Current Affairs Questions & Answers - July 13, 2017

1)   Scientists have discovered the smallest star in the universe called ________.

a. EBLM J0555-57Ab
b. EBLM J0555-57Db
c. EBLM J0555-57Gb
d. EBLM J0555-57Jb
Answer  Explanation 


Scientists have discovered the smallest-known star in the universe - slightly larger than Saturn in size - which may possibly have Earth-sized planets with liquid water in its orbit.

Researchers from University of Cambridge in the U.K. identified the star located about 600 light years away, called EBLM J0555-57Ab as it passed in front of its much larger companion.

The star is likely as small as stars can possibly become, as it has just enough mass to enable the fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium, researchers said.

With a size just a sliver larger than that of Saturn, the gravitational pull at its stellar surface is about 300 times stronger than what humans feel on Earth.

The discovery is also the best possible candidates for detecting Earth-sized planets which can have liquid water on their surfaces, such as TRAPPIST-1, an ultracool dwarf surrounded by seven temperate Earth-sized worlds.

This reveals how small stars can be.

Had this star formed with only a slightly lower mass, the fusion reaction of hydrogen in its core could not be sustained, and the star would instead have transformed into a brown dwarf.

The star was identified by WASP, a planet-finding experiment run by several universities.

This star is smaller, and likely colder than many of the gas giant exoplanets that have so far been identified, researchers said.

WASP: Know More

  • Abbreviation: WASP
  • Purpose: Search for distant planets
  • Region served: La Palma and Sutherland
  • Membership: Eight universities
  • Website:

2)   Which major search engine giant has acquired AI startup Halli Labs on 12th July 2017?

a. Yahoo
b. Verizon
c. AOL
d. Google
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Google

Google has acquired Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence startup Halli Labs for an undisclosed sum.

The firm said it was founded with the goal of applying modern artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to solve old problems.

Halli Labs was co-founded early this year by Pankaj Gupta, former chief technology officer of online homestay aggregator Stayzilla, which recently closed down its services.

An alumnus of Stanford University, Mr.Gupta has also worked as a senior data scientist at Twitter.

Caesar Sengupta, Google's vice-president for product management tweeted about the acquisition on July 12 on his Twitter handle.

3)   Which country's former president was convicted on corruption charges on 12th July 2017?

a. Brazil
b. Spain
c. Mexico
d. Venezeula
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Brazil

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was found guilty of corruption and money laundering on July 12, 2017 and sentenced to almost 10 years in prison.

This is the highest-profile conviction yet in the sprawling graft investigation that has jailed dozens of Brazil’s elite.

The decision by Judge Sergio Moro was widely expected, even by Silva’s own defense team, but was still stunning.

The charismatic leader left office on Dec. 31, 2010, with sky-high popularity and is credited with pulling millions of Brazilians out of poverty and turning Latin America’s largest nation into an important player on the world stage.

Brazil’s first working class president will remain free while an appeal is heard, but he is now also the country’s first ex-president to be convicted in a criminal proceeding at least since democracy was restored in the 1980s.

In many quarters, the man known to Brazilians simply as Lula remains revered both for his economic policies and his role in fighting for democracy during the country’s dictatorship.

The 71-year-old has been considered a front-runner for next year’s presidential election.

The case is part of the huge “Operation Car Wash” corruption investigation centred on state-run oil giant Petrobras that has led to the convictions of dozens of business executives and politicians, and threatens current President Michel Temer.

Silva was accused of receiving a beachfront apartment and repairs to the property as kickbacks from construction company OAS.

Silva never owned the apartment, but prosecutors argued it was intended for him.

Prosecutors also alleged that OAS paid to store Silva’s belongings, but Judge Moro dismissed that part of the case.

Silva also faces charges in four other cases.

Judge Moro said he did not order Silva’s immediate arrest because the conviction of a president is such a serious matter that he felt the former leader’s appeal should be heard first.

The case now goes before a group of magistrates. If they uphold the conviction, Brazilian law says Silva would be barred from seeking office.

