About –the stories of the world this week, 11 December to 17 December: A Spacecraft comes home from around the Moon; war goes on; Border clashes between the world’s populous nations; a stunning breakthrough in science; and a story of true love.


A Homecoming

This 11th December was a day of splashing and ballooning with joy: NASA’s Orion un-crewed test Spacecraft made a near perfect re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere and splashed down, as plotted, in the Pacific Ocean, west of Baja, California, near Guadalupe Island. Orion had travelled more than 2.25 million kilometres on a path around the Moon before returning home safely, after 25.5 days in space.

Prior to entering the Earth’s atmosphere, Orion’s crew module separated from its service module-a propulsive powerhouse provided by the European Space Agency. During re-entry Orion’s specially-designed heat-shield successfully withstood temperatures about half as hot as the surface of the Sun at 2,760 degrees Centigrade. Within 20 minutes, it slowed from nearly 40,234 kilometres per hour (kph) to 33 kph for its parachute-assisted splashdown into the Ocean. On landing, five orange coloured airbags sprang up to keep Orion floating upright in the water, until ‘help’ arrived.

The Artemis-I Moon Mission’s Scientists also tested out a tricky manoeuvre known as ‘skip-entry’, which is the first time it has been tried on a capsule built for carrying astronauts. It involves the spacecraft bouncing off the atmosphere and then dipping-in again, as a way both to reduce the force of gravity and to allow a more precise targeting of the landing site.

Recovery teams then worked in unison to pick-up Orion from the Ocean and haul it on to the waiting ship, USS Portland, and subsequently offloaded it at the US Naval Base, San Diego. Engineers will inspect the spacecraft’s windows before installing hard covers and deflating the airbags in preparation for the final leg of Orion’s journey, over land, to the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida for post-flight analysis.

Teams will then open the hatch and unload several payloads, including the test Manikins: Commander Moonikin, Campos, Helga, Zohar, the space biology experiments, the official flight kit and of course, Snoopy, the zero-gravity indicator. Next, the capsule and its heat shield will undergo testing and analysis over the course of several months to figure out how well Orion managed to survive outer space and the heat of re-entry.

Up next, in the year 2025, is ‘Moon Landing’, where NASA will get ready to send astronauts to explore more of the Moon as part of the Artemis program. NASA has selected Elon Musk’s SpaceX to develop the first commercial human lander, called the HLS Starship that will carry the next two American astronauts to the lunar surface. At least one of those astronauts will make history as the first woman on the Moon.

War and No-Peace

While Time magazine has named Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as its ‘Person of The Year’ for his stand-out leadership in fighting the illegal invasion of Russia, the war rages on.

Ukrainian forces have struck a headquarters of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group. A hotel where the group met in Kadiivka, Luhansk, had been hit causing major losses. Wagner are state-sponsored mercenaries who act in the Kremlin’s interests. It is a private military company, set up by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former restaurateur and close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has repeatedly been accused of war crimes and human rights abuses.

Later this week, Ukraine’s air defences shot down nearly all missiles during one of Russia’s biggest attacks on the capital Kyiv.

Over the week, the attack by Russia has been relentless and they seem unmindful of the Christmas season.

A Border Clash, India – China

China and India share a disputed 3,440 km long de-facto border – called the Line of Actual Control, or LAC in the State of Arunachal Pradesh – which is poorly demarcated. The presence of rivers, lakes and snowcaps means the line can shift. The soldiers on either side often come face to face at many points. Tensions sometimes escalate into skirmishes. However, both China and India have been trying to rather ‘unsuccessfully’ de-escalate, since a major battle in June 2020 in the Galwan Valley in the Ladakh region. This is much further to the west – where 20 Indian soldiers and at least 43 Chinese soldiers were killed. That incident began as a skirmish and quickly escalated to fist-fighting and pushing.

Late last week, in a border clash between Chinese and Indian troops at the LAC in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, more than 200 troops of China, armed with spiked clubs, monkey fists, and tasers tried to intrude into India’s territory. Remember, using weapons is forbidden during a confrontation, based on an apparently ‘working India-China Border agreement’. They were thwarted by 50 of India’s Jawans and pushed back. The Army said that not an inch of Indian territory was given. China said that India transgressed into its territory, which is acknowledgement enough that India shoved them back.

The signs are ominous, with a hot-headed China trying to cook trouble and ‘noodle’ India.

A Revolutionary Breakthrough: Fission to Fusion

In a stunning breakthrough, in search of zero-carbon power, Scientists in the United States (US) have achieved the unimaginable feat of, creating more energy than was consumed, during an incredible fusion reaction. This is a revolutionary step towards cleaner and safer forms of renewable energy.

Scientists at the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), California achieved a mind-blowing 120% energy gain from atomic fusion.

Fusion, described as the ‘holy grail’ of energy production, is the same process that powers the sun and other stars across galaxies, which effects create a brilliant celestial display in our night sky. By forcing atoms together, instead of breaking them apart as standard nuclear reactors do, fusion offers clean energy without carbon dioxide pollution. In brief, it involves light atoms being smashed together to produce heavier ones, releasing vast amounts of energy in the process. It is the opposite of nuclear fission.

With the potential for unlimited electricity at a low cost and zero carbon emissions this could be one solution that might be a game changer and one of mankind’s most remarkable scientific triumphs to date.

Fission is the technology currently used in nuclear power stations, but the process also produces a lot of waste that continues to give out radiation for a long time. It can be dangerous and must be stored safely after use.

