Places Current Affairs 2017 - Current Affairs Today

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  • Seventh Asia Ministerial Energy Roundtable Held in Bangkok

    The Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan was on an official visit to Bangkok, Thailand to participate in the IEF 7th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable (AMER7). India is the current chair of International Energy Forum (IEF) which is promoting the AMER - a biennial event bringing together Energy Ministers and experts from Asian countries.

    According to a Gender Vulnerability Index report, Goa named safest for women in India, Bihar most unsafe

    Goa, with a score of 0.656, is the safest state in the country for women, according to a Gender Vulnerability Index (GVI) report released by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Kerala (0.634) has been ranked second, followed by Mizoram, Sikkim and Manipur, while Bihar (0.410) has been placed last. Further, national capital Delhi has got the 28th position, scoring 0.436.

    Royal Opera House at Mumbai gets UNESCO heritage award

    The restored Royal Opera House, located at Mumbai's Charni Road, has received the Award of Merit from the 2017 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. In 2017 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation, four restored city landmarks were among the 16 winners from six countries - Australia, China, India, Iran, New Zealand and Singapore. Meanwhile, amongst this, all Mumbai bagged the maximum number of UNESCO Heritage Awards for - Christ Church and Royal Opera House (Award of Merit), Bomonjee Hormarjee Wadia Fountain and Clock Tower and Wellington Fountain (Honourable Mention). Ahead, Delhi bagged for Haveli Dharampura in Shahjahanabad. The other two winners from India were the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, and the Gateways of Gohad Fort near Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.

    Burundi becomes first country to leave International Criminal Court

    African country Burundi has withdrawn from International Criminal Court (ICC) with effect has thus become the first nation. International Criminal Court is an international tribunal (located in Hague, Netherlands) having authority to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. In recent years, governments of three African countries, South Africa, Gambia and Burundi expressed their intent to leave ICC citing the reason that it focuses too much on African nations.

    Russia and US Partner to Build 1st Ever Space Station Near Moon

    Russian and the United States space agencies, Roscosmos and NASA, have agreed to jointly build a "deep space gateway", the first-ever astronaut-tended space station around the Moon.  It would help prepare for manned missions to deep space destinations including Mars. NASA and Roscosmos are two of the major partners in the $100-billion Earth-orbiting International Space Station (ISS).

    Southwest Monsoon will be ‘normal’, says India Meteorological Department (IMD)

    The Southwest Monsoon will be “normal” this year, a news which will augur well for the farming community and the economy.India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General K.J. Ramesh said there would be good distribution of rainfall across the country.“The country will receive 96 per cent of Long Period Average (LPA),” he said.Anything between 96 and 104 per cent of the LPA is considered as “normal”. Anything under 96 per cent is considered as “below normal” and 104-110 per cent of the LPA as “above normal”.The IMD last year made an initial forecast of “above normal” rainfall, but it belied its prediction and ended the seasons with normal precipitation.Last year, the southern peninsula registered deficient rainfall and several parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala reeled under drought like situation.

    World's only floating national park is in India

    The Keibul Lamjao National Park, placed in the Loktak Lake in Manipur, India, is known as the single floating national park in the world. The region is defined by 'phumdis', a Manipuri word relating to floating mats of soil and vegetation. Among various animal species, the park is a roof to the brow-antlered deer, which is regionally known as the 'Sangai'. The park which was initially declared to be a sanctuary in 1966, was subsequently declared to be a national park in 1977 through a gazette notification. Area: 40 km2 (15 sq mi) Established : 28 March 1977.

    China plans to build new city nearly three times the size of New York

    China has announced plans to build a new city,  Xiongan New Area, a special economic zone, in Hebei province to decongest its capital Beijing, similar to those established in Shenzhen and Shanghai.  The city will cover an area nearly three times that of the US city of New York. The New Area, about 100 km southwest of downtown Beijing, will span three counties that sit at the center of the triangular area formed by Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei`s provincial capital Shijiazhuang. It is the latest step in China`s efforts to reduce traffic, air pollution, and population growth in overcrowded, smoggy Beijing. Xiongan and Tongzhou will form "two wings" for Beijing and create new room of development for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. About China:- Capital: Beijing Currency: Renminbi Population: 1.357 billion President: Xi Jinping

    Jhargram as Bengal's 22nd district

    West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared Jhargram as the 22nd district of West Bengal, fulfilling a longstanding demand of its residents. A Rs 200 crore budget has been sanctioned for Jhargram’s development. Building a new stadium at Nayagram and renovating the Jhargram stadium are part of government’s agenda. Jhargram has been formed by bifurcating West Midnapore, which has a population of more than 11.37 lakh. The district has one mahakuma, eight blocks, one municipality and nine police stations. R. Arjun has been appointed the district magistrate while Abhisek Gupta has been made the police superintendent.

    New York's Eleven Madison Park named world's best restaurant of 2017

    Contemporary New York eatery Eleven Madison Park was crowned the world's best restaurant of 2017 at a glitzy ceremony in Melbourne. Run by Swiss-born chef Daniel Humm, the Manhattan institution came out on top at the World's 50 Best Restaurants awards, widely seen as the Oscars of the food world. Spain's El Celler De Can Roca was third. The top 10 was rounded out by restaurants in France, Peru, Thailand, Austria and Spain. France, Spain and the United States each had six restaurants in the top 50, while eateries from China, Chile, Hong Kong and Singapore also made the grade. Bangkok’s Gaggan was named Asia’s best restaurant, at No. 7 overall, while Hong Kong’s Amber came in at No. 24.

