Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Jan 07, 2017

1)   What is another name for fat cells?

a. Adipocytes
b. Leucocytes
c. Erythrocytes
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Adipocytes

In a massive breakthrough, researchers have a found a way to manipulate wounds to heal as regenerated skin, rather than scar tissue.

By transforming the most common type of cells found in wounds into fat cells, scientists have carried out a breakthrough.

Fat cells called adipocytes are generally found in the skin, but they are lost when wounds heal following scarring.

The most common cells found in healing wounds are myofibroblasts thought to form only a scar. Scar tissue lacks hair follicles which is another factor that grants it an abnormal appearance from the remainder of the skin.

Researchers at US University of Pennsylvania based their work on changing the myofibroblasts into fat cells that are not associated with scarring.

The wound healing can be manipulated so it leads to skin regeneration rather than scarring. The aim is to regenerate hair follicles before. Once that occurs, the fat will regenerate in response to signals from these follicles.

The study has also shown hair and fat may develop separately, but not independently. Hair follicles form first. Additional factors are produced by the regenerating hair follicle to convert the surrounding myofibroblasts to regenerate as fat instead of forming a scar.

The fat will not form in the absence of new hair, but once it does, the new cells cannot be distinguished from the pre-existing fat cells. This gives the wound a natural look while healing, instead of leaving a scar.

Researchers identified a BMP or Bone Morphogenetic Protein that instructs myofibroblasts to become fat. This signaling forms the basis of the breakthrough.

Myofibroblasts were initially thought to be incapable of becoming a different type of cell. But the work of these scientists shows that we have the ability to influence these cells and they can be efficiently and stably converted to fat cells.

Adipocyte cells are lost naturally because of the aging process, especially in the face which leads to permanent, deep wrinkles. Anti-aging treatment cannot fix this in a satisfactory way.

2)   Which two missions under the Discovery Program of NASA will focus on different types of asteroids?

a. Lucy, Psyche
b. Psyche, Cassini
c. Rosetta, Lucy
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Lucy, Psyche

NASA has announced that it will provide complete funding under the Discovery Program for two missions focusing on different kinds of asteroids.

A mission called Lucy will take off in 2021 to study a plethora of asteroids, including one in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, along with size others among space rocks in Jupiter's orbit.

A mission Psyche will be launched in 2023 to visit a type of asteroid never seen closely before - a huge metallic object called 16Psyche that corresponds in composition to the core of the earth.

NASA will also provide funding for the Near Earth Object Camera designed to look for potentially hazardous asteroids in the region of space closest to the orbit of the earth.

Discovery Program missions are low-cost space science efforts, capped at USD 450 million. Before, selected discovery missions included:

  • Messenger probe to Mercury
  • Dawn probe to the asteroids Vesta and Ceres
InSight lander, which is due to begin its trip to Mars next year.

Lucy, Psyche and NEOCam were among the finalists for this year. Two missions to Venus– DAVINCI and VERITAS– lost out on the round, but could be reconsidered in the future.

Psyche Mission

This mission aims to explore one of a kind metal asteroid 16Psyche. It will be launched in 2023. Most steroids are rocky or covered in ice. 16Psyche is thought to be composed of nickel and iron, much like the core of the earth.

This is a one of a kind object in the main asteroid belt. 16Psyche is a 130 mile wide chunk of material thought to be composed of metallic iron and nickel, and could be the exposed core of a Mars sized planet which lost its outer layer in collisions billions of years ago.

Mission schedule calls for launch in Oct 2023, earth gravity assist manouver in 2024, a Mars FlyBy in 2025 and arrival at the asteroid in 2023.

The probe will study the asteroid's composition, mass distribution and magnetic field over a two year period.

16Psyche is the only known object of its kind in the solar system and the only way humans will visit a core.

Psyche also intrigues asteroid miners because the composition of the metal bearing space object could pave the way for other resources.


Lucy mission has been named after a famous, critical hominin fossil found in Ethiopia in 1974. It will be launched in 2021 and involves sending robotic spacecrafts to study Jupiter's trojan asteroids.

These asteroids are believed to be relics of an earlier era in the history of the solar system. Lucy is due for launch in Oct 2021 and will reach the first destination in the main belt in 2025. The problem will study six Jupiter Trojan asteroids between 2027 and 2033.

