We Didn’t Start The Fire: April 2021

By Krishna Advani
Image source: Google Images

Here comes the recap of the relevant occurrences and events in global affairs, April 2021!

Chloe Zhao Makes HERstory

The 93rd Academy Awards made it to the books for multiple reasons, the most prominent of which was director ChloĆ© Zhao winning Best Director and Best Picture for her film, Nomadland. Here’s why it’s a news-worthy deal: since the conception of the awards 93 years ago, Zhao is only the second woman to ever win an Oscar for Best Director, and the first-ever person of color to be awarded in the category. The only female director before her with an Academy Award to her credit has been Kathryn Bigelow (for her film ‘Hurtlocker’).

Nomadland was also the most-awarded of the night, winning the Best Actress category (for Frances McDormand). The film is the most-awarded in modern history, with the undercurrents of societally relevant themes. It explores aspects of loneliness that turns into solitude, and the anxiety reflected in the time of a pandemic.

Chloe Zhao's Variety magazine cover after winning two Academy Awards: for best director and best picture.
Here’s How Spain’s 5,000 Person Concert Went

A rock concert with 5,000 attendees in Barcelona celebrated rock music the old-school way: with people closer than 6 feet. While the concert-goers were tested and masked, authorities refused the social distancing norms. This was done to test the waters for more live music performances in the future for Europe, whose music performance industry saw a 76% loss in earnings in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The concert’s organizers did not arrange assigned seating. Instead, FPP2 surgical masks were mandated, which allow more breathability. With a bar and gathering areas adhering to a management procedure, the objective of the study was maintained: to check the impact of a gathering in a cultural event on the number of cases and contagion transmission. Within a week, no cases were reported. Another administration of tests 15 days after showed just 6 positives.

Spain's trial rock concert in the pandemic with 5,000 attendees to test covid-19 contagion.
Putin 2036

Russia’s President since 2012, Vladimir Putin has been in and (unwillingly) out of office since 2000. The newly signed legislation allows the 68-year-old politician to retain his position in government as the leader of Russia till the year 2036, by when he will effectively be 82. The two additional 6-year terms were proposed last year, allegedly backed by a large number of Russian citizens. Currently in his second consecutive term, Putin has been back in international news this month after his sole (and unabashed) critic Alexei Navalny was jailed and carrying out a hunger strike. Navalny is currently recovering from a nerve-gas attack he blames on Moscow and is in the prison infirmary.

Well… Nazdarovya?

Vladimir Putin in office: The Russian president signs a bill that allows him to extend his tenure till the year 2036.
Burying the Bar

Since the French President Emmanuel Macron’s support of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s right to re/publish cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed (considered ‘blasphemous’ by certain Muslims), the Pakistan Islamist Party has called for the “expulsion of the French ambassador”. In an attempt to protest the arrest of Saad Rizvi, their leader, members of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) took to the streets. Major roads and intersections of Lahore were blocked. As a result of the thousands disrupting heavy traffic routes, ambulances and vehicles were stuck. Most were supplying oxygen and critical supplies for COVID-19 patients. Officials have dubbed it a crisis. TLP has a history of extensive road-occupancy protests. These have often escalated to violent levels, causing the government to suspend news and media coverage.

Supporters of the extremist political party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chant slogans as they block a street during a protest after their leader was detained following his calls for the expulsion of the French ambassador, in Lahore on April 16, 2021.

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