Places in News 2017

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China sets up first dark sky reserve in Tibet to limit light pollution

China has established country’s first dark sky reserve for astronomical observation in the Tibetan prefecture of Ngari, bordering Nepal and India.

The reserve was jointly launched by the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (GDF) and the regional government of Tibet.

Dark-sky reserve: It is an area that is kept free of artificial light pollution. The purpose of a dark sky preserve is generally to promote astronomy. It usually surrounding a park or observatory.

Key Facts

  • The Ngari Dark reserve aims to limit light pollution by stepping up protection of dark-sky resources for education and tourism development.
  • It covers an area of 2,500 square kilometres. The first dark sky reserve is considered only the first step undertaken by China in protecting the area from light pollution.
  • The reserve will also try to seek accreditation from the International Dark-Sky Association, a non-profit organisation based in the US.
  • The accreditation will help the reserve in preserving and protecting the night time environment and dark skies globally.

Ngari in Tibet is among the best sites for astronomical observation on earth, due to its high altitude and large number of cloudless days throughout the year. However, in the recent times inflow of people from other areas has given rise to increasing urbanisation and thus the associated risk of more light pollution.

What is Light pollution?

Light pollution is artificial brightening of the night sky caused by man-made lightening sources, which has a disruptive effect on natural cycles and inhibits the observation of stars and planets. It is also known as photopollution or luminous pollution and basically is the misdirected or obtrusive of natural light by excessive artificial light.

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Mahashangarh declared as the SAARC cultural capital for 2016-17

Mahasthangarh, the 3rd century BC archaeological site in Bogra, Bangladesh, has been declared as the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) cultural capital for the year 2016-17.

As a SARRC cultural capital, the historic place will host festivals on literature, films, foods and dances from October 2016 to September 2017. Besides, the year 2016-17 has also be declared the SAARC Year of Cultural Heritage.

About Mahasthangarh

  • Mahasthangarh is one of the earliest urban archaeological sites so far discovered in Bangladesh. It dates back 3rd century BC and is located 11 km north of Bogra in Bangladesh.
  • It was the ancient capital of Pundravardhana i.e. home of the Pundra, a group of people not speaking languages of the Indo-European family

Background

  • Every year, an archeologically and culturally rich city in the one of the 8 SAARC countries is declared as the cultural capital for that year.
  • It was an outcome of Delhi Resolution which was adopted at the conference while preparing a road map on cultural ties till 2017.
  • This development seeks at strengthening cultural ties among the people of SAARC nations. Bamiyan, a historic city of Afghanistan, is the current SAARC cultural capital for 2015-16.

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Rio 2016 unveils official slogan A New World for Olympic and Paralympic Games

The Rio 2016 organising committee has unveiled the official slogan (motto), A New World for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games scheduled to be held in August 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The slogan was unveiled by Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at a special ceremony held at Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca, Brazil.

Key Facts

  • The core values of the slogan and the manifesto for Rio 2016 are unity, respect for diversity and the will for change.
  • The motto of Rio 2016 is to promote the concepts of transformation through sport and changing the world for the better.
  • 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games will be the first Olympic and Paralympic Games to held in South America.

Besides releasing official slogan, the organising committee also unveiled the designs for the 2488 gold, silver and bronze medals to be given to winners.

Background

The creation of official slogan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games is a tradition of each Olympic Games. Previous Olympic slogans included “Welcome home” for Athens in 2004, “One world, one dream” for Beijing in 2008, and “Inspire a Generation” for London in 2012.

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