    World's 5th tallest building 'Lotte World Tower' opens in Seoul

    South Korea celebrates the opening of Lotte World Tower – the world’s fifth-highest skyscraper – a 1,819 ft seven-star hotel in Seoul. Lotte World Tower is a 123 floors building built on the banks of River Han in Seoul. The landmark building boasts some record-setting amenities such as the world's highest swimming pool, world’s highest glass-bottomed observation deck, the world's fastest elevator taking visitors to the top in just one minute. Lotte World Tower is the world's fifth-tallest building after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Shanghai Tower, Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel in Saudi Arabia and One World Trade Center in New York. The building, developed by Lotte Engineering and Construction, cost about $3.6 billion to build and was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox. Leslie E. Robertson Associates was the structural engineer for the project.

    Delhi’s Connaught Place is the world’s 9th most expensive office location

    Delhi’s Connaught Place is the world’s 9th most expensive office location with annual prime rent of USD 105.71 per sq ft, says property consultant CBRE. Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) is at 19th position while the central business district (CBD) of Nariman Point is at 30th place in the CBRE’s Global Prime Office Rents report. With annual prime rent of USD 264.27 per sq ft, Hong Kong (Central) is the world’s most expensive office Market. Beijing (Finance Street) and Hong Kong (Kowloon) are placed at 2nd and 3rd positions, respectively. About CBRE Group:- CBRE Group, Inc. is an American commercial real estate company with headquarters in Los Angeles, California. CEO: Robert E. Sulentic

    Asia’s largest tulip garden in Kashmir opens for tourists

    Srinagar’s Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden (Formerly known as Siraj Bagh), Asia’s largest tulip garden, was opened to the public, marking the beginning of the new tourism season in the valley. The opening of the garden also marked the beginning of a mega 15-day tulip festival, part of the Bahaar-e-Kashmir event in Srinagar. The Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, located in the foothills of the Zabarwan hill in Srinagar, overlooks the famous Dal Lake. Reportedly, over two million tulips of 46 varieties have been planted in the garden spread over an area of 15 hectares. The average life span of the tulip flower is three to four weeks.

    India's largest river festival 'Namami Brahmaputra' - President inaugurated

    The biggest river festival of India, Namami Brahmaputra, begins in 21 districts of Assam. President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the festival on the banks of the river, which is considered the country's only male river. The Prime Minister of Bhutan, the Governor of Assam and Chief Ministers of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh also attended the inaugural ceremony. Spiritual leader Dalai Lama and several Union ministers also attended the five day festival. The main purpose of the 5 day festival (31st March to 4th April) is to give a boost to the investment and tourism prospect in the state.

    Kanha Tiger Reserve becomes first in India to get mascot 'Bhoorsingh the Barasingha'

    The Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh has become the first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot, which has been named Bhoorsingh the Barasingha.  The Barasingha or swamp deer is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh. Bhoorsingh was chosen among four variations by the Madhya Pradesh forest department. Kanha Tiger Reserve, also called Kanha National Park, is one of the tiger reserves of India and the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh, state in the heart of India.It was established in 1955.

    Majuli to be India’s first carbon neutral district and biodiversity heritage site

    Majuli: Biggest River Island in the world in the Brahmaputra River, Assam Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister of Assam, on 21 March 2017 launched initiatives to develop Majuli as India’s first carbon neutral district and as a biodiversity heritage site. The launch coincided with the celebration of International Day of Forest at Brahmaputra State Guest House in Guwahati. In addition, the Chief Minister also launched Forests are Lives campaign to underline the importance of Assam’s rich forest and biodiversity. Highlights : The state CM also launched through remote a registry in Majuli which would record and analyse the climate impact of all proposed projects in the island.The CM stated that the Sustainable Actions for Climate Resilient Development (SaCReD) Initiative would ensure that infrastructure in Majuli had less carbon. Majuli : Majuli is the biggest river island in the world.It is located in the Brahmaputra River, Assam. It is also the first island district of India. The island was formed due to course changes by the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries, mainly the Lohit. The island had a total area of 1250 square kilometres at the beginning of the 20th century. However, it has now shrunk to an area of only 352 square kilometres in 2014. Erosion is the biggest reason behind the shrinkage of the island. However, it is still recognised by Guinness Book of World Records as World's Largest River Island. The island is formed by the River Brahmaputra in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti, an anabranch of the Brahmaputra, joined by the River Subansiri in the north. The island is accessible by ferries from the city of Jorhat. The island is the abode of the Assamese neo-Vaisnavite culture.  

