About –the stories of the world this week, 25 December to 31 December: the blizzard of the century; Covid19 again; a fierce Prime Minister; discovery of new plants, animals, and fungi; a rush to Heaven; and the cheek of looking good.
A cold wave is doing a scathing run across the world from North America to Japan and through India’s New Delhi – where temperatures dipped to frightening low levels putting to shame ‘traditional owners of the cold weather’ in the region, Nainital, Dharmasala, and Dehradun.
Meanwhile, a Crown Prince aka Pappu, of a certain Royal Dynasty in India wore a white T-Shirt during a visit to his Father’s grave in freezing Delhi, and his Palace Clowns declared him superhuman and ‘fit to be Prime Minister (PM)’. And he walked away into the cold. Said a scientist: One in five Italians have a mutation in the ACTN3 gene because of which they can withstand extreme cold. Come again?
The severe winter storm that has swept across North America has left the city of Buffalo, New York, looking like a war zone in what is being called ‘The Blizzard of the Century’ with at least 60 people dead. On another front, lakefront homes in Ontario were encased in a thick, spiky coat of ice after the blizzard whipped frigid waves on shore. And as it barrelled through Erie County, last weekend, residents found themselves stranded in howling snow with nowhere to go, their cars dwindling in gas supply and with police unable to come to their rescue. The situation is expected to improve over the first week of the New Year.
Following neighbour China falling for Covid19, time and again, India isn’t impressed. And it’s getting ‘its looks ready’, and renewing its fight against the coronavirus, should it dare the formidable Indian PM’s 56 inch chest. This with countrywide mock drills, booster doses, masking, and screening tests at International Airports being carried out in a flurry of activity. The great RT-PCR test is back and is mandatory for people arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand. The new ‘virus rascal’ threatening us is BF.7 a sub-variant of Omicron, which is behind the current explosive spike in China.
This time, India has a new weapon too. Bharat Biotech, the makers of the hugely successful Covid19 vaccine, COVAXIN have come up with the world’s first intranasal non-invasive, needle-free vaccine, which stimulates a broad immune response at the site of infection – essential for blocking both infection and transmission of Covid19. It goes by the name of ‘iNCOVACC’ and is for people above the age of 18 years and for those who have not had their third precautionary or booster dose.
Medical Experts in India say that there is nothing to fear but warn people to ensure wearing of masks in crowded places and to keep applying the basic prevention techniques we have learnt so well over the past two years.
Nepal has a fierce new PM who was once a Maoist guerrilla and led a decade-long insurgency against the Hindu Monarchy. Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who even in peaceful times wears the name Prachanda – meaning ‘terrible’ or ‘fierce’ was appointed PM this Sunday for a third time. This was on the strength of an alliance with the main opposition after last month’s election returned a hung parliament. He will head the new government for the first half of the 5-year term with the support of the Communist Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) Party and other smaller groups. Prachanda, replaces Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepali Congress Party and will himself step down in 2025 -on a power-sharing agreement, making way for the UML to take over.
Prachanda’s Maoist Centre Party won 32 seats in the 275 seat House of Representatives. The UML has 78 seats, and the rest, required for the 138 number majority, will be controlled by smaller groups. The Nepali Congress Party will be the main opposition with its 89 seats. Himalayan navigation skills are required to stay in power and make a difference, leave alone climb every kind of peak, in this part of the world.
The Russia-Ukraine War needlessly and senselessly started by Russia, in February this year, meanders-on, refusing to come to an end. This week under the continued merciless, intensified attacks by Russia, civilians fled the city of Kherson. Only last month, on 11th November, there had been jubilant scenes in this city when it was liberated by Ukraine, after being taken by Russian forces on the second day of invasion.
The Pope noticed and made a fervent appeal to stop the mindless war during his traditional Christmas speech at the Vatican.
Over the week Russia rained a plethora of cruise missiles-probably the most massive ever, since the invasion-on Ukraine, making life more miserable for Ukrainians who have stood-up boldly to the might of a bully. The attacks come after Russia said it will not negotiate with Ukraine under the terms of its President, Volodymyr Zelensky’s proposed peace formula.
In another kind of war, it’s more than 466 days since the Taliban banned teenage girls from school. Afghan women and girls continue to be shut out of their classrooms, denied their basic human rights and the world remains mostly muted. International aid organisations suspend operations in Afghanistan following Taliban ban on female NGO workers. Said an official, “We cannot operate without women, we will not operate without women… this crosses a humanitarian red line. Do they want millions of Afghans to starve and freeze?”
Why does the Taliban do this? It springs from their fundamental ideology that women are second or third class citizens are cannot have the same rights as men and should be subjugated. They follow Fiqh, or Islamic jurisprudences and believe women are ‘polluted’ and that gender equality ‘destroys families’. This ideology, known formally as Deobandi, goes back to ‘themes’ developed by political Islamists in response to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1922, that ruled from today’s Turkey and stretched across the Middle East and North Africa at its height. In the aftermath homegrown movements focussing on women’s rights in Islamic countries such as the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, later Hizb ut-Tahrir in 1953 came into being. These two-pan Islamic groups promoted a particular narrow interpretation of sharia and spread it throughout the Islamic world.
