WORLD INTHAVAARAM, 2021–25
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’
‘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!