New American President (Joe Biden) and Vice-president (Kamala Harris) were sworn into office this noon ( VP at 11.27 a.m. ET and President at 11.47 a.m. ET ) , January 20, 2021.
Calling the day as ‘Democracy Day’ and ‘America’s Day’ and asserting that at this hour Democracy has prevailed, Joe Biden emphasised that Americans today Celebrate the cause of Democracy and not just the victory of a candidate.
“My whole soul is in ‘Unity’, bringing Americans together and healing the wounds” – he said while assuring that Unity is the path forward that I will mount to take all of us through these challenges.
His recipe for the evils that Americans face today lie in opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, honour, and truth.
He promised to repair the alliances, engage truly with others, and lead not just by the power of examples but carving strong and trusted partnerships for peace and security.
A silent prayer to all those who lost their lives due to the pandemic was his FIRST act as President.
Citing the complex problems of racism, inequity, economic struggle, and control of pandemic as the immediate problems to tackle, he will prepare the nation to be judged by how it resolves these problems and write the next great chapter in American History.
Tracing the work and prayers of centuries by the citizens as his legacy, he vowed to add his team’s work and prayers to continue and enhance that during his term.
Unity and not division, light and not darkness, truth and not lies are the way forward to write a new story of America – according to him.
He ended his 21 minute address with words : “Before God I will give my word to defend our democracy, to defend every American, and to defend our values to write a new story of America”.
His address centered around the theme of Unity and Healing with no reference to any specific plans or programs in any sector, no reference to Trump, and no reference to past mistakes.
In an optimistic mood with conciliatory attitudes and gestures he reflected the realities of the present situation with the promise to treat every American well.
It was a celebrated speech, ambrosial in a sense to people seeking to invoke patriotism and unity.
America witnessed today, two septugenarians : One entering the White House gloriously and the other leaving ingloriously ; one faced with the challenges of the future of the nation and the other faced with the challenges of future dangers to his personal status ; one with an excellent popular perception of his skills and the other with a gravely diminished popular perception of his skills ; one with his self confidence matching the requirements of the situation and the other with his self confidence shattered amidst painful future circumstances in life ; and one with a high level of motivation to engage in positive actions for a worthy national cause and the other with an increasing need for motivation, specially, after the traumatic experiences of this fortnight to engage in actions for a worthy personal life.
This inauguration in effect is a legendary stuff in the history of American Presidency.
To some, it is the brightening of the cheerless times ; while to some others it may be the unnatural cession of rights of ruling or governing.
America has a new President, new Governance, and a new Era from this day.
” Dieu avec nous”
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 – 11. 47 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” I will be a President for all Americans ” – President Joe Biden in his address.
As America prepares for the inauguration of its 46th Predident, Joe Biden, both Washington and Delhi think-tanks will be immersed in thoughts about shaping up mutual understanding, support, and relationships.
Having overcome the many obstacles in their path of Presidential contest, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will set out on their journey to unite, heal, and promote America in a new beginning of a new Era from tomorrow. That Kamala Harris has her origins in India is a matter of pride to the Indians.
PM Narendra Modi has been able to strike a healthy relationship based on mutual respect, trust, and support with President Donald Trump. Whether the change in US leadership will witness a change in our engagement and relationship is keenly awaited.
Indian Americans feature prominently in Joe Biden’s nominations to his team even before the inauguration. About 20 Indians including 13 women will hold key positions in his administration. For an ethnic community representing just 1% of the population this is a remarkable feat.
Dr Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General ; Neera Tandon, Director of the WH office of Management and Budget ; Vanita Gupta , Associate Attorney General, Dept of Justice ; Uzra Zeya, Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights ; Mala Adiga, Policy Director to the future First Lady, Jill Biden ; Sabrina Singh, First Lady’s deputy Press Secretary ; Aisha Shah, Partnership Manager at White House Office of Digital Strategy ; Sameera Fazili, Deputy Director at the US National Economic Council ( NEC ) in White House ; Bharat Ramamurti, Deputy Director, WH, NEC ; Gautham Raghavan, Deputy Director in Office of Presidential Personnel ; Vinay Reddy, Director of Speech writing ; Vedant Patel, Asst press Secretary to President ; Sonia Agarwal, Senior Advisor for Climate Policy and Innovation in the Office of the Domestic Climate Policy at WH ; Vidu Sharma, Policy Advisor for testing for WH COVID-19 Response team ;
Tarun Chhabra, Sumona Guha, and Shanthi Kalathil are also becoming part of the National Security Counsel at WH.
