Places in News 2017

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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.

Background

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.

About UNESCO 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.

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Punjab Government launches India’s first amphibious bus project

Punjab Government has launched country’s first amphibious bus project at the Harike wetland near Amritsar.

The amphibious bus named as “Harike Cruise” travels on land and as well as in water. It was launched by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Key Facts
  • The first of its kind amphibious bus in India was imported from Swedish automobile company Scania.
  • It will be run by the Punjab Tourism department. The project has cost the state government over Rs 11 crore.
  • It has a seating capacity of 34 people and is equipped with life-jackets for everyone.
  • The route of bus includes a 13 km ride from Amritsar to Harike wetlands. It will then traverse 4km on water. It covers the distance in 45 minutes.

About Harike wetland 

Harike Wetland (also known as Hari-ke-Pattan) is largest wetland in northern India. It borders of Tarn Taran Sahib and Ferozepur district of Punjab. The wetland and the Harike lake were formed by constructing the headworks (dams) across the confluence of the Beas and Sutlej rivers in 1953. It supports rich biodiversity which plays a vital role in maintaining the precious hydrological balance in the catchment area. It was designated Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance in March 1990. It has provides ecological support to migratory fauna and number of globally threatened species such as Indus dolphins and Gharials.

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Gotthard Base Tunnel, world’s longest rail tunnel starts regular service

The famed Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) has started regular commercial rail service in Switzerland. The first regular train to use GBT ferried passenger from Zurich to Lugano.

The twin-bore GBT is world’s longest and deepest railway tunnel with length of 57-kilometer. It had overtaken Japan’s Seikan tunnel (53.9 kilometers) as the longest rail tunnel in world after it was opened in June 2016 for its maiden ride.

Key Facts
  • GBT is the first flat low-level route through the Alps Mountain. It is situated 2.3 km deep under these mountains and57-kilometer long.
  • It connects northern and southern Europe and also shortens travel time for many rail routes
  • It was built in 17 years’ time frame starting in 1992 as a part of AlpTransit project, also known as New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA).
  • It consists of two single-track tunnels connecting Erstfeld (Uri) with Bodio (Ticino) and passing below Sedrun (Graubünden).
  • The main purpose of the GBT is to increase total transport capacity across the Alps, especially for freight.

gothard-base-tunnel-swiss-alps

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