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Insights Daily Current Events, 13 May 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 13 May 2015

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Nepal Earthquake

A deadly magnitude 7.3 earthquake has struck Nepal and sent aftershocks through neighbouring India, two weeks after a devastating quake.

  • A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, killing at least 8,046 people and injuring more than 17,800.
  • The epicentre this time is about 80km north-east of Kathmandu, halfway to Everest. On 25 April, the big quake began 80km to the north-west of the capital.

Specific cause of the Earth Quake:

  • It was triggered by the India tectonic plate, which is moving northwards into central Asia. This results in thrust-faulting and has thrown up the Himalayan mountain range.
  • The India tectonic plate moving north at about 45mm a year is pushing under the Eurasian plate beneath the Himalayas.
  • Two tectonic plates meet beneath the Himalayas along a fault line.
  • It has triggered several other significant earthquakes in this region, including the 1934 quake at Bihar, which reached a magnitude of 8.2; the 7.5 event at Kangra in 1905; and the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, which reached 7.6.
  • The Indian subcontinent collided with the Eurasia plate about 40 million to 50 million years ago.

 

Effects of the Earthquake:

As the plates push against each other, friction generates stress and energy that builds until the crust ruptures.

Why Nepal?

  • Nepal is prone to destructive earthquakes, not only because of the massive forces involved in the tectonic collision, but also because of the type of fault line the country sits on. Normal faults create space when the ground cracks and separates. Nepal lies on a so-called thrust fault, where one tectonic plate forces itself on top of another.
  • The most visible result of this is the Himalayan mountain range. The fault runs along the 1,400-mile range, and the constant collision of the India and Eurasia plates pushes up the height of the peaks by about a centimeter each year.

What experts say?

However, experts are of the opinion that the 7.3 magnitude event and the subsequent tremors that rocked Nepal were aftershocks and could not be construed as fresh earthquakes.

Why the experts say so?

Experts say that if there had been a fresh earthquake on a new fault, many aftershocks would have occurred along a larger length of the fault. Usually a 7.8 magnitude earthquake would rupture a length of 150-200 km, which was observed in the April 25 event. No similar thing had happened due to recent quake and all the events were concentrated in a few kilometres on the eastern end of the April 25 fault zone. Besides the 7.3 magnitude event, the other aftershocks due to recent quake, ranged from 4.2 to 6.3 magnitude.

Terminology:

Earthquakes are the manifestations of sudden release of strain energy accumulated in the rocks over extensive periods of time in the upper part of the Earth.

Aftershock: An earthquake that follows a large magnitude earthquake called, ‘main shock’ and originates in or around the rupture zone of the main shock. Generally, major earthquakes are followed by a number of aftershocks, which show a decreasing trend in magnitude and frequency with time.

Fault: A weak plane in the Earth’s crust and upper mantle along which two blocks of rock mass rupture or slip past each other. Faults are caused by earthquakes and earthquakes are likely to reoccur on pre-existing faults, where stresses are accumulated.

Epicentre: It is the point on the surface of the earth, vertically above the place of origin (hypocentre) of an earthquake. This point is expressed by its geographical Coordinates in terms of latitude and longitude.

Sources: PIB, ET, Google, IMD.

 

Governors appointed for four States

President of India recently appointed Governors for four States, bringing down the number of Governors who had been holding the additional charge of more than two States for the past few months.

Details:

  • Droupadi Murmu: Governor of Jharkhand.
  • P. Rajkhowa: Governor of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Tathagata Roy: Governor of Tripura.
  • Shanmuganathan: Governor of Meghalaya.

Transfers:

  • Nirbhay Sharma: Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, has been transferred and appointed Governor of Mizoram for the remainder of his term.
  • Jharkhand Governor Syed Ahmed has been transferred and appointed Governor of Manipur for the remainder of his term.

Governor:

In the Indian Republic, the state Governor stands at the head of the Executive power of any state in India, just like the President who is the head of the executive power in the Union.

The Governor is the nominal head of a state, unlike the Chief Minister who is the real head of a state in India. In other words, although all executive actions of an Indian state are taken in the name of the Governor, and all executive powers are vested in the Governor, in reality, the Governor merely gives his consent to the various executive actions. He or she is devoid of taking any major decisions. The real powers needed in the executive dealings of a state lie with the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers.

