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Sunday Special » People

Posted at: Jan 14, 2018, 12:01 AM; last updated: Jan 14, 2018, 12:01 AM (IST)AS I PLEASE

North Korea tension has subsided, for now

By K. Natwar Singh
Pyongyang has decided to send its team to Seoul to take part in Winter Olympic Games

By K. Natwar Singh

THERE is a welcome break in the dark clouds over North Korea. A team will go to South Korea to take part in the Winter Olympic Games. An official of the North Korean sports authority has already reached Lausanne in Switzerland to meet officials of the International Olympic Committee. Some credit has been given to US President Donald Trump for this diplomatic breakthrough. Will this lead to a further exchange between Pyongyang and Seoul? Is the light at end of the tunnel likely to appear?

Ping-pong diplomacy was invented by Chou En Lai, who invited an American table tennis team to come to China. The first Sino-American contact in nearly two decades was made. The three words, ping-pong diplomacy, became part of diplomatic vocabulary. Chou En Lai had achieved something so novel in one stroke, ending the 23-year Sino-American deadlock.


Some highly uneducated members of the BJP are competing to becoming champions of howler inventors. Last week, two of them joined the howler team. One in Madhya Pradesh warned Jyotiraditya Scindia not to criticise the Chief Minister. If he continued to do so, his hand would be broken and tongue chopped off. Another, the education minister of Rajasthan, enlightened his captive audience at the 72nd foundation day ceremony of Rajasthan University. The minister confidently announced that it was Indian mathematician and astronomer Brahmagupta-II who discovered the law of gravity and not Isaac Newton. Regrettably, it slipped his memory to mention that another deshwasi had invented the jet plane in 1000 BC!

All I can say is that we should take into account human drawbacks and get accustomed to tolerating irritating mythmakers.


“Me Too” is the code word for those Hollywood beauties who have been harassed by sex maniacs. These maniacs are now running for cover. One exception comes from France. The superb star of yesteryears Catherine Deneuve has come heavily against the “Me Too” epidemic. She is the most famous face among the 100 French women writers, performers and academics, who have written an open letter deploring the wave of “denunciations” that has followed the “Me Too” crusade. They branded it a “witch-hunt” that threatens sexual freedom. On which side am I? France. 

For almost 50 years, not one actress spoke up against the predators. Not one wanted to risk her career. How about self-respect, honour, conscience, courage, pluck or spunk? The American media report even trivial episodes. How is it that it overlooked this rampent Hollywood barbarism? The iconic Hollywood film star Meryl Streep is reported to have said “Me Too” was nothing less than a revolution. Hollywood would never be the same. Male domination would erode by the day.

“Me Too”, of course does not resonate in India, except with those of us who see English films, read erotic magazines. Why have we taken note of the “Me Too” phenomenon? Simply because what happens in the USA invites attention round the globe. That’s the reality.

The Golden Globe Awards Function is broadcast live. Dozens of film stars attend it. This year the inaugural speech was delivered by Afro-American celebrity Oprah Winfrey. She received a standing ovation. The next day, the speech went viral (terrible world). 

She could be a presidential candidate in 2020. Even President Trump reacted. “I will beat Oprah… I don’t think she will run”. I don’t think so either. She could not take the pressure. Her whole life would encounter severe and continuous scrutiny, how did she become a billionaire, etc. I watched some of her talk shows. Her audiences worldwide ran into hundreds of millions.

Some years ago, she paid a triumphant visit to India, getting “royal” treatment in a most colour-conscious land. 


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