WORLD INTHAVAARAM, 2022–41

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s another revolution happening in Iran.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kumar Govindan

Once an Engineer, now a Make-in-India Entrepreneur; Wordsmith; Blogger; maybe a Farmer!