There are some traditions that are universal. Here, we highlight a single craft — and how it’s being adapted, rethought and remade for the 21st century.
Bagru, in Rajasthan, is still considered a village — and it is, in the ancient way its society is structured according to inherited roles and customs. But like many such Indian villages, it has been swallowed by encroaching urbanization. Straddling the highway to Jaipur, the town of 30,000 people is dense with two- and three-story concrete buildings that occlude any sense of the landscape. Cows and pigs eat the garbage that lines the road as teenagers in jeans zip by on scooters. But in home workshops scattered throughout, you can still find chippas, a caste of printers who continue day after day to stamp lengths of cotton fabric with color using hand-carved wood blocks. They were taught this trade by their parents, who were, in turn, taught by theirs — each generation working almost exactly as the one before, going back at least 300 years.
While printing designs onto fabric most likely originated in China about 4,500 years ago, it was on the Indian subcontinent where hand-blocked fabric reached its highest visual expression. Indians possessed unparalleled expertise in the secrets of natural plant dyes, particularly with mordants (metallic salts that both create color and allow it to adhere to fabric). A kind of mud resist-printing, called dabu, which allows areas of a design to be reserved from dye, also flourished here. A series of combinations of mordant and resist stamping and dyeing enabled Indian printers to create uniquely complex designs, coveted from Southeast Asia and palaces of Mughal emperors to the far-flung capitals of Western Europe. Between outside influences and the diversity of the subcontinent’s own indigenous communities and tribes, India has yielded one of the most magnificent pattern vocabularies ever. And yet for the past 200 years the industry has been on the precipice of extinction, doomed in part by the popularity that helped create it. Add technological advances, corruption, bungled policies and the greater income opportunities in India’s cities, and the picture looks bleak.
On a single road at the edge of Bagru, hereditary carvers, mostly fathers and sons, squat inside tiny open studios, chiseling designs traced onto teak. In the center of town, families of printers stand before long tables covered with fabric, dipping blocks into color and stamping them with a thump thump of the hand to ensure a strong print on the fabric. Each morning, the dabu printers, another specialized group, mix a batch of mud made from clay, lime and fermented wheat and sift it with their bare feet through muslin so their wives, and perhaps their children, can print it in patterns onto fabric before bringing it over to the indigo vats, operated by the men of yet another historical caste. Even the washing is done by a particular group, the dhobi, who stand all day waist-deep in water baths. All these activities, each part of the multistep process, center around a vast field, where fabrics — in indigo, madder, saffron and hot pink — are laid out to dry or hung from the rooftops of the surrounding buildings. India’s caste system is less apparent in cities, but villages like this still operate according to it: Chippa, for instance, derives from a conflation of the Nepal Bhasa chhi (to dye) and pa (to leave something to bask in the sun) and chappana (“stamping” in Hindi); it also denotes one’s caste, one’s job, and is often also one’s last name.
An English rage in the 1700s for chic, cheap Indian floral cottons led to an enormous boom that coincided largely with the golden age of Mughal Empire patronage, when the Maharajah were outfitting their courts, themselves and their numerous women with finely printed diaphanous muslins. But the advent of mass production in England meant the end of this export market for India, and punishing colonial legislation forced the Indians to buy cheap imitations of their own work. In that moment, artistic knowledge, which had been passed down for possibly thousands of years, from one generation to the next, teetered on extinction.
Because Bagru always focused on the local market, catering to other rural tribes and communities instead of royal or British commissions, it didn’t suffer the boom and bust of wealthier producers. Still, by the 1970s, Bagru’s poverty worsened when its local base turned toward cheaply printed synthetics, and the industry was all but dead.
Around this same time, the Jaipur-based design company Anokhi began seeking out families with specialized knowledge to resuscitate traditional patterns and design new ones, helping to instill in craftsmen a sense of value in their work. Anokhi and others, along with a new wave of small, artisan-dedicated companies, such as the Los Angeles-based Block Shop, have helped keep both a village and a tradition relevant. Block Shop co-owner Lily Stockman moved to Jaipur in 2010 to study painting and eventually found her way to block printing; her sister Hopie, a textile designer, soon followed. Part of what distinguishes the pair from many foreign designers hiring artisans is that the two are craftspeople themselves, having studied and practiced the techniques they employ, allowing them to better understand the processes and possibilities, as well as the realities of the time and labor involved. The pair’s work is grounded in an appreciation of these ancient practices, while the simplified geometries of their designs come from Lily’s modernist aesthetic, and the pale saffrons and ochers of the California and Rajasthan deserts. Together, the pair offer good — not just fair — pay, and they support education, health care and clean water initiatives in the village.
