About-the world this week, 29 January to 4 February 2023: a documentary and a research report create heat and dust in India; America’s police brutality is tiring; Iran continues acting tough; India’s Amrit Kaal Budget; and the Australian Open Tennis closes.


Over the past week India was boiling and it continued into this week with two hot items causing lots of steam release. One, a BBC Documentary on India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, conducting its own ‘un-Sherlock Holmes’ like investigation into the 2002 Godhra riots in India’s Gujarat when Modi was the Chief Minister of the State, and without credible evidence, blaming him as directly responsible and tacitly supportive of the assault on muslims.

The riots started when Hindu pilgrims returning by train from the Ram Janmaboomi Site in Ayodhya were attacked by a Muslim mob who set ablaze their coach at Godhra Station, resulting in 59 Hindus-including 27 women ad 10 children-being burnt alive. This triggered a spontaneous outbreak of retaliatory violence resulting in one of the worst communal clashes in post-independence India.

The BBC Documentary was based on ‘false truths walking on water’ and does not stand the test of India’s Supreme Court, which set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to thoroughly investigate allegations on Narendra Modi – at a time when the now ruling Party was in the opposition. The SIT gave Modi and 64 others a clean chit. A challenge to the verdict was also thrown out by the Supreme Court in July 2022, as ‘devoid of merit, and which intent was to keep the pot billing for ulterior design’. Well, the BBC is doing just that and has no business in casting aspersions and trying to be smarter than the highest Court of our Land, that too when deep investigations have been done into the matter.

Two, The Hindenburg Report by short-seller Hindenburg Research, which in a two year investigation claimed that India’s Adani Group led by the World’s third richest person Gautam Adani was involved in massive and brazen stock manipulation and an accounting fraud scheme. The report questioned how the Adani Group uses entities in offshore tax havens such as Mauritius and Caribbean Islands and said key Adani companies had substantial debt, which put the entire group in precarious financial footing. The cause a melt down in Adani stocks causing unbelievable chaos in the financial markets.

Short-selling or shorting is a trading strategy where an Investor or Trader buys a stock or security and sells it on the open market planning to buy it back for less money. Short Sellers bet on and profit from a drop in a stock’s price. Traders usually short stock by selling shares they have borrowed -they don’t buy them- from others through brokerages. When the prices of the shares fall to expected levels the Trader would purchase the shares at the lower price and return them to the owner, booking a profit in the process. However, if the price of the share appreciates instead of falling the Trader will be forced to buy shares at higher prices to return to the owner, thereby booking a loss.

Last year in May 2022, a Judge in New York said that investors in a sports betting company called Draft Kings Inc., cannot rely on short seller reports to prove fraud. Short Sellers are not unbiased narrators, the Judge said, in a ruling in a securities fraud class action against Draft Kings. When they publish damning revelations about publicly traded companies, it’s usually because they are hoping to drive down the Company’s share price so they can cover their bets. The Judge dismissed action against Draft Kings, concluding that shareholders’ case was fatally flawed because it relied almost entirely on assertions from a 2019 Hindenburg Research report that pushed Draft Kings’ share price down about 4.2%. I guess we can figure out what’s happening in the Adani case?

Later in the week, a Follow-on Public Offer (FPO) following its Initial Public Offer (IPO)-selling of securities to the public in the primary market- by the Adani Group, which was fully subscribed, was called-off by Adani and the money is to be returned to investors. The reason cited was volatility in the market and the Adani Board strongly felt that it would not be morally correct to proceed with the FPO. Under the circumstances, a bold thing to do!

It is a signature-tune in America, if not guns shooting down people, it is Police high-handedness and abuse of the law, killing one at a time. And this time it’s black and black.

Tyre Nicholas, a 29 years old Afro-American motorist, was pulled over by a Team of Afro-American Police Officers, on 7 January at a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee State, for what police said was reckless driving. While attempting to flee on foot, Nicholas was struck with a taser, kicked, punched, pepper-sprayed, brutally hit with a baton, and left reeling under the assault. It took more than 20 minutes for him to receive medical attention. Three days later, Tyre Nicholas died in hospital. A video of the incident shows Nicholas, at one point shouting, “Mom, Mom, Mom.” His mother’s home was only about 73 metres away. The five officers involved have been fired and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, and other crimes.

