About-the world this week, 22 January to 28 January 2023: Tanks for Ukraine; the year of the rabbit; shooting in America, a new Prime Minister for New Zealand; India’s mobile phone Operating System, and Republic Day; Australian Open Tennis; and the Oscar nominations.


Tanks for Ukraine

After weeks of squabbling, Germany has finally taken some responsibility to help Ukraine win the war against the bullying invasion of Russia.

This week, German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, confirmed that Germany will indeed send 14 Leopard-2 tanks to Ukraine and give permission for other countries to send theirs too. It follows weeks of international pressure from Ukraine and its allies to approve export of German-made tanks. Poland, for example, has been pressurising Germany to send the Leopard-2 tanks to Ukraine. If they wouldn’t do that, at least authorise other NATO Allies to send them, while hinting that should Germany fail to give its consent, Poland would go ahead anyway, offering to send 14 of its own Leopards. Adding-up, in another part of the world, United States (US) President Joe Biden also announced plans to send 31 Abram Tanks to Ukraine.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky believes his country needs at least 300 battle tanks to be able to defeat Russia. But, why so much focus on tanks?

Tanks represent the most powerful direct offensive weapon provided to Ukraine so far, a heavily armed and armoured system designed to meet Russia head-on, instead of firing from a distance-taking the fight to the heart of the enemy. If used smartly with necessary training, they could allow Ukraine to retake territory against Russian forces that have had time to dig-in defensive positions. It remains to be seen if the Tanks would be a real game-changer!

Meanwhile, Russia is warning that any deliveries of US tanks would be a blatant provocation and vows to ‘burn all tanks in Ukraine’. Look who’s talking about blatant provocation? Russia is always looking for a reason to keep the fire burning!


New Zealand was quick to fill its tank following the stunning but graceful resignation of Prime Minister (PM)Jacinda Ardern, who declared that her tank was empty. Chris Hipkins, 44, was unanimously elected as the Leader of the Labour Party and was sworn-in as Prime Minister this Wednesday.

Chris Hipkins was first elected to the New Zealand Parliament in 2008 and was appointed minister for Covid19 in November 2020. He was often seen on national Television talking to the people and steering the country during the pandemic. Prior to elevation to PM, he was minister for police, education, and public service.

Chris Hipkins is known as ‘Chippy’- a nickname derived from his initials, but which may have stuck thanks to an upbeat, slightly school-boyish demeanour. Hipkins has a reputation in Parliament for a sense of humour, fast quips, and a self-deprecating streak.

Hipkins married partner Jade Marie in 2020 and has two children from the relationship. The couple divorced in 2022, deciding to go their separate ways, but stay friends to bring up their 6 years old son and 4 years old daughter.

How long Hipkins will be in office is uncertain as New Zealand holds a general election in October this year. He will have less than nine months before contesting a tough election, with opinion polls indicating his party is trailing its Conservative Opposition.

The Year of The Rabbit

The year of the Rabbit is upon us. And we need all the carrots we can find. The Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is a celebration of the arrival of spring and the beginning of a new year on 22 January 2023. It is the most important holiday in China, and widely celebrated in South Korea, Vietnam, and countries with a significant overseas Chinese population.

The rabbit is the fourth in the twelve-year periodic sequence of animals that appear in the Chinese Zodiac related to the Chinese Calendar. Last year it was the year of the Tiger, and the next year it would be the year of the Dragon-that’s more like China!

According to the Chinese Zodiac, first comes the Rat, then the Ox, the Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and in the end, the Pig.

America’s Shooting Rounds

Last Saturday, thousands of people gathered in Monterey Park, about 16 kilometres from Los Angeles, US, for a Lunar New Year festival. Late that night, a gunman opened fire in the Star Ballroom Dance Studio Hall, killing 10 people and injuring 10 others.

About 30 minutes later, the Shooter attempted another attack in the neighbouring city of Alhambra, before he was disarmed. He entered the studio, but two people managed to wrestle the weapon off him-a semi-automatic assault pistol with an extended magazine-and he escaped.