Nuclear fusion produces far more energy, and only small amounts of short-lived radioactive waste. And importantly, the process produces no greenhouse gas emissions and therefore does not contribute to climate change.

But one of the challenges is that forcing and keeping the elements together in fusion requires very large amounts of temperature and pressure. Until now, no experiment has managed to produce more energy than the amount put-in to make it work.

There is still a long way to go from demonstrating energy gain to getting to wall-plug efficiency where the energy coming from a fusion reactor exceeds its electrical energy input required to run the reactor.

We need to fission our minds to this fusion of the future. So much energy out there for the asking?

FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022: Kicking Around

The Football World Cup moved through the semi-finals stage with a line-up of Argentina versus Croatia, and France versus Morocco, to a ‘Giant Final’ of Argentina versus France.

If France wins it would be the first country in 60 years of the World Cup to retain the Title (having won it in the previous edition, 2018). If Argentina wins it would be a well -deserved crowing glory for one of the finest players of our times – Lionel Messi.

Earlier, England lost to France 2-1, despite ace striker Harry Kane equalling England’s scoring record with his 53rd goal. But his night ended in anguish when he missed a second spot-kick later in the game, which could have levelled the scores and taken England to a penalty shoot-out. Kane levelled Wayne Rooney’s mark with a second-half penalty in Qatar. He also missed a chance to surpass this record. The game of football can be cruel.

Meanwhile, the other semi-final entrant, Morocco made history becoming the first African team, and the first Arab side from a country with a Muslim majority, to reach a semi-final of a World Cup. They have defied expectations to reach this stage having topped a group including Croatia and Belgium, before beating Spain in the Round 16 and Portugal in the Quarter-Finals. Morocco’s success has been built around its steely defence and relentless work-rate. No opposition player has scored against Morocco so far in Qatar – they have conceded just once, an own goal against Canada. They have also been one of the most passionately supported teams during the tournament.

In the first semi-finals, Argentina beat Croatia 3-0 playing on the brilliance of Lionel Messi who score a penalty and made an assist. In the second, France convincingly beat Morocco 2-0. And Morocco finally conceded more than one goal and a chance of making more history!

Thus far, the Tournament has produced an unusual number of shocks relative to every tournament since 2002.

The Final Match unfolds on Sunday, 18 December and you can bet on Argentina or France to lift the cup.

Please Yourself: Love

Saying, ‘I love you’, is one of the toughest of things to tell a partner, purely from the mind – the ‘I’ comes first, from both sides – and freedom is at the heart.

English Author D H Lawrence’s, ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ scandalized the literary world when it was first published because of this ‘freedom at the heart’, and stirring-up of sublime love.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover was published privately in 1928, in Italy, and in 1929, in France. An unexpurgated edition was published openly in the United Kingdom only in 1960, when it was the subject of a watershed obscenity trial against the publisher Penguin Books, who won the case, and quickly sold three million copies. The book was also banned, for obscenity, in the US, Canada, Australia, India, and Japan. The book soon became notorious for its story of the absolutely frank portrayal of the physical and emotional relationship between a working-class man and an upper-class woman, its explicit descriptions of sex and its use of the then-unprintable four-letter words.

The plot is based on an affair between the young, married Lady Chatterley (Constance Reid – before marriage) and the also married gamekeeper of their Estate, Oliver Mellors, during a time when inter-class relationships were deemed socially unacceptable and divorce was only granted on proof of a matrimonial crime.

However, the main subject of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ is not the explicit sexuality, but the search for integrity and wholeness: key to which is cohesion between the mind and the body, for ‘body without mind is brutish; mind without body… is a running away from our double being’, said a commentator. The story focuses on the incoherence of living a life that is ‘all mind’, which D H Lawrence found to be particularly true among the young of the aristocratic classes in England of the hey days.

The contrast between mind and body can be seen in the dissatisfaction each character experiences in their previous relationships, such as Lady Chatterly’s lack of intimacy with her husband, who is ‘all mind’, and Mellors’s choice to live apart from his wife because of her ‘brutish’ sexual nature. The dissatisfactions lead them into a relationship that develops very slowly and is based upon tenderness, physical passion, and mutual respect. As the relationship between Lady Chatterley and Mellors builds, they learn more about the interrelation of the mind and the body. She learns that sex is more than a shameful and disappointing act, and he learns about the spiritual challenges that come from physical love.

Netflix’s adaption of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ tells this story of liberation and freedom and surprisingly through clothes- in addition to, without them. In the movie, Lady Chatterly’s clothing mirrors the emotions of her character-something you have to discover yourself – while she puts them on and pulls them off!

The new movie, directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, is largely faithful to the book, yet presents its characters and different themes-class division, female empowerment, sexual consciousness-with a depth and sensitivity that has rarely been afforded to Lawrence’s original work. There are plenty of steamy, lustful sex scenes, sure. But throughout the film, Lady Chatterley – played by Emma Corrin – and Oliver – played by Jack O’Connell – are shown as vulnerable, even fragile beings whose erotic connection is not merely a result of physical attraction, but of the desire to be happy and liberated from the confines of social expectations.

Corrin’s wardrobe is pivotal to highlighting that liberation and painting a fresh picture on the ever-popular story. I watched it over the weekend and fell in love with love, the movie…and the costumes.

