quick reads

The big news: Kamal Haasan launches Makkal Needhi Maiam, and 9 other top stories

Other headlines: A medical examination found signs that Delhi chief secretary was assaulted, and EPFO lowered interest rates on deposits from 8.65% to 8.55%.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. ‘This is your party’, says Kamal Haasan as he launches Makkal Needhi Maiam in Madurai: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal attended the launch on Wednesday.  
  2. Medical examination finds signs that Delhi chief secretary was assaulted: A Delhi court sent two AAP MLAs, accused of assaulting the chief secretary, to judicial custody for a day.    
  3. Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation lowers interest rates on deposits from 8.65% to 8.55%: The retirement fund body had last reduced the interest rate in 2016-’17.  
  4. Punjab CM meets Justin Trudeau, says they discussed Khalistan funding issue: Amarinder Singh said that the Canadian prime minister has ‘promised to look into the matter’  
  5. ‘PM Modi not against corruption, he is an instrument of it’, says Rahul Gandhi in Meghalaya: The Congress President earlier criticised Narendra Modi for his silence over the Punjab National Bank scam and the government’s Rafale aircraft deal.  
  6. CBI court sends Vipul Ambani, three others involved to police custody till March 5 in PNB case: Ambani, the finance chief of jeweller Nirav Modi’s Firestar International company, was arrested on Tuesday night.  
  7. BHU event featuring item that allegedly glorified Godse prompts students to make police complaint: The students sought action against everyone involved in Tuesday’s cultural festival organised by the arts faculty.  
  8. Nawaz Sharif cannot lead his political party, rules Pakistan’s Supreme Court: The bench held that the country’s Constitution does not allow an individual barred from holding a public office to head a party.  
  9. US Evangelist Billy Graham, preacher to millions, dies at 99: Over 60 years, Graham preached to crores of people in packed stadiums and through TV, and advised several US presidents.  
  10. Mobile numbers will remain 10 digits, BSNL clarifies after reports about longer numbers: The instructions to lengthen the numbers apply only for machine-to-machine communication, not for regular users.  
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What is it about Tom Clancy’s characters?

In the mammoth Jack Ryan series, Tom Clancy creates a compelling protagonist who is as cerebral as he is action-oriented.

Jack Ryan (Ph.D., CPA, KCVO) has had an eventful life. He’s served as a marine, made a fortune worth millions after retirement from the military, earned a doctorate degree in history and beaten up a lot of bad guys along the way. He is a unique action hero, in that he has also been a US Marine, an investment broker, a history teacher, a CIA analyst rising to Deputy Director, National Security Advisor, vice president and eventually the President of the United States of America! This multipotentialite is the protagonist of Tom Clancy’s ‘Ryanverse’ - the term used to refer to the fictional universe he built over 10 books.

Jack Ryan is a complex hero. Before he was beating up bad guys Hollywood-style, he also took a year to learn to walk again and battled painkiller addiction. Before he became the POTUS, jet-setting around the world on official matters, he nursed a crushing phobia of flying. A reluctant president, he nonetheless campaigns for a second term and even has foreign policy named after him - the ‘Ryan Doctrine’- in the tradition of some past US presidents.

Other prominent characters in Ryanverse have equally rollercoaster-like story arcs. John Clark/Kelly - Ryan’s bodyguard - is tragedy’s favourite child, having lost his parents in childhood and later wife. After a whirlwind adventure involving two gunshots and 16 murders, John Kelly ended up having to change his identity to John Clark. He, unlike Ryan, has an unusually strong aversion to drugs.

In the later books, Tom Clancy also devotes space to Jack Ryan Jr, who takes after his father more ways than one. An intelligence analyst by profession, Jack Jr, too, is adept in firearms, close-quarter combat, surveillance and espionage. Jack Jr has a tumultuous relationship with his girlfriend, a CIA operative herself, with whom he parts after she’s revealed to be an indirect intelligence asset.

Ryanverse is replete with scores of characters of all shades - spies, soldiers, terrorists, politicians and criminals - that set in motion events that threaten the course of world order. Clancy’s varied interests and love for research culminates in an action series which also explores history, politics, international relations and the human condition, especially when it comes to loss and grief. All his prominent characters are fighting some personal demons even as they chase down enemies that are equally complex.

Ryanverse’s charismatic leading man has also been the focus of five Hollywood films. Actors Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine have all portrayed the iconic character at various stages of his career. Now, John Krasinski takes up the role in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, playing a gifted-analyst-turned-reluctant-action-hero thrown into a global terrorism conspiracy. Watch the trailer of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan below.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.