About: This is what happened this week, in our World.


“Find the smartest people you can and surround yourself with them.” –Marissa Meyer, CEO, Yahoo!


United States (US)

The ‘red’, Grand Old, Republican Party – Trump-Pence, and the ‘blue’ Democratic Party – Biden-Harris teams are in the throw of the Finals of the US Presidential Election. Early voting is underway and ends on 1st November. Election Day is on 3rd November. Meanwhile, the coronavirus is still a star campaigner growing in momentum across many parts of the US, spreading a message of pandemic mismanagement and a refusal to look at the science of virus things.

Will Joe Biden trump over Donald Trump? I hope it doesn’t end in a ‘well shampooed’ hair-raising photo-finish or a refusal to accept the outcome. We should be knowing next week, by this time.

I’m hoping Joe makes it, with Kamala.


Awfully tough and horrific times in France, this time of the year.

On 16th October a 18year old Chechen refugee beheaded a School Teacher, Samuel Paty, in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a suburb of Paris. This, days after he had shown images of Prophet Mohammed, alongside other caricatures and cartoons, to his students while teaching and discussing the topic ‘freedom of expression’. He has even asked pupils who feared they might be offended by them to look away if they wanted to.

Is there a better way to teach freedom of expression?

The killer was subsequently gunned down by the Police.

Later, in a similar incident on 29th October a knifeman, shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great), killed three people and injured several others in an attack inside a Church in France’s Nice, on the Cote d’Azur. One of the victims, a woman, was decapitated. The scene was described as a ‘vision of horror’. This time too, the attacker was shot, injured, and taken to hospital. Glad that the Police have acted with superb alacrity and responsibility.

France has a long and cherished tradition of freedom of expression, and there can be no justification for attacking this freedom. French President Emmanuel Macron, enraged by the first incident, said that France will continue to defend the freedom that the School Teacher taught so well, and will bring back secularism; and France will not give up cartoons, drawings, even if others back down.

Macron’s war cry on Islamic fundamentalism has infuriated many Islamic countries denouncing it as Islamophobia, and they in turn are going to Town shouting that anything to do with France be banned.

Fanatic elements in any religion cannot be encouraged and France should be given every possible support in dealing with this hydra-headed problem. Religions Leaders should step in to control such radicals living on the fringes of humanity. I believe religion should be strictly kept in the confines of one’s soul, one’s home, and only the best effects should be visible on the outside.

Cartoons are images intended for humour and satire, as a means of communication to convey news, entertainment, and the kind, in a light-hearted manner. It’s best we look at a cartoon as just that, shrug it off with a smile, and not delve too deep into them. Nothing can demean the original, which is forever taken. Why give importance to a cartoon and allow another meaning in a dimension we should not be thinking at all? Why cannot we laugh at ourselves?

Laughter is the best medicine, they say, for many of our ills. When was the last time we enjoyed a Tom & Jerry Cartoon? Imagine if all the Cats meowed endlessly and mice squeaked tirelessly about showing them in caricature? Or, our Politicians -they become famous because of cartooning, didn’t they?

The Vatican City

Last Sunday, Pope Francis announced that Wilton Daniel Gregory, currently the Archbishop of Washington DC, is being elevated to Cardinal, in a list of 13 new Cardinals, all under the age of ‘heavy 80’. With this appointment, Gregory becomes America’s first African American Catholic Cardinal-adding to another of becoming Washington DC’s first African American Archbishop. The primary responsibility of Cardinals is in electing a new Pope, should the present Pope step down or die.

The new Cardinals ‘start getting old’ from 28th November onwards. Cardinals wear the distinctive red vestment to indicate their willingness to sacrifice themselves to the point of shedding ‘their own blood in the service of the Successor of Peter.’

Successor of Peter? Recall, that the primacy of the Pope, also known as Bishop of Rome, Supreme Pontiff, is largely derived from his role as at the Apostolic Successor to Saint Peter, to whom the primacy was conferred by Jesus, giving him the ‘Keys of Heaven’ and the powers of ‘binding and loosing’, naming him as the ‘rock’ upon which the Church would be built.

Pope Francis has been making progressive changes, shaking-up and reinvigorating Christianity. Recently, he approved of same-sex marriages. ‘They are also children of God’, he said. I think that any Religion should constantly evolve, keeping with our better understanding of humanity, without losing sight of core fundamentals. The Pope has listened…and acted. God speaks through him.


Europe is being demolished and populated by COVID-19 numbers. New cases are a sensation in Poland, Czech Republic, Belgium, and Italy, grappling with positivity rates of between 20% and 31%.

The only way they can be avoided is with aggressive testing, tracing, use of masks, hand hygiene, maintaining of physical distance and avoidance of crowds.

If everyone in the world washed their hands properly, an estimated one million lives would be saved every year, according to researchers in London.


On 26th October NASA revealed that its Stratosphere Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has discovered water in the Clavius Crater of the sunlit parts of the Moon’s Southern Hemisphere. The quantity detected is minuscule – the Sahara Desert contains 100 times the water found by SOFIA – but it is a very significant discovery, which matters a lot in setting up say, a Base on the Moon or as a stop-over for greater and longer Space missions. NASA hopes to put a Man and a Woman on the Moon, in 2024, through its Artemis Mission.


Jammu & Kashmir (J&K)

We almost took it for granted, as an Indian, that we could buy land and property anywhere in India. But until the abrogation of Article 370 this was not possible in the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Only residents of J&K could buy land on producing a Domicile or Permanent Residency Certificate. Not any longer, and from 26th October the Government has gazetted that any Indian can buy land in J&K just like any other State in India.