Neha Gupta, Associate Counsel and Terms Shah as Deputy Associate Counsel to the Office of WH Counsel. Garia Verma, Digital Director of the Office of the First Lady.
The fact that Indian Americans ( about 20 in all at present ) are finding their places in Biden Administration and VP Kamala Harris has her origins in India will not alone stand testimony to the favourable future relationships between America and India. History of mutual relationships between the two nations do not record changes in Foreign Relationship with changes in US leadership. The nomination of Indians, nevertheless, can help hit a sweet spot between working relationship and expected changes.
It should also be recognised that most of these are descendents who ( second or even third generation ) have left India seeking greener pastures with progress and prosperity in America when they were either denied or when they failed to gain their deserved fruits. It will not be surprising if they hold a view that may be filled with general unhappiness ; disapproval of our culture ; disregard for our way of living ; and criticism of our actions.
Many, including Kamala Harris strongly criticised our Human Rights record and religious intolerance as being negligent, harmful, and threatening. House Representatives, Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna have often been vocal against India in their Congressional discussions raising issues frequently on these aspects consistently. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Robert Menendez are leaders who have expressed views against India and its internal problems while President Donald Trump had always maintained a stand not to interfere with the internal affairs of India during his term.
To the credit of Biden Administration, however, it must be accepted that their knowledge of mutual relationships and internal problems are fairly deep.
Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, and William Burns are officials who have been significantly familiar with India.
China’s relationship with America is anything but fair. As the ancient proverb goes, ” the enemy of my enemy is my friend “, our strength grows from our conflicts with China.
For anyone wishing to write a Political Enchiridion, the Relationship between America and India is one that is indispensable.
“Dieu avec nous”
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 – 10.39 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Our greatest policy problem is our decisions at home. Our greatest foreign policy need is national cohesion and a return to the awareness that in foreign policy we are all engaged in a common national endeavor ” – Henry Kussinger.
” Bury the hatchet, Let bygones be bygones, Forget and be reconciled ” – phrases that sound familiar to me during ‘Pongal’, the period of summer harvest in most parts of India.
I liken it to the marriage of heaven and earth, sky and the soil.
I also like to see Nature and Life meeting and greeting each other to bless and energise us all, People . Let it also symbolise the purification of every soul.
Paddy and Sugarcane greet the farmers and their five plus the sixth sense(s) with the gift of an El Hombre Dorado on this auspicious day. The land will become bare soon, though. They, however, will stand rewarded overall.
“That Sun God will change the direction of His chariot from east to west and take…
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” US General Election was not ‘stolen’, nor was it ‘rigged’ as claimed by President, Donald Trump ;
Joe Biden is the legitimate President-elect set to be inaugurated on January 20, 2021 ;
Democratic Party can enjoy untrammeled and even let their dreams run wild enthusiastically. “
President, Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the Election have come to a naught. His allegations of fraud have been distinctly rejected.
US besides being the oldest democracy in the world stands out as the Superpower with its economic strength, technological superiority, scientific prowess, military might, and nuclear advancements of top quality amidst all nations of the world.
Hence, its Presidential Election is a matter of utmost importance to all nations of the world.
Who and how the country which can guide the course and destiny of several other countries lets its Leader wield the sceptre is of equally great interest and importance to all nations.
Economy, Health, and Foreign Policy, the three pillars of Progress in society/evolution need a head that is sensible, heart that is solemn, and hands that are steady to frame and implement policies making domestic and worldwide impact.