    Andaman’s Radhanagar beach featured in top 10 beaches of World

    TripAdvisor, an American travel website, in February 2017 ranked Radhanagar beach of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands among top 10 beaches in the world. The beach on the Havelock Island in the Andamans has secured the 8th position in the world in TripAdvisor's 'World's Travellers' Choice Award-Winning Beaches' In addition, the Radhanagar beach has notched the top position in TripAdvisor's list of the top spot in Asia. TripAdvisor has honoured 343 beaches, including the top 25 in the world. Winners were determined based on the quantity and quality of traveller reviews and ratings for beaches on TripAdvisor, gathered over a 12-month period. The Baia do Sancho Fernando de Noronha in Brazil topped the list and was followed by Grace Bay Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, Eagle Beach in Aruba. Top 10 beaches in the world ranked by TripAdvisor are Baia do Sancho: Fernando de Noronha, Brazil Grace Bay: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Eagle Beach: Palm - Eagle Beach, Aruba Playa Paraiso: Cayo Largo, Cuba Siesta Beach: Siesta Key, Florida La Concha Beach: San Sebastian - Donostia, Spain Playa Norte: Isla Mujeres Radhanagar Beach: Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Elafonissi Beach: Elafonissi, Greece Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay: Puerto Ayora, Ecuador Besides, the TripAdvisor has also released the list of the top beaches in Asia. The list features two Indian beaches among the top five Asia list and they are Radhanagar (No 1) and Agonda Beach in Goa (No 5). Top 5 beaches in Asia are Radhanagar Beach: Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Island White Beach: Boracay, Aklan Province Ngapali Beach: Ngapali, Myanmar Nai Harn Beach: Rawai, Thailand Agonda Beach: Agonda, India Radhanagar Beach : Radhanagar beach is situated 12 km from Havelock's ferry pier. Also known as Number 7 Beach, the Radhanagar beach is located on the western coast and was named as the Best Beach in Asia by Time in 2004. The beach with fine white sand, turquoise blue waters and more is not a huge island with an overall length of 2kilometers and with of 30 to 40 meters.

    Asia’s cleanest village Mawlynnong becomes role model for cleanliness

    Mawlynnong village in Meghalaya has become a role model for other states in maintaining cleanliness and also tourists’ hotspot.  It is also claimed as Asia’s cleanest village. Over 500 tourists from across the country and abroad visit the village daily.  Through cleanliness, the villagers have created opportunities to earn money as the village has become tourists’ prime destination in North East.  Several other states have expressed their willingness to adopt Mawlynnong village as role model in maintaining cleanliness.

    Kolkata’s Sitalpati Gets place in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has registered Sitalpati or cool mat from the Cooch Behar district, West Bengal as an “intangible cultural heritage”. The Sitalpati are the mats that are used for siting or hanging on the doors or windows during summer season. They are made up of weaved green cane slips of murta plants widely found in the region. The traditional weaving culture of the reagion was facing gradual decline, as a result it was placed in a project by UNESCO “Rural Craft Hub project”. The project envisages setting up of training, marketing centres and museums in 10 locations across nine districts of the state to help in promoting and marketing crafts famous in the regions to national and international tourists.  

    Aleppo’s Christians celebrate Christmas for first time in five years

    Christians in Aleppo on 25 December 2016 celebrated Christmas for the first time ever in 5 years. The Christian population in the city celebrated the holy festival under a giant Christmas tree. Many people described the Christmas celebrations as the return of peace in the city that came back under full government control in the third week of December 2016. Aleppo : Aleppo is a city in Syria and also the most populous Syrian governorate. For many centuries, the city was the Syria’s largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third-largest, after Constantinople and Cairo. It was one of the largest cities in the Levant before the advent of the Syrian Civil War. It is an ancient metropolis and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Historians state that the city may have been inhabited since the 6th millennium BC. Aleppo was first mentioned in the latter part of the 3rd millennium BC in cuneiform tablets unearthed in Ebla and Mesopotamia. Its significance in history has been its location at one end of the Silk Road, which passed through central Asia and Mesopotamia. It was only in 1869, when the Suez Canal was inaugurated, trade diverted to sea and the city saw its slow decline. Since the Battle of Aleppo started in 2012, the city has suffered massive destruction. It has been the worst-hit city in the Syrian Civil War.

    Assam’s Majuli to be India's first carbon neutral district

    Assam’s island district, Majuli will now become India's first ever Carbon neutral district by 2020. The project titled ‘'Sustainable Action for Climate Resilient Development in Majuli' (SACRed, Majuli) was launched by Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, A K Johari on 14 December 2016. It was initiated by Assam’s department of Environment and Forest to fight against climate change and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. According to Johari, the project would start with afforestation, reforestation, and conservation of the existing flora and fauna, followed by other methods to ensure sustainable development over the next three years. The implementation of the project will happen in partnership with other departments of the district, for which the government has created a special district level committee under the leadership of the Majuli’s Deputy Commissioner Pallav Gopal Jha. During the project’s launch meeting, Jha emphasised on the importance of climate-based decision making and highlighted the need for low emission development strategy for Majuli. Majuli district : Situated on the Brahmaputra River, the district is the world’s largest river island and India's first Island district.  It is located towards the east of Assam’s largest city – Guwahati.   It was formed due to change in the course of Brahmaputra and its tributaries.  It is inhabited mostly by the members of Mising tribe, who migrated from Arunachal Pradesh to the region centuries back.  The sole mode of transportation that connects the district to the mainland is ferry service.  Over the period, the district has modernised, especially with the setting up of medical centres and educational institutions.

    Rio de Janeiro accorded UNESCO world heritage status

    The UN cultural body UNESCO has accorded world heritage status to Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro (nicknamed as Marvelous 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. It also had hosted 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. The UNESCO status to Rio de Janeiro was announced in 2012. It became official after the Brazilian authorities were given four years to report on their plans for protecting Sugarloaf Mountain, Flamengo Park,  Corcovado, Copacabana beach, Botanical Garden and Tijuca forest. NESCO World Heritage Sites :  The UNESCO World Heritage Sites are sites having special cultural or physical significance. The list is maintained by international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The committee comprises of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly. Each World Heritage Site included in the list remains part of the legal territory of the state where it is located. But inclusion of sites in the list by UNESCO is in the interest of the international community to preserve each site. Presently, Italy with 50 sites is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites.  

