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22nd February – Editorials/Opinions Analyses


  1. Forging a new India-U.S. modus vivendi
  2. Terror in Germany 
  3. Litmus test for a judicial clean-up order 
  4. How to study light and confirm a potential exoplanet


Why in news?

U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to India  has opened doors for greater Indo-US cooperation

What is expected out of talks?

  • Fairer trade regime;
  • Accessing cutting-edge technology;
  • The fight against terrorism;
  • Stabilising our region,
  • New Delhi stands to benefit from constructive ties on all issues, given a more sensitive United States

Reason for India’s tilt 

1971 Friendship Treaty with the Soviet Union was a response to the continuing U.S. tilt towards Pakistan and the beginnings of a Washington-Beijing entente, at present, it is the prospect of a potentially hegemonic China in the Indo-Pacific region is helping to cement the relationship 


Why in news?

Bloody rampage in Hanau town near Frankfurt by a suspected far-right extremist has heightened concerns over recurrent hate crimes in Germany, home to the largest number of immigrants from the recent refugee crisis.

 Reason for such an act 

Authorities have established the gunman’s extreme xenophobic beliefs using online evidence, where the 43-year-old attacker had advocated the elimination of people across continents


Fact check 

  • Criminality within Parliament grew from 24% in 2004 to 30% in 2009, to 34% in 2014 and 43%in 2019.
  • Almost half these cases were/are for alleged heinous offences such as murder, attempt to murder, rape and kidnapping.

Voter behavior  

  • Voter behavior is most often conditioned by their own immediate needs.
  • The distribution of “freebies”, for instance, was often a one-way street, of candidates “offering” money and goodies. 

Wait and watch

So far many  significant electoral reforms have taken place have emanated from the Supreme Court. For Ex:

  1. None of the Above (NOTA)  
  2.  Lily Thomas vs Union of India case, wherein a parliamentarian or legislator convicted of an offence that leads to a sentence of two years and more will be debarred from contesting an election for six years after his or her prison term ends.


Why in news?

Sub-Neptune sized planet validated with the habitable-zone planet finder


  • A signal originally detected by the Kepler spacecraft has been validated as an exoplanet using the Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF), an astronomical spectrograph built by a Penn State team and recently installed on the 10m Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory in Texas.
  • The HPF provides the highest precision measurements to date of infrared signals from nearby low-mass stars, and astronomers used it to validate the candidate planet by excluding all possibilities of contaminating signals to very high level of probability.
  • The planet, called G 9-40b, is about twice the size of the Earth, but likely closer in size to Neptune, and orbits its low mass host star, an M dwarf star, only 100 light years from Earth.
  • Kepler detected the planet by observing a dip in the host star’s light as the planet crossed in front of — or transited — the star during its orbit, a trip completed every six Earth days.

How it works?

  • A spectrograph is an instrument that splits light into its component wavelengths.
  • Scientists then measure the properties of light over a specific portion of the spectrum, and draw conclusions on what is responsible for the trends they observe.
  • Kepler’s observations alone were not enough to confirm a planet. It was possible that a close stellar companion was responsible for the dip in the star’s light.
  • Precision spectroscopic observations from HPF ruled out this possibility.
  • Shooting a high-power laser into the air, researchers generated a “laser guide star”, and subsequent observations found no evidence of blending of light or other stellar companions.
  • Using HPF, an analysis of a set of radial velocities helped provide estimates for the planet’s mass
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