Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Aug 08, 2017

1)   Who played the Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter franchise?

a. Benedict Clarke
b. Alan Rickman
c. Robbie Coltrane
d. Robert Hardy
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Robert Hardy

Actor Robert Hardy, a familiar face on British television who also played the minister of magic in the Harry Potter franchise, has died aged 91.

Hardy giant career in theatre, television and film spanning more than 70 years.

Hardy was a meticulous linguist, a fine artist, a lover of music and a champion of literature, as well a highly respected historian, and a leading specialist on the longbow".

Born in 1925, Hardy started his career at 24 in a stage adaptation of William Shakespeare's Coriolanus, the first of many theatre roles.

He was also part of several long-standing television shows, including the BBC's famed All Creatures Great and Small, which ran for 12 years.

The Bafta-nominated actor later appeared in the Harry Potter films as Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge, beginning with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002.

He reprised the role in 2004's Prisoner of Azkaban, 2005's Goblet of Fire, and 2007's Order of the Phoenix.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling tweeted expressing grief over Hardy's demise.

Hardy was awarded a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) - one of Britain's highest honours - in 1981 for his services to acting.

2)   Which RSS leader has the Mughalsarai railway junction in UP been named after?

a. Deendayal Upadhyaya
b. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee
c. Jai Prakash Narayan
d. Mohan Bhagwat
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Deendayal Upadhyaya

Mughalsarai railway junction in UP has been renamed after RSS ideologue and Jana Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyaya in keeping with the “sentiments of the people”.

In this eastern UP town, Upadhyaya's body was found lying on the tracks in 1968.

Since the 1970s, the Parivar has been referring to Mughalsarai as Deendayal Upadhyaya Nagar.

In 1992, the then BJP government had wanted to rename the station and township after Upadhyaya, along with Allahabad and Faizabad.

But that year, the Babri Masjid was demolished and Chief Minister Kalyan Singh had to quit on “moral grounds”.

In the late 19th century, the British brought the railways to India, and Mughalsarai popped up on the railway map when East Indian Railway Company laid tracks connecting Howrah and Delhi.

In the early 1880s, the Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway linked up with the East Indian Railway through the Dufferin Bridge (today Malviya Bridge) at Mughalsarai and the station became a junction

As the railways united India, Mughalsarai entered the popular lexicon. Today, it's the fourth-busiest station on the Indian Railways' network and still the last major station in UP before eastbound trains stop at Katihar Junction in Bihar.

Mughalsarai: Know More

  • Mughalsarai is the birthplace of India's second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
  • Its primary association is still with the railways with the junction is the most easily identifiable marker.
  • The station contains the largest railway marshaling yard in Asia.
  • It is 12.5 km long and handles around 1,500 wagons daily.
  • The largest wagon repair workshop of the Indian Railways is also located.

3)   NASSCOM foundation has joined hands with which firm to establish a rural digital literacy centre (the first in Telangana) in Peddashapur Village?

a. Arcesium
b. Cesium
c. Arces
d. Arcesi
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Arcesium

Nasscom Foundation and post-trade technology firm Arcesium jointly established the first rural digital literacy centre in Telangana, in Peddashapur village, on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

The Centre trains people in use of computers and mobile phones so that they will be able to register for Aadhar, ration, PAN cards, pay bills, send emails and use the internet for multiple utilities.

The initiative is under the ePradhan Mantri Gamin Digital Saksharta Abhiyaan.

Arcesium is supporting the training infrastructure and the trainers at the centre with the help of its implementation partner, Nirmaan Organisation.

The centre is equipped to train as many as 1,000 beneficiaries from under-privileged communities around the Peddashapur area.

The legislator representing Rajendranagar, Prakash Goud said it was necessary for children from villages to develop their competitive skills.

This is the tenth centre in Telangana. Nine centres are in cities. So far, around 7,000 youths have been trained, with each centre accounting for 1,000-1,200.