In other movie News, Indian Film-maker SS Rajamouli’s period action film ‘RRR’ (Rise, Roar, Revolt) has risen, roared and scooped-up nominations in two categories at the upcoming Golden Globe Awards: Best Picture-Non-English and Best Original Song-Motion Picture.

RRR is a fictitious, impossible friendship between these two figures- a fearless revolutionary and an officer in the British Raj -of history as they team up and chart out an inspirational path to fight the forces of British colonialism in 1920s pre-independence India.

More roaring stories of war, love, and sport coming up in the weeks ahead. Fall in love and clothe yourself with World Inthavaaram.



About –the stories of the world this week, 4 December to 10 December: Artemis-I Moon to Earth; Iran and China buckle; Indonesia Rules; Haiti gangs up; India elects and elects; and magic at the Football World Cup, Qatar.


Return to Earth after a Honeymoon Sight-Seeing

NASA’s Artemis I’s Orion spacecraft after having gone further than any ‘Crew Capable Spacecraft’ had gone -the distant retrograde orbit -has left this cold place to return to warmer regions. It’s second main engine burn gave it the thrust to get in to the embrace of the Moon’s gravity. This Monday, Orion did a fly-by the Moon’s surface-just 127 km above-and its main engine fired again, in the longest burn, to kick it back to Earth. Orion’s splash down in the Pacific Ocean is expected on 11th December. Cannot wait for Orion to return safely, open-up, and tell its hidden stories.

Iran & China on the Same Page; Indonesia Opens a Book

Over the past weeks and months ‘one-of-a-kind protests’ raged in Iran and China, which saw brutal crackdowns on dissent. And they seemed to only fester and become unstoppable, on both sides.

Finally, this week, Iran buckled, abolished the ‘Gasht-e Ershad or Guidance Patrol’ – Morality Police- and said it will review the decades old mandatory hijab law, which requires women to cover their heads.

On the same page, China relented, eased COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and testing rules.

Both saw dictatorial regimes bending to the will of the people. When people speak as one, they effect change, and they win.

Iran’s Morality Police was established in the year 2005 under hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to ‘spread the culture of modesty and hijab’ and enforce it across the Country. The roll-back, is a massive victory for Iranian women protesting against the hijab law, which comes after more than two months of demonstrations, sparked by Mahsa Amini’s detention and death in custody over not wearing the hijab properly.

While Iran seems to have learnt some new lessons from old Rules, Indonesia doesn’t seem to be seeing anything at all-too much cloth covering its eyes? Indonesia is not a secular state: atheism is unacceptable – technically, it is compulsory to follow one of six prescribed religions.

This week, Indonesia’s Parliament has approved a new criminal code that bans anyone in the country from having extramarital sex; restricts political freedom, besides other ‘read the fine print Rules’. Sex outside marriage will carry a jail term of up to a year under the new laws, which take effect in three years’ time.

The newly formulated laws appear to be a ‘disaster’ for human rights, and a potential blow to tourism and investment. They apply equally to locals and to foreigners living in Indonesia, or visiting holiday destinations such as Bali. Under the laws, unmarried couples caught having sex can be jailed for up to a year. They are also banned from living together-an act for which people could be jailed for up to six months. Adultery will also be an offence for which people can be jailed.

Sex before marriage was already banned prior to the approval of this new criminal code, but the law was often not enforced. The old law defined adultery as sex between a married man and someone who was not his wife, while the new law bans all sex outside of marriage. The sentencing for those caught has also been increased from nine months to a year. For prosecutions to start, a complaint must be filed by the children, parents, or spouse of the accused couple.

The Gangs of Haiti

The Republic of Haiti is a country located on the Island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles Archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, east of Cuba and Jamaica, and south of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

In size, Haiti is the third-largest country in the Caribbean, and has an estimated population of 11.4 million, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean. The capital is Port-au-Prince, nestled between green hillsides and the blue waters of the sea. Look deeper, and you can see the rot washing-up on its shores.

More than a year ago, on 7 July 2021, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise, who took office in 2017, was killed during an attack on his private residence. Ever since, there is no Head of State, no functioning Parliament, and the United States (US) -backed Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, who took-over, is unelected and deeply unpopular.

Meanwhile, Gangs of criminals have moved in to fill the space and have taken Haiti hostage. They make their own laws. They kill. They rape. The cruel statistics is climbing every day. About 1377 people have been killed, injured, or disappeared between June and September of this year. There are now an estimated 200 gangs operating across Haiti, and around 95 in the capital, Port-au-Prince, alone. This has resulted in a huge insecurity crisis, with large-scale attacks on communities, politicians and journalists, high levels of violence, mass kidnappings and large-scale forced displacements. And drawing of ‘boundaries of control’. For e.g., in Port-au-Prince you cannot see visible boundaries, but you must know where they are. Your life may depend on it. Competing gangs are carving up the capital, kidnapping, raping, and killing at will. They demarcate their territory in blood. Cross from one gang’s turf to another, and you may not make it back.

In effect the State is missing in action, as the people suffer overlapping crises. Almost half the population is grappling with acute hunger. In the Capital, around 20,000 people are facing famine-like conditions, according to the United Nations(UN). Cholera has made a deadly comeback.

Kidnapping is a growth industry. There were 1,107 reported cases between January and October of this year, according to the UN. For some gangs, it’s a major income stream. Ransoms can run from USD 200 to USD one million. Most victims come back alive – if the ransom is paid – but they are made to suffer.

