1) Which species has been named Xibalbaonyx oviceps by scientists?
a. Giant sloth
ANSWER: Giant sloth
Mexican scientists have discovered the fossilised remains of a previously unknown species of giant sloth that lived 10,000 years ago.
This sloth was found at the bottom of a sinkhole.
The Pleistocene-era remains were found in 2010, but were so deep inside the water-filled sinkhole that researchers were only gradually able to piece together what they were.
The skeleton is nearly complete, leading scientists to believe the sloth fell into the sinkhole when it was dry or had only a little water at the bottom.
They have named the new species Xibalbaonyx oviceps.
An initial analysis suggests the sloth lived between 10,647 and 10,305 years ago.
This marks an era when giant creatures of all kinds roamed the earth.
2) How many tectonic plates are there in the world?
A team of researchers from Rice University in Texas have discovered a new tectonic plate off the coast of Ecuador.
There were 56 plates; now, there are 57 - and researchers think there could be one more to find.
By measuring the rates of seafloor spreading and the angles at which the plates slip by each other, researchers can estimate the speeds at which plates spin.
In this case, the velocity of the plates doesn't sum to zero at all, as is usual.
It sums to 15 millimetres a year, which is huge.
The scientists surmised a plate was missing from the equation.
To find its boundaries, researchers mined a catalogue of multi-beam sonar soundings.
Anomalies in the data suggested the presence of a new plate east of the known Panama transform fault, a region originally believed to be part of the Nazca plate.
A diffuse boundary is best described as a series of many small, hard-to-spot faults rather than a ridge or transform fault that sharply defines the boundary of two plates.
Earthquakes along diffuse boundaries tend to be small and less frequent than along transform faults.
Therefore there was little information in the seismic record to indicate this one's presence."
When researchers crunched the seafloor spreading and boundary angle numbers again, they still couldn't zero out their equation.
This suggests the possibility of another plate.
3) India's Asian elephant population is pegged at what value?
Preliminary results from the first-ever synchronised all-India Elephant Population Estimation pegs India’s Asian elephant population at 27,312.
The estimate, derived from the sighting-based direct count method alone, will be confirmed with estimates from the indirect dung-count method in three months.
According to the report, released by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change on August 12, Karnataka has the highest number of elephants (6,049).
This is followed by Assam (5,719) and Kerala (3,054).
The numbers are lower than from the last census estimate in 2012 (between 29,391 and 30,711).
But experts say parallels cannot be drawn, because in the 2012 count, various states used different methodologies and the effort was not synchronised across the country;
The errors and duplication could have led to overestimation.
This time, a number of indices, including birth rate, indicate that the elephant population is increasing.
Due to habitat fragmentation, elephants are moving out to agricultural landscapes leading to an increase in man-elephant conflict.
The census, conducted between March and May this year, covered 1.10 lakh square kilometres and spanned four regions of the country: the northeast, east-central, south and north.
The Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) at the Indian Institute of Science (Bengaluru), several NGOs and independent conservationists aided the Project Elephant Directorate and forest departments of 23 states in this exercise
4) Which terror outfit in Aug 2017 has been declared as foreign terrorist organisation by US?
a. Hizbul Mujhahideen
b. Indian Mujahideen
d. Lashkar e Taiba
ANSWER: Hizbul Mujhahideen
The Hizbul Mujahideen was designated as a foreign terrorist organisation (FTO) by the US State Department on 16th Aug 2017.
The development comes nearly a month after the terrorist outfit’s chief Syed Salahuddin was labeled a specially designated global terrorist.
Established in 1989, the Hizbul Mujahideen is one of the oldest and the largest militant groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir.
Among other consequences, all of HM’s property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the group.
3 Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014, explosives attack in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which injured 17 people.
Through UNSC, New Delhi has been pushing for a ban on Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and its chief Syed Salahuddin, but has been vetoed by China.
5) NHAI has launched which mobile app(s) to facilitate electronic toll collection?
b. FASTag Partner
c. FASTag Yojana
d. Both a and b
e. All the above
ANSWER: Both a and b
National Highways Authority of India launched two mobile Apps - MyFASTag and FASTag Partner in New Delhi.
This is to facilitate the availability of FASTags for Electronic Toll Collection.
The cumbersome method of purchase and recharge of FASTags has been one of the major challenges with the ETC project.
