1 . Winter may be warmer than the 40-year ‘normal’ winter temperatures 

  • Winter temperatures across the country are, are on the whole, expected to be cooler than last year.
  • However in keeping with the trend in recent years, they are likely to be warmer than the 40-year ‘normal’ winter temperatures, according to a forecast by the India Meteorological Department.
  • In general, maximum and minimum temperatures across most States are likely to elevated.
  • The season-averaged mean temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal by 0.5C to 1C in all the subdivisions of the entire country.


2 .  India may join the Russia-led Rooppur nuclear power plant construction in Bangladesh

  • Discussions are on for India to join the Russia-led Rooppur nuclear power plant construction in Bangladesh.
  • Russia is building two reactors of 1,200 MW each at Rooppur in Bangladesh and India has expressed its keenness to join the project.
  • Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally launched the main construction work of the Rooppur plant on Thursday morning. It is the country’s first nuclear power plant.
  • As it is not a member of the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), India cannot directly take part in the construction of nuclear power plants but has individual agreements with Bangladesh and Russia.
  • In December 2014, India and Russia signed the “Strategic Vision for Strengthening Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy”, which allows the two sides to explore opportunities for sourcing materials, equipment and services from Indian industry for the construction of Russian-designed nuclear power plants in third countries.


3 . Parsis split on Udvada festival

  • Sleepy Udvada, in Gujarat, home to the Iranshah Atash Behram, the pre-eminent fire temple for Parsi Zoroastrians, is perking up to celebrate the Iranshah Udvada Utsav.
  • The event is being held for the second time; the first, in 2015, got a huge positive response from Parsis, but also criticism. This year too, a section of the tiny community are unhappy about the ‘fun and frolic’ at a holy place.
  • According to the criticisers ,it is the holiest place, where the king of fire is placed and a Parsi is expected to visit at least once in a lifetime. They don’t think one should have a festival full of music, dance and celebrations at such a holy place.

Where is Udvada ?

  • Udvada is a town in Gujarat, renowned for its Zoroastrian Atash Behram. This place of worship is the oldest still-functioning example of its kind, and has established Udvada as a pilgrimage center for Zoroastrians the world over.

What is Atash Behram ?

  • An Atash Behram (Fire of Victory) is the highest grade of a fire that can be placed in a (Zoroastrian) fire temple.
  • The establishment and consecration of this fire is the most elaborate of all the grades of fire.
  • It involves the gathering of 16 different types of fire, including lightning, fire from a cremation pyre, fire from trades where a furnace is operated, and fires from the hearths .
  • Each of the 16 fires is then subject to a purification ritual before it joins the others. 32 priests are required for the consecration ceremony, which can take up to a year to complete.

What is a Fire temple ?

  • A fire temple in Zoroastrianism is the place of worship for Zoroastrians, often called dar-e mehr (Persian) or agiyari (Gujarati).
  • In the Zoroastrian religion, fire together with clean water  are agents of ritual purity.
  • Clean, white ash for the purification ceremonies is regarded as the basis of ritual life.


4 . Eight dead in Kerala, Tamil Nadu as Cyclone Ockhi heads towards Lakshadweep

  • Torrential rain hit southern districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala claiming eight lives — four each in the two states — as a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal intensifies into cyclonic storm ‘Ockhi.’
  • The heavy rainfall brought life to a halt in these districts.
  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday issued a cyclone warning for South Kerala, and adjoining districts of south Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep Islands.
  • As per the latest satellite images released by the IMD, the cyclonic storm Ockhi was moving west-northwestwards towards Lakshwadeep Islands and is likely to further intensify into a severe cyclonic storm.

What is cyclone Ockhi?

  • The first tropical storm of the season.
  • The name Ockhi is coined by Bangladesh, which in Bengali means ‘eye’.
  • According to Hurricane Research Division, tropical cyclones are named to provide ease of communication between forecasters and the general public regarding forecasts, watches, and warnings.
  • Cyclones forming in the North Indian Ocean basin are named by the Indian Meteorological Department.
  • The next cyclone will be named by India and it will be called ‘Sagar’.

How did cyclone Ockha form?

  • The deep depression in the south of Kanyakumari and west of Sri Lanka, intensified and resulted into a cyclonic storm.
  • The cyclone moving at a speed of 38 kmph, was located at Latitude 7.5°N and Longitude 77.5°E, around 55 km south of Kanyakumari, 120 km southwest of Thiruvananthapuram, 480 km east-­southeast of Minicoy and 340 km west-­northwest of Galle in Sri Lanka and is moving towards Lakshadweep island.