The US Presidential Election 2020 has been sensational with excitements throughout the year. It has not subsided even after the voting was completed in November 2020. The reasons are too well known to everybody now. “The head, heart, and hands that wielded the sceptre for 4 years since January 20, 2017 – President, Donald Trump “.
A Leader of strong and forceful views, his domineering manner and influence over handling of all issues have been the causal factor in the collision course/trend with other nations evoking unsparing discussions and debates. Clash of interests, opinions, and policies with North Korea and Iran in the early months of Presidency emboldened gloomy prognostications of even a nuclear war erupting.
Trade War with China ( seen as a fitting move to protect the interests of Americans ) though a matter of happiness and geniality for US Indians, its actions on tweaking visa regulations stymieing Indian youth’s efforts to seek admissions and job opportunities has, nevertheless, been viewed as unfriendly and irritable.
President, Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and George Floyd protests received condemnation from the public in great measure(s). A surge in anti-Trump sentiment was the result.
More than the above, Donald Trump’s refusal to accept defeat graciously in the General Election results despite many reversals in court cases tarnished his public image further.
The Supreme Court twice rejected lawsuits to overturn Joe Biden’s victory within a week ( between December 7 and 13 ). First, it turned away an appeal from Pennsylvania Republicans on December 8, 2020. Again on December 12/13 it rejected the Texas lawsuit on the election outcome. The Texas lawsuit includes 17 attorney generals (of 17 States) and 126 Republican members of Congress urging the SC to invalidate millions of votes in 4 battleground states – Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Georgia.
House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, termed the suit as ” an act of flailing GOP desperate, which violates the principles enshrined in our American Democracy “.
The Electoral College on December 14, 2020, confirmed Joe Biden’s victory in the Presidential Election making Biden’s way to the White House another step closer amidst Donald Trump’s challenges.
Biden stated : ” In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed “.
On January 6, 2021, the Electoral votes by State wise were counted and VP, Mike Pence, (President of the Senate) presiding over the proceedings confirmed the results of the Presidential Election. Joe Biden was declared winner with 306 Electoral votes.
The hands that wielded the sceptre until then has withered and fallen.
The proceedings witnessed an interruption with supporters of President, Donald Trump, barging into the Capitol building causing the Certification process to stop (while safeguarding the Congressmen). The ensuing garboil with clashes between law enforcement personnel and the stormtroopers resulted in deaths of 4 people including a woman.
Soon after, President, Donald Trump, pledged an orderly transfer of power on January 20, 2021. He said : ” The certification represents the end of the greatest first term in Presidential History “.
The fire, flames, hopes, and dreams of President, Donald Trump, to continue as President for a second term has been extinguished finally. It seems like a bad dream now.
In retrospect one may feel how it would have been had he heeded to the advice of some of his aides who had suggested him to accept defeat quickly as ” Your wish is my command”.
What would have earned him Goodwill and Sympathies has become a blot on his etcutcheon for years to come.
How the Democrats make their play for their agenda in the next two years in respect of Obamacare, SC Justices, Statehood for Washington DC, Puerto Rico … , Abolition of Electoral College , Gun Control legislation, Immigration, Foreign Policy, and Climate Change will be of interest not just to America but to all nations of the world too.
Joe Biden is ready to wield the sceptre and a new Era is expected to dawn on America from January 20, 2021.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, January 8, 2021 – 12.01 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” One may lose something, but another door may open making the person who lost something gain something else “. President, Donald Trump, lost his Presidency for the next term – Will he get the coveted Nobel Peace Prize (nomination and later the prize ) for his Middle East Peace Initiative in February ? “
What has been dragging the feet of the administrators of EU and Britain while tussling with one another for achieving exclusivity for nearly 4 years has been resolved completely. The final story has the Britain’s separation to end all separation anxieties. For the British PM, Boris Johnson, who has accomplished this peaceable settlement, it is a crowning diplomatic success in his term.
It was the pronouncement made by the Conservative PM, David Cameron, on January 23, 2013, that : “should the Conservative party win the ensuing Elections, a referendum on the issue of whether Britain should leave the EU or not will be held that will set the struggle for an independent Britain rolling “. The Conservatives won the Elections in 2015.