“Men are beaten and burned with materials like melted plastic,” says Haiti’s Centre for Analysis and Research in Human Rights. “Women and girls are subject to gang rape. This situation spurs relatives to find money to pay the ransom. Sometimes kidnappers call the relatives so that they can hear the rape being carried out on the phone.”

A return to horrific, medieval times?

India’s Elections

The always-in-election-mode-India is back in action. On watch were three Elections: One, the Elections of the Municipality Corporation of Delhi (MCD), in India’s capital; Two, the State Assembly Election of Himachal Pradesh; and three, the State Assembly Election in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat.

After the last vote was cast in the last of the above Elections, the Exit Polls swing into action, and we could imagine the results. An Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) landslide in Delhi, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) comfortable win in Gujarat, and a cliffhanger in Himachal Pradesh.

While on counting day in the MCD Elections, the AAP swept to power, breaking a 15 year stranglehold of the BJP, it wasn’t the predicted landslide. AAP won a majority with 134 seats, the BJP came close with 104 seats, but gained 3% in vote share. This was the first election after a delimitation exercise when three corporations were merged and unified as one MCD. The AAP victory seems to be well-deserved as the BJP had failed in ward-level governance and delivery.

In Gujarat State, the BJP’s win was like a tsunami returning to power for a record-breaking seventh consecutive time, and after 27 years in continuous power. And the best ever win for the BJP garnering 53% of the vote share. The son-of-the-soil PM Modi, is unstoppable in this State.

In Himachal Pradesh it was made out to be a tough fight, and shockingly the Congress prevailed, winning 40 seats, but largely to Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) turncoats who switched over from the BJP to the Congress. They can form a government on their own, with the BJP at 25 seats probably making a good opposition. However, the vote percentage between the Congress at 43.9% and the BJP at 43% was razor-thin. And Himachal Pradesh kept its style of chucking out the incumbent Government at the end of every term.

Whatever, a win is a win. And India’s Grand Old Party, The Indian National Congress, despite being smashed all over the country breathes to live another day!

In India’s ever evolving, noisy but thriving democracy, the people have a say and you cannot take them for granted.

FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022

Football fever grips the World with the World Cup Football progressing from the Group Matches to the knock-out Round 16 matches, which played through the week.

The Quarter-Final line-up is: Brazil versus (vs) Croatia, Argentina vs Netherlands; Portugal vs Morocco; and England vs France.

In the first Round 16 matches the Netherlands knocked out the US, 3-1 and the second Round 16 match Lionel Messi playing his 1000th game sparkled on the field with some awesome footwork and opened the scoring for Argentina against Australia. And ultimately a 2-1 win took Argentina to the Quarter Finals.

In the first extra-time and penalty shoot-out of FIFA World Cup 2022, a rising Japan, and Croatia tied with a 1-1 score line on regular play, and kept the same in extra time leading to a penalty shootout. The Croatian Goalkeeper became a hero of his country with a hat-rick of saves and Croatia moved to the Quarter-Finals. In another penalty shootout, Spain lost badly to Morocco after a goalless normal and extra playtime.

Late this week the Quarter Finals began, and in the first match, in an unbelievable moment, five-time World Cup Winner Brazil lost to Croatia, on penalty shootouts. Neymar produced Brazilian samba magic to score the first goal in extra time, but Croatia equalised with a Bruno Pitbovic goal, about ten minutes later. It was then over to Penalty Shootouts, which Croatia won 4-2. They move to the semi-finals and have been in this place before. Remember, they lost to France, 4-2 in the FIFA World Cup 2018, held in Russia.

In the second Quarter-Final Argentina raced ahead with a Lionel Messi assisted goal by Nahuel Molina, followed with a penalty goal by Messi himself. But then, Netherlands clawed back with a header goal by Wout Weghorst, and in the dying minutes of the game Denzel Dumfries equalised, taking the game to extra time and then, yet again, on to Penalty shootouts. Argentina won 3-4 scoring four and missing one while the Netherlands missed two. They now meet Croatia in the first Semi-finals.

This World Cup has been full of twists & turns, and we might have a surprise Winner in the Finals.

Far away from the football field awful news came in that the great Pele has been moved to end-of-life palliative care after he stopped responding to chemotherapy. He is the only footballer in history to win 3 World Cups, and an icon of the game at the level of Muhammad Ali in boxing.

Prisoner Swap: A Star is Released

Brittney Griner, the United States’ Women’s National Boxing Association (WNBA) Star was arrested in Sheremetyevo Airport, outside Moscow, in February this year, after the start of the Russia-Ukraine War. She was in Moscow to play yet another season with a Russian league team. A sniffer dog, sniffed cannabis oil in Griner’s carry-on luggage and on checking Russian Authorities found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. She was then arrested on drug smuggling charges and jailed.

Griner testified she had inadvertently packed the cannabis oil found in her luggage. She was sentenced to nine years in prison in early August and was moved to a Penal Colony in Mordovia in mid-November after losing her appeal.

This Thursday Brittney Griner was released in a one-for-one prisoner swap for Russian international arms dealer Viktor Bout in an agreement, which the United States negotiated with Russia, and was given final approval by President Biden.

Viktor Bout, one of the world’s most infamous arms dealers, called the ‘Merchant of Death’, has been wallowing in an American Prison for over twelve years.

