1.GOVT APPROVES CONSTRUCTION OF ZOJI LA TUNNEL
India approved a strategic road transport project to boost all-weather connectivity between key sectors of Srinagar, Kargil and Leh in a bid to better secure its borders in Jammu and Kashmir.
- The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) approved the construction, operation and maintenance of the two-lane, bi-directional Zoji La tunnel in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode.
- The new project will provide year-round access to the Leh region, which gets cut off due to bad weather in winter, allowing Indian security forces to check infiltration and stock up on crucial supplies and ammunition.
- The project will be implemented by the ministry of road transport and highways through the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corp. Ltd.
- The project has strategic and socioeconomic importance and shall be an instrument for the development of the economically backward districts in Jammu & Kashmir. The move will also boost tourism in the region and, in turn, improve the local economy.
2.FIRST ‘BLUE MOON’ TOTAL ECLIPSE IN 150 YEARS
- A rare total lunar eclipse that involves the second full moon of the month — popularly referred to as a Blue Moon — is set to take place on January 31 for the first time in over 150 years.
- This will be the first eclipse of 2018. For some parts of Asia, including India, the eclipse will already be under way as the moon rises.
- Central and eastern Asia, Indonesia, New Zealand and most of Australia will get a fine view of the Blue Moon.
- Alaska, Hawaii and northwestern Canada will see the eclipse from start to finish. Moonset will intervene for the rest of North and Central America.
3.LAND BORDER CROSSING
The Union cabinet approved the agreement between India and Myanmar on land border crossing.
- The agreement will facilitate regulation and harmonization of existing free movement rights for people residing in the border areas of both the countries.
- It will also facilitate movement of people on the basis of valid passports and visas which will enhance economic and social interaction between the two countries.