About-the world this week, 14 May 2023 to 20 May 2023: Turkey Presidential Elections; G7 Hiroshima; Karnataka Elections, India; Tennis in Italy; and the Cannes Red Carpet.


Elections, Turkey

In recent times, Turkey has been grappling with many serious issues: especially economic, in the aftermath of the recent earthquake that tore through the country, and neighbouring Syria. Now it’s Election time and the current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Justice and Development Party-who has been President for over two decades-has failed to secure the absolute majority needed to keep his job. He secured 49.5% of the vote, facing fierce competition from Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People’s Party, who secured 44.89%.

With voters making their voices heard at the polls, both candidates fell short of the 50% vote they needed to become President. The race is headed toward a runoff, meaning another election by the end of May 2023.

The Turks are at a kind of turning point, having to choose between two leaders offering dramatically different visions for their country’s future. Erdogan promises a strong, multilateral Turkey, creation of six million jobs, and harps on his long rule. Kilicdaroglu, backed by a broad opposition, wants to steer Turkey back towards a pro-Western, more democratic state. And wants to roll back Erdogan’s policies.

The presidential elections are being held alongside parliamentary elections, to elect a President for a term of five years.

G7 Hiroshima, Japan

The Group of 7 nations summit- the 49th- is being hosted by core member Japan in Hiroshima, Japan, between 19 May and 21 May 2023. Other participating members are United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy. And The European Union. This is the first summit for both British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, since being elected to Office.

India is an invitee along with Australia, Brazil, Ukraine, and a few other countries. And the United Nations.

This year, the agenda in addition to the usual climate change, sustainable development, food, and health goals…the focus would be on upholding the international order based on the rule of law, in the light of Russia’s uncalled for aggression in Ukraine.

India’s Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi is on a flying visit abroad: first to the G7 summit; then to Papua New Guinea, followed by a series of engagements in Australia’s Sydney, including a bilateral meeting with PM Anthony Albanese.

While India’s PM was flying, back home it was turbulence in the air, with the Reserve Bank of India announcing withdrawl of those lovely pink colour Rs 2000 notes from circulation. And the Finance Ministry blundering on levying 20% ‘Tax Collection at Source’ (TCS) on international Credit Card Transactions – which it quickly rolled-back. Staggering incompetence?

Elections, Karnataka, India

Karnataka was the only state in South India that was ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which also rules at the Centre. In Elections held last week and votes counted at the end of the week, the BJP was routed by the Grand Old Party of India- the Congress Party. They won an absolute majority and proved the Exit Polls right.

The BJP was found licking its wounds, and it’s a tails-up for the next round of Elections – every failure is a lesson. Whatever the angles the analysts may spin, people throw out the Government that fails to deliver and meet their expectations. And bring back the previous one, which was also kicked out in similar fashion.

Meanwhile, the Congress went back to doing what it does best – High Command ruling. There is a tussle between two senior leaders on who should become Chief Minister and the Bengaluru-New Delhi flights are operating to capacity. If it was not a decisive mandate for one Party, the Resorts and Spas in the region would have been fully booked for parking and feeding the horses – else they might run and be traded in Government formation.

Simple, pure democracy demands that the elected Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) meet and elect a leader among themselves for the top job. But then what is the High Command for?

Towards the end of the week, the logjam was resolved, and the Challenger was felled by the come-hither looks, and dimples of the ‘High Command’, meekly agreeing to be a deputy. Somebody said double-engine sarkar: a ’stable’ government to keep the horses in the stable.

Tennis, Italy

In one of the biggest upsets of this year’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) season, a qualifier, 23 year old Hungarian, Fabian Marozsan shocked World No 2 Carlos Alcaraz with a stunning 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory in the third round of the Italian Open, this week. Marozsan ranked No. 135, is the lowest‑ranked player to defeat Alcaraz since July 2021. Until he came through the qualifying draw in Rome and defeated the No. 67 Corentin Moutet, Marozsan had never won an ATP match. This is his first ever ATP main draw and also the first ever Masters 1000 Tournament.

On his first appearance on any major stadium court, Marozsan approached the in‑form Player on the tour fearlessly and calmly. From the very beginning, Marozsan served precisely and controlled the baseline. He forced Alcaraz back with consistent aggression and his sweet two-handed backhand while offering the Spaniard a taste of his own medicine: an endless stream of unbelievable, winning, drop shots.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal announced that ‘his body has made a decision’ to withdraw from the upcoming French Open 2023. And he will not be playing for the following months. He is targeting Wimbledon 2024 for a ‘swan song’ end to his career and saving-up for one last season. The 2023 Roland Garros will be the first without Roger or Rafa since 1998 – that’s heart-wrenching for Tennis fans.

Please Yourself

The Cannes Film Festival offers unparalleled fashion moments year after year and this year 2023 it ‘catwalks the screens’ between 16 May and 27 May, on the French Riviera.

This year’s 76th event will feature screenings of the latest films from acclaimed directors such as Wes Anderson, Todd Haynes, and Martin Scorsese. And red carpet appearances from those films’ stylish stars, including Margot Robbie, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, and Tilda Swinton.

Johnny Depp walked the famous red carpet, with the premiere of his Louis XV period drama, ‘Jeanne du Barry’, opening the event. Jeanne du Barry has been billed as Depp’s comeback film, following his explosive trial last year with ex-wife Amber Heard.

She’s got glamour in her genes. Carys, the daughter of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones –my favourite actress-proved she’s a natural in front of the camera during a rare red carpet appearance. Unlike her mother, who matched the carpet in a flowing, red gown with a long draped shoulder, Carys wore a delicate white lace dress featuring a deep V-neck and back cutouts.

Actress Uma Thurman presented Michael Douglas with the event’s highest honour, the Palme d’Or lifetime achievement award. Taking the stage, Douglas was given a prolonged round of applause. Meanwhile, ‘Indiana Jones’ Harrison Ford was also awarded Palme d’Or, which he emotionally accepted- being his last in the role.

India’s all-time beauty, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is still finding it hard to slay the red carpet. Aishwarya walked the red carpet at the screening of ‘Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny’, dressed in an outfit completely out of her comfort zone – a black gown with a giant silver hood that extended into a train. Aishwarya finished her look with her signature crimson lips. I just could not find Aishwarya – no matter how hard I searched in the great mass of aluminium foil. Why do they keep doing this to her; to her beauty?

More stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Dress cleverly, don’t foil your beauty with the wrong aluminium. Stay with World Inthavaaram.