Block prints are done by eye, and telltale signs of the human hand, even imperfections, are part of the ineffable humanity and beauty of the craft. But screen prints now have these mistakes designed into them: machines mimicking the imperfections of man. How, then, can craft survive in a world with so much stacked against it? Perhaps with the knowledge that it involves a culture built around a community, in which families and neighbors are working and living in tandem, often across religions, tribes and generations, from a shared history. It is not an easy life. But it is a necessary one. And finally, it may be that one doesn’t so much see craft, but actually, feels it.
One of Japan's largest digital currency exchanges says it has lost some $534m (£380m) worth of virtual assets in a hacking attack on its network.
Coincheck froze deposits and withdrawals for all crypto-currencies except Bitcoin as it assessed its losses in NEM, a lesser-known currency.
It may be unable to reimburse the funds lost on Friday, a representative told Japanese media.
If the theft is confirmed, it will be the largest involving digital currency.
Another Tokyo exchange, MtGox, collapsed in 2014 after admitting that $400m had been stolen from its network.
The stolen Coincheck assets were said to be kept in a "hot wallet" - a part of the exchange connected to the internet. That contrasts with a cold wallet, where funds are stored securely offline.
Coincheck says it has the digital address of where the assets were sent.
What do we know about the hack?Hackers broke in at 02:57 on Friday (17:57 GMT Thursday), the company said in a statement, but the breach was not discovered until 11:25, nearly eight and a half hours later.
Company chief operating officer Yusuke Otsuka said 523m NEMs had been sent from Coincheck's NEM address during the breach.
"It's worth 58bn yen based on the calculation at the rate when detected," he told reporters at the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Coincheck was still examining how many customers had been affected and trying to establish whether the break-in had been launched from Japan or another country.
"We know where the funds were sent," Mr Otsuka added. "We are tracing them and if we're able to continue tracking, it may be possible to recover them."
Coincheck reported the incident to the police and to Japan's Financial Services Agency.
How damaging is the loss?NEM, the 10th-largest crypto-currency by market value, fell 11% over a 24-hour period to 87 cents, as of 18:30, Bloomberg news agency reports.
Among the other crypto-currencies, Bitcoin dropped 3.4% and Ripple retreated 9.9% on Friday, according to prices seen by the agency.
More was lost on Friday than in 2014, when MtGox lost what it thought was 850,000 bitcoins. However, MtGox later found 200.000 bitcoins in an old digital wallet.
"In a worst-case scenario, we may not be able to return clients' assets," an unnamed Coincheck representative was quoted as saying on Saturday by Japan's Kyodo news agency.
After the collapse of MtGox shook the digital currency world, a licensing system was introduced in Japan to increase oversight of local currency exchanges such as Coincheck.
"What's the lasting impact? It's hard to tell," Marc Ostwald, global strategist at ADM Investor Services International in London, told Bloomberg.
"Japan is one of the most pro-crypto trading countries, among the G-20. In Japan they don't really want a wholesale clampdown. So it will be interesting how Japanese regulators respond to this, if they indeed do."
What is Coincheck?
Founded in 2012, the company is based in Tokyo, where it employed 71 people as of August last year.
Its headquarters are located in the city's Shibuya district, an area popular with start-ups that was also home to MtGox, Bloomberg reports.
Last year, Coincheck began running adverts on national television featuring popular local comedian Tetsuro Degawa, the agency adds.
Kunihiko Sato, a 30-year-old customer from Tokyo, told Kyodo he had deposited about 500,000 yen ($4,600), into his account with the exchange.
"I never thought this kind of thing would happen with Japan's developed legislation," he said.
How do crypto-currencies work?Whereas money is printed by governments or traditional banks, digital currencies are generated through a complex process known as "mining". Transactions are then monitored by a network of computers across the world using a technology called blockchain.
There are thousands of them, largely existing online, unlike the notes or coins in your pocket.
It may be more useful to think of them as assets, rather than digital cash. The vast majority of Bitcoin holders, for instance, appear to be investors. But the anonymity that crypto-currencies afford has also attracted criminals.