At the national level so far, 170 centres have been established.

The Centre has devised a curricular of 20 hours with two hours per day to impart training on how to use internet, how to use various apps the Centre has introduced and avail benefit from the schemes.

The collaboration with Nasscom will be further strengthened to reach more rural youth and skill them.

4)   Who has been appointed the World Bank ED to represent the constituency of India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan?

a. S. Aparna
b. Subhash Garg
c. D. Aparna
d. Suhash Garg
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: S. Aparna

S. Aparna, an IAS officer from Gujarat cadre has been appointed as Executive Director, World Bank to represent the constituency of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka for three years.

A 1988-batch IAS, she is currently Principal Secretary to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. At the World Bank, she will replace Subhash Garg.

Garg was recently appointed Economic Affairs Secretary, Ministry of Finance.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared

Ms. Aparna’s name for the position.

Her appointment order was issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

Among the top positions she held in Gujarat includes Principal Secretary, Economic Affairs, Surat Municipal Commissioner and Joint Secretary, urban development at centre.

Known for her integrity and focused approach, she was the most influential bureaucrat in the State administration under Mr. Rupani.

Meanwhile, according to sources, a senior Gujarat cadre officer serving the central deputation is likely to return the state as her replacement.

5)   Which planet is called the hot Jupiter in the constellation Puppis?

a. WASP-12b
b. WASP-121b
c. WASP-12a
d. WASP-121a
Answer  Explanation 


Discovered in 2016 by astronomers at the WASP-South survey, WASP-121b is 1.87 times bigger than Jupiter and 1.18 times more massive.

Its host star, WASP-121 (TYC 7630-352-1), is an active F6-type main-sequence star about 1.5 times the size of the Sun.

The WASP-121 system is located 881 light-years away in the constellation Puppis.

WASP-121b is a so-called ‘hot Jupiter’ and takes just 1.3 days to orbit WASP-121. It is so close to the parent star that if it got any closer, the star’s gravity would start ripping it apart.

Astronomers estimate the planet’s temperature to be about 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit (2,500 degrees Celsius), hot enough to boil some metals.

Previous research found possible signs of a stratosphere on WASP-33b as well as some other hot Jupiters.

The new study presents the best evidence yet because of the signature of hot water molecules that astronomers observed for the first time.

This result is exciting because it shows that a common trait of most of the atmospheres in our solar system - a warm stratosphere - also can be found in exoplanet atmospheres.

Theoretical models have suggested stratospheres may define a distinct class of ultra-hot planets, with important implications for their atmospheric physics and chemistry.

These observations support this picture.

To study the stratosphere of WASP-121b, the team observed a secondary eclipse of the planet using the Wide Field Camera onboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the Infrared Array Camera onboard NASA’s Spitzer space telescope.

The researchers analysed how different molecules in the stratosphere react to particular wavelengths of light.

Water vapour in the planet’s atmosphere, for example, behaves in predictable ways in response to certain wavelengths of light, depending on the temperature of the water.

Starlight is able to penetrate deep into a planet’s atmosphere, where it raises the temperature of the gas there.

This gas then radiates its heat into space as infrared light.

However, if there is cooler water vapour at the top of the atmosphere, the water molecules will prevent certain wavelengths of this light from escaping to space.

But if the water molecules at the top of the atmosphere have a higher temperature, they will glow at the same wavelengths.

The emission of light from water means the temperature is increasing with height.

In Earth’s stratosphere, ozone gas traps ultraviolet radiation from the Sun, which raises the temperature of this layer of atmosphere.

Other solar system bodies have stratospheres, too; methane is responsible for heating in the stratospheres of Jupiter and Saturn’s moon Titan, for example.

In solar system planets, the change in temperature within a stratosphere is typically around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 56 degrees Celsius).

On WASP-121b, the temperature in the stratosphere rises by 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (560 degrees Celsius).