Trojans are thought to be remnants of the early solar system that were gravitationally captured at balance points in the orbit of Jupiter.

The small bodies are fossils of planet formation and that is Lucy has been named after a fossil.

Lucy's target in the main asteroid belt is Donaldjohanson, in memory of the paeleontologist who discovered the famous 3.2 million year old fossil in 1974.

Other targets include Trojan asteroid Eurybates, and the binary trojan Patroclus-Menoetius.

Discovery Program Missions: Know More
  • Both the asteroid missions will unravel the origin and evolution of the solar system.
  • This puzzle will understand how the sun and its family of planets changed over time and where life could be developed and sustained.
Five proposals were selected initially for this mission, including the following:

i. Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging (DAVINCI),

ii. Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy mission (VERITAS).

iii. Near Earth Object Camera was another project proposed; it has been granted an extra year of funding.

iv. NASA will not be observing bodies with atmospheres.

3)   Dell's Latitude 7285 is the first 2-in-1 to enable what technology?

a. Freedom from all wires to the device
b. Wireless charging
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both of the above

WiTricity announced that Dell's Latitude 7285 will incorporate its wireless charging technology to become the industry's first two-in-one to able workplace free of wires to the device.

It includes the company's magnetic resonance based wireless charging for PCs.

Latitude 7285 is an AirFuel certified system which will be interoperable with emerging magnetic resonance based wireless charging ecosystem, in which WiTricity technology is foundational.

The new Latitude 7285 enables a streamlined user experience by allowing people to ditch cords to the device and have seamless charging for laptops when placed on AirFuel-certified compatible charging surface.

The Dell Latitude 7285 not only enables a more productive working environment, but accelerates establishment of a broader magnetic resonance-powered wireless charging ecosystem for a wide range of devices.

The trick lies in the keyboard with the Latitude 7285 is a 2-in-1 hybrid– 100% of its components fit inside the tablet display which catch to one of the three keyboards to create clamshell laptop.

The keyboard communicates with new wireless charging pad. The Latitude is positioned to compete with other 2-in-1s, such as the Microsoft Surface and the Lenovo Flex.

Available in 2017, it uses wireless power transfer over distance using magnetic resonance.

4)   Which country is building the world's tallest solar tower to harness solar energy?

a. Israel
b. India
c. Sri Lanka
d. Germany
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Israel

Israel is constructing the world's tallest solar tower to harness solar energy. This is part of its Ashalim project, located in the Negev desert.

The centre of the Ashalim solar tower, it will be 250 metres tall and will be encircled by 50 thousand mirrors called heliostats.

Solar towers use different method conventional photovoltaic solar panels. These convert sunlight directly into electricity. The solar towers use solar thermal method in which 1000s of mirrors focus the sun's rays into the tower, heating the boiler that creates steam to spin the turbine and generate electricity.

Ashalim project is made up of three fields each with a different solar technology. Together, these solar fields will be Israel’s largest renewable energy project after completion by 2018.

They will generate some 310 MW of power that is, about 1.6% of the Israel’s energy needs enough for about 130,000 households, or roughly 5% of Israel’s population.

5)   SEBI has relaxed investment rules for which funds?

a. Angel Funds
b. Mutual Funds
c. Debt Funds
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Angel Funds

For boosting startup funding, SEBI has relaxed rules for investment by angel funds, permitting them to invest in up to 5-year-old entities.

The lock-in requirement has been reduced from three to one year for angel funds and their minimum investment threshold has been slashed to INR 25 lakh.

Upper limit for number of angel investors in a scheme will be increased from 49 to 200 in a notification dated Jan 4, 2016.

Regulatory SEBI has made an amendment to SEBI (Alternative Investment Funds) Regulations 2012 following which the definition of startup for angel fund investments are similar to DIPP. As given in their startup policy.

Angel funds can invest in startups incorporated within 5 years, which was earlier 3 years.

To diversify risks, SEBI has also permitted angel funds to make overseas investments up to 25 percent of their investible corpus in line with other AIFs/ Alternative Investment Funds.

Angel Fund, a subcategory of AIF encourages entrepreneurship in the country by financing startups at a stage when firms find it difficult to obtain capital from traditional sources of finance such as banks and financial institutions.

Currently, 266 AIFs are registered with SEBI of which 84 are registered under Category 1. Angel Investors fund startups in their seed stage.