    Pre-historic camping site found in Ladakh

    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. This camping site is located in Saser La which leads to the Karakoram Pass. It was used for a seasonal settlement not a permanent settlement.  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. Saser La site is the earliest camping site discovered in Ladakh on the basis of a scientific date. Prior it, Ladakh region was not having any archaeological importance.  Thus, it is considered as remarkable discovery. Earlier, only 6th century CE to 7th century CE remains were reported in Ladakh.

    7000-year-old city discovered in Egypt

    Egypt recently uncovered a lost city, more than 7000 years old dating right back to its first dynasty in the southern province of Sohag.  The site was unearthed during an archaeological mission initiated by the country’s government. It lies 250 miles south of Cairo, about 400 meters away from the temple of Seti I, one of the most famous religious sites in the region named after one of the least known pharaohs of the New Kingdom period of Ancient Egypt. The discovery includes huts, pottery remains, iron tools and 15 graves. The grave sizes look bigger than some of the royal ones belonging to the kings in Abydos, indicating that those who were buried beneath held a high social standing.  Going by these evidences, experts suggest that the city could have been home to high-ranking officials and grave builders. Its discovery is expected to throw more light on one of Ancient Egypt’s oldest cities- Abydos. Abydos was Egypt’s capital at the end of the Predynastic Period and during the rule of first four dynasties. The find has come at a time when the country’s tourism industry, which was once its main source of income, is in the process of falling apart. Political unrest and terror threat from Islamic State (IS), which controls large areas of neighbouring state Libya, have been the major deterrents for tourism. The first half of 2016 just saw 1.2 million tourists, down from 14.7 million in 2010.  The discovery, however, may bring a welcoming change for the country.

    Ease of Doing Business A.P and Telangana top in 2016 all-India ranking

    Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have jointly topped the ease of doing business ranking in the list prepared by the World Bank and the Indian government’s department of industrial policy and promotion for 2016. About Ease of Doing Business Index : Gujarat has slipped to the third position in the list and Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana occupied the fourth, fifth and sixth slots in the index based on the degree of implementation of the government’s 340-point Business Reform Action Plan. It is noted that Last year, only seven states implemented more than 50% of the reforms proposed. This year, 17 have implemented more than 50% of the 340 reforms listed by DIPP. States have created a dedicated body as a one-stop system for state-level regulatory and fiscal incentives approvals for single-window clearances. The states have also made good progress in tax reforms by mandating e-registration for value-added tax, central sales tax, and other such, and by allowing online payment and tax return filing. The results of the assessment demonstrate states have increasingly risen to addressing the challenge of making it easier to do business. The national implementation average stands at 48.93%, significantly higher than last year’s average of 32%.

    Maharashtra most farmer friendly state NITI Aayog Index

    According to NITI Aayog’s index on reforms in the farm sector, Maharashtra has been adjudged the most farmer friendly state in the country followed by Gujarat and Rajasthan. About NITI Aayog : NITI Aayog’- National Institution for Transforming India is a Government of India policy think-tank established by the Narendra Modi government to replace the Planning Commission. The stated aim for NITI Aayog’s creation is to foster involvement and participation in the economic policy-making process by the State Governments of India. The Union Government of India announced the formation of NITI Aayog on 1 January 2015, and the first meeting was held on 8 February 2015. The Prime Minister serves as the Ex-officio. Niti Aayog has started new initiative on the advise of Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi called ‘Niti Lectures: Transforming India’. The aim of this initiative is to invite globally reputed policy makers, experts, administrators to India to share their knowledge, expertise, experience in policy making and good governance with Indian counterparts. This initiative will be series of lectures started with first lecture delivered by Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam. He delivered lecture on subject called “India and global economy” at Vigyan bhawan, New Delhi. Prime Minister spoke about the idea behind this lecture series and stated that his vision for India is rapid transformation not gradual evolution.

    Worlds largest Marine Protected Area declared in Antarctica

    The Ross Sea, a deep bay of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica, was declared as world’s largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) on 28 October 2016. With this, there will be a blanket ban on commercial fishing across about three quarters of that area for 35 years.It will be the world's largest marine protected area and covers 1.6 million square kilometers.The deal was clinched after the meeting of Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) consisting of 24 countries and European Union in Hobart, Australia. All the participant nations including the European Union unanimously agreed to create the world's largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the ocean next to Antarctica.The agreement comes after years of negotiations brokered by the UN's Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. It also saw high-level talks between the US and Russia, which was rejected in the past. Environmentalists have welcomed the move to protect the Earth's most pristine marine ecosystem. Ross Sea: The Ross Sea is a deep bay of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica, between Victoria Land and Marie Byrd Land. It derives its name from the British explorer James Ross who visited this area in 1841.To the west of the sea lies Ross Island and to the east Roosevelt Island, while the southernmost part is covered by the Ross Ice Shelf, and is about 200 miles (320 km) from the South Pole.The nutrient-laden water supports an abundance of plankton and this encourages a rich marine fauna. At least ten mammal species, six bird species and 95 fish species are found here, as well as many invertebrates, and the sea remains relatively unaffected by human activities.Some species of birds that nest in and near the Ross Sea include the Adelie penguin, emperor penguin, Antarctic petrel, snow petrel, and south polar skua.Marine mammals in the Ross Sea include the Antarctic minke whale, killer whale, Weddell seal, Crabeater seal, and leopard seal.Antarctic toothfish, Antarctic silverfish, Antarctic krill, and crystal krill also swim in the cold Antarctic water of the Ross Sea.

