International Economy - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   China is planning its first national underwater observatory in?
- Published on 06 Mar 17

a. SCS
b. Shanghai
c. Beijing
d. Nanjing
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: SCS

Explanation:
China is planning to build its first national underwater observatory in the disputed South China Sea (SCS).

The observatory will allow China to keep a check on underwater physical, chemical, and geological dynamics in real time.

The construction work on the platform will be done with the help of Institute of Acoustics and Shanghai’s Tongji University.

South China Sea has been a disputed territory with China claiming almost all of the waters.

It carries third of the world’s maritime traffic and has huge amounts of oil and natural gas. Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also are claiming over the waters of SCS.


2)   Where will the Food Legumes Research Platform be set up?
- Published on 17 Feb 17

a. MP
b. UP
c. HP
d. AP
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: MP

Explanation:
Giving a fillip to agriculture research in the country, the government will set up a Food Legumes Research Platform (FLRP) at Amlaha, Sehore in Madhya Pradesh.

Its satellite hubs in West Bengal and Rajasthan.

The hub in West Bengal will research in pulses while the one in Rajasthan will focus on natural resource management for sustainable agriculture.

The research institute will be set up with the help of the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) which has an exceptional track record of innovation in climate resilient technologies.

This is including suitable food legume varieties for dry-land production systems.

The proposal in this regard was approved by the Union Cabinet in its meeting on 16th Feb 2017.

The Cabinet also gave its 'in principle' approval for conferring on the Food Legume Research Platform of ICARDA an "international status" as contemplated in Clause 3 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947.

After setting up the Centre, the ICARDA will carry out research through a multi-disciplinary team of scientists for enhancing productivity of crops and livestock.

FLRP will be reducing poverty, improving food security, improving nutrition and health, and sustaining the natural resource base.

Benefits of FLRP

  • The establishment of FLRP in India will enable India to harness the best of international science in meeting the emerging food security challenges.
  • India would be able to rapidly and effectively absorb the research output achieved in the country by FLRP.
  • A major international R&D institution will make India an even bigger centre for agricultural research in the world.
  • This in turn, will attract further research & development investment in the country.
  • The research output would benefit farmers of all regions, whether big, small or marginal; and as technologies developed would be eligible for use by all farmers, the project is equitable and inclusive.


3)   IMF has opened SARTTAC. What does it stand for?
- Published on 16 Feb 17

a. South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre
b. South Asia Technical and Training Assistance Centre
c. South America Technical and Training Assistance Centre
d. South America Training and Technical Assistance Centre
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre

Explanation:
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has opened a first-of-its-kind South Asia Training and Technical Assistance Centre (SARTTAC) in New Delhi for economic capacity building in South Asia.

It will work to support local member countries of South Asia namely India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka to build human and institutional capacity and implement policies for growth and poverty reduction.

Financed mainly by its six member South Asia countries (mentioned above) with additional support from Australia, South Korea, European Union and United Kingdom, its strategic goal is to help its member countries strengthen their institutional and human capacity.

The aim is to design and implement macroeconomic and financial policies that promote growth and reduce poverty.

It will permit the IMF to meet more of the high demand for technical assistance and training from the region.

It is expected to become the focal point for the delivery of IMF capacity development services to South Asia.

In 2016, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a capacity development centre for South Asia.

The opening of SARTTAC is part of the MoU and marks a major milestone in the partnership between the IMF and its member countries in the region.


4)   Which country has launched a 10 year plan to cut dependence on vegetable imports from India?
- Published on 24 Jan 17

a. Nepal
b. Pakistan
c. Bangladesh
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Nepal

Explanation:
Landlocked country Nepal has launched a 10 year plan to cut reliance on vegetable imports from India.

Though the western part of this nation has seen a rise in commercial vegetable farming, vegetable imports from India have continued to rise.

Region imports vegetables worth INR 55 billion each year from India.

Potatoes worth INR 370 million were annually imported. Green vegetable imports is pegged at INR 180 million.

Birgunj and Gadda Chauki are the two most important Indian trading outposts with Nepal.