Angel investors generally make early-stage investments and highly risky bets in the start-up universe, but are essential to these companies’ growth trajectory.

The amendments are part of SEBI’s larger efforts to encourage young entrepreneurship in the country, and provide founders with access to private and eventually public funds.

6)   CBDT has signed three unilateral APAs on 4th Jan 2016. What is an APA?

a. Advance Pricing Agreements
b. Absolute Pricing Agreements
c. Advance Price Agreement
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Advance Pricing Agreements

CBDT started 2017 on a good note with 3 unilateral Advance Pricing Agreements, taking the tally of APAs of the country to 120.

The three APAs signed on Jan 4, 2017 related to the engineering goods and shipping sectors of the economy. The international transactions covered in these agreements include intra-group services and support services, an official release said.

Of these 120 APAs, 7 were bilateral and 114 unilateral. A total of 56 APAs (4 bilateral and 52 unilateral) have been entered into in the current financial year till date.

APAs: Know More

  • The APA Scheme was introduced in the Income-Tax Act in 2012 and the “rollback” provisions were introduced in 2014.
  • The scheme aims to provide certainty to taxpayers in the domain of transfer pricing by specifying the methods of pricing and setting the prices of international transactions in advance.
  • Since its inception, the APA scheme has evinced a lot of interest from taxpayers and that has resulted in more than 700 applications (both unilateral and bilateral) being filed in just four years.
  • The progress of the APA Scheme strengthens the Government’s resolve of fostering a non-adversarial tax regime.
  • The Indian APA programme has been appreciated nationally and internationally.
  • It is known for being able to address complex transfer pricing issues in a fair and transparent manner.
  • An APA is usually signed between taxpayer and central tax authority of the country (in case of India CBDT) for appropriating transfer pricing methodology.
  • It is used to determine the value of assets and taxes on intra-group overseas transactions.

7)   A new scheme TIES is being rolled out. What does it stand for?

a. Trade Infrastructure for Enterprise Scheme
b. Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme
c. Trade Infrastructure for Engineering Scheme
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme

Centre will tie up with States to roll out new scheme called TIES or Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme to boost infrastructure.

States will develop own export strategy in alignment with the national foreign trade policy, as well as enhance co-operation with Central agencies to set up common facilities for testing, certification, trace-back, packaging and labelling.

This announcement was made as most states want a central scheme which supports export infrastructure.

Indian roads carry nearly 65 per cent cargo against the global trend where railway is the major contributor.

Therefore the States should focus on improving the last mile connectivity of major exporting hubs to Inland Container Depot/Ports. Quality of roads including their load bearing capacity may be upgraded for smooth transit of export goods

States should cooperate with the Centre for setting up common facilities like testing labs and training institutes as well as to ensure packaging and storage support to the Indian industry.

So far only 17 States (of the 29 States and seven Union Territories in the country) have prepared their export strategy,

Meanwhile, the Centre has decided to soon bring out a Logistics Performance Index to rank states on steps taken to facilitate trade and improve logistics.

Measures in the pipeline include expediting the proposal for a north east corridor to improve connectivity with south east Asian countries and exports to that region.

The move assumes significance as the "Assistance to States for Development of Export Infrastructure and Allied Activities (ASIDE) Scheme" shifted to states on the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission.

ASIDE provides for an outlay for development of export infrastructure in states. TIES is an entirely different initiative, effort and scheme. ASIDE scheme that was discontinued by the Centre in 2015-16, but with different features.

States will also be ranked by the Centre on their logistics performance beginning this year.

The ASIDE scheme was given up by the Centre when the States’ share in net proceeds of the Union tax revenues was increased to 42 per cent from 32 per cent in line with the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations.

The Revenue Department under the Union Finance Ministry has extended SWIFT (single window interface for facilitation of trade), a single window customs clearance facility for export consignments as well.

Know More About SWIFT

  • Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has launched ‘SWIFT’, an initiative to speed up clearances for consignments and improve ‘ease of doing business.’
  • Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade (SWIFT) provides a single-point interface for clearance.
  • It is expected to reduce documentation and costs.
  • It is expected to cover and benefit over 97 per cent of India’s imports.
  • Importers will not need to run around to get approvals from multiple government agencies for their consignments.
  • The single window connects over 50 offices of six government agencies with the Indian customs department.
  • These are the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI); Department of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage; Drug Controller; Animal Quarantine; Wild Life Crime Control Bureau and Textile Committee.
  • The launch of SWIFT is a big step because there are very few administrations in the world that had managed to put this in place.
  • Among the countries that have launched single-window interface are Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Thailand and Malaysia.

