About-the world this week, 14 May 2023 to 20 May 2023: Turkey Presidential Elections; G7 Hiroshima; Karnataka Elections, India; Tennis in Italy; and the Cannes Red Carpet.


Elections, Turkey

In recent times, Turkey has been grappling with many serious issues: especially economic, in the aftermath of the recent earthquake that tore through the country, and neighbouring Syria. Now it’s Election time and the current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Justice and Development Party-who has been President for over two decades-has failed to secure the absolute majority needed to keep his job. He secured 49.5% of the vote, facing fierce competition from Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People’s Party, who secured 44.89%.

With voters making their voices heard at the polls, both candidates fell short of the 50% vote they needed to become President. The race is headed toward a runoff, meaning another election by the end of May 2023.

The Turks are at a kind of turning point, having to choose between two leaders offering dramatically different visions for their country’s future. Erdogan promises a strong, multilateral Turkey, creation of six million jobs, and harps on his long rule. Kilicdaroglu, backed by a broad opposition, wants to steer Turkey back towards a pro-Western, more democratic state. And wants to roll back Erdogan’s policies.

The presidential elections are being held alongside parliamentary elections, to elect a President for a term of five years.

G7 Hiroshima, Japan

The Group of 7 nations summit- the 49th- is being hosted by core member Japan in Hiroshima, Japan, between 19 May and 21 May 2023. Other participating members are United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy. And The European Union. This is the first summit for both British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, since being elected to Office.

India is an invitee along with Australia, Brazil, Ukraine, and a few other countries. And the United Nations.

This year, the agenda in addition to the usual climate change, sustainable development, food, and health goals…the focus would be on upholding the international order based on the rule of law, in the light of Russia’s uncalled for aggression in Ukraine.

India’s Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi is on a flying visit abroad: first to the G7 summit; then to Papua New Guinea, followed by a series of engagements in Australia’s Sydney, including a bilateral meeting with PM Anthony Albanese.

While India’s PM was flying, back home it was turbulence in the air, with the Reserve Bank of India announcing withdrawl of those lovely pink colour Rs 2000 notes from circulation. And the Finance Ministry blundering on levying 20% ‘Tax Collection at Source’ (TCS) on international Credit Card Transactions – which it quickly rolled-back. Staggering incompetence?

Elections, Karnataka, India

Karnataka was the only state in South India that was ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which also rules at the Centre. In Elections held last week and votes counted at the end of the week, the BJP was routed by the Grand Old Party of India- the Congress Party. They won an absolute majority and proved the Exit Polls right.

The BJP was found licking its wounds, and it’s a tails-up for the next round of Elections – every failure is a lesson. Whatever the angles the analysts may spin, people throw out the Government that fails to deliver and meet their expectations. And bring back the previous one, which was also kicked out in similar fashion.

Meanwhile, the Congress went back to doing what it does best – High Command ruling. There is a tussle between two senior leaders on who should become Chief Minister and the Bengaluru-New Delhi flights are operating to capacity. If it was not a decisive mandate for one Party, the Resorts and Spas in the region would have been fully booked for parking and feeding the horses – else they might run and be traded in Government formation.

Simple, pure democracy demands that the elected Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) meet and elect a leader among themselves for the top job. But then what is the High Command for?

Towards the end of the week, the logjam was resolved, and the Challenger was felled by the come-hither looks, and dimples of the ‘High Command’, meekly agreeing to be a deputy. Somebody said double-engine sarkar: a ’stable’ government to keep the horses in the stable.

Tennis, Italy

In one of the biggest upsets of this year’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) season, a qualifier, 23 year old Hungarian, Fabian Marozsan shocked World No 2 Carlos Alcaraz with a stunning 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory in the third round of the Italian Open, this week. Marozsan ranked No. 135, is the lowest‑ranked player to defeat Alcaraz since July 2021. Until he came through the qualifying draw in Rome and defeated the No. 67 Corentin Moutet, Marozsan had never won an ATP match. This is his first ever ATP main draw and also the first ever Masters 1000 Tournament.

On his first appearance on any major stadium court, Marozsan approached the in‑form Player on the tour fearlessly and calmly. From the very beginning, Marozsan served precisely and controlled the baseline. He forced Alcaraz back with consistent aggression and his sweet two-handed backhand while offering the Spaniard a taste of his own medicine: an endless stream of unbelievable, winning, drop shots.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal announced that ‘his body has made a decision’ to withdraw from the upcoming French Open 2023. And he will not be playing for the following months. He is targeting Wimbledon 2024 for a ‘swan song’ end to his career and saving-up for one last season. The 2023 Roland Garros will be the first without Roger or Rafa since 1998 – that’s heart-wrenching for Tennis fans.

