About –the stories of the world this week, 11 September to 17 September 2022: mourning a Queen’s passing; maybe the end of a special operation, of a pandemic; end of a deluge, of a tennis career; getting ready for the Moon; Tube Awards; and the return of a whip wielding adventurer.


The United Kingdom spent the week mourning the passing of it longest serving monarch The Queen and watched brothers William and Harry – armed with their respective wives – get back together, with others of the Royal Family. They shared the sorrow with the subjects of the Kingdom in a poignant re-union walk. The Queen’s coffin lies in state in Westminster Hall, having been flown over from Scotland, Edinburgh, following the drive from Balmoral Castle, and after spending a night at Buckingham Palace. The Funeral is on Monday of the upcoming week. And I’m sure the late Prince Philip cannot wait any longer for HM The Queen, in Heaven. He’s been up there since April 2021, and on Earth he was the longest serving royal consort in history. I’m sure he is looking forward to continue the relationship.

In war-torn Ukraine, the rot in the Russian Army is being exposed by a patient, methodical Ukraine Army and victories are accelerating by the week. Remember that 64 km convoy that stalled on the way to the capital of Kyiv at the beginning of the war, and was surgically shredded by Ukrainian defenders? That was the spark and the sign of things to come. Sad, Russia was partially blind and did not read that well enough – beyond the ‘Z’.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stuck its head out and finally said that the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is ‘in sight’. This comes as deaths fell to lowest level since March 2020, but – as if the Virus would hear and consider coming back – adds, it’s ‘not the time to relax’. Surely not, when was the last time we fully relaxed? In the South Indian cities of Chennai and Coimbatore it is compulsory to wear masks, again.

I reckon, we are better placed than before 2020 with an arsenal of weapons – distances, shields, masks, gloves, soaps, sanitisers, vaccines, and the kind – to kick the sneaky guy out of our lives. Meanwhile, monkey-pox and other unheard of small-time fellas with weird names are prowling around waiting for that big break?

It’s been more than two months since the Deluge in Pakistan where floods submerged thousands of villages, leaving countless families displaced, many of who ended up living near stagnant water.

Following the rapid rise of water and its slow fall, there is another rise -Dengue Fever – with cases increasing by the day and claiming lives. About 3,830 cases of dengue fever have been reported in southern Sindh province, with at least nine deaths, but this may be a conservative estimate. In the laboratories, the suspected cases are around 80% of tests done.

Meanwhile, this week, a 41 year old, Rolex-watch wearing, Tennis Legend, who played 1500 matches over 24 years in 40 countries, growing up from being a Ball-Kid, from Basel, Switzerland – Roger Federer – announced his retirement from competitive tennis. He had won 20 Grand Slam Titles during his memorable career.

Roger’s body had fought injury and surgery over the past years and the message it served to him was crystal clear. And Roger listened. The ATP’s Laver Cup in London, next week, will be his last.

He thanked his amazing wife Mirka for standing by him all these years and cheering him from the stands. Also his sister and loving parents. Remember, on the sidelines Mirka aced the production department with a pair of twins – two girls and two boys. Roger went on to thank everybody else including the fans, his coaches, and Tennis itself. And attributed all to his tennis talent, which he understood and used to evolve and grow into Roger Federer-The Legend.

Roger has had an outstandingly successful tennis career and perhaps one of the few who built a sound financial empire as well – from his Tennis career. By this he has inspired generations of players and has made an immeasurable impact on the wider world of sport.

I would always remember him for superb style and technique, his breathtaking science defying shots, and his humanness, and of course that calm smile. He was once a hot-headed racquet-throwing kid, but made the transition to a cooler, in-control, graceful Champion.

While Roger Federer vacates tennis space, NASA’s Moon Launch Artemis project, which aims to get Man and Woman back to the Moon was stalled by a technical issue, while on the launch pads, is looking good, to play. The leaky issue has since been resolved (Greek God Artemis stepped-in to apply a healing balm?) and NASA is gearing up for a return ticket launch, by the end of September 2022.

Please Yourself

Emmys 2022

The Primetime Emmy Awards – or simply called, Emmys – is one of the four major American awards for performing arts and entertainment in Television, along with the Grammy for music, the Oscar for film, and the Tony for stage theatre. The Emmy statuette, depicting a winged woman holding an atom, is named after ‘immy’, an informal term for the image orthicon tube that was common in early television cameras.

The 74th Emmys Award Ceremony was held this Monday at the Microsoft Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles, California. It honoured the best in American prime time television programming from 1 June 2021, until 31 May 2022, as chosen by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. This year’s ceremony was hosted by American actor and comedian Kenan Thompson.

I’m running through the key winners.

The White Lotusthat’s also the symbol of India’s ruling Party– the limited drama comedy picked up 5 major awards and overall 10; The Drama series Succession succeeded in getting the most nominations – 12 major and in all 25 with 3 overall wins.

The best Comedy Series was won by Ted Lasso; the Best Drama Series by Succession and the Best Limited or Anthology Series by The White Lotus.

The Best Actress in a Drama Series went to Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman for Euphoria which is the second time she is winning the Award for playing a teenage drug addict, following her win in 2020. Zendaya is an American actress and singer. Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in its annual list in 2022.

The Best Actor, Drama Series went to Lee Jung-jae for the Squid Game becoming the first Asian star to win the Emmy award for best male actor in a drama. He won for playing the main role of the increasingly desperate game player aiming to take home the prize money.

HBO’s ‘The White Lotus’ is a sharp social satire following the exploits of various employees and guests at an exclusive Hawaiian resort over the span of one highly transformative week. As darker dynamics emerge with each passing day the six-episode series gradually reveals the complex truths of the seemingly picture-perfect travellers, cheerful hotel employees, and idyllic locale itself.​ It is created, written, and directed by Mike White.

HBO’s ‘Succession’ is an satirical black comedy-drama television series created by Jesse Armstrong. The series centres on the Roy family, the dysfunctional owners of Waystar RoyCo, a global media and entertainment conglomerate, who are fighting for control of the company amid uncertainty about the health of the family’s patriarch, Logan Roy.

Apple TV’s ‘Ted Lasso’ is a sports comedy-drama television series developed by Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt, and Joe Kelly. The series follows Ted Lasso, an American college football coach who is hired to coach an English soccer team in an attempt by its owner to spite her ex-husband. Lasso tries to win over the skeptical English market with his folksy, optimistic demeanour while dealing with his inexperience in the sport.

HBO’s ‘Euphoria’ is an American teen drama television series created and principally written by Sam Levinson based on the Israeli miniseries of the same name created by Ron Leshem and Daphna Levin. The series’ main character is Rue Bennett (Zendaya), a recovering teenage drug addict who struggles to find her place in the world.

Netflix’s Squid Game is a South Korean survival drama television series created by Hwang Dong-hyuk .The series revolves around a contest where 456 players, all of whom are in deep financial hardship, risk their lives to play a series of deadly children’s games for the chance to win a US$35 million prize. The title of the series draws from a similarly named Korean children’s game.

I’ve set up the main course for your TV watching, but there are many other side dishes, which you need to find, and taste.

Indy is Curling Back

Indiana Jones, the world’s most famous archeologist- of the movies- is back for his next adventure. Harrison Ford makes a return to the Indiana Jones franchise. The film, which has Ford act the role of Dr. Henry Walton Indiana Jones, Jr., a fictional professor of archaeology, more than 40 years after he first donned the hat and the whip in 1981’s ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ rolls into theatres on 30 June 2023. Mark that date.

Indian Jones began his adventures in 1981 with the film Raiders of the Lost Ark. In 1984, a prequel, The Temple of Doom, was released, and in 1989, a sequel, The Last Crusade. A fourth film followed in 2008, titled The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The series was created by George Lucas and stared Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in all the films. The first four films were directed by Steven Spielberg, who worked closely with Lucas during their production.

There’s been a lot of news regarding the next Indiana Jones films since it’s been in ‘the works’ for years. But late last week was the first time fans got an idea of what the next film could be about and what the intrepid archeologist may be after. However, any details about what adventure Indy will be on this time is being kept so hidden even he might not be able to find it.

The latest film will be the fifth for the series, and likely Ford’s last in the role. After the audience reacted to the mention of this being his last film in the role, he joked, “This is it. I will not fall down for you again.”

It also stars Phoebe Waller-Bridges and Mads Mikkelsen and is directed by James Mangold. John Williams, who composed the iconic ‘Raiders March’ is also returning to score the film.

“Indiana Jones movies are about mystery and adventure but they’re also about heart,” said Ford. “I had the time of my life making this movie…keeping up with this guy is exhausting,” said Waller-Bridges.

Avoiding poison darts, outrunning rolling boulders and all the time trying to keep that hat on and slashing that bull whip, is tough for an 80 years old actor, after all.

More whipping, real adventure stories will be uncovered in the weeks ahead. Face the world and play with World Inthavaaram.



About: the world this week,3 April 2022 to 9 April 2022, India all the way-beginning to the end, a massacre in Ukraine, the Genetic Code, the virus-again, and the Grammy Awards.


India Musings

It suddenly dawns upon you that India is living in a mighty dangerous neighbourhood – in an ocean infested with sharks of every kind, as if it were, but with ‘one pod of happy dolphins’ in one small corner. And thanks to the great Himalayas in the north and the oceans in the south, India has some height and depth of protection, at least in some dimensions.

Pakistan split decades ago into the present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, and they predominantly occupy the west and the east of India. While Pakistan tries its best to constantly be at war with India, Bangladesh is only slightly better -almost a friend- but both countries have shaky Governments of various degrees and leaders who rarely last an elected term.

Look at the present political turmoil spinning in Pakistan: the Deputy Speaker threw out a non-confidence motion, brought up by the opposition parties, as illegal, and the Prime Minister rushed to advise the President to dissolve the National Assembly and quickly announce fresh elections. It almost worked, but Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled the Deputy Speaker’s action as a no-ball -unconstitutional-and restored the status quo. And now the sitting Prime Minister, Imran Khan, will have to face a no-confidence motion; may be sent back to the pavilion and replaced with a new one, until the next twist, at the next bend. I was awfully surprised that rules are being applied in Pakistan. And the Courts are beginning to see and read them well. Hail the Constitution!

In the Himalayan north, years ago, Nepal took a painful, tumultuous, tortuous path to its present Federal Democratic Republic status. This was after the massacre in the Royal family which killed King Birendra and the Crown Prince leading to his ‘unfit’ brother Gyanendra inheriting the throne in the 2000’s. During the 1990s dozens of short-lived governments walked in and out. And Nepal is infamous for perennial instability primarily- a signature tune- because of personal disputes among its leaders rather than policy disputes. ‘Nepali Politics is disgusting’ said a Nepali.

Nearby Bhutan looks steady, having changed from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. King Jigme Singye Wangchuck transferred most of his administrative powers to a Council of Ministers and allowed impeachment of the King himself by a two-thirds majority vote in parliament. In recent times, Bhutan has been continually ranked as the happiest country in all of Asia.

Myanmar is under bloody military rule, for over a year now, with the Junta having over-thrown a democratically elected government. It generated and fuelled the Rohingya crisis and seems to have forgotten how to hand back power to the people. It keeps piling up cases on its famous Nobel Peace Prize winning prisoner-who failed to make best of an opportunity, when it mattered.

Nearby Sri Lanka is falling apart economically. Years ago it was devastated by a fight for freedom by the minority Tamil population, with a ‘militant beast division’ hijacking the cause and having to be militarily eliminated. This time it’s bad governance and ‘militant’ mismanagement of the economy.

Maldives, in the Indian Ocean, appears to be riding a good wave ever since the current President, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was sworn into Office in November 2018, for a five-year term, on the strength of a massive election victory. And it looks like he is upto the task of holding and keeping the Government afloat.

For many years Maldives surfed in political turmoil with everybody trying to overthrow everybody else, including mercenaries from far away lands. And even the water is trying to overthrow the Government.India was called to help flush out the dirt many a time-talk about draining the sump! A paradise lost: a paradise regained?

In contrast to all its neighbours India is standing tall, splendidly, with a thriving noisy democracy, despite parochial State Chieftains (trumpeting their stock origins) looking for every opportunity to widen fault lines for their selfish gains. Ever wondered how India does it? Staying fit with yoga?

Ukraine: The Bucha Massacre

This week the gruesome killings in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha traumatised the world to the very depth of its soul. The murder of scores of civilians, as much as 300, was uncovered after Russian troops withdrew from the Kyiv suburb.