US President Biden spoke to Nicholas’ mother and committed to supporting legislation to help prevent police abuse. He said he was “outraged and deeply pained.” Protestors gathered in cities like New York City, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Memphis to protest the brutality.

The protests in Iran against wearing the headscarf and ruthless implementation of the Islamic Dress Code for women rages on, but in quiet defiance. This follows the deadly crackdown that led to thousands of arrests and at least four executions. Many women are boldly venturing out in public without the mandated headscarf and small groups of demonstrators are still gathering to make noises that can be heard. Now, we learn that an Iranian couple, Astiyazh Haghighi and Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, in their 20s, were sentenced to at least 10 years in prison for dancing in the street. The couple have a large social media following, and were arrested in November last year, after posting a video dancing in front of Tehran’s Azadi Tower. Haghighi was not wearing a headscarf, a move which appeared to show solidarity with the headscarf protesters. Now, the Iranian regime has convicted the pair of corruption, prostitution, and national security charges. That’s brutal.

India’s Budget – an Amrit Kaal

The Annual ritual of presenting the Budget for India happened on 1st February and the Government termed it an ‘Amrit Kaal’ Budget giving a big push for capital expenditure in building infrastructure, fiscal consolidation, and unleashing personal income tax-reforms for the ‘much ignored’ salaried, middle class.

‘Amrit Kaal’ is a term pulled out from Vedic Astrology and refers to an auspicious period when the portals of great pleasure open for humans and other living beings.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman is easily the most consequential Finance Minister India has ever had. She has done a commendable job by navigating the economy through a tough pandemic and the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war, and nurturing it as a lone bright spot when the world braces for a recession.

Indian Industrialist Harsh Goenka (I follow him on Twitter) Chairman of RPG Enterprises best summed it up as, “M’bap’pe of a budget, not ‘Messi’ at all. A budget that puts India on the path to become the world champion- all set to score goals on infra development, consumption and inclusion. A big boost for domestic manufacturing, job creation and ease of doing business”. Glad he brought-in Mbappe: he is a top scorer, is young, and can kick us into the future – will lots of ‘goals’.

He did not stop with that, but when further, roped-in an Indian movie scorching the world screens, and said, “we at RPG love this budget because it’s RRR once again: Railways; Renewables; and Reforms. A ‘Naatu Naatu’ budget for the whole country putting us on track to conquer the golden globe”-alluding to the Indian film RRR winning a Golden Globe Award for best original song of ’Naatu Naatu’.

We can dance to that!


Australian Open

Last Saturday, Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka, the 5th seed, came from a set down to beat Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina, the 22nd seed, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the Australian Open women’s singles event at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. This is Sabalenaka’s maiden singles Grand Slam. The reigning Wimbledon champion Rybakina seemed to be in control after winning the first set, but was completely outplayed in the second set by Sabalenka, who then fought her way to claim the decider, despite squandering three championship points.

In the Men’s finals played this Sunday, as widely expected, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic coolly beat Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 to win his 10th Australian Open title and level with Spain’s Rafael Nadal on 22 Grand Slams. That was a pretty straight win. The others behind in Grand Slam Title wins, but retired, are Roger Federer with 20 and Pete Sampras with 14 Grand Slams. That leaves two ‘fit’ horses in the race to the next Slam level: Djokovic and Nadal.


India has a knack of throwing up great cricketers and this week a precious find could well be 23 year old Shubman Gill, from Punjab State, who smashed the highest-ever score by an Indian in T20 Cricket. He hit 126, not-out, off 63 deliveries in his maiden hundred in a T20 match against New Zealand. Shubam Gill beat the previous record held by Virat Kohli who did a 122 of 61 balls against Afghanistan in September 2022.

More smashing stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Plan your budget after reading World Inthavaaram.



About –the stories of the world this week, 25 December to 31 December: the blizzard of the century; Covid19 again; a fierce Prime Minister; discovery of new plants, animals, and fungi; a rush to Heaven; and the cheek of looking good.


A cold wave is doing a scathing run across the world from North America to Japan and through India’s New Delhi – where temperatures dipped to frightening low levels putting to shame ‘traditional owners of the cold weather’ in the region, Nainital, Dharmasala, and Dehradun.

