Russia deploys troops, Indian chess prodigy, slithery fright on flight, DIY giveaway

Feb 23, 2022 Episode 87

Russia deploys troops to eastern Ukraine, Indian chess prodigy makes history, slithery fright on flight and DIY.org giveaway

Episode Transcript

OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”


LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the news pool for curious kids and adults!  I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and, as ever, I’m joined by the big story explainer and sound effects finder, otherwise known as my Mama.

MAMA: Hello, hello – I’m Lyndee Prickitt.

LEELA: And this week on Newsy Pooloozi…

Russia is invading Ukraine. Or is it? We’ll tell you all, including the US response that’s hoping to hit Russia’s economy hard.

Move over Magnus… a 16-Year-Old Indian boy defeats the world’s number one chess player, Magnus Carlsen – in 39 moves!

And, ever wanted to find out how to learn just about anything – from mastering the Rubik’s cube to making great food or even how to become a podcaster? Well, listen to the second half of this episode and we’ll tell you all.  And, by the way, it involves a big, fabulous freebie, so stay tuned!

And finally, find out about the slithery fright on a recent Air Asia flight.


And WHY it might have happened…

But first, it’s time for…

BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”

MAMA: Now to Eastern Europe and the big news and what’s happening with Ukraine.

LEELA: It’s a BIG deal – but it’s hard to follow because it keeps changing every day!

MAMA: That’s true – this is the kind of story that changes by the hour.

LEELA: Some say that fighting has already started in some of the small border towns.

MAMA: Right – and before we get into the latest details – let’s remind everyone that we did a deep-dive explainer –

LEELA: Giving all the background information about the relationship between these two countries and why there’s tension –

MAMA: Uha – in our episode three weeks ago, Episode 84: Ukraine Crisis.

LEELA: We even gave some helpful analogies – you know, like a comparison – with my neighborhood cats –


LEELA: to help you understand the situation better.

MAMA: Analogies rock. And now – for the latest… Russia has deployed – or sent – it’s troops across its border into eastern Ukraine. The US is calling it an invasion. But Russian President Vladimir Putin says it’s a peacekeeping mission and that the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are not part of Ukraine, but independent, something the Ukrainian government denies. This is what US President Joe Biden has to say.

US PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Who in a large name just put in things in right to the declare new so called countries until to the belongs to the neighbors the flagored and violation international law  and to the man firms is part of international community

MAMA: And what will that response be? Sanctions. You know what sanctions are, right?

LEELA: It’s a ban, right? Kinda like when you say, “You won’t be able to spend any of your allowance if you don’t do your homework.”

MAMA: Yeah, kinda. But it’s a bit broader. More like you saying to all your friends not to trade toys or gadgets with a certain friend because you’re mad at them.


MAMA: So Biden laid out what he said would be the first tranche, or set, of US sanctions against anyone doing business with two major financial institutions in Russia, the Russian government and rich Russian business people. He’s hoping this will “cut off Russia’s government from Western finance” – as in Western money. He also said additional troops and equipment were being sent to “strengthen” US allies in that region. Though he made it clear they would not be there to “fight Russia.”

LEELA: Well, I’m sad for the people in that region. It’s gotta be scary for them right now.

MAMA: Totally.

LEELA: I hope it is all just a bunch of bullying. And – I hope that the sanctions work at stopping Russia from starting a war.

MAMA: Me too!

MAMA: Huge news in the world of chess this week.

LEELA: Yes, another Indian super star is emerging. Well, actually, I should say his star is growing brighter.

MAMA: Exactly, the south Indian boy – R Praggnanandhaa – first made world headlines over 5 years ago when he became the youngest international master in history.

LEELA: When he was just ten years old! Ten! (I’m not worthy!)

MAMA: Now, now, we all have different talents. And you can surely beat me at chess.

LEELA: You don’t play!

MAMA: Irrelevant. Well, the Chennai-born chess prodigy – now a grandmaster – was at it again this week as he stunned the world and made history in the Airthings Masters, an online rapid chess championship, as he beat the world number one, Magnus Carlsen.

LEELA: Now, the tournament is still ongoing. So, let’s go to our India sports correspondent, Yuvraj Singh Sahni, who happens to be a pretty good chess player himself, by the way, to get the low-down.

YUVRAJ: Thanks, Leela!

I love the game. But, sadly, I’m not in the league of some of India’s greats…!

We’re a country that takes chess seriously, having produced some legends, like Viswanathan Anand and Pentala Harikrishna.

Now R Praggnanandhaa – otherwise known as Pragg – is making history in the Airthings Masters.

That’s a 16-player online rapid tournament.

It’s held under the time control of 15 minutes per game, per player.

Pragg must have been nervous when he came up against Magnus Carlsen – the World Number 1 Chess Champion – no less.