“The Taliban and Al-Qaida are the ideological continuation of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir,” said an Afghan Islamic scholar. The Muslim Brotherhood was against a wave of movements that supported natural and citizen rights of people including women. Women’s rights made up the central piece of the dispute between the Muslim Brotherhood and these new movements, in the Arab world in the early 1900s.
While Afghanistan is preventing education of its women folk, Iran is after what women wear. A wave of executions in the country is imminent following the persisting protests that have swept the country following the death in September of Mahsa Amini, a young woman detained by Iran’s notorious morality police for improperly wearing her hijab.
Shahid Alikhani square in the historic Iranian city of Isfahan, and the grand entrance to one of the city’s main metro stations, is in the centre of the news. An execution platform has been installed where many fear high-profile Iranian footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani faces imminent execution along with at least 43 others. Nasr-Azadani is accused of involvement in the killing of three security officers, including two volunteer Basij militia members, during protests in Isfahan on 16th November.
Authorities have already executed at least two people in connection with protests in Iran last month, one of whom was hanged publicly. This is a result of a rushed judicial process in Iran where charges which could carry the death sentence are often handed down in a single sitting.
The Russia-Ukraine war; the abysmal, pathetic condition of women in Afghanistan; and the continuing protests in Iran again the stringent Islamic Dress Code for women, are perhaps the three worst events of the year 2022, which I hope comes to a close in the year 2023. Is humanity sliding downhill? Wonder why the United Nations cannot play a more muscular role.
On the sidelines, Writer Yuval Noah Harari has argued that the greatest achievement of mankind has been the decline in war, now that is in jeopardy.
Meanwhile, the rule of the military junta in Myanmar continues and Nobel Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi just got sentenced to another 7 years in jail, for corruption. The court’s latest action leaves her with a total of 33 years to serve in prison following a series of politically tinged prosecutions since the army toppled her elected government in February 2021.
Every year we discover so much that makes us realise how little we know about the world and how big it actually is. And the tree of life keeps growing. This year, The California Academy of Sciences researchers and their international collaborators discovered 146 new animal, plant, and fungi species. The previously unknown creatures and plants were found around the world, in the mountains of California, Australia’s Queensland State, the rocky peaks of Brazil and the Coral Reefs of the Maldives. Scientists made discoveries on six continents and within three oceans.
Among the new species were 44 lizards, 30 ants, 14 flowering plants, 13 sea stars, 7 fish, 4 sharks, 3 moths, 2 spiders, and 1 toad. Keep looking around, under, and above: there’s more to discover in the year ahead.
Over the year many have left this world for the skies above. Some, maybe, waited until the last month, the last week of this year 2022 to give up their valuable breath.
Brazil’s Edson Arantes do Nascimento famously known by his nickname, Pele – the Black Pearl – the greatest football player ever who brought ‘passion to the heart of football’ died this week at 82, after battling cancer. He is the only player to win three World Cups for his country 1958, 1962, and 1970 and leaves behind a rich football legacy. Pele was voted Player of the Century in the year 2000. And his 1,279 goals in 1,363 matches is a world record that is unlikely to be surpassed.
British fashion designer and style icon Vivienne Westwood died aged 81. She passed away peacefully at her home in London. The media called her ‘the high priestess of punk’ and the ‘Queen of Extreme’. In the world of fashion she was a beloved designer and pushed the boundaries of the fashion industry until her death.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mother Heeraben Modi passed away at the ripe age of 99 years after stepping into her 100th. She must be a proud mother having delivered for India one of its best prime ministers, ever. PM Modi carried out the last rites, just like any ordinary citizen would, and rushed back to work – keeping his tight pre-planned schedule.
May their souls rest in peace. Without doubt, each one did their job extremely well in their respective fields. And will be remembered in times to come.
Over the past few weeks, buccal fat removal has become a hot-button topic on social media after several celebrities were said to have had the procedure. American model and TV personality Chrissy Teigen who is married to singer John Legend is one celebrity having admitted to doing the procedure. And we can see the cheeky difference.
Buccal fat removal is the removal of fat from the buccal fat pad, a mass of tissue located deep within the cheek. The procedure is typically conducted under anaesthesia. A surgeon will create small incisions on either side of the inside of the patient’s mouth to expose the buccal fat pad, and then remove some or all of the fat. By doing this, you can accentuate the cheekbones by removing the fat that is in the buccal fat compartment. The procedure can create the appearance of more sculpted, defined cheekbones. A person interested in this effect might not have a full face, but they just want to see a little more definition in the cheekbones and looking to emphasise the sub-malar hollow below the cheekbone.
Everyone wants to look beautiful.
More incisive stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Grow beautiful with World Inthavaaram – without surgery.
Build a legacy to leave behind. A Happy New Year and wishing you unalloyed happiness in your lives.