About-the world this week, 26 February to 4 March 2023: the struggle in Iran; migrants to Italy; getting to the Earth’s core; origin of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nigeria’s Presidential Election; Trains in Greece; Israel and Palestine; India’s northeastern State Elections.


The struggle in Iran continues and this time the news is about 650 girls being deliberately poisoned. Though none have died, dozens have been admitted to hospital with respiratory problems, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. This and other chemical attacks on women, seems to a revenge for the role young women played in the recent protests against forced hijab, and against the Islamic Regime.

This Sunday, more than 80 migrants and refugees died when their boat capsized off the coast of Southern Italy. This included a one month old baby and twin toddlers. The vessel carrying about 200 people, broke apart while trying to land near Italy’s Crotone. On board the boat, which had set out from Turkey a few days earlier, were people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Obviously, these refugees were escaping the oppressive regimes or poor living conditions in their respective countries, seeking a better life elsewhere.

The United Nations Missing Migrants Project has registered more than 20,000 deaths and disappearances in the Central Mediterranean since 2014. More than 220 have died or disappeared this year alone-and we have just started- it estimates.

Italy is one of the main landing points for migrants trying to enter Europe by sea, with many seeking to travel on to richer northern European nations. But to do so, they must brave the world’s most dangerous migration route.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has urged the European Union to act to stop clandestine migrant boat journeys. Italy accused migrant rescue charities for encouraging migrants to make the dangerous sea journey to Italy, and sometimes work in partnership with traffickers.

There are also calls for more regular migration channels to Europe, and action by Governments in the region to address multiple causes pushing people to try the sea crossings. And often ending in disaster.

That’s a haemorrhage of human life in such troubled spots of the world.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, it is about 530 days since the Taliban banned teenage girls from school. Afghan women and girls continue to be denied education by the ruling Taliban in their tunnel-vision governance of the Country. And this is impairing and pushing back basic freedom for women in Afghanistan.

It’s about time Space research is given some space, to rest awhile. And for a change, Scientists have turned their eyes inward, to what lies beneath our feet.

We learnt in school that Planet Earth comprises four layers-moving from the outside to the inside: an outer rock crust, then a rocky mantle, an outer core made of molten-liquid magma, and a solid metallic inner core – about 2440 kilometres (km) wide.

Scientists have long wondered what really lies at the very centre of the Earth. And the latest research findings suggest that our planet has a distinct ball of iron – a 640 km ball of iron-nickel alloy -within its metallic core, which actually is a hidden layer, or an ‘innermost inner core’. This is according to a new study published this week in the journal Nature Communications.

The monumental finding suggests that the Earth has five major layers instead of four. And detecting the new layer, more than 1600 km beneath our feet, is significant. If offers new details scientists could use to help unlock some of the oldest mysteries about our planet and how it was formed, how it has evolved, and how it will continue doing so. It also enables better understanding of Earth’s magnetic field.

Now we know that we cannot simply dig through the Earth from one end to the other, without hitting an iron ball wall.

When the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, there was a strong suspicion that it could have been caused by a laboratory accident in China’s Wuhan. We were then so engulfed in fighting the coronavirus that we paused that ‘origin button’ to find ways of managing the effects of the pandemic. Now we are almost done, and the proverbial skeletons are crawling out of the Chinese cupboard.

The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director, Christopher Wray wasn’t wary at all when he acknowledged that the FBI believes the Covid-19 pandemic was likely the result of a laboratory accident in Wuhan, China. Of course China, on its part, infuriated by the accusation, simultaneously pointed fingers at the United States.

A John Hopkins Hospital Doctor has also said that it is no brainer that the coronavirus was from a lab. And the origins were never a secret? Maybe we may never really know?

In Nigeria the result of the Presidential Election was announced and Bola Ahmed Tinubu was declared the winner. The elections were controversial, with Opposition Parties decrying it as rigged.

Tinubu, of the ruling All Progressive Congress Party defeated Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, and Peter Obi, the popular Third Force candidate. This is one of Nigeria’s most fiercely contested Elections since returning to democratic rule in 1999.

Tinubu hails from the same party as outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari and previously served as the Governor of Lagos State. Tinbu will serve as Nigeria’s 5th President.

On the wheels of the recent train derailing accident in the United States comes a head-on collision between two trains, near the city of Larissa, Tempi, Central Greece, killing dozens of people and injuring scores of others. The two trains, a Passenger Train carrying more than 350 people and a Freight Train collided, both of which were travelling for several kilometres on the same track. At some point, the Passenger Train had changed tracks and switched to a cargo-track setting-up the head-on collision.

Greece has a poor track record of railway passenger safety compared with other countries in Europe. It has the highest railway fatality rate per million train kilometres from 2018 to 2020 among 28 nations on the continent.

Israel and Palestine are forever at each other’s throats in what seems to be a never-ending war in the over 100 years conflict. In recent times, especially since the start of this year, there has been an intensification of violence between the warring factions, with deaths mounting on both sides.