Subsequent to the acceptance announcement of the European Federation to accord Britain a Special Status in 2016, PM David Cameron sought to conduct the EU Membership referendum in June for the continuance of Britain in the 28 member EU.
The demand and desire of Britain to exit the EU started gaining voice under Boris Johnson at this time itself.
About 52℅ of people voted in favour of Britain leaving the EU. PM, David Cameron, resigned. On July 13, 2016, Home Secretary, Theresa May, became the PM. March 29, 2019, was set as the new date for Britain to leave the EU. PM, Theresa May, in an attempt to enlarge her majority in the Parliament, announced a sudden election. Contrary to her expectations, the Conservatives lost their majority and were compelled to form a minority coalition to continue in power.
A no confidence motion moved against PM, Theresa May, was defeated in December 2018. PM, Theresa May, placed the Brexit Agreement before the Parliament for passing in May 2019. Against all her expectations, the agreement was not passed. It was also rejected three times in the Parliament.
The previously set date of March 29, 2019, was now extended. PM, Theresa May, resigned on July 24, 2019, after Boris Johnson won the Conservative Party Leadership on July 23, 2019. Agreement getting accepted or otherwise, Britain will leave the EU by October 31, 2020, he averred. He also pronounced that the date set was extended again till January 31, 2020. In the General Election held in December, PM, Boris Johnson, won securing full majority. And, Britain finally left the EU on January 31, 2020. However, for finetuning the negotiations, a 11 month timeframe was granted.
Britain has successfully come out of EU after winning a great struggle. It, however, will not break the relations between Britain and EU due to the many regulations/conditions and privileges/incentives surviving.
Britain’s medical practitioners, technologists, and architects have to register in countries they want to pursue work. Lawyers and Auditors are exempted from these regulations. Also, manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies will get tax exemptions if they source 59% of spare parts locally.
The broad opinion is that India will stand to gain from Brexit. Significant to note is the fact that Indian tech companies, professional enterprises, and the likes are heavily invested in Britain after America. It also constitutes the reason for our industrialists migrating to UK. Indian Software sector heads hold a focused attention to open offices in EU and to continue Trade relations with Britain.
Bilateral trade between India and Britain is of the order of $ 15 billion. Contribution of exports in trade is $ 2 billion more than imports.
UK PM, Boris Johnson, will be the Chief Guest, for our Republic Day Celebrations 2021 on January 26. Many agreements between India and UK will be finalised and signed during that time. Specially, relaxations in migrations of Indians for Education and Job Opportunities are keenly expected.
If Brexit Agreement is a great comforter and encourager to Britain, it will be an excellent “opportunity” for India.
” Dieu avec nous “
Saturday, January 2, 2021 – 12.19 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” This is an amazing moment for this country. We have our freedom in our hands and it is up to us to make the most of it ” – Boris Johnson in his New Year Address.
2020 has been one of the most unforgettable years of this Century with chilling imageries of the Coronavirus still haunting us all. The entire world was crowned with Corona. 2021 shall change that is everybody’s hope and prayers.
That which started in China in Nov/Dec 2019 spread its tentacles hard everywhere in the world swiftly.
Streets without any transport ; Temples without devotees ; Factories without employees ; Theaters without audience ; and any other thing that one can think of not having heard or seen in our lives before constituted the sad and stunning spectacle through most of 2020.
If ever people came to the streets, it was to witness the empty sight and situation haunted by the spectre of aching emptiness in their hearts and minds.
Students in schools and colleges passed and graduated mostly without any examinations. Many continued with their studies either online or joined work that was lucky to have been offered.
Mask wearing, Social distancing, and Repeated washing of hands became a habit. Everyone in this world had become a creature of these habits in 2020.
Economy battered ; Unemployment soared ; Relationships and reputation tattered ; Normal life disrupted ; and Homes and Shops shielded.
It was nearly a gracious gift from the Gods that elders in homes got their fresh opportunity to interact with their grandchildren directly in homes or with the help of electronic gadgets. For those struggling to come out of their homes, it made for a refreshing change to be in conversations with their blood relations.
