In Focus by The Hindu
In Focus by The Hindu
The Hindu
A podcast from The Hindu that delves deep into current developments with subject experts, and brings in context, history, perspective and analysis.
How close are we to getting a COVID-19 vaccine? | The Hindu In Focus podcast
As India continues to walk the challenging path of tackling COVID-19, this month there has been some excitement with regard to possible vaccines. At present, there are four vaccines in India in various stages of clinical trials — Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, a vaccine by Zydus Cadila, AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford’s Covishield. And now, permission has been granted for clinical trials for Russia’s Sputnik V as well. Globally, there are over 150 vaccine candidates in various stages of development — with two major vaccine trials that have been in the news, paused over safety concerns and then re-started. Recently, India’s Health Minister announced that 250 million people would be vaccinated by July 2021. So what is the status of the vaccines today and how soon can we expect to be vaccinated? Guest: Dr. Gagandep Kang, Professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore. Host: Zubeda Hamid Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Oct 26
33 min
Muttiah Muralitharan biopic <i>800</i> — the politics behind the controversy
In this episode, we discuss the politics around the film 800, the biopic on the legendary Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan and his record of being the first bowler to take 800 Test wickets. This is a film that has been mired in controversy for some time and the latest flash point this week is when the noted actor Vijay Sethupathy pulled out of starring as Murali in the biopic, acting, it seems, upon the advice of Murali himself, who said that he didn’t want the actor’s career to be tarred by the controversy. What is the controversy? While Muralitharan is a Sri Lankan Tamil who has roots in India, several groups have branded him a “betrayer of Tamils” and alleged that the cricketer supported the killing of Tamil civilians during the armed conflict between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government. There are many more nuances and complications in this story. Guest: Meera Srinivasan, Sri Lanka Correspondent, The Hindu. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Oct 24
22 min
What’s behind the protests by students in Thailand? | The Hindu In Focus podcast
Last week, Thailand’s government, led by the Army-chief–turned–Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, declared a state of emergency, banning public gatherings and censoring the media, to tackle the growing students’ protests. The protesters though, dismissed the emergency decree as yet another attempt by the government to take away their rights and vowed to continue the agitation. Recently, the government seems to have relented and lifted the emergency, saying that it wants to hear the concerns and demands that the students have. This may be a small victory for the students but there’s still a long way to go. Guest: Stanly Johny, International Affairs Editor, The Hindu. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Oct 23
26 min
Bihar polls from the ground — covering an election during a pandemic | The Hindu In Focus podcast
Reporting during this election, the first in the age of COVID-19, presents a number of challenges for journalists covering the campaigns. Among the biggest is that while the Election Commission has presented a number of guidelines, election time is pretty much a festival on its own that brings with it many associated challenges. On Wednesday, October 21, for instance, the EC had to reiterate its guidelines for campaigning during the pandemic, noting that many parties and candidates in Bihar, which is going to the polls frmo October 28, had been lax in maintaining discipline in terms of crowd size. Shedding light on this and other aspects of covering this election is The Hindu’s Political Editor Nistula Hebbar, who has just returned from a reporting tour in Bihar, to tell us what she saw and experienced on the ground. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Oct 22
19 min
Has India passed its COVID-19 peak, as a new government study claims? | The Hindu In Focus podcast
Over the weekend, there was some significant news in the form of a modelling study conducted by a seven-member expert panel, constituted by the government, on the future course of the pandemic. The headline conclusion of the report is that India has passed its COVID-19 peak, and that if current trends continue there will be minimal cases by February. In this episode, we’re going to explore those conclusions made by the committee. We’ll examine whether the optimism is justified or there are factors which we still need to keep a very close watch on that could easily derail some of the progress the country has made in the last few weeks. Our guest today is Gautam Menon, Professor of Physics and Biology at Ashoka university. He has a keen interest in the modelling of infectious diseases and its implications for public policy. He has been part of a prominent group of Indian scientists who have come up with detailed mathematical modelling on the progression of the disease. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Oct 20
27 min
How smoothly can schools “unlock”? | The Hindu In Focus podcast
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, but office and public places have begun to reopen after months of closure under the various “unlock guidelines” released by the Central government. On October 5, the Ministry of Education issued detailed guidelines for the gradual reopening of schools from October 15 but stated that no student would be forced to attend against their parent’s consent. We take a look at how the pandemic has affected education, how feasible it is for schools to comply with all the safety guidelines, what they can do to ensure that students catch up with their education, and what the potential for digital education is in the country. Host: Zubeda Hamid Guest: Rukmini Banerji, Chief Executive Officer of Pratham Education Foundation. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Oct 15
29 min
Explaining the science behind this year’s Nobel Prizes (Part 2) for Chemistry and Physics | The Hindu In Focus podcast
In this second part of a two-episode series on the Nobel Prizes, we go into the Chemistry and Physics 2020 awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, for discovering one of gene technology’s sharpest tools — the CRISPR/Cas9 “genetic scissors”. And for Physics, British mathematician-physicist Roger Penrose received half of this year’s prize “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity”, as the the Nobel Committee put it. German Reinhard Genzel and American Andrea Ghez received the second half of the prize “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy.” We explain the science behind both awards. Guest: T.V. Venkateshwaran, Science Communicator, Senior Scientist at Vigyan Prasar, New Delhi. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Oct 13
23 min
Explaining the science behind this year’s Nobel Prizes (Part 1) for Medicine | The Hindu In Focus podcast
In the first of two episodes, we look at this year‘s Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice for their discovery of the Hepatitis C virus. The Nobel announcement said the Prize had been given to “three scientists who have made a decisive contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world”. We explain why the work of the three scientists is crucial and how they built on each other’s work. Guest: T.V. Venkateshwaran, Science Communicator, Senior Scientist at Vigyan Prasar, New Delhi. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Oct 13
18 min
India’s drug laws (Part 2) — the debate on legalisation | The Hindu In Focus podcast
In the previous episode, we went into the origin and evolution of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act to understand India’s drug laws in relation to our attitudes towards punishment and sentencing. Here, we go into the idea of legalisation — in particular, marijuana, which offers comparisons with other countries, such as the United States. In India, certain parts of the marijuana plant are allowed for commercial use while others are not. So, we look at prominent international examples to home in on where the discourse on the subject — in our courts, Parliament, in research — currently stands in India. Tripti Tandon is a practising lawyer who works on drug policies and is associated with Lawyers Collective, a New Delhi–based NGO that works on promoting human rights. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Oct 10
16 min
India’s drug laws (Part 1) — the case for a more rational approach | The Hindu In Focus podcast
The Sushant Singh Rajput case — more particularly, its coverage in some instances — has thrown up issues concerning the use of drugs and the attitudes of the law and the media on the subject. In this episode, we look at how the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPSA) has evolved since its introduction in 1985. Over the years, there have been voices stressing the need for a more rational approach to punishment and sentencing with respect to drug possession and quantities. This episode’s guest, Tripti Tandon, is a practising lawyer who works on drug policies and is associated with Lawyers Collective, a New Delhi–based NGO that works on promoting human rights. Also, stay tuned for the second part of this discussion, which goes into the issue of legalising marijuana, and looks at prominent international examples to home in on where the discourse currently stands in India. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Oct 9
26 min
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