Police have identified the gunman as Huu Can Tran, 72, who was later found dead in a white van. He had a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was declared dead at the scene. The motive behind the shooting is not yet known.

Barely 48 hours after the mass shooting in Monterey Park yet another shot to the headlines, this time with 7 killed in the Half Moon Bay area of California. The suspected shooter, Chunli Zhao, 66, was arrested by Police, two hours after the incident, in the parking lot of the Sheriff’s Office. The weapon used was found in his car. He legally owned the semi-automatic gun and the incident appears to be a workplace violence case.

Will America ever get off its Wild West Shooting?


The Operation Systems (OS) of the mobiles and smart-phones we own mostly run on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Now India has come out with an indigenous OS, called BharOS, developed by JandKops (J and K Operations Private Limited) incubated by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras’ Pravartak Technologies Foundation.

This week BharOS was successfully tested by India’s Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. This is a great leap forward in India’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat journey of becoming self-reliant in manufacturing.

The new, indigenously developed, mobile OS aims to reduce over-dependence on foreign OS in smartphones and enhance the security and privacy of users. It comes with no default apps and therefore gives users the option ‘to not use’ an unfamiliar app. It provides more control over permissions and data that Apps seek from smartphone users. The new OS will provide access to trusted Apps via organisation-specific Private App Store Services (PASS), which is a list of curated Apps that meet security and privacy standards.

BharOS also provides ‘Native Over The Air’ (NOTA) updates to ensure enhanced security of the devices. NOTA updates are automatically downloaded and installed on the device, without the need for the user to manually initiate the process. This ensures that the device is always running on the latest version of the operating system, which includes the latest security patches and bug fixes.

Initial reviews say that BharOS is less of an alternative, more of a fork version: when a developer takes a copy source code from one software package and starts independent development on it, creating a distinct and separate piece of software.

India’s Republic Day

India celebrated its 74th Republic Day on 26th January with the usual gusto, colour, and spectacular display of made-in-India weapons, on the revamped and renamed Kartavaya (meaning duty) Path – the 2km stretch from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhavan- in India’s capital, New Delhi.

PM Narendra Modi donned a multicolour Rajasthani turban symbolising the diverse culture of India. Last year it was an Uttarakhand Cap embellished with a Brahmakamal (a sacred flower)inspired brooch.

Being invited as the Chief Guest at Republic Day celebrations is the highest honour India accords another country in terms of protocol, and this year the Chief Guest was Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

In many firsts, the British-era 25-pounder guns were replaced with the indigenous 105mm Indian Field Guns for the 21-Gun Salute. Another was the Rajasthan Frontier of Border Security (BSF) preparing the world’s first camel mounted women’s squad with more than 20 women officers taking part in the contingent.

The Government also released its annual list of Padma Awards. The Padma Vibhushan-second highest civilian award-was awarded to noted Architect B V Doshi (posthumous), tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, Indian-American mathematician Srinivasa Varadhan, Oral Rehydration Solution pioneer Dilip Mahalanabis (posthumous), along with two others.

Industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla of the Aditya Birla Group, scientist Deepak Dhar and philanthropist Sudha Murthy (wife of Infosys founder Narayana Murthy) were awarded the Padma Bhushan. Also joining them was Kannada Writer SL Bhyrappa, Artist Singer Vani Jayaram, and Linguistics Scholar Kapil Kapoor.

91 People were awarded the Padma Sri, which included Investor Rakesh Jhunjhwala, Actress Raveena Tandon, and music director M M Keeravaani who composed the music for Oscar nominated ‘Naatu Nattu’ Telugu song.

Many unsung heroes from across India were also honoured including a 102 year old artist from West Bengal, a snake-catcher duo from Tamil Nadu and a 98 yearly organic farmer from Sikkim. The expert snake-catchers, Vadivel Gopal & Masi Sadaiyan are Irula Tribals from Tamil Nadu. Their expertise and traditional knowledge of snake-catching has ‘found teeth’ in many countries.

The Awards itself will be given in a glittering function in March this year, when all the awardees parade themselves – and we get to see them, if we havent already. I hope the snake-catchers don’t turn up with a snake coiled-up around themselves!