    56-hour gun battle in Pampore ends; two militants killed

    Pampore, a town situated on the eastern side of river Jehlum on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway in Jammu and Kashmir, was in news in second week of October 2016. It came in news after Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) complex located in the area was attacked by two militants.  The terrorists had stormed into the EDI complex in the wee hours on 10 October 2016 and took positions inside one of the buildings. The attack saw gun battle between security forces and militants that holed up the government building. The gun battle that lasted for 56-hours ended after the two militants were shot dead. Details about the slain terrorists were being ascertained but prima facie there were indications that they belonged to Lashkar-e-Toiba. The operation was called off after the security forces searched all the 50 rooms of the building because there were reports that three terrorists were present in the building. The operation has reduced the multi-storey building to a skeleton after many of its walls were blown up. Pampore  : It is worldwide famous for its Saffron and is known as "Saffron Town of Kashmir".The area is about 11 km from Srinagar city centre Lal Chowk. Pampore is located at 34.02°N 74.93°E.

    Velrampet lake of Puducherry declared Open Defecation Free

    Lt Governor Kiran Bedi  urged residents and other sections of people to ensure there was no open defecation as the government was keen on enabling construction of toilets in households in the Union Territory. Declaring Velrampet Lake, a major waterbody in Mudaliarpet Assembly segment here, as an open defecation free zone, she said the government was implementing the Swachch Bharat and Swachch Puducherry schemes on a fast track. It is the initiative of Puducherry government to ensure that the whole Union Territory becomes open defecation free by October 2, 2017. The lake and the neighbourhood areas have been given a facelift and it is now an open defecation free zone. The Union Territory government has spent Rs 75 lakh to spruce up the vast stretch of the lake. Stating that Swachch Bharat Abhiyan was being implemented fast,he said each of the 50,000 households lacking toilets would have them through a Rs 120 crore project, for which funds have been earmarked by the Centre. Each household would be given subsidies to construct the toilets so that Puducherry and its outlying regions of Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam became open defecation free by October 2, 2017.  

    Gujarat world heritage site: Rani ki Vav bags ‘Cleanest Iconic Place’ award

    Gujarat’s 900-year-old World Heritage Site Rani ki Vav beat 10 other iconic heritage structures across the country to bag an award for the “Cleanest Iconic Place” at the Indian Sanitation Conference (INDOSAN) 2016 at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi. The ASI has maintained the monument and its surroundings very well, offering clean drinking water and proper sanitation, among other things, to tourists. In the last two years, two joint teams from the Ministry of Urban Development and Water & Sanitation have paid a visit to the monument several times before sending an application to the culture ministry for the award, along with the support of ASI. The teams visited 10 other heritage monuments in the country before zeroing in on Rani ki Vav for the award. The Rani ki Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) was built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD by Queen Udaymati and is located in the north Gujarat district of Patan. It was added as part of the UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014.

    Race Course Road renamed as Lok Kalyan Marg

    India's most famous address will no longer be 7, Race Course Road. The street in Delhi on which Prime Minister Narendra Modi lives has been renamed 'Lok Kalyan Marg'. The announcement was made at a press conference attended by NDMC Chairman Naresh Kumar, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Meenakshi Lekhi, the BJP MP who represents New Delhi constituency in Parliament. Last year, another street not far from the PM's residence, Aurangzeb Road, was renamed after former president APJ Abdul Kalam, to varied reactions.

    World's biggest river island Majuli gets district status

    Majuli, the 400 sq km island on the Brahmaputra has become the first river island district of India, with this Majuli becoming the 35th district of Assam.  This was one of the first decisions taken by the Sarbananda Sonowal government in Assam, on their first cabinet meeting on May 24th, after coming to power with a thumping majority. It regained the status of world's largest riverine island in the Guinness Book of World Records on September 1.  The island, which is the cultural capital of the state, is also fighting for survival as almost 60% of the land has been washed away by the Brahmaputra

    Delhi to get new Air Force Aerospace Museum

    Delhi will soon have a sprawling new Aerospace Museum close to the international airport focused mainly on Nation's rich aviation history.  New Aerospace Museum is not only meant to preserve the glorious tradition of the IAF but also to create awareness in general public about India's rich Aerospace heritage. Government press release mentioned that the IAF believes that the Museum would be a popular tourist attraction and a landmark in India's capital city.  A proposal for new Air Force Aerospace Museum was cleared by Ministry of Defence and final financial sanction on the Detailed Project Report is awaited. After the approval, the new museum would be ready for the tourists within 3-5 years. Spread over 43 acres, the new Aerospace Museum would have extensive indoor and outdoor displays including huge aircraft parked and hanging in flying attitude with mural depicting the golden era. A dedicated children's area would be part of the museum where children could enter cockpits of displayed aircraft and get the feel of flying controls.  The IAF presently has a museum near the technical area of Air Force Station Palam, which was established in 1967.  The museum has an average footfall of 500 tourists daily and exhibits details about combat operations undertaken by the IAF depicting IAF's rich history since its formation in 1932 to present date, along with the display of various aircraft and equipment on the IAF's inventory, since its inception.

