Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Aug 21, 2017

1)   Which countries developed a two plus two ministerial dialogue in Aug 2017?

a. India and China
b. India and US
c. India and Pakistan
d. Indian and Bhutan
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: India and US

India and the US are reworking a key dialogue framework in place since 2015.

This is in a bid to shift bilateral ties to a higher strategic plane.

The India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, once described by the US State Department as the "signature mechanism for advancing the United States’ and India’s shared priorities," is to be replaced

Now, there will be a dialogue in which the foreign and defence ministers will participate.

The shared priorities include job creation, improving the business and investment climate and sustaining a rules-based global order.

The two countries will have a separate dialogue on commercial issues, which will not include the foreign ministers.

Till last year, trade and commercial issues were discussed in the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and the Trade Policy Forum.

The first Strategic and Commercial Dialogue was held in 2015 in Washington and the second in New Delhi last year.

It was seen as an elevation of the US-India Strategic Dialogue in place since 2009 and which focused on regional security, economic cooperation, defence, trade and climate challenges.

The new "two plus two" ministerial dialogue was announced in Aug third week in a White House readout of a telephone call between US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

This is on the eve of India completing 70 years as an independent country on 15 August.

The leaders resolved to enhance peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region by establishing a new 2-by-2 ministerial dialogue that will elevate their strategic consultations.

The new dialogue format will involve the Indian foreign minister and the US secretary of state as well as the Indian defence minister and the US defence secretary.

The US has strategic consultations in this format with key partners and allies including Australia, Japan and the Philippines.

India has had a dialogue in the two-plus-two format with Japan with secretaries or senior-most bureaucrats from the foreign and defence ministries engaging each other.


  • Interestingly, the announcement of the new two-plus-two dialogue to "enhance peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region" comes against the backdrop of a spike in tensions between India and China.
  • The Asian giants engaged in a military face-off on the Dokalam plateau in Bhutan.
  • It also comes amid reports of American disenchantment with China.
  • This is over its inability to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

2)   Nasa’s tracking and data relay satellite is called by which letter of the alphabet?

a. A
b. J
c. K
d. M
Answer  Explanation 


NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M).

This is the third and final in a series of next generation communications satellite.

It has successfully been placed into orbit following separation from a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.

TDRS-M launched Friday at 8:29 a.m. EDT from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Ground controllers report the satellite is in good health at the start of a four-month checkout in space by its manufacturer, Boeing.

NASA will conduct additional tests before putting TDRS-M into service early next year.

When ready, TDRS-M will become part of NASA’s Space Network providing navigation and high-data-rate communications to the International Space Station, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, rockets and a host of other spacecraft.

TDRS: Value

  • The TDRS fleet is a critical connection delivering science and human spaceflight data to those who can use it here on Earth.
  • TDRS-M will expand the capabilities and extend the lifespan of the Space Network, allowing us to continue receiving and transmitting mission data well into the next decade.
  • The mission of the TDRS project, established in 1973, is to develop, launch and deliver data communications relay spacecraft to support Nasa’s Space Network.
  • This provides high-data-rate communications and accurate navigation.
  • The TDRS-M spacecraft is effectively identical—in both function and performance—to the TDRS-K and -L spacecraft launched in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
  • The TDRS fleet began operating during the space shuttle era with the launch of TDRS-1 in 1983.
  • Of the TDRS spacecraft launched to date, only two have been retired and five of the nine operational satellites have exceeded their design life.
  • These continue to provide essential communications and navigation services.
  • Nasa’s Space Communications and Navigation program, known as SCaN, is part of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington, and is responsible for the Space Network.
  • The TDRS project office at Goddard manages the TDRS development program.
  • Management of the launch service for TDRS-M is the responsibility of NASA’s Launch Services Program based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. ULA provided the Atlas V rocket launch service.

3)   When is World Humanitarian Day celebrated?

a. Aug 19
b. Aug 20
c. Aug 21
d. Aug 22
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Aug 19

The World Humanitarian Day is observed annually on Aug. 19.

It is to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and rally support for people affected by crises worldwide.

It was designated by the General Assembly to coincide with the date of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, in which 22 staff were killed.

The UN chief expressed regret that 65 million civilians were currently uprooted from their homes as a result of crises.

Armed conflicts are tearing communities and countries apart, forcing record numbers of people from their homes to rely on humanitarian aid for their survival and protection.

Every year on World Humanitarian Day, the UN shines a spotlight on the millions of civilians around the world whose lives have been caught up in conflict.

On this day, people also take a moment to honour the brave health and aid workers who are targeted or obstructed as they set out to help people in need.