Vegetable is cultivated in the following areas : Belauri, Krishnapur, Jhalari, Mahendranagar and Mahakali.

Production barely meets local demand.

The aim is to propose modern farm techniques to boost productivity, and making the country self-reliant in food.

Government has targeted making the country self-sufficient in maize and fish by the next three years.

Self reliance is sought in fruits like bananas, papaya and litchi by four years.

Towards its end, the project envisages becoming self-sufficient in fruits like kiwi, apple and orange.

Nepal Government: Know More

  • Government: Federal parliamentary republic
  • President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari
  • Vice President: Nanda Kishor Pun
  • Prime Minister: Pushpa Kamal Dahal
  • Speaker of House: Onsari Gharti Magar
  • Chief Justice: Sushila Karki
  • Legislature: Parliament


5)   Which country has banned the sale and production of burqa?
- Published on 16 Jan 17

a. Saudi Arabia
b. Pakistan
c. Iran
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

Explanation:
Morocco’s ban on the sale and production of burqa has sharply divided people in the N. African nation.

Award winning French-Moroccan novelist Leila Slimani said the burqa is not an item of clothing but an instrument of oppression.

Lawmaker and former minister Nouzha Skalli has said it will combat religious extremism.

Measure appeared to be motivated by security concerns, as criminals have repeatedly used this garment to perpetrate their crimes.”

Most women in Morocco, whose King Mohammed VI favours a moderate version of Islam, prefer the hijab headscarf that does not cover the face.

The niqab, which leaves the area around the eyes uncovered, is also worn in Salafist circles and in more conservative regions in the north.

Morocco: Know More

  • Morocco is officially known as the Kingdom of Morocco/The Western Kingdom
  • Location: Maghreb region of North Africa.
  • Geographically, Morocco is characterized by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert.
  • It is the only African country to have both an Atlantic and a Mediterranean coastline.
  • Morocco has a population of over 33.8 million and an area of 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi).
  • Capital: Rabat
  • Largest city is Casablanca.
  • Other major cities include Marrakesh, Tangier, Tetouan.


6)   Which government has issued a tax strike on digital economy?
- Published on 13 Jan 17

a. Australia
b. India
c. Africa
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Australia

Explanation:
Australian government has announced plans to tax all digital transactions, part of what treasurer Scott Morrison calls a “Tax Strike” on the growing digital economy.

The government is currently unable to tax Australia's USD 7.37 billion annual online transactions.

As Australia moves towards a modern cashless economy, the aim is to also ensure tax systems remain modern.

Google and Netflix taxes have also been imposed to ensure MNCs and online services were paying tax properly.

Government is aiming at proper taxation for all digital sales in Australia to ensure everyone is paying their fair share of tax.


7)   China launched its first freight train to which western destination in Jan 2016?
- Published on 05 Jan 17

a. London
b. Frankfurt
c. Paris
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: London

Explanation:
The PRC or People's Republic of China launched its first freight train to London (UK) with the aim to improve trade ties and strengthen connectivity with Britain and Western Europe.

The train departed from Yiwu West Railway station in eastern Zhejiang province of China. It will travel for 18 days over 12,000 km before reaching London.

The train will also pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, before reaching London.

It is carrying goods produced in Yiwu. London is the 15th city in European region added to China-Europe freight train services.

Success of the train will give impetus to China's One Belt and One Road Initiative, an infrastructure and trade network connecting Asia with Africa and EU along ancient trade routes.

One Belt and One Road Initiative: Know More

  • Also known as the Silk Road Economic Belt
  • Called the Belt and Road, One Belt, One Road (OBOR) or Belt and Road Initiative
  • It is a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
  • The initiative is a development strategy and framework put in place by Chinese leader XI Jingping
  • It focuses on connectivity and cooperation between China and Eurasia.
  • Comprises two components namely Silk Road Economic Belt (land based) and Maritime Silk Road (ocean going).
  • It was unveiled in Sept and Oct 2013 (SREB and MSR respectively).