Savings and not expenditure had not just become the saving grace but the gospel of financial strength of most individuals.
Those intentionally spending their time in parks or public places were frightened to gather in those very places. Even family, social, or religious gatherings that usually lull people into a sense of security were totally avoided.
Misleading initial impressions of reality that Corona will disappear soon have been belied and erased from our minds when news of deaths of celebrities due to Coronavirus attack became known with each passing day, week, or even month. Herman Cain, former Republican Presidential candidate (74); John Prine, folksinger and songwriter (73); Lee Fiarro, actress (91); Lucia Bose, Italian actress (89); Ken Shimura, Japanese Comedian (70); Floyd Cordez, Celebrity chef (59); Maria Teresa, Princess (86) first royal to die – are just to name some international figures. H Vasanthakumar, Congress MP; SP Balasubramanyam, singer; Pranab Mukherjee, former President of India; and J Anbazhagan, DMK MP are some Indians to note.
That 2021 will not be free from the stranglehold of Coronavirus is already visible. Andrew Hayward, Professor of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology at University College, London, warns that ” UK is already entering a very dangerous phase of the Pandemic “, and added that “desired” action is needed. ‘Tighter restrictions than before are needed to contain the new variant of Coronavirus detected recently’. England already has more COVID-19 patients now in NHS hospitals than during the peak of first wave in April 2020. First known case of the new COVID-19 variant from UK has already been identified in the US yesterday, Dec 29. It raises the stress and anxiety of every individual, in particular, the US, UK, and EU which already bears the brunt of this COVID-19 tragedy.
People of many nations were caught in the grip of fear and several national governments lost their grips in its effective control.
What has happened has happened. Coming New Year 2021 should see everyone with a new determination and strength.
Respect every Religion ; Respect every Citizen ; Respect Savings ;. Respect Health ; and Respect Hard Work – should be the message of 2021.
2020 had planted the seeds of future hope for everyone who has been holding the present as ‘reality’.
2021 foresees and anticipates the hope and determination that we can make in our lives under any critical situation.
Hi Five to 2021.
” Dieu avec nous “
Thursday, December 31, 2020 – 11.19 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” New Year is the time to start a new chapter in life “.
Oftentimes we learn of customers’ pleadings in medical shops, ” Sir, my son is suffering from high fever. Please give some tablets that can stop the fever in a day “. The chief intent is to take care of the immediate problem even if it means spending a few rupees more to get them.
Whether the medical problem is solved or not, medicines sought and purchased without a valid prescription from a doctor for a disease not diagnosed by him/her will always run the risk of inducing unexpected side effects. This may also be known to many who practise it.
In these circumstances, ” Amma Mini Clinics Scheme” initiated by the Government of Tamil Nadu (December 14/15, 2020) is really a boon to common Citizens. Reasons are manifold for the poor people not visiting hospitals for their medical deficiencies. For a good number of people residing in a far too distant locality, visiting hospitals will entail an arduous journey.
Government hospitals provide free medical care to Citizens. But they will have to wait for a long time : To get an entrance card ; For consultation with a doctor ; Access to the place of medical examination for diagnosis ; For the laboratory tests to be completed ; For taking injections ; and in Drug counters for receiving the medicines. A complete day will be lost not to mention the loss of daily wage for the individual/patient.
Private hospitals known for their extreme care will only burden the individual/patient with a host of Laboratory Tests ; recommending consultations with specialists; and prescriptions of medicines beyond what may actually be needed in terms of cost. Lingering doubts and fear in the minds of individuals/patients will be more than the sickness they may have come to relieve themselves from.
For the above reasons, the only occasion poor go to hospitals is either pregnancy care or accident care that cannot be avoided. For common ailments they feel satisfied with the medicines given by the medical shop superintendents.
The arrival of “Amma Mini Clinics” is expected to transform the situation in a way even the poor can receive medical consultation and help with a a broad mindset.
At present, there exists one Primary Health Centre for every 50000 people in cities ; and one for every 30000 people in rural areas. The focus of “Amma Mini Clinics” is to open at least 2000 Clinics throughout Tamil Nadu each catering to every 5 to 10 thousand people.
