About-the world this week, 30 April to 6 May 2023 and 7 May 2023 to 13 May 2023 -Two weeks in one: Russia versus Ukraine; Gun Violence in Europe; India’s Manipur; a King’s Coronation; Pakistan in turmoil; The Kerala Story; Indian wrestling; the Pulitzers; Nude lipstick at the Met Gala 2023.
Last week, Russia came up with a ‘special accusation’, blaming Ukraine of engineering a plot to assassinate its President, Vladimir Putin. This, after Russian air defences shot down two drones attempting to strike Putin’s residence inside the Kremlin walls. Of course, Russia said ‘naughty’ Ukraine carried out the drone strikes on the Kremlin.
Ukraine, on its part, denied any involvement and accused Russia of cleverly using the incident as a pretext for stepping-up attacks on the country.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is busy defending itself from the rapacious attack of Russia and pushing back Russian troops from its soil. There is fierce fighting-the longest and the bloodiest of this war so far- in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut and Ukraine is clinging to the last streets. Russia has been unable to take control of the city due to the unbelievable fight-back by Ukraine.
When you think of Gun Violence, the United States (US) automatically shoots up in the mind. Maybe they have a close competitor – Serbia. This week, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Belgrade and other cities to protest gun violence after two mass shootings shook Serbia. Last week, a 13 years old boy opened fire in his school in Belgrade, killing nine people and injuring seven others. A day later, a 20 years old man, with an assault rifle, shot and killed eight people in several villages. Serbia has the highest rate of gun ownership in Europe.
In response to the shootings, the Government launched a month-long effort to get people to surrender their illegal weapons with no questions asked. So far, more than 1,500 guns have been surrendered. Now, Serbians are demanding a boost in security, a reduction of violent media content, and the resignation of top government officials for failing to ‘holster the situation’.
Britain’s King Charles III was officially crowned on the Saturday of last week, in a magnificent and deeply religious ceremony combined with pageantry at London’s Westminster Abbey. It was Britain’s first coronation in 70 years and was a symbolic coming together of the Monarchy, the Church, and the State. King Charles is the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned since the year 1066.
After the two-hour ceremony, King Charles and his wife, Queen Camilla-who was also crowned-travelled to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach, which has been used in every Coronation since 1831. They later made the mandatory appearance on the palace balcony alongside other members of the royal family.
Estranged Prince Harry watched the proceedings alone from the sidelines – without a sparkle: wife Meghan Markle and the kids were in far-away US.
This week, Pakistan saw deadly protests in the wake of the arrest of former Prime Minister, Imran Khan. Tensions remained high with paramilitary troops and police on the streets in major cities. Mobile services were suspended – that’s becoming a habit all over the world – and schools and offices were closed in two of Pakistan’s four provinces.
Imran Khan was arrested on two corruption charges of more than 100 cases registered against him since his ouster in April 2022, in a parliamentary no-confidence vote. If convicted, he may be unable to contest elections. And his party, Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is most likely to emerge victorious if free and fair elections are held later this year. With Pakistan’s Army infamously poking its nose fully into governance of the Country we can expect lots of gunfire and twists and turns in the coming weeks and months.
In some relief for Imran Khan, late in the week, the Supreme Court declared his arrest by the Army as illegal. However, he will be held in a Police Guest House until the smoke clears!
India’s North Eastern State of Manipur has been thrown into ethnic turmoil with violence, arson, and mayhem unfolding in its various districts. Shoot-at-sight orders was issued to quell the violence.
The immediate provocation for the unrest appears to be the demand of the Meitei community, which accounts for 53% of Manipur’s population and primarily inhabits the Manipur Valley, to be included in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list – for reservation benefits. The Manipur High Court also issued an order asking the Government of Manipur State to send a recommendation to the Centre to include the Meitei community in the ST List.
Going deeper, there is also an underlying anger, simmering for a long time, on the Government’s clampdown on reserved and protected forests in the State’s hill areas. And also a feeling among Manipur’s Kuki community of being persecuted. Several Chin, people of the same ethnic group from across the border in Myanmar, have entered India, fleeing violence and persecution, and the Government’s tough stance against these illegal immigrants has angered the Kukis. There, you have a pot-boiler situation.
It all began on 3 May, after the All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) held a solidarity march in all districts opposing the Manipur High Court order.
On 4th May, as the violence escalated, the Centre invoked emergency provisions under the Constitution. And in the last few days, convoys of Army trucks, the Assam Rifles, the Rapid Action Force, and local police personnel have moved into the State and entered affected areas.
Over a dozen people have been killed, hundreds have been wounded, and over 9,000 people belonging to the Kuki and Meitei communities, besides others, have been displaced so far. Buildings, homes, and other property, including vehicles, have been destroyed. The situation is tense, and the Government is struggling to bring back peace in the region.
The Indian movie The Kerala Story, which puts the spotlight on forced conversion and radicalisation of women in the State of Kerala, has sparked a terrific row. Amid protests, petitions challenging the film’s release reached the Supreme Court, which has refused to intervene in the matter.
