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Prelims 2017 Current Affairs- Geographical News
                                                                                                    May 7, 2017


GEOGRAPHICAL NEWS

1. Majuli Island
Geographical Location :The Majuli Island is formed by the Brahmaputra river system. It is the world’s largest mid river delta (island) system. The island is about 200 km east from Guwahati, Assam.

Why in news?                  
Majuli a river island in the Brahmaputra River, Assam having an area of 400 square kilometres has been approved by the state cabinet as a Full- fledged district. With this it becomes India’s first island district. Earlier it was sub-division of Jorhat district.

2. Ashalim Project
Geographical Location :Negev desert, Israel.

Why in news?
The project is made up of three plots, with a fourth planned for the future, each with a different solar technology. Together, the fields will be Israel’s largest renewable energy project when completed by 2018.

They are set to generate some 310 megawatts of power; about 1.6 per cent of the country’s energy needs enough for about 130,000 households, or roughly 5 per cent of Israel’s population, according to Israel’s Electricity Authority.

3. Festivals
A)  SERENDIPITY ARTS FESTIVAL,  GOA:

Why in news?
The first edition of Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) held on the banks of river Mondovi in Panaji, Goa  from December 16-23, 2016 to promote patronage of arts.

The 8-day long festival focused on performing, visual and culinary arts through a hundred events from the fields of music, theatre, dance, photography and food.

B) INDIA  INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE  FESTIVAL:

Why in news?
The largest festival of science in the country with its focus on “Science for the Masses”.
IISF-2016 is held at CSIR-National  Physical Laboratory (NPL) Campus, New Delhi during 7-11 December, 2016.

IISF-2016 aims to encourage and develop scientific temper and attitude, promote exchange of knowledge and ideas among young minds including showcasing of recent developments and contributions of India in science and technology involving all our scientific departments.

C) 9TH WORLD  CONFLUENCE OF  HUMANITY,  POWER  AND SPIRITUALITY INAUGURATED
Location: New Delhi

Why in news?
The 9th World Confluence of Humanity, Power and Spirituality was held in New Delhi on December 16, 2016 to spread the message of inter-faith peace and harmony, to ignite the human spirit and to harness the potential of human beings towards selfless service.

The annual convention is organized by ASSOCHAM,  Srei Foundation and the Times Group. The theme of the convention was “Sach Bharat: Spirituality at Work”.

Longest Cycle Highway

Why in news?                                  
Asia’s first and longest cycle highway was inaugurated in Uttar  Pradesh.

It is also India’s first cycle highway. The 207-km-long cycle highway runs between  Etawah  and  Agra.   It  was  inaugurated  by  state   Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Loktak Lake

Why in news?                                  
Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the country, has now become home to first of its kind Loktak floating elementary school. Situated about 50 km from Imphal, the school has been inaugurated at Langolsabi  Leikai of Champu Khangpok village in Manipur.
It aims to provide education to drop outs students, who were rendered homeless due to the recent evacuation of phumdis.

Cheneni-Nashiri

Why in news?                                 
India’s longest surface tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district is complete. It will be open to traffic soon, following successful completion of trial runs for peak and off-peak hours.  The 9-km-long tunnel at Cheneni passes through the lower Himalayan mountain range on Jammu- Srinagar National Highway.

Barren Island
Location :Andaman and Nicobar islands

Why in news?
According to scientists from Goa based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), India’s only live volcano at Barren Island in the Andaman and Nicobar  has become active again. After lying dormant for 150 years, Barren Island volcano had erupted in 1991 and since then it is showing sporadic activity. Now it is erupting in small episodes of five to 10 minutes.

It is claimed that volcanoes is erupting the rising magma formed deep in the mantle due to the melting of the subducted Indian Ocean crust.
The volcanic island is part of Andaman Islands. Its northern part is barren and is uninhabited. It is also devoid of vegetation.

Hailakandi
Location: Assam

Why in news?                                  
Hailakandi district of Assam has become the first district to pay wages to tea  garden workers through individual bank accounts. It completed this task before the December 15, 2016 deadline set by the state government for cashless transactions of salary payments to the plantation workers.

At least 504 workers of Burnie Braes tea estate received their wages through bank accounts.

2G Ethanol Bio-refinery in Punjab

Why in news?                                  
The foundation stone of India’s first 2G (Second Generation) Ethanol Bio- refineries was laid at Tarkhanwala village in Bathinda, Punjab.  Central Government Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) is setting up this project at a cost of 600 crore Rupees.