In addition to sentencing Silva to 9 1/2 years in prison, Judge Moro also ruled that the politician should be barred from public office for 19 years.

Silva’s presidency coincided with an economic boom fuelled by high commodity prices and he used the profits to fund generous social programs that made him a hero among Brazil’s poor.

He left office with popularity ratings of up to 87 per cent and Brazilians elected his hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, to succeed him.

But a subsequent fall in commodity prices and economic mismanagement by Silva and Ms. Rousseff led Brazil’s economy to implode.

4)   How many states have formally adopted the GeM initiative in July 2017?

a. 6
b. 5
c. 4
d. 3
Answer  Explanation 


5 States and a Union Territory (UT) have formally adopted the Centre’s Government e-Marketplace (GeM) initiative.

They are Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Telangana, Arunachal Pradesh and Puducherry (UT).

In this regard, these states/UT have signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) to join GeM initiative.

Four more states including Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Haryana, will ink such MoU soon.

GeM is an Online Market platform to facilitate procurement of goods and services by various Ministries and agencies of the Government.

It aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement of goods and services and eliminate corruption.

It functions under Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D), Union Ministry of Commerce and Industries. GeM is a completely paperless, cashless and system driven e-market place that enables procurement of common use goods and services with minimal human interface.

Presently more than 40000 products in about 150 categories and hiring of transport service are available on GeM POC portal.

5)   NGT has banned kite strings made of which material?

a. Nylon
b. Plastic
c. Any synthetic material
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: All of the above

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed nationwide blanket ban on the use of kite strings (manja), made of nylon or any synthetic material on the grounds that it poses a threat to animals and humans.

The judgement of Tribunal came on a plea filed by animal rights body People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and others.

The petition filed by PETA and others had contended that ‘manja’ poses a grave threat to humans and animals as a number of deaths are caused by it every year.

It has also alleged that sometimes these strings coated with sharp metals, traps and kill migratory birds.

It also claimed that minor children were engaged by the cottage industry for the manufacture of ‘manja’, which caused respiratory problems as they inhaled harmful substances which were detrimental to their health.

The Tribunal has directed all state governments to prohibit the manufacture, sale, storage, purchase and use of synthetic manja or nylon threads and all other synthetic strings used for flying kites with immediate effect.

It also ordered the authorities across the country to ban import of any synthetic manja or nylon thread or other similar threads coated with synthetic substances.

About National Green Tribunal (NGT)

  • The NGT was established in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
    It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.
  • It also includes enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith.
  • It adjudicates matters relating to Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991; Forest Conservation Act and Biological Diversity Act.
  • The NGT is guided by principles of natural justice and not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
  • It is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing.
  • New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting NGT. Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are other regional sitting of the Tribunal.

6)   Union Cabinet approved JIN on agreement between India and which country?

a. Bangladesh
b. Burma
c. Bhutan
d. Malaysia
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Bangladesh

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the Joint Interpretative Notes (JIN) on the Agreement between India and Bangladesh for the Promotion and Protection of Investments.

Decision in this regard was taken at the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

JIN plays an important supplementary role in strengthening the investment treaty regime.

Looking at increasing trend in Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) disputes, issuance of such statements is likely to have strong persuasive value for resolving disputes before arbitration tribunals.

Moreover, such pro-active approach by states also can foster more predictable and coherent reading of treaty terms by tribunals.

The approval JIN by the Union Cabinet will impart clarity to the interpretation of the existing agreements between India and Bangladesh for the Promotion and Protection of Investments (BIPA).

The JIN between India and Bangladesh includes interpretative notes to be jointly adopted for many clauses.

This is including, the definition of investor, investment, exclusion of taxation measures, National Treatment (NT), Fair and Equitable Treatment (FET) and Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment, essential security interests, expropriation and Settlement of Disputes between an Investor and Contracting Party.

7)   Which Indian cricketer scripted history by scoring more than 6000 career runs?

a. Harminder Kaur
b. Mithali Raj
c. Sachin Tendulkar
d. Viraat Kohli
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Mithali Raj

Indian captain Mithali Raj (34) scripted history by becoming first player in the history of women’s ODI cricket to score more than 6000 career runs.