The controversy around started after film-makers dropped the trailer, which claimed that 32,000 girls from Kerala had gone missing and joined the terrorist organisation, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Kerala High Court refused to halt the release of the multi-lingual film after concluding that the trailer did not contain anything that could be considered offensive to any particular community as a whole.
The Kerala Story is a compilation of the true stories of three young girls from different parts of Kerala, who converted to Islam and joined ISIS. Shalini Unnikrishnan, a woman who converted to Islam, shares her harrowing journey of aspiring to become a nurse, only to be abducted from her home and coerced by extremist groups. She was eventually manipulated into joining ISIS and ended up imprisoned in Afghanistan.
Directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah, The Kerala Story stars Adah Sharma (as Shalini Unnikrishnan), Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani, and Siddhi Idnani. It released on 5th May and is having an incredible run at the box-office.
The film has courted controversy for claiming thousands of innocent women have been systematically converted to Islam, radicalized & their lives destroyed.
The events portrayed in the film were inspired by the accounts of four women from Kerala who converted to Islam and traveled with their husbands to Afghanistan to join ISIS between 2016 and 2018. And who were interviewed by a news website in 2019. They were part of a 21 member group from Kerala to join ISIS in 2016, who remain incarcerated in Afghanistan since surrendering in 2019. The makers of the film have claimed that the film is the true story of an instance of ‘Love Jihad’ — a Hindutva conspiracy theory about non-Muslim women romanced and lured into marriage to convert them to Islam.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is wrestling with a scandal involving its President Brij Bhushan Singh Sharan, 66, President of the WFI since 2011. He was elected for a third consecutive term in February 2019, and is a politician, currently with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and also a Member of Parliament.
The allegations are that the President had sexually exploited and harassed women wrestlers over a period of several years. Top Indian wrestlers have been protesting on the streets of New Delhi for the last week over the lack of action against the WFI President. The protesting athletes have demanded an immediate arrest and sought the intervention of the Supreme Court, which directed the police to register a case against Brij Bhushan Singh.
The WFI President as denied the allegations, saying it’s arm-twisting by the Opposition…and the sparring continues.
While on protest, India’s top wrestlers have alleged that they were abused and assaulted by the police in Delhi while trying to bring beds to the protest site where they have been protesting since 23rd April.
For more than 100 years, the Pulitzer Prizes have been awarded by Columbia University to honour American achievements in journalism, letters and drama, and music. Pulitzers are widely recognised as the most prestigious awards in their field within the United States.
The 107th Pulitzer prizes celebrated journalists across the country. The Associated Press won two awards for its coverage of the war in Ukraine, including the most prestigious of all Pulitzers, the Public Service award.
The Washington Post won two Pulitzers- National Reporting and Feature Writing- as did the Los Angeles Times-Breaking News Reporting and Feature Photography. So did Al.com, Birmingham. Its columnist Kyle Whitmire won the Commentary award for his work analyzing Alabama’s confederate heritage. The publication also took home a Local Reporting Pulitzer for its series exposing malfeasance on the part of the local police force. Two awards were given in that category. The other Local Reporting Pulitzer went to Mississippi Today, in Ridgeland, Miss.
The New York Times won two Pulitzers as well, for International Reporting and for Illustrated Reporting and Commentary. The Pulitzer for Music went to Omar, by Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels an innovative and compelling opera about enslaved people brought to North America from Muslim countries, a musical work that respectfully represents African as well as African American traditions, expanding the language of the operatic form while conveying the humanity of those condemned to bondage.
In some glad news, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that Monkeypox is no longer a global public health emergency. WHO added that the virus is still sneaking around and further waves and outbreaks could continue, but the highest level of alert is over. This comes almost a week after WHO also declaring that the COVID-19 Emergency is over. Two good goodbyes?
This year’s annual fashion event, the Met Gala 2023, graced by iconic persons had most of them sporting sexy, sublime nude lips. From red carpets to catching up with friends or date nights, nude lips are as versatile and easy to wear as they come. Taking into consideration the right makeup look for any ensemble or event has never been easier as one can seldom go awry with a nude lip.
The Met Gala 2023 saw the model industry’s sweetheart Gigi Hadid looking stunning in a sheer black Givenchy Gown. To pull the whole look together, she wore natural base makeup, shimmery eye shadow and razor-sharp cat eyeliner that brought out the captivating beauty of her eyes with ease. Most notably, Gigi wore a comfortable caramel nude lip colour that complemented her peaches and cream skin perfectly.
India’s Bollywood Actress Alia Bhatt’s debut at the Met Gala 2023 was no short of a fantastic feat in her career. ‘Dressed to the nines’ in custom Prabal Gurung couture, Alia shone under the lights looking like a million dollars. Her signature dewy make-up and soft glam brown smokey eyes were brilliantly paired with a cool nude lipstick that pulled her ensemble to perfection.
Thus the nude lipstick became the signature tune of this year’s Met Gala.
More beautiful stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Stay clothed with World Inthavaaram.