About: Today’s news is tomorrow’s History. This is some news of what happened this week, in our World.


History Has Its Eyes On US

Finally, afters weeks of playing ‘Raiders of the Capitol Hill’, President Donald Trump took a plane out of Washington to fly into the sunset. Needs to be seen whether he took that whip with him, and we would need to keep our ears ‘out-of-wax’ to listen to the sound of a whiplash, in the coming months. ‘I’ll be back’ (in some form), he said. Sounds like Terminator?

On 20 January 2021, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., all of 77, – described by ex-President Barack Obama as a Lion of American History – royally stepped into the shoes of the 46th President of the United States of America (USA), and in a first in US history, a woman – African-American, Asian-Indian, Kamala Harris, going on 57, was sworn in as Vice President (the 49th of the USA). For President Biden it was one step higher after having served as Vice President for eight years under President Barack Obama. Well-prepared and experienced for the job at hand!

Pop stars Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez offered starting company, singing their hearts out with a fiery rendition of the US National Anthem and ‘This Land is for You and Me’, respectively. Never mind some Spanish was thrown in. Singer song-writer Garth Brooks performed ‘Amazing Grace’ to amazing applause. While a young 22 years old, National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, ‘Climbed a Hill’ to say ‘History has its eyes on US’ and that we should be brave enough to see light and be it.

Now, I wish to see some climbing-up in the right directions and eyes on healing of wounds in a divided America. Light at the end of a four years old tunnel? The fashion colours of the inaugural event matched the rainbow. Singers came in white, black, red, blue; the Poet in royal yellow the new First Lady in cool blue and the Vice President in purple – marrying the red and blue. Ex-Presidents and their wives brought their colours too. Memories to keep.

Let’s raid recent history. Joe Biden lost his first wife, Neilia Hunter Biden, and daughter in a car accident shortly after being elected US Senator, in 1972. His wife was driving with their three children, on a Christmas Shopping trip, when their car was hit by a Tractor Trailor. Neilia and daughter, Naomi (about a year old) died in the accident while the two sons, Joseph Beau Biden and Robert Hunter Biden though severely injured, survived. In 2015 Beau Biden died after a fight with brain cancer.

In 1977 Joe Biden married Jill Tracy Jacobs, now Jill Biden. They have a daughter Ashley Blazer Biden. From all his children Joe Biden has seven grandchildren. And two German Shepard dogs, Champ and Major, to watch over the family. The White House security detail just got barked-up.

Kamala Harris is the daughter of Shyamala Gopalan, from Tamil Nadu, India and Donald J Harris from British Jamaica. That makes her of Jamaican-Indian descent. Mother Shamala was a biologist who worked on breast cancer at the University of California, Berkeley and received her PhD in 1964. Father Harris is a Professor emeritus of Economics at Stanford University and received his PhD in economics in 1966. Kamala’s parents divorced when she was seven.

Kamala was a trail-blazer all her life breaking many men-only glass ceilings to get this high. She graduated in Political Science and Economics from Howard University and in law from Hastings College, University of California, and was admitted to the California Bar in 1990. She has worked as District Attorney of San Francisco, and Attorney General of California before becoming US Senator from California, in 2017.

Kamala married Dough Emhoff in 2014 and is step-mother, or ‘Momala’, to Emhoff’s two children, son Cole and daughter Ella, from his previous marriage to film producer Kerstin Emhoff.

We all saw and listened. We hope for a new beginning, a seismic shift, and History being made at every turn.



In perhaps one of the finest Test series wins by any side in cricket, India beat Australia in a fighting game of cricket making a 2-1 series score, retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy they won in Australia two years ago.

India was down on many fronts such as Captain Virat Kohli exiting the series, injuries hitting the players hard – to kick some out of the boundary, and playing in a Stadium which was one of the best hunting grounds for Australia. In the process India broke the – until now – unbeatable winning streak of the Australian cricket team at the Gabba, Brisbane Fortress, which stretched for 31 tests from 1988 to 2020.

India needed 328 runs to win on Tuesday, the final day of the four-test series, as Shubman Gill’s, 91 and Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 89 led the chase for the touring side. Pant hit the winning runs with just three overs remaining, to inflict a first defeat on Australia at the Gabba and record the highest fourth innings run chase. India erupted in celebration and many looked at retired Test-Cricketer, Rahul David’s, mentoring the young boys, as head of the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, as a rightful reason for the success. That is a tough wall to break, indeed.

I see a new young India climb-up from the battle, charged to win many wars across the sporting world, and a solid inspiration in all walks of life.

