Bahrain Current Affairs

42nd session of World Heritage Committee: Four sites added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List

The 42nd session of World Heritage Committee (WHC) meeting of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) held in Manama, Bahrain has inscribed four cultural sites on the World Heritage List. These four cultural sites are Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai (India), Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars region (Iran), Hidden Christian Sites in Nagasaki Region (Japan) and Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea (South Korea).

Key Facts

Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai: These two ensembles bear testimony to the phases of modernization that Mumbai has undergone in course of the 19th and 20th centuries. Mumbai’s Victorian ensemble includes Indian elements suited to climate, including balconies and verandas. Art Deco edifices are found in cinemas and residential buildings, having blend of Indian design with Art Deco imagery, creating unique style that has been described as Indo-Deco.

Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars region: They are eight archaeological sites situated in three geographical parts in southeast of Fars Province of Iran viz. Firuzabad, Bishapur and Sarvestan. These fortified structures, palaces, and city plans date back to earliest and latest times of Sassanian Empire (from 224 to 658 CE). These sites bear witness to influence of Achaemenid and Parthian cultural traditions and of Roman art, which had significant impact on architecture and artistic styles of the Islamic era.

Hidden Christian Sites in Nagasaki Region: It is located in north-western part of Kyushu Island. The 12 components of the site consist of 10 villages, Hara Castle and cathedral, built between the 16th and 19th centuries. Together they reflect earliest activities of Christian missionaries and settlers in Japan. These sites also bear unique testimony to cultural tradition nurtured by hidden Christians in Nagasaki region who secretly transmitted their faith during period of prohibition from 17th to 19th century.

Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea: They are Buddhist mountain monasteries located throughout southern provinces of Korean Peninsula. They are spatial arrangement of seven temples that comprise site, (established from 7th to 9th centuries), present common characteristics that are specific to Korea– “madang” (open courtyard) flanked by four buildings (pavilion, Buddha Hall, lecture hall and dormitory). They contain large number of individually remarkable structures, objects, documents and shrines. These mountain monasteries are sacred places, and have survived as living centres of faith and daily religious practice.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The World Heritage Sites are sites selected by UNESCO, having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance and is legally protected by international treaties 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 UN 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 interest of the international community to preserve each site. Presently, Italy with 50 sites is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites.

Month: Categories: Art & Culture Current Affairs 2018

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Six Arab Nations Cut Diplomatic Ties with Qatar

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and UAE have suspended their diplomatic ties with Qatar. All the six countries have announced that they would withdraw their diplomatic staff from Qatar and eject Qatar’s diplomats from their territories. They have also planned to cut air and sea traffic.

Reasons

Saudi Arabia has accused Qatar for embracing various terrorist and sectarian groups that are aimed at destabilizing the region such as the Muslim Brotherhood, al—Qaida, the Islamic State group and other groups supported by Iran.

Egypt has accused Qatar for supporting terrorist groups and taking an antagonist approach towards Egypt.

Bahrain has accused Qatar of media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups for its decision.

The decision has been taken after Qatar alleged that hackers took over state—run news agency’s website and published fake comments from its ruling emir about Iran and Israel. It had angered the Gulf Arab countries who responded by blocking Qatari—based media including Al—Jazeera.

Qatar has long been accused by its Arab neighbours over its support of Islamists. Qatar’s support for the Sunni Islamist political group Muslim Brotherhood which has been outlawed by both Saudi Arabia and the UAE made Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in 2014 to recall their ambassadors from Qatar. Only after eight months, the ties were normalised after Qatar forced some Brotherhood members to leave the country.

On May 27, Qatar’s emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani had called Iranian President Hasan Rouhani to congratulate him on his re-election. This has also angered the Sunni Saudi Arabia which also sees Iran as its No. 1 enemy and a threat to regional stability.

Qatar also remains as a key financial patron of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. It has allowed the stay of exiled Hamas official Khaled Mashaal in its territories since 2012.

Implications

Oil prices have seen a jump after the six countries announced suspension of diplomatic ties with Qatar as it affected some of the world’s biggest oil and gas exporters. Qatar, a gas rich nation is also the biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a major seller of condensate (a low-density liquid fuel) and refining product derived from natural gas.

Qatar will be host to 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Saudi Arabia has announced that it would seal its land border with Qatar cutting off the country from the rest of the Arabian Peninsula.

Qatar is home to a major US military base, a sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, which is home to the US military’s Central Command hosting 10,000 troops. How this decision would affect American military operations is yet to be seen.

Month: Categories: International Current Affairs 2018

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