Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Jan 06, 2017

1)   What is the name of the longest bullet train launched by China on 5th Jan 2016?

a. Shanghai of the World
b. Shangri-La of the World
c. Beijing of the World
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Shangri-La of the World

China on 5th Jan 2016 launched its longest bullet train, “Shangi-la of the World” from Kunming, capital of South West China's Yunnan province to Beijing.

It is expanding its high speed train network to about 20,000 km connecting almost all provinces. The train left Kunming on a 2,670 km trip to Beijing which takes about 13 hours.

The train highlights the internationally famous resort in Shangri-la in Yunnan. The name first appeared in British novelist James Hilton's “Lost Horizon”.

This line is also the longest east-west high speed railway in China. A longer rail line stretching north to south is the 2298 Beijing-Guangzhou line, starting operations from 2012.

A white paper, titled “Development of China’s Transport,” said China would increase the length of high-speed railways in service to 30,000 km from the present 20000 kms by 2020 linking more than 80% of its big cities.

China's High Speed Rail: Know More

  • China has built more than 20,000 km of high-speed rail lines.
  • Mileage will be 45,000 km by 2030
  • According to the government’s plan, the mileage will increase to 45,000 km by 2030.
  • China has launched the Shanghai-Kunming line giving shape to the high speed rail grid connecting almost all provinces on the Chinese mainland.
  • China is marketing its bullet train technology to many nations including India, competing with Japan.
  • It aims to build a comprehensive transport system by 2020.

2)   Donald Trump has appointed whom as the deputy assistant and research director at the White House?

a. Rajiv Shah
b. Raj Shah
c. Rajesh Shah
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Raj Shah

US President elect Donald Trump has appointed an expert on strategic communications and political research, Raj Shah as his deputy assistant and research director on the White House staff.

Trump has also announced on 4th Jan 2016 that Shah would also hold the post of deputy communications director. Shah aided Trump's campaign by highlighting contradictions in Clinton's political positions and issues like her handling of the private email server.

Republican National Committee has credited him with developing the organisation's opposition research book on Hillary Clinton.

Reince Priebus has been announced as Trump's chief of staff.

Know More About Raj Shah

  • Research director and deputy communications director at the Republican National Committee.
  • Shah is also MD of America Rising.
  • His area of specialisation is opposition research.
  • He worked as a research assistant during George W.Bush's presidency.
  • He also worked in John McCain's 2008 unsuccessful presidential campaign against Barack Obama.

3)   Theresa May government has appointed whom as Britain's new EU ambassador?

a. Sir Ivan Rogers
b. Sir Tim Barrow
c. Nigel Farage
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Sir Tim Barrow

Theresa May government has appointed a new ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow who faced down Vladimir Putin and is likely to move forward in Brussels.

Barrow has been appointed as Britain's new EU ambassador after a life-long career in the foreign office which saw him serve in senior roles twice before for Brussels.

He also held the post of Britain's ambassador to Moscow between 2011 and 2015; this marks one of the most testing periods in relations between the two nations.

Appointment of Sir Tim is in contrast to Sir Ivan Rogers who was termed a pessimist as opposed to Sir Tim who is a “pragmatic problem solver,” according to Downing Street ministers.

Sir Tim has also served as a rep to the EU Security Committee and as Ambassador to the Western European Union.

He was appointed political DG at the foreign office in March 2016 after leaving his role in Moscow. Rogers had a negative view of Brexit and possibly could not lead the negotiations after the PM triggers A50.

Crucial Dates in the Brexit Timeline

  • January 2017: SC to deliver verdict on whether May can trigger A50 using a royal prerogative rather than a Parliament Act.
  • March 31, 2017: Deadline set for invoking A50 by notifying the EC of Britain's intention to leave the EU.
  • Sept 30, 2018: EU chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier to wrap up Britain's exit from the Union.
  • March 31, 2019: Theresa May Govt to wrap up Brexit negotiations.
  • May 2019: Britain formally exits EU following ratification of Brexit by all member states.

4)   What is the name of the new human organ found in the digestive system?

a. Mesentery
b. Pancreas
c. Liver
d. Intestine
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Mesentery

Scientists have discovered what is known as a new human organ in the digestive system. It is called mesentery.

The organ was previously believed to consist of fragmented and disparate structures. Researchers found, however, that it is one continuous organ and outlined evidence to classify it as such in a review published recently.

J. Calvin Coffey a researcher from University Hospital Limerick in Ireland who first made the discovery has said they have an organ in the body which has not been acknowledged to date.

Coffey, a professor at the University of Limerick, reclassified the mesentery after discovering it was contiguous. His findings were published in November in the medical journal The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Whether the mesentery should be viewed as part of the intestinal, vascular, endocrine, cardiovascular or immunological systems is so far unclear as it has important roles in all of them.