The value of a crypto-currency is determined by how much people are willing to buy and sell them for.
Blasting past last year’s US$12 billion, China’s eager online shoppers have spent US$17.9 billion halfway through the annual Singles Day shopfest.
Indeed, the midday tally has surpassed last year’s US$17.7 billion 24-hour total.
The figure is for Alibaba’s two marketplaces, which dominate China’s booming ecommerce industry. No consumer expenditure figure for the day is available from JD, Alibaba’s closest rival.
China’s online shoppers are set to spend around US$1.2 trillion during the course of this year, according to data from Emarketer.
Apple shares have risen to a record high as the tech giant's iPhone X hit shelves around the world.
The launch coincided with strong results for Apple, with sales increasing by 12% to $52.6bn (£40bn) for the three months to September.
The tenth anniversary iPhone, which retails for £999, is Apple's most expensive handset yet.
Analysts said Apple was now closer to becoming the first trillion dollar company, as shares rose 2%.
The California-based firm, which also sells computers, iPads and makes revenue from apps, is now valued at nearly $900bn (£690bn).
Shoppers queued up at Apple stores in dozens of countries, as the high-end iPhone X launched on Friday.
The iPhone X abandons the signature "home" button and can be unlocked with face-scanning technology, among other new features.
"A trillion-dollar market cap may now be in Cook's sights in light of these results and guidance around iPhone X," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at GBH Insights.
Mr Cook said the company was "firing on all cylinders", thanks to a sales rebound in China, record purchases through the App Store and robust demand for its latest iPhone models.
It sold more than 46.6 million phones in the July to September period, up 3% year-on-year. That produced $28.8bn, or more than half of its revenue.
Other products, including the Mac, iPad and Apple Watch, also did well, growing in the double digits.
The firm got another boost from its services division, which includes the App store, Apple Pay and its music subscriptions service.
That unit made $8.5bn in the quarter, up 34% year-on-year, thanks in part to a one-time adjustment.
Though its costs increased, Apple said profits were $10.7bn in the quarter, increasing 18%.
Augmented reality future?
Apple said it expects to make between $84bn and $87bn in revenue in the upcoming quarter - a record for the company.
Mr Cook said the iPhone X positioned Apple ahead of the curve when it comes to new augmented reality or AR technologies.
He said the technologies were poised to "change everything". For example, he said, shoppers will be able to see how furniture looks in their living rooms before making a purchase.
"I view AR as profound, not today... but what it will be, what it can be," he said. "I think it's profound and I think Apple is in a really unique position to lead in this area."
German carmaker Audi is offering a free software upgrade for 850,000 diesel cars in order to improve emissions.
Audi said the upgrade would "improve emissions behaviour in real driving conditions further beyond existing legal requirements".
The carmaker added it was convinced the programme would counteract possible bans on diesel cars.
In recent days, rival German carmakers Mercedes and Daimler issued recalls involving three million vehicles.
The Audi recall affects cars fitted with six- and eight-cylinder diesel motors meeting the Euro 5 and Euro 6 emissions criteria, including some models made by parent company Volkswagen and sister firm Porsche.
The upgrade is available for Audi cars with affected engines in Europe and other markets outside North America.
The Reuters news agency reported that German car industry officials and politicians had agreed to improve diesel vehicles' emissions through software updates in order to avoid diesel bans in cities.
Arndt Ellinghorst, an analyst at investment bank Evercore ISI, said there could be many more of these fixes to come: "What Audi and Mercedes have announced is just the tip of the iceberg. All other carmakers will follow and offer improvements to the engine management software.
"If this isn't an industry-wide action, city driving bans might be the painful alternative."
Japanese car parts maker Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Japan.
It is facing billions of dollars in liabilities over its defective airbags, which have been linked to at least 17 deaths worldwide.
Some of the airbags contained faulty inflators which expanded with too much force, spraying metal shrapnel.
US-based Key Safety Systems (KSS) has bought all of Takata's assets, apart from those relating to the airbags.
The $1.6bn (£1.3bn) deal was announced after the Japanese firm filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US, with similar action taken in Japan.
"Although Takata has been impacted by the global airbag recall, the underlying strength of its skilled employee base, geographic reach, and exceptional steering wheels, seat belts and other safety products have not diminished," said KSS chief executive Jason Luo.
More than 100 million cars with Takata airbags, including around 70 million vehicles in the US, have been recalled since concerns first emerged in 2007. It is the biggest safety recall in automotive history.
