Kumar Govindan
6 min readNov 11, 2023

About: the world this week, 5 November to 11 November 2023; Israel hunting for the hostages; Nepal’s earthquake; Air pollution in India; Elections in India; and the Cricket World Cup.


Israel, Fighting to Bring Back Hostages

Israeli troops are on the ground in North Gaza taking measured steps to identify Hamas terrorists and surgically eliminate them. Israel has divided the Gaza Strip into two parts — North & South — and has completely encircled the North, encouraging civilians to migrate to the South through a corridor.

Israel agreed to implement daily, four-hour pauses in fighting in selected areas of northern Gaza. Each pause will be announced at least three hours in advance and will give civilians more time to evacuate.

It has become clearer than ever before that weapons and rockets lie beneath schools, hospitals, and homes in the maze of tunnels. And that Palestinian civilians are the human shields besides the hostages. Over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in the ongoing war.

There has been no improvement in the hostage situation — about 240 are still held by Hamas for over a month now. Their whereabouts are still unknown and if there is anything the World needs to cry about it is, ‘Release of the Hostages’.

The Pro-Palestine front groups across the world called for an immediate cease-fire given the dire situation of civilians in Gaza. But Israel and its supporting counties, especially the United States (US) brushed it aside arguing that any pause will allow Hamas to re-coup.

US diplomacy efforts are on display with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken making his third visit to the Middle East since the start of the latest Israel-Hamas war. The US is trying to keep the conflict from spreading and is also talking about plans for Gaza’s future. Lebanon’s Hezbollah — the next worst thing to Hamas — is firing rockets into Israel and that is becoming a serious provocation.

Nepal’s Earthquake

Late last week a 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck the remote western region of Nepal. It was a shallow earthquake, meaning it happened closer to the earth’s surface.

More than 150 people have been killed and about 375 people injured. Rescue efforts are underway in the rugged districts of Jajarkot and West Rukum, 500km west of Kathmandu. Strong tremors were felt far away in the Nepalese capital and in cities in neighbouring India, including New Delhi. Jajarkot’s hospital is packed with the wounded.

Nepal is situated along the Himalayas, prone to seismic activity. Last month, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake was registered in the western district of Bajhang, resulting in injuries. In 2015, the country suffered two devastating earthquakes in which 9,000 people were killed and 22,309 injured. The first, on 25 April 2015, was a 7.8-magnitude quake which caused most of the damage and loss of life. A large number of aftershocks followed, including one that measured 7.3 in May of that year.

The Air We Breathe

Over the years, India’s Capital New Delhi has been having a severe air quality problem, with the air becoming unbreathable during festival season of Diwali. And the yet-to-smoke crackers get the blame, though crop stubble-burning in the nearby states of Punjab and Haryana is a major factor.

This week, the air quality of New Delhi remained in the ‘severe’ category for five consecutive days, with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 423 this Monday.

The share of stubble burning on Monday was estimated at 26.30%. Though visibility improved during the day, relief from toxic air is unlikely till at least 9th November with AQI predicted to stay in the ‘severe’ zone.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘Good’; 51 to 100 is ‘Satisfactory’; 101 to 200 is ‘Moderate’; 201 to 300 ‘Poor’; 301 to 400 ‘Very Poor’; and 401 to 500 ‘Severe’.

To fight air pollution, the Government of New Delhi has announced the odd-even scheme for vehicles on the road, from 13 November to 20 November, with a restriction on the movement of private vehicles. Electric and CNG-powered cars, and two-wheelers will remain exempted. Having been in force twice in 2016 and once in 2019, experts have questioned the efficacy of the odd-even scheme, saying the current lot of private cars are technologically advanced and don’t contribute much to vehicular pollution. Old two-wheelers, a major contributor to vehicular emissions, have always remained out of the odd-even rule ambit.

The Government had to hurriedly call off the odd-even plan last time after the National Green Tribunal refused to exempt two-wheelers from the scheme.

