on how to deal with pandemics”

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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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More European Union? The ‘frugal four’ are pushing back against Franco-German largesse

by Rashmee

Posted on May 21, 2020


Some say there’s “18% more union”. That’s what Bloomberg opined anyway. It said that the decision by Germany’s Angela Merkel to join France’s Emmanuel Macron in backing a 500-billion euro European Commission lending facility is a very big deal. It doesn’t mean there will be a United States of Europe any time soon, but the fiscal union … Continue reading “More European Union? The ‘frugal four’ are pushing back against Franco-German largesse”

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UK furlough scheme could learn from 18th century proto-Keynesian state intervention in India

by Rashmee

Posted on May 17, 2020


With 7.5 million jobs in Britain now covered by the government’s furlough scheme, right through to October, there’s much to learn from an 18th century proto-Keynesian successful state intervention from north India. It was launched by the Nawab of Awadh, Asaf-ud Daula in 1784, when famine hit the region. Awadh was a wealthy kingdom in … Continue reading “UK furlough scheme could learn from 18th century proto-Keynesian state intervention in India”

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A world of Zoombies: What it means, really

by Rashmee

Posted on May 16, 2020


In the past 24 hours, I have been on three Zoom calls. The first on Friday night was with good friends, calling with birthday wishes. The second and third, on Saturday, were with disparate groups of family members, similarly reaching out across the lockdown with loving virtual hugs and kisses. The Friday night call ran … Continue reading “A world of Zoombies: What it means, really”

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German economy is sickened by more than the virus

by Rashmee

Posted on May 15, 2020


What does it mean that Germany, Europe’s biggest economy has plunged into a recession? That times are hard, to use the platitude doing the desperate rounds on email, in Twitter DMs and in conversations, as people lose their jobs in so many sectors, in so many parts of the world. Last month, German economy minister … Continue reading “German economy is sickened by more than the virus”

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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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Can we tackle both climate change and Covid-19 recovery?

by Rashmee

Posted on May 13, 2020


According to Betteridge’s law of headlines, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no”. It’s not a law, of course, but an adage and it is named after British technology journalist Ian Betteridge. It’s also of relatively recent vintage – a mere 11 years. Despite Betteridge’s law, I would … Continue reading “Can we tackle both climate change and Covid-19 recovery?”

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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