The unknowns - by Mariko Oi, BBC News
The faulty airbags are believed to have been manufactured between 2000 and 2008 in Takata's US factory.
The first explosion happened to a Honda Accord in 2004 in Alabama, injuring the driver. But both Takata and Honda said it was "an anomaly" and didn't disclose the danger of exploding airbags for years.
It was a decade later in 2014 when the New York Times reported about its alleged cover-up which led to legal action against Takata. The firm finally accepted the full responsibilities the following year.
The company's chairman and CEO Shigehisa Takada - who's the grandson of the founder - has been criticised repeatedly for mishandling the crisis.
In a press conference on Monday, he apologised and promised to resign after a new management team takes over.
But there are still many unknowns.
The cause of the malfunctions has not yet been identified, and despite the size of the the recall, Takata admits it is not clear how many of the airbags are still in vehicles on the roads.
In January, Takata agreed to pay $1bn (£784m) in penalties in the US for concealing dangerous defects, and pleaded guilty to a single criminal charge.
The firm paid a $25m fine, $125m to people injured by the airbags as well as $850m to carmakers that used them.
But it is facing further legal action in the US and liabilities of 1 trillion yen ($9bn) - including to 10 carmakers who used its airbags.
Three of them - Honda, Nissan and Toyota - who have been paying recall costs until now, told the BBC that while they would continue negotiating, they were not hopeful of getting the money back.
Trading in Takata shares has been suspended on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and the firm will be delisted late next month.
Small businesses that may be affected by Takata's bankruptcy will get support including loan guarantees says Japanese trade minister Hiroshige Seko.
China's economy grew by 6.9% in the first quarter of 2017, according to official figures.
The growth rate, which compares expansion with the same three months in the previous year, was slightly higher than many economists had forecast.
State-led infrastructure spending and demand for new property helped drive the world's second-largest economy.
Last month China cut its growth target for this year to 6.5% from 6.7% in 2016.
Another set of data also suggests a rise in domestic consumption. February retail sales jumped 10.9% from the previous year.
Analysis: Karishma Vaswani, Asia Business CorrespondentWhile we should always remain sceptical of the Chinese government's GDP data, these figures suggest that growth is stabilising.
However, they also demonstrate that Beijing is relying on the same old tricks to drive its economy.
Government spending on infrastructure, a booming property market and taking on debt were all things China's leadership has pledged to move away from in the transition towards a new, modern, open economy.
Yet all three factors are still evident in this data, suggesting that the "old" model of growth that relies so much on the state is alive and well.
Debt is a particular concern. China's total and private debt is now worth more than 250% of GDP and looks set to grow. Analysts are divided about just how equipped China is to handle that much debt, but even the government has said the situation is not ideal and must be addressed.
The question is just how much political appetite there will be to accept a less-than-glamorous growth rate in a year when President Xi Jinping has arguably his most important party congress coming up.
Property slowdown?China is a key driver of the global economy and its performance is closely watched by investors around the world. Its 2016 growth was its slowest in in 26 years.
Hidenobu Tokuda of the Mizuho Research Institute in Tokyo said China should be trying to slow its growth rate in the long term, though "uncertainties remain high" about how that slowdown would happen.
Meanwhile Brian Jackson of IHS Global Insight predicted both industrial output and the property sector would slow.
The footage taken inside the airliner shows a man being violently pulled out of his seat and dragged down the aisle as passengers prepared to take off from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday evening.
The airline in question - United - has tweeted an apology for what happened and says it is investigating.
One 50-second clip of the incident on Twitter was re-tweeted 16,000 times since it was posted that day.
Jayse D Anspach, who posted the footage, tweeted: "#United overbooked and wanted four of us to volunteer to give up our seats for personnel that needed to be at work the next day."
"No one volunteered, so United decided to choose for us. They chose an Asian doctor and his wife."
"The doctor needed to work at the hospital the next day, so he refused to volunteer," Mr Anspach added.
"Ten minutes later, the doctor runs back into the plane with a bloody face, clings to a post in the back, chanting, "I need to go home."
United Airlines incident: What went wrong?
One of the three security officers involved has been "placed on leave", the Chicago Department of Aviation said, and his actions were "obviously not condoned by the Department".
The department also said it would carry out a review into the incident, which it said was "not in accordance with our standard operating procedure".
