1. New START Treaty
- Treaty Structure: The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, also known as the New START Treaty.It is expected to last at least until 2021.
- The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, also known as the New START Treaty, entered into force on February 5, 2011. Under the Treaty, the United States and Russia must meet the Treaty’s central limits on strategic arms by February 5, 2018; seven years from the date the Treaty entered into force.
- New START replaced the Treaty of Moscow (SORT), which was due to expire in December 2012. Its name is a follow-up to the START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, the proposed START II treaty, which never entered into force, and the START III treaty, for which negotiations were never concluded.
- Under the terms of the treaty, the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers will be reduced by half. A new inspection and verification regime will be established, replacing the SORT mechanism. It does not limit the number of operationally inactive stockpiled nuclear warheads that remain in the high thousands in both the Russian and American inventories.
2. Auto slowdown
- One of the key reasons for the slowdown in the automobile sector is the confusion over the policy on electric cars, the government told a parliamentary panel
- NITI Aayog had proposed in August the ban sale of three-wheelers with internal combustion engines by 2023 and two-wheelers with engine capacities less than 150 cc by 2025.
- The 150-cc and below segment forms almost 90% of the two-wheeler market in the country.
- The industry termed the proposed NITI Aayog plan “unrealistic”, while knocking on the Centre’s door pitching for a EV roll-out road map over a “practical” time frame.
3. New species of tree frog
- A new frog species named Polypedates bengalensis has been found in a residential area of West Bengal.
- The new species also named Brown Blotched Bengal Tree was found in two places in West Bengal – Badu, North 24 Parganas District and Khordanahala, South 24 Parganas District.
- It is named Brown Blotched Bengal Tree Frog from the series of six to nine dark brown blotches that extend laterally from behind the frog’s eye to the vent. The frog’s body colour is yellowish-brown to greenish-brown
4. Ratnam Pen
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gifted German Chancellor Angela Merkel an exquisite handloom woollen khadi stole from Ladakh and a Ratnam pen.
- The Ratnam Pen, named after K.V. Ratnam (originally from a family of goldsmiths in Rajahmundry), was made iconic by Mahatma Gandhi.
- The pen was made in 1934 by Ratnam, by using indigenous materials upon Mahatma Gandhi’s request to create a ‘swadeshi’ (locally made) pen. Mahatma Gandhi had written over 31,000 letters in his quest to take India to its freedom. Many of these letters were written using Ratnam Pen.
- It is produced even today in its original form by K.V. Ratnam and Sons — Ratnam Ballpen Works, owned by Ratnam’s descendants. Even today, it has a barrel for filling ink using a dropper and the Genius Iridium Nib from Germany.