MOOD: How the Lounge team is feeling this week

From Gucci’s personalization service to Whatsapp’s tools to counter fake news in the run-up to elections, Lounge takes on the biggest updates of the week

DIY Fashion

Fancy a reversible red silk bomber that’s yours alone because it has your initials on it?

Gucci brought its international DIY service to its Mumbai store this week—a personalization service for shirts, jackets, shoes, unisex silk bombers, and denim or leather biker jackets. A nod to creative director Alessandro Michele’s love for British punk, you can opt for monograms, kingsnakes, flowers and bees to appear discreetly on the cuff or collar or as large patches. We would say go all out, indulge the punk in you this summer. —AG


Repealing a Raj relic

Among the many promises in the manifestos of the Congress party and the CPM is the commitment to decriminalize defamation and make it purely a civil offence.

In the past, politicians like Rahul Gandhi, Subramanian Swamy and Arvind Kejriwal had separately filed petitions challenging the constitutionality of criminal defamation. In May 2016, the Supreme Court had dismissed those petitions while remarking that the “value of freedom of speech cannot be allowed to have the comatosing effect on individual dignity".

A colonial- era penal provision, criminal defamation—which carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison—has been used against critics, including political opponents, journalists and whistleblowers. Prominent cases in the recent past include a criminal defamation suit filed against a journalist during the #MeToo movement, as well as a number of suits against media organizations. It is time for this Raj relic to go.—BK

Space issues

While India recently joined a select group of countries by demonstrating its anti-satellite missile technology, the test hasn’t gone down entirely well with American space agency Nasa. Speaking during a live-streaming Nasa town hall meeting on 1 April, Jim Bridenstine, the agency’s administrator, said India’s test had created at least 400 pieces of orbital debris, putting current and future space activities at risk. The International Space Station has an apogee (the point in the orbit of a satellite at which it is the furthest from earth) of 408km. India conducted its test by targeting a satellite orbiting at an elevation of 300km from earth. While Bridenstine said this “kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight", he added that it was low enough, and the debris “will all dissipate" over time. Nasa currently tracks about 23,000 pieces of space debris that are 10cm or bigger.—NS

Say yes to WhatsApp

Before and during the 2014 election, the first in India to be held in the age of digital mass media, fake news was rampant and the tools to counter it did not exist. It is still all-pervasive, and the tools arguably only make a difference in educated, urban settings, but at least they exist. Two back-to-back decisions made by WhatsApp—to add a fact-checking feature named Checkpoint Tipline, and to give users the option of not being added to groups without their consent (how was this ever okay?)—point to an evolution of the medium prompted largely by Indian patterns of use and misuse.—SB

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