Mesentery research goes back to the time of Leonardo DaVinci, who provided one of the earliest depictions of the mesentery, which was shown as contiguous.

For centuries, the new-organ was depicted that way until the findings of Treves in 1885. His description of the mesentery - which was disconnected - became the basis of medical literature.

About the Mesentery

  • It is a double fold of peritoneum, the lining of the cavity in the abs.
  • It connects the intestine to the abdomen.
  • Mesentery plays a central position in the body.
  • Among its functions, it carries blood and lymphatic fluid between the intestine and the rest of the body.
  • It also maintains the position of the intestine.
  • It ensures that it’s connected with the abdominal wall without being in direct contact.
  • It has a spiral formation in the abdomen.
  • It is packaged along a spinal trajectory, starting in the upper abdomen and ending in the pelvis.

5)   When is World Braille Day celebrated?

a. 4th January
b. 3rd January
c. 2nd January
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 4th January

World Braille day was celebrated on Jan 4th 2017. It is celebrated every year on this day across the world to commemorate the birth of French inventor Louis Braille.

Braille invented the Braille language which helps blind people to read as well as write.At the age of 3, he accidentally became blind. However, he had a great yearning to be able to read and write properly, despite his disability.

He developed the Braille language at the age of 15. Louis's work was not only confined to alphabets. He was passionate about music too, and thus, in the latter part of his life, he even developed Braille language for music.

He published his system in 1829.

He was offered a professorship in 1833, teaching history, geometry and algebra, as well as his own system of Braille. He published books explaining how to use his code, which included dots and dashes for demonstration.

The system of Braille was adopted in schools in 1856.

On World Braille Day, awareness is also raised about the new technologies coming in the field of Braille language on this day.

The World Braille Day in 2009 marked the 200th birthday anniversary of Louis Braille.

Braille and Visual Impairment: Know More

  • Around 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide.
  • According to National Braille Week, around 150 million people use Braille.
  • This is a code system of raised dots – as a form of literacy, as it allows users to spell, use punctuation and format text on a page.
  • Louis Braille, was born on 4 January 1809 in the town of Coupvray in northern France.
  • By the time he was five, he was blind in both eyes, but the tragic accident lead to the birth of braille.
  • Braille at the age of 15, had formed six dots which could be used in 63 ways to form a code with the fingertips.
  • His code was easily adapted to fit languages other than French, allowing the blind and visually impaired to read more easily.

6)   Which musicians formed part of the Sitar Trinity in India?

a. Pandit Ravi Shankar
b. Ustad Vilayat Khan
c. Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Renowned sitar player Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan- the last survivor of the Sitar Trinity - has died at the age of 88 on Jan 4, 2016.

The Sitar Trinity comprised him besides Late Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Vilayat Khan. He was the last surviving member of the Sitar Trinity till his death.

He is succeeded by eminent sitar player and son Zunain A. Khan. Conferred with the Padmashri, Padma Bhushan and Sangeet Natak Akademi awards, Khan hailed from the Indore Gharana and is credited for innovating the unique music style of Jafferkhani Baaj.

Born in 1929 in Jawra, Madhya Pradesh, during his music career spanning over six decades, Khan played the sitar for various Bollywood films, including Mughal-E-Azam, Kohinoor, Goonj Uthi Shehnai and Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje.

He was the son of renowned singer and musician Jaffer Khan. He started his musical career with AIR in the 1940s. Among the earliest trendsetters of Indian classical musicians collaborating with western musicians, in 1958 he partnered with jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, and with English classical guitarist Julian Bream in 1963.

Khan Saab was the youngest of the famous Star Trinity of India. Known for his unique musical innovation Jafferkhani Baaj, he created a synthesis of precision in technique and a unique playing style.

He was known for bringing Carnatic music ragas Kirwani, Kanakangi, Latangi, Karaharapriya, Manavati, Ganamurti and others into the Sitar repertoire with a Hindustani music touch in the Jafferkhani style.

Khan became the first Hindustani classical musician who collaborated in Carnatic music with legendary Veena exponent, Emani Sankara Sastry.

In 1976, he set up the Halim Academy of Sitar in Mumbai to impart training to young Sitar players and among his renowned students are son Zunain, Prasad Joglekar and Gargi Shinde, Director, Jazz Programmes at Chamber Music America.

