Current Affairs Questions & Answers - May 08, 2017

1)   According to RBI, India’s forex reserves rose to which record high?

a. USD 372.73 billion
b. USD 373.73 billion
c. USD 374.73 billion
d. USD 375.73 billion
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: USD 372.73 billion

According to the Reserve Bank of India’s weekly statistical supplement, India’s foreign exchange, Forex reserves have increased by USD 1.594 billion to touch a lifetime high of USD 372.73 billion in the week that ended on April 28.

The increase was due to increase in foreign currency assets (FCAs), The reserves had increased by USD 1.250 billion to USD 371.14 billion in the previous week.

The components of India’s Foreign Exchange Reserves include foreign currency assets (FCAs) Gold Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) RBI’s Reserve position with International Monetary Fund (IMF).

FCAs constitute the largest component of the Forex Reserves. FCA surged $1.569 billion to $349.055 billion in the reporting week. FCAs consist of US dollar and other major non-US global currencies.

It also comprises of investments in US Treasury bonds, bonds of other selected governments, deposits with foreign central and commercial banks.

FCAs include with them the effects of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies like the euro, pound, and the yen and is expressed in terms of dollars.

The gold reserves stand at USD 19.869 billion. SDRs’ value has increased USD 8.5 million to reach USD 1.460 billion. RBI’s reserve position with the IMF also increased by USD 15.8 million to reach USD 2.347 billion.

2)   What does eVIN stand for, in the context of digitised vaccine stocks?

a. Electronic Vaccine Interim Network
b. Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network
c. Electronic Vaccine Intelligent Network
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network

eVIN (Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network) is an indigenously developed technology system in India that digitizes vaccine stocks and monitors the temperature of the cold chain through a smartphone application. It has been awarded the title of global best practice in immunisation.

The innovative eVIN is presently being implemented called across twelve states in India.

Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network aims to support the Government of India’s Universal Immunization Programme by providing real-time information on vaccine stocks and flows, and storage temperatures across all cold chain points in these states.

The technological innovation is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). eVIN aims to strengthen the evidence base for improved policy-making in vaccine delivery, procurement and planning for new antigens in India.

About eVIN: Know More

  • eVIN aims to strengthen the evidence base for improved policy-making in vaccine delivery, procurement and planning for new antigens in India.
  • eVIN provides an integrated solution to address widespread inequities in vaccine coverage by supporting state governments in overcoming constraints of infrastructure, monitoring and management information systems and human resources, often resulting in overstocking and stock-outs of vaccines in storage centres.
  • The integrated solution combines technology, governance and human resources
  • eVIN empowers the cold chain handlers by building technical capacities and providing a robust decision-making tool for cold chain managers through a complete overview of vaccine replenishment times, supply and consumption patterns.
  • By streamlining the vaccine flow network, eVIN is a powerful contribution to strengthening health systems and ensures equity through easy and timely availability of vaccines to all children.

3)   What is true about the world’s fastest film camera?

a. Capable of taking 5 trillion images per second
b. Capturing a single image every 0.2 trillionths of a second
c. Capable of visualising the movement of light
d. Only a and b
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

World’s fastest film camera can ‘capture’ light.

As per Einstein’s theory, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum that makes it difficult to capture.

Now researchers at Lund University in Sweden have built the world’s fastest film camera that is capable of taking five trillion images per second.

This means an image every 0.2 trillionths of a second.

In other words, the camera is fast enough to visualize the movement of light or capture molecular processes.

The camera could be used to observe extremely rapid natural processes and reactions in chemistry, physics, biology and biomedicine that until now have not been captured on film.

The researchers exposed an object to be filmed to brief flashes of laser light, which were reflected by the object.

The new technology called Frequency Recognition Algorithm for Multiple Exposures (FRAME) is based on an innovative algorithm.

It instead captures several coded images in one picture and later sorts them into a video sequence.

This method took four separate images per frame instead of taking images one by one in a sequence, like other high-speed cameras.

4)   Who has become France’s youngest president?

a. Nikolas Sarkozy
b. Emmanuel Macron
c. Francois Hollande
d. Marine Le Pen
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron has been a skilled student, a champion of France’s tech startup movement, an investment banker and economy minister.

But the man who will become France’s youngest president has never held elected office.