The Australian Open (AO) is being served in Australia and Novak Djokovic is in scintillating form playing arguably the best tennis of his career. He brushed aside world No. 6, Russia’s Andrey Rublev in straight sets to reach the semifinals. And stayed perfect in the semifinals, beating America’s Tommy Paul, again in straight sets, to make a record-extending 10th men’s final. In the process he sailed past Andre Agassi’s record of 26 wins. The 35 years old Djokovic is one match away from a record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam victory.

The Women’s Singles Finals coming up this Saturday is Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina versus Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka, which will bring the countries they represent into the spotlight.

This AO was also the swan song of one of India’s greatest women players, Sania Mirza, who partnering with Rohan Bopanna in the mixed-doubles reached the finals only to lose to Brazil’s Lusia Stefani and Rafel Matos. Sania is retiring from Professional Tennis after this match and marches into the sunset…with her young son looking on-he shared a hug with mom, on Court.

This week, two-time Olympic gold medalist and American Skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin secured her 83rd World Cup win to break fellow American Lindsey Vonn’s record, in the 57th International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine Ski World Cup. With this World Cup victory Shiffrin is only three wins behind the 86 wins of overall record holder- in both men’s and women’s skiing-held by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark.

Please Yourself

The end of last week was abuzz with news about the second man to ever step foot on the Moon, Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin getting married for the fourth time. Remember in 1969 he followed crew-mate ‘first man on the Moon’ Neil Armstrong who was on the moon’s surface for two hours and 32 minutes and Aldrin spent about 15 minutes less than that. Aldrin is one of four people alive to have walked on the moon.

Said Aldrin, “On my 93rd birthday and the day I will also be honoured by Living Legends of Aviation I am pleased to announce that my longtime love Dr. Anca Faur & I have tied the knot. We were joined in holy matrimony in a small private ceremony in Los Angeles & are as excited as eloping teenagers.”

Dr Faur, 63, who has a PhD in chemical engineering, is the Executive Vice President of Aldrin’s company, Buzz Aldrin Ventures. Aldrin posted two photos of himself in a tuxedo and Faur in a long-sleeved glittering dress. Honey, there is still honey in the Moon.

The Oscars are Coming

This Week the nominations for the Academy Awards were announced. ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ leads the year’s Academy Awards, with 11 nominations. Other best picture nominees include Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Way of Water and The Banshees of Inisherin.

The best actor nominees include Cate Blanchett, Brendan Fraser, Britain’s Andrea Riseborough, and Bill Nighy.

The song ‘Naatu Naatu’ from the hit Telugu-language film RRR has won a best original song Oscar nomination. It’s the first Indian feature film to be nominated for anything other than best international film at the Academy Awards. The song has been a favourite at award ceremonies and has already won a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Award. It will be up against heavyweights Lady Gaga and Rihanna, whose songs are nominated in the same Oscars category.

The last time an Indian won an Oscar for a film’s music was in 2009, when composer A R Rahman won best original song and best original score for the song ‘Jai Ho’ from the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, directed by Britain’s Danny Boyle.

This year’s Academy Awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on 12th March.

More catching stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Stay coiled with World Inthavaaram. And win Awards.



About-the world this week, 15 January to 21 January 2023, a world of ‘Tanks’: Military Tanks Wanted; an Aircraft tanks; and empty tank in New Zealand; Tanks to fill in Davos; India’s unfilled Census Tank; and a Tennis player runs on a full tank at the Australian Open.


Ukraine: Tanks Wanted

The illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine bleeds on and now a hero that could secure a victory for Ukraine seems to be Tanks. Many countries supporting Ukraine have already sent or committed to sending Tanks to Ukraine to defend itself from the Russian onslaught. The pressure is also on Germany to send its Leopard-2 make tanks, which can make a significant difference on the battle-ground.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to destroy the independent existence of a neighbouring country with war crimes, genocidal actions, and relentless targeting of the civilian population, is the closest we have come since 1945 to what Adolf Hitler did in World War-II. And Germany has a unique historical responsibility to help defend a free and sovereign Ukraine. For the rest of the world, Russia should be defeated to deter future aggression by rouge-minded countries, say China, around hot-spot places such as Taiwan; or North Korea, which dances a lot on the border with South Korea.