This simple notification was long overdue. How about buying a nice little cottage overlooking the Dal Lake? Let’s do it?


Elections keeping rolling in State after State during the year, that one keeps wondering if Democracy is only about voting and forgetting about whom you voted for.

Democracy can succeed only if there is a constant engagement by the people.

This time it’s Bihar State that is going to the polls to elect a new State Government. Current Chief Minister (CM), Nitish Kumar, has been ruling for three five-year terms and is hoping to make it to a fourth. Isn’t it time to give way to someone else?

Voting started on 28th October in a first of three phases for 243 Assembly Seats. The Second and Third Phases are on 3rd and 7th November respectively. We will know the results on the counting day, 10th November.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Janata Dal(United), JD(U), are together pitted against the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Congress and the Left Parties. Opinion Polls give an edge to the ruling BJP – JD(U) combo.

CM, Nitish Kumar has governed, and managed the pandemic, reasonably well: comes across as a level-headed Chief Minister. Years ago, he was voted one of the best Chief Ministers of India and even thought of as a best candidate Prime Minister. But, he could do more to develop Bihar faster. I would give him one more term to deliver and, whatever, quit after this period. Make way for more talented people. Moreover, we are tired of the same old faces, aren’t we?



The IPL 2020 Cricket Tournament is still scoring in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Match No 52 will be played this Saturday. After Match No 56 on 3rd November, it will be over to the Qualifiers and Eliminators before the Final, near the middle of November.

Mumbai Indians still lead the points table followed by Royal Challengers Bangalore, and then Delhi Capitals. Chennai Super Kings is well-settled at the bottom of the Table with Sunrisers Hyderabad, ‘keeping close’ company.

KL Rahul of Kings XI has the most runs to his name, 641 in thirteen games, Shekar Dhiwan of Delhi Capitals is the closest with 471 runs. Not far away are, David Warner with 436 runs and Viral Kohli at 424 runs. Rajasthan Royals’ Sanju Samson has hit the highest number of sixes – 26. That’s living up to the ‘power of Samson’, in his name

Motor Racing: Formula One

Six-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton has broken Michael Schumacher’s all-time Formula One win record after dominating the Portuguese Grand Prix.

His victory in Portimao, Portugal, was the 92nd of his career, moving past the German’s previous record of 91. Hamilton squandered his lead on the opening lap but after reclaiming it on the 20th lap, he held off all competitors to win the Driver’s Championship.

Lewis Hamilton, of the United Kingdom, competes in Formula One for the Mercedes -AMG Petronas Team. He won his first championship in 2008 while in the McLaren Team before moving to Mercedes. That maiden win was dramatic, making a crucial overtake on the ‘last corner of the last lap in the last race’ of the season to become the then youngest Formula One World Champion in History.

Ever wondered why it is called Formula One? In the beginning when motor car racing was racing to become a sport it was a free-for-all design for the Designer and the Drivers. Then, the Regulators framed a clear set of rules for the design of these cars such as single seating, open wheels, engine power specification, etc. Only cars complying with this ‘formula’ of rules could compete. Somewhere along the road the number One got added, as the sport was the ultimate in car racing. Then it became widely known a Formula One.

With the formula being generated, It begs the question, is there a Formula Two, Three? Yes, with smaller cars and versions, in terms of the power, and the kind.



Taiwan was quick to act when the coronavirus hit the world, and they have the best record in Asia and probably the World, with almost 200 days without a locally transmitted case. What did they do right? In an Island of about 23 million people that had about 553 confirmed cases and only 7 deaths. Their deadly experience with SARS has given them a heads-up start driving them involuntarily into submitting to the strict government directives. They closed borders early, tightly regulated travel, did rigorous contact tracing, enforced technology-driven quarantine and ensured widespread mask wearing.

We have got the experience we never thought we wanted. Should be easy to put ourselves in the shoes of Taiwanese and transplant their mentality to where we live – that’s a good infection to spread, isn’t it?

Enter the Beetle

We have known Superman, Batman, Iron-man; now it’s time to know about a Super Beetle rightly named ‘diabolical ironclad beetle’, biting with the scientific name of ‘Phloeodes diabolicus’. This beetle can survive being run over by a car and is mostly found in the arid western regions of the United States.

The ironclad beetle’s super-toughness lies in its armour. It has two armour like ‘elytron’ (a sheet, cover, protective wing case), that meet at a line, called a suture, running the length of its abdomen. Typically, flying beetles have hardened forewings-elytra-to protect the underlying hindwings, which are used for flight. But the ironclad beetle having lost its ability to fly, its elytra are permanently locked together to provide protection from predators.

The suture acts like a jigsaw puzzle, connecting the beetle’s various exoskeletal blades in the abdomen, which lock to prevent themselves from pulling out. If the suture is broken, another protective mechanism also allows for the blades to deform slowly. That prevents a sudden release of energy, which would otherwise break its neck.

The Beetle can take an applied force of 150 newtons – some 39,000 times its body weight -before its exoskeleton starts to fracture. A car tire would apply force of around 100 newtons if driving over the insect on a dirt surface.

How about a Beetle-Man superhero movie? Anybody dare drive over him?

Until next week with more ‘iron-clad’ stories! Meanwhile, spend the weekend listening to The Beatles we all know so well. ‘Hey Jude, Come Together, I Want To Hold your Hand, Yesterday, Something, In My Life, Love Me Do, While My Guitar Gently Weeps…are some of the best songs strung by them.


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