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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Om Marathe


Om Marathe

Om Marathe writes on geopolitics, law, and science, and has a strong penchant for languages. He tweets at @marathe_om

Explained: What is Kanal Istanbul, and why is Erdogan keen on seeing the project through? 
Mon, Aug 23, 2021

The canal, once described by Erdogan himself as a "crazy project", is being seen as a lifeline for the leader, who has been at Turkey’s helm since 2003 but has seen his popularity decline.

Explained: 46 years ago, another US exit and the fall of Saigon
Fri, Aug 20, 2021

When Saigon fell, TV and the next morning’s newspapers showed large groups of Americans, soldiers and civilians on the roof of the US Embassy, waiting to be rescued by military helicopters.

Explained: Why withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan is being compared to the fall of Saigon
Tue, Aug 24, 2021

In 1975, Saigon, the capital of US-backed South Vietnam, fell to Communist-ruled North Vietnam two years after the withdrawal of the American military which had been in the country for 19 years.

Explained: What Left leader Pedro Castillo’s narrow win means for Peru
Thu, Jul 22, 2021

Results of the June 6 poll remained in limbo for weeks as Keiko Fujimori, Castillo’s right-wing opponent and daughter of former conservative autocrat Alberto Fujimori, alleged fraud.

Suborbital flight: Fast enough to reach space, not stay there
Tue, Jul 13, 2021

With Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos kicking off private space flight, several companies are looking for customers wanting to go on suborbital or even orbital journeys.

Explained: Why discussions on ‘critical race theory’ are dividing the US
Sat, Jul 10, 2021

Critical race theory, or CRT, which has suddenly become a lightning rod for conservatives, began as a leftwing academic discussion in the 1970s and 1980s by scholars who were studying the lack of racial progress following the passing of landmark civil rights laws in the decade preceding.

Explained: A controversy in Brazil over buying vaccines from Bharat Biotech
Tue, Jun 29, 2021

In March, a Brazilian Health Ministry official, Luis Ricardo Miranda, informed President Bolsonaro about pressure being brought on him to buy Covaxin despite certain red flags that he had raised over purchasing a tranche of doses.

Explained: Who is Mohamedou Ould Slahi, the Mauritanian?
Mon, Jun 14, 2021

Mohamedou Ould Slahi, now 50, was arrested in Mauritania three months after the 9/11 attacks, and detained in Jordan and Afghanistan before being transferred to Guantánamo in August 2002, where his long incarceration included 70 days of intensive torture and three years of 18-hours-a-day interrogations.

Explained: What El Salvador’s decision to use Bitcoin as legal tender means for crypto
Tue, Jun 08, 2021

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele also said that Bitcoin will help increase financial inclusion in El Salvador, where 70% of the population does not have a bank account and relies on the informal economy.

Explained: Why a China rocket crashing in Indian Ocean has drawn NASA flak
Tue, May 11, 2021

For days, there had been speculation on whether the Chinese rocket's debris would hit a populated area on the Earth’s surface.

Explained: Lockdowns resulted in lower birth rates in US. Why it’s not great news
Fri, May 07, 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".