On the grounds of a church was an open mass grave with the dead still inside and some in body bags, poking out in the loose graveyard sand. Houses have been bombed and found caved in by Russian shelling with the driveways ploughed over by tanks. The streets were littered with bodies with hands tied behind and obviously tortured and shot dead. It was a horrific sight.

The Pope stepped in, condemning the massacre in Bucha. He kissed a Ukrainian flag and cried for the war to be stopped, the weapons to fall silent and to stop the sowing of death and destruction. He also called the helpless situation as ‘Impotency of the United Nations’. Rightfully so.

After the failure of the League of Nations in preventing World War II, the United Nations (UN) came into being with the sole lofty aim of ‘preventing wars’. Sadly wars have only been increasing while various other arms of the UN are winning Nobel Prizes and awards in doing many other jobs extremely well-except preventing war! A snake which never had fangs at all? What next, we disband the UN and start a brand new ‘Union of Countries’ with super poisonous fangs and an ability to act as true deterrent to war?

Whatever, late this week, finally, in a small step, Russia was suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) due to its unjust invasion of Ukraine and colossal human rights violations. This happened with a two-thirds majority voting and the usual countries, including India, abstaining.

The only other country suspended from the HRC was Libya in March 2011.

Towards the end of the week, a Russian strike in Kramatorsk Railway station killed many civilians including children: thousands of people were waiting for evacuation at the railway station when the Russians attacked. The Russian barbarism continues and something has to be done about it. What about the millions of refugees fleeing war-torn areas? How and where will they be accommodated? That’s a gargantuan challenge in itself (a friend of mine-a monk on a Parikrama, who bought a Maruthi Suzuki Baleno car to ride-called me a few days ago, from Shimla, to remind me).

The capital Kyiv is gathering its feet after the exit of the Russians. And that brings some hope.

The Genetic Code

This week, Scientists announced they have finally finished mapping the human genome – what is called, the genetic code. Mapping first started in 1990, and by the early 2000s researching scientists had sequenced a whopping 92%. Now, the last bit of 8% is done. With such an in-depth look into our very insides, we should be able to better understand human biology. It could also pave the way to greater medical discoveries. And even ‘leave the door to be pushed open’ to individualised medicine.

‘We are’ the World!

The Circulating Virus

This week America’s Centre of Disease Control (CDC) announced that ‘BA.2’, the highly transmissible Omicron variant is now dominant in the United States, making up nearly 55% of new cases. Globally too, this is the dominant variant in circulation. The announcement came as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized an optional second booster shot for people 50 years and above. The CDC is yet to officially recommend it, but is telling anyone who qualifies for such a dose, to consider getting shot with it.

Back to the country where it all started. This week Chinese authorities enforced a lockdown in China’s largest city, Shanghai: the partial lockdown of the previous week was extended to cover all areas of the financial centre. This despite growing anger over quarantine rules where latest test results show only about 268 symptomatic daily COVID19 cases. The broader lockdown came after testing saw asymptomatic COVID19 cases surge to more than 13,000.

This means more than 26 million residents will stay put indoors. Chinese officials described the outbreak as ‘extremely grim’ and sent tens of thousands of healthcare workers to help contain infections in the city, including military personnel.

Overall, some 23 Chinese cities are under total or partial lockdown. And we thought we saw the end of COVID19? Hang on!

Sri Lanka Woes

This week, the island country’s economic crisis only got worse and an emergency was declared to curtail violent protests against the hapless condition. The entire cabinet of the Government resigned, and a newly appointed Finance Minister quit after just one day in office. I reckon he had no food for thought? And perhaps he wisely decided he is incapable of finding food for others. This was just ahead of crucial talks with the International Monetary Fund for a loan programme.

Towards the end of the week President Gotabaya Rajapaksa revoked the emergency but the real emergency of life continues. The Government is working on patching together a crack team-good with the finance numbers-to find a way out. Better late than never?

The Grammys Song

Time for some music, to shake a leg, at the end of a barbaric week.

The 64th Grammy Awards Function was held on 3rd April, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, United States, hosted by Trevor Noah-the South African Comedian, Television Host, Actor, and Political Commentator.

The Grammy for the Best Album was won by Jon Batiste for ‘We Are’. The best Pop Duo/ Group Performance was won by Deja Cat for ‘Kiss Me More’ – go ahead and kiss the cat more!

The Grammy for the Best New Artiste went to Olivia Rodrigo who had a ‘good 4 u’ music start this year. She also won Grammys for Best Pop Solo performance for her song, ‘Drivers License’, and Best Pop Vocal Album for ‘Sour’. Her on-stage driving was put to a real test, when racing about she dropped a Grammy Gramophone causing it to break, but before the incident could ‘sour’, it was tinkered and repaired – hope she’s ok?

Silk Sonic won Record of the Year and Best Song of the Year for ‘Leave the Door Open’. Yes, it’s better we do that, otherwise who gets to hear the song if the doors are closed.

The Grammy for the Best Country Song went to Chris Stapleton for ‘Cold’ and also best Album for ‘Starting Over’. The Best Rock Song, and Album went to Foo Fighters for ‘Waiting on a War’-I wonder whether they meant the Russia-Ukraine war was coming. Best rap song went to Kanye West for ‘Jail’-most of us know who to ‘put-in jail’ don’t we?

Indian-American singer Falguni Shah, aka Falu, won best Children’s Music Album for ‘A Colourful World’. A Child’s world is indeed colourful – including the black & white!

Falu is known for her modern inventive style with a formidable Indian classical shaped vocal talent. She had trained in Hindustani Classical in the Jaipur Gharana musical tradition and in the Benares style of Thumri under Kaumudi Munshi and semi-classical from Uday Mazumdar. She also studied under the legendary Indian classical vocalist, Kishori Amonkar and must have rubbed off a lot from her. It showed!

More musical stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Play the Gramophone with World Inthavaaram. And don’t break it.


About: the world this week, 31 October to 6 November 2021, warming up to climate change – the heat is on humankind to save the Planet; let’s do it with G20, COP26, with a new star called Hydrogen…among other things, while India drums its plans.


Weather is what we experience every day: and we watch and soak-up the predictions of, the day, the week, month, and the year, to plan adventures outside the safety of our cozy homes. Climate is the average weather in a place over many years. Climate Change is a shift in these average conditions – deeply studied by Scientists and other Masters of the climate change game, all over the world. Their study results tell us about the health of our Planet: whether it’s overworking itself in the gym to keep those toned, tiered, economy packs of countries in shape or whether it’s mostly in bed, under the blankets, and wearing ice caps.

It’s a fact that temperatures across the world are shooting-up because of human activity caused climate change now threatens every aspect of human life. If left unchecked, Earth-the only Planet in the Solar system known to support life – will experience catastrophic warming, with worsening droughts, greater rise in sea levels and mass extinction of living species. We face a gargantuan challenge, but there are potential solutions.

The sinister climate change we are now experiencing is caused by us humans using oil, gas, and coal to get various things done in our homes and factories, and for transport. When these fossil fuels burn, they release greenhouse gases – mostly that much maligned guy called, Carbon Dioxide (CO2)- which trap the Sun’s heat and cause the Earth’s temperature to rise.

The world is now about 1.2C (degrees centigrade) warmer than it was in the 19th Century. And the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen by about 50%. Temperature rises must slow down if we want to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, and global warming needs to be kept under 1.5C by 2100, say Scientists – that’s the target, which we all need to own up. Remember, if we keep burning ourselves at the current pace we are looking at a whopping rise of 2.7C by the end of the century. That would be Hell!

One of the effects of climate change is that many small Groups are forming all over the world to discuss the future of Planet Earth. It’s almost like small clouds gathering to block harmful global warming sun-rays or send meaningful showers of rain down on to Earth.

Most of the Groups have a thread of climate change woven into them. And that’s the ‘hot and melting’ topic this week. Let’s start with a Group, leaning more towards the economics side.

G20 Italia 2021

The G20 or Group of Twenty is an intergovernmental forum consisting of 19 of the world’s major economies, and the European Union. It works to tackle major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development.

The G20 was founded in 1999 in response to several world economic crises. Since 2008, the Group convenes at least once a year, with Summits involving each member’s head of government or state, finance minister, foreign minister, and other high-ranking officials. In addition, International organisations, and nongovernmental organisations are invited to attend the summits, some on a permanent basis. The group’s chair rotates annually among the members and is selected from a different regional grouping of countries.

This year’s G20, the first G20 Summit hosted by Italy, was held in Rome on 30 October 2021 and 31 October 2021. It was the culmination of the work carried out during the whole year of the Italian Presidency through various initiatives and get-togethers.

What was the outcome?

Climate Change: The G20 committed to the key Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C and pledged action against dirty coal plants-agreed to stop funding new dirty coal plants abroad by the end of 2021- but fell short on a target of zero emissions.

Taxation: The G20 agreed to subject multinationals to a minimum 15% tax, as part of an effort to build ‘a more stable and fairer international tax system’. Internet giants of the United States, such as Amazon, Google’s Alphabet, Facebook’s Meta, and Apple – which have benefited from basing themselves in low-tax countries to minimise their tax bills – are particular targets of the new global regulation.

Vaccination: G20 vowed to support the WHO’s goal of vaccinating at least 40% of the world’s population against Covid-19 by 2021, and 70% by the middle of next year -2022, by boosting the supply of vaccines in developing countries and removing supply and financing constraints. They also promised to work together towards the recognition of Covid-19 vaccines deemed safe and efficacious by the WHO.

Others: Still reeling under Covid-related disruptions, G20 leaders ruled out a hasty removal of national stimulus measures. G20 set a new target of channelling USD 100 billion towards the poorest nations, coming from the USD 650 billion fund already made available by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) via a fresh issuance of its Special Drawing Rights (SDR).

SDRs are not a currency, but can be used by developing countries either as a reserve currency that stabilises the value of their domestic currency, or converted into stronger currencies to finance investments. For poorer countries, the interest is also to obtain hard currencies without having to pay substantial interest rates.

Now, onto our next Group on Climate Change.


Conference of the Parties (COP) is a United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference initiated to tackle climate change, and COP26 is the 26th summit held this year in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK).

The first COP meeting was held in Berlin, Germany, in March, 1995. Historic, path-breaking decisions and goals were made and adopted in COP3, Kyoto, Japan, December 1997, the outcome of which was The Kyoto Protocol, and in COP21, Paris, France, November-December 2015, the outcome of which was The Paris Agreement. Both these conferences set tangible targets which nations took home to work out on the treadmill.

Over the week, the bandwagon of world leaders flew directly from G20 Italia to COP26 Glasgow in what was a back-to-back meeting: wonder how many planes had to lift off and how much more gas they pumped into the poor atmosphere?

There is a new term we need to get familiar with: Net Zero. We heard it all the time over the past week.

Net Zero means a fine balancing of the gas books on our naughty gross climate affecting businesses. It means the greenhouse gas emissions pumped into the atmosphere by humans is balanced by creation of new carbon sinks – such as forests – to absorb an equivalent amount. You clean-up and mitigate your own muck!

How about other solutions?

Enter the Hydrogen Kid

There is a new star on the block an it is beginning to get famous – Hydrogen. Many say it is the answer to our climate change woes.

Hydrogen can be produced from diverse domestic resources with the potential for near-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Once produced, Hydrogen generates electrical power in a fuel cell, emitting only water vapour and warm air. It holds promise for growth in both the stationary and transportation energy sectors.

In a Hydrogen Economy, Hydrogen would be used in place of the fossil fuels that currently provide four-fifths of the world’s energy supply and emit the bulk of global greenhouse gas emissions. This could aid climate goals because of the obvious benefits of Hydrogen and the fact that it does not release CO2, on burning.

There are three main types of hydrogen fuel. First, ‘Grey’ Hydrogen, which is vast majority of Hydrogen in use-and there is plenty of it, mainly in industry-is made from natural gas. But the process emits CO2. Second, ‘Blue’, or as the gas industry likes to call it, ‘decarbonized’, Hydrogen is made from natural gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS) attached. Finally, ‘Green’ or ‘renewable’ Hydrogen, which every Hydrogen advocate says is the ultimate goal, is made from the electrolysis of water powered by electricity from renewable energy sources. Wow, I’m for green!

Hydrogen’s energy content by volume is low. This makes storing Hydrogen a challenge because it requires high pressures, low temperatures, or chemical processes to be stored compactly. Overcoming this challenge, and others is important in making Hydrogen more friendly.

