About This Article:

‘Inthavaaram’ is a literal English Translation of the Tamil ‘This (Intha) Week (Vaaram)’.

In ‘World Inthavaaram’ I have collected news from all over the World, during the week – in a backstage inventory, in my corner of the World, Tamil Nadu, India – cherry-picking, and stringing together happenings that I think are interesting, and worth knowing about. I might add a ‘My Opinion’ paragraph at the end of a news item, which is entirely my own uninfluenced analysis, based on the facts and data available in the public domain. The intent is to give you – the Reader – a direction to form your own opinion.

My Opinion can change, as I learn more and grow in wisdom.

I’ll be doing this every week. Hence look out!


The week began with the infected President of the United States of America, flying down to Hospital to fight the coronavirus, lying down in bed, during which time, he got-up briefly, all of a sudden (thinking is was Easter), to take the virus for a deadly ride on the roads. And then flew back home to the White House, gasped for breath standing on the balcony and pulled-off his mask for all to see. Or was it for quicker air? He received the COVID-19 treatment that no man on Earth has ever received and declared, ‘We should not be afraid of the coronavirus’. I reckon we have no more breath to explain to this man how infectious diseases can spread, especially from a Rose Garden: the last count of fragrance was about 30 from that unmasked, close hand-shake and hugs-filled gathering on the green lawns. Is there a Centre of Disease Control mowing about in America? They need better machines.

My Opinion:The President is being reckless and irresponsible in ‘not respecting the virus’ and the Science, which specifies simple measures to keep infections under control, and from spreading. Being the commander-in-chief he should set an example in every way possible – including wearing a mask. The virus gives a damn about politics; all it needs is another body to propagate. Never mind you are the President!

The Armenia – Azerbaijan War.

Man keeps fighting for a piece of land to live and to die on.

The former Soviet Union Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war in September this year over who fully owns Nagorno-Karabakh, and seven surrounding districts, an enclave internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but controlled by ethnic Armenians. Originally this was established, by the Soviets, as an Armenian-majority autonomous administrative region of Azerbaijan. During the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1988 and then in 1991 Nagorno-Karabakh first wanted to be a part of Armenia, and second, declared its independence, based on a referendum it held – naturally, the Armenian majority voted to break away from Azerbaijan – which is not recognised by the United Nations or any country, including Armenia. The self-declared unrecognised Republic is called Artsakh. This started a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in 1988, until Russia intervened to broker a cease-fire in 1994.

They have re-discovered their guns and ammunition this year. And yes, they are roaring. But over the weekend they have agreed to cease-fire. Hope it holds.

Sounds a wee bit like India’s Kashmir problem?

My Opinion: Going by the History and available facts: Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, appears to have a rightful claim on Nagorno-Karabakh and it should continue as an autonomous region within Azerbaijan. Of course, I need more facts and to separately put myself in the shoes of Armenia and Azerbaijan to make a judgement. Whatever, looking from the Nagorno-Karabakh side, It should not matter, after all these years, on which side you belong, as long as you hold all sides and freedom within is unchallenged. Religion should not be a basis of division and Country boundary making – we differentiate to integrate, don’t we?

Local: India

Rape is hugging the headlines, stripping the newspapers of other stories, with the ghastly, inhuman Hathras case in the State of Uttar Pradesh. Why does this keep happening in India? We need to look deep inside our homes, in the way we bring-up our sons and how we understand the many divisions in society. These layers were formed centuries ago, which are not relevant today. Maybe, we should ‘dissolve them with our actions’.

Meanwhile, the local Kallakurichi lawmaker, Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Tamilnadu marries for love, but the girl’s father – a temple priest – cries foul saying the friends of the family cannot take such benefits. The MLA had asked for the girl’s hand, in the proper manner, which was, however, turned-down by the father for reasons known only to God. Whatever, the girl stood by the love of her life, accepted the knot-tying to bridge the gap of over 15 years between them. The families had known each other for quite some time; perhaps only too well. Well? The Press went to Town on the ‘divisions and ladders in society’, but I won’t beat down that path. Later, when the couple were dragged to Court, it ruled that it was alright, well within the laws. Go ahead and make your day, it said. Days to forget, nights to remember?

India successfully tested a Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) system, that could strike enemy submarines more than 643 km away. The weapon, a first of its kind in India, was launched from Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha State . The Government declared that all mission objectives have been met perfectly. Ready to strike.

