Current Affairs Questions & Answers - July 14, 2017

1)   Which is India's second longest river?

a. Mahanadi
b. Cauvery
c. Godavari
d. Tapi
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Godavari

A group of US researchers is working on a system to map undulating pollution trends in the Godavari, India’s second longest river.

Using a mix of methods, including satellite-monitoring, traversing stretches of the river to collect water samples.

Using special sensors to measure bacterial and chemical pollution, the researchers are trying to develop a cost-effective forecast system.

The team’s long-term objective is to be able to inform State officials and citizens of a probable spike in, say, levels of dangerous microbes or effluents, similar to weather and air pollution forecasts.

The am is to be able to access “raw data” that could be used to inform the efficacy of a proposed faecal sludge treatment plant.

It will also indicate if behavioural interventions — including incentives or punishments — to restrict activities that pollute the river could actually work.

The project started eight months ago and has so far identified two “hotspots” of pollution,.

The exercise being done along a portion of the 1,400-km river spanning Rajamundhry (East Godavari district) and Kovvur, Narsapur and Palakol (all in West Godavari), measures parameters such as total dissolved salts, nitrate, pH, temperature, turbidity and electrical conductivity.

These are relayed to a website called Thoreau, a wireless sensing network maintained at the University of Chicago to map environmental parameters, for analysis.

Some river attributes such as microbial levels require to be measured in laboratories, though the team hopes eventually to be able to use low-cost sensors that measure them, too, in real time.

The exercise is part of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation project to support the programme of the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI).

It aims to provide city-wide sanitation improvements in urban Andhra Pradesh.

Sensors to monitor river pollution are an emerging technological approach in India.

40 proposals to make the sensors (to monitor river and environmental pollution) had come in, and two would be short-listed soon.

Intel, which will make the chips powering the devices, and the DST will split a INR 35-crore investment.

2)   What does the sixth mass extinction on Earth involve?

a. Extinction of more than 30% of animals with a backbone
b. Decline in the population of fishes, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

The sixth mass extinction of life on Earth is unfolding more quickly than feared, scientists have warned.

More than 30% of animals with a backbone - fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals - are declining in both range and population, according to the first comprehensive analysis of these trends.

This is the case of a biological annihilation occurring globally.

Around a decade ago, experts feared that a new planetary wipeout of species was looming.

Today, most agree that it is under way - but the new study suggests that the die-out is already ratcheting up a gear.

It provides much-needed data about the threat to wildlife, mapping the dwindling ranges and population of 27,600 species. For 177 mammals, researchers combed through data covering the period 1900 to 2015.

The mammal species that were monitored have lost at least a third of their original habitat, the researchers found.

Forty per cent of them - including rhinos, orangutans, gorillas and many big cats - are surviving on 20% or less of the land they once roamed. The loss of biodiversity has recently accelerated.

Several species of mammals that were relatively safe one or two decades ago are now endangered,” including cheetahs, lions and giraffes.

Globally, the mass die-off - deemed to be the sixth in the last half-billion years - is the worst since three-quarters of life on the Earth, including the non-avian dinosaurs, were wiped out 66 million years ago by a giant meteor impact.

On an average, two vertebrate species disappear every year.

Tropical regions have seen the highest number of declining species. In South and Southeast Asia, large-bodied species of mammals have lost more than four-fifths of their historical ranges.

While fewer species are disappearing in temperate zones, the percentage is just as high or higher.

As many as half of the number of animals that once shared our planet are no longer here, a loss the authors described as “a massive erosion of the greatest biological diversity in the history of Earth”.

By comparison, there are as few as 20,000 lions left in the wild, less than 7,000 cheetahs, 500 to 1,000 giant pandas, and about 250 Sumatran rhinoceros.

Causes of Extinction

  • The main drivers of wildlife decline are habitat loss, overconsumption, pollution, invasive species, disease.
  • Also a cause is poaching in the case of tigers, elephants, rhinos and other large animals prized for their body parts.
  • Climate change is poised to become a major threat in the coming decades.