Meanwhile, a Crown Prince aka Pappu, of a certain Royal Dynasty in India wore a white T-Shirt during a visit to his Father’s grave in freezing Delhi, and his Palace Clowns declared him superhuman and ‘fit to be Prime Minister (PM)’. And he walked away into the cold. Said a scientist: One in five Italians have a mutation in the ACTN3 gene because of which they can withstand extreme cold. Come again?

The severe winter storm that has swept across North America has left the city of Buffalo, New York, looking like a war zone in what is being called ‘The Blizzard of the Century’ with at least 60 people dead. On another front, lakefront homes in Ontario were encased in a thick, spiky coat of ice after the blizzard whipped frigid waves on shore. And as it barrelled through Erie County, last weekend, residents found themselves stranded in howling snow with nowhere to go, their cars dwindling in gas supply and with police unable to come to their rescue. The situation is expected to improve over the first week of the New Year.

Following neighbour China falling for Covid19, time and again, India isn’t impressed. And it’s getting ‘its looks ready’, and renewing its fight against the coronavirus, should it dare the formidable Indian PM’s 56 inch chest. This with countrywide mock drills, booster doses, masking, and screening tests at International Airports being carried out in a flurry of activity. The great RT-PCR test is back and is mandatory for people arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand. The new ‘virus rascal’ threatening us is BF.7 a sub-variant of Omicron, which is behind the current explosive spike in China.

This time, India has a new weapon too. Bharat Biotech, the makers of the hugely successful Covid19 vaccine, COVAXIN have come up with the world’s first intranasal non-invasive, needle-free vaccine, which stimulates a broad immune response at the site of infection – essential for blocking both infection and transmission of Covid19. It goes by the name of ‘iNCOVACC’ and is for people above the age of 18 years and for those who have not had their third precautionary or booster dose.

Medical Experts in India say that there is nothing to fear but warn people to ensure wearing of masks in crowded places and to keep applying the basic prevention techniques we have learnt so well over the past two years.

Nepal has a fierce new PM who was once a Maoist guerrilla and led a decade-long insurgency against the Hindu Monarchy. Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who even in peaceful times wears the name Prachanda – meaning ‘terrible’ or ‘fierce’ was appointed PM this Sunday for a third time. This was on the strength of an alliance with the main opposition after last month’s election returned a hung parliament. He will head the new government for the first half of the 5-year term with the support of the Communist Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) Party and other smaller groups. Prachanda, replaces Sher Bahadur Deuba of the Nepali Congress Party and will himself step down in 2025 -on a power-sharing agreement, making way for the UML to take over.

Prachanda’s Maoist Centre Party won 32 seats in the 275 seat House of Representatives. The UML has 78 seats, and the rest, required for the 138 number majority, will be controlled by smaller groups. The Nepali Congress Party will be the main opposition with its 89 seats. Himalayan navigation skills are required to stay in power and make a difference, leave alone climb every kind of peak, in this part of the world.

The Russia-Ukraine War needlessly and senselessly started by Russia, in February this year, meanders-on, refusing to come to an end. This week under the continued merciless, intensified attacks by Russia, civilians fled the city of Kherson. Only last month, on 11th November, there had been jubilant scenes in this city when it was liberated by Ukraine, after being taken by Russian forces on the second day of invasion.

The Pope noticed and made a fervent appeal to stop the mindless war during his traditional Christmas speech at the Vatican.

Over the week Russia rained a plethora of cruise missiles-probably the most massive ever, since the invasion-on Ukraine, making life more miserable for Ukrainians who have stood-up boldly to the might of a bully. The attacks come after Russia said it will not negotiate with Ukraine under the terms of its President, Volodymyr Zelensky’s proposed peace formula.

In another kind of war, it’s more than 466 days since the Taliban banned teenage girls from school. Afghan women and girls continue to be shut out of their classrooms, denied their basic human rights and the world remains mostly muted. International aid organisations suspend operations in Afghanistan following Taliban ban on female NGO workers. Said an official, “We cannot operate without women, we will not operate without women… this crosses a humanitarian red line. Do they want millions of Afghans to starve and freeze?”