This year, on World Humanitarian Day, UN and partners were calling on all global leaders to do everything in their power to protect people caught up in conflict.

4)   Scientists have discovered an artificial _____ which can help premature babies.

a. Heart
b. Lungs
c. Pancreas
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

Scientists have developed an artificial womb that has been successfully used to incubate healthy baby lambs for a week.

This marks an advance that may one day be able to save the lives of extremely premature human babies.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia and Tohoku University Hospital in Japan sought to develop an effective treatment strategy for extremely preterm infants.

These include those born at the border of viability (22-23 weeks).

The research showed that preterm lambs were successfully maintained in a healthy, infection-free condition with significant growth.

This is for a period of one week using ex- vivo uterine environment (EVE) therapy.

With further development, EVE therapy could prevent the severe morbidity suffered by extremely premature infants by potentially offering a medical technology that does not currently exist.

At this gestational age the lungs are often too structurally and functionally under-developed for the baby to breathe easily.

For improving outcomes for this group would be to treat them as a foetus rather than a small infant.

The equipment is essentially is a high-tech amniotic fluid bath combined with an artificial placenta.

By providing an alternative means of gas exchange for the foetus, it prevents ventilation-derived injury.

This will help save the lives of those babies whose lungs are too immature to breathe properly," he said.

5)   World Honey Bee Day was observed on which date?

a. Aug 18
b. Aug 22
c. Aug 23
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

To mark World Honey Bee day, the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, under the Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR) Peruvannamuzhi organized an awareness class on apiculture.

The importance of bee keeping for students and farmers was presented.

The farmers, who attended the programme, formed a "Farmers’ group - Honey" to showcase their products including honey and honey wax.

The product will be sold through KVK.

6)   SNLP has illuminated ________ km of Indian roads in Aug 2017.

a. 50 thousand
b. 55 thousand
c. 60 thousand
d. 65 thousand
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 50 thousand

The Government of India’s Street Lighting National programme (SLNP) has illuminated 50,000 KM of Indian roads.

This is with installation of 30 lakh LED street lights across the country.

With this milestone Energy Efficiency Services Limited under Ministry of Power, has become the world’s largest street light management company.

The installation of 30 lakh LED street lights has resulted in 39 crore kWh of annual energy savings.

This is with avoided capacity of over 104.19 MW to the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).

Further it has also helped in reduction of 3.29 lakh tonnes of CO2 annually.

SNLP: Know More

  • Under SLNP, Rajasthan is leading the country with an installation of 7.85 lakh LED street lights.
  • This is followed by Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat with 6.03 lakhs and 5.4 lakhs respectively.
  • Presently, EESL is retrofitting 15,000 conventional lights with LED street lights every day. Project is near completion in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Tripura and Gujarat.
  • EESL is also implementing a special heritage lighting project in Kashi region of Uttar Pradesh where 4,000 lights are being installed.
  • The programme has also recently commenced in the cities of Chandigarh and Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Further, the procurement price of the LED Street Lights has been reduced from Rs. 135/watt to Rs. 80/watt due to mass procurement of the lights.

7)   Scientists have discovered two new primitive species of ________ named Drawida polydiverticulata and Drawida thomasi.

a. Earthworms
b. Iguanas
c. lizards
d. Snakes
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Earthworms

Two new primitive species of earthworms have been discovered in the Western Ghats.

Researchers at Mahatma Gandhi University in Kerala and Shoolini University in Himachal Pradesh named the new earthworm species Drawida polydiverticulata and Drawida thomasi.

For Drawida polydiverticulata, its multiple lobes, also called diverticulums (an organ located in the front of its body) are unique amongst the members of the genus.

This species was found to be widespread in the protected shola grasslands of the Munnar region.

This is including Eravikulam National Park, Pampadun Shola National Park and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

The second new earthworm, Drawida thomasi, was collected at the Kozhippara Waterfalls near Kakkadampoyil, at the border between Malappuram and Kozhikode.

Along with the new species belonging to the primitive family Moniligastridae, the scientists also report the occurrence of five species.

These are of the same genus that have not previously been recorded from the state.

To date, there are 73 species of the genus Drawida confirmed to be living in the Indian subcontinent.

However, the greatest concentration (43 species) is found in the Western Ghats.

The genus has an important centre of speciation in Kerala.

The present discovery of two new species and five new local records further contributes to the vast species richness of the genus in the state.

At present, there are about 200 species known in the genus Drawida.

Their habitats are spread across India throughout the Indo-China region to southeastern Asia and up to the north in Japan.