The US proposed a prisoner exchange last July, aware Russia had long sought Bout’s release. The swap happened in Abhu Dhabi in typical ‘Hollywood style’ when the ‘two prisoners’ crossed each other on the Airport tarmac to reach their respective flights to take them home.

More elected stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Swap everything else for World Inthavaaram – No ransom attached.


About –the stories of the world this week, 27 November to 3 December: China flares-up; Vulgar comments on a serious Film; a Television Channel changes hands; Word of the Year; World Cup Football; health; and Digital Currency.


There are rumblings of discontent in China with protests erupting, demanding that President Xi Jinping step down from office. Heard that, right? How often do you come across something like this in China? Last heard was Tiananmen Square 1989?

For the first time in decades, thousands of people have defied Chinese Authorities and are protesting: demanding to be freed, not only from incessant COVID19 tests and lockdowns, but strict censorship and the Communist Party’s tightening grip over all aspects of life. This is a rare outpouring of public anger. China’s hardline zero-infections coronavirus strategy is stoking public frustration, with many growing weary of snap lockdowns, lengthy quarantines, and mass testing campaigns.

A deadly fire last week in Urumqi, the capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang region, has become a fresh catalyst for public anger, with many blaming COVID19 lockdowns for hampering rescue efforts.

Protesters are holding blank sheets of white A4 size paper to symbolise lack of freedom of speech-speaking without explicitly saying anything, and a stand-in for all things people cannot say. Some now refer to the protests a White Paper Revolution.

In another development, internet users in China will soon be held liable for liking posts deemed illegal or harmful, in clever plans to control social media like never before. China’s internet watchdog is stepping up its regulation of cyberspace as authorities intensify their crackdown on online dissent. The new rules come into force from 15th December as part of a new set of guidelines published by the Cyberspace Administration of China, which operates under the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission chaired by President Xi Jinping.

Look deeper, maybe China feels responsible for having unleashed the coronavirus in to the world? Is it the case of someone who having deeply dirtiest his hands, endlessly scrubs to come clean off the smallest speck of dirt?

India Files

The movie The Kashmir Files on the brutal killings of Hindu Kashmir Pandits by Islamist militants causing their exodus from the State of Jammu & Kashmir created quite a stir when it released in March 2022. It is a well-researched film by Indian filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri and boldly brought to the surface untold sufferings of Kashmir Pandits. Thousands were rendered refugees in their own country, and before this film not many knew about the scale, extent, and depth of agony and hardship. ‘The Kashmir Files’ performed exceptionally well at the box office by earning over Rs 330 crore. And most of India empathised with the Kashmir Pandits.

This week the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which was showing in Goa came to an end. At the closing ceremony it was announced that The Golden Peacock Award will go to the Spanish coming-of-age movie, ‘I Have Electric Dreams’. While electric dreams came of age, the comments of an Israeli film director and IFFI Jury chairperson, Nadav Lapid seemed ‘under age’, completely out of frequency, and sparked a furious debate. Most of India was livid and visibly electrified when he said, “All of us were disturbed and shocked by the movie ‘The Kashmir Files’. It felt to us like a propaganda and vulgar movie that was inappropriate for an artistic and competitive section of such a prestigious film festival. I feel comfortable to openly share this feeling with you since the spirit of the festival can truly accept critical discussion which is essential for art and life”.

India’s Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur was on stage when he said that, and it was despicable the he did not challenge the outrageous statement of Nadav Lapid. Then began a flurry of damage control.

After Lapid criticised the film, Israel’s Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon slammed him and apologized for the conduct of his countryman. Israel’s Consul General Kobbi Shoshani described Nadav Lapid’s remarks as a ‘big mistake’, and added that the comments made by the Israeli filmmaker don’t reflect the country’s position on the movie. The IFFI Jury Board issued a statement, saying that whatever Nadav Lapid said about the movie is his ‘personal opinion’ and ‘nothing to do’ with the IFFI Board.

New Delhi Television

Once upon a time, New Delhi Television’s (NDTV) ‘The World This Week’ was a once-a-week, every Friday, ‘hugely awaited’ show on India’s State run television channel, Doordarshan. It was produced by the husband-wife pair of Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy and the news format became a game changer in the year 1988.

NDTV went on to become a 24×7 News Network and independent news broadcaster.

Now, three decades later, this week NDTV changed hands to the Adani Group lead by Gautam Adani, one of the richest men in the world, who bought a controlling stake in the Company.

Another rich man, Mukesh Ambani owns Network 18 one of India’s largest media companies. Incidentally one of the Companies of Mukesh Ambani helped NDTV with a loan when it was struggling to make ends meet and this debt eventually lead to the Adani Group’s entry. Though an independent news network, NDTV has been often been accused of being prejudiced and peddling fake news.

It remains to be seen how the ‘new’ NDTV works from hereon.

Word(s) of the Year

America’s oldest dictionary publisher, Merriam-Webster, has chosen ‘gaslighting’ as its word of the year.

Gaslighting is the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for someone’s own advantage. Said Merriam-Webster, “In this age of misinformation – of ‘fake news’, conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls, and deep fakes-gaslighting as emerged as a word of our time”.

Gaslighting derives its origins from British Novelist and Playwright Patrick Hamilton’s Victoria-era Play, year 1938, ‘Gas Light’, set in London about a middle-class marriage based on lies and deceit. Lead character Jack Manningham seeks to convince his wife Bella that she is going insane – to steal from her – including by saying that she is imagining the dimming of the gas light in their home. The modern usage is driven by the vast increase in channels and technologies used to mislead people.

