Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Jan 14, 2017

1)   What is the world's first air cleansing poem called?

a. In Defence of Air
b. In Praise of Air
c. In Praise of Clean Air
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: In Praise of Air

A groundbreaking air cleansing poem called “In Praise of Air” has removed more than 2 tonnes of pollution from the environment in the UK.

This is part of the project used to fight pollution in cities across the globe. The poem is the world's first air cleansing poem.

It was produced by scientists and writers at UK's University of Sheffield.

The poem has been written by award winning writer Simon Armitrage, also professor of poetry at the University.

The poem has been printed on specially treated material developed by scientists at the University. It purifies its surroundings through catalytic oxidation.

The poem has been on display In the University of Sheffield's Alfred Denny Building. The project team has estimated the poem has removed two tonnes of NO2 from the surrounding environment.

The scientists are now looking to replicate the air cleansing technology in billboards and artwork to tackle pollution.

Pollution is a major issue for urban centers and technologies such as these can raise awareness and encourage pro-environmental behaviours.

Since 2014, this poem has been on exhibition. The paper on which the poem is printed can mitigate pollution, cut disease and help save lives.

Global Environment Policy Initiative Paris Agreement: Know More

  • Drafted: 30 November – 12 December 2015
  • Signed: 22 April 2016
  • Location: New York
  • Sealed: 12 December 2015
  • Effective: 4 November 2016
  • Condition: Ratification/Accession by 55 UNFCCC Parties, accounting for 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Signatories: 194
  • Parties: 125
  • Depositary: Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • Languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish

2)   Maluuba, a startup to be acquired by Microsoft is focused on __________

a. Making machines think the way people do
b. Boost AI
c. Both of the above
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

Microsoft on 13th Jan 2017 announced a deal to purchase Montreal based AI startup Maluuba. The startup is focused on making machines think the way people do.

Microsoft has also included the founders of this startup on board, namely Kaheer Suleman and Sam Pasupalak.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Maluuba aims to create more general AI by opting for machines that can reason, communicate and think like humans.

Tech giants Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Google and Microsoft are vying to create the most sophisticated AI assistant.

Microsoft: Know More

  • Industry: Computer software & hardware, Consumer electronics, Digital distribution
  • Founded: April 4, 1975
  • Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
  • Founders: Bill Gates & Paul Allen
  • Headquarters: Microsoft Redmond campus, Redmond, Washington, United States
  • CEO: Satya Nadella
  • Chairman: J. W. Thompson
  • Founder and Technology advisor: Bill Gates
  • President: Brad Smith

3)   Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton will step down to join which tech company?

a. Snap Inc
b. Snapdeal
c. Snapchat
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Snap Inc

Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton will resign from his post to become chairman of the board of messaging app owner Snap Inc.

This puts the Hollywood exec in a prominent role. Technology major Snap Inc is preparing for an IPO.

Japanese major Sony said Lynton gave up the post on Feb 2, 2017 but remained as Co-CEO to help find a successor.

Snap, the owner of the popular app Snapchat is to go public this year, vying for USD 25 billion valuation.

Lynton was an early investor on this company. Its CEO Evan Spiegel founded this company. Lynton served on its board for 4 years.

Venice, CA based Snap Inc has made the move towards news and entertainment content highlighting competition with social networks like Twitter and FB.

It also shares videos from TV networks through a feature called Snapchat Discover.

Snapchat has also seen deals with media companies such as NBC Universal and Walt Disney

Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai will take over the larger role at the Sony division, adding the position of Co-CEO and Chairman of the unit.

Snap Inc: Know More

  • Previously called: Snapchat Inc. (2011-2016)
  • Type: Private
  • Industry: Technology & Social media
  • Founded: September 16, 2011
  • Founders: Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy
  • Headquarters: Venice, Los Angeles, California, United States
  • CEO: Evan Spiegel
  • CTO: Bobby Murphy
  • CFO/Vice President of Finance: Drew Vollero
  • CSO: Imran T. Khan

4)   Which country has banned the sale and production of burqa?

a. Saudi Arabia
b. Pakistan
c. Iran
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

Morocco’s ban on the sale and production of burqa has sharply divided people in the N. African nation.

Award winning French-Moroccan novelist Leila Slimani said the burqa is not an item of clothing but an instrument of oppression.

Lawmaker and former minister Nouzha Skalli has said it will combat religious extremism.

Measure appeared to be motivated by security concerns, as criminals have repeatedly used this garment to perpetrate their crimes.”

Most women in Morocco, whose King Mohammed VI favours a moderate version of Islam, prefer the hijab headscarf that does not cover the face.

The niqab, which leaves the area around the eyes uncovered, is also worn in Salafist circles and in more conservative regions in the north.

Morocco: Know More

  • Morocco is officially known as the Kingdom of Morocco/The Western Kingdom
  • Location: Maghreb region of North Africa.
  • Geographically, Morocco is characterized by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert.
  • It is the only African country to have both an Atlantic and a Mediterranean coastline.
  • Morocco has a population of over 33.8 million and an area of 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi).
  • Capital: Rabat
  • Largest city is Casablanca.
  • Other major cities include Marrakesh, Tangier, Tetouan.

5)   Who was the writer and author associated with The Exorcist?

a. William Peter Smith
b. William Peter Jones
c. William Peter Blatty
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: William Peter Blatty

William Peter Blatty, the author of novel The Exorcist and writer of its Oscar winning film died at age 89.

