About: I kept my last week’s schedule and watched the film, ‘News of the World’. Now I ‘read’ my edition of the News of the World. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.


Words of Wisdom

Invest in you, it’s going to be the best bet of your life.

A World of Protests

In Russia, Opposition Leader, Alexei Navalny who was convicted to three years in jail on multiple cases, including defamation of an Army Veteran, lost an appeal on his prison sentence and will continue to ‘count the jail bars’, as ruled by the Courts. That means he will be sent to a forced labour camp where he will do sewing, carpentry, and the kind. Demonstrations against his arrest continue across Russia. His wife too is in jail, for joining the protests.

It’s a very long road ahead for Navalny and the tunnel is just being dug – with no end in sight, leave alone any kind of light. He is up against the might of a powerful State, which knows exactly what it wants (gets to you from the underpants – they say).

In Myanmar, demonstrations against the January 2021 Military Coup, demanding the release of democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and other members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) Party is showing no signs of abating: they are continuing to rise, with gusto. A young 20 years old woman, Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing, who was shot in the head by the Police, during the protests, died in Hospital further inflaming the situation. Youngsters are protesting in artful and creative ways. The Three-finger Salute (idea stolen from the Hunger Games movie), Blindfolding, Dressing like Suu Kyi or Tattooing her picture on the body, are some of the innovative ways of galvanising attention and showing dissent.

I think the Army Generals are making a ‘bomb mistake’ by ‘generating war’ within the Country. Isn’t their task to safeguard the country from external forces and mind the borders, rather than create borders inside?

In Spain it is a testing time for ‘freedom of expression’. Pablo Hasel, or Pablo Rivadulla Duro, is a Spanish Rapper, Writer and Poet. He is known for his fierce anti-establishment raps, which are said to glorify terrorism and insult the Spanish monarchy. Recently, the Spanish Supreme Court upheld a lower Court’s conviction for supporting terrorism, and also for libel and slander against the Spanish monarchy, through his social media messages. He was ordered to voluntarily enter prison to serve a nine-month jail term.

Defying the Order, Pablo and his supporters barricaded themselves inside Lledia University, in the northeastern provincial capital of Lleida, near Barcelona, after the deadline to surrender expired. Catalan Police then stormed the University and took him away.

Following Pablo’s dramatic arrest, protesters spilled on to the streets in Barcelona and Girona, in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region protesting the arrest, which is seen as a violation for Freedom of Speech.

The Spanish Government had recently announced that it would remove prison terms for offences involving freedom of expression, however it is unclear when the changes will be made and take effect.

I recall, in Iran, some time ago, an Iranian Rapper Justina, Farima Habashizadehasl, fled the country to seek asylum in Georgia – where she now lives in exile- for the simple reason that in Iran, women are banned from singing solo. Iran’s Muslims, in the religiously conservative, country believe that a woman’s singing voice can be erotic. And many women have been arrested or penalised on this song count.

Freedom Of Expression is certainly not as free as it seems. But ‘erotic’, I wonder? Suddenly, due to the plethora of social media shouts, Freedom Of Expression is being challenged like never, and Governments are scrambling to re-define what it really means.

It’s Raining Plane Parts

United Airlines Flight-328 was carrying 231 passengers from Denver, USA, to Honolulu when it suffered a failure in its right-hand engine, which caught fire. Passengers on board recount that they heard a loud explosion shortly after take-off.

Fortunately, the Boeing 777-200 was able to return and safely make an emergency landing at Denver Airport but not before raining engine debris over a residential area in nearby Broomfield Town. Fragments were found on a football field and what appeared to be the front of an engine-casing landed in the front garden of a home. No one was hurt.

This Boeing 777 uses two Pratt & Whitney-4000 Engines, which had similar blowouts is two other flights, and definitely warrants a close examination of the insides. Preliminary investigations suggest that the failure might be due to metal fatigue.

A modern twin-engine airliner is designed to be able to fly safely for hours using a single engine.

On the same day as the Denver incident, an engine failure on a Boeing 747 freighter saw debris rain down on a town in the Netherlands. Parts of what appeared to be turbine blades landed on the Town of Meerssen, with one blade found embedded in a car roof. Two people on the ground, one a child, were slightly injured. The aircraft, which had left Maastricht bound for New York, landed safely in Liege in neighbouring Belgium.

Airlines are having a tough time and ‘metal rain’ is definitely not what the passengers ordered or people on the ground would expect. Flying safe remains a stiff challenge at all times.

World of Sport

Australian Open Finals, Melbourne Park, Australia

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic beat Russian Daniil Medvedev, World No 4, in a classic Australian Open final, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2, to claim his 18th Grand Slam title. Djokovic delivered a masterclass, surgical performance to overwhelm Medvedev who came to the final riding on the wave of a 20-game continuous winning streak. Medvedev exhibited awesome talent, skills, and flashes of brilliance; giving all that he had in the first set, but crumbled soon after, and in the end when it was all over, smashed his racquet on the ground of the Rod Laver Arena. Call it Tennis Crush?

Novak Djokovic is now just two Grand Slam Titles short of the all time record of 20 Titles, jointly held by the other aces, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Naomi Osaka easily overpowered American Jennifer Brady, a first-time finalist, 6-4, 6-3, to win the Women’s Title. The Victory gives Osaka her second Australian Open Title and fourth Grand Slam Title, at the age of 23 years. With the trouncing of Serena Williams in the semi-finals, Osaka looks set to dominate Women’s Tennis for time to come.

