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Source: TH

Why in News: The United States, United Kingdom, and Australia are poised to initiate discussions regarding the expansion of their AUKUS security agreement to include additional members.AUKUS Alliance - Features, Significance & Purpose | In Detail



  • Trilateral security partnership established in 2021 between the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia.
  • Aims to bolster each government’s capacity to address security and defense interests, building upon existing bilateral relations.

Pillars of AUKUS:

  • Pillar 1: Supports Australia in acquiring its first conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines, excluding the transfer of nuclear weapons.
  • Pillar 2: Focuses on collaboration in eight advanced military capability areas, including AI, quantum technologies, innovation, information sharing, cyber, undersea, hypersonic, and electronic warfare domains.

Submarine Component:

  • Introduces nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) to Australia’s naval fleet, totaling eight submarines known as SSN-AUKUS.
  • Based on a British design but integrated with American technology or combat systems.
  • Positions Australia as the seventh country worldwide with nuclear-powered submarines and the second, after the UK, to receive this technology from the US.

Nuclear Weapons Clarification:

  • Emphasizes that the intention is not to arm the new submarines with nuclear weapons.
  • Australia’s commitment to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) prohibits it from acquiring or deploying nuclear weapons.


Ural River

Source: TH 

Why in News: Russia has officially announced a “federal emergency” in the southern Orenburg region due to flooding from the Ural River, resulting in the evacuation of thousands of residents from Orsk.The Ural River runs through Kazakhstan

About Ural River

The Ural River flows through Russia and Kazakhstan, marking the continental boundary between Europe and Asia. It is known as the Zhayyq River in Kazakh.


  • Originates near Mount Kruglaya in the Ural Mountains, Russia.
  • Empties into the Caspian Sea, the world’s largest inland sea situated between Europe and Asia.
  • Ranked as Europe’s third-longest river, following the Volga and the Danube. Its primary water source comprises melting snow (60%-70%) with precipitation contributing minimally.

Unique Features

Notable for its digitate delta, resembling a tree-like structure, observed as it meets the Caspian Sea.


  • The Ural River is fed by 58 tributaries, notable among them are Kushum, Derkul, Chagan, Irtek, Utva, Elek, Bolshaya Chobda, Kindel, Sakmara, Tanalyk, Salmys, Or, and Suunduk.
  • Right-side tributaries typically originate from mountains, whereas left-side tributaries exhibit flatland characteristics.


Suvidha Portal

Source: TOI

Why in News: The Election Commission recently announced that its Suvidha portal has recorded more than 73,000 applications since the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections.Press Information Bureau

About Suvidha Portal

Purpose of Suvidha Portal: Developed by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to uphold democratic principles, ensuring fair, transparent, and equitable elections.

Streamlined Process: Simplifies the procedure for requesting and processing permissions and facilities by political parties and candidates during elections.

Permission Requests: 

  • Handles a wide array of permission requests transparently, following the First in First Out principle.
  • Allows political entities to submit permission requests conveniently online from any location, round the clock. Offline submission options are also available.

Permission Types: 

  • Facilitates permissions for various activities including organizing rallies, setting up temporary party offices, conducting door-to-door canvassing, deploying video vans and helicopters, obtaining vehicle permits, and distributing pamphlets.

IT Infrastructure: 

  • Supported by a robust IT platform, overseen by nodal officers from different state departments.
  • Features a companion app enabling applicants to track the real-time status of their requests.

Contribution to Transparency:

  • The data available on the portal aids in scrutinizing election expenditures, fostering greater accountability and integrity within the electoral process.
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