    World's longest, highest glass bridge to open in China

    The world's longest and highest glass bridge will open to visitors on Saturday in Hunan province of China. The 430-metre long, six metre wide bridge, paved with 99 panes of three-layer transparent glasses, hangs between two steep cliffs 300 metres above the ground. The bridge has set 10 world records spanning its design and construction, according to the committee. A maximum of 8,000 visitors are allowed to cross the bridge every day and a reservation must be made one day prior to visiting. Construction was completed in December. In July, a two tonne truck was driven across in a show of the bridge's sturdiness. The unique pillar-like mountain formation in Zhangjiajie appeared in the Hollywood blockbuster movie "Avatar". The Grand Canyon Scenic Area in Zhangjiajie welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors from home and abroad in 2015.

    Madras Crocodile Bank Trust opens for public

    Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology came in news in fourth week of July 2016. It came in news because it is celebrating its 40 years of opening its gate for the public. Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology (or Croc Bank) : It is a non government environmental organization and was founded in 1976 by Romulus Whitaker.The Croc Bank currently consists of a large reptile park near Chennai, Southern India and several field projects located throughout the subcontinent reaching as far afield as the Nicobar Islands. It rears 17 out of the 23 different species of crocodiles in the world.It is a house of species like turtles, tortoises and iguanas. The main attraction is a 45 year old salt water crocodile called Jaws III which is 17 ft long and weighs 700 kg. It is also the largest crocodile in captivity in India.It also houses four Aldabra giant tortoises, which is the second largest tortoise species in the world. "They grow up to 5ft in length and 3ft in height.The park has anaconda babies and also the four komodo dragons. There are three field stations in the banks of the Chambal River for gharials, another one in the Western Ghats for king cobras and the third one is in the Andamans for projects related to marine biology.

    Government forms committee to prepare Draft Ganga Act

    The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted a committee to prepare the draft Ganga Act which will be headed byJustice (Retd) Girdhar Malviya .According to an official statement , the tenure of the panel would be for a period of three months which may be extended by another three months, if required. The panel has been asked to prepare a Draft Act on Ganga ensuring wholesomeness of the river.The Act should have provisions to ensure cleanliness (nirmalta) and uninterrupted e-flow (aviralta)) of the Ganga. The committee may take into consideration any other issue which it may deem fit in the drafting of the Act.Other members of the committee would be V K Bhasin, Ex-Secretary, Legislative Department, Prof A K Gosain, llT Delhi and Prof Nayan Sharma, llT Roorkee. Sundeep, Director, National Mission for Clean Ganga would be Member Secretary.The law, if enacted, will help the Centre to properly implement the inter-state nature of works through a coordinated manner. It may also provide the existingNational Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) legal teeth to its task of Ganga cleaning in a much more effective way.

    Kerala Tourism wins Gold at PATA Awards

    Kerala Tourism on 21 July 2016 won two Gold Gongs at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Awards.Kerala Tourism bagged the award in recognition of its trend setting marketing initiatives, which have given a boost to the state's profile as a must-visit destination.The awards were in the categories of Travel Advertisement Broadcast Media and E-Newsletter, which were grabbed by the successful Visit Kerala television commercial campaign and the popular Kerala Tourism E-Newsletter, respectively.The awards will be presented at the PATA Gold Awards Luncheon and Presentation on 9 September 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia.In 2015, Kerala Tourism was also awarded PATA Gold in the Heritage and Culture category for Muziris Heritage Project.The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a membership association.It works to promote the responsible development of travel and tourism in the Asia Pacific region.In 2011, PATA celebrate its 60th anniversary with a series of activities and events focused around the theme Building Tourism.

    Ramayana month begins in Kerala

    The  annual ‘Ramayana Month’ began in Kerala with temples and Hindu houses across the state resonating with the chanting of the epic Ramayana. Karkkidakam’, the last month in the Malayalam almanac, is observed as the auspicious Ramayana month in the kerala. It has been a decades-old tradition that devotees, especially elders, recite “Adhyatma Ramayana” authored by medieval devotional poet Thunchath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan, in the next one month to mark the period.Special Ramayana recital and classes were held in major temples in the state as part of the beginning of the month.Spiritual classes and discourses on Ramayana by experts would be conducted in various temples, including at the famed Sree Krishna Temple in Guruvayur till the end of the ‘karkkidakam’ month.The ritualistic ‘Anayoottu’, a feeding ceremony of elephants, at Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur also used to fall on the first day of ‘karkkidakam’.A number of elephants were fed with jaggery, ghee, rice, coconut, sugarcane, medicinal herbs and so on at the grand old temple today as part of the feast.

    Assam’s famous Kamakhya Temple receives an aid Rs. 25 crore for Infrastructure

    For the development of Kamakhya temple’s infrastructure, Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan  announced an aid of Rs 25 crore over the next couple of years. Pradhan, who was in Guwahati to attend a series of meetings and road show made the announcement at the end of the historic Ambubachi Mela. Ambubachi is the celebration of goddess Kamakhya’s annual menstruation cycle, considered as a symbol of fertility by the Hindus. The temple’s sanctum sanctorum is closed to devotees during the period which marks the time of the fair. Kamakhya temple atop Nilachal Hills reopened its doors. During the festival, lakhs of devotees, including politicians made their way to the temple to have a glimpse of the Goddess. According to official sources, the Ambubachi mela drew more than 25 lakh pilgrims this time around.