The current violence is mainly taking place in the West Bank and East Jerusalem – areas occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war, which began to escalate in March 2022.

In a period of days, Israel was rocked by a series of deadly Palestinian attacks and the Israeli military launched an open-ended operation in the West Bank in response, resulting in nightly raids into the occupied territories.

Israel says it has to continue its operations to weaken the militant groups and thwart attacks, while Palestinians say the attacks are a response to Israel’s actions and overwhelmingly more powerful military. There is also no political peace process, which could offer the prospect of a permanent solution, leaving decades-old grievances – the Palestinians’ want of a state and Israel’s want of security chief among them – festering.

Each side blames the other, but there are also longer-term underlying causes.

Palestinian attackers and those who support them say they are fighting Israel and the occupation and avenging Israeli assaults.

Some of the Palestine attacks have been carried out by ‘lone wolves’-individuals who were not acting on the orders of an organisation. Other attacks have been carried out by Palestinian militant groups, including the newly formed ‘Lions’ Den’, whose popularity on the Palestinian street has surged.

Israel’s ongoing operation in the West Bank, called ‘Break the Wave’, is targeting militant groups with arrest raids to stop them from launching attacks. The raids, however, are often taking place in densely populated refugee camps and other urban areas, where they meet resistance from gunmen and often turn bloody.

This week there was a flood of visits to India, by other countries, to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers Meet under the chairmanship of India. Russia and the US briefly met face-to-face in a you-dare, I-dare, cinematic fashion, the first since the Russia-Ukraine War. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to end the war and urged Russia to reverse its suspension of the New START nuclear treaty.

India’s efforts to bridge differences and produce a joint statement stumbled due to differences over the war. However, an ‘outcome document’ was produced.

In India news, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) heading the Government at the Centre kept its winning streak in State elections that come its way – this time in northeastern India. Three States swooned to the BJP’s charms.

The State of Nagaland got its first-ever couple of woman MLA’s and the BJP kept its Government allying with the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP). The major alliance partner NDPP improved its performance this year by 7 seats, winning 25 of 60 seats seats. The BJP won 12 seats and the relationship continues.

The two women who created History are, NDPP’s Hekani Jakhalu from the Dimapur seat, who won by 1536 votes, and NDPP’s Salhoutuonuo from Western Angami constituency, who won by a razor-thin 7 votes.

In the Sate of Tripura, the BJP won a majority on its own – just crossed the half-way mark. In the State of Meghalaya it was a hung result and it tied-up with the National People’s Party (NPP) after winning 2 seats to the NPP’s 26 and hopes to form a Government with others joining in.

While the Congress Party of India was being trounced all over India and bleeding seats – except for a few solo ‘historic’ wins- its key Leader, trimmed his beard slipped into a suit-boot mode, and sporting a new look, visited his Alma Mater, Cambridge, in London, United Kingdom. He lectured students on the art of ‘Learning to Listen in the 21st Century’ and about promoting ‘new thinking’ in democracy. He also bashed India with, ‘Indian Democracy is under attack’, which is not good for his and India’s health.

He peddled lies such as claiming he had the Pegasus malware in his phone and that he was told by ‘intelligence officers’ that his calls are being recorded. The fact is, no evidence of the Pegasus malware was found in a Supreme Court inquiry. He and many other politicians who claimed they were being snooped on and tried to raise a political controversy over it, never submitted their phones to the probe panel. Of the 29 phones that were submitted, only 5 were found to be infected with ‘some kind of malware’ and none of them was confirmed to be Pegasus.

An Ambassador ‘lies’ abroad for the welfare of his country. A scion of India’s Grand Old Party, lovingly called ‘Pappu’ in India, lies abroad to defame India. Some never learn.

Meanwhile, we are listening and thinking, for sure. Maybe, grow a new beard to trim later on?

More growing-up stories and uplifting ones coming in the weeks ahead. Vote for World Inthavaaram.



About: the world this week, 13th June to 19th June 2021, Israel’s new ‘Iron Dome’, Aeroplanes, Biden-Putin Summit, Tennis, Euro Football, new Diamonds, and old movies.


Israel’s New Prime Minister

After 12 long years punctuated with steady hiccups, Israel got itself a new Prime Minister.

Naftali Bennett,49, was sworn in as Israel’s 13th Prime Minister (PM)this Sunday, taking over from Binyamin Netanyahu (Bibi), who stood strong like Israel’s famous Iron Dome, shooting down all attempts to dislodge him, until now. Bibi got so used to his hot seat in Parliament that after shaking hands with the new PM he ‘missile-d himself’ to his old seat and had to be gently diverted to find a new one.

Israel has always struggled with individual Parties winning an absolute majority – that’s number 61 – and it was coalition politics that ruled most of the time. Never short of tall Leaders with the crystal clear purpose of ensuring that Israel survives and thrives in an Ocean of Arabs, coalition governments, despite internal abrasion, always delivered the goods-the fights!