3)   Which is one of the world's fastest warming regions?

a. Arctic
b. Antarctic
c. Greenland
d. North Pole
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Antarctic

A trillion-tonne iceberg, one of the largest ever recorded, has snapped off the West Antarctic ice shelf, scientists who have monitored the growing crack for years indicated.

The calving occurred sometime between Monday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 12, when a 5,800-square kilometre (2,200-square mile) section of Larsen C (ice shelf) finally broke away.

The massive ice cube, larger than the US state of Delaware, has a volume twice that of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes. It is about 350 metres (1,100 feet) thick.

The iceberg weighs more than a trillion tonnes, but it was already floating before it calved away so has no immediate impact on sea level. It will likely be named A68.

With the calving, the Larsen C ice shelf lost more than 12% of its total surface area.

Icebergs calving from the Antarctica are a regular occurrence. But given its enormous size, the latest berg will be closely watched as it travels, for any potential risk to shipping traffic.

The calving may have heightened the risk of the remaining ice shelf disintegrating.

Ice shelves float on the sea, extending from the coast, and are fed by slow-flowing glaciers from the land.

They act as giant brakes, preventing glaciers from flowing directly into the ocean.

If the glaciers held in check by Larsen C spilt into the Antarctic Ocean, it would lift the global water mark by about 10 centimetres (four inches).

The calving of ice shelves occurs naturally, though global warming is believed to have accelerated the process.

Warmer ocean water erodes the underbelly of the ice shelves, while rising air temperatures weaken them from above.

The nearby Larsen A ice shelf collapsed in 1995, and Larsen B dramatically broke up seven years later.

The final break was detected by a NASA satellite.

The fate of the berg is hard to predict. It may stay in one piece, but could also break into fragments.

Human actions have lifted average global air temperatures by about one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial levels, according to scientists.

Antarctica is one of the world’s fastest-warming regions.

4)   Who has been appointed the TATA Group Chief Digital Officer in July 2017?

a. Chandrashekharan
b. A. Subramanian
c. Dilip Pendse
d. Cyrus Mistry
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: A. Subramanian

Tata Sons on July 13, 2017 appointed Aarthi Subramanian, executive director at TCS, as the Tata Group’s chief digital officer.

Ms. Subramanian will report to N. Chandrasekaran, executive chairman of Tata Sons, in her new role and continue to serve on the board of TCS as a non-executive director.

Aarthi has a great track record of successfully leading large teams to achieve excellence in customer service delivery and has been a strong advocate of proactive value addition for customers.

As the group’s chief digital officer, she will play a key role in driving digital adoption across group companies as well as the group’s digital initiatives.

5)   Who has been named the fourth president of Singapore Nanyang Technology University on January 1, 2018?

a. Bertil Anderson
b. Subra Suresh
c. Amartya Sen
d. Koh Boon Hwee
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Subra Suresh

Subra Suresh, an eminent Indian-origin scientist in the US was on Thursday named as the president of Singapore’s prestigious Nanyang Technological University.

Suresh, 61, will begin his term as the fourth president of the NTU on January 1, 2018, taking over from current president Bertil Andersson.

Mr. Suresh joins NTU from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) where he was president for the last four years.

Chairman of the NTU Board of Trustees, Koh Boon Hwee (Chairman of Agilent Technologies, Inc, former Chairman of both Singapore Airlines and DBS Bank), announced Mr. Suresh ’s appointment.

The succession planning started last year and in line with international best practices of universities, NTU had conducted a global search for its next president in Singapore and internationally.

The eight-member search committee chaired by Mr. Koh unanimously selected Prof Suresh for the top role at NTU, and his appointment has been strongly endorsed by all members of the NTU Board of Trustees.

