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News in Short

News in Short - 12-July-2020

Hagia Sophia formally converted to mosque

Date: 12 July 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • The president of Turkey has formally converted Istanbul’s sixth-century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and declared it open for Muslim worship.
  • The decision sparked deep dismay among Orthodox Christians. Originally a cathedral, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque after Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottoman Empire but had been a museum for the last 86 years.
  • Turkey’s high administrative court threw its weight behind a petition brought by a religious group and annulled the 1934 Cabinet decision that turned the site into a museum.

New law for navigational aids

Date: 12 July 2020 Tags: Bills & Laws
  • The Centre placed the draft Aids to Navigation Bill, 2020, for stakeholders' consultation to replace the 90-year-old Lighthouse Act, 1927.
  • The proposed law contains provisions for development, maintenance, and management of aids to navigation in the country as well as training and certification of operators of these aids.
  • lt provides for empowering the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL) with additional power and functions involving vessel traffic services, wreckage flagging, training and certification, implementation of other obligations under international conventions where India is a signatory.

India’s snake bite death

Date: 12 July 2020 Tags: Reports & Indices
  • India recorded a staggering 1.2 million snakebite deaths in the 20-year period from 2000 to 2019 with an average of 58,000 deaths caused by snakebite annually.
  • Around 70% of these deaths occurred in limited, low altitude, rural areas of eight States — Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh (including Telangana), Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • The study indicated that snakebite deaths occurred mostly in rural areas (97%), were more common in males (59%) than females (41%), and peaked at ages 15-29 years (25%).

India records 14% excessive rainfall this monsoon

Date: 12 July 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • Monsoon rainfall since June has been 14% more than what is normal for until this time of the year. So far, India has received 28.7 cm rainfall as opposed to the typical 25.2 cm.
  • Only nine of the 40 days of monsoon so far has rainfall been less than the daily average, according to data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • About 40% of districts received excess rains but 27% of them have seen deficient rains, which means they have received at least 20% less rains than they usually do.
  • The good rains so far are helped by the monsoon’s timely onset, on June 1, as well as it covering the country in record time.

Government launches cycling challenge for cities

Date: 12 July 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • The India Cycles4Change Challenge is an initiative of the Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India to inspire and support Indian cities to quickly implement cycling-friendly initiatives in response to COVID-19.
  • The Challenge aims to help cities connect with their citizens as well as experts to develop a unified vision and initiatives to promote cycling.
  • In addition to creating extensive cycling-networks through low-cost interventions like pop-up cycle lanes and traffic-calmed or non-motorised zones, cities could launch programmes such as community-led cycle rental schemes that increase the availability of cycles to citizens.