Why does the Taliban do this? It springs from their fundamental ideology that women are second or third class citizens are cannot have the same rights as men and should be subjugated. They follow Fiqh, or Islamic jurisprudences and believe women are ‘polluted’ and that gender equality ‘destroys families’. This ideology, known formally as Deobandi, goes back to ‘themes’ developed by political Islamists in response to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in 1922, that ruled from today’s Turkey and stretched across the Middle East and North Africa at its height. In the aftermath homegrown movements focussing on women’s rights in Islamic countries such as the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, later Hizb ut-Tahrir in 1953 came into being. These two-pan Islamic groups promoted a particular narrow interpretation of sharia and spread it throughout the Islamic world.

“The Taliban and Al-Qaida are the ideological continuation of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizb ut-Tahrir,” said an Afghan Islamic scholar. The Muslim Brotherhood was against a wave of movements that supported natural and citizen rights of people including women. Women’s rights made up the central piece of the dispute between the Muslim Brotherhood and these new movements, in the Arab world in the early 1900s.

While Afghanistan is preventing education of its women folk, Iran is after what women wear. A wave of executions in the country is imminent following the persisting protests that have swept the country following the death in September of Mahsa Amini, a young woman detained by Iran’s notorious morality police for improperly wearing her hijab.

Shahid Alikhani square in the historic Iranian city of Isfahan, and the grand entrance to one of the city’s main metro stations, is in the centre of the news. An execution platform has been installed where many fear high-profile Iranian footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani faces imminent execution along with at least 43 others. Nasr-Azadani is accused of involvement in the killing of three security officers, including two volunteer Basij militia members, during protests in Isfahan on 16th November.

Authorities have already executed at least two people in connection with protests in Iran last month, one of whom was hanged publicly. This is a result of a rushed judicial process in Iran where charges which could carry the death sentence are often handed down in a single sitting.

The Russia-Ukraine war; the abysmal, pathetic condition of women in Afghanistan; and the continuing protests in Iran again the stringent Islamic Dress Code for women, are perhaps the three worst events of the year 2022, which I hope comes to a close in the year 2023. Is humanity sliding downhill? Wonder why the United Nations cannot play a more muscular role.

On the sidelines, Writer Yuval Noah Harari has argued that the greatest achievement of mankind has been the decline in war, now that is in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, the rule of the military junta in Myanmar continues and Nobel Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi just got sentenced to another 7 years in jail, for corruption. The court’s latest action leaves her with a total of 33 years to serve in prison following a series of politically tinged prosecutions since the army toppled her elected government in February 2021.

Every year we discover so much that makes us realise how little we know about the world and how big it actually is. And the tree of life keeps growing. This year, The California Academy of Sciences researchers and their international collaborators discovered 146 new animal, plant, and fungi species. The previously unknown creatures and plants were found around the world, in the mountains of California, Australia’s Queensland State, the rocky peaks of Brazil and the Coral Reefs of the Maldives. Scientists made discoveries on six continents and within three oceans.

Among the new species were 44 lizards, 30 ants, 14 flowering plants, 13 sea stars, 7 fish, 4 sharks, 3 moths, 2 spiders, and 1 toad. Keep looking around, under, and above: there’s more to discover in the year ahead.

Over the year many have left this world for the skies above. Some, maybe, waited until the last month, the last week of this year 2022 to give up their valuable breath.

Brazil’s Edson Arantes do Nascimento famously known by his nickname, Pele – the Black Pearl – the greatest football player ever who brought ‘passion to the heart of football’ died this week at 82, after battling cancer. He is the only player to win three World Cups for his country 1958, 1962, and 1970 and leaves behind a rich football legacy. Pele was voted Player of the Century in the year 2000. And his 1,279 goals in 1,363 matches is a world record that is unlikely to be surpassed.

British fashion designer and style icon Vivienne Westwood died aged 81. She passed away peacefully at her home in London. The media called her ‘the high priestess of punk’ and the ‘Queen of Extreme’. In the world of fashion she was a beloved designer and pushed the boundaries of the fashion industry until her death.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mother Heeraben Modi passed away at the ripe age of 99 years after stepping into her 100th. She must be a proud mother having delivered for India one of its best prime ministers, ever. PM Modi carried out the last rites, just like any ordinary citizen would, and rushed back to work – keeping his tight pre-planned schedule.