With China trying to nibble at its borders, India has to climb-up to the challenge of its adversary. Eye of the Tiger!


The Indian Premier League Cricket Season – Twenty Overs matches – organised by the Board of Cricket Control for India (BCCI) is being held in an off-India venue, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), played on the sands of time. Due to the pandemic restrictions, all matches will be played without an audience, players will not be allowed to used saliva to shine the ball, and Captains cannot shake hands after the toss…among other wonderful rules.

The third Tennis Grand Slam of the year, The French Open, is rolling on the Roland Garros, Paris, about this time, and is drawing to a close. In a first ever, we have a Polish teenage sensation Iga Swiatek win the Title. It was deadly straightforward when she beat American Sofia Kenin in two sets. The 19-year-old claimed the French Open title without dropping a single set all through the tournament, becoming the lowest-ranked female Champion and the first Polish player to win a Grand Slam Singles Title. She is also the youngest French Open Winner since 1992. Time to celebrate, Poland.

Now, the men are at work: Spain’s Rafael Nadal has owned Roland Garros for nearly all of his career. And Serbian Novak Djokovic is trying to buy the lease this year. We are looking forward to this Sunday to see the Winner, of this land dispute.

Moving to bigger balls, it was enchanting to read about a young girl, Karishma Ali, living in a remote Village in Pakistan’s Chitral Valley, a mountainous region bordering Afganishthan, becoming the first woman, from her region, to have played football at a national and international level. This, in a Country where a girl can get shot for going to School. Last year Karishma was named among Forbes’ ’30 Under 30’ in Asia in the august company of Tennis Star Naomi Osaka and K-Pop band Blackpink. She has braved the mandatory threats to her life – for daring to play football – with her father strongly behind her, all the way. What a Dad!

Serious Stuff

The Nobel Prizes are announced in the categories that Swedish Industrialist and Chemist Alfred Nobel had willed in 1895 – a year before his death.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for the development of a method for genome editing. They discovered one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors. Using these, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and micro-organisms with extremely high precision. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said this year’s prize was about ‘rewriting the code of life.’  Talk about playing God. Well, we’re getting there. Imagine going to a Science Saloon for a genetic cut.

The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Scientists, Sir Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for their work to understand Black Holes. Roger Penrose got the the award ‘for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of Relativity’, while Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez got it ‘for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy’. The winners share the prize money of 10 million kronor, about Rs 8.30 crore.

Black holes are just that – a region of space where the gravitational pull is so strong that not even light cannot escape. We can rightfully call them Monsters and they live at the centre of galaxies sitting quietly trying to swallow as much as they can, or at least to tug at the various stars. They are one of the most exotic objects in the Universe. Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez provided the most convincing evidence yet of a supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy – the Milky Way. They called in Sagittarius ‘A’.

The Nobel in Medicine was awarded jointly to Harvey J Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M Rice, ‘for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus’. Did you know that Hepatitis C causes approximately 400,000 deaths a year? Now, you do. This is a decisive contribution to fight blood-borne hepatitis that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world. Prior to their work the discovery of Hepatitis A and B viruses had been firm first steps, but the majority of blood-borne hepatitis cases remained unexplained. This discovery enabled the design of sensitive blood tests and new medicines that have helped save millions of lives.

The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to American Louise Gluck for her unmissable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal. Her debut novel was in 1968, and the most recent one was ‘American Originality: Essays on Poetry in 2017. She wasn’t the Firstborn, nor living in The House on Marshland but this October she triumphed over The Triumph of Achilles to win the Nobel.

The Nobel Peace Prize went peacefully to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its efforts to combat hunger, preventing the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict and for bettering conditions for peace in conflict -affected areas. In 2019, the WFP provided assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 Countries who were victims of acute food insecurity and hunger. ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’, is a much ‘tasted’ old saying. Still works!


I got this information off Uber Facts: A single bat can eat up to 1,200 mosquito-sized insects in an hour. Bats eat an average of 6,000 to 8,000 insects every night. Despite the connection with the ‘best 2020 newsmaker, the coronavirus and its effect, the COVID-19, I think we should be best friends with Bats – only, mind the gap!

Hummingbirds, those tiny birds found mostly in the Americas and Europe – there are over 360 species of them – are the only birds that can fly backwards. Quiz your little kids on these facts. 

I will be back next week, with more stories. 


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