A lot more needs to be done to make Hydrogen work: at the moment it’s just a kid that needs to grow up quickly.

India: Hear the Drums Boris?

India’s Prime Minister (PM) Modi was at his eloquent best beating drums and singing with the Indian diaspora in Italy and Glasgow before delivering India’s Climate Control targets.

India pledged to achieve Net Zero by the year 2070; achieve 50% of all its energy uses from renewable, non-fossil, clean-energy sources; increasing the total of such power generation to 500 Giga Watts (GW) by 2030; cut one billion tonnes of carbon emissions from the total projected emissions, again by 2030, and reduce carbon intensity by 45%. The PM also thumped his chest to say India is the only country that is delivering on the Paris Agreement targets.

These are indeed sexy figures to look at and a bold & beautiful statement by India.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the hosting country, UK, said PM Modi understands climate change and the power of sunshine very well, and has done some extraordinary things in his country. There is one sun, one world, one grid, and one Narendra Modi, he said. Later, trying to sit under the sun, the PMs warmly talked about a unifying future Solar Grid.

India’s Covaxin

This week the World Health Organisation (WHO) finally granted approval for India’s home grown Covid-19 Vaccine called Covaxin – made by Bharat Biotech – for emergency use. To use WHO’s technical jargon, it says, ‘the benefits of the shot, known as Covaxin, significantly outweighs the risks and it met the WHO standards for protection against Covid-19’.

The decision had been significantly delayed as the Advisory Group kept seeking additional clarifications every time data was submitted by Bharat Biotech, and it was beginning to look like a dark tunnel – without the end in sight. With the final risk benefit assessment successfully made by WHO, the vaccine can now be rolled out for global use. And it is expected to benefit many poor countries.

In India, Covaxin was given emergency-use authorisation in January 2021 before the completion of the last-stage trials, which later found the vaccine to be 78% effective against severe Covid-19. The approval, by WHO, is a shot in the arm for India’s indigenous vaccine manufacturing industry.


This week, the Festival of Lights – Diwali was celebrated by Hindus and other faiths as well, all over the world and especially in India. India’s Courts grew a new kind of nose, poking too much into religion, in banning bursting of firecrackers – which is integral to celebrating the festival – based on petitions linking the bursting of crackers to air-pollution and other kinds of disruptions. It did not bang well with most people and suddenly it has fired a debate of prejudice against the majority faith!

More stories of change, fire and smoke, coming up in the weeks ahead. Celebrate, and it’s all right to burst with World Inthavaaram.


About: the world this week, 6th June to 12th June 2021, how a Group of wealthy Nations met, a butcher of people punished, classic Tennis played, the pandemic cornered, and Animals on the Planet drawing our attention, in mysterious ways.


The Group of Seven (G7)

The G7 is an informal group of seven of the world’s wealthiest democracies, which meet annually to discuss the economy, peace, security, climate change, and of course, this year in particular, the coronavirus pandemic.

The Group consists of the United States of America (USA), Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), Germany, France, Italy, and Japan. The Annual Summit is normally held in the country which holds the rotating Presidency and this year it was the turn of the UK to play host. Leaders of four other prominent democracies have also been invited to attend: Australia, India, South Korea, and South Africa.

In a prelude to the main G7 Summit, a meeting of G7 Finance Ministers was held on 5th June, at Lancaster House, London to discuss economic policies, and perhaps reach an agreement on something. They did. The attending Finance Ministers decided on a Global Corporation Tax rate of 15%, which can ultimately be applied by all nations. This creates a new right for countries to tax the profits, of large multinational companies, based on where they make their sales.

The landmark deal, signed last Saturday, is intended to prevent digital companies such as the Google, Amazon, and the Facebook kind, from finding and exploiting tax-avoidance or minimisation loopholes in the national tax system of countries. And also to tackle the huge inequalities between such digital firms, and the rest of the business community, a divide which has grown wider during the ongoing pandemic.

International tax deals are rare, and usually thwarted by countries that either charge low levels of tax, such as Ireland, Hungary, and Cyprus, or that have close ties to tax-havens, such as the UK and the Netherlands.

There are significant details yet to be worked out, and the deal is not sufficient to see the new rules applied globally. For that to happen, it would require support from the Group of 20 (G20) leading economies, which includes China and India, as well as the backing of the 135 countries that have been negotiating the new rules as part of what is known as the Inclusive Framework.

Finance Heads of the G20 countries are due to meet in Venice, Italy, on 9th and 10th July 2021 to make hay on the new G7 tax sunshine.

Taxing large companies is awfully taxing, but that’s where the wealth of nations lie!

Meanwhile, the main G7 Summit is being held this week, between the 11th & 13th June at the Carbis Bay Hotel, Cornwall, United Kingdom, in which leaders of G7 nations are meeting each other, to hold face-to-face discussions. And see, meet, and get to know the better halves-if around, on the sidelines.

The ever-brightly dressed Queen, all of 95 years, sharing her childhood name, Lilibet, with her freshly minted great-grand daughter, posed for a photo with the G7 Kings, and cheekily posed the question, ‘Are you supposed to be looking as if you are enjoying yourself?’ Watch this space.

The Butcher of Bosnia

Bosnia and Herzegovina, often known simply as Bosnia, is a country located within the Balkans in South-East Europe with capital as Sarajevo, its largest city. It is bordered by the countries of Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro, with a narrow coast to the Adriatic Sea.

Recall that the countries of Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Slovenia was once a federation of republics called Yugoslavia, which eventually disintegrated into separate countries, much like the Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) did.

In the year 1992 Bosnian Muslims, called Bosniaks, and Croats voted for independence in a referendum boycotted by the Serbs. The region then descended into an ugly war with the Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats on one side and the Bosnian Serbs on the other, fighting for control over ethnic territory, in what was called the Bosnian War, which lasted four years. Several other former Yugoslav Republics also declared Independence about this time.

Ratko Mladic, a Bosnian Serb Military leader-nicknamed ‘the Butcher of Bosnia’-who was fanatical about ethnically cleansing Bosnaiks from Bosnia, led the Bosnian Serb Army in the war, which left about 100,000 people dead and displaced another 2.2 million. He orchestrated a campaign to slaughter and annihilate more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the mountain Town of Srebrenica, in July 1995, in the worst massacre to have taken place in Europe since the Second World War.

When the Bosnian War came to an end in 1995, Mladic facing an indictment of war crimes, went on the run and for 16 long years evaded capture until his arrest, finally, in May 2011. He was then extradited for trial in the Netherlands.

For years he was offered protection by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, and the Serbian and Bosnian Serb military and police. Milosevic was himself a master-mind behind ethnic cleansing of non-serbs and when he lost power in October 2000 was sent packing to The Hague War Crimes Tribunal.

Mladic was captured in the village of Lazarevo, near the town of Zrenjanin in northern Serbia, after an anonymous tip-off to police was made by someone who had seen a man who looked like Mladic and was carrying documents bearing that name.

He was put on trial in 2012 at The Hague, Netherlands, for crimes committed during the Bosnian War, with a total of eleven charges including genocide.

In 2017 he was found guilty and convicted to life in prison on one count of genocide and nine crimes against humanity and war crimes by an international criminal tribunal. He was found ‘not guilty’ of one only charge of genocide.

Ratko Mladic had appealed against the ruling and this week he lost. The International United Nations Court dismissed the appeal and upheld his Life Sentence.

Mladic’s behaviour was absolutely reprehensible during the trial. In the 2017 conviction he shouted the choicest and ‘most colourful’ obscenities, gesticulating at the relatives of the victims. This time he scowled and showed little emotion. He was the only person in court not wearing a mask.

He joins his one-time master and boss, former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic who is also convicted and serving a life sentence for being a key architect in ethnic cleansing and civil war that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia.

Ratko Mladic’s name is consigned to ‘the dustbin list’ of history’s most depraved, ruthless and barbaric figures.

French Open 2021

Switzerland’s Tennis ace and Legend, Roger Federer, had a gruelling, clay-grinding time at the French Open given that he is coming-back to the game from two back-to-back knee surgeries in 2020. He played over three hours to defeat Germany’s Dominik Koepfer in a five-set match including three tie-breaks sets, to set up his next encounter with Italy’s Matteo Berrettini for a place in the quarterfinals. Back and Knee breaking for sure.

Federer then proceeded to ‘talk to his knees’ and came out with an unanimous decision to quit the French Open and save his knees for Wimbledon, where he is targeting a 9th Title, later this month, on his favourite grass court surface.

Wimbledon’s Pride, French Open’s Envy? See you in Wimbledon.

Meanwhile, in yesterday’s Men’s semi-final, Tennis fans were enthralled seeing almost perfect clay-court, classic Tennis being played when Serbian Novok Djokovic beat – the until then, undefeatable, 13-time hero of the Roland Garros-Spaniard Rafal Nadal, to reach the Finals in an absolutely gripping four-set match. The third set will go down in History as one for the best ever and should be framed. Djokovic meets Greek Stefanous Tsitsipas in the final, to be played on Sunday, for a possible 19th Tennis Grand Slam Title.

In the Woman’s Final, an unlikely match as been set with unseeded Czech, Barbora Krejcikova reaching the final to challenge Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for the title. Well, that’s open!

India Looks Up

India is steadily looking up from the second wave of COVID19 with diving daily infections, but there is an alarming increase in deaths as previously unaccounted data is being added. However more lives are being saved and many States have started a process of awfully slow unlocking.

With the Vaccines of Covishield, Covaxin, and Sputnik V already rolled out, India placed an advance order worth Rs 1,500 crore for 300 million doses of Hyderabad, India, based Biological E’s CORBEVAX Vaccine.

Corbevax is a protein subunit vaccine, which comprises only spike proteins that are injected into the body to trigger an immune response. Such vaccines are considered to be one of the safest and time-tested, juxtaposed to mRNA based Vaccines, which is relatively new technology. Further, it does not involve injecting a whole de-activated virus. The Vaccine is currently undergoing Phase-3 trials and is expected to be ready for regulatory authorization and launch in August 2021.

India’s homemade Vaccine, Covaxin, is struggling to get approved abroad as its Phase-3 clinical trials are yet to be published-made public. Recall that India had approved Covaxin for Emergency Use, in January 2021 without waiting for the phase-3 clinical trials. Subsequently interim results were published in April, which showed satisfactory efficacy, justifying their use. More than 29 million doses of Covaxin have already been administered. The manufacturer, Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad, has said the results will be released in a couple of weeks. I’m sure it will pass with distinction.

In the background of a seemingly mangled Vaccination Policy, which the States compounded by acting like Rambo’s, trying to buy Vaccines on their own, India’s Prime Minister rightfully went on national Television to give a new direction to the Vaccination Drive. Enough is enough. He announced that the Centre will, in addition to the 50% it is already buying from the Vaccines manufacturers will also buy out the 25% State quota – a total of 75% production of Vaccines- and give it free of cost to the States, to distribute. The remaining 25% will go to Private Hospitals who can charge a fixed service fee of Rs 150 over the declared cost of the Vaccine. The new plan unfolds from the 21st June.

Lets have our eyes on the needle.

It’s Raining Babies in Africa

In World Inthavaram 2021-19, I talked about a Population Explosion, when a 25 years old woman, Halima Cisse, from Mali, gave birth to nine babies in a single delivery. This challenged the ruling eight-babies world record of Nadya Slueman, California, USA, in the Guinness World Records.

The record did not change heads or stomachs, not yet, as there is a weighty competition from a 37 years old woman in Pretoria, South Africa, Gosiame Thamara Sithole, who this week gave birth to 10 babies-five through natural birth and five through Caesarean section, seven boys and three girls, in a single delivery. In her previous adventure Gosiame Sithole had given birth to twins, who are now six years old.

Wonder where we are heading? Better start getting that flight to the Moon or Mars ready?

Meanwhile, in Nigeria the Town of Igbo-Ora has an unusually high birth rate of twins, where you might think you are seeing double. The Town has one of the highest birth rates of twins in the world.

China, which is struggling with birth rates and recently upgraded itself to a three-child policy, needs to send a team out to Africa in general, and Nigeria in particular, to penetrate the secret that makes the twins-show tick. Beg, borrow, or steal twins-making technology? China Can!

Animal Planet

24,000 Years Under the Ice

Heard of something called Bdelloid Rotifer? I haven’t until today.

They are unique microscopic, multicellular freshwater invertebrates with complex anatomies that are one of Earth’s most radiant-resistant animals. They can withstand extreme acidity, starvation, low oxygen, years of dehydration, and just about any form of torture.

