The mission goes on

This week, the government finally offered what may be the first definitive statement on the fate of the Vikram Lander. Union minister Jitendra Singh, who supervises the department of space, said: “Vikram hard- landed within 500m of the designated landing site." But the mission continues—most of Chandrayaan-2’s scientific experiments remain in the orbiter, which has a mission life of nearly seven years. —AB

Photo: Alamy
Photo: Alamy

Business at Tiffany’s

In a recent landmark deal, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton acquired American luxury brand Tiffany & Co., known for its fine jewels, elegant craftsmanship and the iconic blue colour of its packaging, also known as the Tiffany Blue. According to a Forbes article, the deal, to be completed by early to mid-2020, is pegged at around €14.7 billion (around 11 trillion). Another news article in the Chain Store Age magazine calls it the largest acquisition in the luxury retail business. A 25 November statement from LVMH says the acquisition will strengthen its position in the jewellery space and enhance its presence in the US. Over time, the 182-year-old jewellery brand has made inroads in pop culture, the most prominent example perhaps being the Audrey Hepburn-starrer Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Its high jewellery Blue Book Collection has been worn by Hollywood actors such as Kate Winslet and Anne Hathaway to Academy Award ceremonies. —AB

Photo: PTI
Photo: PTI

Robocops in real life

Earlier this week, eagle-eyed commuters spotted mannequins wearing Bengaluru Traffic Police uniforms at busy junctions in the city. Some speculated that overzealous shopkeepers had installed them to prevent people from parking illegally, but they turned out to be as official as they come. The traffic police department has actually acquired 200 lifelike male mannequins, dressed them in the official uniform (helmet, reflector jacket, gloves et al), and is installing them across the city—in the hope that they will confuse traffic violators into thinking they are actual cops. The only thing that can make this story even more fantastic is if the mannequins come to life at night and go on a rampage against evil-doers. —SB

Photo: Alamy
Photo: Alamy

No equal music

The transgender community has been legally fighting for equality for more than two decades. After many revisions, the controversial Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 26 November despite widespread protests against it by activists and the LGBTQ+ community. They oppose the Bill for several reasons, such as clubbing individuals identifying as intersex and transgender; leaving out non-binary persons; and making it mandatory to apply to a district magistrate for an identity certificate, thus denying the right to self-determination. One of the most strongly criticized aspects of the Bill is that sexual abuse of a transgender person attracts a lower penalty than that of a cisgendered individual. The fight for equality continues. —JB

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