Know Abul Halim Jaffer Khan

  • Born: February 15, 1927
  • Place of Birth: Madhya Pradesh, India
  • Died: January 4, 2017 (aged 89) Mumbai, India
  • Genres : Hindustani classical music
  • Prominent as: Sitarist, Composer, Innovator, Author
  • Instruments: sitar
  • Associated acts: Ravi Shanker, Vilayat Khan, Julian Bream, Dave Brubeck, Zunain Khan

7)   Which noted Manipur based historian was a member of the North Eastern Council?

a. Ganmunei Kamei
b. Gangmunei Kamei
c. Gangmumei Kamei
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Gangmumei Kamei

Noted Manipur-based historian, litterateur and scholar Gangmumei Kamei, who had also served as a minister, passed away in Imphal on 5th Jan 2016 following protracted illness.

Kamei was currently a member of the North Eastern Council (NEC). Born on October 21, 1939 in Imphal. He specialized in history.

Kamei, who had specialised in the history of the North-eastern region, had served as a professor of History in Manipur University, and was also elected president of the Northeast India History Association (NEIHA) in its Kohima session of 1986.

Kamei was also a member of the Advisory Committee of the Anthropological Survey of India (1984-87), and a member of the ICSSR panel on Tribal Studies.

In 2010 he was awarded the Platinum Jubilee Samman by the Manipuri Sahitya Parishad for his contribution to history and tribal culture.

He was also awarded a National Fellowship by Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla in 2010-2012.

He hailed from the Zeliangrong community which exists across Manipur, Nagaland and Assam, and was also into active politics and public life, having founded the Federal Party of Manipur in 1993.

He was also elected to the state assembly twice, in 1995 and 2001, and had also served as a minister on two occasions.

In 2013 Kamei joined the BJP, to contest as the party’s candidate for Lok Sabha from the Outer Manipur constituency in the 2014 general election. In July 2015, the Narendra Modi government appointed him as a member of the NEC.

As president of the Manipur History Society and coordinator of the Centre for Manipuri Studies & Tribal Research of Manipur University he had guided several major research projects in history.

Well Known Books of Gangmumei Kamei

  • A History of Modern Manipur (1826-2000),
  • A History of Manipur: Pre-colonial Period,
  • On History and Historiography of Manipur,
  • History of Zeliangrong Nagas: From Makhel to Rani Gaidinliu
  • Ethnicity and Social Change, Lectures on History of Manipur.

8)   Who is associated with the thumri Mora Piya, Mose Bole Na?

a. Ustad Fateh Ali Khan
b. Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan
c. Ustad Bismillah
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Ustad Fateh Ali Khan

Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, the classical singer known for the Thumri “Mora Piya Mose Bole Na” has passed away on Jan 4, 2016 at the age of 82.

Ustad was under treatment at Islamabad’s PIMS Hospital for the past 10 days and was suffering from a lungs disease.

Nephew and famous singer Shafqat Amanat Ali took to his social media handle to share the news along with a picture of the legendary Qawal.

Born in 1935 in Patiala, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, at the age of 12, and his elder brother Amanat Ali Khan, at the age of 14, became the king’s chosen singers at his darbar/ court.

The music legend received the President’s Pride of Performance and many other awards.

9)   Who will become the first NASA astronaut of African-American origin abroad ISS?

a. Jeanette Epps
b. Sunita Williams
c. Andrew Feustel
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Jeanette Epps

Female NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps is set to become the first African-American crew member aboard the International Space Station (ISS) when she flies to the orbital post in May 2018. NASA assigned veteran Andrew Feustel and Epps to missions aboard the ISS in 2018.

Feustel will launch in March 2018 for his first long-duration mission, serving as a flight engineer on Expedition 55 and later as commander of Expedition 56. Epps will join Feustel as a flight engineer on Expedition 56 and remain on board for Expedition 57.

Epps received a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1992 at LeMoyne College in her hometown of Syracuse, New York. She then completed a master’s of science in 1994. She received a doctorate in 2000 in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland.

Epps was a NASA Graduate Student Researchers Project fellow, authoring several journal and conference articles on her research. She went on to work in a research laboratory for more than two years, co-authoring several patents, before being recruited by the US Central Intelligence Agency.

She spent 7 years as a CIA technical intelligence officer before being selected as a member of the 2009 astronaut class.

10)   US Army commanders of Sikh faith have been allowed to _______

a. Wear karas
b. Keep their beards
c. Wear turbans
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

In a milestone for Sikhs, US Army commanders have been ordered to allow those of the faith to wear turbans, karas and keep their beards.

Army Secretary Eric Fanning on 4th Jan 2016 signed the order that said the soldier’s brigade-level commander will approve a request for a religious accommodation” by Sikhs. Up till now Sikhs had to get permission from the Army Secretary, a cumbersome process prone to delays and not automatically given.

Permission has now been given except in certain cases involving their safety like exposure to poison gases. Once it is granted they can keep the exemption for most positions in the military.

The order also allows Muslims to wear hijabs. Muslim men can also keep beards.