Tennis: The Australian Open

The first Tennis Grand Slam Tournament of the year, the Australian Open bounced into quarantine problems after a record 72 players arriving by different flights for the tournament to be held in Melbourne Park, Melbourne, found themselves being herded into quarantine. This, after passengers in their respective flights tested positive for COVID-19. They cannot practice and will have to rust for 14 days. Most have been allotted five hours each day to go out and train in strict bio-secure bubbles. However, the Organisers confirmed that the 8 February start date – three weeks after the original start date – will be kept, despite the contagious times.

For the moment the coronavirus is serving aces. And we need a strong return, over the nets, to keep the game going.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Over 56.58 million vaccination doses have been administered across the world with the US needling top of the charts with about 17.55 million, quickly followed by China with 15 million. The UK comes in at a distant third with 5.4 million and then Israel with 3.29 million followed by the UAE, Italy, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Spain and India, as on 22 January 2021. From calculations, it appears that Israel will be one fo the first countries to reach the so called ‘herd immunity’ threshold, of over 70% vaccinated, in about 50 days. That sure is a milestone.

India has shot the arms of 10,43,534 (Source: Ministry of Health) people with the Vaccine, since starting the Vaccination Drive on 16 January 2021. In the first phase, India is targeting to administer the vaccine to around 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers. In the second round, people above the age of 50 will be jabbed, while those with comorbidities will be given preference. And Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans to lead the charge in the second phase.

Hunting In Packs

While President Joe Biden, in his inaugural speech, called for ‘unity’ and collaboration in tackling America’s generous problems, further South of America, in the Para State of Brazil, in a lake on the Iriri River about 100 adult electric eels were getting together, to practice the art – probably connected to the American Grid – even while Biden was mirror-speaking his speech. The electric eels, a type of knife fish, were found to be cooperating with one another in rustling up a meal of fish. Electric eels are normally categorised as solitary fellows that shock and awe fish into submission.

After spending much of the day wriggling at the bottom of the lake, around dusk and dawn a gaggle off eels start swimming in circles to herd shoals of small fish into shallow waters and follow it up with a synchronised attack, simultaneously zapping their prey with powerful electric discharges, making the fish jump out of water and fall to the surface when there are quickly gobbled-up by the clever eels. Each hunt usually took about an hour and involved upto seven electric-shock attacks.

Electric eels can generate up to 600 volts of electricity – enough to kill a man. Their bodies contain electric organs with about 6000 specialised cells called electrocytes that store power like tiny batteries. When attacking (or threatened) these cells discharge simultaneously delivering that ‘knock-out punch’. Electric eels are air-breathers and must come to the surface frequently. They grow up to 2.5 meters in length and weigh about 18 kg.

Scientists were shocked to make this extraordinary discovery saying nothing like this has ever been documented in ‘electric eel History’.

Other aquatic animals that commonly hunt in groups are Orca (also called a Killer Whale), dolphins, piranha, and some kinds of sharks. The list is growing for sure. Imagine if all the mosquitoes in the neighbourhood get together for a bloody meal?

We now have our eyes on the Electric eels, as well, and need more eyes to watch other animals, least they get together, on land and water, and come after us. We live in a fascinating world of still life…and sudden death!

If there is one lesson we can learn from the eels, it is that if we stick together we can achieve a whole lot of things, besides getting ourselves a decent meal!

Please Yourself

Early this week, magicians and illusionists around the world celebrated 100 years of the famous ‘sawing a woman in half’ trick, first performed by magician P. T. Selbit in Finsbury Park Empire Theatre, London, on 17 January 1921. Selbit is recognised as the first magician to show and promote such a trick on a public stage. This magic trick became as iconic as pulling a rabbit out of a hat, and formed the mainstay of many Magic Shows across the world.

Selbit would put his female assistant into a tight wooden box, about the size of a coffin, and secure her inside with ropes tied to her wrists and ankles. The box was then closed so that the audience could not see her, and placed in a horizontal position. Selbit would then proceed to saw the middle of the box with a large hand saw to give the impression that because of the restraints and no-room in the box the woman’s waist must have been in the path of the saw and hence cut through. At the end, the box would be opened and the woman -still with the ropes attached- would be revealed as being unharmed.

It is said that in later performances, to heighten the drama, Mr Selbit would sometimes tip fake blood into the drains and have an Ambulance waiting outside the Theatre with the sign, ‘in case the saw clips’.

Those were the times when such a magic performance wasn’t considered good unless someone fainted in the audience!

We need magic to spruce up our lives. Look for it all around you – find someone to saw?

More electric stories, coming-up, in the week(s) ahead, for us to sharpen our saws!


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