After a campaign based on promises to revive the country through pro-business and pro-European policies, the 39-year-old centrist independent defeated far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen and her protectionist, anti-immigration party.

He quit his job as a banker at Rothschild to become Socialist President Francois Hollande’s economic adviser, working for two years by Hollande’s side at the presidential palace.

Then as economy minister in Hollande’s government from 2014 to 2016, he promoted a package of measures, notably allowing more stores to open on Sundays and evenings and opening up regulated sectors of the economy.

In 2016, Macron launched his own political movement, En Marche, or In Motion, and quit the Socialist government.

He promised to shake up the political landscape by appointing a government that includes new figures from business and civil society.

His next challenge will be to get a parliamentary majority in an election next month to make major changes _ with no mainstream party to support him.

The strong advocate of a free market and entrepreneurial spirit has called for France to focus on getting benefits from globalization rather than the protectionist policies advocated by the far right.

In his political rallies, he encouraged supporters to wave both the French tricolour and the European Union flags.

Macron had an unexpected test of his political skills following the first round of the vote during what became known as ``the battle of Whirlpool,'' when Le Pen upstaged him at a Whirlpool factory in Amiens that is threatened with closure.

In a country shaken by recent terror attacks, he pledged to boost the police and military as well as the intelligence services and to put pressure on internet giants to better monitor extremism online.

To improve Europe’s security, he wants the EU to deploy some 5,000 European border guards to the external borders of the bloc’s passport-free travel zone.

Pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron resoundingly won France’s landmark presidential election, first estimates showed on Sunday, heading off a fierce challenge from the far-right in a pivotal vote for the future of the divided country and Europe.

The victory caps an extraordinary rise for the 39-year-old former investment banker, who will become the country’s youngest-ever leader.

Initial estimates showed Macron winning between 65.5 per cent and 66.1 per cent of ballots ahead of Le Pen on between 33.9 per cent and 34.5 per cent.

Macron is now poised to become one of Europe’s most powerful leaders, bringing with him a hugely ambitious agenda of political and economic reform for France and the European Union.

The result will resonate worldwide and particularly in Brussels and Berlin where leaders will breathe a sigh of relief that Le Pen’s anti-EU, anti-globalisation programme has been defeated.

After Britain’s vote last year to leave the EU and Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S., the French election had been widely watched as a test of how high a tide of right-wing nationalism would rise.

Le Pen, 48, had portrayed the ballot as a contest between Macron and the “globalists” - in favour of open trade, immigration and shared sovereignty - and her “patriotic” vision of strong borders and national identities.

5)   Which company and its JV partner IWI has inaugurated the country's first private sector small arms manufacturing plant at MP?

a. Punj Llyod Ltd
c. Reliance Defence
d. Honeywell
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Punj Llyod Ltd

Punj Lloyd Ltd (through its wholly-owned subsidiary Punj Lloyd Industries Limited) and its JV partner Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) has inaugurated the country’s first private sector small arms manufacturing plant at Malanpur in Madhya Pradesh.

The JV company, Punj Lloyd Raksha Systems Pvt Ltd, will manufacture small arms in the plant for the Indian defence forces and also for exports.

This is the first opportunity for the country to get its own ‘Made in India’ small arms.

The need of the hour is to replace the country’s defence weapons with sophisticated and high precision products and Punj Lloyd Raksha Systems is the answer to the country’s immediate need.

Known for executing infrastructure projects, Punj Lloyd diversified into defence sector by setting up a manufacturing unit at Malanpur with an estimated investment of INR 200 crore for fabrication and assembly facility for defence systems, primarily small arms.

For this, it had formed a JV with Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), a part of SK Group that manufactures innovative small arm systems.

IWI designs and develops technologically advanced systems for military, homeland security and commercial agencies worldwide. IWI product ranges are deployed in close collaboration with the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), seeking technological innovation, manufacturing excellence and outstanding performance.

Israel’s Ministry of Defence fully and wholeheartedly supports this cooperation and will continue to support the transfer of technology and information also in the future, for the betterment of improved advanced tools.

Israel and India consider their defence industry cooperation as a monumental step forward, towards a future of immense potential.