The astronomers do not yet know what chemicals are causing the temperature increase in WASP-121b’s atmosphere.

Vanadium oxide and titanium oxide are candidates, as they are commonly seen in brown dwarfs.

Such compounds are expected to be present only on the hottest of hot Jupiters, as high temperatures are needed to keep them in a gaseous state.

6)   IIT Delhi team of lady researchers have developed a new drug delivery platform using nanoparticles which targets what type of infections?

a. Fungal
b. Bacterial
c. Viral
d. Inflammatory
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Bacterial

An all-women team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi has developed a new drug delivery platform, using nanoparticles, which they say will more effectively target bacterial infections.

This is improving chances of recovery from cancer-related secondary infections.

The team consists of two faculty members - Neetu Singh from the Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Shalini Gupta from the Department of Chemical Engineering - and their students Smita Patil and Rohini Singh.

The nanotechnology-based delivery system would be specifically useful for cancer patients because if the bacterial infection in cancer remains untreated, it can infect the host even after the cancer cells are killed by chemotherapy.

The scientists are focusing not on mammalian cells, but on bacteria which slip into the cancer cells.

7)   IISC researchers discovered sensitive nanometre scale sensor employing innovative fabrication technique centring around detection of which gas?

a. Carbon dioxide
b. Carbon monoxide
c. Calcium carbonate
d. Sulphur dioxide
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Carbon monoxide

Indian Institute of Science researchers have developed a highly sensitive nanometre-scale carbon monoxide sensor by employing an innovative fabrication technique.

It is known that carbon monoxide (CO) can have adverse effects on the health of people exposed to it. Hence, it becomes necessary to have good, low-cost carbon-monoxide sensors.

Typically, a sensor would be a thin, current carrying plate whose resistance changes on exposure to carbon monoxide.

This in turn changes the value of the current flowing through it. This change when measured indicates the level of carbon monoxide in the air.

Most available sensors are in the micrometer range, a nanometer-sized detector would have a higher sensitivity, but the cost of manufacturing it goes up as the size decreases.

This is where the work of C.S. Prajapati and coworkers of Indian Institute of Science comes in.

To build this zinc-oxide (ZnO) nanostructure on a silicon wafer substrate, the researchers first placed tiny polystyrene beads on the wafer.

These beads arrange themselves into what is called a hexagonal close-packed structure on the oxidised silicon wafer.

Maintaining a reasonable level of vacuum, a high voltage is applied which “etches away” the surfaces of the beads until a gap of desired thickness is formed between adjacent beads.

Then zinc oxide is deposited on the system.

This occupies the spaces between the beads, forming a honeycomb like nano-mesh that can function as a nanosenor.

Scaling down from 10 micrometer feature size to 10 nanometer feature (used in this work) can enhance the efficiency 1,000 times.

However, the development cost of nanostructured gas sensors using existing lithography tools is really very high, which eventually impacts the overall cost of the device.

This device is also easy to scale for mass production.

Nanostructure-based gas sensors are very promising in their performance due their high surface-to-volume ratio. The existing techniques to create honeycomb nanostructures using photolithography and e-beam lithography are expensive and time-consuming.

The proposed technique can potentially reduce the cost by more than 50%.

If these sensors were at traffic intersections, we can do real time mapping of pollution hot-spots in a city.

This would be an enabler in realizing smart cities.

8)   Researchers have found two new species of an ancient plant whose fossils date to Jurassic period and are called living fossils consequently?

a. Cycas
b. Ficus
c. Jacaranda
d. Laburnam
Answer  Explanation 


Research conducted on a tree found in the Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden in West Bengal has revealed two new species of Cycas to the world.

Cycas are one of the most ancient plants whose fossils date to the Jurassic period and are often referred to as “living fossils”.

