About: This is the news ‘boxed in the ring’ this week, in our World. And it’s a week loaded with looks. Look inside.


Everywhere I see lots of unrest and turmoil. Humans are perhaps becoming impatient and trying to grow in various dimensions at the same time. Is it the age of impunity? It seems to be spreading and non-accountability is going viral. Authoritarianism is the new normal. According to the latest, The Economist Survey, only 8.4% of the world’s population live in a fully functioning democracy, while more than a third live under authoritarian rule – and it is getting worse. Look at Russia’s Putin – the Underpants Poisoner, look at Myanmar – the House Arrestor, look at Afghanistan – the Home of Taliban, look at the oldest of them all, North Korea – the Lost Kingdom. Look at China, where the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been banned this week over said to be spreading ‘fake news’, look at various African Regimes, and look at the Desert Countries. Why, look at what happened in America’s Capitol Hill, the trial of the second impeachment of the ex-President is underway. And we are looking to colonise the Moon! Somebody must be waiting for us, over there, with a lasso?

Once in a while, some fresh breezes do blow especially in deserts, maybe a fragrance. I talked about Saudi Arabia’s Activist Loujain al-Hathloul, in World Inthavaaram, 2020-45

This week she was finally freed, after spending 1,000 days in jail. Welcome back, hope to see her driving soon – she was responsible for women in Saudi Arabia being given the steering wheel, to drive a car! Something anywhere in the world women would take for granted.

Going back to Afghanistan, I liked this quote by Afghanistan Vice President Saleh, ‘We welcome the decision of the Biden administration to review US policy on Afghanistan with wide eyes and open ears.

Wow, we ought to look at this World this week, with wide eyes and open ears. And closed mouths?

Boxing Champions

Remember Boxing Champion Leon Spinks? He died last Friday, aged 67, in Las Vegas, USA. He beat the great Mohammad Ali in a stunning split-decision verdict to win the undisputed Boxing Heavyweight Title, in a 15 round fight, in 1978, at the age of 25. After the win, he famously said, “I’m not the greatest, just the latest.” Of course, later, the greatest beat the latest, again – Mohammad Ali beat Spinks in a rematch.

Spinks won the light heavyweight division gold at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. His brother, Michael Spinks, who would later become heavyweight champion himself, won the middleweight gold.

I can recall Leon Spinks with that big grin, often showing off his gap-front teeth. He had an easygoing personality, with a ‘well-developed, muscular’ drinking habit, and naturally, drank all his earnings. And for a time after retirement, cleaned locker rooms in YMCA, Nebraska.

Leon Spinks had been married thrice. He married his current wife, Brenda Glur, in 2011. He lived in Las Vegas and had three sons – one shot to death in 1990 and another son, Cory, becoming a Boxing Champion.

Spinks was part of a group of ex-fighters who had their brains studied for Brain Health. And was found to have brain damage and shrinkage, caused by a combination of taking punches to the head and heavy drinking.

’Boxing, and Drinking is a dangerous combination – inside the ring, and outside the ring!

Sighting an Outbreak: Dr. Li Wenliang

While we are surely climbing out of the coronavirus epidemic – at least in India – that locked down our lives, physically distanced, and masked us over the past one year, there’s one person we should remember and be ever thankful to: Dr. Li Wenliang, an eye doctor working at a hospital in Wuhan, Central China, where the first case of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was detected at the end of the year 2019. Did he have a special sight, I wonder?

Right now there is a United Nations team ‘looking around’ the Wuhan area trying to find out how it all began.

Dr. Li was the first to raise the alarm on the outbreak and had tried to warn fellow medics of a disease that looked like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which is another deadly coronavirus. But he was told by the Police to stop making false comments and was even investigated for spreading rumours. Eventually, Dr. Li himself succumbed to COVID-19 on 7th February 2019, after contracting it while treating patients in Wuhan. And this week we are at his first death Anniversary. A year gone by looking-out for the virus.

Dr. Li’s death prompted a rare wave of grief and public anger over the Chinese Government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak – downplaying the severity and concealing the extent of its spread. Later, in another rare instance, the Chinese Government, looked, listened, felt the anger, exonerated and honoured Dr. Li as a hero.