Chennai city will have 200 ; other cities will have 200 ; and the rural areas/villages will have 1400 – a total a of 1800 mini clinics plus about 200 mobile clinics making 2000 overall.
As at present about 47 clinics in Chennai and about 630 clinics in other districts are functioning.
Each clinic will have a doctor ; a nurse ; and an assistant/compounder. The clinics will function for 8 hours each day. Including infectious diseases, medical care will be extended to cover all other diseases. Facilities for medical consultation for pregnant women ; blood and sputum examination ; and other tests will be available. It is hoped that people, mainly the poor/downtrodden will no longer have to depend upon medicines from the shops directly or avoid getting trapped by quacks.
For cases that grow serious after preliminary entry into these clinics, necessary treatment in big hospitals will be made available.
A serious disadvantage in our Political System that makes any good move less attractive concerns the reversal ; abandonment ; or tweaking to satisfy one’s fancy whenever a different Government or Political dispensation takes control. Also, on occasions even when same Government continues in charge – citing paucity of funds and allocating less financial resources – it tries to make the entire Socially Beneficial Program void of its noble ideals portraying shameless misery.
A Program that didn’t meet with any such utter misery has been the Program, brought into effect by the Late CM of Tamil nadu, K Kamaraj in the 1960s, titled ” Mid Day Meal Scheme “. The noble intention here is to increase the number of poor people to enroll in Primary Education. Late CM of Tamil Nadu, MG Ramachandran, in the 1980s followed suit with many improvements to the Scheme expanding enrolment and making it the, “Nutritious Meal Program”. A model program that is being sustained without a break since the Sixties.
The present Scheme of “Amma Mini Clinics” is intended to pave the right and noble path to Healthcare for specially the poor and downtrodden in Tamil Nadu. It is designed to emulate the Mid Day Meal Scheme (Education enrollment) with focus on Healthcare.
Couplet 948 of ‘Thirukkural’ states : “Disease, its cause, what may abate the ill ; Let leech examine these, then use his skill”.
It means : ‘Let the physician enquire into the (nature of the) disease, its cause and its method of cure and treat it faithfully according to (medical rule)’.
Arrival of “Amma Mini Clinics” will be helpful to enhance the healthcare of poor and downtrodden is the Future Hope in Tamilnadu.
“Dieu avec nous “
Saturday, December 26, 2020 – 8.39 p.m. (IST)
Tudbit : ” We are all human. Every human life is worth the same, and worth caring “.
Mutations of viruses follow their behaviors and actions as rules to be followed. COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has done exactly that in Britain.
If the discovery of vaccines is anything that can relieve the anxiety and stress of COVID-19, the mutated virus of COVID-19 spreading in Britain only aggravates the intensity of our anxiety and stress to the next level.
It is, however, comforting to know that the mRNA vaccine from ‘Moderna’ can be as effective against the mutated virus as against COVID-19 – from what has been declared by the manufacturers.
We do not have full details of the new virus yet. Communicating transparently that COVID-19 and the mutant virus are spreading quickly, Britain imposed a lockdown in many places. The general expectations that relaxations of restrictions will get people enthused and be prepared for the New Year celebrations stand belied. The frightening prospects that a second wave or a similar serious incident will likely strike soon is happening as many nations imagined.
British Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has shared information that the new variant of COVID-19 is spreading faster than COVID-19 – faster by at least 70%. After finding the variant in contacts of cases that travelled from South Africa, Britain imposed stringent restrictions on people travelling from South Africa. Simultaneously some countries have imposed severe restrictions on people travelling from Britain.
