Atal Tunnel In Numbers

Atal Tunnel In Numbers

As PM Modi inaugurated the Atal Tunnel, the longest highway tunnel above 10,000 feet in the world, let’s look at the features and numbers around it.

Crux of the Matter

Inauguration
On 3 October, 2020, PM Modi inaugurated the Atal Tunnel connecting Manali and Lahaul-Spiti valley. Let us look at some numbers around Atal Tunnel. First of all, let us have a look at its route and how much travel time it cuts down.

Along with the travel time reducing massively, the tunnel has some additional features like CCTV cameras, telephones, ventilators, etc. Even the height of the tunnel has been kept keeping in mind the passage of heavy loaded trucks! Let’s have a look at it.

To know the story behind the tunnel’s development, we have this story for you: Atal Tunnel: How Will It Ease Travel Through Himalayas?

Curiopedia
  • A tunnelling shield is a protective structure used during the excavation of large, man-made tunnels. When excavating through ground that is soft, liquid, or otherwise unstable, there is a health and safety hazard to workers and the project itself from falling materials or a cave-in.
  • The Thames Tunnel is a tunnel beneath the River Thames in London. It is the first tunnel known to have been constructed successfully underneath a navigable river and was built between 1825 and 1843.
  • The Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel is an 11.215 km long railway tunnel located in Pir Panjal Range of middle Himalayas. Also called the T-80, it is the longest transport tunnel in India.

Venezuela: The Oil Problem

Venezuela: The Oil Problem

Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro‘s decision to grant pardon to over 100 political opponents and activists has drawn suspicion from critics, who have been protesting against his regime for years. The episode is a manifestation of the turnaround of the country’s fortunes, once considered the wealthiest Latin nation due to oil reserves in the country, to now being a center of hyperinflation and extreme poverty. Let us have a look at the history of Venezuela with respect to oil.

Crux of the Matter

Venezuela And The Oil Problem

  • Venezuela was the leading exporter of oil in the world before World War II.
  • It became a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1960-61.
  • Following the ‘Arab-Israel’ War of 1973, Venezuela tripled its oil prices. Consequently, the country witnessed a booming economy in the subsequent years, as witnessed in the fact that Venezuela had the highest ‘per capita income’ in Latin America at the time.
  • Late 1970s and 80s: Oil prices fell across the world – pushed Venezuela into recession and increased inflation.
  • 1992: Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chávez imprisoned after a failed coup attempt.
  • 1998: Venezuela was in dire straits as annual inflation reached 30%. Hugo Chávez was elected as the President that year.
  • Chávez implemented socialist policies and took an anti-US stance.
  • 2001: He implemented wealth redistribution measures in the country.
  • 2007: The nationalization of the petroleum sector was initiated by the Government, which removed US oil companies Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhilips from the Orinoco Belt (large oil source).
  • 2013: Chávez died due to cancer, after which Maduro assumed the Presidency.

Also Read: Venezuela: Election Controversy

Curiopedia
  • United States of Banana is a postmodern geopolitical tragicomedy by the Puerto Rican author Giannina Braschi. The book dramatizes the global war on terror and has Hugo Chávez as a heroic character in it. 
  • Colectivos are irregular, leftist Venezuelan community organizations that support Nicolás Maduro and the Bolivarian government. Colectivo has become an umbrella term for armed paramilitary groups that operate in poverty-stricken areas and attack individuals, engaging in “extortion, kidnapping, drug trafficking and murder”.
  • Popular Will is a political party in Venezuela founded by former Mayor of Chacao, Leopoldo López. The party describes itself as progressive and social-democratic and was admitted into the Socialist International in December 2014.

History Of Germany & Russia

History Of Germany & Russia

With Alexei Navalny, a longtime critic of Russian President Putin, taking refuge in Germany after being poisoned, Germany’s stance may alter regarding a pipeline deal with Russia, which is a manifestation of the oscillating relationship between the two nations. Let us explore the recent history of Germany and Russia.

Crux of the Matter

History Of Germany-Russia
Germany and Russia have shared an alternating relationship for long, with several alliances and disagreements having occurred between the two.

Before World War II

  • 1813: Germany, along with Russia, defeated Napoleon and became free from French rule.
  • 1871: Germany was unified under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.
  • 1873: Three Emperors’ League between Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary was formed.
  • 1887: Reinsurance Treaty was signed between Germany and Russia to form a secret alliance, which was not renewed 1890 onwards.
  • As Germany had formed Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy in 1882, Russia formed the Triple Entente with Britain and France in 1907.
  • 1914-18: Germany and Russia were on the opposite sides (Central powers and Allied powers respectively) of World War I.
  • 1917: October revolution initiated in Russia, whose leader Vladimir Lenin was influenced by the German philosopher Karl Marx.
  • 1922: Treaty of Rapallo signed between the Soviet Union (previously Russia) and Germany to initiate peaceful relations following World War I.
  • 1922-33: Soviet secretly provided training to German soldiers.
  • 1939: The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed between Germany and the Soviet Union, which formed an alliance between the two to divide Eastern Europe between German and Russian control.
  • 1 September, 1939: Germany invaded Poland which initiated World War II. Soviet invaded Poland from the Eastern side on 17 September as part of the agreement.
  • 22 June, 1941: Germany broke the pact and invaded Soviet. It resisted annexation and defeated Germany with the aid of Britain and the US.