The new ‘Rotation Government’ won a razor-thin confidence vote, on 13th June, in Israel’s Parliament, The Knesset, with 60 votes for and 59 votes against.

Naftali Bennett had stitched together an extraordinary coalition of eight Parties comprising the entire ideological spectrum of Israel, ranging from ultra-nationalists, centrists, left-wing and Arab-Israeli parties, following the Legislative Elections in March 2021. Himself a former aide to Netanyahu, while in the Likud Party, Bennett is the leader of a nationalist party, Yamina, which is one of the smallest in the new coalition. He positioned himself between those loyal to Netanyahu and those opposed to him and when Yair Lapid, the Leader of the Opposition and the head of the Yesh Atid Party, offered Bennett the first two years of the new Prime Minister’s term, a rotation deal was struck. Yair Lapid will hopefully take-over after two years, if the bits & pieces government lasts that long.

Naftali Bennet is the youngest son, of three, born to Jewish immigrants from the United States who settled down in Israel. He is married to Gilat, a professional Pastry Chef and a Parent Counsellor, and the couple have four children.

Bennet served in the Israeli Defence Forces commanding many combat operations. After his service period, while remaining a Reserve, he became a Software Technical Entrepreneur and went on to make millions before entering politics. He brings to the table working experience as Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Minister of Education, and Minister of Defence. That’s an Iron Dome in itself.

He is a strong advocate of the Jewish Nation State insisting on Jewish historical and religious claims to the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Tough times lie ahead for the Palestinian Terrorists if they try to whack Israel. In fact, they tried a trick this week, launching fire balloons into Israel, and got what they hoped for, air-strikes in the Gaza.

Airbus & Boeing

The two biggest aircraft manufacturers in the world are Airbus-made in the European Union (EU)-and Boeing-made in the United States of America (USA). Most fliers must have flown more often in one of them than in any other Aircraft.

The competition between Boeing & Airbus was so intense that over the years Governments started unfairly propping up their respective flagship plane-makers by providing subsidies and imposing tariffs. And this trade-war kept flying for near about 17 years.

Then, The World Trade Organisation (WTO) noticed, and in parallel cases, in separate rulings in 2019 and 2020, ruled that the EU and the USA provided illegal support and violated trade rules in keeping their respective Aircraft manufacturers in flight.

This week the EU’s European Council (EC) President Ursula Von Der Leyen and US President Joe Biden met at a summit in Brussels, and the US and the EU have agreed a truce in the 17-year trade dispute over subsidies for Boeing and Airbus.

Under the agreement, both sides will lift taxes on goods, including wine, cheese and tractors, for five years. The tariffs, imposed by both sides as punishment in the escalating dispute, had already been suspended in March this year, while they tried to resolve matters.

Meanwhile, China-supported by Russia-began scaling and ramping-up its plane-making skills and is beginning to pose a stern challenge. China’s Comac is already in the final stages of developing the C919-a plane designed as a direct rival to Airbus’ A320 Neo and the Boeing 737 Max. In the Long term, it has a partnership with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation, to develop a larger, wide-body jet.

That’s stiff competition flying in the air. And China is everywhere.

A Little More of Less Space

Taking-off from the Airbus-Boeing drama, and perhaps to get a better perspective, from above, this week, China successfully launched three of its Astronauts into Space through its Shenzhaou-12 Spaceship. And six and half hours later the Astronauts docked with and cooly entered the country’s under-construction Space Station.

In other Space News, Mauritius launched its first ever Satellite, MIR-SAT 1, piggy-backing on SpaceX’s Falcon-9 Rocket, from the Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, USA.

Isn’t Space getting crowded? Time to build Street Lights out there?

Biden & Putin

The Villa La Grange is an 18th century storied manor house, at the centre of the Parc La Grange – one of Geneva’s largest and most popular parks – and located on the shores of Lake Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland. The site is known for lush green gardens and its role as a ‘mystical setting’ for many important moments in the struggle between war and peace in this world. The Villa’s, over 15,000 works Library is the only room holding on to the original decorative features and serves as a perfect backdrop for looking into one’s eyes and seeing the soul – how deep is my love?

This Wednesday, the Villa hosted a face-to-face meeting between the US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the Library. This was to talk things over and thaw the ice-cold relations between them. The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov were also in the Library, at arms length, reading the book titles.

The meeting, being a first, between the two as heads of their countries was a cordial sizing-up one, straying into arms control, browsing into cybersecurity (we didn’t hack anything, said Putin), gunning for release of prisoners, agreeing on return of Ambassadors to their seats, starting nuclear talks, and touching upon the imprisonment of Russia’s Leader of the Opposition, Alexei Lavalny (he broke the law, said Putin).

Both leaders stayed rooted in their positions and became part of the lush green landscape. We have to look for greener pastures, elsewhere!

