News In Focus: A Look At This Week’s Most Interesting Stories

India: An extreme heat wave has claimed some 1,400 lives in India this month.

The heat has melted roads in New Delhi, where temperatures were as high as 45°C (113°F), according to the Time magazine.  And it has caused frequent blackouts in Gurgaon, the country’s leading financial and industrial city, where power plants couldn’t keep up with the demand for air conditioning, the Guardians reports.

In the cities of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the country’s south-western coast, temperatures up to 47°C (117°F) were recorded.  Deaths have also been reported in the eastern states of Odisha and West Bengal, and in Gujarat on the country’s western coast.

AccuWeather described this heat wave as being the most intense in India in recent years.

Weather officials warn that the high temperatures are likely to linger until cooling monsoon rains start to drift gradually from south India in the coming weeks.

Just how hot is it in India? See here:


Sport: Seven senior officials of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international governing body of association football, futsal and beach soccer, were arrested at dawn at the five-star Bauer au Lac hotel in Zurich on Wednesday.

Among the arrested were the association’s vice-president, Jeffrey Webb, who heads the Central America and the Caribbean Football Association, and another FIFA vice-president and former president of the South American Football Confederation, Eugenio Figueredo.

The duo are among a group of 14 being charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with 47 counts of racketeering, bribery, wire fraud, and money-laundering conspiracies.  Former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, who is on the wanted list, surrendered in Port-of Spain of Trinidad on the same day.

The U.S. Department of Justice alleged that the participants engaged in a “24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.”

Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney General, said that bribes were involved in the award of the 2010 World Cup to South Africa, in the 2011 FIFA presidential election, and in a deal involving sponsorship of Brazil’s national football team by a “major U.S. sportswear company.”

Meanwhile, Swiss prosecutors are investigating possible illegal activities during the bid for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which may have occurred in December of 2010.

FIFA is due to hold its next presidential election on Friday.  Observers speculate that Wednesday’s arrest may shatter incumbent Sepp Blatter’s dream of returning to the presidency.

For more, we go to the Washington Post:


Business: Cable cowboy John Malone’s dream came true on Tuesday when Charter Communications — a U.S. cable and telecommunications firm of which he owns 26% — announced the deal to buy its rival Time Warner Cable for around $55 billion in cash and stock.

The 74-year-old self-made cable giant, who Forbes ranks as America’s 56th richest man, is said to have masterminded the acquisition.

The three-way deal will also include Bright House Networks, a smaller cable company.

According to Bloomberg Business, Charter will pay $195.71 a share, which is 14 percent above Time Warner Cable’s closing share price last Friday.

The deal, if it is cleared of regulatory hurdles, will create the second-largest cable firm in U.S. behind Comcast, and would rank Charter as the country’s third-largest pay-TV operator, with more than 20 million pay TV, internet, and phone subscribers in 41 states.

As The Economist explains, the flurry of takeovers in the cable sector reflects a craving for expansion in order to bargain for cheaper programming prices, and to compete against growing online-video services.

Here’s a Bloomberg Business report:


Economics: The world lost a beautiful mind last Sunday when Nobel economics laureate John Nash, 86, was killed in a car crash with his wife, Alicia Nash, 82.

The couple were riding in a taxi in New Jersey while on their way home after a trip to Norway when the accident occurred.  New Jersey Police said they were being driven south on the New Jersey Turnpike when the driver lost control while trying to pass another car.

John Nash is much venerated for his achievements in mathematics, but he’s best remembered for his work in game theory — the mathematical study of decision-making.

Born on 13 June 1928 in Bluefield, West Virginia, Nash attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, where he graduated in 1948 with a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics.

Nash later accepted a fellowship to study for a postgraduate degree in mathematics at Princeton University in 1948, bearing a one-line recommendation from his previous professor, Richard Duffin: “This man is a genius.”

After receiving his doctorate, Nash joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he met Alicia Larde, a physics major who came from an aristocratic Salvadoran family in El Salvador.

The two married in 1957. Soon after, Nash developed severe schizophrenia and was committed for psychiatric care several times.  The couple divorced in 1962, but Nash was allowed to stay in Alicia’s house under her care. Nash began to show signs of rehabilitation by the 1980s, and they remarried in 2001.

During this period, Nash continued to make contributions to many areas of mathematics.

John Nash won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1994 for his contributions in game theory.  This year, Nash was awarded the Abel Prize, another top honor in the field of mathematics.

The mathematician’s life was the subject of biography by Sylvia Nasar, which was then adapted in the Hollywood blockbuster A Beautiful Mind.  The film, featuring Russell Crowe as Nash, and describing Nash’s long struggle with schizophrenia, was released in 2001 and won four Oscars.


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Lead-In Image: “Young boy takes a bath to keep himself cool from summer heat wave on May 21, 2015 in Calcutta, India”; kmichal /