Mr. Suresh understands the Singapore higher education and research systems, as well as those in North America, Europe, China and India, having actively engaged with various public and private agencies and boards.

As a member of a number of national academies of science and engineering, he is an educator, scientist, advisor, inventor, entrepreneur and leader all rolled into one.

Mr. Suresh is considered one of the most distinguished scientists in the US, if not the world.

He was chosen by former US President Barack Obama to serve as Director of the National Science Foundation, the agency charged with advancing science and engineering research and education in the US between 2010 and 2013.

His undergraduate degree was from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in Chennai.

In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in the US.

He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, making him one of the only 19 American scientists to be elected to all three branches.

He also holds the distinction of being the first Asian-born professor to have served as engineering dean of the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he attained his doctorate in science.

In 2011, Mr. Suresh was honoured with the Padma Shri by the President of India.

Nanyang University

  • The Nanyang Technological University is an autonomous university in Singapore.
  • NTU is consistently ranked amongst the world’s best universities.
  • Address: 50 Nanyang Ave, Singapore 639798
  • Phone: +65 6791 1744
  • Total enrollment: 32,699 (2014)
  • Chancellor: President Tony Tan
  • Subsidiaries: Nanyang Business School,

6)   The Army can now purchase weapon systems and military platforms for ________ wars.

a. Cross-border
b. Long duration
c. Short Duration
d. Both a and c
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Short Duration

The Union Government has empowered the Army to directly procure critical weapons systems and military platforms to maintain combat readiness for short duration intense wars.

The purpose of this new scheme is to maintain an optimum level to fight short intense wars following critical voids in capabilities of Army.

The Army faces severe shortage in ammunition, mainly for artillery guns, air defence, tanks and certain infantry weapons.

This shortage may make it very difficult for Army to fight a short intense war that lasts for 10 to 15 days.

To overcome this issue, Army was pressing the government for ensuring speedy procurement of key military platforms citing evolving security challenges.

Under the new scheme, Vice Chief of Army has been given the full financial powers to procure ammunitions.

Army has been empowered on a routine basis to review the optimum holding state and maintaining it on a recurring manner.

The new procedure will be part of revenue procurement of the Army for in-service equipment and weapons.

As part of it, the Army has been allowed to procure 46 types of ammunition and spares for 10 different types of weapons systems.

The new revenue route for procurement of in-service equipment will not require going through numerous procurement stages which often cause inordinate delays.

Earlier it was necessary to take permission from Defence Acquisition Council (headed by defence minister) or the Cabinet Committee on Security (headed by Prime Minister), for procuring such critical equipment. Thus, new scheme will ensure that the time taken in procuring such equipment is reduced.

7)   Where has an S-band doppler weather radar been commissioned in Kerala?

a. Palluruthy
b. Alapuzza
c. Kurumpaddy
d. Kozhikode
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Palluruthy

An indigenously developed S-band doppler weather radar (DWR) of India Meteorological Department (IMD) was commissioned at Palluruthy in West Kochi, Kerala.

It has been manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) based on the indigenous technology provided by ISRO.

It joins the latest in a chain of 27 such advanced radars already installed in various parts of the country.

The S-band DWR is capable of predicting weather events such as storms and cyclones, other severe weather conditions occurring in 500-km radius from Kochi with increased accuracy.

Doppler weather radar is an observational tool for monitoring and predicting severe weather events such as hailstorms, thunder storms, cyclones and tornados.

It uses the Doppler effect by bouncing a microwave signal off a desired target to produce velocity data. This data helps in analyzing object’s motion by altered the frequency of the returned signal.

It mainly gives information about wind velocity and also about precipitation.

DWR can provide area specific rain and storm warnings which are beneficial for disaster management and emergency response, aviation and related services.

It can be used for wind speed measurements during cyclones and thunderstorms which is not possible in conventional weather radar.

Thus, it helps in providing improved warning and better weather forecasts.