French Open 2021

The French Open, after a ‘pressing mental struggle’ at the start, picked up and delivered powerful games of Tennis on the clay courts of Roland Garros, raising dust.

On the Women’s side unseeded Czech, Barbora Krejcikova 25, beat Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova,29, to win the Women’s title, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4. This was her first Grand Slam Singles title. That wasn’t all, Barbora Krejcikova teamed-up with Katerina Siniakova to win the Women’s Doubles title too, one of the few do so in one Tournament. Overall, Barbora now has seven Grand Slam Titles under her belt having previously won doubles and mixed- doubles Titles.

Barbora lost her coach, Jana Novotna – a 1998 Wimbledon Champion – to cancer in 2017. And was sure she was proudly looking at her from up above and volleying her the blessings.

In the Men’s Game, Serbian Novok Djokovic beat Greek Stefanous Tsitsipas to win his 19th Tennis Grand Slam Title. Two other old warriors were waiting for him at that level: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 Grand Slam titles each. Djokovic had just one Grand Slam Title to his name in 2010, and he has been sprinting like hell, to get this far.

I watched the finals and was impressed with Tsitsipas. He has a terrific a backhand, but was let down by his forehand, drop shots, unforced errors, and his nerves. He should look up to ice-cool Bjorn Borg, who was on stage to present the Trophies. I’m sure we’ll see him winning more Titles in the years to come.

UEFA Euro 2020 (2021)

The Union of European Football Associations (UEPA) is the governing body of European football and the umbrella organisation for 55 national associations across Europe. It holds the Euro Football Championship every year.

Last year, Euro 2020 was scheduled from 12 June to 12 July 2020, but got postponed – by a whole year – due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year it is being held between 11 June and 11 July 2021 in eleven host cities across the continent for the first time in the 60-year history of the Tournament. And it retains the name ‘UEFA Euro 2020’. Why not?

On the second day of Euro 2020 it suffered a heart-attack when Danish footballer Christian Eriksen suddenly collapsed on the pitch during Denmark’s game against Finland. Turns out he had a cardiac arrest. The Emergency Medical Services team was quick to act and CPR (CardioPulmonary Resuscitation) was started straight away on Eriksen, followed by use of an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) which saved him. He was moved to a hospital and has crossed the danger zone. It’s unclear how a cardiac arrest can suddenly occur to a healthy person and player at this sporting level of football.

Pain in Spain

The Canary Islands (Canaries) is a Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa in the Atlantic Ocean, known for their black and white sand beaches. The Islands once contained dogs (canes) of very large size and the original inhabitants used to worship dogs.

Tenerife is the largest Island and its coast is the scene of a horrific, monstrous crime, which brought a shaken Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to say, ‘the whole country is in shock’.

Tomas Gimeno and Beatriz Zimmermann had dated since they were teenagers, but broke up last year during the pandemic. Between them, they had two children, Olivia, six years old, and Anna, just one year old.

Anna and Olivia went missing on 27 April 2021 after Tomas arranged to spend an afternoon with them. He is also missing, presumed dead. A judge was then called to investigate.

The investigating judge says that Tomas most likely murdered his daughters to ‘cause the greatest pain imaginable to their mother’. He killed his daughters in his house on the day they went missing, put them in bags, drove to the Port, sailed his boat to the deep waters off the coast of Tenerife and threw them overboard, after weighting the bags down with heavy objects. He did this after announcing to his ex-wife and his relatives that he was leaving with Olivia and Anna and that they would never be seen again. The next morning the boat was found drifting at sea.

After 44 days of searching, Olivia’s body was found in a bag at a depth of 1000m. A bag next to it was empty. And the body of Anna is yet to be found.

Tomas had left his pet dog, bank cards with the PIN numbers, and car keys at his parents’ house. He gifted his new girlfriend USD 7500 in cash with a goodbye letter.

The investigation says that Tomas would often send his ex-wife insulting and offensive messages after both had moved on to form new relationships.

The incident has sparked nationwide protests in Spain against gender based violence, given Spain’s scorecard on this aspect. Since the year 2013, Spain has seen 39 minors killed either by their father, or a partner, or former partner of their mother.

In another story, a Spanish Man, Alberto Sanchez Gomez, aged 28 was sentenced to 15 years in prison for ‘killing and eating’ his mother, two years ago.

Police arrived at the home in Eastern Madrid in February 2019 after a friend raised concerns about the mother, Maria Soledad Gomez, who was in her 60s. Sanchez had strangled his mother during a dispute, then dismembered and ate parts of her body over the following two weeks, feeding some to his dog.

Unbelievable, what’s becoming of us humans? Return of the Cannibals?

Diamonds Are Forever

Diamonds are formed over billions of years under conditions of intense heat and pressure in the Earth’s crust and are normally found at a depth of between 150 and 200 kilometres (km) below the Earth’s surface.