Post World War II

  • 1945: As World War II ended, Germany was divided under the rule of France, the US, Britain, and the Soviet Union.
  • 1949: Germany was divided into 2 countries:
    West Germany became the Federal Republic of Germany and
    East Germany became the communist German Democratic Republic under the influence of Soviet Communism.
  • 9 November, 1989: The Berlin Wall dividing East Germany from West Germany was demolished.
  • 1990: Both East and West were unified under one title ‘Germany’.
  • 1994: Russia and other Allied troops finally returned from Germany.
  • Current Russian President Putin worked as a KGB spy in East Germany.
  • Gerhard Schröder, Chancellor of Germany in the 1998-2005 period, promoted the Nord Stream pipeline between Germany and Russia for the transfer of Gas.
  • The current Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel condemned the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia. However, she has continued with the Nord Stream 2 and other projects with Russia.

Also Read: Germany-Russia: “Poisoned” Relationship

Curiopedia
  • MV Wilhelm Gustloff was a German armed military transport ship which was sunk in 1945 by Soviet submarine S-13 in the Baltic Sea. By one estimate, 9,400 people died, which makes it the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history.
  • Operation Barbarossa was the codename for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started during World War II. The operation put into action Nazi Germany’s ideological goal of conquering the western Soviet Union so as to repopulate it with Germans.
  • Ostpolitik was the normalization of relations between the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and Eastern Europe, particularly the German Democratic Republic (GDR) beginning in 1969. The term Ostpolitik has since been applied to Pope Paul VI’s efforts to engage Eastern European countries during the same period. The term Nordpolitik was also coined to describe similar rapprochement policies between North and South Korea beginning in the 1980s.

History Of Arab-Israel Relations

History Of Arab-Israel Relations

As the UAE and Israel established official relations for the first time in history, mixed reaction has come from several nations. The recent decision also adds a new chapter to the strained relationship between Israel and the Arab world. Let us have a look at the history of Arab nations with Israel.

Crux of the Matter

Arab-Israel History
Arab countries and Israel have been engaged in conflict since the British left, with the conflict mainly occurring regarding territory occupation and the Palestine case. Israel and Palestine have been engaged in conflict since the independence of Israel, with the Arab countries supporting Palestine in the dispute.

  • 1948-49: Israel declared its independence as the British mandate of Palestine was divided between the Jews and the Arab nations. However, a war erupted soon between Israel and five Arab countries (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt), where Israel won the control of major portion allocated to Palestine except Gaza and the West Bank.
  • 1956: Egypt nationalized the Suez canal and banned the entry of Israeli ships, with the canal being under the control of the British and the French till that point. Israel invaded Egypt and annexed Gaza and most of the eastern part near the Suez canal, with British and French troops later joining Israel. However, the war ended with all the troops withdrawing from all Egyptian territories.
  • 1967: The six-day war happened. By 1966-67, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan increased support to Palestine militant groups and increased their attacks on Israel. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon then also formed an alliance to attack Israel. This mobilization of the allied troops was observed by Israel, which launched a “pre-emptive” assault on Egypt and destroyed 90% of its Air Force on 5 June 1967. The war then started and Israel captured Gaza and most of the West Bank within 3 days. Israel then captured the Golan Heights from Syria after the latter kept attacking Israel even after the UN declared a cease-fire.
  • 1973: Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on 6 October on the holy day of Yom Kippur for Jews. Israel again won and a cease-fire was declared in January 1974.
  • 1979: The Camp David Accords were signed, after which Egypt and Israel established official diplomatic relations, with the latter returning all of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.
  • 1982: Israel invaded Lebanon after the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), operating from Lebanon, increased its attacks on Israel. The PLO fled the country, and Israel withdrew its troops by 1985.
  • 2006: Hezbollah, a radical Shiite group from Lebanon, killed and captured several Israeli soldiers to pressurize Israel to release Lebanese prisoners. Israel launched an operation to bring back the captured soldiers, which 34 days, and more than 1,000 Lebanese people were killed.

Recent Peace
In recent times, the relations between the Arab nations and Israel have improved significantly. The UAE allows Israeli athletes in the country and recently allowed the AFC Asian Cup 2019, held in Dubai, to be telecast in Israel for the first time in history. Israel was also invited to the Dubai Expo 2020 fair.

However, several experts have claimed that both the countries have united in recent times along with the US only to act against Iran, which is seen as a growing threat by all the three countries.