Carlsen had racked up three wins in a row by the time he played Pragg, who had LOST three games in a row.

But the 31-year-old Norwegian blundered badly as the Indian teenager, playing black, held firm for the win in 39 moves.

The tournament is still going on, so it’s no wonder – when asked how he’d celebrate his win over Carlsen – Pragg just said “going to bed.”  

Right now he’s in the 12th spot.

But whether he fares better when the tournament ends or not, all eyes will be on this shy South Indian for months – if not years – to come.

That’s for sure.

In New Delhi, I’m Yuvraj Singh, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi.

LEELA: Thanks a lot, Yuvraj! I think you’re right. Pragg is the new pride of India – already loads of politicians, business leaders and cricket stars are tweeting their congrats and support.

MAMA: So, it’s no surprise India loves the board game though there is some debate over the exact origin of chess, many believe it comes from an Indian war game, popular in the 7th century, called chaturanga, which is a Sanskrit word for a battle formation sound familiar?

LEELA: And Sanskrit is where Hindi comes from, right?

MAMA: Yeah, it’s like Italian comes from Latin and Hindi comes from Sanskrit. According to the Britannica Encyclopedia, chaturanga is regarded as the earliest form of modern chess because it had two key features found in all later chess variants: different pieces had different powers and victory was based on one piece, the king of modern chess.

LEELA: Why thank you for that history lesson, Mama. Many fabulous facts there.

MAMA: And be sure to listen till then end to take our Fab Facts quiz.

WORLD WRAP STING – LEELA: “What’s that? I’ll tell you what. That’s the halftime bell! Which means… It’s time to hear what’s making news around the rest of the world. Hold on tight, it’s around the world in 80 seconds.”

MAMA: The three white men convicted of murder in Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting in the US southern state of Georgia are also found guilty of federal hate crimes. Activists say the verdict affirms he was chased down and killed because he was Black.

The UK faces record-breaking wind – blowing 122 mph. Trees have collapsed, trucks and cars have toppled and at least 16 people have been killed across Northern Europe by Storm Eunice.

The Beijing winter Olympics closes with a stunning ceremony as China celebrates what some say is a joyless triumph. The Games were overshadowed by the pandemic, a doping scandal, rising tensions in Europe and anxiety over the future of the event.

It’s official – dogs can recognize their owner by voice alone. A new study from the researchers in Hungary say our clever canine friends make use of some of the same voice properties as humans do. 

And talk about getting your just desserts – a farmer in Israel grew the heaviest strawberry ever recorded. It’s as big as his fist and weighs 289 grams. No idea what it tastes like, though.

LEELA: Why thank you so much, Mama, for that whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world.

MAMA: You’re most welcome, Leela. And now we have a big announcement – don’t we?

LEELA: We sure do. But first we want to know what you think about learning?

MAMA: OK – when we put it that way, I bet everyone thinks of school. But what we want to know is, besides what you learn at school, what do you think about learning how to do just about anything that pops into your head.

LEELA: Anything you LIKE, that is. Like making sliiiiiiime!

MAMA: Or the best desserts or appetizers ever.

LEELA: Or mastering the Rubik’s cube, singing, dancing or beatboxing.

MAMA: Or drawing, coding or even building machines

LEELA: I know what you’re saying –  we’re talking about YouTube, right? Wrong.

MAMA: Yeah, YouTube can be, well, you know –

LEELA: Full of ads and kinda weird suggestions sometimes.

MAMA: Yeah, if you want to avoid those strange recommendations, never mind get higher  quality, curated videos –

LEELA: Curated is a fancy word for something being organized and presented in a cool way by experts who know what they’re doing.

MAMA: Thank you. Yes, if you want curated courses that are also interactive – with loads of challenges and working with other learners and mentors, then the place to go is…

LEELA: DIY.org!  And we should know because – da-da-da-daaaaaaaa – we’ve just been working with them for the past three months!

MAMA: To create a special training series on…

LEELA: Da daaaa!

BOTH: How To Be a Podcaster!

LEELA: I’ll be honest – it was a LOT of work. We’ve produced 31 videos! That’s an hour and a half of content. But, boy, it was fun.

MAMA: We’ve basically opened our brains –

LEELA: And stood up-side-down –

MAMA: Yes – to pour out everything we know and we’ve learned over the last two years about how to produce a podcast.

LEELA: That people want to listen to!

MAMA: Yeah, that helps. And to celebrate this – the fabulous folks at DIY have said we can give away THREE annual memberships that gives some of our  listeners access to over a 130 courses 

LEELA: Including ours!

MAMA: To the first three people who write it to contact@newsypooloozi.com and tell us what they would like to learn in a video course.

LEELA: For kids!

MAMA: And if you don’t want to take our word for it – then listen to what these DIYers have to say about it.