Public anger over a ‘clearly visible poor sight’ by the Government can always make corrections happen. And we should always be on the look-out of vital-signs of a disease outbreak – never take a myopic view of infectious diseases. Long sight is the answer. Lesson to learn. Looking helps!

The Glaciers Are Coming

Over many years, we’ve been hearing about the possible effects of Antarctica Glaciers melting, and raising sea levels. Without having to go that far, this week near Chamoli, in the North Indian State of Uttarakhand Himalayan Glaciers broke away from the bonding forces of nature – maybe due to mankind’s climate change needling – named itself a deluge, became a devastating avalanche of water. It bursted into the nearest valley river stream, effortlessly smashing its way through a hydro-electric Dam, flooding villages and small Towns, downstream. Dozens of people are missing and many feared dead.

The exact cause of the ‘burst’ is unclear and Scientists are trying to ascertain what triggered the Glacier to break-away. A 2019 study found that Himalayan Glaciers are melting twice as fast as the last century, losing almost half a metre of ice each year.

However small, our actions do influence something large somewhere in the world? Here we are talking about Glaciers and Avalanches.

India’s Prime Minister (PM): when he speaks you better listen.

India’s Parliament Houses, the Upper, Rajya Sabha and the Lower, Lok Sabha witnessed one of the best performances by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who made lucid and absolutely stirring speeches.

In the Rajya Sabha he defended the Government’s progressive Policies and clearly explained the Farm Laws to dissuade Farmers from continuing with their Protests of the past two months. He also shed tears for an outgoing Opposition Member, who was retiring, praising his work done over the many years of slogging in Parliament.

In the Lok Sabha, replying to the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Speech, he pitched for the private sector asserting that the culture of abusing it for votes is no longer acceptable. If the public sector is important the private sector is vital. I liked him using the word ‘Wealth Creators’, who he said are required to redistribute wealth among the poor. What can be achieved by handing over the nation to the ‘babus’ (Government Officials)?

I read this on Twitter and it pretty much sums it up, ’In our country a young man of 25 years of age gets more respect and recognition, just because he has got into IAS (Indian Administrative Service) or IPS (Indian Police Service), than a 60 years old Entrepreneur, who has created wealth of crores along with hundreds of jobs. This needs to change’. I am a nearing 60 Entrepreneur and you need to start looking-up at me. The PM just made me look majestic!

When the PM is at his convincing and talking best, there is none to equal him. No wonder the Opposition walked out to avoid being burnt and fried in the Parliament dish.

Kanaka Raju’s Gussadi Dance

The Padma Awards are one of India’s highest civilian honours, announced annually, every January, on the eve of India’s Republic Day. The Awards are given in three categories: Padma Vibhushan – for exceptional and distinguished service, Padma Bhushan – for distinguished service of higher order, and Padma Shri – for distinguished service. The intent of the awards it to recognize achievements in all fields of activities where an element of public service is involved.

The Padma Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year. The nomination process is open to the public. And self-nomination can also be made.

This year, a not-much heard of person, a Senior Citizen, an Adivasi from the Gond Tribe of Marlavai Village of Telangana’s Kumarambheem-Asifabad District, Kanaka Raju was awarded the Padma Shri. He won the award for his efforts to popularise the dying art, Gussadi, an ethnic tribal dance form of the Raj Gonds from the Telangana-Maharashtra border.

The Gussadi dance is performed during the harvesting season when Gonds wear a Gussadi Topi – a large header made of many peacock feathers, locally known as Mal Boora – and animal skin tied around their waists.

The 63 years old Kanaka Raju struggles to make ends meet, living in a thatched house with his eleven member family, relying on his 6 acre land for a livelihood. He teaches dance to the local children, who pay a small honorarium. To supplement his income, he works as a cook, on a daily wages basis, in a tribal welfare hostel in the village.

Kanaka Raju has said that while he is extremely happy to have won the award, he would be happier if shelter and food could be arranged for the rest of his life. For such an art form to survive, the artist has to survive. As simple as that!

With the Padma Shri Award, the Government has surely noticed Kanaka Raju, and I’m sure they are listening to his plight. I hope they dance to his tunes to keep him alive so that Gussadi dance lingers in our minds and hearts for years to come. There are many other dying arts around there India which need to fished out and stored in our tanks of knowledge.

