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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Can virtual meetings really make up for lock-down’s lack of physical contact?

by Rashmee

Posted on May 20, 2020 / The Focus


I took part in three Zoom calls at the weekend. 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 lock-down with loving virtual hugs and kisses. The Friday night call ran for three … Continue reading “Can virtual meetings really make up for lock-down’s lack of physical contact?”

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Coronavirus: Is Angela Merkel’s solution to EU’s problems feasible?

by Rashmee

Posted on May 19, 2020 / The National


The coronavirus crisis has put the European Union under some stress. This is partly triggered by a single judgment delivered in a court in Karlsruhe in south-western Germany. The ruling has put the eurozone economy on an emergency drip-feed of positivity and promises from European officials even as it raised questions among some about the … Continue reading “Coronavirus: Is Angela Merkel’s solution to EU’s problems feasible?”

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People on the UK’s coronavirus furlough scheme should be put to work to help the country out of the crisis

by Rashmee

Posted on May 19, 2020 / The Focus


At the moment, 7.5 million jobs in the UK are covered by the government’s furlough scheme, that’s an awful lot of people out of work. They say there are always lessons we can learn from history. In that case, it’s worth examining an 18th century proto-Keynesian state intervention in north India that proved successful. It … Continue reading “People on the UK’s coronavirus furlough scheme should be put to work to help the country out of the crisis”

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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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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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How the bubble might be a healthful strategy in a pandemic

by Rashmee

Posted on May 11, 2020


With no vaccine or cure in sight for this coronavirus, the “bubble” is increasingly seen as a viable health strategy. New Zealand put it out as a model, with the single bubble comprising a single household. Parts of Canada are pioneering the double bubble, which allows a household to join with one other household in … Continue reading “How the bubble might be a healthful strategy in a pandemic”

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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