Medical experts are sure/unsure about a few aspects at least at this juncture :
1. While there is consensus about mutating variants of COVID-19 originating, whether they will be responsible for the more serious threat with accelerated spread happening now ; (Unsure)
2. That mutating variants may be existing even at the time of early COVID-19 incident in January according to Scientists and Researchers of Vaccine discovery; (Unsure)
3. Mutating variants may not be a cause for any setback to research on vaccines; (Sure)
4. Most vaccines in their final stages of clincal trial have only increased the immunity capacity with no vulnerability detected; (Sure)
5. The vaccines discovered now possess the effectiveness to control even Flu and other variations of the virus impact ; (Unsure)
6. Whether the viruses lose their potency but not get totally eliminated even after vaccine administration. Atmosphere still may hold millions of viruses many of which remain well challenged by the natural immunity characteristics of human beings. Viruses causing serious impact on living animals and human beings periodically while losing their strength (re-emerging later) is a fact known to us all ; (Sure)
In the last 300 years we have witnessed at least one virus causing serious damage to human life every hundred years. Plague, Spanish Flu, and now COVID-19. Spanish Flu alone took the lives of more than 10 crores.
Lockdowns are not the only way forward to contain the viruses as we have experienced this year, in 2020.
Our life is in our hands only.
” Individual Care, Precautionary Measures, and Close Self-monitoring are the most effective remedial measures to avert Human Disaster.
” Dieu avec nous “
Saturday, December 26, 2020 – 8.55 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” It’s weird, not to be weird “
December 25 is a day of celebration after the tumultuous months of Coronavirus combined with the emotional, mental, and political turmoil inflicted in our minds of events during the period.
Stars, statues, huts, Christmas trees, Christmas carols, Christmas cakes, flowers, balloons, and not the least – the Santa Claus – mark the usual festive decorations of homes and signs of status.
Christmas, however, is not celebrated or even recognised as a festive occasion in some countries of the Globe still. Holiday is not even declared in at least 40 countries. Permission is granted only for Christmas trees in many of these countries. At least 18 nations do not celebrate the Festival in any manner.
The list of those countries is given below :
1. Afghanistan : Since 1990s when the Taliban forces took control of this Islamic nation, Christmas has never been celebrated.
2. Algeria : Liberated from France (Christians) in 1962, this nation of predominantly Muslims has not celebrated Christmas with State Authorization.
3. Bhutan : Christians constitute only 1% of the population in this country. This country following Buddhism does not have Christmas in its national calendar.
4. Brunei : Oil rich nation of Islam has banned the celebration of Christmas since 2015. Violation of this rule will invoke a 5 year imprisonment, or $ 20000 in fines, or both. At the same time those belonging to religions other than Islam can hold functions in a restricted manner. Pompous Celebrations create evil consequences to Islam – is the belief.
5. China : Christmas is banned in this country. December 25 is a usual working day. Schools, colleges, offices, and markets will remain open.
6. Comoras : This nation is primarily a Sunni Muslim nation ( 98% population ) located in the islands of Indian Ocean. Celebrations are banned in common areas, places, and routes.
7. Libya : A predominantly Muslim nation, it celebrates December 24, its Independence Day. Christmas is not celebrated.
8. Mauritonia : The Christian population is meagre compared to Muslims in this country. They are also not recognised in this country. Hence, no celebrations.
9. Mongolia : The country following Buddhism is home to a small group of Christians. But it has no Christmas Holiday.
10. North Korea : The country observes the Communist Principles of a non-existent God. Despite this country being home to people from other nations, Christmas is not accepted as a celebratory event according to its regulations.
11. Pakistan : The country celebrates December 25 as Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s birthday and so it is a National Holiday. Christians indulging in celebrations (Christmas) have no safety ensured.
12. Sharwi Arab Democratic Republic : Muslims constitute the major section of this nation’s population and Christmas is not celebrated.
13. Saudi Arabia : Christmas related celebratory events and Christmas trees are banned in the last 10 years.
14. Somalia : Following the acceptance of the Shariat Laws in this country, Christmas celebration has been banned in this country. It also cautions people that Christmas celebrations will threaten the faith of people in Islam.
15. Tajikistan : Formerly a part of Soviet Union, this country has banned Christmas trees and Celebrations with prize awards in schools.
16. Tunisia : This nation is not against Christians or celebrations of Christmas. But December 25 is not a Holiday. It is observed as a regular working day.