    Majuli in Assam becomes India’s first island district

    Majuli was in news  as the Government of Assam approved its up gradation as a district on 27 June 2016. With this approval, Majuli has become the first island district in the country. The approval was given by the State Cabinet in its first meeting after the formation of the government on 24 May 2016. At present, Majuli is a Mohkuma, a sub division of the Jorhat District and represented by the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in the Assembly. Related to Majuli island :  It is a fluvial landform (a riverine delta), a unique geographical occurrence and a result of the dynamics of the Brahmaputra river system. It is bounded by the river Subanisri and her tributaries on the North West, the kherkatia Suli (a spill channel of the river Brahmaputra) in the northeast and the main Brahmaputra River on the South and the South west. It is the largest mid river delta system in the world. It is also comprised of many islets locally called the Chaporis.Its area has shrunk from about 1250 square kilometers in 1891 to about 515 square kilometers due to the erosion of river-bank. It is the abode of the Assamese neo-Vaisnavite culture initiated around 15th century by the revered Assamese saint Srimanta Sankardeva and his disciple Madhavdeva.There are a total of 30 Sattras or Vaishnavite monasteries including the Dakhinpat Satra which was established in 1584 AD. Each Sattra, represents, within its region, a centre for cultural activities and even acts as a democratic institution to settle local disputes. Most of the villages associate with respective Sattra, and the villagers partake in the activities of their own Sattra during festivals and occasions. These sattra villages and other vernacular settlements house people from various ethnic origins all of whom have settled in Majuli like Mishings, Deori, Sonowal Kachari, Koch, Kaivartta and Nath.It is a hotspot for flora and fauna, harbouring many rare and endangered avifauna species including migratory birds that arrive in the winter season. Among the birds seen here are the greater adjutant stork, pelican, Siberian crane and the whistling teal. Paddy, mustard, potato, pulses, sugarcane, wheat are the main crops cultivated on the island.Various seasonal vegetables and fruits like orange, banana, pineapple, jackfruit, etc are also grown in abundant quantity. In March 2011, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) of the Union Ministry of Culture proposed to nominate the island for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list.

    Fire breaks out at Central Ammunition Depot, Pulgaon

    Pulgaon Ammunition Depot: Located 110 km from Nagpur, it is the largest ammunition centre in India A massive fire broke out at the Central Ammunition Depot (CAD), Pulgaon, Maharashtra on 31 May 2016. This has led to an extraordinary number of deaths and injuries to army personnel.The Pulgaon depot is located at 110 km from Nagpur and is the largest ammunition hub in India. Central Ammunition Depot (CAD), Pulgaon : Pulgaon depot holds immense strategic significance for the army given its size and quality of ammunitions. The depot is spread over an area of more than 7000 acres.The CAD comes directly under the Indian Army headquarters and is responsible for the all-India supply of ammunition and explosives, after receiving them from Ordnance factories.Stocks of bombs, grenades, shells, assorted rifles and other explosives from various factories come here first and then distributed to various forward areas.  It recently got an award for using solar energy for disposing expired ammunition. It was for the first time in the history of this depot that such fatalities has occurred. On two occasions in the past, major fires were recorded in 1980 and 2004. However, there was no loss of life.

    BHU completes its 100 years of glorious existence

    Madan Mohan Malaviya founded Banaras Hindu University to help promote the sustainable development, growth and eradication of poverty, this outstanding institution of excellence has completed 100 years of its eventful journey. This worldwide reputed temple of learning was established by Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya in 1916. It has two campuses. University’s main campus spread over 1,300 acres in Varanasi While the second campus South campus, spread over 2,700 acres about 60 km from Banaras.It started functioning from 1st October, 1917 with the Central Hindu College as its first constituent College.The University is one of the largest residential universities in Asia with over 20,000 students.

    Asia's first Rice Technology Park to come up in Gangavati

    The Karnataka State government has decided to go ahead with the establishment of Asia’s first Rice Technology Park at Gangavati in Koppal district and a Maize Technology Park at Ranebennur in Haveri district on the public-private participation model as a one-stop solution to all problems of rice and maize growers. These parks would pave the way for opening new avenues for rice and maize growers to add value to their produce and get better returns and also enhance quality of the produce. While the rice park is being established at Navali-Karatagi villages on the outskirts of Gangavati, the maize park is to be come up in the APMC market yard at Ranebennur. The establishment of the Rice Technology Park will convert Gangavati into a major agri business centre in the State and help rice growers in the region to end their dependence on mills in neighboring States for processing paddy. Although the production of paddy has more than doubled in the recent years, the processing facility has not grown to match it. According to an estimate, more than 50 per cent of the paddy produced in the region is sent elsewhere for processing.The establishment of the Rice Technology Park will help paddy cultivators in the Tungabhadra Command Area in Ballari, Raichur and Koppal districts and also in the command areas of the Upper Krishna Project in Shahpur and Surpur taluks in Yadgir district and Vijayapura and Bagalkot districts. In the Tungabhadra Project region, the area under irrigation is 9 lakh acres and 95 per cent of it is under paddy cultivation. The farmers in the command area grow two crops of paddy in a year.The area under paddy is likely to increase with additional allotment of water in the Krishna by the Krishna River Water Disputes Tribunal. The area under irrigation in the Krishna Basin is likely to go up by another 4.61 lakh hectares. As a value addition, the technology park would have facilities for rice flour, rice rava, rice bran oil, noodles, rice-based alcohol, animal and poultry feed and paddy husk used for power generation and brick-making.With maize being the second major crop cultivated in the State with an annual production of around 4 million tonnes, there was an urgent need to strengthen maize processing units to add value to the produce and get more returns to farmers. Maize is predominantly grown in Haveri, Davangere, Ballari, Dharwad, Belagavi, Bagalkot and Chikkaballapur districts. The proposed park will at Ranebennur will have a storage capacity of 32,000 tonnes.The proposed maize technology park being established at a cost of Rs. 111 crore would have mills for production of maize flour, maize flakes, poultry feed, dry maize, maize chips and popcorn to add value to the produce and enable farmers get better returns. The proposed Rice Technology Park is being established at a cost of Rs. 122 crore in an area of 300 acres.  