  • According to an amendment in the Constitution of India, brought about in 1956, the same person can be the Governor of two or more states.
  • The functions of the Governor of a state are equivalent to the functions of the Lieutenant Governor in an Union Territory in India.
  • Like the President of India, the Governor of any state in India is vested with certain executive, legislative and judicial powers. He or she also possesses certain discretionary or emergency powers. But one major difference in the powers enjoyed by the President and those enjoyed by the Governor is, the Governor does not have any diplomatic or military powers.
  • The governors and lieutenant-governors are appointed by the president for a term of 5 years.
  • Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of India specify eligibility requirements for the post of governor.
  • The term of governor’s office is normally 5 years but it can be terminated earlier by: Dismissal by the president on the advice of the prime minister of the country, at whose pleasure the governor holds office or Resignation by the governor. There is no provision of impeachment, as it happens for the president.
  • The first woman to become a Governor of a state in India was Sarojini Naidu. She remained the Governor of Uttar Pradesh in independent India.

For further reference:

http://www.elections.in/government/state-governor.html.

Sources: The Hindu, elections.in.

 

 

The President Confers Florence Nightingale Awards to 35 Nurses

The President of India recently conferred the Florence Nightingale Awards to 35 nurses from across the country on the occasion of International Nurses Day at the Rashrapati Bhavan.

About the Award:

  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India instituted the National Florence Nightingale Awards in 1973 as a mark of recognition for the meritorious services of nurses.
  • The Florence Nightingale awards are given to the outstanding nursing personnel employed in Central, State/UTs.
  • Nurses working in Government, Voluntary Organizations, Mission institutions and the private institutions can apply with the due recommendation of concerned State Government.
  • The Florence Nightingale Awards carries Rs.50, 000/- cash, a certificate, a citation certificate and a Medal.

Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing, was born on 12th May, 1820 and hence this day is celebrated as International Nurses Day all over the world.

Sources: PIB.

 

Mission Mangroves in Sri Lanka

More than half the world’s mangroves have been lost over the last century, but all of those surviving in Sri Lanka, one of their most important havens, are now to be protected in an unprecedented operation.

Details of the Scheme:

  • In an initiative designed to prevent any more being cut down in Sri Lanka and to boost some of the poorest communities in the world, women will be offered small loans and training to start businesses. In return for the microloans, the women will be expected to stop using the trees for firewood and to guard the forests near their homes.
  • Conservationists behind the scheme, which is backed by the Sri Lankan government, believe the focus on women will bring huge benefits to living standards in coastal communities.

Why Mangroves are important?

  • Mangroves are an important protection against climate change as they sequester up to five times more carbon than other forests, area for area.
  • They protect coastlines against flooding and tsunamis, and provide a vital habitat for marine animals, especially crabs, shrimp and juvenile fish.

Mangroves in India:

Mangroves in India account for about 3% of the world’s mangrove vegetation. Mangrove cover in India is 4,662 sq. km, which is 0.14% of the country’s total geographical area. Sundarbans in West Bengal accounts for almost half of the total area under mangroves in the country. Mangrove in India is famous for its rich variety of flora and fauna.

The forest survey report, 2013, notes down that the overall Mangrove cover in the county in 2013 has decreased compared to 2011.The reasons for the decrease in the mangrove cover may be:

  • Grazing by domestic cattle and exploitation of mangrove woods for fuel and timber.
  • The neo-tectonic movement of river courses.
  • Abatement of upstream freshwater discharges due to construction of dams and reservoirs.
  • Rapid trend of reclamation of mangrove forests for habitations.
  • Pollutant discharges from cities and industries etc.

Composition of Mangroves in India: The very dense mangrove comprises 1,403 sq. km (30.10% of the total mangrove cover), moderately dense mangrove is 1,658.12 sq. km (35.57 %) while open mangroves cover an area of 1,600.44 sq. km (33%).

Sundarbans:

  • The Sundarbans is a natural region in West Bengal and Bangladesh. It is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.
  • The Sundarbans covers approximately 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) of which 60% is in Bangladesh with the remainder in India.
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki, GSI, cwc.gov.in.

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