India confronts long-held bias against dark skin | AFP

A growing number of Indians are speaking out against cosmetic giants selling skin-whitening creams as global anti-racism protests shine a spotlight on Asia’s obsession with fair skin. Such products generate billions of dollars in sales, with promises of beauty and success to users.

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Indians comment after New Delhi bans TikTok | AFP

Indians react to the banning of popular Chinese app TikTok as New Delhi’s ties with Beijing deteriorate sharply following a deadly border clash.

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Angry Indians react after deadly border clash with China | AFP

Angry Indians protest against China and call for the boycott of Chinese goods after a violent border brawl left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.

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Chaos outside liquor stores as India eases virus lockdown | AFP

Police disperse thirsty Indians jostling to buy alcohol for the first time in 40 days as the government eased further the world’s biggest coronavirus lockdown.

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World’s shortest woman appeals to Indians to stay at home amid virus fears | AFP

The world’s shortest woman took to the streets in central India to call on people to stay at home, after police appealed for help enforcing a coronavirus lockdown. Jyoti Amge, who is just 62.8 centimetres tall, told the residents in Nagpur city: “I feel very happy to be supporting and helping the police today in my own small way.”

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Life-size mask-wearing elephant keeps Indians alert over virus | AFP

A life-size sculpture of an elephant wearing a mask is the latest of the unusual public awareness campaigns to contain the spread of the new coronavirus in India. Previously many videos of hand-washing policemen were being shared on the internet.

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India holds one-day curfew to test coronavirus defences | AFP

Millions of Indians went into lockdown Sunday as the country brought most of its vast railway network to a halt in a bid to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. While the lockdown was not mandatory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the population of 1.3 billion to help prepare for the challenges ahead.

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Stick em’ up! Indian women ‘beat’ men during Holi festival | AFP

Thousands of Indians welcome spring in a rainbow of colours at the annual festival of Holi, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he will not attend the festivities due to the coronavirus. Women “beat” men with sticks as part of the festivities in Nandgaon village. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna is said to have teased a woman and was chased away with sticks by the local women.

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Economic burnout: India’s struggling workforce | AFP

India’s government releases its 2020 budget on Saturday, facing stuttering growth and record unemployment and a jump in inflation that has further widened India’s wealth gap. AFP spoke to Indians from different sections of society about the impact of the economic slowdown, which has put Prime Minister Narendra Modi under considerable pressure

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Big fat Indian wedding goes on a diet as slowdown bites | AFP

India’s weddings are famously lavish — lasting days and with hundreds if not thousands of guests — but this season many families are cutting costs even if it risks their social standing. It’s symptomatic of a sharp slowdown in the world’s fifth-largest economy, with Indians spending less on everything from daily essentials to once-in-a-lifetime occasions.

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From armchairs to iPhones, India’s millennials rent it all | AFP

In an age of e-commerce-fuelled consumerism, more and more young Indians are defying social conventions of ownership and instead opting to rent items such as furniture and smartphones.

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Indigenous chief Raoni ends European tour with warning | AFP

Indigenous chief Raoni, a leading figure in the fight against deforestation in the Amazon, concludes a long European tour in Lyon. In one of his final speeches , he warned: “If you destroy the whole forest, it’s not only us Indians who will disappear, but you too.”

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Modi’s ‘free cooking gas’ leaves bitter taste for some Indians

Reena Devi says her life changed when she got a cooking gas connection under a billion-dollar programme championed by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meaning she no longer has to cook with wood or coal and breathe in smelly, toxic fumes.

Pakistanis leave homes near Line of Control

Pakistanis living near the Line of Control, the de facto border in Kashmir, pack their belongings and leave their homes as tensions with India escalate after both India and Pakistan said they had shot down each other’s aircraft. Meanwhile some Indians in New Delhi call for revenge while others want to see a diplomatic solution.

Hindus mark Thaipusam festival in Malaysia

Malaysian Hindu devotee Kumaraguru Kunalan hauled a wooden pole with metal pots hanging from either side up to a temple carved into a hillside as drumming and incense smoke filled the air. Kumaraguru, who also had a steel skewer pierced through his tongue, was among the huge crowd of ethnic Indians marking Thaipusam at a complex of temples outside Kuala Lumpur.

Air pollution

Videographic on air pollution. Smog is blamed for the deaths of more than one million Indians every year. Delhi — which on Monday had emergency pollution levels more than 35 times the World Health Organization safe limit — has the worst air of any global capital.VIDEOGRAPHIC