About: the world this week, 3July to 9 July 2022. Shoot, Kill, Quit, Fight, Sing, Sprint, Pray, and Eat.


This week started with a bang…and ended with a bang, literally.

Denmark’s capital Copenhagen witnessed a mindless shooting spree at a Shopping Centre, which shocked Danes to the core. Three people were killed and four injured. The deadly attack began at the Field’s Shopping Mall – a multi-storey building and one of the biggest in Denmark: it has about 140 shops and restaurants and is located on the outskirts of Copenhagen.

Police arrested the suspect, an ethnic Dane, thirteen minutes after being alerted to the attack. The killer had mental health issues; there is no indication of a terror motive. And the shooting appears to be a lone wolf act – with no other conspirators.

English singer, songwriter, and Actor, Harry Edward Styles was to perform in a concert nearby. And it was cancelled at short notice. Fans were impressed with the manner police and organisers ensured young concertgoers were safely carted away, by way of informing parents and providing a police escort to the nearest safe train station.

The last time Denmark saw a major terror event was in 2015 when two people were killed and six police officers injured during an attack on a a cultural centre and a Synagogue in Copenhagen. The gunman was later killed in a shoot out.

Denmark has some of the strictest gun laws in Europe with licences to own firearms usually available for hunting or sport shooting, following background checks, and with almost a total ban on automatic weapons. Carrying a firearm in public is strictly prohibited.

Now, to the cowboys of the West.

The shootings in the United States of America (US) is only shooting up, and there seems to be no sign of it loosing its spirit, at the moment.

This week, six people were killed in a shooting in downtown Highland Park, Illinois during the 4th July Independence Day Parade. Parade-goers were enjoying a sunny parade along Central Avenue when a gunman began firing indiscriminately and randomly from the roof-top of a Business building, which he had scaled using a ladder.

The suspect, Robert E Crimo III, was spotted by a North Chicago Officer who attempted a traffic stop. Crimo led the Officers to a brief chase before being stopped and taken into custody.

This marks at least the 308th mass shooting in the US this year and the carnage adds to an already bloody American Spring and Summer.

Just look at this statistic: Denmark had 3 mass shootings in the last 28 years. The US had 17 mass shootings in the last 5 days. The difference and what needs to be done is crystal clear. Got it America?

In another finding, The US found itself to be the serial killer capital of the World. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) complied information about 4743 known serial killers worldwide between 1900 and 2016 and discovered that 3204 of them were from the US. Is that why guns are required? Is America setting a bloody infectious example?

Shots in Japan

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 67, is Japan’s longest serving Prime Minister until he resigned in 2020. He was known for his ‘Abenomics’ policy to lift Japan’s economy – the world’s third biggest – out of deflation and wanting a more prominent role for Japan’s military, to counter growing threats from North Korea and a more assertive China. He was responsible for Japan winning the bid to host the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, cherishing a wish to preside over the Games. He even appeared as the Nintendo video game character Mario during the Olympic handover at Rio 2016.

During his tenure as PM, he considered it a failure in being unable to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution, which prohibits the country from using force to resolve international disputes.

Late this week, Shinzo Abe was in the western city of Nara to make a campaign speech ahead of this Sunday’s upper house elections. While giving the speech he was shot twice from behind, by a man using what looked like a shotgun or a home-made gun . The first shot appears to have missed, but the second shot hit Abe in the back. Security Personnel then quickly overpowered and detained the shooter, who made no attempt to run. Abe was in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest and airlifted to the Nara City Hospital where he succumbed and died due to the shooting. A suspect, an Army Veteran, Tetsuya Yamagami, 41, of Nara City was arrested.

Abe’s shooting has shocked Japan: gun violence is rare and Japan has one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world due to its extremely strict gun control laws.

The last time a current or former Japanese PM was shot was 90 years ago. There has never been a political assassination in Japan since the 1930’s, The only shootings ever heard of in Japan involve the Yakuza – Japan’s famously violent organised crime gangs – arguing over territory. Even those were rare. But most people never come in to contact with the Yakuza. Even they shy away from guns because the penalties for illegal possession are just not worth it.

