Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Dec 27, 2016

1)   Who has won the ITF Hong Kong F4 Futures, the first singles trophy of 2016?

a. Mahesh Bhupathi
b. Leander Paes
c. Yuki Bhambri
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Yuki Bhambri

Indian tennis player Yuki Bhambri on 25th Dec 2016 won the title of USD 10,000 ITF Hong Kong F4 Futures.

It was the first singles trophy of the season & 11th title on the ITF Pro Circuit.

India’s third seed defeated tournament’s number 2, Shintaro Imai of Japan 6-4,7-5.

With the win, the world number 534 takes away USD1440 in prize money along with 18 ATP ranking points.

Cheng-Peng Hsieh of Taipei and Pak Long Yeung from Hong Kong defeated Hong Kong’s Karan

Rastogi and Jack Wong to win the doubles title 5-7, 6-3, 10-4.

Bhambri is an Indian professional tennis player and former Junior No. 1.

A winner of the 2009 Australian Open Junior Championship, he is the first Indian to seal victory in the junior Australian Open Title.

He is also the 4th Indian to ever capture a junior singles Grand Slam championship title.

Know More About ITF

  • ITF Men's Circuit is a series of professional tennis tournaments held internationally.
  • Organised by - International Tennis Federation.
  • The 2016 ITF Men's Circuit is a 2016 edition of the second tier tour for men's professional tennis.
  • Award money ranges from USD 10,000 to 25,000.

2)   Odisha Government has launched a new malaria control programme called _______.

a. Daman
b. Diu
c. Chaman
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 


Odisha Government has decided to launch a new malaria control programme called DAMAN in remote tribal-dominated areas.

Odisha has 62 types of tribes including 13 primitive tribes that constitute 22.3 percent of the state's population. The population is under high risk of malaria infection.

Annual expenditure of the programme will be INR 24 crore from the state budget.

The drive aims at supplementing malaria control activities that are routine and filling in gaps in case findings plus treatment among high risk population of endemic areas in remote villages.

DAMAN stands for Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (Malaria Control in Inaccessible Areas).

It will be implemented in 8000 villages of all 79 blocks of eight high malaria endemic southern districts. These districts are - Koraput, Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Rayagada, Nabarangapur, Nuapada, Kandhamal and Gajapati.

The initiative incorporates mass screening for malaria with treatment of positive cases along with intensified supervision, mosquito control measures and regular health education activities across the year.

Drive will continue for 5 years with total expenditure of INR 120 crore.

State government has sanctioned 10 crore to start the programme, which will benefit 80 lakh high risk people.

Incidence of Malaria in Odisha

  • Odisha has the highest incidence of malaria in India.
  • Till 30th Oct 2016, 69 persons have died of malaria in the eastern state.
  • As on 30th October 2016, total 3.71 lakh people tested positive for malaria, which is also highest for any state in India.
  • District covered in the programme contributed 60% cases and 56% deaths to the state malaria burden in 2015-2016.
  • Odisha contributes 38 percent of the reported malaria cases and 28 percent of the deaths to the country's total burden.

3)   Which mobile app has been launched on 24th Dec 2016 for speedy redressal of consumer issues?

a. Smart Consumer
b. Smart buyer
c. Smart purchaser
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Smart Consumer

The Union Government on 24 Dec 2016 launched ‘Smart Consumer’ mobile App to provide speedy redressal of consumer grievances.

Besides, the government also launched an Online Consumer Mediation Centre (OCMC) and a helpline number 14404 for redressal of consumer related grievances. These initiatives will benefit the consumers in the digital world.

The government also launched a microsite based on the theme 'Digitally Safe Consumer Campaign' to help consumers for being vigilant and not falling prey to cyber frauds.

Launches were made on the occasion of National Consumer Day that is observed on 24 December every year.

OCMC is launched in association with Bengaluru's NLSIU to provide quick redressal of consumer grievances.

It will allow consumers and companies to go for pre-litigation and provide for harmonious settlement of dispute.

The mediation centre will only deal with cases associated with e-commerce companies.

It will facilitate online and physical mediation between consumers and companies.

'Digitally Safe Consumer Campaign'

  • The campaign will be launched in January 2017 by Google India in partnership with the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
  • This yearly campaign will be focussed on building capacities of consumer organisations and counsellors on internet safety and related issues.
  • The campaign will reach out to over 1200 consumer organisations as well as consumer affairs department of every state across the country.
  • Google will also work towards advocating digital security and privacy needs through workshops training about 500 people.

4)   Which country has taken exception to the UN resolution on Palestinian territory on 24th Dec, 2016?

a. Israel
b. Syria
c. Malaysia
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Israel

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu called the US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro to Israel for a special meeting over the UN’s resolution condemning Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory.

Shapiro was summoned on 25 December 2016.

His summon came hours after 14 envoys of other United Nations Security Council (UNSC) member states were asked to appear before the Israel foreign ministry.

Shapiro was called in to discuss United States’ decision to abstain from voting, which eventually led to the adoption of the resolution.