With the exception of Classes X-XII, schools have been shut until 10 November, and Classes will go online. Teachers will be present in person in schools.

With allergies due to air pollution affecting a large majority of Delhi residents, nebulisers and masks are in great demand. Burning and itching eyes, breathing problems, sore throat, and cough are common.

While New Delhi was topping the charts on AQI, India’s ‘Maximum City’, Mumbai

was trying to catch up with the air pollution crisis taking a serious toll on its people. Cases of respiratory conditions like asthma, inflammation, and tuberculosis have risen across all age brackets. This has led to hospitals setting up special Intensive Respiratory Care Units.

Mumbai’s deteriorating air quality, which has been overlooked amid soaring pollution levels in Delhi, but it is equally upsetting. On Sunday, the financial capital of India was ranked among the world’s most polluted cities.

The AQI in Mumbai on Wednesday morning was in the “moderate” category, with a reading of 149.

Mumbai being a coastal city, was largely free of pollution related problems like haze or smog, due to its geographical advantage of being located on the coast and being surrounded by water on three sides. The strong sea wind eliminates most of the pollutants from Mumbai’s air, saving it from severe conditions like in New Delhi or Kolkata.

The Indelible Ink on our Finger

This week the Election bandwagon got rolling in India with the central State of Chhattisgarh and the north-eastern State of Mizoram heading to the polls for electing legislators to the respective five-year term State Assemblies.

Voting for all 40 Assembly seats of Mizoram- in a single phase, and the first phase of 20 constituencies of the 90 Assembly seats of Chhattisgarh began. The second and final phase for Chhattisgarh will be on 17th November.

In Chhattisgarh, the Indian National Congress (INC) is the incumbent, headed by its Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel having won the previous elections, in 2018, with an absolute majority of 68 seats and about 43.9% of votes. In that election the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went into the Opposition with 15 seats and 33.6% votes. INC’s Bhupesh Baghel took over from BJP’s Raman Singh who was Chief Minister for an uninterrupted period of 15 years, from 2003 to 2018.

Presently, Mizoram is ruled by the Mizo National Front (MNF) with 27 seats; the main Opposition party is the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) with 6 seats; the INC has 5 seats and the BJP has 1 seat. The Chief Minister is Zoramthanga of the MNF.

This phase of voting ended with Mizoram seeing an impressive voter turnout of 78.04% and Chhattisgarh showing up at 71%.

Other States coming up will be, single-phase elections in Madhya Pradesh on 17th November, Rajasthan on 25th November, and Telangana on 30th November.

Votes for all the five States will be counted on 3rd December.

Re-making Cricket Records

The ongoing ICC Cricket One Day International (ODI) World Cup, hosted by India produced some memorable outcomes.

Glenn Maxwell’s sensational double century in the match against Afghanistan is being hailed as the greatest One Day Innings of all time. He scored an unbeaten 201 runs of 128 balls leading Australia to a three-wicket victory and securing a spot in the Semi Finals. It was a breath taking display of skill and determination. He broke many records on the way including becoming the first player in the world to score a double century on an ODI chase. The match was played in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium and Afghanistan set a score of 291/5 for Australia to hunt-down. Australia won, thanks to Glenn Maxwell’s blitzkrieg, putting up a score of 293/7 in 46.5 overs

Meanwhile India’s Virat Kohli smashed his 49th ODI Century equalling the great Sachin Tendulkar’s record feat of most ODI Centuries. He hit the 119 ball century against South Africa on his 35th Birthday. In this match India went on to win by 243 runs after skittling South Africa for just 83 runs. That’s King Kohli at his royal best.

At this stage of the tournament, India, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand have entered the semi-finals. And Pakistan is looking to sneak in through some magic.

More stories coming-up in the weeks ahead. Stay with World Inthavaaram. Happy Deepavali.



Kumar Govindan

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