Meanwhile, there is daily and continuing tragedy in the Russian-Ukraine War. This week, a helicopter crash killed Ukraine’s Interior Minister, Denys Monastyrskyi, his first deputy, Yevhen Yenin, other senior officials, and several children. No area seems untouched by the unbelievable situation in Ukraine.

Nepal Plane Crash: An Aircraft Tanks

Over the years commercial plane accidents have crashed to low levels, and the odd crash does makes high news.

This Sunday, Nepal’s Yeti Airlines’ Flight 691 – a twin-engine ATR 72 Aircraft – flying from Kathmandu with 72 people on board, crashed before arrival at Pokhara, which International Airport was inaugurated on 1 January 2023. All passengers have died. And this is Nepal’s worst air disaster in three decades. The plane came down in a gorge of the Seti River, near the tourist town of Pokhara: the plane rolled sharply as it approached the runway and then hit the ground, just over a kilometre from the airport. The cause of the crash is yet to be determined.

The passenger manifest consisted of 53 Nepalese, 5 Indians, 4 Russians and 2 Koreans, and 1 each from the United Kingdom, Australia, Argentina, and France.

Anju Khatiwada, the co-pilot of the ill-fated flight lost her husband, Dipak Pokhrel, in a plane crash 16 years earlier. Coincidentally, he had also been co-piloting a Yeti Airlines flight-and it was his death that spurred Anju to pursue a career in aviation. Dipak was in the cockpit of a Twin Otter Prop plane, which was carrying rice and food to the western town of Nepal’s Jumla when it came down and burst into flames in June 2006, killing all nine people on board. Four years later, Anju climbed on the path to becoming a pilot, overcoming many obstacles, to train in the United States. Once qualified, she joined Yeti Airlines. A trailblazer, Anju was one of just six women employed by the airline as pilots, and had flown close to 6400 hours. “She was a brave woman”, said an Official.

New Zealand: An Empty Tank

New Zealand’s Prime Minister (PM) Jacinda Ardern, 42, has had enough and is calling it quits. This week, Ardern announced she will resign as PM next month, saying, “I no longer have enough in the tank”, to lead. She choked as she detailed how six challenging years in the job had taken a toll. She had taken time to consider her future, over the summer break, hoping to find what she needed to carry on, but unfortunately she could not, and hence the decision.

Ardern will step down as Labour Party leader around 7th February. Meanwhile, there will be a vote in the coming days to determine her replacement. And New Zealand goes to the polls- a General Election-on 14 October 2023.

Ardern, at 37, became the youngest female head of government in the world when she was elected PM in 2017. And a year later, she became the second elected world leader to ever give birth while in office. She superbly steered New Zealand through the initial part of the Covid19 pandemic (though she could not make a success of it later on) and its ensuing recession, the Christchurch mosque shootings, and the White Island volcanic eruption. Ardern also led her Labour Party to a landslide election victory in 2020. But, in recent months, her domestic popularity has declined, according to opinion polls. She made missteps in the later stages of the Covid19 pandemic, could not get the economy back on track, and was unable to reduce inequalities in New Zealand. Lawless also ‘became common’ and has not been brought under ‘safe control’.

According to the media, Jacinda Ardern was subject to unprecedented hatred and constant abuse during her time in power, which could have inadvertently taken a toll on her and driven her to make the big announcement… and sleep well after a long time!

Some people have that intuition to move on after a job in done – on their calling. Maybe Jacinda Arden discovered that, and now needs to fill her tank with other kinds of fuel.

Money Matters: Tanks to Fill

The Switzerland based international, non-governmental, lobbying, World Economic Forum (WEF) is holding its 53rd Annual Meeting at the mountain resort of Davos in the Eastern Alps region of Switzerland, between 16 and 20 January 2023.