Israel’s Prime Minister called the resolution shameful and rejected it out rightly. Apart from this,

Netanyahu has also instructed Israel’s ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal to return immediately to Israel for consultations in response to the newly passed resolution.

Netanyahu also added that Jerusalem will also be re-assessing its ties with the United States. He is hoping that the decision would be reversed once Trump takes over.

US decision to abstain is the work of the Obama administration.

About the UN resolution

  • It demands a quick end to all Israeli settlement building activities on the occupied Palestinian territory including East Jerusalem.
  • It was initially created by Egypt but was withdrawn later, as the country was unsure of its chances of passing, especially after US President-Elect Donald Trump asked the current US administration to veto it.
  • However, it was re-introduced to the UNSC by member states namely Malaysia, New Zealand, Venezuela and Senegal on 23 December 2016.
  • In spite of the intense efforts put in by Israeli Prime Minister and Donald Trump to ensure the United States blocks the resolution, the US abstained from voting.
  • The resolution was eventually adopted with 14 out of 15 UNSC members voting in favour of it.
  • This marks the first resolution that has been adopted by the UNSC on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1979.

5)   Which ILR project has been cleared by the NBWL?

a. Ken-Betwa
b. Son-Ken
c. Cauvery-Ken
d. Betwa-Mahanadi
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Ken-Betwa

The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has given its much-awaited clearance to the Ken-Betwa inter-linking of rivers (ILR) project which will benefit Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

The benefit will be in terms of meeting irrigation, drinking water and electricity needs of people across six districts in the two states.

As the project requires diversion of forest land of Panna Tiger Reserve, it was required a clearance by the Wildlife Board.

Clearance comprises certain conditions which include integration of nearby sanctuaries including Rani Durgavati and Ranipur with the Panna Tiger Reserve to compensate loss of tiger habitat and complete ban of fresh mining lease in the area.

The Board also instructed the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to take care of the landscape plan for the area with the help of state forest department and Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

INR 9000 crore IL project could not get initial clearance from NBWL on account of green activists opposing the move.

About the Ken-Betwa Project

  • Ken-Betwa ILR project will transfer surplus water from the Ken river to the Betwa basin through a 221 km canal.
  • The concrete canal will pass through UP's Jhansi, Banda and Mahoba districts of UP and Chhatarpur, Panna and Tikamgarh districts of MP.
  • This is one of 30 ILR projects conceived by the Union Government.
  • 8650 ha of forest land part of Panna National Park in MP will be submerged due to the project.
  • NWDA was set up since 1982, when the ILR plan has been in the offing.

6)   An autonomous robotic seafloor crawler set the new world record for distance and duration under sea. What is it called?

a. Benthic Rover
b. Plenthic Rover
c. Centric Rover
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Benthic Rover

An autonomous robotic seafloor crawler has set a new world record for the longest distance travelled and duration sustained under the sea, while collecting climate data for an entire year.

Benthic Rover, developed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in the US, is the only untethered, entirely autonomous seafloor crawler currently.

The Rover operates at Station M, an area of flat seafloor 4,000 meters deep and about 220 kilometres from the California coastline.

One of the most significant findings from the last few years of the Rover's deployments involved several large pulses of marine snow that rapidly sank to the seafloor.

These pulses may be related to stronger along-shore winds that drive the upwelling of nutrients in coastal waters.

The nutrients spur the growth of phytoplankton and zooplankton, which increases the amount of marine snow that rains down to the seafloor.

Organisms in this abyssal realm rely upon marine snow as their primary source of food. The Benthic Rover records how much of the marine snow is consumed by the seafloor community.

Value of the Benthic Rover

  • The Rover detected several brief, two- to four-week events.
  • This was when nearly an entire year's worth of chlorophyll-rich detritus landed on the seafloor.
  • These events would have gone undetected without the Benthic Rover.
  • Rover helped solve an important piece of Earth's carbon-cycle puzzle.
  • It was critical in showing that a much larger percentage of carbon than previously expected can sink rapidly from the surface into deeper water.
  • These periodic events can now be factored into global climate change models.

7)   Ammonia detected in Earth's troposphere for first time marked highest emissions of gas in which region?

a. North India
b. Southeast China
c. North China
d. Both a and b
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both a and b

This is the first time scientists have discovered ammonia in the Earth's lowest atmospheric layer.

The highest emissions of the gas encountered in North India and Southeast China.

The satellite measurements by the MIPAS infrared spectrometer found increased amounts of ammonia (NH3) between 12 and 15 km height in the area of the Asian monsoon.

This suggests that the gas is responsible for the formation of aerosols, smallest particles that might contribute to cloud formation, researchers said.

Ammonia is a chemical compound of nitrogen and hydrogen.

It mainly originates from agricultural processes, in particular from life-stock farming and fertilisation.

Highest ammonia emissions are encountered in North India and Southeast China. Due to population growth and global warming, global ammonia emissions are expected to increase strongly in the future, researchers said.

