Places in news – Part 5 | Prelims Capsules 2021

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‘Places in news series‘ is a weekly initiative by Forumias. In this series we bring you highly detailed & visually rich maps of the places that have been in news recently. Go through these maps and prepare yourself for the high scoring mapping section of UPSC Prelims.

For places in news part 1, 2, 3 and 4 Click Here

Thitu island

Why in news?

  • Philippines vs China: Philippines has protested China’s continuing “illegal presence and activities” near Thitu island in the South China Sea. It demanded its giant neighbour withdraw the vessels.
    • Tensions between Manila and Beijing have escalated over the months-long presence of hundreds of Chinese boats in the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone. The Philippine says it believes the vessels were manned by militia, while Beijing has said they were fishing boats sheltering from bad weather.

Thitu island

  • Thitu, known as Pag-asa in the Philippines, is 451 km from the mainland and is the biggest of the eight reefs, shoals and islands it occupies in the Spratly archipelago.
  • China has built a mini-city with runways, hangars and surface-to-air-missiles in the Subi Reef about 25 km from Thitu.

This recent event is a part of a bigger issue – South China Sea (SCS) Dispute.

South China Sea

  • It is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, that borders the Southeast Asian mainland.
  • It is bounded on the northeast by the Taiwan Strait (it connects South China Sea & East China Sea)
  • The South China Sea and the East China Sea together form the China Sea.
  • Significance of South China Sea: $3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes through here annually.
  • The region has proven oil reserves of around 7.7 billion barrels, with an estimate of 28 billion barrels in all. Natural gas reserves are estimated to total around 266 trillion cubic feet.
  • Significance to India: Nearly $200 billion worth of Indian trade passes through the South China Sea

Thitu island  

South China Sea dispute

  • SCS dispute is centered majorly around the following:
    • Paracel islands – claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam
    • Spratly islands – claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Philippines
    • Scarborough shoal – claimed by China, Taiwan & Philippines
  • Countries involved – 6
    • Taiwan
    • China
    • Vietnam
    • Malaysia
    • Brunei
    • Philippines
  • China’s claim to the sea is based both on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its so-called “nine-dash” line. This line extends for 2,000 km from the Chinese mainland, encompassing over half of the sea.
    • An international tribunal in 2016 has invalidated China’s expansive claim in the South China Sea.

South China Sea dispute countries



Why in news?

Rwanda has been in news because of the following two events:

  • French President has asked for forgiveness for his country’s role in the Rwanda Genocide, 1994.
  • The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo resulted in about 5,000 people fleeing from the city of Goma across the nearby border into Rwanda, while another 25,000 others sought refuge to the northwest in Sake

About Rwanda Genocide

  • The “Rwandan Genocide” refers to the 1994 mass slaughter in Rwanda of the ethnic Tutsi by members of the Hutu majority government.
  • The killings began in early 1994 and continued for approximately 100 days. As per a few estimations, more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed during that period.
  • Read More: Rwandan Genocide


  • It is a landlocked country in Africa
  • It lies towards south of the equator
  • Bordering countries:
    • Uganda
    • Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
    • Burundi
    • Tanzania
    • Kenya
  • Important lakes:
    • Lake Kivu, one of the Great Lakes of East Africa, lies between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Kigali agreement to curb the use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) was signed in capital city Kigali in Rwanda

New Guinea

Why in news?

A research team led by Griffith University has discovered a new Frog Species in New Guinea. It has been named Litoria Mira.

  • Read more about Litoria Mira in this article

New Guinea

New Guinea

  • It is an island in the Pacific Ocean, north of Australia.
  • It is bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the north, the Bismarck and Solomon seas to the east, the Coral Sea and Torres Strait to the south, and the Arafura Sea to the southwest.
  • New Guinea is administratively divided into two parts:
    • its western half comprises the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua (collectively, formerly called Irian Jaya); and
    • its eastern half comes under Papua New Guinea, an independent country since 1975.
  • It is world’s second largest island after Greenland

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea [Capital: Port Moresby]

  • It is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.
  • It encompasses the following:
    • eastern half of New Guinea
    • the Bismarck Archipelago (New Britain, New Ireland, the Admiralty Islands, and several others)
    • Bougainville and Buka (part of the Solomon Islands chain); and small offshore islands and atolls
  • The national capital is located in south-eastern New Guinea on the Coral Sea

 Bismarck Archipelago

  • It is an island group of Papua New Guinea in the Bismarck Sea, southwestern Pacific Ocean
  • It lies northeast of the island of New Guinea
  • The largest components of the archipelago are:
    • New Britain
    • New Ireland
    • Admiralty Islands
    • New Hanover


Why in news?

Germany has agreed to officially recognize the colonial-era killings of tens of thousands of people in Namibia as genocide and to spend a total of 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), largely on development projects.

  • Germany’s financial package worth 1.1 billion euros will be paid separately to existing aid programmes in the country over the next three decades.
  • The accord with Namibia is the result of more than five years of talks on the events of 1904-1908, when Germany was the southern African country’s colonial ruler.
  • Several members of the Herero and Nama tribes have criticized the latest deal, arguing that it was a PR stunt by Germany.

What is the Namibia genocide?

As per historians, German Gen. Lothar von Trotha, who was sent to what was then German South West Africa to put down an uprising by the Herero and Nama tribes in 1904, instructed his troops to wipe out the entire tribe. They say that about 65,000 Herero were killed and at least 10,000 Nama.

  • The atrocities committed in what was then known as German South West Africa have been described by some historians as the first genocide of the 20th century.

Namibia [Capital: Windhoek]

  • Bordering countries:
    • Angola
    • Botswana
    • South Africa
  • Namib Desert:
    • One of the oldest and largest deserts, the Namib stretches inland from the Atlantic Ocean, covering large part of Namibia and parts of Angola and South Africa.
    • Its name is derived from the Nama language, implying “an area where there is nothing.”
    • The southern portion of Namib desert merges with the Kalahari
    • Namib Sand Sea: The Namib Sand Sea lies at the heart of the Namib desert. It is a vast area of spectacular sand dunes that was granted UNESCO World heritage site status in 2013
  • Kalahari Desert: It occupies almost all of Botswana, the eastern third of Namibia, and the northernmost part of Northern Cape province in South Africa.
  • Tropic of Capricorn passes through Namibia

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