HPCL’s bio-refinery will produce 100 kilolitres of ethanol per day i.e. 3.20 crore litres per annum from agricultural residues. It will be sufficient to meet the 26% of the ethanol blending requirement of Punjab.

Rio de Janeiro

Why in news?                                  
The UN cultural body UNESCO has accorded world heritage status to Brazilian  city of Rio de Janeiro (nicknamed as Marvellous City).  It has been registered as “Carioca  Landscapes between  Mountain and  Sea” on the UNESCO world heritage list.

Rio de Janeiro  has been  accorded this  status in  recognition of  its extraordinary fusion of man-made and natural beauty, soaring granite cliffs, urban rainforest and beaches.

Gotthard Base Tunnel

Why in news?
   
                               
The famed Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) has started regular commercial rail service in Switzerland. The first regular train to use GBT ferried passenger from Zurich to Lugano. The twin-bore GBT is world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel with length of 57-kilometer.

It had overtaken Japan’s Seikan tunnel (53.9 kilometers) as the longest rail tunnel in world after it was opened in June 2016 for its maiden ride.

Panama Canal

Why in news?                                  
Newly renovated and expanded Panama Canal was reopened by the Panamanian President, Juan Carlos Varela. After the launch a giant Chinese container ship Cosco become the first vessel to move via the newly-enlarged Panama Canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The expanded Panama Canal will allow a new, much-larger generation of container ships to pass through the Isthmus of Panama.

Akodara

Why in news?
Akodara village in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat has earned the coveted tag of becoming India’s first digital village. The village with a total population of 1,191 people and 250 households uses a various cashless system for payments of goods and services.

All transactions in the village are carried out through digital modes like
SMS, net-banking or debit cards.

Genetic Garden of Halophytes

Why in news?

The world’s first Genetic Garden of Halophytes (naturally occurring salt- tolerant plants) was inaugurated at the coastal town of Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu.  The gard en has been set up  by M S Swaminatha n Research Foundation (MSSRF) founded by eminent agriculture scientist Prof M S Swaminathan, father of Indian Green Revolution.


Maharashtra

Why in news?                                  
The World Bank has agreed to make an investment of 1 billion dollars (Rs 7,000 crore approximately) as direct finance in Maharashtra on a railway augmentation project and a climate resilient agriculture project in the drought affected districts.

This investments is the highest when compared to any other states, it will be done over a period of 18-20 years at an interest of LIBOR  plus rates.

Morocco

Why in news?                                  
In the 28th Summit of AU held in Addis Ababa in January 2017, Morocco has been readmitted to the African Union. For last few years, Morocco was making a lot of diplomatic efforts for re-entry. India had also made some efforts and can be partially credited for the readmission of Morocco in AU.

As of today, all of African Sovereign countries are members of the African Union. The only country which was not member of this body was Morocco, which has left its predecessor OAU (Organisation of African Unity) in 1984 due to political reasons.

Himachal Pradesh

Why in news?                                  
Himachal  Pradesh government 8Sept 2016 signed a preliminary MoU with Singapore government for developing a smart integrated township in Jathiadevi near Shimla airport.

The MoU was signed between Himachal Pradesh Housing and Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) and Asian Pacific Singapore Enterprise in the presence of Urban Development and Town and Country Planning and Housing minister Sudhir Sharma.

Sankhuwasabha

Why in news?                                  
The government on approved a 900 MW hydro power project to be set up in Sankhuwasabha district of Nepal at a cost of Rs 5,723.72 crore.

The decision to approve the Arun-III project was taken at a meeting of the cabinet committee on economic affairs headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The project is being implemented by a 100% subsidiary of state-run SJVN Ltd.

Andhra Pradesh

Why in news?                                  
Three cities in Andhra Pradesh — Vijayawada, Vishakhapatnam and Tirupati — want to use modern technology to detect mosquito breeding before  malaria  and  other  vector- borne  diseases  such  as  dengue , chikungunya and zika become an epidemic.

The Andhra government has sent a ‘Smart Mosquito  Density  System’ proposal to the Union urban development ministry for approval and to provide funds so that the three municipal bodies can implement this first- of-its-kind project in the country.

Hambantota Port

Why in news?                                  
Sri Lanka’s government wants a Chinese company to agree to cut its stake in a strategic port project by up to a quarter, as part of a renegotiation aimed at blunting public and political opposition to the deal.
 
Tirunelveli
After signing an agreement in December, 2016, state-run China Merchants Port Holdings had been expected to pay $1.12 billion for a 99-year lease on an 80 percent stake in Sri Lanka’s southern Hambantota port - part of Beijing’s ambitious plans to create a modern-day “Silk Road” across Asia.