She also became all-time leading run-getter in women’s ODI. She achieved the record feat against Australia in the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 match at Bristol.

She broke previous record of Charlotte Edwards (5992) in 164 innings – 16 less than Charlotte. Mithali Raj Mithali had made her ODI debut at the age of 16 against Ireland in June 1999 at Milton Keynes and scored unbeaten 114 runs.

So far, Mithali has scored 6028 runs with the help of 5 centuries and 49 half-centuries.

During the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup, she had created record of scoring seven consecutive fifties in women’s ODIs.

Apart from this, she has also scored 49 ODI half-centuries, highest by any woman cricketer.

She is often called the Sachin Tendulkar of Indian women’s cricket.

8)   Which rail based initiatives were launched on 12th July 2017 by Rail Ministry?

a. RAIL CLOUD Project
b. Nivaran Grievance Portal
c. Both a and b
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both a and b

Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu launched the following Initiatives:-


2. NIVARAN-Grievance Portal (First IT Application on Rail Cloud).

3. Cashless treatment Scheme in Emergency (CTSE) Scheme and Handing over of 1st CTSE Card.

Salient Features of the Initiatives Launched


Indian Railway has started a strategic IT initiative, christened IR-OneICT, for enterprise wide digital single platform with an aim to improve customer satisfaction, improve revenue and effective, efficient and safe operations.

To achieve the goal of single digital platform for IR a few foundational projects need to be implemented first, establishment of RailCloud is one such project.

Cloud Computing is the emerging technology for faster and on demand commensurate deployment of Server resources which result in reduced cost.

Accordingly, RailCloud Phase-I has been sanctioned at the cost of Rs. 53.55 Cr under PH-17, DF(3) in FY 17-18. Potential benefits to Railways after implementation of RailCloud are:

  • Faster and on-demand deployment of application- RailCloud will pave the way for swifter deployment of application (within 24 hrs as compared to conventional time running into weeks and months).

    At the same time the cloud hardware and environment will be available for rigorous testing of the new applications.
  • Optimum use of Servers and storage- The technology enables maximising the usage of the available server and storage resulting in accommodation of bigger data and more applications within same server space.
  • Utilization of existing infrastructure as part of Cloud- The existing resources available with railway will be subsumed in RailCloud thereby ensuring that expenditure is minimized in acquiring new resources.
  • Rapid scalability and elasticity- Server and storage space will scale up and down as per the demand. This makes the system suitable to meet the higher demand at peak hours with less expenditure.
  • IT Security enhancement and Standardization: The cloud shall be equipped with security features as per the latest GOI guidelines, the security features can be updated in one go for all the applications hosted on the cloud.

    This will be resulting in enhanced security and stability with less expenditure and effort.
  • Cost reduction: The server and storage infrastructure will be deployed as per the requirement, resulting in substantial savings to railway as expenditure will be incurred as and when required.

    This will be instead of upfront shelling out money on procurement of expensive servers.
  • Better User Experience: In Cloud, the server resources are constantly scaled up or down as per the no. of users logged on to the system. This ensures a better user experience to the customer.

    The Managed Network and Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) services are also being planned, in near future, for providing faster and more efficient work environment to each rail worker.
NIVARAN-Grievance Portal’First IT application on RailCloud

‘NIVARAN-Grievance Portal’ is the first IT application to be launched on the RailCloud.

It is the platform for resolution of service related grievances of serving and former railway employees.

The existing application was hosted on a conventional server; it has been made cloud-ready and being migrated as the first cloud application of Indian Railways.

It will save significant revenue and at the same time user experience will also improve.

Cashless treatment Scheme in Emergency (CTSE)

Railway provides Comprehensive Health Care Facilities to its beneficiaries through in-house health Institutions, supplementing with referrals to recognized hospitals whenever necessary.

The beneficiaries include retired employees and their dependent family members.

Large no. of retired beneficiaries lives in the newly developed suburbs of various cities. These parts of the city are often far away from the established Railway Health Institutions.

