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How the Lounge team is feeling this week

From Gita Gopinath's appointment as chief economist of IMF to India's #MeToo moment, Lounge takes on the biggest updates of the week

Gita Gopinath. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Gita Gopinath. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

A seat at the high table

Gita Gopinath, 46, has been appointed the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She will become only the second Indian, after Raghuram Rajan, to hold this post, which she will take up towards the end of the year after relinquishing her post as financial adviser to the Kerala chief minister (she was appointed in 2016). A professor of economics at Harvard University, she is a co-director at the International Finance and Macroeconomic Programme at the US-based National Bureau of Economic Research. Kerala-born Gopinath studied at the Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi, the Delhi School of Economics, and the University of Washington, before obtaining her PhD in economics from Princeton University. Are we thrilled? You bet! —BB

Photo: Getty Images

Fearing the big melt

The Arctic sea ice, which blankets most of the Arctic Ocean in wintertime, reached its seasonal minimum extent this year in September. According to data from the US-based National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), sea ice extent dropped to 4.59 million square kilometers on 19 and 23 September, tying for the sixth lowest minimum in the satellite record. The ice cap, which is essentially frozen seawater, thickens during winter and shrinks in the summer. The ice keeps the polar regions cool and helps moderate global climate. But rising temperatures over the past decades have resulted in a rapid decrease in the extent of Arctic sea ice. The shrinking of the ice cover, as per the NSIDC website, could affect Earth’s weather patterns and accelerate global warming trends.—NS

Photo: AP

Matilda turns 30

She was a precocious five-and-a-half-year-old with superpowers in 1988 when we first met her in Roald Dahl’s evergreen classic, Matilda. Thirty years on, Matilda Wormwood remains a tough cookie, daring to take on the big bad grown-ups. As children and adults all over the world celebrate her, the British public has voted to put up a statue of the iconic schoolgirl confronting none other than US President Donald Trump near the grounds of Dahl’s former home in Buckinghamshire. When women all over the world are expressing their rage and calling out patriarchy, who better than the indomitable Matilda to channel that spirit?—SG

Photo: Twitter@hnlusba

The power of protest

In a week that saw Bollywood actor Tanushree Dutta’s allegations against Nana Patekar come to a head, with the film industry divided between those who spoke out against its notorious sexism and exploitation of women and those who made light of the matter, it did seem as if India’s #MeToo movement was going to die even before taking off. However, there’s better news coming in from Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU) Raipur where a student protest against the vice-chancellor for several allegations of corruption and inaction, including the failure to act against four faculty members accused of sexual harassment, resulted in the VC stepping down. It’s a big win for India’s students, who have faced everything from tear gas to jail terms for standing up to the system, and a strong signal to academia that the targeted harassment of female students will not be brushed under the carpet anymore. —SB

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