Rough diamonds are usually classified as being gem-quality, near-gem or industrial-quality, depending on their colour, clarity, size and shape.

The largest diamond discovered in the world is the 3,106 carat Cullinan Diamond found in South Africa in the year 1905. The Cullinan was subsequently cut into smaller stones, some of which form part of British Royal Family’s Crown Jewels.

The second largest discovery is believed to be the Lesedi La Rona, a 1,109-carat stone found by Canadian firm Lucara Diamond at the Karowe mine in Botswana, Africa, in 2015.

Now, what is considered to be the third largest gem-quality diamond ever found is a 1,098-carat stone that has been unearthed in the Jwaneng Mine, also in Botswana, about 120 km from the country’s capital, Gaborone. The mine is operated by Debswana, a diamond company jointly owned by Botswana’s Government and the De Beers Group.

The Jwaneng Mine was opened in 1982 and usually yields between 12.5 million and 15 million carats of diamonds a year. This month’s find is the largest gem unearthed by the company since diamonds were first discovered in Botswana in 1967.

The diamond was presented to President Mokgweetsi Masisi this Wednesday.

Reminds me of India’s very own famous Kohinoor Diamond, mined in Golconda, Andhra Pradesh, which was one of the largest cut diamonds at about 105 carats.

It is now with the United Kingdom, gifted-away by India’s then Kings, to the British and on display at the Jewel House, Tower of London, London. It’s a never-ending story, ‘We’ll get the Kohinoor back to India’

Please Yourself

‘Love and work, work and love, that’s all that there is’. You’re never wrong to do the right thing’.

Over the weekend I watched the perky generation-gap fable, The Intern, the 2015 film starring Robert De Niro-as Ben Whittaker- and Anne Hathaway-as Jules Ostin- Rene Russo-as Fiona, written and directed by Nancy Meyers.

A retired 70 years old, clean-image widower,Ben, of the yesteryear analogue workforce joins as a Senior Intern at a digital online Fashion Retailer. He goes on to sparkle wisdom on work-life balance, on the overloaded, constantly texting, and emailing young Founder, Jules, who has a very young daughter and a stay-at-home husband. He scintillates even better and has the juices oozes through every pore, after being beautifully massaged by Office Masseuse, Fiona. Ben even finds a wild analogue solution to recall an obnoxious email sent by Jules to her mother – he forms a gang to physically steal the computer from the mother’s house before it can be opened to read mail!

Watch it for the wonderful chemistry between De Niro and Anne Hathaway and massage physics between De Niro and Rene Russo. And how to set-up a new Facebook Account. If you have a problem, just call Jules!

What I saw and was inspired by was, the impeccable dressing of Ben with his die-hard ‘cannot be found these days’ leather briefcase, awesome tie-collection, and supremely calm and dignified demeanour. He was the online Fashion Company’s best offline mascot, if ever there was one!

Have a great week ahead. Dress to kill. Remember, tuck-in, button-up, and wear that tie- may earn you more than a massage!


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


Miss Universe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israel and the militant Hamas

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

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

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

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

The Mouse Down Under – Need Pied Piper Services?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Pandemic Tour of Seychelles

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cyclone Tauktae

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

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

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

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

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

India and the Coronavirus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please Yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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


About: the world this week, 9th May to 15th May 2021, various kinds of flares and surges.


Oh, Jerusalem!

A real-estate land dispute ignited simmering old flames, opened scars of never-healing wounds, and returned Palestinians and Israelis to their old ways-the unforgiving war path. For more than a century, Jews and Arabs have struggled to be the masters of the land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, each claiming it to be their ancestral land…and it continues.

Israel had occupied East Jerusalem following its victory over neighbouring Arab countries in the 1967 Six-Day Middle East War and considers the entire city as its capital. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the future capital of a possible Palestine State. Last year, the United States of America shifted its Embassy to West Jerusalem, from Tel Aviv, recognising it as Israel’s capital and ignited another flame.

Palestinians, mostly refugees, have been living in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheik Jarrah since the 1950s. An Israeli pro-settler organization called Nahalat Shimon dug-out a 1970 Israeli Law to argue that the owners of the land before 1948 were Jewish families-ancestral land, and hence the current Palestinian landowners, about six families, should be evicted and their properties handed-over to Israeli Jews. A local Israeli court ruled it as legal, and an appeal has since been made to the Israeli Supreme Court, which is putting its head to the matter. A final ruling is awaited.

The current round of fighting between Israel and the Arabs, led by the militant Palestinian Organization, Hamas, which rules Gaza, was triggered by days of escalating clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at a holy hilltop compound in East Jerusalem. The site is revered by both Muslims, who call it the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), and Jews, for whom it is known as the Temple Mount. Hamas demanded Israel remove its police from the hilltop and the nearby Sheikh Jarrah.