They are solely female, reproduce entirely asexually and have avoided sex for nearly 80 million years. That’s loneliness to the limits. They have a complete digestive tract that includes a mouth and an anus and have the ability to halt all activities and almost entirely arresting their metabolism. At any point in their life cycle they can be completely dried-out and ‘vanish’ in to a sublime dormant state. And can spring back to life – alive and kicking- after tens of thousands of years in deep freeze.

The closest relatives of the Bdelloid Rotifer are the Tardigrades or ‘water bears’, which are impossibly cute animals and perhaps the hardest animals alive and known to survive incredibly inhospitable conditions. That’s toughness written all over them.

This week, Scientists in Siberia discovered Bdelloid Rotifer that have survived 24,000 years frozen in Siberian Permafrost at a time when Woolly Mammoths still roamed the planet. Scientists collected samples by drilling about 11 feet below the surface of permafrost in northeastern Siberia. They found living Bdelloid Rotifers locked in the ancient permafrost, whose average temperature hovers around 14 degrees Fahrenheit. They then successfully ‘revived’ the animal, after all these years of ‘sleep-walking’.

Sleeping Beauty and Snow White could have been ‘distant relatives’? But the Bdelloid Rotifer dwarfs them by thousands of years.

Dinosaurs Down Under

Scientists have confirmed a new dinosaur species in Australia as one of the largest in the Continent, fourteen years after it was first discovered in 2007 when cattle farmers uncovered bones of the animal on a farm in South-West Queensland. Farming can be productive to the bone.

The Australotitan Cooperensis or the ‘Southern Titan’, nicknamed ‘Cooper’ is one among the 15 largest dinosaurs found worldwide, joining an elite group of Titanosaurs previously only discovered in South America. It reaches a height of nearly 6.5 metres at the hip and 25-30 metres in tip-of-nose to tip-of-tail length, making it as long as a basketball court and as tall as a two-storey building.

Cooper, the plant-eating long-necked sauropod lived in the Cretaceous Period between 92 million and 96 million years ago when Australia was attached to, and a part of Antarctica.

The time taken to confirm the find, since the first find, is itself ‘dinosaurian’! Meanwhile Australia continues to amaze us with mind-boggling animals grabbing our attention week after week.

Elephants Get Lost in China

While China is within striking distance of ‘herd immunity’ against the coronavirus, a different kind of herd-15 wild Asian Elephants, including three calves, decided to do the Elephant Dance and steadily marched from China’s South-West province of Yunnan, escaping from the Nature Reserve of Xishuangbanna-near the border with Laos and Myanmar-to the North, Jinning District, on the outskirts of Kunming.

That’s a distance of over 500km: the journey of which began about 15 months ago, early last year. Drone photos showed ‘the gang’ taking a well-deserved, cute rest, sleeping on their sides with calves snuggling to find the cosiest position to curl their young trunks.

The Elephant trek has captivated millions of people who are herding themselves remotely with the Elephants, enjoying the journey, watching their every move – thanks to a ‘herd of drones’ buzzing above them.

Along the way the Elephants have had a whale of a time on land, breaking into Villagers’ homes, eating their food, drinking their water and destroying their crops. They have showed a growing interest in alcohol laden wooden barrels, and last month one of the baby elephants passed-out on trunking one such barrel, and was able to join the herd only the next day. Another broke into a car dealership and obviously couldn’t find itself a seat to drive. On the last count 400 separate incidents of break-in’s and damages were reported on the route costing over a million bucks.

Local Authorities have tried to steer the Elephants in directions away from Villages, Small Towns, and Cities by laying cobs of corn, bananas, and pineapples. They pounced on the corn, but largely ignored the pineapples, and kept the direction.

No-one seems to have any idea why the Elephants left their home. Did they sense an Earthquake or smell a Volcano, or another kind of disease Outbreak? Or did they simply run out of their favourite foods? Maybe the Leader of the Elephant Herd is lacking in experience and led the whole group astray. A loss of head?

Herd yourself for updates and stories in the coming weeks.


About: the world this week, 31st May to 5th June 2021, births, digging down into History, Tennis, Hacking, Greek words, and fresh lingering music.


Born in China

China has the largest population in the World with about 1.44 billion…and not growing at all. This was brought about by its One-Child Policy, introduced in 1979, to slow the then burgeoning population. Families that violated the rules faced fines, loss of employment, and sometimes forced abortions. This eventually led to a severe imbalance between the boys & the girls, besides falling birth-rates.

Staring at a ‘blank’ future, ageing workforce, and not enough people to get work done, China scrapped the One-Child Policy in 2016, replacing it with a Two-Child Policy. This failed to lead to a sustained upsurge in births, which consequently pushed them to start thinking about ‘Three’.

The cost of raising children in cities has deterred many Chinese couples from having more kids. And China may have to find ways to incentivise its people to make babies.

China carried out a comprehensive census in late 2020, when some seven million census-takers went door-to-door to collect information from Chinese households. The census, released earlier this month, showed that around 12 million babies were born last year-a significant decrease from the 18 million in 2016, and the lowest number of births recorded since the 1960s. That was alarming.

Acting on the results of the census, China has announced that it will now allow couples to have up to three children.

Of course, it takes two to tango; to make-up their minds, to expand to five. That’s lots of bed-work. If they were not attracted by two, will they fall for three. Guess, the future is pregnant with results. Will China continue its ‘people domination’, on Earth? India is close behind and I do not wish it to overtake China on this count. Let them win!

The Canada Dig

Kamloops (meeting of the waters) is a city in South-Central British Columbia, Canada, at the confluence of two branches of the Thompson River. It is known as the Tournament Capital of Canada, hosting more than 100 Tournaments each year at world-class sports facilities. It is also a designated ‘Bee City’, with numerous organisations protecting and creating bumble bee habitats in the city.

Traditionally, Kamloops was the land of indigenous people: Secwepemc, Nlaka’pamus, and other North American Indians tribes, who were almost completely wiped-out during the smallpox epidemic of 1862. Thereafter, their lands were gradually taken over and occupied by the colonising invaders from Europe.

The Kamloops Indian Residential school (KIRS) was established in 1893 outgrowing the Kamloops Industrial School, which was first started with the aim of acculturating indigenous children. It was one of the largest in Canada, opened and operated from the late 19th century to the late 1970s, by the Catholic Church until the Government took it over in the late 1960s.

In the year 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a Report detailing the devastating legacy of the country’s residential school system when tens of thousands of mostly indigenous children were separated from their families and forced to attend residential schools. At least 130 schools were in operation across Canada between the late 19th century and 1996, many run by the Catholic Church or the Government.

The Report determined that at least 4,000 children died of disease, neglect, accidents or abuse while at these schools, and detailed decades of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse suffered by children in these schools.

The gruesome discovery took decades to unravel and for some survivors of the KIRS in Canada, the confirmation that children as young as 3 years, were buried on school grounds crystallises the sorrow they have carried all their lives. Imagine, on one school-day morning, never ever seeing your next bench class-mate, and never knowing what happened!

This past weekend, with the help of a ground penetrating radar specialist, the truth of the preliminary findings came to the surface: the confirmation of the remains of 215 children buried in the School, who were students of the KIRS. These missing children were undocumented deaths.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged the truth that Residential Schools were a reality, a tragedy that existed in the country, which has to be owned-up and further investigated.

The further humankind moves ahead and the deeper we dig into our history the more barbaric are the deeds that tumble out. Tales of decimation, genocide, and ruthless subjugation of races are hard truths we need to face, and resolve never to repeat again. We stand on the shoulders of civilizations that went through these cataclysmic times.

America’s Colours: Black & White

In the 1920’s, a glistening city-within-a-city, Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States of America, was home to grocery and retail stores, theatres, restaurants and hotels: all the businesses and services that would cater to Afro-American residents of a segregated state. Greenwood’s streets were lined with the stately mansions of doctors and business tycoons who made the American Dream, as well as the more modest dwellings of domestic workers. It was so prosperous that it became known as ‘Black Wall Street.’

The affluence of Greenwood ‘created a tie-in between Black Tulsans and White Tulsans. But it was mostly about perspective. White Tulsans talked about Greenwood as ‘Little Africa’ or ‘Nigger Land.’

One hundred years ago, on May 31, 1921, that racial animosity became fuel for a horrific massacre, which all of America would like to forget, forever.

A lynch mob formed in downtown Tulsa after a 19 years old Black man was accused of assaulting a White woman. That night, thousands of White Tulsans launched an all-out assault on Greenwood, with rifles, machine guns, torches and aerial bombings from private planes, proceeding to burn, loot and kill until scores were dead and 35 city blocks were destroyed. The rampage lasted into the next afternoon, leaving 10,000 Black Tulsans homeless and their community burned to nothing but ash and rubble.

It’s unknown how many people were killed but it’s estimated as many as 300 lost their lives in the massacre.

One hundred years later, Tulsa is still reckoning with this violent history. As it does, Americans across the country face another truth: Tulsa wasn’t alone.

Between the end of the American Civil War and the 1940s, the destruction seen in Tulsa happened in various ways to communities of colour across the country.

Still, Black Americans created pockets of wealth during the Reconstruction years and into the early 20th century. Yet, where Black Americans created a refuge, White Americans pushed back through political manoeuvring and violence.

This year marks the centennial of the Tulsa Massacre: the heinous attack on the Black enclave of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history. And it was part of a larger pattern of assault.

French Open: Closed Minds

The 2021 French Open Grand Slam Tennis Tournament rolled out this year on the Roland Garros Clay Courts, Paris, on 30th May, after it was postponed by a week due to the pandemic. The Tournament ends on 13th June 2021.

Japan’s superstar Tennis Player Naomi Osaka, 23, Four-time Grand Slam winner and second seed, came into the Tournament saying that she will not participate in the mandatory Press Conferences, especially the post-match interactions, as it concerned her mental health well-being. She said that Athletes are often asked questions that have been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into the minds of the athletes. ‘I’m not going to subject myself to people that doubt me’ she said. And added, ‘the whole situation is kicking a person while they’re down and I don’t understand the reasoning behind it’.

Naomi won her first round match against Romanian Maria Patricia Tig, on Sunday and was promptly fined USD 15,000 by the French Open Authorities for not participating in the Press Conference and failing to meet contractual obligations.

Subsequently, Naomi Osaka announced that she’s withdrawing from the French Open so that everyone can get back to focussing on the game and that she did not want to be a distraction.

We see athletes ‘talking through their respective sport’: the questions and the answers are out there, right in front of them. A ‘meet-the-press’ cannot and should not be forced: it should be left to the athlete to freely discuss an ‘invisible’ strategy, a method, a feeling. Not everyone can play the way they play and we have to understand and acknowledge as much.

Hacking: Pipelines and Meat

We live in a digital world with most of our work being done online, on the internet-the world wide web-with data stored in a cloud, and hard paperwork seeing the end of days. When was the last time you visited a Bank to fill a Challan?

Digital life increases our vulnerability to hacking with a minefield of booby-traps out there: you may never know when you accidentally step on one.

Ransomware is a malicious computer virus, which riding ‘maskless’ on the internet finds a way to infect your Computer and threatens to destroy all your files unless you pay a ransom. Ransomware attacks increased by about 300%, last year. And they do not seem to be hitting a lower, slower gear.

In recent times, the United States of America (USA) found itself dancing to the tune of ransomware music. Remember Russia being accused of hacking the US Elections? I really wonder how that could be done-Russians seem to be coldly on top here. Wonder what kind of a Sputnik Vaccine they use to stay safe?

Last month the USA’s Colonial Pipeline, which is about 8,900 km long, and carries 2.5 million barrels a day-about 45% of the East Coast’s supply of diesel, petrol, and jet fuel- was hit by a ransomware cyber-attack which took the pipeline offline. This triggered fears about fuel shortages generating panic buying: prices jumped, pumps ran dry, and people even went to the extent of filling plastic bags with fuel.

How can a pipeline be hacked? Modern operation systems are extremely digital: Pressure sensors, thermostats, valves & pumps are used to monitor and control fuel passing through the hundreds of kilometres of piping. Smart Pigs (Pipeline Inspection Gauge) Robots are used to check pipelines for anomalies. All this is connected to a Central System, controlled by computers. And therein lies the risk. The biggest attacks are through an innocuous looking email when an employee can be tricked into downloading malicious malware.

On another front, hackers compromised the US Agency for International Development’s account with Constant Contact, an email marketing service. And from there, targeted around 3,000 email accounts, affecting over 150 government agencies (including some in the US), think tanks, and Non-Governmental (NGO) Organisations. At least 23 other countries fell victim to the hack.