Other words that were in the run and most looked-up are, oligarch; omicron; codify; LGBTQIA; sentient; loamy; raid, and queen consort. Go ahead and look-up them.

Not to be left behind, Collins English Dictionary’s word of the year is permacrisis – a word describing a feeling of living through a period of war, inflation, and political instability. This reflects Collins’ annual compilation of 10 words or phrases which reflect the ever-evolving English language and the preoccupation of those who use it.

Quiet quitting’ almost made the list. And it is the act of doing one’s basic duties at work and no more, either by way of protest or to improve work-life balance. Other words are: Carolean; Kyiv; Lawfare; Partygate; Splooting; Sportswashing; Vibe shift; Warm bank. Again, look them up and discover new words, as your weekend home work.

Recall, last year, the word of the year was ‘Vax’. That’s easy to accept.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Play

The Group matches are playing to a close on 3rd December and the first of the Round 16 knock-out matches will be kicking of the same day.

After a horrific start against Saudi Arabia, strong contenders for the Cup, Argentina, got the better of Mexico 2-0 with Lionel Messi opening the goal scoring and keeping Argentina in contention. And they went on to beat Poland 2-0, despite Messi missing a penalty, to top their Group and enter the Round 16. In another Group Match giant rivals Spain and Germany played level with a 1-1 result.

The United States defeated Iran in their Group match and in doing so ensured Iran’s ‘successful’ exit from the World Cup. This was met by cheers and celebrations in Tehran and other Iranian cities this week, as protesters hailed the country’s exit from the tournament as a blow to the ruling regime.

Qatar, the Host Nation was eliminated from the tournament after losing all its Group matches.

Passing on from playing to refereeing, the Germany versus Costa Rica match made news in a different sense. For the first time in the history of the World Cup Tournament an all-female team led by France’s Stephanie Frappart along with assistant referees – Brazilian Neuza Back and Mexican Karen Diaz Medina officiated on-field in a Men’s Tournament at Al Bayt Stadium. And all this is happening in a very conservative Qatar. Some message sure enough!

Meanwhile, though Germany defeated Costa Rica 4-2, Japan, playing in the same group made a surprise win over Spain 2-1 taking it to the top of the Group. Spain squeaked in on better goals to the Round 16 knocking out Germany. That’s disaster for Germany and they need to get back to the drawing board. Recall Japan had beaten them in the Group opening match. Japan is rising and they are on a high.

At the close of the week in a sensational, jaw-dropping play South Korea beat Portugal 2-1 and went in the knock-out Round 16 by the skin of their teeth making Uruguay’s 2-0 win over Ghana irrelevant. In the dying minutes of its game Uruguay suddenly found it had to score one more goal to move to the next round on a better goal score having even-points with South Korea. That was a real heart-break for Uruguay. But that’s football at its very best!

World Health

This week, the United Nations Secretary General reminded the world, on year another World AIDS Day, that the world has promised to end AIDS by 2030 – but we are off track. 1.5 million people acquired HIV last year. And we are just turning the corner on COVID19 with the last battle being fought in the original battleground of China.

In other ‘healthy’ news, Monkeypox an illness caused by the monkeypox virus- a viral zoonotic infection that it can spread from animals to humans – has been named as mpox by the World Health Organization (Who). That’s a big relief to monkeys all over the world – they were being stigmatised, and WHO is kind to them.

India’s Digital Currency

This week, on 1st December, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced the launch of India’s first-ever digital currency, Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). It was a pilot launch for retail Digital Rupee (e₹-R) in a closed user group consisting of customers and merchants. The pilot will initially cover four cities, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Bhubaneswar, and four Banks will participate, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank, and IDFC Bank.

RBI said that the digital currency is being launched with an aim to mitigate the risks and trim costs in the handling of physical currency.

Digital currency is a digital form of paper currency or fiat currency that can be exchanged in transactions for actual currency. It is essentially electronic cash. It cuts out the middlemen in financial transactions – primarily banks – and allows transactions to travel directly from person to person or customer to vendor. It is mainly meant for Retail transactions. The currency is backed by a Central Bank -RBI in India – whose legal tender is also issued and is essentially e-cash that doesn’t need any special indigenous methods of encryption. All online transactions involve digital currency but when money is withdrawn from a bank or an ATM, it is converted into liquid cash. Simply put, digital currency can be used in place of paper currency for all transactions.

Users will be able to transact with e₹-R through a digital wallet offered by the participating banks and stored on mobile phones and other devices. Transactions can be made through QR codes. As in the case of cash it will not earn any interest, while ‘sitting in the wallet’, and can be converted to other forms of money like deposits with banks.

How is it different from Crypto-currency?

Crypto-currency is not backed by the central bank of a country but instead derives its purchasing power from its user community. Technically, they are pieces of code generated by ‘mining’ that are managed via a digital ledger known as blockchain to ensure transparency at every stage of their journey. In other words, they are decentralised virtual currencies as they are not issued by a Country and do not have the status of ‘legal tender’. Its value is independent of central banking authorities and even regional geopolitical problems.

Digital currencies have already been launched in The Bahamas, Nigeria, and the Eastern Caribbean Union. Pilot projects have been launched in by China, Sweden, Jamaica, and Ukraine – for testing. And India joins this list. Other countries working on them are the Eurozone and the United States.

There is a future for Digital Currency.