In this scenario the RELHS beneficiaries coming to Railway Health Institutions in routine is acceptable, however in emergency situations, precious time (Golden Hour) is lost in travel.

To provide immediate care to its retired employees in ‘Golden Hour’ Railway Board has decided to roll out a “Cashless treatment Scheme in Emergency’ (CTSE), in empanelled hospitals, for retired employees and their dependent family members.

CTSE Scheme: Know More
  • Rather than creating a separate time and resource consuming vertical the scheme has used the existing resources by bringing on board the UIDAI and ARPAN database. Railway has not incurred any capital expenditure on the scheme,
  • M/s UTIITSL has developed the software in consultation with Railway and shall be paid on per bill processed basis.
  • The online processing will ensure swifter disposal of bills in a transparent manner.
  • At present the scheme has been rolled out in four metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, based on the experience of this pilot the scheme may be extended to the whole of country.

9)   Who has been appointed as the new Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs in July 2013?

a. Sanjay Garg
b. Subhash Chandra Garg
c. Sujoy Garg
d. Satish Garg
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Subhash Chandra Garg

Shri Subhash Chandra Garg, IAS (RJ:1983) on 12th July 2017 assumed office as the new Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance.

Shri Garg was Executive Director, World Bank, Washington D.C. in his immediate preceding posting.

He has widespread administrative experience in more than 30 years of service during which he held various important assignments.

This is including the Administrative postings in his home State of Rajasthan. Shri Garg has also worked in the Central Government in various capacities.

He was posted as Director, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance from May, 2000 to September, 2003.

Later he took over as Joint Secretary, Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance and continued to hold that position till May, 2005.

He has also worked in the Cabinet Secretariat where he held the position of Joint Secretary/Additional Secretary from February, 2012 to December, 2013.

10)   Which country will hold the 8th edition of the greatest carnival of Theatre in the World for the first time?

a. Indonesia
b. India
c. Bhutan
d. Malaysia
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent charge) for Culture and Tourism has announced that 8th edition of the greatest carnival of Theatre in the World will take place in India for the first time ever from February 17 – April 08, 2018.

It will take place simultaneously in various cities across the country.

There will be 500 plays & 700 ambience performances from across the world and Allied activities like exhibitions, seminars, symposia, interactive discussions and workshops with well-known academicians, authors, actors, designers and directors will be held.

Leading luminaries of world theatre will take part.

In a development that puts India firmly among the top nations in the world theatre map, the country is all set to host the next edition of the prestigious Theatre Olympics.

Established in 1993, the Theatre Olympics is the foremost international theatre festival.

It presenting the finest productions of well-known theatre practitioners from around the world.

Theatre Olympics: Know More

  • The Theatre Olympics, being held in India for the first time, is being organised by National School of Drama, under the aegis of Ministry of Culture.
  • The country’s tryst with the biggest celebration of theatre in the world will take place from February 17 till April 08, 2018 and will be held in 15 cities across India.
  • It was also announced that the inaugural ceremony of the Theatre Olympics will take place in New Delhi.
  • The Theatre Olympics 2018 will be the 8th edition of the event and will feature maximum number of Indian & International theatre groups, invitee eminent theatre personalities along with their performances.
  • In addition, there will be ambience performances with allied activities like exhibitions, seminars, symposia, interactive discussions and workshops with well-known academicians, authors, actors, designers and directors.
  • The Theatre Olympics was established in 1993 in Delphi, Greece, as the first international theatre festival.
  • With the tagline ‘Crossing Millennia’, this is an initiative to connect the cultural past with the present and future, bringing the richness and diversity of theatre heritage to the experiments and research of contemporary theatre.
  • The first country to host the Theatre Olympics was Greece in 1995. Japan hosted the second edition in Shizuoka in 1999, followed by Russia in 2001.
  • In 2006 the Olympics were held in Istanbul, Turkey and four years later, in 2010 in Seoul, South Korea. China hosted them in Beijing in 2014.
  • In 2016 the 7th Theatre Olympics were held in Wroclaw, Poland. India is all set to join this illustrious list as it plays host to the 8th edition of this global event.