Now let’s meet the ‘meat’ of it all. A few days ago a ransomware attack caused JBS, the world’s largest meat supplier to close down all of its US Beef Plants. In the USA, JBS processes nearly one-quarter of the country’s beef and one-fifth of its pork.

JBS has more than 150 plants in 15 countries with 150,000 employees worldwide. It was founded in Brazil in 1953 as a slaughtering business by rancher Jose Batista Sobrinho (the JBS comes from his initials). Its customers include supermarkets and fast-food outlet McDonald’s.

Who are the guys doing this? It’s Hacking Groups, many of which are based in Russia. DarkSide, a criminal hacking group, managed to walk away with $4.4 million in ransom money, paid in Bitcoin, after it hacked Colonial Pipeline. Nobelium, a Russian group is suspected to be behind last year’s US Government data breach. And JBS is suspecting criminal Russian hackers too.

What do we do to protect ourselves from hacking?

Follow the age-old advice: Do not open suspicious email attachments or links to unsolicited emails; back-up your data in an external storage; and keep your software patches up-to-date. Also contact an expert when you are under attack.

A Prime Minister Marries

Last Saturday, Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, 56, married partner Carrie Symonds,33, in London’s Westminster Cathedral in a ceremony attended by 30 friends and family, planned in strict secrecy.

Johnson had divorced his first wife, Allegra Mostyn-Owen, in 1993, and divorced his second wife, Marina Wheeler, in November last year. This is the third marriage for Boris Johnson and the first for Carrie Symonds.

Boris Johnson is only the second British Prime Minister to marry while in office, the first being Robert Jenkinson’s wedding to Mary Chester in 1822.

Earlier, the couple had announced their engagement in February 2020, followed by the announcement of the birth of their first child-a son, Wilfred, in April 2020, and now, the Wedding has been announced and secretly sealed.

Somethings work backwards, for sure. History being made in many dimensions.

WHO goes Greek

Viruses constantly change through mutation to better their prospects of climbing onto humans and increasing the ‘slave-trade’.

A Variant Of Concern (VOC) is a virus, which has done its homework well and where there is strong evidence of increase in transmutability and infection. A Variant of Interest (VOI) is one just beginning to learn the ropes of infection from its Big Brother VOC, and is closely watched by the Scientific Community, while in school hoping that it never graduates.

This week, The World Heath Organization (WHO), opened its Greek Dictionary and went on a (re) naming spree of SARS-CoV-2 Variants, to prevent stigmatising the countries in which they were first discovered. Rightfully so. I never liked the term ‘Indian Variant’ being used, or for that matter, ‘The UK Variant’, or the ’South-African Variant’. Let’s kill them. And now lets spin the Greek alphabet.

The current VOCs are: The B.1.1.7 Variant first detected in the United Kingdom in September 2020 and designated on 18 December 2020, is now called Alpha; the B.1.351 first detected in South Africa in May 2020, and designated on 18 December 2020, is called Beta; the P.1 first detected in Brazil in November 2020 and designated on 11th January 2021, is called Gamma, and B.1.671.2 first detected in Indian in India, in October 2020, and designated on 11th May 2021, is called Delta.

The current VOIs are: B.1.427/B.1.429 first detected in the United States of America in March 2020 and designated on 5th March 2021 is Epsilon, and B.1.617.1, first detected in India in October 2020, and designated on 4th April 2021 is Kappa

Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, are other VOI’s first found in Brazil, multiple Countries, Philippines, and the USA respectively.

In summary, we are now living with 4 VOCs and 6 VOIs, as on 31st May 2021. Better start learning Greek?

India Gets on Top – One More Time

India shrugged off what appeared to be its initial deer-caught-in-the headlights stage and waged a tenacious battle to bring down COVID-19 infections. This week the score plunged to lower levels matched only by the quixotic rise of the previous weeks. Many Locked-down States took baby-steps to begin to re-open, again.

At the same time India is going all out to establish a steady supply of Vaccines for all its people. The Government came out with a promise to get all Indian adults vaccinated by December 2021.

I’m confident it can be done. India has already done 22.41 crore vaccinations as on 4th June, and is jabbing at the rate of near about 3 million per day.

Please Yourself: The Sound of Olivia

My music playlist has not been updated in a very long time: I’m kind of an oldies guy, still Staying Alive with the Bee Gees, Imagining with John Lennon, calling Fernando with ABBA, Waiting for a Girl Like You with Foreigner, trying to Fearlessly and Swiftly ‘Taylor’ a Bridge Over Troubled Waters with Simon & Garfunkel, and Getting Old (The Older I Get) with Alan Jackson, when I chanced upon the refreshing music of American Actress, Singer, and Songwriter, Olivia Rodrigo.

Olivia is 18 years old and is just getting started in her musical career, but she’s already off to one of the best starts anyone has ever enjoyed in the history of America’s Billboard Charts. Her debut album Sour reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with one of the largest opening’s in recent memory.

Sour has enjoyed incredible success and three tracks that were released ahead of the album as promotional cuts debuted inside the top 10 on the Hot 100 List, with two opening in first place. Both ‘Drivers License’ and ‘Good For You’ debuted at the top of the list, while second cut ‘Deja Vu’ rose to No. 8.

It’s very likely that due to the superb first-week performance of Sour and all of its songs, the entire track list may make its way to the Hot 100. When Billboard refreshes that List Olivia may dominate like nobody else.

I listened to all the eleven songs of Sour, and it was anything but sour-made me ‘happier’ than I thought it would. The lyrics are vibrant and linger. And I particularly fell in love with ‘jealousy, jealousy (co-comparison is killing me slowly. I think too much ’bout kids who don’t know me) and ‘hope that you’re okay’ (Nothing’s forever, nothing’s as good as it seems. And when the clouds won’t iron out. And the Monsters creep into your house. And every door is hard to close).

Olivia has written most of the songs. “I’m a very in-the-present songwriter,” she said in an interview. “I write songs when I’m in the depths of my emotions.”

Go ahead, listen to Olivia and fall in love, deeply, with her songs-I just did.

More depth-of-the-emotion stories coming up in the weeks ahead. And I promise they won’t be sour.


About: the world this week, 23rd May to 30th May 2021, flying and surviving.


‘Plain’ State Hijacking

On 23rd May, Ryanair Flight FR4978, a Boeing-737 with 171 people on board was on a routine flight from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius in Lithuania. While briefly in the airspace of Belarus, and on the verge of beginning its descent into Vilnius, it suddenly changed direction and landed in Minsk, capital of Belarus, escorted by a Belarus military MIG29 jet. This was despite the fact Vilnius was the nearest Airport, for an emergency landing.

The Ryanair crew was brought to speed about a possible security risk-a bomb on the plane, set-off to explode over Vilnius: the tense situation forcing the Captain to declare an emergency and land in Minsk, as directed by the Belarus Air Traffic Controllers.

Turns out that the ‘bomb’ was actually 26 years old Belarusian journalist and Opposition Activist Roman Protasevich who lives in exile in Lithuania. He is on a ‘Wanted List’, on a variety of charges and was conveniently on the plane. As soon as the plane landed he was promptly arrested, along with his Russian girlfriend-who was travelling with him-by the Belarus Interior Ministry. A bomb squad, including dogs, went through the motions of trying to sniff other kinds of bombs on the plane.

The ‘bomb’ order was given by the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, a brutal and unpredictable leader who has been fending of Opposition protests, clinging to power, since claiming victory in last year’s hotly-contested election, widely condemned by many countries.

The forced diversion of the Ryanair Plane was quickly branded as a case of ‘State Hijacking’ and called as utterly unacceptable and outrageous, by the European Union, the United States, and other Countries.

Roman and fellow dissident Stepan Putilo co-founded the opposition Nexta Channel on the messaging platform, Telegram, which was used for mobilising street protests against the Lukashenko Regime, in Belarus. Nexta and Nexta-Live have nearly two million subscribers. They manage to get round heavy State censorship and reach out to people.

Roman Protasevich faces serious charges of organising mass riots and group action against the 26-year rule of President Lukashenko, that grossly violate public order, and Rules of the Land. He faces a possible death penalty.

Beginning to smell like Myanmar of a different kind. Terrorists and cold-blooded hijackers are lying and flying low: the State is warming-up, flying high, and filling-in?

Myanmar Paralysis

Every week I struggle to find words to headline what’s happening in Myanmar.

This week more than 125,000 school teachers-that’s about 29% of all school teachers in Myanmar-were suspended for joining the civil disobedience movement opposing the military coup that overthrew the country’s elected government this February.

The suspensions have come days before the start of a new school year, which some teachers and parents are boycotting as part of a campaign that has paralysed the country since the military seized power.

Myanmar’s education system is one of the poorest in the region, and ranked 92nd of 93 countries in a global survey last year. The spending on education is below 2% of GDP.

Many parents are seriously considering not to send their children to a school run by the Military Dictatorship. We need no education: more to learn on the ground?

Samoa: Democracy in a Tent

Samoa is a Polynesain Island country consisting of two main islands and several other smaller islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The capital city is Apia. The nearest countries around are New Zealand, Australia, and Papua New Guinea.

Early this week, Samoa’s first female Prime Minister, and a former Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, was sworn into office in a tent set-up in the Parliament Gardens, after she found herself locked out of Parliament by her opponent. She was administered the oath of office by the country’s Chief Justice.

Her opponent, the China-leaning, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, the incumbent prime minister for 22 years, had ignored a court order to step down and cede power. Instead, he nudged his Party to lock-down Parliament Building, causing the ugly scene. He is the world’s second longest serving prime minister and does not seem to have had enough of it.

The controversy comes a month after the closest run general election in Samoa’s history, which was followed by bitter disputes and legal challenges. Malielegaoi’s Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) was ousted from power after four decades by Mata’afa’s FAST (Faatuataua i le Atua Samoa ua Tasi – meaning, Faith in one God of Samoa) Party. Both parties won 25 seats each, but a single independent Member of Parliament (MP) broke the tie in favour of the FAST.

That led to legal manoeuvring by the HRPP, which claimed its opponents had not correctly met the quota of female MPs. Samoa’s Election Commission revoked the results of the April vote and called for a fresh election on 21st May. But five days ahead of the re-run, the Samoa’s Supreme Court ruled against the HRPP, re-endorsing the results of the election and ordered the swearing-in of Mata’afa to go ahead.

After serving as Polynesia’s first female Deputy Prime Minister Mata’afa’s success in the general election makes her only the second woman in the region to head a government. She is the daughter of the country’s first prime minister, and has been in active politics since the mid 1980s. Looks like she brings a lot to the tent.

Manu Siva Tau is a traditional Samoan war dance often performed by Samoan sporting teams before a match. Only this time the theme has been usurped by Political Parties, and they continue to dance even after the match! Meanwhile, the faith in God needs to work.

That poor fellow ‘Democracy’, is being hotly-contested, furiously challenged, kicked-around, rubber-bulleted, tear-gassed, and shot, all around the World. Yet surviving (for want of a better alternative?).

Enter The Devil

This week, ‘Devils’ were born on the Australian mainland for the first time in more than 3000 years, after they died out, to extinction, in the mainland. Seven baby Tasmanian Devils-known as joeys-were born at the 988 acre Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary in New South Wales.

Female Devils give birth to between 20 and 40 joeys at a time, which then race to the mother’s pouch containing only four teats. First come first served! Only those that make it to the pouch and drink the juice of life, survive. After around three months of drinking, they walk out of the pouch, into the world of Angels, and other Devils.

The Tasmanian Devil is the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial (having a baby pouch-like the Kangaroo) reaching about 2.5 feet in length and tipping the scales at over 12 kilograms. They have a coat of coarse brown or black fur and a stocky profile that gives them the appearance of a baby bear. Most have a white stripe or patch on their chest and light spots on their sides or rear. They have long front legs and shorter rear legs, giving them a pig-like gait. Their oversized head has a mouth full of sharp teeth and strong muscular jaws that can deliver one of the most powerful bites for any animal.

They earned the name ‘Devil’ from their hyena-like teeth, and aggressive posturing, releasing spine-chilling guttural growls when threatened, defending a meal, or fighting for a mate.