More digital stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Cash your time for a reading of World Inthavaaram.


About –the stories of the world this week, 20 November to 26 November: onward to the Moon, the ongoing war, a political odyssey in Malaysia, Covid19 hangs on, climate change goals, World Cup Football, population growth, and a python is pulled off.


America’s NASA’s Artemis-I Moon Mission, launched on 16 November is doing just great, and spacecraft Orion – now on its own – has arrived at the Moon, sweeping about 130 kilometres (km) above the lunar surface, as planned. And has been ‘kicked by the Moon’ into a Distant Retrograde Orbit – about 64,000 km away from the Moon, after reaching the end of which it will return to the Moon Space and receive another ‘Moon kick’ to return to Earth. Orion is sending back, to the NASA Mission Control Centre in Houston, Texas, awesome pictures of what it’s seeing.

The Russia-Ukraine war battles on and Ukraine is bracing itself for the coming harsh winter; made terrible by power blackouts, caused by the blistering assault of Russian missiles on utility facilities. The Ukraine people are standing on the ground against the ferocious illegal Russian invasion and this is yet another painful test of their endurance and fortitude. When will all this end?

This week, Malaysia got itself a new Prime Minister. Actually, an old hand who has been relentlessly chasing the job over a remarkable odyssey of 25 turbulent years that saw him jailed twice on sodomy and corruption charges. And charges overturned by the Supreme Court and later pardoned by the King of Malaysia, to fight another day. Veteran opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, 75, was sworn in as PM this Thursday by Malaysia’s constitutional monarch, King Abdullah.

Anwar’s Pakatan Harappan Party (PH) won the largest share of the vote in last Saturday’s Elections, but not enough to form a government on its own. Then, after days of intense negotiations, Anwar cobbled together an agreement with two other Political Groupings giving him the majority he needed. The King was convinced by the numbers and called him in.

Anwar has promised to forgo his PM’s salary and will focus on tackling Malaysia’s rising cost of living, besides combating corruption. His reformist-minded PH has a goal of promoting a more pluralist and inclusive Malaysia.

Anwar Ibrahim entered politics surprisingly joining the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) – Malaysia’s Grand Old Party – and rising through its ranks. And being mentored by Former Prime Minister Mahatir Mohammad, with who he had a love-hate Tom & Jerry relationship through the vicissitudes of his political life. There’s a lot of Malaysian expectations riding on his shoulders, and he should deliver.

In China the coronavirus caused COVID-19 is not letting go easily and is experiencing its worst outbreak in six months. Localised lockdowns have surged over the last couple of weeks. This week, China recorded more than 28,000 new cases in 24 hours, which are in every single provincial-level region. The country maintains a zero-Covid policy, where entire communities are locked down over single cases of the virus, in order to prevent its spread.


The results are out, and maybe we can look up and breathing slightly easier-find more Oxygen than Carbon di-oxide in the air- in the years to come? At the 27th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties(COP27) in Egypt which concluded on 18th November, almost 200 countries struck a landmark deal to launch a fund to help nations worst-hit by climate change. Applause broke out as the historic fund was approved just before dawn after negotiations ran through the night.

The vulnerability of developing nations to climate impacts has been recognised by the fund for climate loss and damage, but many rich nations will be disappointed about fossil fuels.

New language added in the final political statement includes ‘low emissions’ energy alongside renewable power as the energy sources of the future. That could be used to justify new fossil fuel development, which is exactly what global climate scientists in the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) advise against. It could refer to gas, which is cleaner than oil and coal, but not a renewable fuel like wind or solar.

The summit also seems to have moved the commitment to try to limit the average rise in global temperatures to 1.5 Degrees Centigrade by the year 2100. That’s the crucial temperature threshold scientists say we cannot go above if we are to avoid the worst of climate change. Leaders warned about this from the beginning, and it will be deeply disappointing for rich nations if there is now less global ambition to urgently cut fossil fuel use.

The message is absolutely clear: we have to consciously cut-down on using fossil fuels for energy generation, in whatever manner we can. This has to be inhaled by each one of us on Planet Earth.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

The 22nd edition of ‘Federation Internationale de Football Association’ -FIFA (International Federation of Association Football)-World Cup 2022 began in Qatar, a tiny gas-rich Gulf kingdom, this 20th November: the first to be held in the Arab world, and the second World Cup held entirely in Asia, after the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar, brought with it lots of controversies, which could hold centre-stage and be debated between the goal-posts, more than football. But first, let’s whistle about the game itself.

Football giants Brazil have won the World Cup 5 times, Germany and Italy 4 times each, Argentina, France, and Uruguay 2 times each, and England and Spain 1 time each. The previous World Cup, in the year 2018, was won by France beating Croatia, 4-2 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. Now Russia seems so far away and is off the World Cup Guest list. We all know why: Its illegal war in Ukraine, of course.

No Player in the history of the World Cup has won the Golden Ball-Player of the tournament- twice, which was first introduced in the year 1982. The inaugural was won by Italy’s Paolo Rossi and then by Argentina’s Diego Maradona in 1986, Italy’s Salvatore Schillaci in 1990, Brazil’s Romario in 1994, Brazil’s Ronaldo in 1998, Germany’s Oliver Kahn in 2022, France’s Zinedine Zidane in 2006, Uruguay’s Diego Forlan in 2010, Argentina’s Lionel Messi in 2014, and Croatia’s Luka Modric in 2018.

