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Thursday, May 06, 2021

Om Marathe


Om Marathe

Om Marathe is a sub-editor at the Indian Express, with interests in foreign policy, law, and engineering. He is a qualified Spanish speaker and keenly observes the Latin American region.

Explained: Lockdowns resulted in lower birth rates in US and it’s not great news
Thu, May 06, 2021

Before 2008, when the global financial crisis hit, the country had an estimated fertility rate of 2.1, which is considered sufficient for replacing the existing population. That rate has now dropped to 1.6 in 2020, the lowest on record.

Explained: Why does Russia want to leave the International Space Station?
Thu, May 06, 2021

Russia has announced that it would be withdrawing from the International Space Station in 2025, and build and manage its own floating laboratory that will be launched into orbit by 2030.

Explained: The many obstacles in making Washington, DC the 51st US state
Mon, Apr 26, 2021

Although the House has approved the bill and Biden has signalled his support for the measure should it become law, the statehood question is expected to hit a roadblock in the Senate.

Explained: How did NASA’s Perseverance mission produce oxygen on Mars?
Fri, Apr 30, 2021

On Mars, carbon dioxide makes up ~96% of the gas in the planet’s atmosphere. Oxygen is only 0.13%, compared to 21% in Earth's atmosphere. Like a tree on Earth, MOXIE inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen.

Explained: How bullfighting has suddenly found centre stage in Spanish politics
Tue, Apr 20, 2021

Bullfights have a long history in Spain, believed to be taking place since Roman times. Its current form -- with the characteristic sword and cape -- is said to have taken shape in the 18th century.

Kumbh Mela: A ‘recent’ pilgrimage with political undercurrents
Wed, Apr 07, 2021

Because of its popularity, the British recognised that the festival was a carrier for “news, rumours, sedition, and eventually nationalism, and they consistently sought to control the pilgrimage”

Explained: Why resignation of military chiefs spells trouble for Brazil
Sat, Apr 03, 2021

The united exit of the commanders is said to be unprecedented for the Latin American country and is being seen as a protest against Bolsonaro’s efforts to exert greater influence over the military.

Explained: How Kolkata’s 8 Theatre Road hosted the first Bangladesh government
Sat, Mar 27, 2021

While the role of the Indian armed forces and former PM Indira Gandhi in liberating Bangladesh is well-known, it is often forgotten how Kolkata provided vital support to the struggle when it served as the capital-in-exile of the nascent nation’s first provisional government.

Explained: What Swiss vote against full face covering means for the country, its Muslims
Tue, Mar 09, 2021

As per the proposal, no one would be allowed to cover their face completely in public, including while going to shops and restaurants, using public transport or walking on the footpath.

Explained: Why France has admitted to killing an Algerian freedom fighter 6 decades later
Sun, Mar 07, 2021

French President Macron’s recognition of Boumendjel’s torture and death at the hands of French soldiers is being seen as a step towards healing old wounds.

Explained: Why Harry and Meghan’s Oprah Winfrey interview is in the spotlight
Fri, Mar 05, 2021

On Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A Primetime Special, which will be broadcast on CBS Sunday, the couple will talk about why they quit their royal roles.

Explained: Why a viral rap song has left Cuba’s communist regime fuming
Thu, Mar 04, 2021

The song ‘Patria y Vida’ has raked up 2.8 million views on YouTube since its release on February 17.

Explained: What the ‘three-finger salute’ seen at Myanmar protests means
Mon, Feb 15, 2021

A striking feature of the protests is the three-finger salute displayed by pro-democracy activists, a symbol of resistance that was also seen in October last year.

Explained: What TMC means when it calls the BJP ‘bargis’
Tue, Feb 02, 2021

Simply speaking, the word bargi referred to cavalrymen in Maratha and Mughal armies. The word comes from the Persian “bargir”, literally meaning “burden taker”, notes historian Surendra Nath Sen in his 1928 work The Military System Of The Marathas.

Explained: Why does the US want to put an end to private prisons?
Thu, Jan 28, 2021

US President Joe Biden has described the move as "a first step to stop corporations from profiting off of incarceration".

Explained: Why Kamala Harris is 49th V-P but Joe Biden is 46th POTUS
Wed, Jan 27, 2021

Joe Biden is the 46th President of the United States, while Kamala Harris is the 49 Vice President. Why is there a difference in the numbers?

How Steve Bannon walked: US President’s power to pardon and commute
Thu, Jan 21, 2021

The US President has the constitutional right to pardon or commute sentences related to federal crimes. The Supreme Court has held that this power is “granted without limit” and cannot be restricted by Congress.

Trump pardons Steve Bannon: His controversial White House stint, money laundering charge
Thu, Jan 21, 2021

In its statement announcing the pardon, the White House said prosecutors had “pursued” Steve Bannon with charges "related to fraud stemming from his involvement in a political project".

Explained: What Russia’s exit means for Open Skies Treaty
Fri, Jan 22, 2021

In November, the United States left the OST first after accusing Russia of violating the pact– allegations that Russia denied. Moscow has now blamed Washington for its own decision of leaving the treaty.

Explained: What is Ireland’s mother and baby homes controversy?
Fri, Jan 15, 2021

Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin has apologised for the country's mother and baby homes, where thousands of unmarried mothers and their children were cruelly treated from the 1920s to the 1990s. What happened at these homes?

Explained: Why Amsterdam wants to ban tourists from its cannabis cafes
Thu, Jan 14, 2021

The Dutch capital of Amsterdam may soon ban non-residents from its iconic cannabis coffee shops. Here's why

Explained: How electric vehicles dominated Norway’s auto market
Mon, Jan 11, 2021

Last year, the market share of BEVs rose to 54 per cent, up from 42 per cent in 2019, as per data released by the Norwegian Road Foundation (OFV). Only a decade ago, BEVs made up just 1 per cent of the overall market.

Explained: What is the San Isidro Movement, posing a stiff challenge to Cuba’s authoritarian regime?
Fri, Dec 18, 2020

The Movimiento San Isidro started two years ago to protest state censorship of artistic works, and has now become a platform for Cuban dissidents both within and outside the Caribbean nation.

Explained: What is in France’s draft law against ‘Islamism’?
Fri, Dec 18, 2020

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has said it is “not a text against religion, nor against the Muslim religion”, but against radical Islamism, whose objective, he said, is “to divide French people from one another.”

Explained: What Maduro’s party winning legislative polls means for Venezuela
Tue, Dec 08, 2020

Most opposition parties had boycotted the elections to Venezuela’s National Assembly, calling them rigged.