Gaseous ammonia reacts with acids, such as sulfuric acid or nitric acid, to form the corresponding ammonium salts.

Particles of ammonium salts can attach to each other and form aerosol particles acting as condensation nuclei in cloud formation which cool the atmosphere and reverse global warming.

MIPAS recorded highly resolved spectra in the middle infrared range, from which gases can be identified clearly. Every gas emits specific infrared radiation.


  • Formula: NH3
  • IUPAC ID: Azane
  • Molar mass: 17.031 g/mol
  • Boiling point: -33.34 °C
  • Density: 0.73 kg/m³
  • Melting point: -77.73 °C

8)   Scientists have found that cucumber plants sense gravity and stimulate growth based on _________

a. Pegs
b. Protuberances that are specialised
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

Scientists have examined cucumber seedlings germinated under microgravity conditions of the International Space Station (ISS), to understand how plants sense gravity and stimulate their own growth.

Cucumbers feature specialized protuberances, or pegs, whose formation is regulated by gravity.

These pegs develop during the plant's early growth stage to help the seedlings emerge from their hard seed coat and anchor the developing plant in the soil while its roots form.

When seeds are put before germination either in a vertical position with their embryonic roots pointing down or subjected to microgravity conditions, a peg develops on each side.

However, when they are placed horizontally on the ground, peg formation on the upper side is suppressed in response to gravity.

Scientists also unearthed the valuable contribution of the gravity-sensitive CsPIN1 protein to this process.

The role of the protein in facilitating the transport of the growth hormones had first been suggested in previous experiments conducted on Earth.

Examining cross sections of the cucumber seedlings abroad the space station under a microscope, the scientists found that the CsPIN1 protein can relocalize under the influence of gravity.

The change in the position of protein was found to occur in the transition zone of the cucumber seedling, the area between the stem and the roots, where the pegs develop.

It appears that this behaviour stimulates the formation of a cellular canal capable of transporting growth hormones from one side of this zone to the other, researchers said.

The findings point towards the mechanism by which the seeds are able to turn on and off the growth of their anchoring pegs in relation to their orientation with respect to gravity

9)   First functional pacemaker has been developed from which cells?

a. Human stem cells
b. Heart cells
c. Brain cells
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Human stem cells

Scientists have developed the first functional pacemaker from human stem cells which can regulate heart beats with electrical impulses, paving the way for alternate, biological pacemaker therapy.

These human pacemaker cells were tested in rat hearts and were shown to function as a biological pacemaker, by activating the electrical impulses that trigger the contraction of the heart.

Defects in the pacemaker can lead to heart rhythm disorders that are commonly treated by implantation of electronic pacemaker devices.

Learning how to generate pacemaker cells could help in understanding disorders in pacemaker cells, and provide a cell source for developing a biological pacemaker.

What are Biological Pacemakers?

  • Pluripotent stem cells have the potential to differentiate into more than 200 different cell types that make up every tissue and organ in the body.
  • Sinoatrial node pacemaker cells are the heart’s primary pacemaker, controlling the heartbeat throughout life.
  • Biological pacemakers represent a promising alternative to electronic pacemakers.
  • They are crucial for overcoming such drawbacks as a lack of hormonal responsiveness and the inability to adapt to changes in heart size in pediatric patients.

10)   Which gas is not included in the new law to levy environmental tax on polluters in China?

a. NO2
b. SO2
c. CO2
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 


Carbon dioxide, one of the major contributors to global warming, is not included in the levying list.

Combatting recurring pollution enveloping its cities, China has passed a new law to levy environment tax on polluters, specially on heavy industries.

The Environment Tax Law was adopted by the legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC)

Standing Committee which concluded its meeting on 25th Dec 2016.

The law followed nearly week-long red alert due to heavy smog over Beijing and 23 other cities last week leading to imposition of odd-even number system to regulate vehicles and closure of schools.

The law, to enter into force on January 1, 2018, will be key to fighting pollution, Wang Jianfan, director of the Ministry of Finance tax policy department said.

China has collected a “pollutant discharge fee”, since 1979.

In 2015, it collected 17.3 billion yuan (about $2.5 billion) from some 280,000 businesses.

Replacing China Environmental Fee System With Law

  • For years, regulators have suggested replacing the fee system with a law.
  • It will reduce government interference and improve tax payers’ environmental awareness.
  • It is also forcing companies to upgrade technology and shift to cleaner production.
  • Under the new law, companies will pay taxes ranging from 350 yuan ($60) to 11,200 yuan ($1870) per month for noise, according to their decibel level.
  • A value of 1.2 yuan on stipulated quantities of air pollutants, 1.4 yuan on water pollutants and a range of five to 1,000 yuan for each tonne of solid waste was also set.
  • Under the new law provincial-level governments can raise the rates for air and water pollution by up to ten times after approval by the people’s congresses.
  • The law only targets enterprises and public institutions that discharge listed pollutants directly into the environment.
  • China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
  • This is because of its heavy reliance on coal to provide electricity to its population of 1.37 billion.