Please Yourself

The Cannes Film Festival offers unparalleled fashion moments year after year and this year 2023 it ‘catwalks the screens’ between 16 May and 27 May, on the French Riviera.

This year’s 76th event will feature screenings of the latest films from acclaimed directors such as Wes Anderson, Todd Haynes, and Martin Scorsese. And red carpet appearances from those films’ stylish stars, including Margot Robbie, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, and Tilda Swinton.

Johnny Depp walked the famous red carpet, with the premiere of his Louis XV period drama, ‘Jeanne du Barry’, opening the event. Jeanne du Barry has been billed as Depp’s comeback film, following his explosive trial last year with ex-wife Amber Heard.

She’s got glamour in her genes. Carys, the daughter of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones –my favourite actress-proved she’s a natural in front of the camera during a rare red carpet appearance. Unlike her mother, who matched the carpet in a flowing, red gown with a long draped shoulder, Carys wore a delicate white lace dress featuring a deep V-neck and back cutouts.

Actress Uma Thurman presented Michael Douglas with the event’s highest honour, the Palme d’Or lifetime achievement award. Taking the stage, Douglas was given a prolonged round of applause. Meanwhile, ‘Indiana Jones’ Harrison Ford was also awarded Palme d’Or, which he emotionally accepted- being his last in the role.

India’s all-time beauty, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is still finding it hard to slay the red carpet. Aishwarya walked the red carpet at the screening of ‘Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny’, dressed in an outfit completely out of her comfort zone – a black gown with a giant silver hood that extended into a train. Aishwarya finished her look with her signature crimson lips. I just could not find Aishwarya – no matter how hard I searched in the great mass of aluminium foil. Why do they keep doing this to her; to her beauty?

More stories coming up in the weeks ahead. Dress cleverly, don’t foil your beauty with the wrong aluminium. Stay with World Inthavaaram.



About: the world this week, 1 August to 7 August 2021, a Governor’s fight for his reputation, blazing fires, and fabulous stories from the Olympics.


With the Olympic Games now showing in Tokyo, Japan, drawing to a close on 8 August 2021, it was sporting news that galloped through the week, overwhelming and submerging most other events in the World.

New York

In New York, USA, Governor Andrew Cuomo could not lift the weights on sexual harassment, misconduct, and toxic environment creation allegations – of touching, groping, kissing, and hugging women without their consent – against him. The charges were laid on the table by New York’s Attorney General (AG) – on concluding an investigation in to the allegations. The AG said the Governor had violated State and Federal Laws.

In response, Cuomo denied doing anything out of the ordinary – whatever he did, was part of the job of being in public life, which has been misconstrued, and vowed to stay on in office. Occupational hazard?

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and the political class, added more weight, lit the fires to turn the heat on, and called for his resignation.

The great fall comes after Andrew Cuomo’s popularity reached dizzying heights in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, as millions of Americans tuned in to his daily no-nonsense TV briefings, when New York was the epicentre of the virus spread. I too, from faraway India, religiously watched his daily sermons, to learn about the pandemic and enjoyed the camaraderie that he brought to such talk, with stories of his daughters, one of his daughter’s boyfriend, and the family dog. I trusted his words more than the India’s honchos – who hardly dished out anything at all in the early days – and I believed Andrew Cuomo led by example.

I particularly admired Cuomo’s Secretary, Melissa DeRosa, who was seemingly always by his side, working her smartphone, shuffling paperwork, and offering responses to any questions passed to her by her boss. She brought a brilliant, unruffled diligence to the job and I confess I sometimes used to watch the briefings more for Melissa than Andrew Cuomo. Like her boss, DeRosa’s developed a national reputation as an avatar of competence and calm and steered the Governor’s ship awfully well, over troubled waters.

Before the sexual harassment allegations climbed-up the headlines (and down their backs), the dream team of the Governor and his Secretary were whiplashed on allegations of tampering with the data on COVID-19 cases in private hospitals. These were about under-counting COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents in New York State.

Melissa has not been affected by the sexual harassment allegations on her boss and has stood steadfastly by his side, defending him.