Once abundant throughout Australia, they are now found only on the Australian owned island of Tasmania with over 25,000 of them in the wild. Their extinction on the mainland could be due to the introduction of Asian Dogs-or Dingoes- into Australia. However, their numbers suffered another knock-out blow from a contagious form of cancer known as Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD), which has killed around 90% of the population since it was first discovered in 1996. The rare contagious cancer causes large lumps to form around the animal’s mouth and head making it extremely difficult to eat-the animal eventually starves to death.

The Devils are native apex predators and also scavengers. This means their reintroduction will help control the population of feral cats and foxes that hunt other endangered species, while their scavenging skills will keep the environment clean and free from disease.

Australia needs every kind of animal to do its job. Last week I talked about mice overrunning the mainland. Now they are getting started with the Devils.

A known Devil is better than an unknown Angel? Only time will tell!

India Fights Back

When highly developed countries were battered by waves of the coronavirus and had equal or worse situations, India with its starving healthcare system struggling to breathe, fought the second wave of COVID-19 with awesome gusto. And now, after the nightmare of tails-up, never-ending action, it is heads-up with falling cases of infection and test positivity percentages. A time to cheer.

New daily Infections are at currently about 1.75 Lakh per day, and the lowest in 44 days. The average India daily test positivity rate is at about 9%. And the recovery rate is 90.34%. The total vaccination is India stands at above 20.50 crore.

The Government has promised to get India full vaccinated by December 2021. That’s ambitious and I hope it gets done so that we can open ourselves into a less virus dominated year in 2022. Oh, the years are flying!

The newly elected Government in my State of Tamilnadu (TN) promised to make it the top State in all aspects. It did just that. And right now, TN is at the head of the daily positive cases, while almost at the bottom of the table on the number of vaccinations done as a percentage of the population.

Maybe someone heard me and I learnt of a special Vaccination Camp for the 18 to 45 year olds happening this Thursday onwards in the Government Municipality School, next-door to my business place. I herded my employees-locked down in their homes-to make the best use of the opportunity and I’m glad they all listened. And got their first shots. My Business is now Vaccinated: all with at least one shot and the oldest person fully-with a double jab.

I would say we should not throw caution to the winds and prepare for worser things to come. ‘Once bitten, twice shy’ is a timeless saying. Mask-up, wash hands often, and keep the distance.

Please Yourself


The Eurovision Song Contest results were out this Sunday and Italy’s Maneskin won the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 with their entry, ‘Zitti e Buoni’ (Shut Up and Behave) performed live by the Group. The song was written by the Band’s members, Damiano David (Lead Singer), Ethan Torchio (Drums), Thomas Raggi (Guitar), and Victoria De Angelis(Bass). They scored 524 points to win.

Maneskin are a heavy-metal Band from Rome. This is a first win in the contest for Rome and the third for Italy, which has been in the competition since inauguration of the Eurovision Contest in 1956. It was bare-chested, eye-lined, punk-funk rock performance with the Band singing in their native language.

There were some splitting moments during the contest when lead singer Damiano accidentally split his pants-in the front and sides. Later he had to deny taking cocaine, live on TV after appearing to do a kind of snorting action during the performance. However an investigation conducted into the charges, unambiguously cleared Damiano.

Runners-up was the French singer, Barbara Pravi, in the second place and Switzerland’s Gjon’s Tears, in the third.

The contest was held in Rotterdam, Netherlands which was due to host the event in 2020, but was cancelled due to the pandemic and held, as we ‘heard’ this year. The winning country hosts the Contest, next year. Over to Italy.

Designated Survivor

Lockdowns are useful for discovering new ways of surviving this phase of intense virus blasts. I was nudged by one of my best Engineering College friends to watch the Netflix political, thriller, drama, Designated Survivor, with a warning ‘you may end-up binge watching’.

I told myself, here I am, a ‘Designated Sage’ reading the Baghavad Gita, as often as possible, finding hidden meanings, expanding known beliefs, and meditating regularly to rein my mind to peacefully pursue my written-down goals. Surely nothing can get me astray. I even cleverly had Darius Foroux’s, Thinking Straight, by my side, which I have been reading and re-reading.

After watching the first Episode, Season-1, then the second, then the third, and the fourth…and all my mind (and time) control went for a thrilling toss. I decided to pack my bags, catch a plane and settle down in one of the 132 rooms in the White House, Washington DC, to watch the drama unfold in close quarters. Well, literally.

A ‘designated survivor’ is a person who is chosen to stay at an undisclosed secret location, under the guard of the Secret Service, away from major events such as the State of Union Address or Presidential inaugurations when the entire Government is assembled in one place. The thinking is that there is someone ‘left behind’ to take charge of the Government in the event of a terror attack when the entire Government may be killed, wiped-out.

‘Designated’ becomes real, when a US Secretary of Housing & Urban Development suddenly ascends, to unexpectedly become the President of the United States after a horrific explosion in Capitol Hill Building during the State of the Union Address kills the President and everyone ahead of him in the presidential line of succession.

Kiefer Sutherland stars as Thomas Kirkman, the Designated Survivor, who becomes the President and smartly navigates himself from one tense nerve-wracking situation to another, to pull the country out of a headless crisis and put in place a Government. He plays the role of lifetime in a scorching performance. Others characters, I was forced to fall in love are, Emily Rhodes- Special Advisor/Chief Of Staff, Hannah Wells – FBI Special Agent, Chuck Russink – FBI Analyst, and Seth Wright – Press Secretary.

Watch it for the thrilling turn-of events, the investigative sequences, in every episode, which keeps you on the edge of your seat, the curt dialogues, the acting, and shooting…and prepare for the binge!

More music-in life-and survival stories coming up in the weeks ahead.


About: the world this week, 16th May to 22th May 2021, different kinds of music – beauty, rocket-guns, mice, tics, and actual song.


Miss Universe

The 69th Miss Universe Competition was played on 16th May at the world’s first and only Guitar Hotel, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, United States of America.

The first note-a winning tune-of the Miss Universe 2020 Crown was strung by Miss Mexico, Andrea Meza, 26, from Chihuahua City, Mexico. She was crowned Miss Universe by the outgoing Miss Universe, South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi.

Andrea has a degree in software engineering, is an activist focused on women’s rights, and currently works closely with the Municipal Institute for Women in her City. She is also a certified make-up artist and model. That brings wonderful assets to the catwalk.

The second note was by the 1st Runner-up, Miss Brazil, Julia Gama, and the next notes by, the 2nd Runner-up, Miss Peru, Janick Maceta Del Castillo, the 3rd Runner-up, Miss India, Adline Castelino, and the 4th Runner-up, Miss Dominican Republic, Kimberly Jimenez Rodriguez. The Guitar kept its promise, delivering beautiful tunes.

Miss India-Universe, Adline Castelino was born and raised in Kuwait and moved to Mumbai, India, when she was 15 years old. And she can trace her roots to Udupi, in Karnataka State, India. She had a stutter ever since she can remember, which took her years of practice to conquer and hold a clear conversation. I can sync with her on this as I too had a stutter, which took me layered years of hard ‘make-up’ to overcome and make sound conversation.

In the National Costume round, Adline draped herself in the traditional six-yard Indian saree, inspired by India’s national flower, the lotus, designed by Hyderabad based designer Shravan Kumar. The border and pallu of the saree was encrusted with embroidery depicting the three-hundred-years-old Pichwai Art (a traditional style of painting identified with the Sate of Rajasthan). It took Shravan and his artisans, the Nakshabandhas, more than five months of hand-work to create the stunning saree.

Adline Castelino has a business administration degree and is a top model, working with India’s leading talent agencies, and is seen on magazine covers, television and digital campaigns for major fashion and lifestyle brands.

Only two Indians have ever won the Miss Universe Title: the first-ever being, one of my all-time favourites, Sushmita Sen, in the year 1994, and the flawless Lara Dutta, in 2000. This year’s Third Runner-up is the closest India could get to the Title, in a very long time.

All the 73 Beauty Queens from around the world, participating in the competition, were fabulously beautiful and I find myself lost in a world of beauty…and for a brief moment my stutter returned.

Israel and the militant Hamas

The deadliest conflict since 2014, between the ever warring parties-Israel and the Palestinians-came to an end this week after 11 days of fighting in which over 200 people died, mostly on the Palestine side. A ceasefire was brokered by Egypt, nudged by the United Nations, United States, Germany, and other Nations.

The guns fall silent from this Friday onwards. Such ceasefires are always tenuous and at it remains to be seen if it can brave any new sparks. And of course, both sides claimed victory.

Earlier, in to the second week of hostilities, Israel went about pounding Gaza with what seemed like never-ending Airstrikes, destroying buildings believed to house Hamas leaders, offices & intelligence systems, and tunnel networks, while Hamas kept-up the Rocket throws into Israel. Israel’s block-buster Iron-Dome system designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells was the Rambo of this session of warfare.

It is abundantly clear that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Hamas have failed the Palestinians with their overtly aggressive and militant posturing, and refusing to recognise tiny Israel in the middle of an Ocean of Arab country. Can they change their stripes? The Palestinians ‘need to grow a Gandhi’ who has an ear to the heart of every Palestinian and can peacefully negotiate a settlement with Israel. You simply cannot beat Israel with rockets and gun-fire: you may, without it.

The Mouse Down Under – Need Pied Piper Services?

The last time I talked about Australia was about the deluge and how spiders, snakes, and rodents were spilling over from wet ground to dry ground, especially in to the warm homes of people. I missed one rodent, and now it has come calling. The rains actually did good, creating fertile ground for a bumper harvest. And the grain in Australia was stored in massive hay-sheds in the fields, which then brought this rodent out from the cold.

This time it’s a swarm of mice which are ravaging fields, infesting homes and factories causing millions of dollars in damage to crops and machinery, prompting Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister to declare, ‘The only good mouse is a dead mouse’.

The ‘mice-ed’ areas are Eastern Australia, from the Victoria Border in the South all the way to the Country’s Northern State of Queensland.

At least 800 to 1000 mice per hectare is considered ‘plague’ by Australia’s National Science Agency. And trying to count the number of mice running around Eastern Australia right now is akin to trying to count the stars in the sky.

A pair of mice can produce 500 offspring each season, with females delivering a new litter every three weeks. And all these litters need food – that’s available aplenty!

A New South Wales Farmer calls his Tractor a ‘Mouse Hotel’ as it has been overrun by mice. Another Small Town Resident spends her days disposing of dead mice from traps in her client’s homes. She cleans the mouse excrement out of people’s kitchens, children’s rooms, and even their beds. In her own home she has blocked every nook and cranny with steel-wool to stop mice from crawling in.

Australia, always full of surprises, is looking beyond ordinary mouse traps and is wheeling out heavy weaponry to fight the mice (borrow that Iron-Dome from Israel?) It has secured one of the world’s strongest mice-killing chemicals, Bromadiolone-a poison so potent that it kills with one dose. There are concerns too, as the highly toxic chemical could taint food crops and kill local wildlife. As winter approaches, the mice would be searching for homes to settle into. Wonder, what the cats are doing?

It’s a vicious circle and maybe Australia should call for the services of the famous Pied Piper of Hamelin-if ever there was one. Mice-out a descendant from Germany, maybe?

A Pandemic Tour of Seychelles

The country of Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, with a population of about 98,000 people. Tourism directly or indirectly generates about 72% of GDP(Gross Domestic Product) and employs more than 30% of the population.

Though Seychelles is one of the most vaccinated nations in the world, it is also experiencing a wave of coronavirus outbreak and this could be a bellwether of things to come in other parts, as we freakout on getting people vaccinated.

The country has fully immunised about 63% of its population using the China made SinoPharm, and the India made Covishield-of the AstraZeneca vaccine. 57% of the fully vaccinated people received SinoPharm, which was given to those between the ages of 18 and 60, while 43% took Covishield, which was given to those over 60.

About a month ago, the Seychelles confident of having overcome Covid-19, dropped most tourist restrictions. With few cases and a mass vaccination campaign underway, the country re-opened its borders to almost all international travellers: anyone with a negative test report could enter the country without quarantining. At that time the country had reported fewer than 3800 cases and 16 deaths.

Since then, the total cases have more than doubled to 9184 and 32 deaths. Of the current active cases, 33% are the fully vaccinated people and though infected nobody is getting seriously sick, nobody is dying, nobody is developing complications. People in the islands have been socializing without taking precautions. And let down their guard, leading to the current spike in cases.

The conclusion is, that the vaccines are indeed protecting people. If not for the vaccines things would have been worse. It is also a reminder that even after widespread vaccinations, infections are unlikely to stop completely. Countries need to be wary of new variants and transmission. And the ‘Seychelles Effect’ may not necessarily be mirrored in other parts of the world.