The meeting brings together some top decision-makers from government, business, and civil society to address global issues and priorities for the year ahead.

This includes about 3,000 paying members and selected participants – among whom are investors, business leaders, political leaders, economists, celebrities, and journalists.

This year’s theme is, ‘Cooperation in a Fragmented World’. On the agenda is climate change, The Russia-Ukraine War, food security, energy, and of course, the global economy, which will be discussed across 500 sessions.

Says the WEF, “The world today is at a critical inflection point. The twin triggers of the Covid19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukraine war have rattled an already brittle global system. Economic growth in the world’s largest economies is stalling, while navigating headwinds from rising food and energy prices. For the first time since the 1970s, the world is facing a precarious disequilibrium with growth and inflation moving in opposite directions. Unless systemic and interconnected risks are addressed, the promise of a ‘decade of action; may become a decade of uncertainty and fragility”.

The wisdom is oozing out on the slopes of the Alps, and I hope we get a cool, nice little ’To-Do List’ as an outcome of the ‘Davos Brain-work’.

India’s Measures a Delay: Unfilled Census Tank

In the year 1881, more than 250 million people in India answered a list of questions put to them by hundreds of enumerators, and were counted in British India’s first synchronised census. For the next 130 years, after independence and through wars and other crises, India kept its date with the census. Once a decade, hundreds of thousands of enumerators visited every household in the country to gather information about people’s jobs, families, economic conditions, migration status and socio-cultural characteristics, among other parameters. It’s used to make decisions on everything from allocating Central Government funds to State Governments, and building schools, to drawing constituency boundaries for elections. And India had mastered the craft of taking a census – teaching it to other nations, as well.

“The census is not simply a count of the number of people in a country. It provides invaluable data needed to make decisions at a micro level,” says a development economist who has worked extensively on poverty and inequality.

The exercise generates a trove of crucial empirical data for administrators, policymakers, economists, demographers and anyone interested in knowing where the world’s second-most populous country (set to overtake China this year) is headed. Say, what will it mean when Indians outnumber Chinese.

But for the first time, India’s decennial census, the seventh – which was set to be held in 2021 – has been delayed, primarily due to he Covid19 pandemic, with no clarity on when it will be held. Experts say they are worried about the consequences, which range from people being excluded from welfare schemes to unbalanced resource allocation.

The Government had planned to conduct a population survey to update the National Population Register (NPR) along with the census. Opposition and regional parties have been demanding that the Government should also conduct a ‘Caste Census’ to revisit the ‘caste based quota’ in the country. The State of Bihar has also ordered a caste census in its State.

The Government is chewing on all these issues and looking at the angles. And there is no alternative to a credible national survey such as at the Census. Now, with the General Elections coming-up in mid 2024, the census can probably take place only in late 2024. And would be the first task of the new Government to get cracking on.

Australian Open: A Tank Always Full

The Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam Tournament has opened in Australia and this time Serbia’s Novak Djokovic is back. The 21-time Grand Slam winner began his campaign in style defeating Spain’s Carballes Baena in straight sets.

Defending Champion, Spain’s Rafael Nadal lost to America’s Mackenzie McDonald after sustaining an injury. And so did British Wonder Woman, Emma Raducanu to 18 years old American Coco Gauff. Gauff defeated Raducanu 6-3, 7-6 (4) to go to the third round, in a slow-burning match that saw the intensity and quality rise in the dying seconds.

England’s Andy Murray, a multiple-time runner-up at the Australian Open, played a final-like-match in his first round stunning Italy’s Matteo Berrettini -the 2022 Australian Open semifinalist- as he rolled back the years to reach the second round. Murray needed to display magic to overcome 13th seed Berrettini. He did just that, in 4 hours and 49 minutes, winning the first two sets before going down in the next two and saving a match point in the decider. He won the match by 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7), and 7-6 (10-6).