A skimpy brief on Andrew Cuomo: He has previously served as Attorney General of New York State and is a two-time Governor of the State. He married Kerry Kennedy, one of the seven daughters of Robert F Kennedy, and has three daughters with her. The couple first separated and then divorced in 2005. Cuomo’s brother, Chris Cuomo, is a CNN News Anchor.

Now, I am devastated that such a solid public life person could do so much harm and am left clueless on what to believe. But I still cling on to the good in Andrew Cuomo…and the brilliance of Melissa DeRosa.

Israel Strikes Again

Lebanon has multiple problems of its own making, and despite that dared to launch rockets into Israel this week. And in a first, after seven years, the Israeli Air Force carried out retaliatory air strikes on its neighbour following a second of rocket fire from across the border. Lebanon’s militant group, Hezbollah, claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks and said it fired the rockets into ‘open areas’ of Israel. There were no casualties on both sides, but this is provocation enough to trigger ‘open’ retaliation, isn’t it?

Why do they keep doing this? This is such a fragile region that even the snap sound of a gun is enough to invite return fire!

Blazing Turkey

After stories of getting wet in the rain, swept away by floods, and carried away by landslides, it’s the turn of getting dry by fire – wildfires, turning into towering infernos.

Most than 100 blazes have erupted in the Southern parts of Turkey over the week, many of which have been watered down. The blazing fires in Manavgat, Marmaris and the inland town of Milas, prompted the evacuation of some residential areas and hotels.

Wildfires in forest in Turkey are common in summer in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions, but May 2021 was the hottest May for over 50 years and followed a drought in Turkey. There were earlier fires in Kas, Tarsus and Marmaris on 26 and 27 June, and the maximum temperature for 60 years occurred in Cizre at over 49 degrees Centigrade,

You just need to look beyond the tip of your nose to find the reason: climate change, of course. These fires follow other extreme weather conditions recently reported around the world.

The Tokyo Olympics 2020

Once upon a time, the only gold medal guaranteed for India in the Olympic Games was the Men’s Hockey Event, winning as much as eight gold medals, over the years. That was when the game was played on natural grass and stick-work mattered the most. Then astro-turf was invented, the game became faster, India could not keep pace with the change and ended up losing to smarter countries, especially Australia and Germany. This Olympics, India finally got the closest to winning gold, reaching the semi-finals and going down to Belgium. However, they got their sticks together to beat Germany 5-4, and to win the bronze medal. This is the first medal win for the Indian Hockey Team after a 41 year Olympic medal drought. Well done India.

Indian Women are known to bring Home the gold – a great Indian Family tradition – and true to nature they almost did it but ending up losing in the semi-finals to Argentina. And then the fight for the Bronze, to Britain. Whatever, the fact that they made it this far is testimony to their new-found capabilities, and are a bellwether of better outcomes in the future. Leave alone the gold medal, the women won our hearts – that’s real gold!

Wondering how India’s hockey fortunes are suddenly looking bright again? Behind the success lies the ravishing support of the Odisha State Government, who has since 2018 sponsored both the men’s and women’s national hockey teams, stepping in as sponsor when business group Sahara withdrew. Naveen Patnaik, 74, who has been the Chief Minister of Odisha for the past 21 years, without a break, is the invisible force keeping the goal – He was a hockey goalie during his school days!

This is truly a ‘high jump’ in sportsmanship. Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim, 30, and and Italy’s Gianmarco Tamberi, 29, both cleared the highest bar of 2.37 meters (m), but when it came to deciding a winner, the two Olympic high jumpers opted not to take it to a tie-breaker. Instead, they asked to share the gold medal, prompting cheers beyond their home countries of Qatar and Italy.

After both jumpers cleared the highest bar, they attempted to match the Olympic record of 2.39 meters for sole ownership of the title. However, after three attempts, neither succeeded. The two athletes then approached a Games Official. “Can we have two golds?” Barshim asked. The Official nodded in agreement, and the rest is Olympic History.

Australian swimmer Emma McKeon won seven medals in the Tokyo Olympics. And adding to her previous medal stock of four, she now has a total of eleven Olympic medals – five gold, two silver, and four bronze – making her the most successful Australian Olympian at the singles Game events.

Amazing stories of grit, perseverance, and fortitude on display at the Olympics beginning with the determination of Japan to go ahead with the Games. Shows how much we are capable of if we lend a shoulder to ourselves. Never underestimate yourself, we are capable of doing more than we think we can.

More gold, silver, and bronze stories coming up in the weeks ahead.