This edition of the World Cup beginning on 20 November 2022 plays up to 18 December 2022. A total of 32 teams, who qualified to reach here, play over 64 games. Two top teams from each group will make the cut for the Round-16 Qualifiers or the Pre-Quarter Finals. There are Eight Groups, A to H, each consisting of four teams.

The Round -16 will be held between 3 December and 7 December, the Quarter Finals, 9 to 11 December, Semi-Finals on 14th and 15 December, 17 December will be the play-off for third place, and the Finals on 18 December at the Lusail Stadium of Qatar’s Al Daayen City.

The Opening Ceremony was held at the 60,000 capacity Al Bayt Stadium 40 km north of Doha and the first kick-off, a Group ‘A’ match between Hosts Qatar and Ecuador, set the ball rolling. Ecuador won easily 2-0 with its skipper Enner Valencia scoring both goals. He missed a hat-rick when another of his goals was disqualified.

Now, rolling over to the controversies part. Qatar is accused of human rights violations, the deaths of migrant workers and being vocally anti-LGBT.

The authorities in Qatar, have always strongly denied that their bid to host the World Cup involved corruption of any kind. Yet, cash seems to have sloshed around. A prominent Qatari appears to have spread largesse, apparently on his own account, but nothing has been conclusively established. FIFA officials overlooked Qatar’s blistering summer heat, which meant the World Cup itself was moved to November, instead of the usual June – July. The legions of foreign construction workers, mostly from India, who built the glitzy new stadiums and other infrastructure were treated like slaves: some have died. Many more were paid paltry wages and forced to stump up exploitative recruitment fees.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s criminalisation of homosexuality may put gay supporters off going to watch. Some players plan to wear rainbow armbands in a stand against discrimination. Murky dealing, exploitation, prejudice: what ought to be a festival of harmony will instead be a showcase of international woes, not least the rise of petro-fuelled autocracy.

Qatar is a conservative Muslim country and it tightly regulates alcohol sales and usage. In September, officials said ticketed fans would be able to buy alcoholic beer three hours before kickoff and for one hour after the final whistle, but not during the match. Organisers had promised it would be available in match venues and in fan zones – and that it would also be reasonable priced.

However just before kick-off, FIFA announced that alcohol will be banned for World Cup fans at grounds in a major and unprecedented volte-face: alcohol will not be sold inside or around the perimeter of stadiums.

The last-minute alcohol ban is emblematic of the contradictions at the heart of this World Cup.

The FIFA World Cup sponsor Budweiser has announced that the alcoholic beer it cannot sell in stadiums in Qatar will go to the winning country of the tournament.

The Winner takes it all: lots of beer to drink.

The week, the Group level games are being played and in a historic upset, Saudi Arabia stunned Argentina with a 2-1 win in their Group match, but only after Argentina’s Messi scored a goal. In another astonishing upset, Japan defeated four-time World Cup winner-the mighty Germany, 2-1. That’s a number to watch?

Coming to high scoring matches of the week, Spain whipped Costa Rica 7-0, and England thrashed Iran 6-2. I guess football fans were overwhelmed by the goals and some dazzling display. I loved the way Spain played clinical football with surgical passes and found myself ‘stitched to my seat’.

Meanwhile, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo made history as the first man to score in five World Cups; this after he scored in a penalty shot to give Portugal a 3-2 win in its match against Ghana. The goal is significant, as previously only women had done the five goal thing in the FIFA Women’s Football: Marta Vieira da Silva, Brazilian striker is the first footballer of any gender to score at five World Cup editions, a feat matched by Canada’s Christine Sinclair in 2019. That’s the 5 star line-up: Marta – Christine Sinclair – Cristiano Ronaldo.

Population Growth

Over the past months we have heard expansive talks about India’s Economy growing at break-neck speed to become one of the largest in the World, in a few decades’ time. Comparisons with China are inevitable and many say, we are many years behind China’s Economic development. Whatever, there is one area India will surely be overtaking China: easy to guess, population.

You think of population and immediately China pops up in the mind. It has been the world’s most populous country for hundreds of years, but now there is a dead serious challenger. The United Nations (UN) guesses that India’s population will surpass that of China on 14 April 2023. And India’s population on that day is projected to be 1,425,775,850. Watch that bulge!

It’s time India cranks its own counting mechanisms and finds a means of keeping the burgeoning population under control.

Please Yourself

In Australia, a five year old boy survived being bitten, constricted, and dragged into a swimming pool by a 3 m long python snake, about three times his size.

Beau Blake was enjoying a swim at home when the python, which was probably waiting to snap up someone whole for lunch, struck the boy-biting into him- when he was walking around the edge of the pool. The python wrapped itself round the leg of the boy and dragged him inside the pool. But before it hit the bottom, Beau’s 76 year old grandfather, Allan, saw it and without the least hesitation jumped into the pool, pulled out the boy-snake combo and passed it to his son Ben who was also around the pool. Ben then prised free the boy from the python and released it back into the vegetation. Beau is in good spirits and escaped with mild injuries. And the python finds itself something else to coil around, another day!

“Once we cleaned up the blood and told him that he wasn’t going to die because it wasn’t a poisonous snake… he was pretty good actually”, said Ben.

If generations get together the snakes can be outwitted. In Australia, something is always lurking around the corner. And pythons are a fact of life in certain areas.

More ‘hissing’ stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Keep your Dad and Grand-Dad always around; live with World Inthavaaram.