Added to this, in the past few weeks was heavy-handed Israeli policing of Palestinians during the Holy Festival of Ramzan, culminating with the use of gas and stun grenades inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the holiest place for Muslims after Mecca and Medina. About this time Israel holds its annual Jerusalem Day parade to commemorate the return to Jerusalem after the 6-Day War. And tensions between the Arabs and Jews mounted to new heights.

Then Hamas took the unusual step of issuing an ultimatum to Israel to remove its forces from the Al-Aqsa compound and Sheikh Jarrah, and then promptly started firing hundreds of rockets into Israel. And Israel is responding ferociously, in the way only it can.

How did we get here! Let me try, going deep into the background and to the bottom of this century old story.

The land of Israel, also known as the Holy Land or Palestine is the birthplace of the Jewish people, the birthplace of Judaism, and Christianity. It was predominantly Jewish about 1000 years BCE after which it gradually became mostly Muslim and from the year 1516 onwards became part of the Great Ottoman Empire. Then the British conquered the Holy Land in 1917-18, at the end of the First World War, when the Ottoman Empire collapsed, during which time the land was inhabited by a Jewish minority and an Arab majority.

Tensions between the Arabs and the Jews grew when the international community gave Britain the task of establishing a ‘National Home’ for the Jewish people in Palestine. For Jews, it was a ‘return’ to their ancestral home, but Palestinian Arabs also claimed the land and resisted the move.

Between the 1920s and 1940s, Jews began arriving in Palestine from all over the World: many fleeing persecution in Europe and seeking a homeland after the horrific Holocaust of World War-II, a genocide during which over six million Jews were systematically murdered across German occupied Europe, by Hitler’s Nazis. In this scenario, a Jewish National Movement, Zionism, emerged in late 19th Century due to growing antisemitism and a history of persecution of Jews, and fired the imagination of the Jews that the only possible solution is, creation of a Jewish State where they could live in peace. The desire to achieve this became unstoppable.

Meanwhile, violence between Jews and Arabs, and against British rule in Palestine grew exponentially. In 1947, the United Nations voted for Palestine to be split into separate Jewish and Arab States, with Jerusalem becoming an International City. The plan was accepted by Jewish leaders but was rejected by the Arab side and never fully implemented. I wish the Arabs had accepted and settled to make a life in their part of Palestine. It would have been something to start with.

In 1948 the British left the region without solving the problem, and Jewish leaders declared the creation of the State of Israel on 14th May 1948, which was promptly recognised by America and Russia. Palestinians and the Arab World objected, refused to recognise Israel, and decided to attack Israel. Troops from five neighbouring Arab countries of Egypt, Jordon, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon invaded Israel from all sides with the single-minded objective of obliterating and swallowing the newly formed Country. The Armies of the Arab States was repulsed, beaten, driven out, and defeated in an outstanding warfare by the Israeli Defence Forces. Israel survived, and over the years built one of the most formidable Army and Air Force anywhere in the world. Military service was compulsory and Reserves were always on standby to defeat any attack on the country. Israel inflicted a series of crushing defeats on the Palestinians since it became independent in 1948, becoming a well-oiled war machine in the process.

With the formation of Israel there was an exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled or were forced out of their homes in the new State of Israel. A reverse exodus saw Jews pile into Israel. By the time the fighting ended in a ceasefire the following year, Israel controlled most of the territory it won as a result of the war. Jordan occupied land, which became known as the West Bank, and Egypt occupied Gaza-both of which would have been Arab Palestine. Jerusalem was divided between Israeli forces in the West, and Jordanian forces in the East.

There was never a peace agreement, with each side blaming the other and there were more wars and fighting in the decades that followed.

Then in 1967, in what is called the Six-Day war, Israel comprehensively defeated and severely crushed yet another attempt by Egypt, Jordon, Syria to finish-off ‘Zionist’ Israel, in a period of six days. This time, Israel took control of Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem, what it calls ‘disputed territory’ (not occupied) as the ‘Law of Occupation’ does not apply – interpreted by its Supreme Court. There was no Sovereign Ruler of these parts hence nothing to occupy! This makes the ‘disputed occupation’ a classic example of an intractable law.

While Israel was growing-up, The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1964 to liberate Palestine (from Israel) through armed struggle. It gradually became the accepted voice and recognised as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people by most countries and enjoyed Observer Status in the United Nations. The PLO did not recognise Israel, when first born, and due to its condemnable activities, including violence against Israel civilians went on to being declared as a terrorist organization by the United States in 1987.

In 1993 the PLO finally recognised Israel’s right to exist, accepted UN Security Council Resolutions and rejected violence and terrorism. Israel returned the favour by officially recognising the PLO as the representative the Palestinian People. This wasn’t to last and in October 2018 (after doing the same earlier in January) the PLO suspended its recognition of Israel and all security coordination with the Israeli Defence.

