Places in news – Part 2 | Prelims Capsules 2021

‘Places in news series‘ is a weekly initiative by Forumias. In this series we bring you highly detailed & visually rich maps of the places that have been in news recently. Go through these maps and prepare yourself for the high scoring mapping section of UPSC Prelims.

Gambia [Capital: Banjul]

Why in news?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently validated the Gambia for its elimination of trachoma as a public health problem.

Places in news 2021 - UPSC

Relevant Facts

  • Country occupies a long narrow strip of land that surrounds the Gambia River, which is navigable throughout the length of the country
Places in news 2021 - UPSC
  • It is Africa’s smallest non-island country.
  • Surrounding country: Senegal
  • In November 2019, the Republic of the Gambia moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Myanmar over alleged violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Deep time project

Why in news?

The Deep Time project in France’s Lombrives Cave has come to an end.

Places in news 2021 - UPSC

About Deep Time Project:

  • The Deep Time Project was led by the scientists of the Human Adaptation Institute in partnership with labs in France and Switzerland.
  • Aim: The project aimed to test how people adapt to changes in living conditions and environments.
  • As part of the Project, 15 participants lived in the Lombrives cave in France for 40 days with no phones, clocks or sunlight. They slept in tents, made their own electricity, and had no contact with the outside world.
  • The group also had to organise tasks without having deadlines measured with time. Instead, they had to rely on their body clocks and sleep cycles to structure their days.

Lombrives caves

  • Located at the eastern edge of the Pyrenees Regional Natural Park
  • It is the largest cave in Europe by volume


  • Surrounding countries
    • Belgium
    • Luxembourg
    • Germany
    • Switzerland
    • Italy
    • Monaco
    • Spain
    • Andorra
  • Important water bodies
    • Atlantic Ocean
    • Mediterranean Sea
    • Bay of Biscay
    • English Channel
    • Gulf of Lions
    • Dover Strait (connects the English Channel with the North Sea)


  • Andorra is a tiny, independent country situated between France and Spain in the Pyrenees mountains


  • It is a tiny country on the Mediterranean Sea and surrounded by France,


  • It is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and politically one of the eighteen regions of France.
  • It is the fourth-largest island in the Mediterranean and lies southeast of the French mainland, west of the Italian Peninsula

Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Why in news?

In a development that could increase tensions between Russia and the US, Russian energy major Gazprom has said that it has resumed building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Places in news 2021 - UPSC

Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

  • It is a 1,200km-long offshore natural gas pipeline being constructed from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea.
  • The pipeline will run along with the already-completed Nord Stream 1 system, and the two together will supply an aggregate of 110 billion cubic metres of gas to Germany per year.

Why is US against this project?

US fears the pipeline will tighten Russia’s grip over Europe’s energy supply and reduce its own share of the lucrative European market for American liquefied natural gas.

Baltic Sea

  • It is the youngest sea on our planet having formed between 10 thousand and 15 thousand years ago from glacial erosion.
  • The Baltic Sea is one of the largest brackish water areas in the world
  • It contains a unique mixture of saltwater and freshwater. As a result, the Baltic Sea contains a small, but rare, variety of freshwater and saltwater plants and animals that have been able to adapt to their brackish environment.

Read more: You can read more about the pipeline here


Why in news?

The US President has officially recognized the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915-16 as an act of genocide.

Places in news 2021 - UPSC
  • The Armenian Genocide is often called the first genocide of the twentieth century.
  • It refers to the systematic annihilation of Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1917 i.e., during the First World War.


  • Bordering countries
    • Turkey
    • Azerbaijan
    • Iran
    • Georgia

Places in news 2021 - Armenia

Note: The enclaves of both countries do not exist in reality but only in legal sense.

Relevant facts about Armenia

  • Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
    • It is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus within the mountainous range of Karabakh.
    • Dispute: Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but mostly governed by the Republic of Artsakh, de facto independent state with an Armenian ethnic majority backed by neighbouring Armenia.
    • The two countries fought a bloody war over the region in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and it has been the trigger for further violence in the years since.

The Nagorno Karabakh

  • As per the new peace deal brokered by Russia, both Armenia & Azerbaijan will now maintain positions in the areas that they currently hold and suspend all military operations
  • This will mean a significant territorial gain for Azerbaijan

Read more at this link


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