There were 10 gun incidents last year, leaving one person dead and four wounded. In the year 2014 six gun deaths were reported, and the number rarely exceeds 10, in a country of 126 million people. In 2018, Japan only reported nine deaths from firearms, compared with 39,740 that year in the USA.

Under Japan’s firearms laws, the only guns permitted for sale are shotguns and air rifles. Handguns are outlawed. But getting them is a long and complicated process.

Japan has close to ‘zero-tolerance’ of gun ownership – an approach that contributes to its extremely low rate of gun crime.

Later, a video of the shooting showed that Shinzo Abe’s Security did a horrible job of protecting him when compared to the tight heavy security in other parts of the world. Understandable, given Japan’s safe record? Maybe there is a lesson here.

This week’s assassination of Shinzo Abe could change Japan forever.

Herd moves: Losing the Best Job in the World

This week Boris Johnson resigned as leader of his Conservative Party and is on the way out as Prime Minister (PM) of the United Kingdom (UK).

He has been in a quagmire of scandal after scandal, in recent months. The list includes everything from ‘Partygate’, surviving a no-confidence vote, to corruption allegations to the latest ‘Pincher’ scandal. It was acknowledged that Johnson knew about sexual misconduct allegations against a fellow Conservative Party member before appointing him to a senior position. But he says he ‘forgot’ about it. A ‘wind rush’ of ministers resigned since Tuesday and nudged him to do the same. And after initial resistance Johnson has agreed to step down. In his exit speech he said a Herd moves by instinct and when the Herd moves, it moves. And he was sure ‘Darwin’s evolution’ would find the next PM, and that he is sad to leave the Best Job In the World.

Boris Johnson squandered one of the strongest political positions held by a PM of the UK, in record time. The authoritative mandate gained after winning an eighty seat majority in December 2019 dissipated at extraordinary speed as he dealt with a series of scandals with a ham-fisted mixture of denial, disorganisation, and even outright lying.

Johnson secured the Election Victory riding on the back of the ’Get Brexit Done’ pledge. After securing an exit from the European Union (EU), he struggled with the coronavirus pandemic – got it himself- was late in imposing the first lockdown in March 2020, and thereafter went too fast in loosening restrictions the following Christmas, which he was forced to cancel at the eleventh hour.

But UK’s PM was ultimately undone not by policy disagreements but by character failings. He presided over a lax culture at Downing Street during the pandemic, in which he, advisers and officials attended a string of booze-filled parties (imbibing the spirits of Scotland & Ireland?) while people all over the country were locked down at home.

I reckon, the seriousness of governance evaporated and it could not be condensed into a workable drink, any longer. Mind the herd!

Just Begun

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, continued his ranting and warned that Russia has barely started its campaign in Ukraine and dared the west to try to defeat it on the battlefield. “Everyone should know that, by and large, we haven’t started anything yet in earnest,” Putin said during a speech to Russian lawmakers this week. He added, “The further it goes, the harder it will be, for them to negotiate with us”.

Methinks, this is the beginning of the end, and Ukraine will stay the course, gradually ‘managing’ the bullying of Russia.

India’s Upper House

The Rajya Sabha, constitutionally called the Council of States, is the Upper House of the bicameral Parliament of India – the Lower House or the House of the People, being the Lok Sabha.

While people of India directly vote to elect the Members of Parliament (MP) of the Lok Sabha, the MP’s of the Rajya Sabha are indirectly elected by the legislatures of the States and Union territories. Further, for the Rajya Sabha, the President of India nominates 12 members who have special domain knowledge or practical experience in art, literature, science, and social service. This is on the advice of the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister – the Leader of the majority/ruling party in the Lok Sabha. The intent being to enrich Parliamentary proceedings, which otherwise may be hijacked by political party musings.

The nominated members have a six-year term and the Rajya Sabha is a permanent House, not subject to dissolution. However, one-third members of Rajya Sabha retire after every second year: opening the gates for elections and nominations.

The Rajya Sabha being a representation of the States of India serves to protect the rights of States. And all laws passed by the Lok Sabha – affecting the states -have to be approved by a two—thirds majority in the Rajya Sabha.