Israel holds on to the disputed territories as a bargaining chip to negotiate peace for its people on the condition that all Arab countries recognise Israel and allow it to co-exist peacefully in the world. ‘Come, let’s negotiate and arrive at a solution’, was the stance adopted by Israel. This wasn’t to be, but grudgingly, it is happening in parts, taking an awfully long time.

Let me take a detour to amplify the Israeli spirit.

Over the years we have read many stories of the Israeli-Palestine conflict being played outside the Holy Land, mainly by fanatical Palestine Groups targeting Israel. One such was by the Black September Group in the 1972 Munich Olympics in Germany, when eight Palestine terrorists stormed the Olympic Village and took nine Israeli athletes hostage, killing two. In a failed rescue attempt the remaining nine were killed. Later, Israel’s deadly Mossad went after the killers in a secret mission and killed most of them.

Another story is the incredible Israeli military mission that rescued 103 Israeli hostages when an Air France Jetliner was hijacked to Entebbe Airport in Idi-Amin ruled Uganda in June 1976, by Palestine Terrorists. Israeli planes with 100 commandos-including one empty Plane for taking back the hostages-travelled over 4000 km to Uganda, flying low, at no more than 30 metres, undetected by radar, landed in Entebbe Airport, rolled-out an Idi Amin look-alike Mercedes-Benz car and two Land Rover escort Jeeps, drove to the Terminal dressed as Ugandan Forces, shot all seven Terrorists, rescued the hostages, and took them back to the plane, all within 90 minutes. They returned safely to Israel to a heroic welcome. Only one Israeli commander was killed in the operation, along with three hostages. He was the older brother of the current Prime Minister of Israel, Bejamim Netanyahu. Given the huge distance between Israel and Uganda, mid-air refuelling logistical capacity being unavailable at that time, Kenya allowed refuelling at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for which it faced the wrath of Idi-Amin, a despot and a Dictator.

Back to the main story.

In 1979, Egypt melted, saw wisdom, and struck a peace deal with Israel, recognising it-becoming the first Arab State to do so. In return, Israel handed back the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt removing its military bases and the business that it had established. The Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty was signed by Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin in the presence of US President Jimmy Carter, at the famous Camp David Summit. Israeli won free passage of its ships through the Suez Canal. This Treaty, decried by many Arab counties and the PLO, has held and lasts to this day. On the fallout, Egypt was suspended from the Arab League and President Sadat ended up being tragically assassinated by the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

In October 1994 the Israel-Jordon Peace Treaty came into being with Jordon recognising Israel (only the second Arab State to do so) and ending the state of war between them.

In August 2005 Israel under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally planned to disengage from the Gaza Strip (and North Samaria) which it had captured and occupied following the 1967 war, and where it had established 21 settlements over a period of 38 years. This was to improve Israel’s security and international status in the absence of any sensible peace negotiations with the Palestinians. About nine thousand Israeli residents within Gaza were evicted and Israeli forces bulldozed thousands of houses of its people, community buildings and synagogues; even corpses in jewish cemeteries were exhumed and reburied in Israel. The terms of disengagement were that Israel would maintain control of the land borders, access to sea and airspace ‘until relations improve’.

This was to become a historic mistake as Hamas could not change its stripes.

With Palestinians returning and getting control of the Gaza Strip, the PLO held elections in the West Bank and the Gaza. While the PLO’s Fatah Party won in the West Bank it lost to the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza, which, over the years, has fought Israel many times. Further infighting between various Palestine Groups, especially between Hamas and PLO’s Fatah led to Israel and Egypt tightly controlling Gaza’s borders to stop weapons getting to Hamas, who refused to disarm. Further actions of Hamas have led to economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, by Israel, where living conditions have become abysmal.

Hamas refuses to recognise the State of Israel and finds every opportunity to strike at Israel at the slightest provocation, typically launching rockets into Israel. Hamas has been declared a terrorist organization by the USA.

Going over to the West Bank, Israel converted its direct military rule into a semi-civil authority one, giving varying levels of autonomy to the Palestinian Authority, which controls 40% and the rest by Israel. Israeli settlers in the West Bank-vehemently opposed by the International Community-are subject to Israeli civilian law whereas Palestinians are subject to Military Law-with no voting rights.

This is where we are. I hope you could make sense of the stakes involved.

It is my firm opinion that few other races and people in this world have suffered the kind of genocide and annihilation that the Jews has been subjected to, and the ‘tiny State’ of Israel deserves peace on its terms. Nothing less nothing more.

The other players in the picture have been given every chance to accept a reasonable choice, and failed time and again, and have continued to be provocative and belligerent-whatever the history and however strong the reasons behind. A farewell to arms and determined negotiation is perhaps the only way to resolve this intractable issue. My sensing is that Israel has always been ready to negotiate-it has demonstrated this intent with its actions in handing over the Gaza (strings attached), and the Sinai Peninsula, among other things. Is the Arab world ready?