Doppler effect is an increase (or decrease) in the frequency of sound, light, or other waves as the source and observer move towards (or away from) each other.

8)   Union Government has set up DGARM to tackle tax evaders. What does it stand for?

a. Directorate General of Avoidance of Tax and Risk Management
b. Directorate General of Analytics and Risk Management
c. Directorate General of Actuary and Risk Management
d. Directorate General of Analytics and Revenue Management
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Directorate General of Analytics and Risk Management

The Union Government has set up Directorate General of Analytics and Risk Management (DGARM), a new wing to provide intelligence inputs taking action against tax evaders.

It has been has been set up will be under the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). It will also do big data analytics for taxmen for better policy formulation.

The DGARM was set up on 1 July 2017, coinciding with rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

It will function as an apex body of CBEC for data analytics and risk management and will report to the chairman of CBEC.

It will utilize internal and external data sources for detailed data mining and analysis to generate outputs for focused and targeted action by field formations and investigation wings of the CBEC.

The field formations of CBEC are also expected to gainfully and effectively utilise the data and other inputs shared by the DGARM.

The data analytics and processing coupled with intelligence inputs by DGRAM will provide the CBEC the national and sub-national perspective for policy formulation.

9)   Which Nobel laureate and democracy icon in China was known for co-writing Charter 08?

a. Liu Xiaoling
b. Liu Xiaobong
c. Liu Xiaobo
d. Liu Xianling
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Liu Xiaobo

Nobel laureate and democracy icon Liu Xiaobo passed away in custody following a battle with cancer. He was 61. Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.

Liu was a Chinese literary critic, writer, human rights activist who called for political reforms and end of communist single-party rule.

He is also known for his role in 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing. Liu was arrested in 2008 after co-writing Charter 08, a bold petition that called for the protection of basic human rights and reform of China’s political system.

He was sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2009 on the charges of subversion.

During his fourth prison term, he was awarded 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.

He was first Chinese citizen to be awarded a Nobel Prize of any kind while residing in China.

At the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony held in Oslo in 2010 he was represented by an empty chair.

Liu is the third person to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while in prison or detention, after Germany’s Carl von Ossietzky (1935) and Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi (1991).

He was also the second Nobel Peace laureate who died in custody (first being Ossietzky who died in a Nazi concentration camp).

10)   DIPP has signed an agreement to establish India’s first Technology and Innovation Support Centre in which state?

a. Haryana
b. Punjab
c. Delhi
d. UP
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Punjab

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, signed an Institutional agreement with the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology in New Delhi.

This was to establish India’s first Technology and Innovation Support Centre (TISC) at Patent Information Centre, Punjab, under the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) TISC program.

The objective of the TISC is to stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) system in India to foster creativity and innovation.

This will thereby promote entrepreneurship and enhancing social, economic and cultural development by establishing a network of TISCs in India.

WIPO’s Technology and Innovation Support Centre (TISC) program provides innovators in developing countries with access to locally based, high quality technology information and related services.

This is helping them to exploit their innovative potential and to create, protect, and manage their Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) is designated as the National Focal Point for the TISC national network.

As the national focal point, CIPAM shall identify potential host institutions, assess their capacities and support them in joining the TISC program.

CIPAM will also act as the main intermediary between WIPO and TISC host institutions and coordinate all the activities of the national TISC network.

Over 500 TISCs operate worldwide and establishing TISC in India will give the host institutions an access to the global network.

In upcoming years, CIPAM is planning to establish TISCs in Universities, State Science Councils, R&D institutions etc.

TISC will give an impetus to knowledge sharing, sharing of best practices among the TISCs, capacity building, generation and commercialization of IPs.

Services offered by TISC

  • Access to online patent and non-patent (scientific and technical) resources and IP-related publications;
  • Assistance in searching and retrieving technology information;
  • Training in database search;
  • On-demand searches (novelty, state-of-the-art and infringement);
  • Monitoring technology and competitors;
  • Basic information on industrial property laws, management and strategy, and technology commercialization and marketing.

