Bogibeel Bridge in Assam: India’s longest railroad bridge
- The bridge is part of infrastructure projects planned by India to improve logistics along the border in Arunachal Pradesh.
- The 4.94 km-long Bogibeel Bridge is Asia’s second and India’s longest railroad bridge.
- It is India’s only fully welded bridge, with the double-decker structure comprising two railway lines on the lower deck and a three-lane road on the upper, strong enough to withstand movement of heavy military tanks.
- The Bogibeel Bridge will connect the south bank of the Brahmaputra river in Assam’s Dibrugarh district with Silapathar in Dhemaji district, bordering Arunachal Pradesh.
- It has been built by the Hyderabad-based Navayuga Engineering Co.
- It is also for the first time European codes and welding standards were adhered to in the construction of a bridge in India.
- It will also reduce travel time from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh to four hours (minus the 170-km detour via Tinsukia), and Delhi to Dibrugarh by about three hours (34 hours compared with 37 earlier).
- It will also reduce the distance to the North East by 165 km, saving fuel worth Rs 10 lakh per day in the region.
International Whaling Commission (IWC)
- Recently, Japan is considering pulling out of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
- Tokyo currently observes the moratorium but exploits a loophole to kill hundreds of whales every year for “scientific purposes” as well as to sell the meat.
- The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is an international body set up by the terms of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW).
- It was signed in Washington, D.C., United States, on December 2, 1946, to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry”.
- Its Headquarters is in Impington, England. In 1986, it adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling. This ban still continues.
(i) Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary
- In 1994, it created the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary surrounding the continent of Antarctica.
(ii) Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary
- by the tiny island nation of Seychelles.
India’s first music museum
- The country’s first music museum will be set up with assistance from the Central government in Thiruvaiyaru, Tamilnadu
- Thiruvaiyaru is the birth place of Saint Thyagaraja, one of the Trinities of Carnatic music.
- The Tyagaraja Aaradhana Music Festival which is held annually in January in Thiruvaiyaru attracts musical talents from all over the world.
Sunda Strait/Krakatau Volcano
- Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra, connects the Java Sea to the Indian Ocean.
- Krakatau is a volcanic island situated in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra in the Indonesian province of Lampung.
Koregaon Bhima battle
- The Battle of Koregaon was fought on 1 January 1818 between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy, at Koregaon Bhima.
- This battle was the of Part of Third Anglo-Maratha War (November 1817 – February 1818 ).
- The 28,000-strong Marathas, led by Peshwa Baji Rao II intended to attack Pune.
- On their way, they were met by an 800-strong Company force that was on its way to reinforce the British troops in Pune.
- The Peshwa dispatched around 2,000 soldiers to attack the Company force stationed in Koregaon.
- The Company troops Led by Captain Francis Staunton, defended their position for nearly 12 hours.
- The Marathas ultimately withdrew, fearing the arrival of a larger British force led by General Joseph Smith.
- There is a “victory pillar” (obelisk) in Koregaon commemorating the battle.
- The Company troops of Indian origin included predominantly Mahar Dalit soldiers belonging to the Bombay Native Infantry, and therefore Dalit activists regard the
battle as a heroic episode in a Dalit history.
National Commission for Safai Karamcharis
- Recently, NCSK has recommended that all states across India should have individual state Safai Karamchari Commissions in order to end the practice of manual scavenging.
- It is a statutory body that looks into matters concerning the Safai Karamcharis’ welfare and makes recommendations to the government.
- It was constituted on 12 August 1994 for a period of 3 years under the provision of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993 to promote and safeguard the interests and rights of Safai Karamcharis.
- The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely
(a) recommend to the Central Government specific programmes of action towards the elimination of inequalities in status, facilities, and opportunities for Safai Karamcharis under a time-bound action plan;
(b) study and evaluate the implementation of the programmes and schemes relating to the social and economic rehabilitation of Safai Karamcharis and make recommendations to the Central Government and State Governments for better coordination and implementation of such programmes and schemes;
(c) investigate specific grievances and take suo moto notice of matters relating to non-implementation of :
(i) programmes or schemes
(ii) decisions, guidelines or instructions, aimed at mitigating the hardship of Safai Karamcharis etc.
- The countries put in place a road-map for ‘Talanoa Dialogue’ in COP 23 which is a year-long process to assess the countries’ progress on climate actions.
- Under this, it was agreed that the next two climate conferences, in 2018 and 2019, will have special ‘stock-taking’ sessions.
- This stock-take would focus on the ‘pre-2020 actions’ being taken by different countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- It included the progress made by developed nations in their obligations to provide finance and technology support to the developing countries.
- It reflected a strong message to developed countries that post-2020 climate action as part of the Paris Agreement cannot be divorced from pre-2020 commitments.
- It is the region that exists between 2 km and 3 km below the ocean-floor.
- It consists of about 2-2.3 billion cubic km, which is about twice the volume of the oceans combined.
- Its biosphere constitutes “Subterranean Galapagos” which includes members of all 3 domains of life – Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya.
- Bacteria and archaea (microbes with no membrane-bound nucleus) dominate deep earth.
- Eukarya, multicellular organisms with cells that contain a nucleus as well as membrane bound organelles, found less in numbers.
- Scientists say about 70% of earth’s bacteria and archaea live in the subsurface.
Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary
- Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh notified as ‘national park’.
- The state government has declared Kuno National Park with the inclusion of an area spread along 404.0758 sq.km in addition to the earlier notified area of 344.686 sq km making a total of 748.7618 sq km area.
- Madhya Pradesh forest department was waiting for a change of government to notify Kuno as a ‘national park’ in compliance with the last condition imposed by a Supreme Court-appointed six-member committee for the much awaited ‘translocation of Asiatic lions from Gir in Gujarat.’
- Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary lies in the Sheopur district of northwestern Madhya Pradesh, a state in central India.
- It is part of the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests ecoregion.
- The Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary was selected as the reintroduction site for the endangered Asiatic lion because it is in the former range of the lions before it was hunted into extinction in about 1873.
- The lions are to be reintroduced from Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in the neighboring Indian state of Gujarat where they are currently overpopulated.
- This has involved the displacement of twenty-four villages of the Sahariya tribe, which had lived in the remote core area set aside for the reintroduction of the Asiatic lions, who agreed to move out.
- The tribal Baduga community in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu is celebrating their annual Heddaiyamman festival.
- Thousands of devotees clad in the traditional white dress of the community flocked to places like Kannerimukku and Corbetta near Kotagiri and Hallu Kerai near Coonoor to pay obeisance to their presiding deity.
- People observe 48 days fast and walk-in religious processions, holding up a holy shaft which symbolizes the miracle of the traditional Badaga goddess.
- The Badugas are an indigenous tribal group in the Nilgiris and occupy more than 400 remote hill villages in the district.
- Thailand approved the licensed use of marijuana and kratom for medical use and research.
- Cannabis, also known as marijuana among other names, is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant used for medical or recreational purposes.
- The main psychoactive part of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
- Cannabis can be used by smoking, vaporizing, within the food, or as an extract.
- Cannabis is mostly used for recreation or as a medicinal drug, although it may also be used for spiritual purposes.