Blatty was the author of several books. His leading success was the 1971 novel which told the story of a possessed 12 year old girl.

The novel was panned by critics. But it met with commercial success, selling 13 million copies and topping the NYT Bestseller list for 17 weeks.

Blatty won an Oscar for adapting the screenplay of the book for a 1973 film and later directed a sequel, in 1990 called The Exorcist III.

Blatty died on 12th Jan 2017 suffering from a rare form of cancer, multiple myeloma.

He also specialized in comedy, writing Promise Her Anything (1965), which starred Warren Beatty, What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966) and The Great Bank Robbery (1969).

He also wrote the Pink Panther sequel Shot in the Dark. Another cult film he scripted was Darlin Lili which starred Rock Hudson and Julie Andrews.

6)   Flying water taxis are set to be used on the Thames. What are these electric boats called?

a. SeaBubbles
b. SeaKing
c. SeaQueen
d. SeaFlow
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: SeaBubbles

Flying water taxis run on power generated by river currents could be tested on Thames in London; the electric boats are called SeaBubbles.

These have hydrofoils to lift them out of the water, reducing the drag allowing them to reach 25 knots.

This creates a ride likened to the magic carpet.

This comes with specially designed dock with numerous turbines in the water. As the solar panels will supply power needed to run the boats, they are “off grid.”

Five SeaBubbles are due to start a trial on the River Seine in Paris too.

SeaBubble was more efficient than traditional boats because of the hydrofoils. As you lift the hull out of the water you lose 40% of the drag.

With the system, with the water turbines below the docks, one can create the energy needed to operate the fleet.

The river currents are 24 hours.

It stores the energy in 'power walls' (batteries) to run the taxis for 12 to 15 hours, depending on the power of the river and the size of the turbines.

7)   China's first aircraft formation comprised which aircraft carrier?

a. Liaoning
b. Xiaoning
c. Jiaoning
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Liaoning

China's first aircraft carrier formation moved close to Taiwan and conducted drills in the disputed South China Sea.

It has returned to Qingdao port after finishing exercises and testing combat-capability.

The formation included aircraft carrier Liaoning, a number of destroyers, some J-15 carrier-based fighter jets and helicopters.

The fleet sailed through the Bohai Sea the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China sea.
Formation passed through the Miyakato, Bashi and Taiwan straits, according to the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

Taiwan protectively rushed fighter jets and naval ships.

J-15 fighter jets on board the carrier carried out exercises including taking off and landing in different hydrological and meteorological conditions. It also is capable of air-combat tactics, air refuelling and others.

China is currently manufacturing second aircraft carrier with plans to build a third one.

8)   Which former Punjab CM passed away on 14th Jan 2017?

a. Surjit Singh Barnala
b. Amarinder Singh
c. Devi Lal
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Surjit Singh Barnala

Former Punjab CM Surjit Singh Barnala who took charge of the state when militancy was growing in the mid-80s passed away.

He died on 14th Jan 2017 at the age of 91 in Chandigarh.

Barnala served as Punjab's Chief Minister from 1985 to 1987.

A moderate leader of the Akali Dal, he became the CM after the Rajiv-Longowal pact to usher in peace in the state in 1985.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled Barnala's death.

A candidate for vice presidency in 1997, he was defeated by Krishna Kant. He served as governor of TN, AP, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Uttarakhand.

Barnala was also the Agriculture Minister in the Moraji Desai government and the Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet.

Surjit Singh Barnala: Know More

  • Born: 21 October 1925, Ateli
  • Died: 14 January 2017
  • Spouse: Surjit Kaur Barnala
  • Education: University of Lucknow
  • Party: Shiromani Akali Dal

9)   What is India's first solar powered boat called?

a. Kiran
b. Jyoti
c. Surya
d. Aditya
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Aditya

India’s first solar powered boat called ‘Aditya’ was launched at Kochi’s Vembanad lake in Kerala.

The boat is a 75 seater. It has 78 rooftop solar panels and is 20m in length. It is 7m wide.

The boat will offer ferry service along a 2.5 km route between Vaikom and Thavanakkadavu, 22 times a day.

It can travel at maximal speed of 14 kmph and cruises without noise and minimal vibration unlike diesel ferries.

Boat was manufactured at ship technology department of Cochin University of Science and Technology called CUSAT.

10)   Ecuador is set to chair the world's largest organisation of developing states called __________

a. G-24
b. G-4
c. G-8
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

The country will chair at the head of the world’s largest organization of developing states to tackle tax havens and the corruption they breed.

President of Ecuador Rafael Correa assume the chairmanship of the Group of 77.

The charge was summed in New York on 13th Jan 2017. G-77 is the the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries at the UN.

This marks chairmanship for the first time in the Andean nation's history.

G-77's mission is to promote South-South cooperation and enhance joint negotiating capacity within the UN system.

Ecuador will work to ensure that tax havens be banned to avoid corruption, money laundering, and tax evasion."

Correa is leading the campaign against corporate and individual tax fraud by example.

He has launched a national referendum in Ecuador. In this, citizens will vote in February on a proposed ban on public servants or elected officials keeping money in offshore tax havens.

Correa launched national and international campaigns against tax avoidance after the Panama Papers leaks.

He wants to use Ecuador’s one-year term as head of the coalition of 134 nations from the Global South to demonstrate that at the UN, the General Assembly should make the most important decisions.

Ecuador: Know More

  • Capital: Quito
  • Currency: United States Dollar
  • President: Rafael Correa
  • Official language: Spanish