    Alberta Wildfire: State of Emergency declared by Canada Government

    Alberta : A province in Western Canada that encompasses mountains, prairies, desert badlands and vast coniferous forests. Alberta, a province in Western Canada, came in news in the first week of May 2016. It came into news on 5 May 2016 after a state of emergency was declared in the city of Fort McMurray due to a massive wildfire destroyed several of homes. Fort McMurray is the hub of the province’s main oil sands region.The raging wildfire that engulfed homes and several neighbourhoods prompted the biggest evacuation in the history of Alberta State. At least 80000 residents were ordered to leave the northern Alberta city.  Highlights of the incident     : Officials warned that the fire had the potential to destroy much of the town with a few neighbourhoods already destroyed.Wind whipped wildfires, which broke out on 1 May 2016, have destroyed at least 1600 homes and other buildings and forced more than 80000 residents to flee.More than 250 firefighters are battling the blaze that was actively burning in residential areas. The firefighters are assisted by helicopters and air tankers.Officials also issued mandatory evacuation orders for the Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation communities located about 50km south of Fort McMurray. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, while the full extent of the damage was not yet known, it was absolutely devastating and that there was loss on a scale that was hard to imagine.

    Gurdwara reopens in Peshawar after 73 years

    A 300-year-old gurdwara in Peshawar’s crowded Old City opened its doors to worshippers for the first time in 73 years. The reopening was celebrated by Pakistan's tiny Sikh minority but security is a constant concern. On 22nd April Sardar Suran Singh a Sikh leader and provincial lawmaker was shot and killed outside his home in a remote area in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province, some 140 kilometers from Peshawar. The murder of Sardar Sooran Singh devastated the Sikh community and heightened their fears of militant attacks.The event has also added to human rights activists over rising violence against religious minorities in Pakistan.  

    Fire destroyed Delhi's National Museum of Natural History

    A massive fire destroyed the National Museum of Natural History located in New Delhi on 26 April 2016 . The cause of fire is still unknown though the fire spread because of museum specimens and the wood work holding them.The building was relatively empty because of an ongoing renovation, and was evacuated shortly before first responders arrived. However, many of the museum’s exhibits have suffered irreparable damage.The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change is still in the process of assessing fire damage. Destroyed in fire : The fire could potentially have destroyed several fossils, including a 160-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton.A collection of bird eggs.Several stuffed animals, preserved butterflies, amphibian and reptile specimens. National Museum of Natural History : The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in New Delhi was one of two museums focusing on nature in India. It was established in 1972 as part of the celebration of the 25th year of India's independence. It was opened in 1978.The museum functioned under the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of India.The museum had extensive collection of films on wildlife, ecology, conservation and the environment in general and rare exhibits like herpetological specimen, dinosaurs and mounted animals. It also had galleries on origin and evolution of life, conservation of nature, the food chain and overall flora and fauna.

    Inzamam-ul-Haq to become Pakistan coach after quitting Afghanistan

    Former Pakistan cricket captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has resigned as the head coach of the Afghanistan team and is set to be appointed as the chief selector and coach of the Pakistan team.According to a statement by Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB), Inzamam resigned from his post considering his national obligations, pointing towards upheaval in Pakistan cricket.Inzamam’s contract with the Afghanistan Cricket Board was renewed for a period of 1 year earlier in November last year. He coached the team that performed recently in the WorldT20 in India. They beat eventual champions the West Indies in the Super 10 stage before exiting the tournament.He had originally agreed to coach Afghanistan on a temporary basis ahead of the One-Day and Twenty20 series against Zimbabwe but the contract was renewed for one year after the Afghan team made history with back to back wins against Zimbabwe. He guided Afghanistan to the Super 10 stage of the recent World Twenty20 in India, during which they defeated eventual champions West Indies.The 46-year-old played 378 ODIs and 120 Test matches for Pakistan and was also the team's batting consultant in 2012.

    Islam as state religion of Bangladesh

    Bangladeshs top court has rejected a 28-year-old petition to remove Islam as official religion of the country. While the South Asian nations Islamists rejoice, analysts say the move is a setback for secular forces. Islam was introduced as state religion in the Bangladeshi constitution in 1988, almost two decades after the South Asian nation got independence from Pakistan following a liberation war. The inclusion of Islam was against the core principles of the countrys independence fighters. The move prompted a group of 15 prominent citizens to file a petition in the courts.

    Three from India among Top Ten Beaches

    According to the latest survey by Travel website Tripadvisor, India has three of the top ten beaches in Asia favored by travellers. The beaches are Agonda, Palolem (both in Goa) and Radhanagar on the Havelock Island in the Andamans. Travellers’ Choice Award-winning beaches were determined on the quantity and quality of traveller reviews and ratings on the TripAdvisor website gathered over a 12-month period. This year’s awards honour 343 beaches, including the top 10 in the world and lists for Asia, Africa, Australia, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, South America, the South Pacific, the UK and the US. Three of India’s beaches have featured in the list of top 10 beaches in Asia.

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