11)   What is the title of the book authored by Sangeeta Ghosh on the late First Lady Suvra Mukherjee?

a. Pranaber Preyosi
b. President’s Lady
c. President’s Wife
d. Both a and b
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee received the first copy of the book “President’s Lady” (Pranaber Preyosi) on his wife Late Smt. Suvra Mukherjee on July 13, 2017.

The book was received from Vice President of India, Mohd. Hamid Ansari who formally released it at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Ms. Sangeeta Ghosh, author of the book and all those who have brought out the publication were acknowledged.

Late Smt. Suvra Mukherjee was essentially a private person with a strong interest in music (particularly Tagore music) and paintings.

She confined herself to music, painting and writing. She tried to take Tagore music to a non-Bengali audience.

Born in Jessore (now in Bangladesh), she faced the uprooting that visited millions in the sub-continent as partition cut through not only the map, but also across the social and cultural fabric of the land.

She built a new life in Kolkata, with her love for the academic pursuits resulting in degrees in History and Political Science.

As the first lady, she brought her love of sangeet to the Rastrapati Bhawan, with her harmonium and tanpura, gifted to her by the Bengali music maestro DL Roy, accompanying her here.

Smt. Mukherjee was a vocalist, an exponent of Rabindra Sangeet and performed in the poet’s dance-dramas for many years in India, Europe, Asia and Africa.

She was also responsible for setting up the ‘Geetanjali Troupe’, with the mission of showcasing Rabindranath Tagore’s philosophy through song and dance.

The book recounts how in 2013, pushing aside protocol concerns, the First Lady sat with her troupe and sang her favourite numbers of Tagore on the occasion of Rabindra Jayanti.

She also authored two books- the first, ‘Chokher Aloey’ a personal account of her close interaction with former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi, and the second, ‘Chena Achenai Chin’, a travelogue recounting her visit to China.

Smt. Mukherjee was also a talented painter, with several exhibitions to her credit. In pursuit of this art, she drew inspiration from her mother, who was a critically acclaimed painter.

This bilingual compilation (English and Bengali) also contains reminisces of people who knew Smt. Mukerjee, including former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Mrs. Gursharan Kaur, Smt. Sheila Dikshit and other members of the Family.

12)   Name the supercluster of galaxies discovered by Indian scientists on July 13, 2017?

a. Saraswati
b. Laxmi
c. Kali
d. Devi
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Saraswati

Indian scientists have discovered Saraswati, a large supercluster of galaxies located in the direction of the constellation Pisces.

This is at a distance of 4,000 million (400 crore) light years away from Earth.

A team of astronomers from the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and members of two other Indian universities discovered this supercluster of galaxies.

Supercluster is a chain of galaxies and galaxy clusters, bound by gravity, often stretching to several hundred times the size of clusters of galaxies, consisting of tens of thousands of galaxies.

This newly-discovered Saraswati supercluster, extends over a scale of 600 million light years and may contain the mass equivalent of over 20 million billion suns.

This was visible in a large spectroscopic survey of distant galaxies, known as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

This supercluster is clearly embedded in a large network of cosmic filaments traced by clusters and large voids.

A few large superclusters have been reported, for example the Shapley Concentration or the Sloan Great Wall in the nearby universe, while the Saraswati supercluster is far more distant one.

The will help to shed light on the perplexing question of how such extreme large-scale, prominent matter-density enhancements had formed billions of years in the past when the mysterious Dark Energy had just started to dominate structure formation.

To understand galaxy formation and evolution, one needs to identify these superclusters and closely study the effect of their environment on the galaxies.

This is a new research area and the discovery will enhance this field of research.

They added that when astronomers look far away, they see the universe from long ago, since light takes a while to reach us.

The Saraswati supercluster is observed as it was when the Universe was 10 billion years old.