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News Analysis

  • 24 Dec 2018
  • 11 min read

Indonesia Tsunami

A tsunami killed more than 200 people and injured hundreds on the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra following an underwater landslide believed to be caused by the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano.

  • Anak Krakatau is the island that emerged from the area once occupied by Krakatau, which was destroyed in 1883. It first appeared in 1927 and has been growing ever since.
  • In August 1883, Krakatoa underwent one of the most violent volcanic eruptions in recorded history:
    • Massive tsunamis with waves of up to 41m killed more than 30,000 people.
    • Thousands more were killed by hot ash.
    • The eruptions were equivalent to 200 megatons of TNT - about 13,000 times the nuclear yield of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
    • World temperatures dropped by more than 1°C the following year.
    • The volcanic island virtually disappeared.
  • High seas as a result of the full moon also contributed to the strength of the waves.
  • Tsunami warning buoys are positioned to warn about tsunamis originated by earthquakes at underwater tectonic plate boundaries and not for those by volcanoes.
  • Moreover, the proximity of the volcano to the coast gave authorities very little time to act.
  • Indonesia is prone to tsunamis because it lies on the Ring of Fire - the line of frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific rim.
    • Earlier in September, 2018 more than 2,000 people died when a powerful earthquake struck just off the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi, setting off a tsunami.


  • Tsunami is a Japanese term meaning a harbor wave. It is also commonly known as killer waves.
  • A Tsunami is not just a single wave but a series of ocean waves called a wave train caused by an underwater earthquake, by a volcanic eruption, landslide, rapid changes in atmospheric pressure, or a meteorite.
  • However, tsunamis caused by volcanic activity are less frequent.
  • Most tsunamis–about 80 percent–happen within the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” a geologically active area where tectonic shifts make volcanoes and earthquakes common.
  • Tsunamis race across the sea at up to 500 miles (805 kilometers) an hour—about as fast as a jet airplane. At that pace, they can cross the entire expanse of the Pacific Ocean in less than a day.
  • Since they are long wavelengths, they lose very little energy along the way.
  • In December 2015, the UN General Assembly designated 5 November as World Tsunami Awareness Day.

Indian History

Lalitgiri- a treasure trove of Buddhism in Odisha

Prime Minister will inaugurate the museum at Lalitgiri in Odisha which is one of the earliest Buddhist settlements.

  • Three sites - Lalitgiri (the red hill), Ratnagiri (hill of precious gems), Udayagiri (the hill of the rising sun) are known as the diamond triangle of Odisha representing a rich heritage of architecture and sculpture of the post Mauryan era Indian art which touched a new zenith of excellence.
  • Xuanzang (Hieun T’sang) the Chinese pilgrim,who visited Orissa during 639 A.D. left a vivid graphic account about the flourishing state of Buddhism.
  • The discovery of a huge number of sculptures, images, antiquity, fragments, stone tablets, potteries, coins, stone and terracotta tablets, and many huge stupas cemented the fact that these three places described by Xuanzang are the ruins of a university complex called Pushpagiri University which shared an equal status with Nalanda and Vikramshila universities.
  • The Diamond Triangle of Odisha shows that Buddhism was followed quite widely in Odisha and the place was also a centre of learning and excellence.


  • Lalitgiri is believed to be the most sacred among the three sites as it unearthed a massive stupa where a relic of Buddha was discovered inside a stone casket.
  • During excavation structural remains of a large brick built apsidal chaitya griha with a circular stupa in the center was found. The discovery of such edifice is first of its kind in the Buddhist context in Orissa.
  • Majority of the sculptures unearthed from excavation are the figures of Buddha in different postures belonging to Mahayanistic phase of Buddhism.
  • Inscribed potsherds belonging to different time spans i.e. post Mauryan period to 8th-9th century A.D. have been found which suggest that the Lalitgiri was under occupation by the both Hinayana and Mahayana sects.
  • In subsequent period the site came under the control of Vajrayana faith of Buddhism patronized by the ruling Bhaumakaras (9th-10th cent A.D).
  • It is evident how Hinduism made an entry into Buddhism through Vajrayana. All Buddhist gods and goddesses have replicas of various Hindu gods. Some of them like Aparajita Tara, Padmapani, Hariti, Vajrapani, Manjusri are close to common Hindu gods.
  • Lalitgiri is one of the earliest Buddhist sites of Orissa shows the cultural continuity right from the post Mauryan period to 13th century A.D without any break.


  • Udayagiri known as Madhavapura Mahavihara was a prominent centre of Buddhism between the 7th and 12th centuries.
  • The excavation had partially revealed a double storied monastic complex datable to 8th century A.D. and important antiquities images of Buddha, Tara, Manjusri, Avalokitesvara, Jatamukuta Lokesvara and terracotta sealings.


  • Excavation of this site brought to light the remains of a magnificent Buddhist establishment consisting of a stupa, monastic complex, shrines, votive stupas, myriad of sculptures, architectural fragments and other antiquities.
  • Many giant Buddha heads are found here which resemble the Buddha heads found in Barbadur in Indonesia and Anuradhapura in Sri lanka.

Important Facts For Prelims

Important Facts for Prelims (24th December 2018)

Rampant Killing of Mongoose

  • Recently Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and the Uttar Pradesh forest department seized raw mongoose hair and painting brushes made from it.
  • Mongooses are small carnivorous mammals, with a long body and tail and a grizzled or banded coat widely found in India.
  • They are listed under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and their hunting, possession, transportation and trade are offences, punishable with imprisonment up to seven years. They are also protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • Traditional hunting communities that prey on them include the Narikuruvas in Tamil Nadu, Hakki Pakki in Karnataka, Gonds in Andhra and Karnataka, and the Gulias, Seperas and Nath in central and northern India. These communities are the main suppliers of raw mongoose hair.
  • Six different species are found across the country: Indian grey mongoose, small Indian mongoose, ruddy mongoose, crab-eating mongoose, stripe-necked mongoose and brown mongoose. The Indian grey mongoose is the most commonly found species and also the most hunted.

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau

  • WCCB is a statutory multi-disciplinary body under Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
  • It is mandated to collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities.
  • It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act and CITES.

Award for National Unity

  • Prime Minister has announced the institution of a new national honour for national unity on the pattern of Padma Awards drawing inspiration from Sardar Patel’s contribution towards unification of the country.
  • The annual award will be given to an Indian who has contributed to national unity in any manner.

Agni-IV Missile Successfully Test-Fired

  • India successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable long-range ballistic missile Agni-IV, with a strike range of 4,000 km.
  • The surface-to-surface missile was flight tested from launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range at Dr Abdul Kalam Island, earlier known as Wheeler Island.
  • It is a two-stage solid-propelled missile, about 20 metres tall and weighs 17 tonnes.
  • It is equipped with modern and advanced ring laser gyro-based Inertial Navigation system (RINS).
  • The missile is supported by highly reliable redundant micro navigation system (MINGS) to give better accuracy.
  • It is also equipped with 5th generation onboard computer with a distributed architecture.
  • The seventh successful trial of Agni-IV missile comes soon after the second pre-induction trial in a canisterised version of Agni V.
  • Ballistic missiles like Agni-I, II and III and Prithvi have already been included in the arsenal of the armed forces. Agni IV, and Agni V are undergoing trials.

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