Why in news?                                  
Tirunelveli municipality in Tamil Nadu is set to achieve the feat of achieving 100% segregation of waste at source across households and establishments. It involved securing undertakings from each household to segregate biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, campaigns though TV and local radio channels targeting housewives and roping in religious leaders and NGOs.

Palmyra

Why in news?                                  
Syrian Army and popular defence forces have regained control of the ancient city of Palmyra from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.

The liberation of the historic city of Palmyra from the ISIS terror group was undertaken by joint efforts of Syrian Army with support of national aviation and Russian Aerospace Forces.

The ancient city of Palmyra is a UNESCO  designated  World Heritage site and home to some of the world’s most magnificent ancient ruins.

Sabarimala Circuit

Why in news?                                  
The administrative and financial nod for the Sabarimala circuit, sanctioned under the Union Tourism Ministry’s Swadesh Darshan Scheme, has reached the Kerala government.

Enhanced facilities for Ayyappa devotees, setting up of solid waste management and sewage treatment systems, and CCTV surveillance are the thrust areas in the Rs. 99.98-crore Sabarimala-Erumeli- Pampa- Sannidhanam Spiritual Circuit approved by the Union Ministry of Tourism.

Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq,Yemen and Iran

Why in news?           
President Donald Trump overhauled US refugee policy — laying the groundwork for a fundamental shift in how the US allows people to enter the country.

Trump signed an executive order that bans all immigrants and visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries (Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran) from entering the US for 90 days, and opens the door to more country-based bans in future.
However it has been removed by the court order.

Tembhli

Why in news?                                  
Tembhli is a village in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra state in India, from where the ambitious Aadhar Scheme was launched on 29 September 2010. Ranjana Sonawane became the first person to be given an Aadhar identity number.

Tembhli becomes the first village in India to get the Unique Identification Numbers (UIDs) and is declared as an ‘Aadhar’ village by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA President Sonia Gandhi.


Mahila Police Volunteer Initiative launched in Haryana

Why in news?                                  
The Mahila Police Volunteer initiative was launched by the Chief Minister of Haryana in Karnal and Mahendragarh districts. With the launch, Haryana became the first state  to adopt this initiative. The state inducted the first batch of 1000 Mahila Police Volunteers into service.

To establish a link between the police authorities and the local communities in villages, one Mahila Police Volunteer (MPV) is envisaged per Gram Panchayat across the country.

Mahanadi and Tributaries

Why in news?                                  
The Union Ministry of Water Resources has constituted negotiations committee to assess availability and utilization of waters of Mahanadi and its tributaries to resolve disputes over sharing of river waters among five states. These five states are Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand.

The committee will be chaired by member (water planning and projects) of the Central Water Commission (CWC). It will have 11 other members comprising representatives from the state governments.

Agartala rail link

Why in news?                                  
Union Government has sanctioned about 580 crore rupees for Agartala- Akhaura railway link Project to connect Kolkata (West Bengal) with Tripura via Bangladesh. The sanctioned fund will be used for the laying of the five km railway track up to Bangladesh border from Agartala.

It is 15 km long strategic railway route that would connect the Indian Railways with the Bangladesh Railways. The work on this project is expected to complete by 2017.

Mekadatu project on Kaveri

Why in news?                                  
Karnataka has decided to implement the Rs. 5,912 crore Mekedatu multi- purpose (drinking and power) project that involves building a balancing reservoir across the Cauvery near Kanakapura in Ramanagaram district.

However, the project has been opposed by Tamil Nadu on the grounds that it violates the Cauvery tribunal order. But, Karnataka has said that it aims to utilise excess water after releasing 192 tmcft to Tamil Nadu.

Yettinahole Project

Why in news?                                  
Activists Satyajit Surathkal and M.G. Hegde said that they and Mr. Kateel and other activists of the Netravathi Rakshana Samyukta Samiti will begin an indefinite hunger strike. They would intensify their protest if the people’s concerns, regarding the project, are not heard, they said.

Yettinahole project, also called as the Netravati River Diversion Project is aimed at providing water from Yettinahole (Netravati) to the parched districts of south Karnataka. Environmental biologist N.A. Madhyastha said that unscientific and, if implemented, would leave lasting damage on the fragile flora and fauna of the region.

Country’s firstWater Metro Project

Why in news?                                  
Kerala Government has launched Kochi Water Metro project, the first ever Water Metro project in the country. It was launched by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at Kochi. The project aims to provide water connectivity to people living between islands in the Kochi agglomeration area and the city.

