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.

World’s New Nation: Bougainville gains independence from Papua New Guinea

On December 11, 2019, the South Pacific Archipelago of Bougainville voted to become independent of Papua New Guinea. Around 98% of 1,81,067 voters voted to get independent from Papua New Guinea.


It is the largest island of the Solomon Islands Archipelago. The island has the world’s largest copper deposits. The most widely spoken language in the country is Halia.

The country is yet to prove its recognition in the United Nations. In India, Godman Nithyananda is said to have built a new country called “Kailassa” near Ecuador. Kailassa is also yet to prove its recognition in United Nations.

Godman Nithyananda

Recently Godman Nithyananda is said to have created a new country called “Kailassa” near Ecuador in South America. The country is said to have separate flag, national animal, passport entry, visa, separate currency, etc. However, it is essential to obtain international diplomatic recognition to become a new country.

Diplomatic Recognition

By international law, a country should recognize the other for the later to become an independent country. The recognition can be proved by the new country through United Nation Resolution. If majority of the countries vote in favour of membership of the country, then the country enters world map and begins to exist legally. ‘There are 195 countries in the world today that are recognized by the United Nations.

Apart from Diplomatic recognition, the countries of North America and South America assent on Montevideo Convention.

Montevideo Convention

The Montevideo Convention is a treaty that was signed in 1933. The convention defines rights and duties of statehood. It lists the criteria for a country to become independent and declare its sovereignty. The most important factor of the convention is that it prohibited the use of military force to gain sovereignity.

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Indian Railways: North East State capitals linking, Act East policy and Electrification

Government of India has planned to link the capitals of North Eastern States with rail connectivity. This plan, however, does not include Sikkim. The capitals of Assam, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh are already connected through Broad Gauge rail network.

Along with this several other initiatives are being upgraded by the Indian Railways

Action Plan to Electrifying Broad Gauges

The Ministry of Railways has created a new action plan to electrify 37,237 km of broad-gauge routes. This is 57.91% of total railway network in India. The commissioning of the rail lines has been completed and the works are to begin shortly. The details were given by Minister of Railways in his written reply to Lok Sabha.

The Government of India has set target of 100% electrification of the railways in 10 years. It was announced in August 2019.

Act East Policy and Railways

To boost trade and investment with South East Asia through North Eastern region, India has taken up railway projects with Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal. Currently, there are two rail connectivity projects connecting Indian cities Jogbani and Jayanagar with Nepal cities Biratnagar and Bardibas respectively. In Bangladesh there are two ongoing projects that connects Agartala with Akhuara and Hadibari with Chilhati.

There are no ongoing railway projects with Myanmar and Bhutan.

Adarsh Railway Station

The Adarsh Railway Station scheme was started in 2009-10 to modernize railway stations. So far, 1253 stations have been developed under the scheme. The scheme intends to provide developmental activities that include retiring room, station building, waiting room for ladies, toilets, parking areas, foot over bridges, etc.

There are no separate funds allocated to the scheme. The works are carried out under Passenger Amenities plans.

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