Miss India for Miss World

We need to set our beauty sights on the Miss World Pageant to be held in December 2021 where India’s Manasa Varanasi from Telangana’s Hyderabad, will showing us all the beauty within and about her, in trying to win the Miss World Title. On 10th February, the 23 years old Financial Information Exchange Analyst was crowned Miss India 2020.

It’s been a long time since India won a Miss World Title. The last was in 2017 by Manushi Chhillar and before that, in 2000, by Priyanka Chopra, 1999-Yukta Mookhey, 1997-Diana Hayden. Aishwarya Rai won the title in 1994. This was 28 years after Reita Faria became the first-ever Indian to win an International Beauty Title, way back in 1996.

India surely misses the Miss World Title. Bring it Home, Miss Manasa.

The Nano of Reptiles

Talking of small things, Scientists believe they may have discovered the smallest reptile on Earth, a male Brookesia Nana, or nano-chameleon, in the montane rainforest region of Northern Madagascar.

The chameleon subspecies reptile is about the size of a seed with a top-to-tail length of just 22 millimetre (mm); the body alone is just 13.5mm. While the males are so awfully tiny, the females are only slightly bigger at 29mm.

You mention the word ‘Reptile’, and what springs to mind is something huge, which can make you feel nano size. Well, now it’s the other way around. The growth of mankind?

Scientists are in huge demand these days, across boundaries and of various colours. And in these times, everything appears to be at a ‘nano-level’! Hollywood Director Steven Spielberg’s next movie might well be ‘Nano-Jurassic Park – minus 1’.

Australian Open Opens – the 109th Edition

After being COVID-19 postponed many times Tennis’s first Grand Slam of the year, The Australian Open finally got started this Monday at the Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and the balls started flying over the net, on to the net while all the time trying to stay inside marked lines.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic is a clear favourite having won a record eight times at the Melbourne Park grounds. France’s Dominic Thiem, the reigning US Open Champion and a last year’s losing finalist at the Australian Open will be playing to open his account at this ground. Spain’s Rafael Nadal is also playing, eyeing his 21st Grand Slam. Meanwhile, ace veteran Switzerland’s Roger Federer, is recovering from knee surgery and should be watching from home, caressing his knees.

Among the Ladies, World No.1 and home favourite Ashleigh Barty hopes to serve and make a return. American Serena Williams will be wearing a one-legged, Nike made catsuit, purring for her 24th Grand Slam Title, while defending champion, also American, Sofia Kenin, and the current leading lady of Tennis, Japan’s Naomi Osaka, are the other top players hoping to ace here.

At the time of publishing World Inthavaarm 2021-07, Sofia Kenin’s bid to defend her title ended in disappointment on Thursday, after she was knocked out of the tournament by world No. 65, Kaia Kanepi, of Estonia. She lost 6-3, 6-2 in straight sets in over an hour and drowned herself in tears. Blame the pandemic?

Speeding-Up COVID-19 Vaccinations

Carrying-on from the previous weeks, more than 168 million doses have been shot across 77 countries, i.e., roughly 5.84 million doses per day.

Israel continues to ruthlessly dominate with 68 doses given per 100 people. About 41.8% of the population has received at least one shot and 26.7% are fully vaccinated. That’s amazing, look at what a small country can do?

India has administered about 7.5 million doses till date, at 0.55 doses per 100. But India has not been stingy, sending out its vaccine production to many other countries as well.

Please Yourself, e-bikes.

I saw this coming and was wondering why e-bikes weren’t happening in Tamilnadu. Finally, somebody heard me.

This Wednesday, a company called Pi Beam, an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Chennai-incubated startup launched an electric two-wheeler called PiMo, that can charge faster than a smartphone and can run 50 kilometres until the next charge.

Priced at Rs 30,000 it comes with battery swapping features and a top speed of 25 kilometres per hour (km/hr). Owning this two-wheeler doesn’t require registration or a driving licence. Pi Beam hopes to sell about 10,000 two-wheelers by end March 2021.

I wish they had given it a more dashing name.

That reminds of Ather an electric Scooter which also got its spark and wheels from IIT Chennai, and has been launched in eleven cities across India. Chennai, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Kochi, Hyderabad, to mention a few.

The Ather is priced at over Rs 1 lakh and has a top speed to 80km/hr, and requires a driving licence.

The future indeed looks electric. I promised a lot of ‘looking’ this week. Hope you looked and noticed! More coming up.


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