This year the President of India dipping into his 12 MP rights, nominated legendary music director Ilaiyaraaja, from Tamil Nadu State, celebrated athlete P T Usha, from Kerala, blockbuster film screenwriter V Vijayendra Prasad from Andhra Pradesh, and spiritual leader Veerendra Heggade from Karnataka.

Rajayya Gnanathesikan, R Gananthesikan, went by the name of ‘Rajaiya’ on joining school, Raaja on learning music from his Master, and became Ilaiyaraaja after the stupendous success of his virgin music scores in the Tamil movie ‘Annakkili’(Parrot). Ilaiyaraaja then went on to become famous as a film composer, conductor, singer and lyricist, working predominantly in Tamil cinema. Ilayaraja is credited with introducing western music concepts in South Indian music and synthesising western and Indian music instruments. He has composed more than 7,000 songs, provided film scores for more than 1,400 movies and performed in more than 20,000 concerts.

Ilaiyaraaja is also called ‘Isaignani’ (musical genius) and is often referred to as ‘Maestro’, by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London, amongst others.

The journey from Gnanathesikan to Isaignani has indeed been an awfully long one. Names changed along with the heavenly music!

Pilavullakandi Thekkeraparambil Usha, P T Usha the sprinter, and India’s most famous woman track & field athlete, known as the Payyoli Express and the Golden Girl, has won over 100 medals at national and international events, including four golds at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games. She hit the headlines with her performance at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, where she reached the final but missed out on a medal by a 1/100th of a second. And a billion India hearts skipped a beat. She was born in Payyoli, Kozhikode district of Kerala hence the Payyoli Express tag.

In 1986 Seoul Asian Games, India won 5 Gold Medals where she alone won 4 Gold Medals in 200 metres (m), 400m, 400m hurdles & 4×400 relay and 1 Silver Medal in 100m. She is the first Indian woman to reach the final of an Olympic event.

P T Usha is married to V Srinivasan an inspector with the Central Industrial Security Force. The couple have a son, Ujjwal Srinivasan, who is a Doctor and holds an International Olympic Committee Diploma in Sports Medicine.

She is currently the committee head of Indian Talent Organization, which conducts National level talent Olympiad examinations in schools across India. And runs the Usha School of Athletics (USHA) at Koyilandi, near Kozhikode.

Koduri Vishwa Vijayendra Prasad,V Vijayendra Prasad is a film screenwriter and director known for his works primarily in Telugu cinema, in addition to Kannada, Tamil, and Hindi cinema. He has done more than twenty-five films as a screenwriter, most of which were commercially successful.

He is best known for screenwriting blockbusters such as ‘RRR’, the ‘Baahubali’ series and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ in addition to Manikarnika: the Queen of Jhansi, Magadheera, and Mersal (Tamil). His film-maker son, S S Rajamouli directed the Baahubali series of movies, to wide acclaim.

Veerendra Heggade is a Jain Philanthropist and the hereditary administrator or Dharmadhikari of the Dharmasthala Temple. He has been at the forefront of outstanding community service, social work, and communal harmony, doing great work in health, education, and culture.

He succeeded his father as Dharmadhikari at the age of nineteen in October 1968, the 21st in his line, of the Pergade Dynasty belonging to the Digambara Jain group. He administers the temple and its properties, which are held in a Trust, for the benefit of devotees and worshippers.

Veerendra Heggade married Hemavathi, in a match arranged by their parents and the couple have an only child, a daughter, Shraddha. His heir and the person to succeed him will be his younger brother, Harshendra – as traditionally, sons get the charge.

Dharmadhikari Veerendra Heggade has been conducting a Free Mass Marriage every year in Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala since 1972. Over 10,000 couples have been married under this scheme.

The Annapoorna kitchen at the Lord Manjunatheshwara temple at Dharmasthala is one among the five biggest kitchens in India, which feeds thousands of people. The others big kitchens of the country are Shirdi, Chennai’s Taj kitchen, main kitchen of Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) at Noida, Uttar Pradesh, and Akshaya Patra Foundation’s kitchen at Hubli, Karnataka.

Lots to eat, with more stories coming out of my small Kitchen in the weeks ahead. Stay safe, stay with the herd, and move with World Inthavaaram.


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