- Dead Sea, also called the Salt Sea, is a landlocked salt lake between Israel and Jordan in southwestern Asia.
- Its eastern shore belongs to Jordan, and the southern half of its western shore belongs to Israel.
- The northern half of the western shore lies within the Palestinian West Bank and has been under Israeli occupation since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
- The Jordan River, from which the Dead Sea receives nearly all its water, flows from the north into the lake.
- Sea of Galilee is a lake in Israel through which the Jordan River flows.
- Jordan is bounded to the north by Syria, to the east by Iraq, to the southeast and south by Saudi Arabia, and to the west by Israel and the West Bank. The West Bank is so named because it lies just west of the Jordan River.
Assam- Wildlife Protection
- In a major initiative for wildlife protection, the forest guards in Assam were given modern weapons to check poaching of rhinos, tigers and other wild animals.
- Also for the first time wildlife fast-track courts have been set up to exclusively deal with poaching and wildlife crimes.
- Assam has five national parks and 19 wildlife sanctuaries and is home to 91% of Indian rhinos.
The five national parks in Assam are
- Rajiv Gandhi Orang
- Dibru Saikhowa
- Manas and Dibru saikhowa are the Biosphere reserve in the state.
- Western Naval Command hosted the Sambandh exercise last year.
- Participants were from the 10 Indian Ocean Littoral countries Maldives, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Mauritius.
- Naval officers and cadets from smaller countries that do not have big navies were welcomed aboard INS Vikramaditya -India’s aircraft carrier as a part of the initiative.
- Apart from the Sambandh initiate, the Indian Navy sent its Mobile Training Team (MTT) to these countries.
- Training teams of the Indian Navy were sent to neighboring countries to train other countries cadets at their home base.
Shell Fish Reef
- Virtually all of Australia’s shellfish reefs have disappeared, making them the country’s most threatened ocean ecosystem.
- Shellfish reefs are made up of oysters & mussels.
- They accrete dead shell material such that the reef grows in size and mass over time.
- Just like coral reefs, they support the growth of important fish species whilst also helping to improve water quality and increase biodiversity.
- The shellfish reef plays a crucial role in water filtration, increased local fish production, bank stabilization and sustaining biodiversity.
- Shellfish reefs have declined by up 99% since British colonization.
- The ongoing 23rd Olympic Winter Games at the South Korean city of Pyeongchang, has been hit by an extraordinary outbreak of disease caused by Norovirus.
- Noro virus is similar to rota virus that induces diahorrea.
- It infects people across all age groups and is highly contagious.
Mudumalai Tiger Reserve
- Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) is situated at the tri-junction of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
- The reserve straddles the Ooty -Mysore interstate national highway.
- It is contiguous with Wyanaad Wildlife Sanctuary on the west, Bandipur Tiger Reserve on the north.
- The Moyar river flows downstream into the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and is the natural line of division between Mudumalai and Bandipur Sanctuary.
- The MTR also forms part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve
- The Reserve has tall grasses, commonly referred to as “Elephant Grass”, Bamboos of the giant variety, valuable timber species like Teak, Rosewood.
- Fauna found in the region are Tiger, Elephant, Indian Gaur, Panther, Barking Deer, Malabar Giant Squirrel and Hyena etc.,
- Sathayamangalam,Kalakkad Mudunthurai and Anamalai are the other tiger reserves in the state of Tamil Nadu.
- The objective of the Sagarmala project is to promote port-led direct and indirect development and to provide infrastructure to transport goods to and from ports quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.
- Therefore, the Sagarmala Project shall, inter alia, aim to develop access to new development regions with inter modal solutions and promotion of the optimum modal split, enhanced connectivity with main economic centres and beyond through expansion of rail, inland water, coastal and road services.
Minamata Convention on Mercury:
- The Union Cabinet recently approved the proposal for ratification of Minamata Convention on Mercury.
- It will provide flexibility for continued use of mercury-based products and processes involving mercury compound up to 2025.
- The Convention protects the most vulnerable from the harmful effects of mercury and also protects the developmental space of developing countries.
- The Minamata Convention on Mercury will further urge enterprises to move to mercury-free alternatives in products and non-mercury technologies in manufacturing processes.
- This will drive research & development, and promote innovation.
- The Convention draws attention to a global and ubiquitous metal that, while naturally occurring, has broad uses in everyday objects and is released to the atmosphere, soil and water from a variety of sources.
- Controlling the anthropogenic releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle has been a key factor in shaping the obligations under the Convention.
International North-South Transport Corridor:
- International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), is a multi modal transportation established in 2000 by Iran, Russia and India for the purpose of promoting transportation cooperation among the Member States.
- This corridor connects India Ocean and Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Islamic republic of Iran, then is connected to St. Petersburg and North European via Russian Federation.
- The INSTC has been expanded to include eleven new members, namely: Republic of Azerbaijan, Republic of Armenia, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey, Republic of Ukraine, Republic of Belarus, Oman, Syria, Bulgaria (Observer).
- The Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets, 1975 (TIR Convention), is an international transit system under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) to facilitate the seamless movement of goods within and amongst the Parties to the Convention.
- At present there are 70 parties to the Convention, including the European Union.