17. Uzbekistan : About 10% of the population constitute Eastern Orthodox Christians here. But, instead of the Christmas celebrations New Year is celebrated with enthusiasm, vigor, and pomp.
18. Yemen : War torn Yemen has not been celebrating Christmas in the last 10 years.
With Corona restrictions looming large still, the celebrations will sure be a subdued affair even in countries that are known to celebrate with energetic exuberance.
Significant to note is the fact that during the World War I when British Forces heard Christmas Carols from nearby areas on this day, they mistook the songs to be a German War Strategy. However, a temporary ceasefire followed with mutual agreement between the German and British forces bringing about an unexpected and astonishing change in their behaviour and action. The warring factions (both) started exchanging food, cigarettes, and other items as Christmas Gifts. They even played football games ; had hair cuts together ; and even worked alongside each other in burying the dead bodies. Jesus Christ’s preachings of ‘Peace and Love’ has been the stimulant for this was everyone’s belief.
” A Gift of God “.
When everyone of us knows that nothing is finite in this world, can this Christmas bring a peaceful solution to the ongoing Farmers’ Protests in Delhi is what every citizen will be hoping for.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, December 25, 2020 – 10.11 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Christmas is not a season, it is a feeling ” – Edna Ferber.
” President-elect Joe Biden’s Address after Electoral Count – Speaking with Clarity ” – December 14, 2020.
President-elect Joe Biden’s 10 minute address after the electors cast their votes on Monday (December 14, 2020) can be explained by history on two counts atleast. President-elect Joe Biden may not have read too many books to draw from to deliver this address. But it really carried the essence of his speech – ” Healing, Protecting the soul of the nation, Being an American President for everyone, Historical perspective in terms of the votes secured and electors won, and a Study in modern history and democracy”.
I would like to bring two points to general attention on this aspect :
1. The Great Indian Saint, Swami Vivekananda, once was going through a large number of books in his room. A disciple who came to serve him asked why and for what he was preparing so intensely. Swami Vivekananda replied : ” I have to deliver a speech next week and hence this preparation. Do not disturb me now “. The disciple sought his forgiveness and left the room but not before asking him how long he has to speak. Swami Vivekananda replied : ” 10 minutes “. The disciple stood in astonishment that Swami Vivekananda, a reputed speaker, needed so much preparation to speak for 10 minutes after a week. Swami Vivekananda emphasized that ‘speaking for short periods of time needs more preparation than speaking for long periods of time “.
President-elect, Joe Biden’s success in this Electoral College Votes Count has been a known event. He had days, and even a few weeks, to get ready for what he has to say. Assuming that his 10 minute speech would have been listened intensely by at least millions of citizens, it would mean that hundreds of millions of minutes of ( 10 × millions ) Citizens’ time to be used effectively and genuinely to make himself proud. The speech has its own importance nationally and internationally. The five points mentioned in the first paragraph is a clear vindication of his experience in terms of American Democracy, Legality, and Citizenry. Despite a series of hiccups during his speech, President-elect Joe Biden’s clarity of thought and purpose was of a high quality.
2. President-elect Joe Biden’s emphasis on being a President for all Americans engaging himself fully with even those who have not supported him in this election should bring to everyone’s memory, the following words of Abe Lincoln after his second election :
” I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man’s bosom. While I am deeply sensible of the high compliment of reelection, and duly grateful as I trust to Almighty God for having directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their own good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed or pained by the result. May I ask those who have not differed from me to join with us in this same spirit towards those who have – “.
President-elect, Joe Biden, is echoing this sentiment while he says himself of being a President for all American Citizens trying to unite everyone, whether they voted for him or not. This again is a clear expression of his intent and purpose he is placing on himself with Clarity.
Conclusion : That this address has come at a time when the first shots of the VACCINE are being administered simultaneously is in itself a good omen for the future success of his administration.
Almighty God, Lord of all Nations, will surely help to realize the eminent sanctity of the ensuing Government.
” Dieu avec nous “
Tuesday, December 15, 2020 – 8.11 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Speaking on Stage is also an Experience “.