1) Which of these is the world's smallest porpoise?
a. Vaquita Marina
b. Harbour porpoise
c. Finless porpoise
d. Dall's porpoise
ANSWER: Vaquita Marina
International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita has warned Mexico's vaquita marina is edging closer to extinction.
Only 30 were left despite efforts to intercept illegal fishing nets destroying the world's smallest porpoise.
Following the current rate of loss, the vaquita will decline by 2022 until the current gillnet ban is maintained and enforced effectively.
Previous census between September and December 2015 had found around 60 vaquitas.
There were 200 of them in 2012 and 100 in 2014.
A large fish called totoaba is frequently the prey which is targeted and in whose fishing nets, the vaquitas are inadvertantly caught.
Totobas are eaten in soup in China where they are sold for thousands of dollars.
The porpoise is also known as the panda of the sea because of the dark rings around the eyes.
This cretacian is 5 feet in length.
The vaquitas currently exist in the Gulf of California only.
Vessels, small aircrafts, and dolphins trained by the US Navy could also be used to locate vaquitas.
President Enrique Pena Nieto deployed the navy in 2015 to stop illegal fishing, increased the vaquita protection area and imposed a two-year ban on gillnets. Drones joined the effort in 2016.
There have been calls for permanent ban on all gillnets and that their sale or possession on land in the vaquita region be made illegal. Also more vigorous efforts to prosecute totoaba smulggers or anyone connected with illegal fishing are on.
2) When is World Wetlands Day celebrated?
a. Feb 2
b. Feb 3
c. Feb 4
d. Feb 5
ANSWER: Feb 2
World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2 each year.
This marks the Day the Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian City of Ramsar in 1971.
India is a party to the Convention since 1982 and committed to the Ramsar approach of judiscious use of wetlands.
Continued functioning of wetlands has acquired a new meaning in the age of increasing water and food security.
Wetlands are the life support for a range of plant and animal life.
As wetlands degrade, the existence of these life forms would be under stress.
At the same time, it is for the security of human well-being, that wetland conservation acquires prominence.
As ‘kidneys of landscape’, wetlands receive flows of water and waste from upstream sources. They help stabilize water supplies, cleanse polluted waters, protect shorelines and recharge groundwater aquifers.
The extensive food chain and biological diversity in wetlands make them ‘biological supermarkets’.
Wetlands have special attributes as cultural heritage of humanity, and have deep connections with our beliefs and practices. They are an important part of our natural wealth and “liquid assets”.
Despite their tremendous value, wetlands are also one of the most rapidly degrading ecosystems.
The theme of World Wetlands Day for 2017 is ‘Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction’.
This year World Wetland Day is being celebrated in collaboration with the Government of Madhya Pradesh at Bhoj Wetlands, Bhopal.
This is one of the 26 Ramsar sites that India has designated under the Ramsar Convention.
All the State Governments have been requested to celebrate the World Wetland Day in their respective States in a befitting manner.
Wetlands are our natural buffers against increasing risk of floods, droughts and tropical cyclones.
Wetlands can act as sponges, storing peak rainfall and releasing water gradually during lean season.
Integration of wetlands within disaster risk reduction planning can be achieved by a series of collaborative actions between wetlands managers and those responsible for implementation disaster risk reduction actions.
States should constitute Wetland Authorities as nodal agencies for integrated policy, planning and regulation of wetlands.
Representation of Disaster Management Authorities should be ensured within the State Wetland Authorities.
Mass awareness campaigns should be undertaken to educate stakeholders from all walks of society, particularly local communities on the value of wetland ecosystems.
The Ministry accords high priority to wetlands conservation, and has a dedicated scheme of ‘National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems’ (NPCA) to support State Governments in integrated management of these ecosystems.
Till date, over 170 wetlands have been covered under the programme.
The Ministry has also introduced Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 as the regulatory framework for conserving wetlands of the country.
3) What is the share of nuclear power in the total electricity generation in the country in 2015-2016?
The share of nuclear power in the total electricity generation in the country was about 3.4% in the year 2015-16.
It will be progressively increased by addition of nuclear power capacity.
The present capacity of 5780 MW will reach 6780 MW by the end of this financial year, with the commercial operation of Kudankulam Unit-2, which is already generating infirm power at the rated capacity.
The capacity is expected to reach 9580 MW by 2020 on progressive completion of projects under construction and about 12980 MW by 2024 on completion of new projects accorded sanction.