May their souls rest in peace. Without doubt, each one did their job extremely well in their respective fields. And will be remembered in times to come.

Please Yourself

Over the past few weeks, buccal fat removal has become a hot-button topic on social media after several celebrities were said to have had the procedure. American model and TV personality Chrissy Teigen who is married to singer John Legend is one celebrity having admitted to doing the procedure. And we can see the cheeky difference.

Buccal fat removal is the removal of fat from the buccal fat pad, a mass of tissue located deep within the cheek. The procedure is typically conducted under anaesthesia. A surgeon will create small incisions on either side of the inside of the patient’s mouth to expose the buccal fat pad, and then remove some or all of the fat. By doing this, you can accentuate the cheekbones by removing the fat that is in the buccal fat compartment. The procedure can create the appearance of more sculpted, defined cheekbones. A person interested in this effect might not have a full face, but they just want to see a little more definition in the cheekbones and looking to emphasise the sub-malar hollow below the cheekbone.

Everyone wants to look beautiful.

More incisive stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Grow beautiful with World Inthavaaram – without surgery.

Build a legacy to leave behind. A Happy New Year and wishing you unalloyed happiness in your lives.


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, 9 October to 15 October 2022, a bridge gets attention, uncovering head-covering, trying to get to the moon, multiple news in India, and dwindling wildlife on Earth.


Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Long before the present round of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia had ‘captured Ukraine’s Crimea’ in 2014 and officially annexed it in 2015. The Russians then quickly got to work and built what’s called the Crimean bridge, or Kerch Bridge, across the Kerch Strait linking Crimea’s Kerch to Russia’s Taman Krasnodar Krai. It is a 19 kilometres long bridge with a pair of parallel bridges, one for a four-lane road and one for a double-track railway. The bridge became one of the longest in Europe.

President Vladimir Putin himself personally opened the Kerch bridge by driving a truck across it in 2018, hailing it as the ‘construction of the century’. The Rail part was inaugurated in 2019 – and there were no reports of Putin having driven a train this time. The bridge connecting Russia to the Ukraine mainland, through Crimea, is an easy means of moving military equipment, ammunition, and troops during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Late last week -early Saturday- an explosion severely damaged parts of the road and rail bridge. The explosion originated at the road bridge, and the blast started a fire on a fuel train on the overhead rail bridge: it is not clear whether it originated above the bridge deck, or below. The blast caused one span to rupture at its middle. The adjacent span on the Crimean side remained intact, but was pulled off and also collapsed into the sea. A third span on the Russian side remains standing, while the next span fell off. But the Russians recovered, got cracking, and brought the bridge back to safe mode in double-quick time.

The bridge plays a strategic role in the ongoing war, and Ukraine has said it is a legitimate target, as they vow to retake the peninsula. They responded with a thinly veiled approval to the explosion, but have not indicated that their forces were behind the attack.

Meanwhile, Putin in a display of brutality and vengeance unleashed a streak of missile attacks on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, blaming Ukraine for the attack on the bridge, calling it an ‘act of terrorism’, Wow!

In this modern era it is unbelievable that we allow a rouge county to effortlessly pull-off attacking another sovereign country and seemingly get-away with it. And we are all reduced to ‘rubble spectators’. The Ukrainians are trying their best to go about their business as usual, and one has to admire their tenacious spirit in building bridges to a normal life.

Uncovering Iran

The protests in Iran over the Islamic Dress Code continues. Dozens of protesters have been killed since the unrest began last month following the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, in custody when she was detained by the morality police for not covering her hair properly. Another incident uncovered the hijab further, when 16 years old Nika Shakarami, last seen standing on a dumpster and burning her headscarf, as others chant slogans against the Islamic Republic, disappeared after telling a friend she was being chased by police. She was found dead ten days later.

“Under authoritarianism it’s not easy to voice your opinion. Even though their courage is extraordinary, their demands are not. They’re asking for equality, to be able to have dignity, justice, not to be judged on what they wear” said award-winning British-Turkish Novelist & Activist Elif Shafak.