Cyclone Tauktae

They sure have a way of naming Hurricanes, Cyclones, and Storms-stays in the mind, after they have long gone.

Cyclone Tauktae was born in the Arabian Sea and grew up to wind speeds over 180km per hour and blazed through the West Coat of India leaving the familiar ‘trail of destruction’, this week. Signs of climate change keep showing up ever so often that the Meteorological Department must be running out of names.

India’s Off-shore Oil Installations bore the brunt and were hammered with, up to eight metre high waves. More than 600 people working on Off-shore Rigs were rescued by the Indian Navy. About 49 are dead and 26 are missing from one of the Barges and the Indian Navy is doing a vigorous search.

On land, particularly in the State of Gujarat, Tauktae left its mark with many people saying that they never experienced such intensity in their lives. What with winds smashing Windows, uprooting trees and toppling power lines, more than 16,000 house were damaged in Gujarat.

India’s National Disaster Management Authority (NMDA) is up to the task and in recent times have rooted themselves to the job of saving lives and reducing the effects. I only wish they could whisper to the Storms-to take a path with the least devastation. Yssh…there’s another one coming-Yaash-in the Bay of Bengal, this time.

India and the Coronavirus

Belying various educated projections, India started showing a downhill trend after hitting a peak of 4.14 Lakh, in daily positive cases, on 6th May. However deaths stayed still, hovered around 4000 per day reaching an unfortunate high of 4529 on 18th May.

New daily Infections are at currently at about 2.5 Lakh per day. The average India test positivity ratio is at about 12.6%

Most States appear to have reached their peaks, but some like Tamil Nadu-now under a lockdown- are climbing every day. It was 36,184 cases on 21st May, with a test positivity ratio of over 21%. Close behind, in growth of cases, are Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal.

The total vaccination is India stands at over 19 crore with the three Vaccines, Covishield, Covaxin, and Sputnik V, being jabbed into willing arms. We all need to go for it at the first available opportunity-without any kind of hesitation. I’ve had my first shot of Covishield in early April and the Government has put off my second shot to between 12 and 16 weeks: I have been promised ‘more juice out of the Vaccine’. I can wait, so that others can fill the gap and rise up to the challenge of the virus.

Meanwhile, another infection called, Black Fungus or Mucormycosis, is latching on to COVID-19 survivors and beginning to spread across the country. The Centre has forewarned the States asking them to declare it as an epidemic. It did warn them about a deadly second wave in mid-March but, I reckon, things happened too quickly.

Black Fungus is caused by micro-organisms called mucormycetes, moulds that are present naturally in the environment-particularly damp- found mostly in soil and decaying organic matter such as leaves, compost, piles, and rotting wood. It infects the central nervous system, eyes and lungs leading to blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred vision, chest pain, difficulty in breathing and coughing of blood. An anti-fungal medicine called Amphotericin-B, is already available to treat the disease. Causes could be due to overuse of steroids during the COVID-19 treatment or poor hygiene in the oxygen delivery system to the patient, when in Hospital. The fungus goes through the first window of opportunity to invade the body in which a small opening is created by COVID-19, because of the sugars (high glucose levels), antibiotics, and many other things, which enables it to get a foothold.

However, Black Fungus is not contagious and does not spread from person to person.

The States most affected are Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Telangana. A total of 5500 cases with 126 lives lost have been reported.

It’s a tough time out there: we should hold together, support our local communities and the Governments at the State and Centre, follow directions, Standard Operating Procedures, and do our part simply by staying-put at home.

Please Yourself

The Eurovision Song Contest is an international song competition organised annually by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) with participants mainly from European countries. Each participating country submits an original song to be performed on live television and radio, transmitted to national broadcasters via the EBU’s Eurovision and Euroradio networks, with competing countries then casting votes for the other countries’ songs to determine a winner. The finals are coming up on Sunday, 23rd May.

A ticking participant in this year’s Eurovision is Norway’s entry, TIX-real name Andreas Haukeland-taking his name from the ‘tics’ he has due to his Tourette’s Syndrome(TS).

TS is a common neuro-developmental disorder which begins in childhood or adolescence. It is characterised by multiple movement (motor) tics and at least one vocal (phonic) tic. Common tics are blinking, coughing, throat clearing, sniffing, and facial movements. These are typically preceded by an unwanted urge or sensation in the affected muscles.

During the semi-final on Tuesday, TIX showed his tics live on stage by removing his sunglasses. TIX’s message to people is, ‘Don’t just be yourself, embrace yourself.’

He adds, ‘Once you embrace yourself, that’s when the happiness starts. TS is both a blessing and a curse, but try to focus on the blessing’.

Lots of ticking stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Stay Blessed.


About: The story of the world this week; how humankind soared again and flew into new legions, and how we tackled waves.


Wright Brothers Moment on Mars

America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has persevered in its Mars Mission and made history on 19th April by successfully flying its mini-helicopter, Ingenuity, on Mars: being the first aircraft to achieve controlled, powered flight on a planet beyond Earth.

For the first flight, the helicopter, weighing 1.8 kilograms, took off, climbed to about 3 meters above the ground, hovered in the air briefly, completed a 96 degree turn, and then landed. The entire flight lasted about 40 seconds. The first photo from Ingenuity showed the helicopter’s shadow on the Martian surface below, while the Martian Rover, Perseverance, watching from a distance, captured a stunning video of the historic flight on Mars. Glad that Perseverance and Ingenuity are friends on Mars-good to have that kind of warmth at such a cold distance.

The blades of an average helicopter on Earth rotate at a rate of 400 to 500 rotations per minute (rpm). The uniquely designed rotor blades of Ingenuity rotate at 2,500 rpm. More ‘rpm’ are required to achieve the lift and thrust in the extremely thin air of Mars. Ingenuity has a wireless communication system, is equipped with computers, navigation sensors, and cameras. It is solar-powered and can keep itself warm autonomously through the harshly cold Martian night-as low as minus 90 degrees Celsius. It has all the ‘hot wherewithal’ of living on its own.

NASA will now plan additional experimental flights of farther distance and greater altitude. And quick on the heels for the first flight, they did just that, when on 22nd April NASA succeeded in doing a more challenging second flight with a 50 second flight, climbing to 5 metres(m), doing a 5 degree tilt to accelerate sideways for a distance of 2m. It worked to precision and there was a second wave of celebrations.

Some of the Earth based ‘Martians’ revolving-and waving-behind Ingenuity’s success are: MiMi Aung, Ingenuity’s Project Manager, Timothy Canham-Mars Helicopter Operations Lead; Bob Balaram-Chief Engineer, Mars helicopter Project; Vandi Verma-Chief Engineer, Robotic Operations, and Havard Fjaer Grip-Ingenuity Chief Pilot (He sure had a grip of the flight).

This is definitely humankind’s Wright Bothers Moment on Mars. Congratulations NASA. I’m thrilled beyond any dimension.

Former US President, Barack Obama put it best, ‘With all the enormous challenges facing the world, it’s worth taking the time to appreciate extraordinary human achievement and our relentless impulse toward discovery’.

Black & White in America-I can’t breathe.

In what is being called, monumental and a historic moment of accountability, a white police officer was found guilty of murdering a black man while arresting him. And this is a rare conviction in the United States (US) of America and on this account, in part, the case is considered to be one of the most important in US History.

It is being called so, as Law Enforcing Officers kill about a thousand people a year in the US and a study found that only 121 have been charged with murder or manslaughter since 2005. And only 44 Officers were actually convicted. A lot has to be with strong Police Unions, which provide legal assistance when necessary.

Coming back to our topic and digging into the roots, on the evening of 25th May 2020, George Floyd, a 46 years old black man purchased cigarettes at Cup Foods, a Grocery Store in the Powderhorn Park neighbourhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, paying with a $20 Cash Note. A Store employee suspected it to be counterfeit and along with other employees confronted Floyd while he was in his car, demanding he return the cigarettes. On Floyd refusing, the Police was called-in on a complaint of passing fake cash notes and that Floyd was drunk and not in control of himself. In a sequence of events during the arrest, from getting Floyd off his car to a Police car across the street, Derek Chauvin, a white police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds when he was handcuffed and lying face down. Two other police officers assisted Chauvin in restraining Floyd. A fourth police officer prevented bystanders from interfering with the arrest as events unfolded.

While lying on the ground with Chauvin’s knee on his neck, Floyd cried out, ‘I can’t breathe’ 27 times and expressed fears of dying. After several minutes Floyd stopped speaking. For a further two minutes, he lay motionless and one for the Officers found no pulse when urged to check. Despite this, Chauvin refused pleas to lift his knee until medics told him to do so. The encounter with the Police was recorded on video by a 17 years old girl, Darnella Frazier, without which many say the Trial might have had a different outcome.

The death set off massive protests and looting in Minneapolis. And the protests spread across America, igniting the ‘Black Lives Matter’ banner.

Then, the sensational Trial convened late in March this year and became the most closely watched one in decades. For almost a year, George Floyd’s death has reverberated around the world-inspiring murals and marches, sparking conversations in living rooms and new legislation.

After 10 hours of discussions the Jury came to a conclusion finding Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts: Second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

It is rare that US police officers are charged over deaths in custody, but Derek Chauvin now faces a jail sentence for the killing of George Floyd. The sentence is expected to be delivered sometime in June this year.

The conviction is a landmark one, but true justice can prevail only when the colour of the skin does not come in the way of how a person, under suspicion of committing a crime, is treated. Black or White it should never matter.

Second Waves

The coronavirus pandemic is ferociously ravaging through India, upsetting any calculations that were made, or not made at all-riding out a second wave. Over three lakhs cases were reported on four consecutive days, being the single highest anywhere in the World since the pandemic began.

Hospitals were overwhelmed and ran out of beds, critical oxygen supplies, and medicines. The most affected States are, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, New Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh.

India’s Prime Minster went live on national Television urging people to stay strong, stick to the basics of infection prevention, break the cycle of infections, and said Lockdowns will not be the norm, but the last resort. ‘We don’t want to go in Lockdowns again’, he thundered. The virus better listen!

The Government has also decided to open up COVID-19 vaccination for all above 18 years from 1st May 2021 onwards and gave the States freedom in procurement of Vaccines. Indian Vaccine manufacturers will be handing over 50% of their production to the Government and the other 50% to the open market.

This is a great step forward, but it needs to be kept in mind that we cannot vaccinate ourselves out of a surge in infections. We need to still stick to the prevention basics and strictly enforce public health measures.

While we are talking about Vaccines, where are we on Treatments for COVID-19?Alongside vaccines, don’t we need COVID-19 treatment drugs? A pill that can help fight off early symptoms and which can be taken at home! There are three broad approaches being investigated at the moment.

First, The UK is running the world’s largest clinical trial, called Recovery to find which drugs work and which don’t; second, The World Health Organization (WHO) is running the Solidarity Trial to assess promising treatments in countries around the world; third, Oxford University is running, The Principle Trial, looking for medicines which will help people recover from COVID-19 symptoms, at home.

Given that the pandemic has consumed so much of our time, and lives, since it first flew-in from China, it’s a tribute to mankind’s perseverance and ingenuity that we have been able to come-up with a Vaccine, in record time.

I’m disappointed with America’s embargo on essential supplies to India. Why hold on despite so many requests and Tweets on social media clamouring for action? Raw materials for production lines in India-the largest Vaccine Manufacturer in the World-making at least 160m doses of COVID-19 vaccines a month, will come to a halt in the coming weeks unless America supplies about 37 critical items. Maybe this story is not being told in the US as it should be ? Wake up America and listen to the waves.

Oxygen for the Masses

While India is struggling to make Oxygen on Earth to tackle the hospitalisation requirements rising out of the deadly second COVID-19 wave, it can perhaps take lessons from Perseverance, which is having a field day on Mars besides sending photographs of Ingenuity’s circus tricks. This week it extracted Oxygen out of the thin air on Mars, converting a minuscule amount of the rich Carbon-di-oxide in the Martian atmosphere into Oxygen (96% of the atmosphere of Mars is carbon-di-oxide). The quantity generated is about sufficient for an Astronaut to breathe for 10 minutes. Could be life-saving.

Many firsts coming from Perseverance-that’s a name to keep!

A Comedian Takes Away our Laughs for a few Days

He was a comedian Actor mainly in Tamil Films and most often acted as a side-kick to the hero in the over 200 films he has appeared in. In many films he ploughed and planted a separate comedy track, as is a style in Tamil cinema.