Murray has regularly defied the odds since coming back from the hip surgery in 2019, which he thought would end his career. But then, he must not have realised that there was more in store for him. Two days later, Murray did it again with a comeback that ranks as simply extraordinary, even by his standards. He produced another scarcely believable display to fight back from two sets down to beat Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis in yet another epic match. In one of the longest in tennis history, Murray won 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-5 on a night of gruelling physical and mental endurance. The second-round match started at 22:20hrs and lasted 5 hours 45 minutes.

That’s back-to back mighty tough matches. Murray’s Tank is always full, hope it does not get drained to the bottom. He was not allowed to use the toilet during the match, despite making a request – maybe that kept the pressure.

Fight your battles with Tanks, play your game well, keep your tank filled, always. Stay with World Inthavaaram.


About: the world this week, 30 January to 5 February 2022, misinformation spots, medley news, India’s budget, and the aces of Australian Open Tennis.


Spotify in a Spot

Spotify is a Swedish audio streaming and media services provider founded in 2006: the world’s largest, with over 381 million monthly active users. Spotify offers digital copyright restricted recorded music and podcasts, including more than 70 million songs, from record labels and media companies.

Joe Rogan is the host of, ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’, a podcast exclusively acquired by Spotify in 2020, reportedly for a staggering sum. With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, it’s the streaming service’s ‘milch cow’.

In one of the podcasts, Rogan has questioned the need for healthy young people to get vaccinated and has acquired an image of being a reckless peddler of dangerous conspiracy theories, giving oxygen to radical ideas.

In December 2021, Rogan hosted Robert Malone, a doctor who was suspended from Twitter for spreading Covid misinformation. During the show, Malone made several baseless claims, including that Covid vaccines can put people who have had the virus at higher risk. He also espoused an unfounded theory known as ‘mass formation psychosis,’ which suggests that much of the population has been hypnotised to follow Covid protocols. Rogan has also endorsed using Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medicine, as a treatment for Covid-19, despite repeated warnings from US health officials. Following this, 270 physicians and scientists signed an open letter last month calling on Spotify to remove Rogan’s interview with the controversial doctor.

Then, musician and songwriter, Neil Young, an outspoken advocate for Covid-19 safety and prevention stepped in. He wanted Spotify to remove his entire catalog because he does not want his music to share a home with vaccine misinformation. “They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” Neil Young thundered.

Over the past week, a chorus of musicians and other podcasters such as Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash, India Arie, joined Neil Young to condemn Spotify or even remove their content in protest.

Since Young’s music has been pulled-out, Spotify has reportedly lost more than USD 2 billion in market value. But, the episode is still up.

When the world is passing through one of the worst pandemics ever, and just when we are beginning to recover, the least we want is social media influencers spiking themselves into becoming misinformation spreading viruses.


The World continues to fret and boil over Ukraine with the border crisis with Russia only soaring, getting NATO and the United States (US) on an edge. The US is deploying about 3,000 of its troops to Eastern Europe and has another 8,500 on standby. And Russia has already got about 100,000 of its troops at the border. Now, Russia is calling the US deployments ‘destructive’. There is cold tension in the European air. Watch that space.

Last week I talked about forced religious conversion possibly being the cause of a death by suicide of a young girl, Lavanya, in the Southern State of Tamilnadu, India. A ‘Justice for Lavanya’ movement started on social-media with people seeking a wholesome look into the conversion angle. And this week, the High Court in Madurai ordered the case to be investigated by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and get to the bottom. That, a loss of faith on the local Police.

Tennis superstar Roger Federer has revealed he still hasn’t been able to run as he continues his recovery from a knee surgery, but is adamant he wants to return to the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) circuit. The 20 time Grand Slam champion hasn’t played since Wimbledon last July and had a third knee operation in August last year. By the serve of it, the Swiss icon’s comeback hopes appear very difficult. Of course, we wish to see him rally his knees and return to the game, one knee at a time. There is none like him.

This week, media giant CNN’s (Cable News Network) President Jeff Zucker abruptly resigned saying he had failed to acknowledge a romantic, consensual relationship with another senior executive-whose name he did not explicitly reveal-at the outset. However, CNN’s marketing chief Allison Gollust opened-up about their relationship, which she described as a close professional and personal rapport, built over more than two decades. And that deepened into a romantic tie during the pandemic. She will continue working for CNN. Both Zucker and Gollust are divorced from their respective spouses, but owning up is a class act.