A large expansion programme based on both Indian technologies and with foreign technical cooperation is planned ahead.
GoI has also given ‘in principle’ approval for the site at Kovvada in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.
This is for setting up six Light Water Reactors in cooperation with the USA.
Pre-project activities including land acquisition, obtaining statutory clearances and detailed site investigations are continuing at the site.
In parallel, discussions on the techno-commercial aspects with M/s Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) to arrive at a project proposal have also started.
4) Which famous Odia art and theatre personality received the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1998?
a. Sanjay Baru
b. Asim Basu
c. Sudarshan Pattnaik
d. None of the above
ANSWER: Asim Basu
Eminent stage craft director, theatre personality, actor, director, artist, painter and writer Asim Basu passed away after a prolonged illness at Capital Hospital on Feb 1, 2017.
Basu was closely associated with the art and culture scene of Odisha for over five decades. He was 82.
Born in a small village in north Balasore, Basu had left home to learn paintings from Kolkata as his family members did not want him to make painting a career.
More famous for his beautiful and graphic stage craft direction, Basu has received the state Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1998.
Besides, giving stage craft and art direction in more than 5 hundred plays and films, Basu directed over 2 hundred plays.
Suffering from acute lung infection, Basu was admitted in ICU of Capital hospital for the last few days.
Basu was chosen for Dharmapada Award for the year 2010, which he never received.
He had also directed two of the most popular plays 'Tata Niranjana' and 'Jane Raja Thile'.
5) Which noted Indian female singer became the first to collaborate with the UN for women empowerment?
a. Sunidhi Chauhan
b. Neeti Mohan
c. Alka Yagnik
d. None of the above
ANSWER: Neeti Mohan
Noted singer Neeti Mohan has become the first Indian female singer to collaborate with UN for women empowerment, joining Ashton Kutcher, Nicholas Cage, Demi Moore, Ashley Judd, Gillian Anderson for United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund project titled “Music To Inspire - Artists UNited Against Human Trafficking”.
She has composed Udne De as a tribute to all the women and in support of equality for all as a part of this project.
Over 60 renowned artists and dignitaries from around the world have collaborated with Rukus Avenue to participate in the “Music To Inspire - Artists UNited Against Human Trafficking” triple album.
This benefits the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, managed by the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime).
This is a collective fight by the music community to make a social statement and end human trafficking.
A 60+ track collection of inspiring music, will be officially released at an event at the United Nations headquarters in New York City this week.
Neeti had written Udne De during the Nirbhaya incident that happened in 2012.
Some of the other participants appearing on this project include:
- AR Rahman,
- Former President Jimmy Carter and
- Actress Tatyana Ali
- Joss Stone,
- Michael Franti,
- Vanessa Carlton,
- Anoushka Shankar,
- Ellis Hall,
- Daryl Hall & John Oates
The “Music To Inspire - Artists UNited Against Human Trafficking” album will benefit the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund.
This is one of the largest unified fronts of artists ever assembled for a charitable music album.About UN Voluntary Trust Fund
- On November 4, 2010, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons.
- This is to provide humanitarian, legal and financial aid to victims of human trafficking.
- The aim involves increasing the number of those rescued and supported, and broadening the extent of assistance they receive.
- The Fund was established in accordance with resolution A/RES/64/293 Article 38 of the General Assembly on 12 August 2010.
- This is part of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is designated as the Fund Manager for the Fund.
6) Chinese scientists have produced the first live cows resistant to which disease?
a. Bovine TB
b. Mad Cow Disease
c. Foot and Mouth disease
d. Bovine flu
ANSWER: Bovine TB
Chinese scientists from Northwest A&F University have produced world’s first live cows.
This has increased resistance to bovine tuberculosis (TB).
This development shows that genetic modification technology can be better suited to producing transgenic livestock with purposefully manipulated genetic.
Researchers had used a modified version of the CRISPR gene-editing technology called CRISPR/Cas9n.
This is to insert a new TB resistance gene NRAMP1 into the genome of bovine foetal fibroblasts, cell derived from female dairy cows.
These cells were then used as donor cells in a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer.
In it, nucleus of a donor cell carrying the new gene was inserted into an egg cell, known as an ovum, from a female cow.
These ovum were then nurtured in the lab into embryos and transferred into mother cows for a normal pregnancy cycle.
During this cycle, cows were produced with no off target effects on the animals’ genetics - a common problem when creating transgenic animals using CRISPR.
This scientific process revealed that NRAMP1 had successfully integrated into the genetic code at the targeted region in all of the calves.