The mobile Apps launched today will ease the process, making it possible to buy or recharge FASTags at the click of a mobile button.
MyFASTag is a consumer App that can be downloaded from the App Store for both Android and iOS systems.
A consumer can purchase or recharge FASTags on this App.
The App also helps to keep track of transactions and provides for online grievance redressal.
FASTag Partner is a merchant App.
Agencies like Common Services Centre, banking partners and vehicle dealers can sell and enrol FASTag through this App.
In addition to this, the App can also be used to activate the RFID tags that came built in with around 74 lakh cars in the country.
These RFID tags are already fixed on the cars but are dormant.
This App will convert these RFID tags into ETC Tag (FASTag).
Also dedicated FASTag lanes will become operational on all 371 NHAI toll plazas from 1st September 2017, he said.
Online sale of FASTags and offline sale through Common Services Centre (CSC) near toll plazas are also carried out.
FASTag can now be purchased online from Issuer Banks websites / NHAI website / IHMCL website and will be delivered by courier at the door step of the purchaser.
More than 6 lakh FASTags have been sold so far.
6) Which initiative was launched by MoEF for a Green Diwali?
a. Harit Diwali, Sahi Diwali
b. Harit Diwali, Green Diwali
c. Harit Diwali, Achha Diwali
d. Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali
ANSWER: Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali
Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, launched the “Harit Diwali, Swasth Diwali” campaign.
Later, Dr. Harsh Vardhan also administered a Pledge for a Green and Healthy Diwali to the gathering of students.
The Pledge will be widely circulated to the schools/colleges and other educational institutions.
The school administration will be requested to administer the said Pledge during their school assembly up to Diwali.
Students presented ‘Nukkad Nataks’ (street plays) and also sang “Prakriti Vandana” on the occasion.
As a part of the campaign, the Environment Ministry will undertake various activities to create awareness among various stakeholders and encourage people to participate in combating air pollution.
Green Diwali: Know More
- Some of the activities to promote Green Diwali among school children include stickers/logo distribution, poster competition, advertisement on public transport systems, public appeal using Radio/FM, involving industry associations and other stakeholders.
- As a part of the social media campaign, an online competition will be conducted, where any individual/organisation can make a video/audio clip on the theme ‘Pollution Free Diwali’.
- The best of these clips will be used officially to promote the theme across the country.
7) Name the first ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all woman crew?
a. Navika Sagar Protsahan
b. Navika Sagar Parichay
c. Navika Sagar Yatra
d. Navika Sagar Parikrama
ANSWER: Navika Sagar Parikrama
Navika Sagar Parikrama is a project wherein a team of women officers of the Indian Navy would circumnavigate the globe. The project is scheduled to commence in early Sep 17.
This on an Indian-built sail boat INSV Tarini. INSV Tarini is the sister vessel of INSV Mhadei.
The project is considered essential towards promoting Ocean Sailing activities in the Navy.
This is also while depicting Government of India’s thrust for ‘Nari Shakti’.
The first Indian Solo circumnavigation was undertaken by Capt Dilip Donde, SC (Retd) from 19 Aug 09 to 19 May 10. This was onboard the Indian built vessel, INSV Mhadei.
The first Indian non-stop solo circumnavigation was undertaken by Cdr Abhilash Tomy, KC from 01 Nov 12 to 31 Mar 13.
INSV Tarini, a 55 foot sailing vessel has been built by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, Goa.
Tarini was inducted into the Indian Navy on 18 Feb 17. The vessel has sailed approximately 8,000 Nm till date.
Navika Sagar Parikrama would be covered in five legs with stop-overs at four ports.
Additional aims of the Expedition are as follows:-
a. Nari Shakti - In consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential, the expedition aims to showcase ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform.
b. Environment and Climate Change - Sailing encourages the use of environment friendly non-conventional renewable energy resources which affects the life of women.
c. Make in India - The voyage also aims to show case the ‘Make in India’ initiative by sailing onboard the indigenously built INSV Tarini.
d. Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave Data Observation - The crew would also collate and update Meteorological/ Ocean/ Wave data on a daily basis for subsequent analysis by research and development organisations.
e. Marine Pollution - The crew would monitor and report marine pollution on the high seas.
f. Interaction with Local PIOs - Since the expedition aims to promote Ocean Sailing and the spirit of adventure, the crew would interact extensively with the local PIOs at the various port halts.