Curiopedia
  • The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt. It is often considered to define the border between Africa and Asia.
  • The AFC Asian Cup is the second oldest continental football championship in the world after Copa América. The winning team became the champion of Asia and until 2015 qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup.
  • “Hatikvah” is a 19th-century Jewish poem and the national anthem of Israel. The theme of the romantic composition reflects the Jews’ 2,000-year-old hope of returning to the Land of Israel, restoring it, and reclaiming it as a free and sovereign nation.

History Of Saudi Arabia

History Of Saudi Arabia

With Saudi Arabia withdrawing its aid from Pakistan recently, let us look at the history of the former and its standing in the Arabian world.

Crux of the Matter

Why Are We Talking About Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia has become the talk of the town because it recently asked Pakistan to immediately repay $1 bn of its total $3 bn loan. Pakistan had to borrow $1 bn from China to repay. Saudi’s move comes amidst Pakistan attempting to call a meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) over the Kashmir issue, for which the Saudi did not openly back Pakistan. Pakistan accused Saudi of not “doing enough” regarding the Kashmir issue. In response, Saudi terminated the financial aid and the oil supply to Pakistan.

History Of Saudi Arabia

Early History

  • Islam was founded in the 7th century in Saudi Arabia.
  • Wahhabism, a conservative movement in the Sunni branch of Islam, was started in Arabia in 18th century.
  • A local Prince Muhammad ibn Saud in Arabia was inspired by the movement, and got several territories his rule afterwards.

19th Century Afterwards

  • 1818: Arabia fell under the control of the Ottoman empire.
  • Saud rulers were re-established later but Arabia continued under Ottoman and British rule.
  • A revolt was started against the Ottoman in the light of World War I, where Britain and Allied powers fought against the Ottoman.
  • In 1890, the Rashidi dynasty captured the Riyadh province and had the backing of the Ottoman empire.
  • A war erupted between the Saudi and the Rashidi dynasty in 1903, which ended in 1907 with the Saudi emerging victorious and gaining control of the al-Qassim region.
  • 1927: Abdulaziz al-Saud, or Ibn Saud, a descendant of the Saud family, became the King of Najd and Hejaz and ruled both as separate kingdoms.
  • Wahhabi followers accused Ibn Saud of betrayal due to his progressive policies. Ibn Saud led war against them, which was supported by the British.
  • 1932: The kingdoms of Najd and Hejaz were merged into the kingdom of Saudi Arabia (named after the Saud dynasty).
  • 1938: Oil was discovered in the country, and the production was initiated under the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco).
  • 1948: Saudi Arabia attacked Israel due to its conflict with Palestine and relationship with the British.
  • 1960: The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was formed by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, and Kuwait.
  • 1973: The US supported Israel in its war with Syria and Egypt. In return, Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC nations banned the oil supply to the US.
  • 1979: The Grand Mosque in Mecca was seized by extremists, which was regained by the Government in 10 days.
  • 1979: The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The US and Saudi Arabia supported Afghanistan through a movement known as ‘Mujahideen’. Several people from Saudi, including Osama bin Laden, went to join the movement.
  • 1990: Iraq invaded Kuwait. Saudi Arabia and the US defeated Iraq and liberated Kuwait.

Lead Up To 9/11

  • 1996: The Khobar towers in Saudi Arabia used by the US Air Force were attacked by terrorists, where 19 US Air Force members died.
  • 11 September 2001: Planes hijacked by al-Qaeda were crashed into the World Trade Center (WTC) and Pentagon, killing almost 3,000 people. The plan was organized by Osama bin Laden, who had been a part of the earlier Mujahideen.

2010 Onwards

  • 2011: Arab spring protests occurred across Arab countries regarding human rights and development. While the Shiite protests in the Eastern region were smothered, the country allowed women to vote and contest in the municipal elections for the first time.
  • 2018: Women were allowed to drive cars for the first time in the country’s history.
  • October 2018: Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in Turkey at the Saudi embassy. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US claimed that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally “ordered the killing”.

What Is The Lawrence Of Arabia?
T E Lawrence was an archaeologist from Britain, who also volunteered in the army during the First World War. Later, he grew fond of Arabia after he was sent to the country by the British Army. Lawrence grew famous due to his help in the Arabian rebellion against the Ottoman empire. He went on missions with the troops in the country and demolished 79 bridges connecting Turkey to Arabia during the war.

The movie Lawrence of Arabia was made on the life of T E Lawrence. It was released in 1962 and won 7 Oscar awards in the 1963 Oscars.

Curiopedia
  • Pan-Arabism is an ideology that espouses the unification of the countries of North Africa and Western Asia, which is referred to as the Arab world. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism, which asserts the view that the Arabs constitute a single nation.
  • The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf except Iraq, namely: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • Al-Hilal is a monthly Egyptian cultural and literature magazine. It is among the oldest magazines dealing with arts in the Arab world. The magazine is 128 years old.