The project is funded by German Development Bank (Kfw). In this regard KMRL (Kochi Metro Rail Limited) has signed agreement with Kfw.

Indus Basin: Shahpur Kandi Dam Project

Why in news?                                  
Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir have signed a Secretary level fresh pact for the fast-track completion of the much-delayed 206 megawatt (MW) Shahpur Kandi dam project on the Ravi River. It is located 11 km downstream Ranjit Sagar Dam.

Shahpur Kandi project was declared a national project in February 2008 by the Centre. Punjab will execute the project and committee headed by a member of Central Water Commission (CWC) will monitor it.

Ghatampur Thermal Power Project

Why in news?                                  

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its approval for installation of 1980 MW Ghatampur Thermal Power Project (GTPC) through a Joint Venture Company “Neyveli Uttar Pradesh Power Limited (NUPPL)”, which is formed jointly by Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited ( NLC)  an d  Uttar  Pradesh  Rajya  Vidyut  Utpadan  Nigam  Limited (UPRVUNL).

The Ghatampur Thermal Power Station (GTPS) is a coal-based thermal power plant located in Ghatampur in Kanpur district, Uttar  Pradesh (UP).

Deepest Rail Project

Why in news?     
                            
The famed Gotthard Base Tunnel  (GBT) has started regular commercial rail service in Switzerland. The first regular train to use GBT ferried passenger from Zurich to Lugano. The twin-bore GBT is world’s  longest and  deepest  railway  tunnel  with length of 57-kilometer. It had overtaken Japan’s Seikan tunnel (53.9 kilometers) as the longest rail tunnel in world after it was opened in June 2016 for its maiden ride.

GBT is the first flat low-level route through the Alps Mountain. It is situated 2.3 km deep under these mountains and57-kilometer long. It connects northern and southern Europe and also shortens travel time for many rail routes

Lost Continent

Why in news?                                  
Scientists have confirmed the existence of a “lost continent” under the Indian  Ocean  island of Mauritius. It is left over by the break-up of the super-continent Gondwana, which started about 200 million years ago. The discovery was based on study of Zircon, a mineral found in rocks spewed up by lava during volcanic eruptions which is too old to belong to Mauritius.

The lost continent is just a small piece of island that probably broke of when Africa, India, Australia and Antarctica split up and formed the Indian Ocean.

Zealandia

Why in news?                                  
Geologists have claimed discovery of new geological continent named Zealandia submerged beneath the south-west  Pacific  Ocean.  Zealandia is around 4.5-million square km land mass and is 94% under water. Only its highest points — New Zealand and New Caledonia are visible.

Zealandia is two-thirds the size of Australia and spreads out over 4.9-million- square kilometres of continental crust. It was once a part of Australia.

World’s First Polluted River Discovered By Scientists

Why in news?                                  
Scientists have discovered what could be the world’s first polluted river, contaminated about 7,000 years ago by Neolithic humans who may have been producing copper metals from ores. In the now-dry riverbed in the Wadi  Faynan  region of  southern  Jordan , Professor  Russell Adams from the University of Waterloo in Canada, and colleagues found evidence of early pollution caused by the combustion of copper.

The findings shed light on a turning point in history, when humans began moving from making tools out of stones to making tools out of metal. This period, known as the Chalcolithic or Copper Age, is a transitional period between the late Neolithic or Stone Age and the beginning of the Bronze Age.

Pre-historic Camping site found in Ladakh

Why in news?                                  
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has found an ancient camping site used by pre-historic man, at an altitude of about 4,200 metres near Saser La  in Nubra Valley, Ladakh. The camping site is a place where hunter-gatherers in the ancient times stayed temporarily before they moved on to another place.

Charcoal pieces from the earth activity and remains of bones associated were discovered at the site. The carbon dating of these charcoal pieces reveals that, the site dates back to circa 8500 BCE

Report on Palaeo Channel of North West India

Why in news?                                  
Union Minister of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Sushri Uma Bharati released a Report on Palaeo Channel of North West India: Review & Assessment by Expert Committee. The committee was headed by Prof. K.S. Valdiya, eminent Geologist.

This report is based on the study of the land texture of states of North-West India including- Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab. It has also taken account of the geological changes that had occurred in the past.
 
Cyclones in News
 
Cyclone Debbie    Australia

Cyclone Vardah   North Indian Ocean effected Tamil Nadu and
Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Cyclone Nada       Bay of Bengal effected Tamil Nada,  Puducherry and Kerala

Cyclone Kyant      East-central Bay of Bengal

Cyclone Roanu     North Indian Ocean effected Sri Lanka, India and
Bangladesh