Rocketing back to Earth

Homing core debris from a Chinese Rocket, which launched the first module of China’s new Space Station, in April 2021, safely returned to Earth last Saturday splashing into the Indian Ocean, near Maldives. America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) disapproved of the Chinese method of sending back such uncontrolled, unwelcome debris, which could be dangerous if better methods of control are not deployed.

We all need to keep a permanent eye on China, do we?

The Sounds on Mars

The Ingenuity Helicopter-that little fellow-of America’s NASA is have a rolling time on Mars, flying like crazy in increasingly bolder flights, and doing great dance moves. No Martians discovered as yet. But last week, its best friend, Perseverance Rover, send back to Earth the first sounds on Mars from the microphone on its Super-camera. The rumbling of the Martian winds and the rhythmic hums of Ingenuity’s whizzing blades were a delight to hear. If seeing is believing, hearing ‘is sound’.

This Saturday, in a remarkable achievement China has successfully landed its six-wheeled Zhurong Robot spacecraft on Mars, The vehicle used a combination of a protective capsule, a parachute, and a rocket platform to make the descent.

Zhurong, meaning; ‘God of Fire’, was carried to Mars on the Tianwen-1 Orbiter, which arrived above Mars in February this year.

If we thought only America has mastered the art of landing on Mars, China has done it too, becoming the second country to do so.

I hear the sounds…It’s beginning to get crowded in Mars.

Truly married-and fused-for Life: Glorious & Wonderful

One rarely gets to see an angry-looking Anglerfish, but they are among the most known deep-sea creatures living in the cruelly cold, lightless depths of our Oceans. With the spiny, pointy black fangs-like teeth, a large fluorescent bulb like antennae protruding and dangling from its head-a piece of dorsal spine protruding above the mouth like a fishing pole-surrounded by a series of slender, flashy tentacles, it resembles something out of a horror film. Well, it has actually acted in a Film by Pixar, ‘Finding Nemo’.

Last Friday, an 18-inch wide Anglerfish somehow found its way from the depths of the Pacific to the shores of Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Beach, California, USA, in a perfectly preserved condition. It was real and very a rare find spotted by a beachgoer.

The flashy phosphorescent bulbs of the Anglerfish, which glow underwater due to light-emitting bacteria, sweep up other fish, squid, and crustaceans, that dwell at depths of 2000 to 3300 Feet. Tipped with a lure of luminous flesh the built-in antenna baits prey close enough to be snatched. Their mouths are so big and their bodies so pliable, they can actually swallow prey up to twice their own size.

While the females are large with all kinds of sexy ‘Fashion TV’ gear, the males are much smaller in size-not worth a puny second look. The males have conveniently evolved into ‘sexual parasites’, which after fusing themselves to females, lose all their internal organs, including their eyes and are left with nothing but testes. Forever fused, the male provides sperm in exchange for nutrition. A female typically carries about six males attached to her body-providing the life-giving juices, both ways? Truly blinded with love, married, and attached for life. No Windows or doors to rush out of this marriage.

This Pandemic Could Have Been Prevented

In a chilling report, published this Wednesday, The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR), concluded that the catastrophic scale of the COVID-19 pandemic could have been prevented, but a ‘toxic cocktail of dithering and poor coordination’ meant the warning signals went unheeded and a series of bad decisions meant COVID-19 went on to kill more than 3.3 million people and devastate the global economy. Institutions failed to protect people and science-denying leaders eroded public trust in health interventions.

We see this everywhere in the everyday governance with politics and blaming seeping through every fault line. Time we listen and understand that nobody is safe from pandemics of this kind until everyone is safe. Sink those petty differences and work together with the best skills that we have to make this world a better place-for humans, flora and fauna.

Fighting the Virus in India

India continued grappling with the coronavirus, grasping for breath. And help poured in for all over the world in the form of Oxygen Concentrators, medicines, Vaccines, medical gear, equipment, and the kind.

There is still a dearth of many essential supplies across the COVID-19 treatment spectrum but the Healthcare workers, Doctors, Hospitals, and the Government will ultimately triumph in bringing this under control.

Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine finally started finding arms to jab an entry, since this Friday, and the Vaccination is expected to swell. The Government announced a widening of the gap between the first and second shots of the Covishield Vaccine increasing the physical distance between shots from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks, based on available real-life evidence, particularly in the United Kingdom, of better efficacy levels.

The total vaccination is India stands at over 18 crore. New daily Infections are at about 3.26 Lakh and deaths under 4000.

Maharashtra, one of the worst-infected States, saw a downturn in the infections and maybe the situation is beginning to look-up. Hope it does.

New State Governments took oath to work for the people and this is a wish that new brooms indeed sweep well. Some of them quickly tuned-in the Lockdown Channel and the States of Kerala and Tamil Nadu are signing this tune.

Things will get OK, mind it. We should diligently hold on to the coronavirus prevention protocols and follow Government stipulations, and the Science of things.

Lots of peaceful stories coming up in the weeks ahead.