I thought him to be too handsome to be a comedian, with his debonair looks. And when he passed away at age 59, late last week due to a cardiac arrest, people remembered him for the over one crore trees he helped plant all over Tamil Nadu, inspired by the late President of India, Dr Abdul Kalam’s environmentalism. He founded the ‘Green Kalam Initiative’ in 2010 with the mission of planting one billion trees across Tamil Nadu. What better way of remembering an Actor?

Vivek, born Vivekanandan, leaves behind his wife and two daughters. A son died at the age 13 due to brain-fever in the year 2015, leaving Vivek heart-broken.

Vivek was born in Kovilpatti, Tamil Nadu and passed out of The American College, Madurai, before being introduced into films by late Director K Balachander. He was awarded the Kalaivanar Award for his contribution to Tamil Cinema in 2006 and the Padma Shri in 2009 for his contribution to Indian Cinema.

Vivek’s comedy style consisted of one-liners that featured social and political satire, which led to comparisons with yester-year Tamil comedy actor N. S. Krishnan (called Kalaivanar) and earning him the nickname ‘Chinna Kalaivanar’. (Small Artist).

Some of the notable movies he acted in are, Run, Saamy, Anniyan, Shivaji, Kuruvi, Vedi, and Alaipayuthey.

His fans have decided to continue the tree planting effort and claim they see a shade of Vivek in every tree. RIP Vivek-you are Big.

Please Yourself: Apple’s AirTag

On Tuesday, Apple announced a long-awaited gadget called AirTag. Users can attach the, about Rs 3,190, coin-sized device to valuables such as keys or a backpack, then, if the item gets lost, locate it on a live map inside Apple’s built-in Find My software. AirTag’s most important differentiating feature isn’t the technology inside the stainless-steel gadget. It’s other people’s iPhones.

AirTag doesn’t have a Global Positioning System (GPS) signal, which would rapidly drain its battery and raise privacy questions. Instead, when it’s attached to an object, and it gets lost, it sends out a secure Bluetooth signal. For those signals to reach the internet and inform the person who’s looking for their lost device, they’ll need to find an iPhone that’s listening for them.

Using Bluetooth and the hundreds of millions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS devices in active use around the world, the user can locate a missing device even if it can’t connect to a Wi-Fi or cellular network. Any iOS, iPadOS, or macOS device with ‘offline finding’ enabled in Find My settings can act as a ‘finder device.’

Thinking laterally, I guess ‘husbands and wives can track each other’ (who gets there first?) and parents can track their children-just slip an AirTag into their pants!

More breathing stories with lots of oxygen and tags coming up in the weeks ahead.


About: This is the bread we’ve baked this week, in our World, and I’ve cut it down for you, also adding a slice of history, on what was before us.


Pressure in Russia: From Russia Without Love

I’m tired of climbing hills in the US and my eyes have moved to what’s happening beyond the mountains, in Russia. Yes, it’s about Alexei Navalny, the Russian Opposition Leader who is having a very tough time out there in the awfully cold Russian winter. Arrested, jailed, poisoned, arrested, jailed. Repeat.

Navalny, a lawyer-turned-activist came out of the cold in 2008, when he began exposing high-level corruption in Russian politics through his blog. He has since spearheaded many anti-corruption rallies, is considered to be the face of the Opposition in Russia, and has been arrested numerous times. He was barred from challenging current President, Vladimir Putin, in the 2018 Presidential Elections because of a previous conviction for fraud in a criminal case said to be politically motivated. The conviction was overturned by Russia’s Supreme Court, but he was found guilty in a re-trial, which earned criticism from the European Court of Human Rights.

Russia is known to eliminate dissidents and political activists by poisoning them, and Navalny too had a taste of this when in August 2020 he was poisoned with the soviet-era banned lethal nerve agent Novichok, which almost knocked him off. Of course, it will be hard to prove it in Russia. He managed to get himself on a plane to Germany where he was treated and recovered from the poisoning effects. And this was not the first instance: two years before, he had a bright green liquid dye sprayed upon him in Barnaul, Siberia, by an assailant who pretended to shake his hand, resulting in considerable damage to an eye.

In the current upturn of events, Navalny was arrested, on return from Germany, on the bizarre rule-break that he violated a suspended criminal sentence by remaining in Germany for further treatment after being released from Hospital – following his treatment for poisoning. The suspended sentence was from a 2014 trial termed as ‘arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable’ by the European Court of Human Rights for which Russia was ordered to pay Navalny and his brother near 76,000 Euros in compensation. Instead of finding out who poisoned the victim, Russia is running after the victim?

Now you get the picture? Having grown really big as a country and lived this long there are many Laws & Rules, but legalities don’t really matter in Russia where the rules of the game are changed and the goal posts are shifted for any curling shot to become a goal. Look at what a man fighting the system is up against!

A very tough road ahead for Navalny, and he has unstinted support coming his way, with spontaneous protests against his arrest, erupting across Russia.

Let’s delve into history to understand the ‘coldness’ of Russia and its ‘Iron Curtain’ (coined by the then British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill) calling. The explosive Russian Revolution of 1917 – actually consisting of two cataclysmic revolutions, both happening in that one year, the February Revolution, and the October Revolution, changed Russia like never before.

In the first, the last Tsarist regime, represented by the Romanov dynasty, which celebrated a spectacular three centuries in power (Peter the Great and Catherine the Great were Romanovs), was overthrown, forever ending Imperial Rule, and in the second, the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks and Red Guards led by Vladimir Lenin staged a coup and established communist rule leading to the formation of what we all knew as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the Communist Party.

Nicolas-II, the last Romanov Emperor, abdicated soon after the February Revolution, and his family, Empress Alexandra, and their five children were taken prisoners. On a July night, in 1918, the family and four servants were ordered to dress quickly and go down to the cellar of the house in which they were being held, on the pretext that they are to be moved to a new location for their own safety. They were told to wait while the truck meant to transport them arrived. A few minutes later an execution squad of the secret police was brought in and the order of their execution, for countless crimes on Soviet Russia, was read out.

The armed men then gunned down the imperial family in a hail of gunfire. Those who were still breathing, when the smoked cleared, were stabbed to death. The bodies were disposed off in a chaotic manner and remained undiscovered for decades leading to speculation that someone from the family might have survived and actually be alive. It is said that the royals had diamonds and jewellery secretly sewn into their corsets, which had a bullet-proof effect, resulting in bullets not making their mark.

In later years, the remains of Nicholas, Alexandra, and three of their children were excavated in a forest near Yekaterinburg, in the year 1991, and positively identified two years later using DNA fingerprinting. The Crown Prince Alexei and one Romanov daughter – Anastasia– were not accounted for, fuelling the persistent legend and fantasy that Anastasia was alive and had escaped: countless stories and movies have been made on Anastasia. In subsequent years, scientists were able to confirm the deaths and the Romanov family was finally put to rest in St. Petersburg. The Crown Jewels became the property of the Soviet Union and a large portion is held in museums in the Kremlin. Given those tumultuous times, some of the fabulous jewels went missing – unable to be traced, to this day.

To further thread the story of Russia, after Lenin, it was Dictator Joseph Stalin, then Nikita Khrushchev over to Mikail Gorbachev until dissolution of the Soviet Union, on 25 December 1991. Russia then held its original name, with Boris Yeltsin as President, who hands over to Vladimir Putin – with Dmitry Medvedev stealing some years in between, due to term limits. Putin has been President since 2012 and in January 2020 modified the Russian Constitution in a way that would scrap term limits for Presidents, paving the way for him to remain President indefinitely. Sounds typical African style ruling, doesn’t it?

I’m breathless…this is the perhaps the briefest history you can get on Russia.

Back from the past to the present, Russian police have detained more than 4,000 people – and counting – in a crackdown on protests in support of the jailed Alexei Navalny. Tens of thousands of people defied a heavy police presence to join some of the largest rallies against President Vladimir Putin, in years.

Russia is one hard country to crack and President Putin, with his KGB secret service background holds the aces, the iron, the jewels, and the aggression to controlling Russia. Who can poison that? Alexei Navalny needs all the bravery and smartness he can muster to melt this iron rule.

Wonder Women of Estonia

Women leaders are rising-up in many countries and are proving to be better rulers than men – watch out! On 26 January, 43 years old Kaja Kallas was sworn as Estonia’s first female Prime Minister since Estonia ‘regained’ independence in 1991. Estonia was an independent country until it was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. On the break-up of the USSR, Estonia restored its independence on 20 August 1991, which is celebrated as ‘Day of Restoration of Independence’. For a change we have a tame ‘Restoration of Independence Day’ rather than the fiery Independence Day most Countries in the world celebrate.

Kallis leads the Reform Party which was founded by her father, Sim Kallas, who was also Prime Minister in 2002-2003. Kaja Kallis studied to become a Lawyer specialising in Estonian and European competition law, and also holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Economics. She will need every letter of her education to stay competitive and administer well.

There’s another woman in the Estonian hierarchy, with the President also being a woman, Kersti Kaljulaid. She achieved that at the age of 46. In the year 2016. That makes Estonia one of the few countries where both the head of State and head of Government are woman.

In 2018, President Kaljulaid ran the New York City Marathon, during a working tour of the United States, and finished in just over four hours.

I’m sure both Women know how to run Estonia. For a start, one is a marathon woman.

Larry King (is) Dead: the Art of Conversation Lives On

After hosting ‘Larry King Live’ on CNN for over 25 years and retiring in 2010 to host ‘Larry King Now’, the legendary American talk-show host Larry King, 87, died on 24 January at Cedars Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles due to COVID-19.

Larry King had diabetes and suffered from a series of medical issues over the years including several heart attacks and a quintuple bypass surgery. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer and successfully underwent surgery to treat it. He also underwent a procedure to address angina.

Larry King married eight times (twice to the same woman) and has four children. Last year he lost two of his children who died within weeks of each other: a son of heart-attack, and a daughter of lung cancer.

King interviewed countless newsmakers and every-day people. He interviewed every sitting President from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama doing more than 30,000 interviews and listening-in to thousands of phone calls from viewers of his Call-in Show(s).

Larry King had a distinctive, unmistakable appearance in his Talk Shows: oversized spectacles and ever-present suspenders. He was known for not spending time preparing for interviews, preferring instead to let his natural curiosity guide the conversation. He read all day long and watched news which made him really well-informed. He would allow his guests to talk and then spring up the questions, with the flow. King adopted an affable easygoing demeanour and perfected a casual approach to the Question & Answer format, always leaning forward and listening intently to his guests, rarely interrupting. He treated every guest the same – Presidents, famous people, and the common man. And he loved being in front of the camera.

“I just love what I do, I love asking questions, I love doing interviews” said Larry King.

We would love him to do an interview with God and allow us a phone call to ask God a question? Rest in Peace Larry King.

COVID-19 Vaccination Updates

The biggest vaccination campaign in history is on a roll with more than 90 million doses in 62 countries have been administered, averaging 4.3 million doses a day.

Israel is on track to probably becoming the first country to achieve herd immunity (70% required) – expected in about 45 days – with about 26% of the population already vaccinated.

India has vaccinated near about 2.92 million (Source: Ministry of Health) people and the vaccination drive is gathering momentum after an initial tardiness, finding about 6 lakh arms per day. On the coronavirus infections front, India is counting about 13,000 downhill positive cases per day and Schools have been opened for Class 10 and Class 12, at least in my region. Getting back to normalcy for sure.

Nearer Home, in Attur, Tamilnadu, a good medical doctor friend of mine was one of the first to receive the Covishield Vaccine -made by the Serum Institute of India – and I’m sure she will frame the photo for the History records. I did share that photo-shoot within my Group, to inspire. And to dispel any doubts, the nay-say people might have. We should roll up our sleeves, when the time comes. We are not safe until everyone is safe.

Please Yourself

Planning to buy a car? Go Toyota, or go electric?

This week Japanese Company, Toyota drove up the ramp to wear the Global Crown of the World’s best-selling automaker. The one runner-up sash went to the German Volkswagen Group.

Toyota sold 9.5 million vehicles around the world in 2020, which includes its Daihatsu and Hino lineups. Volkswagen did 9.3 million units, which includes its brands of Audi, Skoda and Porsche.

Meanwhile, electric car-maker Tesla has set up shop in Bengaluru, India. The future is electric, and we need to keep looking out for the electrifying offers we can get to use clean energy, to clean-up the mess we made of relying on greenhouse gas-emitting petrol and diesel.

More interesting stories, coming-up, in the week(s) ahead