School students participating in street protests are being detained and taken to mental health institutions. And referred to what are called ‘psychological institutions’, where the students are reformed and re-educated to prevent ‘anti-social’ behaviour. They are then released into the education stream, after they’ve been reformed!

That’s another revolution happening in Iran.

NASA’s Honey Moon

After many forces, technical and natural, challenged America’s NASA’s Artemis Moon Mission and succeeded in keeping it grounded, NASA is finally breaking free. The target for the next launch attempt for the Artemis-I Mission is 14th November 2022. And I look forward to seeing Artemis-I ‘honey the moon’ and comeback with sweet stories for launching the Man & Woman Mission, Artemis-II – I hope.

India Melange

In a gruesome and shocking suspected incidence of human sacrifice in Elanthoor, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala State, two women, Rosly and Padman were killed in a horrific manner. And it is believed that cooked body parts were eaten that would enable ‘the sacrificers’ to preserve their youth, besides achieving financial prosperity.

The prime accused is a history-sheeter, sexual pervert and psychopath, Muhammad Safi, 52, who along with Laila, 59, and her husband Bhagaval Singh, 68 – a traditional healer and masseur – carried out the brutal act that stunned India this week. Safi had befriended the couple through a Facebook profile in the name of ‘Sreedevi’, and later masquerading as Godman Rasheed influenced them to do his bidding. Police cracked the case while probing the missing Padman – based on a complaint by her son- and the three suspects were arrested. One of the victims was lured with money for acting in a pornographic video while the other was promised sex work. The bodies of the victims were cut into pieces and thrown away, and Police recovered 61 packets of body parts.

Absoultely disgusting that such cannibalism and antediluvian beliefs exist in these modern times.

Elections are always happening in India, throughout the year, and the end of season announcements were made this week: the State of Himachal Pradesh with 68 Assembly seats will go the polls in a single phase on 12th November. The counting will be on 8th December. The elections in the Prime Minister’s home State of Gujarat, which is always seen as test of his grip on the voters-is expected to be announced soon.

A former Delhi University Professor, Saibaba – in Jail for about 7 years – was acquitted and ordered to be released by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court. This was following his conviction in March 2017 for links to the banned Maoists and indulging in activities amounting to waging war against the country. ‘Urban Naxalism’ is the modern term used to describe such behaviour. It springs from the Naxalbari uprising in India where tribals fought landlords as well as the Government to protect their rights over land ownership, means and way of living.

India’s highly entertaining, fitness-minded, scion and Prince of the Grand Old Party of India -The Indian National Congress- Rahul Gandhi pounced upon an idea to boost the dwindling popularity of his Party, in the tempest of Election set-back after setback. And while still searching for that elusive President of the Congress Party of which his Mom is the acting President. The election of a real President is finally in progress after a very long time, with two candidates in the fray, trying to show which ‘hand’ is the best.

On 7th September, Rahul embarked on a Bharat Jodo Yatra (Unite India March) – a padayatra (walk by foot)- that began in the southern-most tip of India, Kanyakumari in Tamilnadu State, and is scheduled to end in Srinagar in the northern State of Jammu & Kashmir. It covers 12 States in a distance of nearly 3500 kilometres over a duration of about 150 days. This weekend it will be day 37. And while Rahul is trying to make people to ‘overcome hatred’ and come together to strengthen India, he is certainly strengthening his muscles: doing push-ups on the road; tying his Mom’s shoe laces; marching his old Party colleagues to young fitness levels; and growing a beard.

Hope to see a strong and united India to match the 56-inch chest of India’s Prime Minister.

Please Yourself

The World’s leading conservation organisation, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released its Living Planet Report 2022 and the situation is deadly alarming.

According to the report, wildlife populations – mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish – have seen a devastating 69% drop on average since 1970. The report highlights the stark outlook of the state of nature and urgently warns governments, businesses, and the general public to take transformative action to reverse the destruction of biodiversity.

“We face the double emergencies of human-induced climate change and biodiversity loss, threatening the well-being of current and future generations. WWF is extremely worried by this new data showing a devastating fall in wildlife populations, in particular in tropical regions that are home to some of the most biodiverse landscapes in the world,” said the Director General of WWF International.

More wild and natural stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Wake-up to the task of conserving Planet Earth and all that it holds. Stay with World Inthavaaram.