DIY.ORG VOXPOP 1: I love DIY because its take lot of fun to be very creative and learn new things

DIY.ORG VOXPOP 2: Through even fun just to do it’s also fun to give helpful feedback some seller other DIYers

DIY.ORG VOXPOP 1: you have a lot of different challenges coming from gaming to music to like much much stuff like minecraft or even harry potter stuff which i like

MAMA: So, again, just drop us an email at contact@newspooloozi.com or go to the contact page of our website.

LEELA: Which is also newsypooloozi.com – that’s Pool-oozi-dot-com

MAMA: And leave us a message letting us know what you would like to learn in a video course.

LEELA: First three answers get a free membership to DIY.org – so don’t wait, contact us now.

MAMA: And get ready to learn 130 new skills!

LEELA: Alrighty then. Now let’s head over to our lucky dip machine and see what final story it has for us this week.

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: Odd, indeed. So these days, we’re all desperate to travel, right?

MAMA: Oh, yeah.

LEELA: Well, it stands to reason that even our animals are keen to get out of the house and go, go, go.

MAMA: If they’re used to it, I guess.

 LEELA: Dogs and cats hop on flights all the time, right?

MAMA: True.

LEELA: Even the occasional pesky fly and mosquito have been known to sneak on board.

MAMA: Yeeeeah. I hate that.

LEELA: Well, then you’ll hate what slithered on board a recent flight in the South-East Asian country of Malaysia even more.


MAMA: No way! A snake?

LEELA: Yes way. Cue the music, Mama – while I dial up our Malaysia correspondent Shaiba Jamsheed for the details.


LEELA: Take it away, Shaiba.

SHAIBA: Thanks, Leela. It’s the kind of story you’d see in a silly, scary movie, right?

But I’m sorry to say – this is a true tale of a snake that snuck into a plane.

The plane was leaving the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, on a three-hour flight.

When, all of a sudden, someone saw a long, thin, slithering shape.

Luckily it was behind an enclosed light fixture. PHEW!

But still, the captain took no time re-routing to the flight to land A.S.A.P.

It’s uncertain how the snake got on board.

But I’m happy to report that no passenger was hurt.

However, the fate of the stow-away snake is unknown.

I think he just wanted an upgrade, don’t you?

In Kuala Lumpur this is Shaiba Jamsheed for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Ha, ha! Good one, Shaiba – “the snake that wanted an upgrade.” I sure know that feeling. One day I’ll be in business class… Still, no way I want to be on board a flight with a snake! 

MAMA: I know, creepy! And while a snake on a plane is a very rare occurrence – some suspect there might be more than before because of COVID.

LEELA: Covid?! Huh?

MAMA: Well, during the travel bans, thanks to the pandemic, many planes were herded into the dry deserts of the US, Europe and Australia. They had to be stored in places that are arid – that’s a fancy word for dry – away from any moisture or humidity in the air, so that the plane doesn’t get rusty. But what lives in the desert?

LEELA: Snakes… 

MAMA: Right. And for a while engineers have been dusting off aircraft, testing engines and using a very fancy  “wheel whacker” to scare away the slithery reptiles who love to curl up around the warm rubber tires, around the plane’s wheels and brakes.

LEELA: I see. But – what’s a “wheel whacker?”

MAMA: Oh, it’s a very hi-tech device for whacking wheels. OK. It’s a broom handle. But it does the job.

FAB FACTS STING – LEELA: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top five fab facts heard today. Here goes…”

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 1 – 16-Year-Old grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa defeats World No 1 chess champion Magnus Carlsen in the Airthings Masters. What kind of tournament is that?

An online rapid chess championship

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – Many say chess originates from India – from the Chaturanga War game? When was that popular?

In the 7th century 

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Chaturanga is regarded as the earliest form of modern chess because it had two key features found in all later chess variants – which were?

Different pieces had different powers and victory was based on one piece

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – Newsy Pooloozi has created a training series on How to be a Podcaster with DIY.org, which is a platform that offers curated training videos for kids to learn dozens of new, fun skills. What is curated again?

Something being organized and presented in a cool way by experts.

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – A snake was recently found onboard a domestic flight in Malaysia. While no one knows how or why it slithered on board, some suspect planes kept in arid deserts might have attracted some reptiles. What does arid mean again?

That’s a fancy word for dry.

LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi! But first… a very big and happy birthday to our very own California correspondent, Porter Robbins, who turned 15 this week.

MAMA: 15 years old! He’ll be able to drive – on his own – next year, that’s crazy!

LEELA: Seriously! Well, we love your contributions, Porter, and we hope you don’t start getting too busy to report for Newsy Pooloozi!


If you enjoyed this dip in the whirlpool of news and information then do subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Alexa or wherever you get your podcasts.

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See you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!