While initial studies on the lone tree revealed that it was Cycas, a gymnosperm, further research based on its morphological and anatomical characters led to the discovery of new species of Cycas pschannae and, later, Cycas dharmrajii in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The species were named after scientists Paramjit Singh Channa and Dharmraj S. Mishra.

This discovery takes the number of Cycas species found in the country to 14.

“The lone Cycas pschannae found in the Botanic Garden may have been planted by the British.

Cycads are very slow growing trees and this particular tree did not catch much attention before 2001 when we started working on it.

Of the nine locations where the species was found, it was only at two places that a congregate population of significant adult plants could be located, Mr. Singh said.

The scientists found about 1,200 plants at Middle Andaman Curt Burt Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, which included only 13 adult trees and 500 in North Andaman, Ross Island which also had 13 adults.

In the rest of the places the population of the new species was scattered with very few adult plants.

It was while hunting for Cycas pschannae that the scientist laid his eyes on Cycas dharmrajii in Table Excelsior Island.

Cycas dharmrajii, whose morphological and anatomical details were made public in the Nordic Journal of Botany in April, is characterised by the abnormal branching habit of its giant trunk and its swollen base.

Unique features of Newly Discovered Cycas

  • What makes the Cycas dharmrajii distinct from other Cycas found in the country is the well-defined 10 to 28 hook-like structures in the apex of the mega sporophyll (sporophyll are spore-bearing leaf-like female sex organ of the plant).
  • The sporophylls of Cycas pschannae are characterised by the presence of two lateral horn-like structures.
    According to scientists, Cycas evolved on the earth as the first seeded plants and they grow very slowly, adding only a few centimetres every year.
  • Nearly 65% of Cycas are threatened but what makes the flora unique is that despite being a contemporary of the dinosaur, the genus continues to thrive.
  • There are over 100 species of Cycas found across the globe.

9)   When was the third national handloom day celebrated?

a. 7th August 2017
b. 6th August 2017
c. 5th August 2017
d. 4th August 2017
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 7th August 2017

Union Minister of State, Textiles, Shri Ajay Tamta presided over the 3rd National Handloom Day celebrations in Guwahati.

The handloom weavers should be able to earn due value for their produce, and that Government is working in this direction.

Hathkargha Samvardhan Sahayata Scheme under which Government of India assists the weaver by bearing 90% of the cost of new looms and MUDRA scheme, under which loans ranging from INR 50,000/- to 10 lakh can be availed by the weavers, with no requirement for any security whatsoever were discussed.

Ministry of Textiles has entered into MoUs with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) whereby children of weavers shall be able to avail school and university education, with 75% of fees being borne by the Government of India.

More than 50% of total weaver population of India resides in North Eastern Region, most of whom are women. He said that the prime objective of holding National Handloom Day in Guwahati is to empower women and girls.

There is a huge potential of Handloom sector in North East.

An MoU was signed on the occasion, between Ministry of Textiles and Common Service Centres, under which weavers will be able to avail a wide array of Government services under one roof - from Weavers’ Service Centres (WSCs).

The WSCs will henceforth serve as a one-stop centre for weavers, providing various services, including banking, passport, insurance, PAN card, voter ID and AADHAAR.

Weavers will also be able to pay their electricity bills and undertake online courses at WSCs.

There are 28 WSCs under the Office of Development Commissioner (Handlooms), Ministry of Textiles, functioning in various parts of the country.

Weavers visit these WSCs frequently, in order to avail technical assistance in relation to their profession.

Another MoU was signed on the occasion, between Ministry of Textiles and designers under which reputed textile designers will work closely with handloom weavers, passing on design assistance and knowledge.

This is thereby expected to improve the market potential of the handloom products and improve the earnings of weavers.

The Minister also distributed some educational material to handloom weavers.

Study material developed in collaboration with National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) was also distributed to children of handloom weavers.

The National Handloom Day was celebrated across the country.

The Union Textiles Minister addressed a gathering at Ahmedabad. Various programmes were held in universities, schools and other institutions as well.