The Rising Sun is rising and shining in the World of Tennis.

The Wizard of Tennis

While the big stars were shining brightly Down Under, there was one little-known star who quietly twinkled and conquered the hearts of the many watching. She is tennis maverick, Taiwanese, Hsieh Su-Wei, unmistakable with her beaming smile, wry sense of humour – strung on a thin frame and served with a great return. Known for playing with two hands on both sides, she has a unique and unorthodox style of play, a variety of shots matched with a crafty gameplay, and aggressive volleys. She plays on unalloyed instinct, which often makes for a great match for those watching.

The 35 years old Hsieh, ranked as one of the world’s best doubles player (she is currently World No 1 in Women’s Doubles) reached the quarterfinal’s in Melbourne – the furthest she has ever gone as a singles player in a Grand Slam. She was knocked out by eventual winner Naomi Osaka.

Hsieh, nicknamed, ‘The Wizard’ by commentators, has won three Grand Slam doubles titles, making her one of Asia’s, and Taiwan’s, most successful tennis player of all time and one of the greatest tennis players Asia as ever produced. Hsieh has won 28 doubles titles, on the WTA(Women’s Tennis Association) Tour, 27 Singles and 23 doubles Titles in the ITF (International Tennis Federation) Circuit and a bunch of medals (gold, silver, and bonze) in the Asian Games.

Hsieh started to play professionally at the age of 16, in Taiwan. And life on tour wasn’t easy, and neither was being based in Taiwan. She struggled to sign up for tournaments and was having to plan everything herself without a Sponsor. Then she met former Australian tennis player Paul McNamee who took Hsieh under his wing in 2011 and unburdened her of the administrative headaches. It allowed Hsieh to focus on her game and unleash her true potential.

Hsieh doesn’t like people mentioning the age of girls in public – not in our culture, she says, and she is a food fan, eating as much as she can at the Table.

Nothing to hide; much to serve and volley; lots to eat.

Test Cricket: The Short and the Large.

England must have been stunned ‘by the turn’ of the Motera Stadium in to the Narendra Modi Stadium, inside the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Sports Enclave, in the third Test Match at Ahmedabad – a day-night, pink ball match. They were completely outdone by India in an incredible period of just two days – and three days to spare. With this India takes a 2-1 lead in the four match test series.

England scored 112 & 81 while India did a 145 & 49-without loss, to brown-wash England by ten wickets.

The Narendra Modi Stadium is the largest Cricket Stadium in the World and bowlers typically charge to the wickets from the ‘Adani and Reliance ends’ – with these two Corporates having liberally contributed to the build, earning sponsorship Ends. It was conceptualised by Prime Minster Narendra Modi when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat and also the head of Gujarat Cricket Association. It has a seating capacity of 1,32,000 spectators higher than the 90,000 seating capacity of the now dethroned biggest – Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia.

What’s in a name? Let the games begin – with lots of space for physical distancing.

The Pandemic, COIVD-19

Vaccination Tracking

More than 231 million doses have been administered across 103 countries at 6.17 million doses per day.

Israel is still way ahead with 88 doses given per 100 people; about 51.5% of the population has received at least one shot, and 36.4% are fully vaccinated. The United States (US) has given 21 doses per 100 people, while the United Kingdom has done 30 doses per 100.

India has administered about 1.34 crore doses till date, at 1 dose per 100, with a measly 0.2% fully vaccinated. The Government is rolling out its second phase of vaccination from 1st March covering the over 60years or the over 45 years but with medical comorbidities. The virus has not found it easy to get a deadly spike hold in India – as many predicted, but the vaccination drive ought to be speeded up.

Meanwhile, the US crossed a grim, heartbreaking milestone of over 500,000 dead, due to the coronavirus. President Biden had this to say, ‘We often hear people described as ordinary American. There’s no such thing, there’s nothing ordinary about them. The people we lost were extraordinary. They span generations. Born in America, emigrated to America”

Indeed, heart-breaking – what this pandemic has done to us.

Please Yourself: Now Showing Minari

With the month of March around the corner it’s getting close to the announcement of the Oscar nominations and the Academy Awards being cat-walked in April.

Last year, South Korea’s movie ‘Parasite’ unexpectedly stole the show in a World wary of English sub-titles. This year there’s another South Korean movie called ‘Minari’ growing inroads into the hearts of moviegoers, the world over, hoping to be a wellspring of deserved honours.

Unlike Parasite’s story line of social satire, Minari is a warm story, set in the 1980’s, of a South Korean family moving from California to Arkansas. A father plans a better living for his wife and two young children by farming Korean vegetables, and selling them to wholesalers and restaurants. The family ‘imports the mother’ of the wife from Korea, to baby-sit the children, when she plants Minari – a Korean plant that grows almost anywhere and can be used in just about any dish – on a riverbank. It thrives and the plant serves as something of a metaphorical encouragement: even far removed from its native soil, Minari can grow and thrive.

The movie draws strength and beauty from the landscape of rural America and is a breathtaking story of belonging and hope. And of chasing the great American Dream.

Minari is a Korean word for the vegetable, ‘Water Dropwort’, which has crisp stems and leafy tops and a herbal flavour, and tastes a little like parsley. It is used as a flavouring herb in soups and stews. Both the leaves and stems can be finely chopped and used as a topping on any savoury dish. And it has the taste of carrot tops and celery.

More mouth-watering stories – ‘and names’ (and renames) – coming up next week.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s