8)   Island Tourism Festival is being held at which city?

a. Port Blair
b. Colombo
c. Diu
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Port Blair

Island Tourism Festival is an annual cultural event organized for the promotion of tourism and entertainment for islanders.

The main event is being held in Port Blair. A part of festival are also organized in other places like Wimberlygunj, Wandoor, Neil, Havelock, Rangat, Mayabunder, Diglipur, Hut Bay, Car Nicobar, Kamorta, Campbell Bay etc.

The ten-day festival is held annually from 5th January at ITF ground Port Blair.

The highlight of the festival at ITF ground is the exhibition depicting strides made by the Island Administration in various spheres and sale of general merchandise, food stalls, and stalls of interest to tourists, Floating Restaurant etc.

The main focal point, however, is the performance of mainland artists especially reputed music bands, Bollywood singers, dancers, performers etc.

Inaugurated by Lt. Governor Jagdish Mukhi at ITF Ground on 5th Jan, the 10 day mega event will see performances by the cultural troupes from mainland India to help the Islanders renew their cultural ties with mainland.

The cultural troupes from mainland as well as the Isles will also perform in outer Islands apart from South Andaman.

An International Cultural Group from Kazakhstan will also perform in this event. The other attractions of this event will be the food courts, fun games and handicrafts etc. Water sports competitions like Nicobari Hodi race are organized.

9)   Which veteran film actor won the national film award for best actor in 1982?

a. Naseeruddin Shah
b. Om Puri
c. Amitabh Bachchan
d. Saeed Jaffrey
Answer  Explanation 


Veteran film actor Om Puri has passed away after suffering a heart attack. The 66-year-old Puri was known for his acting in films like Ardh Satya, Aakrosh, Jane Bhi Do Yaaron, Bhavni Bhavai, Mirch Masala and Dharavi.

He was a graduate of Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, and he won the National Film Award for Best Actor for Arohan in 1982.

The famous actor delivered some stellar performances in mainstream commercial Pakistani, Indian and British cinema.

He also entered Hollywood with his roles in 'City of Joy', 'Gandhi' and 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist'.

Puri lent his voice for the character Bagheera, the black panther in the popular television animated Hindi series “Mowgli” and for the Hollywood movie, “The Jungle Book.”

Among the British films that earned him name are “My Son the Fanatic,” “East Is East” and “The Parole Officer.” He appeared in Hollywood films such as “City of Joy,” “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” and most recently in Steven Spielberg’s comedy drama “The Hundred-Foot Journey.”

He also made a cameo in Richard Attenborough’s “Gandhi.”

Puri was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian honors, in 1990 and received an honorary OBE for his contribution to the British film industry in 2004.

10)   Which eminent jurist was the first Sri Lankan to be appointed to the ICJ?

a. CG Weeramantry
b. BG Weetamantry
c. DG Weeramantry
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: CG Weeramantry

Well known jurist CG Weermantry passed away on 5th Jan 2016 at the age of 90. He was the first Sri Lankan to be appointed to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

He began his judicial career in the 1950s, and became Sri Lanka’s youngest Supreme Court judge.

He later was appointed as a senior judge there before moving to Australia as the Sir Hayden Stark Professor of Law at Monash University.

In the early 1990s, he was part of the ICJ when the WHO sought information on nuclear deal legality.

Justice Weeramantry set up the Colombo-based Weeramantry Centre for International Peace and also served as president of the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms, a non-governmental organisation headquartered in The Hague.

Know About About CG Weeramantry

  • Sri Lankabhimanya Christopher Gregory Weeramantry, AM was a Sri Lankan lawyer.
  • He was a Judge of the International Court of Justice from 1991 to 2000, serving as its Vice-President from 1997 to 2000.
  • Born: November 17, 1926, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Died: January 5, 2017
  • Education: University of Ceylon, University of London, Royal College, Colombo, King's College London
  • Awards: Sri Lankabhimanya