1. X-ray Polarimeter Satellite: ISRO –


  • Recently, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched its first X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XpoSat) to study X-ray polarisation and its cosmic sources, like Black holes, Neutron stars, and Magnetars.
  • The mission is propelled by the PSLV-C58 rocket in Low Earth Orbit.
  • XPoSat is designed to study X-ray polarization in the medium X-ray band, offering insights into celestial sources’ radiation mechanisms and geometry.
  • This study is crucial for understanding the physics behind these celestial bodies.
  • The satellite carries two main payloads, POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) and XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing). POLIX will observe about 40 bright astronomical sources, while XSPECT will study the electromagnetic spectrum generated by different matter.
  • Entirely built by two Bengaluru-based institutes—ISRO’s UR Rao Satellite Centre and Raman Research Institute—XPoSat’s development began in 2008, with a formal agreement signed with ISRO in 2015.
  • XPoSat is only the world’s second mission dedicated to X-ray polarization in the medium X-ray band. NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE), launched in 2021, was the first such mission by a space agency.
  • XPoSat will be India’s third space-based observatory, following the recently launched solar mission Aditya-L1 and AstroSat, which was launched in 2015. Its launch is seen as a significant stride for Indian astronomy and space research.


  1. Lithium-Deal with Argentina –


  • The Ministry of Mines, Government of India through the state-owned Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL), has entered into a draft exploration and development agreement with Argentinan miner CAMYEN for possible acquisition and development of five-odd lithium blocks.
  • The company has also entered into a non-disclosure agreement with Chilean miner ENAMI for “possible exploration, extraction, processing and commercialisation” of the mineral.
  • Lithium is an alkali mineral, also called ‘white gold’. It is soft, silvery-white metal, the lightest metal of the periodic table.

Major Properties-

  1. High Reactivity
  2. Low Density
  3. Excellent Electrochemical Properties
  • Lithium is found naturally in various minerals, including spodumene, petalite, and lepidolite.It is extracted from these minerals and refined into lithium metal or its compounds.
  • The top producers of lithium are Australia, Chile, China, and Argentina.In 2022, Australia was the world leader in terms of lithium mine production. Chile and China ranked second and third.
  • Batteries: Lithium is a crucial component of rechargeable batteries used in smartphones, laptops, electric vehicles, and other electronics. Medicine: Lithium is used as a mood stabilizer in the treatment of bipolar disorder.

Lithium in India-

  • Massive reserves unearthed in Salal-Haimna areas of Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir (estimated 5.9 million tonnes).Additional reserves identified in Koderma and Giridih regions of Jharkhand.


  1. Expansion of BRICS –


  • Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirateshave joined BRICS as new full members.
  • It was done as per the decision adopted by the 15th BRICS Summit in 2022. A proposal to admit six countries, including Argentina, into the bloc with effect from January 1.
  • BRICS is an acronym that refers to a group of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The term was originally coined by economist Jim O’Neill in 2001.
  • BRICS brings together five of the largest developing countries of the world, representing around 41% of the global population, around 24% of the global GDP and around 16% of global trade.
  • Initially, the grouping was termed BRIC as South Africa was inducted in 2010 and from there on it has been referred to as BRICS.
  • New Development Bank: Formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states.
  • The Bank shall support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments.
  • BRICS currently represents around 40% of the world’s population and more than a quarter of the world’s GDP.