The Beijing Winter Olympics began this week, on 4 February 2022, and it’s getting hot enough to melt the ice.

India announced a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics, where no Indian Diplomat will participate in the opening and closing ceremonies. Indian National Broadcaster Doordarshan also decided to boycott live telecasting the opening and closing ceremonies. Initially, India supported China’s Olympic effort, when nations such as the USA and UK announced a diplomatic boycott over China’s poor human rights record: abuse of its Uighur population, ethnic cleansing in Tibet and suppression of democracy in Hong Kong. But when China put up a Galwan Clash survivor as an Olympic torch-bearer, India saw red and promptly ‘punched a boycott’.

China’s torchbearer for the Winter Olympics 2022 was captured, by India, in June 2020 when he tried to mount an attack on Indian forces in the Galwan Valley. This was a culmination of skirmishes, face-offs, and aggression beginning in May 2020 between Chinese and Indian troops at locations along the Sino-Indian border, including near the disputed Pangong Lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous Region. The eastern Ladakh border row escalated after the Galwan Valley clashes, on 15 June 2020. Twenty Indian Army personnel were martyred in the border fight that marked the most serious military conflict between the two sides, in decades.

China officially acknowledged that five Chinese military officers and soldiers were killed in the clashes with the Indian Army, though it is widely believed that the death toll was a high as over forty.

India’s Budgeting

India’s annual budget presentation is some kind of a ritual where everyone looks to extract some kind of juice for themselves: the individual, for income tax relief; Businesses, for tax concessions and inspiration to start new businesses; States, for blockbuster projects in their region, even new trains…the list is endless. Somebody has to be disappointed – there is nothing for me; nothing for the minuscule income tax-paying percentage of people; nothing Big-Bang, is an annual planetary comment. Actually, it’s a mere revenue report on where the money comes from and where it goes, though it does try to transcend into a show of path-breaking reform or clever intent.

This year’s Budget presented on 1st February was no different. And from the reading of the experts it’s a practical and sane plan to improve the lot of India. The International Monetary Fund (IMF)- they must be serious – said it’s a very thoughtful policy agenda for India that places a great deal of emphasis on innovation in research and development on human capital investment and digitalisation. India plans to release a digital currency by the end of the year and quietly announced a tax on this sphere of activity.

However, some bird-watchers of the economy say there is a looming job crisis, which needs the attention it deserves. Failure to generate enough quality jobs may convert what should be India’s demographic dividend into a restless force to reckon with. I’ll leave it at that.

Australian Open Tennis Aces

Winning a Tennis Grand Slam Title on three different kinds of surfaces is a rarity, and only four players have done it before: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Serena Williams. Now, last Saturday the number grew to five, with Australian Ashleigh Barty, 25, winning the Australian Open Women’s Single Title beating 28 years old American Danielle Collins 6-3, 7-6 (2). Apart from Ashley Barty, Serena Williams is the only other in this elite category to have won the first three Slams across clay, grass, and hard courts.

Barty became the first Australian in 44 years, to win the Australian Open since Chris O’Neil did it in 1978. O’Neil was present in the stands, with the crowd, cheering Barty. The prize was awarded by yet another special person, 14-time Grand Slam champion, Australian Evonne Goolagong Cawley who claimed the Australian Open singles title on four occasions-consecutively from 1974-1977. That’s as straight as it can be!

After this stupendous achievement by the women folk, the men began roaring. And in the men’s singles Spaniard Rafael Nadal clawed back from two sets down to win an epic five-set duel with Russian Daniil Medvedev, to claim a record 21st Grand Slam men’s title in the Australian Open final. The end set score was a thrilling 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

In what is considered to be the greatest era of men’s tennis, Rafael Nadal surpassed the 20 Grand Slam haul of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

More informative stories playing in the weeks ahead. Fight your battles drawing power from World Inthavaaram.