When it was exposed to Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), bacterium that causes bovine TB, transgenic animals showed increased resistance to M. bovis.
Further in laboratory tests, the white blood cells taken from the calves also showed much resistance to M. bovis exposure.
CRISPR-Cas9: Know More
- CRISPR is the short form of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.
- It allows scientists to selectively edit genome parts and replace them with new DNA stretches.
- Cas9 is an enzyme that can edit DNA, allowing the alteration of genetic patterns by genome modification.
- CRISPR is a collection of DNA sequences that direct Cas9 where to cut and paste.
- CRISPR-Cas9 technology has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of blood diseases, tumours and other genetic diseases.
7) Scientists have confirmed a lost continent under which ocean?
Scientists confirm the existence of a lost continent under Indian Ocean's Mauritius island.
It is left over by the break-up of the super-continent Gondwana, which started about 200 million years ago.
The discovery was based on study of Zircon, a mineral found in rocks spewed up by lava during volcanic eruptions which is too old to belong to Mauritius.
The lost continent is just a small piece of island that probably broke of when Africa, India, Australia and Antarctica split up and formed the Indian Ocean.
The scientists found zircons on the island of Mauritius that are 3 billion years old.
These remnants are too ancient to belong to Mauritius as it has no rock older than 9 million years old.
The piece of crust of lost continent was subsequently covered by young lava during volcanic eruptions.
There are many pieces of various sizes of undiscovered continent which are collectively called as Mauritius.
Zircon: Know More
- Zircons are minerals that occur mainly in granite from the continents.
- They contain trace amounts of uranium, thorium and lead.
- They can survive geological processes.
- They contain a rich record and can be dated extremely accurately.
8) British MPs have voted ________ Brexit.
d. None of the above
Members voted by 498 to 114 to support the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.
This gives the government the parliamentary approval necessary to trigger Article 50, which gives the EU member-states a two-year period to withdraw.
The government was forced to bring in legislation before Parliament following a Supreme Court verdict last month, which held that the executive’s prerogative was not sufficient.
While MPs of different parties may attempt to bring amendments to the Bill at later stages, the government is likely to be able to keep to its Brexit timetable.
With Labour and the Conservative party backing legislation, it fell to rebels and other parties to oppose the Bill.
While many Conservatives have been critical of the government’s approach in the run-up to legislation, opposition within the party melted away.
Only Ken Clarke, a former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, to oppose the Bill at its second reading.
Former Chancellor George Osborne, warned of a constitutional crisis if the House did not pass legislation.
Labour’s position - which has been to support legislation, but push for reforms to ensure single market access and protections for workers - has drawn criticism from across parties.
The vote is, of course, not the end of the road.
Legislation will now have to pass to the committee stage where amendments to legislation will be considered and then voted on.
9) India Innovation Index ranks states on ________________
b. Economic development
c. Economic growth
d. None of the above
To make India an innovation-driven economy, NITI Aayog, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) together launched a mega initiative “India Innovation Index” on Feb 2nd 2017.
This will rank states on Innovations through country’s first online innovation index portal that will capture data on innovation from all Indian states on innovation and regularly update it in real time.
The India Innovation Index Framework will be structured based on the best practices followed in Global Innovation Index (GII) indicators.
Additionally it will function by adding India-centric parameters those truly reflect the Indian innovation ecosystem.
Inaugurating the India Innovation portal, Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Aayog said, “This portal will be a first-of-its-kind online platform where Global Innovation Index indicators and India–centric data from various states will be coalesced.”
Data collated on this portal will not only be used to ameliorate current data gaps w.r.t the GII, but be the prime source for the India Innovation Index, which will be jointly developed by NITI Aayog, DIPP and CII.
This is in consultation with World Economic Forum, the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University, OECD, UNIDO, ILO, UNESCO, ITU and others.
The aim is to rank Indian states as per their innovation prowess.
It will also provide impetus to them to build their respective innovation ecosystems and spur the innovation spirit among institutions and people.
Global Innovation Index: Know More
- The Global Innovation Index (GII), co-published by World-Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Cornell University and INSEAD with CII as a Knowledge Partner since inception.
- It has been ranking world economies including India since 2007 according to their innovation capabilities and outcomes.
- It uses 82 indicators among a host of other important parameters.
- It has established itself as both a leading reference on innovation and a ‘tool for action’ for policy makers.
- India currently ranks 66th out of 128 countries on the Global innovation Index (GII) 2016.