11)   Where is the International Rice Research Institute, South Asia Regional Centre set to be established?

a. Varanasi
b. Lucknow
c. Allahabad
d. Muzzafarpur
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Varanasi

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC).

This is at campus of National Seed Research and Training Centre (NSRTC) in Varanasi.

Under the proposal, a Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA) will be set up in Varanasi.

This will include a modern and sophisticated laboratory with capacity to determine quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw.

The Centre will also undertake capacity building exercises for stakeholders across the rice value chain.

This Centre will be the first international Centre in the eastern India and it will play a major role in harnessing and sustaining rice production in the region.

It is expected to be a boon for food production and skill development in the eastern India and similar ecologies in other South Asian and African countries.

For setting up of the Centre, A Memorandum of Agreement, will be signed between DAC&FW and IRRI, Philippines.

The Department of DAC&FW will provide physical space for laboratories, offices, training classes, etc. with associated infrastructure and land at NSRTC, Varanasi.

The Centre will be commissioned within six months.

Benefits from ISARC

  • The Centre will help in utilizing the rich biodiversity of India to develop special rice varieties.
  • This will help India to achieve higher per hectare yields and improved nutritional contents.
  • India’s food and nutritional security issues will also be addressed.
  • The Centre will support in adopting value chain based production system in the country.
  • This will reduce wastage, add value and generate higher income for the farmers.
  • The farmers in Eastern India will benefit in particular, besides those in South Asian and African countries.
Management of ISARC
  • ISARC will operate under the governance of the IRRI Board of Trustees who will appoint an appropriate IRRI staff member as Director.
  • A Coordination Committee will be headed by Director General, IRRI as Chair and Secretary, Government of India, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DACFW) as Co-Chair.
  • The other members of Coordination Committee are Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences), ICAR; Director, NSRTC; IRRI representative in India, representative of Government of UP and representatives of Governments of Nepal & Bangladesh and Private Sector.

12)   Which of the following is/are true about the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination?

a. It provides sector wise elimination targets based on endemicity of malaria
b. Targets for elimination of malaria are provided for the next 5 years
c. Early detection of malaria is covered under the plan
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: All of the above

Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination (2017-22).

The Strategic Plan gives year wise elimination targets in various parts of the country depending upon the endemicity of malaria in the next 5 years.

The government would like to eliminate malaria by 2027 and urged the states for active cooperation.

National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) outlined India’s commitment for eliminating malaria by 2030.

The launch of the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination (2017-22) which gives strategies is working towards the ultimate goal of elimination of malaria by 2030.

National Strategic Plan is for five years.

Since the past three years focus is on Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs) with more 14 million nets disbursed and 25 million nets are to be distributed.

Salient Features

The strategies involve strengthening malaria surveillance,
Also part of the plan is establishing a mechanism for early detection and prevention of outbreaks of malaria, promoting the prevention of malaria.

This is through the use of Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs), effective indoor residual spray and augmenting the manpower and capacities for effective implementation for the next five years. Inter sectoral coordination is the key.

Around one child dies of malaria every two minutes and the burden is the heaviest in the African region. India has the third highest malaria burden in the world.

13)   Who has penned “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen” a catchy song for promoting UN SDGs?

a. Pikotaro
b. PSY
c. Justin Bieber
d. Madonna
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Pikotaro

Japanese comedian Pikotaro has adapted his catchy song, Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen’, to promote the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

The original went viral last year after pop star Justin Bieber tweeted that it was his favourite video.

Kazuhito Kosaka is known by his stage name Pikotaro.

The PPAP star beamed at the invitation to accompany the diplomat to New York and pledged to do his utmost for the awareness campaign.

The UN version, “SDGs”, debuts in July.

In the original PPAP song, Pikotaro mimics stabbing a pen into an apple and a pineapple while singing simple English lyrics and dancing to a catchy beat.

The UN action plan sets goals in fighting poverty, climate change and other global challenges

Pikotaro said it would be a challenge to achieve all the goals.

But he was happy to accept the Foreign Ministry’s appointment to the promotional role and to help by doing what he does best.