Teetotaler Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi almost fueled a booze binge on New Year’s Eve in the nation’s cities.
As his scheduled speech drew nearer, pubs announced Modi-themed drinking games while Indians sought solace through social media humor.
The last time Modi had addressed the nation, on Nov. 8, it had ended with him canceling 86 percent of currency in circulation and unleashing chaos in a country where almost all consumer payments are made in cash.
Modi had likened the move to a bitter medicine to help cure tax evasion and graft. Many saw it differently.
“Come get a drink on us,” pub chain Social, which has 15 outlets across the nation, announced on Facebook. “If we’re going down, we’re going down together.”
Social offered a pint of beer or an alcoholic shot for 31 rupees (US$0.5) each time Modi said mitron, which means “friends” in Hindi. That compares with 85 rupees for a pint of Kingfisher beer it normally charges customers.
Mobile wallet company Mobikwik — backed by Sequoia Capital — promised lucky users a 100 percent cash back.
Mitron entered the Urban Dictionary soon after Modi’s fateful Nov. 8 address, when he peppered his speech with the word while announcing the ban on high-value currency notes.
It now describes “a large group of unsuspecting people, about to be hit by something they will take a long time to recover from.”
When 7:30pm arrived on the last day of 2016, Indians huddled around their television sets.
About 80 percent of Indians aged 15 to 29 evince at least some interest in politics, the 10th highest of about 40 countries surveyed in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Society at a Glance 2016 report.
However, the nation was among the world’s five lowest alcohol consumers as drinking is seen as a taboo that must be limited to social events.
“Probably the first time when, on Dec. 31, people will be partying less and praying more,” MrTippler tweeted.
“Mitron, go home, you are drunk,” he added.
WhatsApp had begun buzzing earlier with cartoons depicting trepidatious citizens.
The medium has been a source of much ridicule over the past 50 days, with messages ranging from rumors about location sensors embedded in new currency notes to Modi’s party’s plan to hand out sweets to citizens to thank them for their cooperation.
The withdrawal of banknotes was quickly lampooned by citizens enraged about having to queue at cash machines for hours to withdraw their own money, complicated by almost daily regulatory flip flops.
Meanwhile, economists have slashed their growth estimates for India as consumption sputters. The political opposition is looking to use the fallout of Modi’s move to gain an advantage before key state elections this year.
In his 45-minute speech, Modi offered easier and cheaper loans to farmers and small businessmen as well as 6,000 rupees cash for pregnant women.
He defended the cash clampdown and vowed to crack down on corruption.
He did not elaborate on measures to fight graft and belied speculation that he had provide details on how much unaccounted cash was exposed by his move.
Authorities have also retained strict caps on cash withdrawals and Modi did not offer a new date for when the cash crunch would ease.
Moreover, how many times did he say mitron, which would have allowed citizens to drown their sorrows more cheaply? Zero.
“So much for cheap beer,” tweeted Kushan Dutta, whose profile shows he lives in Modi’s prohibitionist home-state of Gujarat. “The one sop we deserved.”
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
Australia is notorious for its venomous spiders, snakes and sea creatures, but researchers have now identified “scorpion-like” toxins secreted by a tree that can cause excruciating pain for weeks. Split-second contact with the dendrocnide tree, a rainforest nettle known by its Aboriginal name gympie-gympie, delivers a sting far more potent than similar plants found in the US or Europe. A team of Australian scientists said that they now better understand why the gympie-gympie’s sting haunts those unlucky enough to brush up against its leaves. Victims report an initial sting that “feels like fire at first, then subsides over hours to a pain reminiscent