Prelims 2020: Places in News part-2

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Places in News


Place  Why In News?
 Important Facts 



Gibraltar recently allowed a detained Iranian supertanker Grace 1 to leave the British overseas territory after a last-minute U.S. attempt to seize the vessel.

  • Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the bottom of Spain on the narrow gap between Europe and Africa.
  • Known as the Gib or the Rock (A limestone outcrop), it is a small 2.5-mile-squared area.
  • It has huge strategic importance.
  • A navy can potentially control shipping in and out of the Mediterranean- much of it coming from Asia having travelled through the Suez canal.
  • The UK, a key member of NATO, has a naval and military base there for this reason.
  • Gibraltar is home a labyrinth of tunnels known as The Great Siege Tunnels.

Golan Heights


Recently, Israel shot down its own drone over Golan Heights, suspecting it came from Lebanon

  • The Golan Heights are a rocky plateau in Western Asia that was captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.
  • The international community recognizes the Golan Heights to be an official Syrian territory and widely rejects Israeli military occupation.
  • The U.S. is the first country to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. 
  • India has also not recognized Golan heights as Israel territory and has called for the return of Golan Heights to Syria.
  • Golan is bounded by-
    • the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias) on the west,
    • Mount Hermon on the north,
    • the seasonal Wadi Al-Ruqqād (a north-south branch of the Yarmūk River) on the east, and
    • the Yarmūk River on the south.
  • The Golan shares a border with Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel



The border row between India and Nepal over Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura became a major irritant in bilateral ties after India opened a new road to Lipulekh to facilitate pilgrims going to Kailash Mansarovar. Nepal responded by publishing a new map that included the disputed territories.

  • Kalapani is a 35 square kilometre region located in the easternmost corner of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district.
  • It shares a border on the north with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and Nepal in the east and south.
  • The Kali River in the Kalapani region demarcates the border between India and Nepal.
  • The region resembles a slice of cake wedged in between Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani.
  • The area is in India’s control but Nepal claims the region because of historical and cartographic reasons.
  • The area is the largest territorial dispute between Nepal and India consisting of at least 37,000 hectares of land in the High Himalayas.



Recently, Bougainville, a chain of islands voted for a referendum of independence from Papua Guinea.

  • The Autonomous Region of Bougainville is a chain of islands that lie 959 kilometres northwest of Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) capital, Port Moresby.
  • It is the largest of the Solomon Islands archipelago.
  • One of the islands, the Buka island is separated by Buka strait from the main island. 
  • Mount Balbi on the main island at 2,715 m is the highest point.

 Reunion Island

India and France, For the first time, have conducted joint patrols from the Reunion Island.

  • Réunion is an overseas department and region of the French Republic.
  • It is an island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar and southwest of Mauritius. 
  • It is above a hotspot in the Earth's crust.
  • The Piton de la Fournaise, a shield volcano on the eastern end of Réunion Island, rises more than 2,631 m above sea level and is sometimes called a sister to Hawaiian volcanoes because of the similarity of climate and volcanic nature.



A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in north-western Syria, where the government of President Bashar al-Assad is trying to recapture the opposition-held province of Idlib.

  • Idlib is a city in northwestern Syria, 59 kilometres southwest of Aleppo, which is the capital of the Idlib Governorate.
  • The province – along with parts of Hama, Latakia and Aleppo – is the last stronghold of the rebel and jihadist groups that have been trying to overthrow President Assad since 2011.
  • A major agricultural centre of Syria, the Idlib area is also historically significant, containing many “dead cities” and tells.
  • During the uprising since 2011, Idlib was the focus of protests and fighting in the early phase of the Syrian war.



Recently, firefights broke out between federal Somali soldiers and troops from the Jubaland region. Somali soldiers along with Ethiopian and Kenyan troops are fighting Al-Shabaab's Islamist insurgency in the region. 

  • It is an autonomous federal state in southern Somalia.
  • Its eastern border lies 40–60 km east of the Jubba River, stretching from Gedo to the Indian Ocean, while its western side flanks the North Eastern Province in Kenya, which was carved out of Jubaland during the colonial period.
  • Its largest city is Kismayo, which is situated on the coast near the mouth of the Jubba River.
  • The small region in Somalia is at the centre of a growing power struggle in East Africa.
  • The autonomous federal state of Jubaland is fertile and rich in resources but has been unstable for decades.
  • Jubaland borders Kenya, which has troops there to fight al-Shabab.
  • Meanwhile, Somalia wants more control over Jubaland.

Korean Peninsula 

North Korea has cut off all inter-Korean communication lines with the South, including a hotline between the two nations' leaders.

This move was triggered by South Korean activists who sent anti-Pyongyang messages in balloons across the border.

  • Since the end of World War II, it has been divided into the countries of North and South Korea.
  • Prior to the division of the peninsula, it was simply recognized as Korea.
  • It's surrounded on three sides by water, including the Sea of Japan (East Sea), Yellow Sea, Korea Strait, Cheju Strait and Korea Bay.
  • To the northwest, the Amnok River separates the peninsula from China and to the northeast, the Duman River separates it from China and Russia.
  • The Korean Peninsula has a temperate climate with comparatively fewer typhoons than other countries in East Asia.
  • Due to the peninsula's position, it has a unique climate influenced from Siberia in the north, the Pacific Ocean in the east and the rest of Eurasia in the west.
  • The peninsula has four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter.
  • Notable islands include Jeju Island, Ulleung Island, Dokdo.

 Andaman and Nicobar Islands

 Prime Minister announced new names for three islands of Andaman and Nicobar to honour Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

The submarine cable will also connect Port Blair to Swaraj Dweep (Havelock), Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, Great Nicobar, Long Island, and Rangat.

  • There are 572 islands in the territory having an area of 8,249 km
  • The Andaman is separated from the Nicobar group by the Ten Degree Channel.
  • The highest point is located in North Andaman Island (Saddle Peak at 732 m (2,402 ft)) and
  • 2nd highest in Mount Thullier (Nicobar Islands)
  • Forest area – 92%.
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands have India’s best nesting beaches for three species of marine turtles – Hawksbill, Green turtle and world’s largest sea turtle, the Leatherback.
  • North Sentinel Island is home to one of the most isolated palaeolithic tribes (Sentinelese) of the world.
  • Other major tribes are Jarawa, Nicobari and Shompen.
  • Dugong, the gentle sea cow, is the state animal of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The only active volcano in India, the Barren Island, is present in the Andaman Islands.
  • Baratang in Andaman is the only place in India with mud volcanoes.

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