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World's Highest Railway Bridge

Recently, Union Railways Minister announced that trains are expected to ply on the Chenab bridge, which is being claimed as the world's highest railway bridge, by January-February 2024.

  • The Chenab bridge is situated at a height of 359 m, making it taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which stands at 330 m.
  • The Chenab bridge will pave the way for trains to run seamlessly along the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) project, connecting Kashmir to the rest of India.
  • The plan is to run Vande Bharat trains along the stretch and also Vande Metro trains between Jammu and Srinagar.
  • Running Vande Metro trains between Jammu and Srinagar will reduce the travelling time between the two towns to 3.5 hours.

Mall of Srinagar

On March 19, 2023, the UAE-based Emaar Group, known for developing the Burj Khalifa, announced its first foreign direct investment (FDI) project in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • The project will include the development of a shopping mall and an IT tower in Srinagar, which will create new job opportunities.
  • The "Mall of Srinagar" will cover 10-lakh sq. feet and will have 500 shops, many of which will be run by UAE-based companies.
  • The overall investment for the project is estimated to be Rs 500 crore.
  • The announcement was made on the day of an India-UAE investors' meet hosted in Srinagar, which was considered a unique opportunity for discussing investment opportunities in J&K.

Two Australian public universities in GIFT City

On March 1, 2023, Education Minister announced in the presence of other dignitaries that Deakin University and University of Wollongong would become the first foreign education institutions to establish campuses in GIFT City, Gujarat.

GIFT City (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City) is a planned business district in Gujarat, India, designed to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities for businesses in the finance and technology sectors.

India’s first Swachh Sujal Pradesh

Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has declared Andaman and Nicobar Islands as India’s first Swachh Sujal Pradesh.

  • With this accomplishment, all villages on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands have received the Har Ghar Jal certification and have been verified as ODF plus open defecation free.

There are three important components of Sujal and Swachh state:

  1. Safe and secure drinking water supply and management;
  2. ODF Plus: ODF Sustainability and Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM), and
  3. Cross-cutting interventions like convergence, IEC, action planning, etc.

Faroe Islanders slaughter Bottlenose Dolphins

Recently, about hundred bottlenose dolphins were slaughtered in the Faroe Islands, marking the biggest hunt of this species to take place in 124 years.

  • It is a tradition that dates back around 1,200 years. The latest hunt occurred during Ólavsøka, a summer festival that takes place every year on July 29.
  • The Faroe Islands are located in the North Atlantic Ocean at 62º latitude North and 7º longitude West. It is part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Mangarh Hillock: Adivasis’ Jallianwala

The National Monument Authority recently submitted a report to the Union Ministry of Culture to declare Mangarh Hillock a ‘Monument of National Importance’.

  • The hillock, situated at the Gujarat-Rajasthan border, is a site of a tribal uprising where a massacre of over 1500 Bhil tribal freedom fighters took place in 1913.
  • The place is also known as the Adivasi Jallianwala.

About Bhil Reformer Govind Guru & the Background for the Massacre

  • Govind Guru, born to a Vanzara family near Dungarpur in Rajasthan in 1874, started working with the Bhil community during the great famine of 1899-1900 and saw their oppression at the hands of the princely states.
  • The community was always in debt that lingered for generations and thus Bhils worked as bonded labourers at farms. Govind Guru saw the social setup and liquor as the primary causes of woes and decided to fight the malaise.
  • The guru's disciples followed strict rules including abstinence from liquor and meat, the adoption of hygienic practices, and the rejection of bonded labour work and witch-doctors. These reforms did not go down well with many princely states as revenues from liquor shops went down and labour became scarce. The struggle between the states and Bhils had started.
  • States started harassing Govind Guru's followers. That brought together a massive congregation at Mangarh hills in November 1913 in support of the demand for a separate state for Bhils. He was the pivotal force in uniting Bhils to demand a separate entity in the British period. The movement led to the infamous Mangarh massacre on November 17, 1913 when British forces opened fire on tribals gathered at the site killing over 1,500.
  • He started Bhagat Sampradaya (sect) in 1908 to socially and morally uplift the Bhil community. He founded "Samp Sabha" and spread public awareness against evils and orthodox traditions of tribal society.

Saint Tropez: A Slice of Indo-French Cultural Connect

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shri Anurag Singh Thakur recently visited the Allard Square in Saint Tropez in France.

  • During his visit to the place, the Minister paid floral tributes at the busts of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (first Maharaja of Sikh Empire), Jean-Francois Allard (General in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s army) and his spouse Princess Bannu Pan Dei (She was born in Chamba, Himachal Pradesh).
  • Gen Allard was one of the officers in Napoleon’s court and entered into the service of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and rose to command the maharaja’s army.
  • Allard is also credited with raising the ‘Fauj-i-Khas’, a model brigade in the lines of Napoleon’s army.
  • While in Punjab, Allard fell in love with the princess of Chamba and married her and took her to St Tropez in 1834.
  • Allard returned to Punjab and died in 1839 after a brief illness in Peshawar.
  • Bannu Pan Dei continued to live in a large house built by Allard in St Tropez. She passed away in 1884.
  • The busts of the Maharaja and Bannu Pan Dei were unveiled in St Tropez in 2016 as a mark of growing India-France relationship.

Mount Semeru

  • It is the highest volcano in Indonesia that recently erupted.
  • It is located in Lumajang district in East Java province.
  • Indonesia, an archipelago, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it sits along the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a horseshoe-shaped series of fault lines.

Meghalaya to develop Tourism in ‘Nongkhnum Island’

  • Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has announced a special package worth 13 crore rupees for the development of tourism infrastructure and amenities at Nongkhnum Island in West Khasi Hills district.
  • Nongkhnum is known as the second largest river island in Asia after Majuli in Assam.

Adriatic Sea

  • Recently, Croatian scientists have issued a public appeal for the protection of the Adriatic Sea, stressing that this is a precondition for the sustainable development of the society.
  • The scientists claim that the changes are irreversible, from the increase in the temperature of the Adriatic Sea, the increase in levels and salinity to the appearance of storm waves.
  • The scientists claim that various non-domicile, thermophilic species of fish, algae, bacteria and gelatinous organisms are increasingly appearing in the Adriatic.
  • These invasive and poisonous organisms might significantly changes the biodiversity of the Adriatic Sea, according to the scientists.
  • One of the phenomena includes the mass appearance of jellyfish, which ultimately harms tourism.
  • Tourist activities with climate change put the greatest pressure on the Adriatic, and the consequence is that a larger amount of various harmful substances come into the sea.
  • The danger for the Adriatic is also due to uncontrolled construction along the coast.

About Adriatic Sea

Source: Wikipedia

  • The Adriatic Sea is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans.
  • The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest and the Po Valley.
  • The countries with coasts on the Adriatic are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Montenegro and Slovenia.
  • The Adriatic contains more than 1,300 islands, mostly located along the Croatian part of its eastern coast. It is divided into three basins, the northern being the shallowest and the southern being the deepest.
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