INTERMEDIATE-RANGE NUCLEAR FORCES (INF) TREATY
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was an arms control treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union (and its successor state, the Russian Federation). U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the treaty on 8 December 1987.
The United States Senate approved the treaty on 27 May 1988, and Reagan and Gorbachev ratified it on 1 June 1988.
The INF Treaty banned all of the two nations’ land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and missile launchers with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers (310–620 mi) (short medium-range) and 1,000–5,500 km (620– 3,420 mi) (intermediate-range).
The treaty did not apply to air- or sea-launched missiles.By May 1991, the nations had eliminated 2,692 missiles, followed by 10 years of on-site verification inspections.
U.S President Donald Trump announced on 20 October 2018 that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the treaty, accusing Russia of non-compliance.
The U.S. formally suspended the treaty on 1 February 2019, and Russia did so on the following day in response.
The U.S. formally withdrew from the treaty on 2 August 2019.
REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP (RCEP)
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and its six FTA partners (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand).
RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia .
Ten members of ASEAN
Three additional East Asian members of ASEAN Plus Three
Three additional members of ASEAN Plus Six
What is Hyperloop?
Hyperloop is a new form of ground transport currently in development by a number of companies, which could see passengers travelling at 700 miles an hour in floating pods within low-pressure tubes.
The pods carrying passengers travel through tubes or tunnels from which most of the air has been removed to reduce friction.
Rather than using wheels like a train or car, the pods are designed to float on air skis, using the same basic idea as an air hockey table, or use magnetic levitation to reduce friction.
Hyperloop in India:
Andhra Pradesh government signed a memorandum of understandingMoU with Hyperloop Transportation Technology to develop a hyperloop between Amravati and Vijayavada.
Maharashtra government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hyperloop One, an American company to develop a hyperloop between Pune and Mumbai.
40% of space debris of ASAT has still not decayed
ASAT MISSILE :
Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) are space weapons designed to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes. Several nations possess operational ASAT systems. Although no ASAT system has yet been utilised in warfare, a few nations have shot down their own satellites to demonstrate their ASAT capabilities in a show of force. Only the United States, Russia, China, and India have demonstrated this capability successfully.
WHAT IS SPACE DEBRIS?
Initially, the term space debris referred to the natural debris found in the solar system: asteroids, comets, and meteoroids. However, with the 1979 beginning of the NASA Orbital Debris Program, the term also refers to the debris (alt. space waste or space garbage) from the mass of defunct, artificially created objects in space, especially Earth orbit. These include old satellites and spent rocket stages, as well as the fragments from their disintegration and collisions.
RemoveDEBRIS is a satellite research project intending to demonstrate various space debris removal technologies.
Rather than engaging in active debris removal (ADR) of real space debris, the RemoveDEBRIS mission plan is to test the efficacy of several ADR technologies on mock targets in low Earth orbit.
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is a space telescope for NASA’s Explorers program, designed to search for exoplanets using the transit method in an area 400 times larger than that covered by the Kepler mission.
It was launched on April 18, 2018 atop a Falcon 9 rocket.
During its 2-year primary mission, it is expected to find more than 20,000 transiting exoplanets, compared to about 3,800 exoplanets known when it launched.
An exoplanet or extrasolar planet is a planet outside the Solar System.
NASA’S KEPLER SPACE TELESCOPE
Kepler space telescope is a retired space telescope launched by NASA to discover Earth-size planets orbiting other stars.
After nine years of operation, the telescope’s reaction control system fuel was depleted, and NASA announced its retirement on October 30, 2018.
DAM SAFETY BILL 2019
The Bill provides for the surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of specified dams across the country.
It also provides for an institutional mechanism to ensure the safety of such dams.
Applicability of the Bill: The Bill applies to all specified dams in the country. These are dams with: (i) height more than 15 metres, or (ii) height between 10 metres to 15 metres and subject to certain additional design and structural conditions.
National Committee on Dam Safety: The National Committee on Dam Safety will be constituted and will be chaired by the Chairperson,
Central Water Commission. All other members will be nominated by the central government, and include: (ii) up to 10 representatives of the central government, (iii) up to seven representatives of the state governments (by rotation), and (iv) up to three dam safety experts.
Functions of the Committee include:
(i) formulating policies and regulations regarding dam safety standards and prevention of dam failures, and
(ii) analysing causes of major dam failures and suggesting changes in dam safety practices.
National Dam Safety Authority: The National Dam Safety Authority will be headed by an officer, not below the rank of an Additional Secretary, who will be appointed by the central government.
Functions of the Authority include:
(i) implementing the policies formulated by the National Committee on Dam Safety,
(ii) resolving issues between State Dam Safety Organisations (SDSOs), or between a SDSO and any dam owner in that state,
(iii) specifying regulations for inspection and investigation of dams, and
(iv) providing accreditation to agencies working on construction, design, and alteration of dams.
State Dam Safety Organisation: State governments will establish State Dam Safety Organisations (SDSOs).
All specified dams situated in a state will fall under the jurisdiction of that state’s SDSO.
However, in certain cases the National Dam Safety Authority will act as the SDSO.
These include cases where a dam: (i) is owned by one state but situated in another state, (ii) extends over multiple states, or (iii) is owned by a central public sector undertaking.
Functions of the SDSOs include:
(i) keeping perpetual surveillance, inspecting, and monitoring the operation and maintenance of dams,
(ii) keeping a database of all dams, and
(iii) recommending safety measures to owners of dams.
State Committee on Dam Safety: The Bill provides for the constitution of State Committees on Dam Safety by state governments.
Functions of the Committee include:
(i) reviewing the work of the SDSO,
(ii) ordering dam safety investigations,
(iii) recommending dam safety measures and reviewing the progress on such measures
(iv) assessing the potential impact on upstream and downstream states.
(v) These states will also have their representatives on the State Committee.
Change in functions of the bodies:
(i) the National Committee on Dam Safety,
(ii) the National Dam Safety Authority, and
(iii) the State Committees on Dam Safety have been provided in Schedules to the Bill. The Bill specifies that the central government can amend these Schedules through a notification, if deemed necessary.
Obligations of dam owners:
Owners of specified dams are required to provide a dam safety unit in each dam.
This unit will inspect the dams: (i) before and after the monsoon session, and (ii) during and after every earthquake, flood, or any other calamity or sign of distress.
Dam owners will be required to prepare an emergency action plan, and carry out risk assessment studies for each dam at specified regular intervals.
Dam owners will also be required to prepare a comprehensive dam safety evaluation of each dam, at regular intervals, through a panel of experts.
The evaluation will be mandatory in certain cases such as major modification of the original structure, or an extreme hydrological or seismic event.
Offences and penalties:
The Bill provides for two types of offences.
(iv) obstructing a person in the discharge of his functions under the Bill, and
(v) refusing to comply with directions issued under the Bill.
Offenders will be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine, or both. If the offence leads to loss of lives, the term of imprisonment may be extended up to two years.
Offences will be cognizable only when the complaint is made by the government, or any authority constituted under the Bill.