Another passenger Audra D. Bridges, posted a video of the incident on Facebook that has been viewed over 400,000 times.
She wrote: "Please share this video. We are on this flight. United airlines overbooked the flight."
"They randomly selected people to kick off so their standby crew could have a seat.
"This man is a doctor and has to be at the hospital in the morning," she added.
"He did not want to get off. We are all shaky and so disgusted."
Thousands of Facebook comments have been posted about what happened.
One person wrote: "This is infuriating"
Another posted: "OMG So sad to see someone being treated like this. I wont fly United ever again."
But another felt the video raised some unanswered questions.
"There has to be more to this story," he said.
"Usually when a flight is overbooked they offer free flight vouchers to those willing to change flights or go on standby and a couple of people will jump at those as their travel plans may be flexible."
"I feel like this specific incident HAS to be deeper than what we are seeing in this video," he added.
In a statement United airlines told the BBC: "Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked."
"After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate," the airline added.
The chief executive of United, Oscar Munoz, has since made a statement on Twitter: "This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologise for having to re-accommodate these customers."
"Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.
"We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve the situation," he added.
Tesla's market value has overtaken that of Ford after shares in the electric car maker added more than 7%.
At the close of trading Tesla had a market value of $49bn (£38bn), compared with Ford's value of $46bn.
Tesla's shares rose on Monday after the company announced record vehicle deliveries in the first three months of the year.
The firm delivered more than 25,000 cars in the first quarter, up 70% on the same quarter last year.
While Tesla's sales are growing fast they are still a fraction of Ford's, which sold almost 6.7 million vehicles in 2016.
Tesla delivered 76,000 electric cars last year.
However, investors are excited about the growth potential of Tesla.
This year it plans to start selling a cheaper car in the US, the Model 3, which it hopes will have mass market appeal.
"Five years ago no one knew what a Tesla was. Now people want a Tesla. It has usurped BMW as an aspirational car," said Ben Kallo, energy technology analyst at Robert W Baird.
Mr Kallo said that the charisma, or what he described as the "magic dust" surrounding Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk, allows it to attract talented staff as well as investors.
"Tesla has more going on in those four walls than we know about," he said.
Meanwhile, Tesla has made a huge investment in battery production, building a $5bn factory in Nevada that when fully developed will be the biggest building in the world.
Mr Musk, hopes that by operating at that kind of scale his company can innovate faster and cut the cost of batteries by 30%.
As well as supplying batteries for cars, the plant makes batteries for homes and businesses.
In what was seen as a vote on confidence in the firm, last month China's Tencent spent $1.78bn on buying a 5% stake in Tesla.
President Donald Trump has signed two executive orders targeting the US trade deficit, ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit.
One order includes a study looking at causes of the deficit by examining unpaid duties and foreign trade abuses.
The second will initiate a review of the American trade deficit and rules Mr Trump says harm US workers.
Administration officials said Beijing was not the focus, but China is the largest source of the US trade deficit.
"We are going to get these bad trade deals straightened out," he told reporters during the signing.
"These actions are designed to let the world know that this is a president taking another step to fulfil his campaign promise," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday night, previewing the executive orders.
Mr Trump spent a large part of his presidential campaign railing against the US trade deficit and foreign trade deals.
Mr Ross will lead a comprehensive review accounting for the sources of the $502.3bn trade deficit and report back to the White House after 90 days.
The study will look at whether cheating, trade deals, lax enforcement and World Trade Organization rules play a role in the deficit, according to Mr Ross.
The orders also will focus on stricter enforcement of the US anti-dumping laws and countervailing duties, or the penalties imposed on foreign governments who violate trade rules, as well as pirated and counterfeited intellectual property owned by US companies.
The pair of orders come one week before Mr Trump meets the Chinese president at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Director of the White House National Trade Council Peter Navarro told reporters that the orders had nothing to do with Mr Xi's visit.
But China is the source of America's highest trade deficit, at $347bn a year.
"Nothing we're saying tonight is about China. Let's not make this a China story. This is a story about trade abuses, this is a story about an under-collection of duties," Mr Navarro said.
Mr Trump tweeted on Thursday night that his first meeting with Mr Xi would "be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits...and job losses".
"American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives," he added.
The half trillion-dollar deficit slightly increased from 2015, according to the Commerce Department.
The trade gap reached a record level since 2012 last year, though the imbalance remains below its previous high in 2006.