Places in news – Part 4 | Prelims Capsules 2021

For places in news part 1, 2 and 3Click Here


Mt. Nyiragongo

Why in news?

The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo resulted in about 5,000 people fleeing from the city of Goma across the nearby border into Rwanda, while another 25,000 others sought refuge to the northwest in Sake

Relevant facts about Mount Nyiragongo 

  • It is a large stratovolcano near Lake Kivu at the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with Rwanda and lies (19 km) north of Goma.
  • This volcano is known for its devastating eruptions in the past.
    • In 1977 some 2,000 people were killed, and in 2002 Goma was largely destroyed by lava, creating a refugee crisis
  • Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira are together responsible for 40% of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions.
    • The volcanoes are both located north of Lake Kivu in Virunga National Park.

Mt Nyiragongo (DRC) Mt Nyiragongo (DRC)

  • Virunga National Park
    • Virunga National Park was the first National Park to be established in Africa. It has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979 due to its exceptional biodiversity, with numerous endemic and rare species
    • The dense tropical forests of the park are home to endangered mountain gorillas

Lithuania

Why in news?

Lithuania has pulled out of China’s 17+1 cooperation forum with central and eastern European states.

Relevant facts about Lithuania

  • Bordering countries
    • Latvia
    • Belarus
    • Poland
    • Russia
  • Water bodies
    • Baltic Sea
    • Gulf of Riga

Lithuania

  • Lithuania is a part of Baltic states
    • The Baltic States is a geopolitical term, typically used to group the three sovereign states on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

Baltic States Baltic States

17+1 forum

  • The 17+1 cooperation forum is a China-led initiative founded in the year 2012.
  • Aim: To expand cooperation between China and the Central and Eastern European (CEE) member countries. This is done through investments and trade for the development of the CEE region.

Note: Read more about the news here


Colombo Port City Project

Why in news?

The Sri Lankan Supreme Court has cleared the “Colombo Port City Project” with minor modifications

About Colombo Port City Project:

  • It is a large-scale integrated city being developed near Colombo, Sri Lanka.
  • The city is being developed as a Special Economic Zone(SEZ). It aims to attract billions of dollars for trade, banking, and offshore services similar to what is available in Dubai and Singapore,
  • China Communication Construction is developing the project through its subsidiary China Harbor Engineering Construction (CHEC).
  • The Port City will be administered by a commission with unprecedented powers to fast-track investment approvals.
  • Benefits: The transactions within Port City will be denominated in foreign currency. Further, all salaries earned by any worker of the Port City will be tax-exempt.
  • Significance of the Project: It is the single biggest private sector development in Sri Lanka. It is also expected to transform Colombo into a commerce, tourism, and cultural hub.

Sri Lanka and its ports

Relevant facts

  • Formerly known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka is an island country lying in the Indian Ocean and is separated from peninsular India by the Palk Strait.
  • Major ports: Colombo, Galle, Hambantota
  • Minor Ports: Kankasenuthurai, Point Pedro, Trincomalee
  • Adam’s Bridge:
    • Also called Rama Setu, it is a chain of shoals, between the islands of Mannar, near north-western Sri Lanka, and Rāmeswaram, off the south-eastern coast of India.
    • The bridge is 48 km long and separates the Gulf of Mannar (southwest) from the Palk Strait (northeast)
  • Pamban Island: Pamban Island (in Tamil Nadu), also known as Rameswaram Island, is an island located between peninsular India and Sri Lanka, on the Adam’s Bridge archipelago.
  • Katchatheevu Island:
    • It is an uninhabited island in the Palk Strait which was formed due to volcanic eruption in the 14th century
    • The 285-acre land, strategically important for fishing activities, was owned by the Raja of Ramnad (Ramanathapuram) and later became part of the Madras Presidency after the delimitation of Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait during British rule between the then governments of Madras and Ceylon.
    • In 1921, both Sri Lanka and India claimed this piece of land for fishing and the dispute remained unsettled.
    • India cedes Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka: In 1974, Katchatheevu was ceded to Sri Lanka by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi through the Indo-Sri Lankan Maritime agreement to settle the maritime boundary
      • The agreement, which did not specify fishing rights, allowed Indian fishermen to fish around Katchatheevu and to dry their nets on the island.
      • In 1976 another agreement was finalized in which it was stated that both India and Sri Lanka will exercise sovereign rights over the living and non-living resources of their respective zones and the fishing vessels and fishermen of India & Sri Lanka shall not engage in fishing in the historic waters, the territorial sea and the Exclusive Economic Zone of each other.

Note: Read more about India-Sri Lanka maritime dispute here


Suez canal

Why in news?

Recently, a 400 m long “Ever Given vessel” blocked the Suez Canal. The ship blocked the canal due to a lack of visibility created by the bad weather and a sand storm.

  • This temporary closure caused a disruption in global trade. Canal was blocked for 6 days.

 

Suez Canal

  • Suez Canal is a sea-level waterway running north-south across the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt to connect the Mediterranean and the Red seas. The canal separates the African continent from Asia.
  • It connects Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean via the southern Egyptian city of Suez on the Red Sea.
  • The canal does not take the shortest route across the isthmus, which is only 121 km. Instead, it utilizes several lakes: from north to south
    • Lake Manzala
    • Lake Timsah
    • Bitter Lakes
      • Great Bitter Lake
      • Little Bitter Lake

Suez canal

  • Significance:
    • Suez Canal is actually the first canal that directly links the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.
    • The Suez Canal is also important because it is the shortest maritime route from Europe to Asia.
    • IT is used by about 19000 ships year which transport 12% of global trade, valued at $700 Billion
    • Alternative Route: An alternative route to the Suez Canal is through the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa. But this route takes two weeks longer than the Suez Canal Route.
    • Operated by: The United Kingdom and France owned the canal until 1956 when the President of Egypt nationalized it. Since then, the canal is operated and maintained by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA).
    • Trade: Suez Canal is one of the world’s busiest and important trade route. About 12% of global trade passes through it.

Note:

  • Countries like Japan are looking for Suez Canal alternatives. Find out more about it in this article
  • India also started exploring possibility of rerouting ships via Cape of Good Hope, in case the Suez Canal route remained blocked
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