8)   Chinese companies in a consortium have bought 40 percent ownership of Pak's only stock exchange in?
- Published on 04 Jan 17

a. Karachi
b. Lahore
c. Rawalpindi
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Karachi

Explanation:
A consortium of Chinese companies have purchased 40 percent of Pakistan's only stock exchange in Karachi.

This is the price Pakistan is paying in return for Chinese investments in CPEC.

CPEC is expected to cost USD 46 billion.

Karachi based Pakistan stock exchange agreed to sell the stakes for USD 85 million.

The consortium comprises three China bourses:

  • Shanghai based China Financial Futures Exchange
  • Shanghai Stock Exchange
  • Shenzhen Stock Exchange
The above 3 have taken 30 percent of the shares.

Another two companies, Pak-China Investment Company Limited and Habib Bank Limited have picked 5 percent each.

This is the first time Chinese companies have acquired a share of a foreign stock exchange.

Another Chinese consortium has been trying to acquire the Chicago stock exchange, but is facing resistance from US senators.

China is now trying to connect Shanghai stock exchange with London.

It has recently connected this stock exchange with Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

China Securities Regulatory Commission supports this acquisition.

Shanghai stock exchange said this would improve Pak-China ties and implement the Belt and Road Initiative and CPEC both.

PSX expected the investment will bring experience, technological assistance and new products.

Market will also be internationalised.

PSX: Know More
  • Formed: Jan 2016
  • Formed by merger of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad stock exchanges.
  • Included in emerging market index of Morgan Stanley Capital International in June 2016.
  • Market reforms have accelerated with Chinese investments.
  • This is making PSX appealing to global investors


9)   White House banned new oil and gas drilling in US waters of which oceans?
- Published on 26 Dec 16

a. Arctic
b. Atlantic
c. Pacific
d. Only a and b
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only a and b

Explanation:
The White House in the fourth week of Dec 2016 permanently banned all new oil and gas drilling in the US owned waters of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans.

The ban is the final effort to lock in environmental protections before Obama hands over office to president-elect Donald Trump.

To implement the ban on the two Oceans, an area that is roughly equal to the size of Thailand or Spain in Arctic and 31 sea canyons in the Arctic, Obama used a 1953 law under which a president can block the mining and sale of new offshore drilling rights.

Law makes it difficult for successors to reverse the decision. Ban was jointly announced by Obama and Justin Trudeau, Canada’s PM.

Obama who signed the Paris climate agreement in 2015 supports the ambitious plan of reducing the global warming.

Trump had a different opinion on agreements and threatened to cancel the Paris climate agreement.

Untapped energy reserves of the country is the focus of the president elect and it will exploit fossil fuels.

Obama’s decision will act as a blockade for Trump.

Action came against the backdrop of climate scientists, who urged the President to come up with regulations or executive order to protect his climate legacy.

Know More About Barack Obama

  • Assumed office: January 20, 2009
  • Vice President: Joe Biden
  • Preceded by: George W. Bush
  • United States Senator from Illinois
  • Full Name: Barack Hussein Obama II
  • Date of Birth: August 4, 1961 (age 55)
  • Place of Birth: Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
  • Political party: Democratic
  • Noble Peace Prize: 2009


10)   Which country nationalised its biggest commercial bank?
- Published on 21 Dec 16

a. Iran
b. Iraq
c. Ukraine
d. Russia
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Ukraine

Explanation:
Ukraine's biggest commercial bank, PrivatBank, has been nationalised in a move aimed at protecting 20 million customers and preserving financial stability in the country.

The nation's central bank said the problems faced by PrivatBank were mainly caused by its "imprudent lending policy" which led to capital losses.

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has reassured PrivatBank depositors that their money is safe.

The bank is operating normally.

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) declared PrivatBank insolvent on 18th Dec. The government subsequently backed the nationalisation.

About PrivatBank

  • Part-owned by the powerful billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky. He has big stakes in the media and energy industries & has frequently come into conflict with President Poroshenko.
  • 20 million Ukrainians who use the bank include 3.2 million pensioners, more than 500,000 students and 1.6 million socially vulnerable households.
  • Nationalisation also enables small businesses to continue trading and means 3.2 million public and private sector employees will continue to be paid.


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