Places in News Current Affairs - 2020

Places in news and current affairs for preparation of the Geography papers and map locations for UPSC Civil Services and State related examinations of 2019.

Sister City Partnership: LoI shared between Ahmedabad and Kobe

A Letter of Intent (LoI) was exchanged between Ahmedabad and Japanese city of Kobe for a sister city partnership. The LoI was exchanged in presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited Kobe to address a large Indian diaspora event.

Key Highlights

Authorities from Japanese city of Kobe exchanged Letter of Intent (LoI) with their counterparts in Ahmedabad for Ahmedabad-Kobe Sister City Partnership.

This development will further pave the way for an enhanced economic relationship as well as a cultural exchange between two vibrant cities as well as between India and Japan.

Background

In November 2016, PM Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe inked a sister-state relationship Memorandum of Understanding for Gujarat and Hyogo prefecture, a Japanese prefecture in Kansai region of Japan’s main island, Honshu. Kobe is capital city of Hyogo. During his visit, Modi had also visited a bullet train plant in Kobe.

MoU then signed was sought to promote mutual cooperation between Gujarat and Hyogo in fields of academics, cultural cooperation, business, environmental protection and disaster management.

What is a sister city?

The sister cities or twin towns concept is a legal and social agreement between towns, cities, oblasts, counties, provinces, prefectures, states, regions between two different countries to promote cultural as well as commercial ties.

This plan was conceived after World War II ended so as to promote peaceful coexistence and to encourage trade and tourism.

In diplomacy, the concept of sister cities is seen as a way for enhancing strategic ties between two nations, both cultural and economic.

India has signed sister city agreements with: China, Australia, United States, South Korea (RoK), Russia, Canada, Germany, Belarus, Mauritius, Hungary, Jordan, Bangladesh, Lithuania and Portugal.

India-Japan Relation

In India there is no such part where Japan’s projects or investments have not left its mark in similar manner, talent and manpower of India are also contributing towards strengthening Japan. This partnership has risen from a time when both countries collaborated in building cars and are collaborating in building a bullet train.

India is also planning to run its 1st bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad with the help of Japan. The first stretch of ambitious project is expected to be completed by 2022.

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Himachal Pradesh makes GPS device mandatory for trekkers

The Himachal Pradesh (HP) government has made it compulsory for trekkers to carry a GPS (Global Positioning System) device to tackle any exigency. This decision was taken at a review meeting on preparedness for the monsoon chaired by Shrikant Baldi, Additional Chief Secretary cum-Pr. Secretary to Jai Ram Thakur, Chief Minister, HP.

Key Highlights

Need: Being a disaster-prone state, it is essential for Himachal Pradesh to pay special heed to disseminating weather advisories as well as installing early warning systems in state. It is also important to restrict trekking and other yatras undertaken in state during adverse weather.

Significance: Since it would be made mandatory for trekkers to carry a GPS device with them, they could now be provided all possible help in case of any emergency.

Other Provision:

Early Warning Systems will soon be installated in Kullu district and Dalhousie town of state.

Towns of Rampur and Mandi have been zeroed in for setting up of relief and rescue base of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). NDRF is a specialised force constituted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. It is responsible for purpose of specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster.

Facts about Himanchal Pradesh

Geography: It is bounded by Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) state to the north, China’s Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to east, Uttarakhand to southeast, Haryana to its south, and Punjab to west.

It got the statehood on 25 January 1971, and became 18th state of the Indian Union.

Capitals: HP has two capitals, viz. Shimla and Dharamshala (Second Capital in Winter)

Earthquake Prone: According to BIS seismic zonation map, Himachal Pradesh falls in Zone IV (High Damage Risk Zone) and Zone V (seismically the most active region).

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