6)   Which mango received the GI tag in May 2017?

a. Banganpalle mango
b. Malda mango
c. Alphonso mango
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Banganpalle mango

The Banganapalle mango in the first week of May 2017 received a Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

This makes Andhra Pradesh the proprietor of the variety known for its sweetness.

The registration was given following an application from Andhra Pradesh Horticulture Commissioner.

The Andhra Pradesh government is the registered proprietor of the GI tag for Banganapalle mangoes, often hailed as “the king of fruits.”

It also known as Beneshan, Baneshan, Benishan, Chappatai and Safeda.

These mangoes are large sized, weighing on an average 350-400 grams.

The pulp is fibre less, firm and yellow with sweet taste. These mangoes have been grown for over 100 years in the state.

What is a GI Tag: Know More

  • A geographical indication is a name or sign used on certain products, which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin.
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 came into force with effect from 15 September 2003.
  • GIs have been defined under Article 22(1) of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights(TRIPS) Agreement.
  • The tag ensures that none other than those registered as authorised users (or at least those residing inside the geographic territory) are allowed to use the popular product name. Darjeeling tea was the first GI tagged product in India.

7)   Which three countries signed an MoU for safe zones in Syria?

a. Russia, Iraq, Turkey
b. Russia, Iran, Turkey
c. Russia, Turkey, China
d. Russia, Turkey, US
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Russia, Iran, Turkey

Allies of Syria- Russia and Iran and rebel supporter Turkey signed a memorandum on 4 May 2017, backing Moscow’s plan of creating safe zones in Syria to encourage a truce between the Syrian government and the rebel forces.

The deal was signed by the heads of the delegations representing the three ally countries during peace talks in Kazakhstan’s capital city, Astana.

The Syrian government and rebel delegations were not among the signatories.

The representative delegations reviewed the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the termination of hostilities during the two-day talk in Astana.

After much deliberation, the guarantor countries agreed to sign a memorandum on the creation of de-escalation zones in Syria.

The main aim of the deal is to put an immediate end to the violence, to provide safe conditions for the voluntary return of refugees and to enable immediate delivery of relief supplies and medical aid.

The proposal calls for the creation of safe zones in rebel-held territories including the north-western province of Idlib, parts of Homs province in the centre, in the south and in the opposition enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus.

However, in spite of all these measures, some issues remain unclear like which guarantor country would be policing which safe zone. Speaking on the same Russia and Iran and rebel supporter Turkey , Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the issue would have to be taken up in separate talks.

Russia: Know More

  • Capital: Moscow
  • Currency: Russian ruble
  • President: Vladimir Putin
  • Population: 144.1 million (2015) World Bank
  • Prime minister: Dmitry Medvedev

8)   Which IIT developed white light emission using natural extracts red pomegranate and turmeric?

a. IIT-K
b. IIT-D
c. IIT-B
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: None of the above

IIT Madras has won the BIRAC Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award 2017 for its work on producing white light emission using natural extracts.

Scientists from the Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras used a mixture of two natural extracts - red pomegranate and turmeric - to produce white light emission.

The researchers used a simple and environment-friendly procedure to extract dyes from pomegranate and turmeric.

While polyphenols and anthocyanins present in red pomegranate emit at blue and orange-red regions of the wavelength respectively, curcumin from turmeric emit at the green region of the wavelength.

White light emission is produced when red, blue and green mix together.

This is probably the first time white light emission has been generated using low-cost, edible natural dyes.

By changing the concentration of the two extracts the researchers were able to get different colour temperature (tunability).

When the two extracts and irradiate it with UV radiation at 380 nm, scientists observed energy transfer (FRET mechanism) taking place from polyphenols to curcumin to anthocyanins, which helps to get perfect white light emission.

For FRET mechanism to take place there must be spectral overlap between the donor and acceptor.

In this case, there is a perfect overlap of emission of polyphenols with absorption by curcumin so the energy from polyphenols is transferred to curcumin.

Since there is also a perfect overlap of emission of curcumin with absorption by anthocyanin, the energy of curcumin is transferred to anthocyanin.

As a result of this energy transfer from one dye to the other, when the extract is irradiated with UV light at 380 nm (blue region of the wavelength), the polyphenols emit in the blue region of the wavelength and transfers its energy to curcumin.

The excited curcumin emits in the green region of the wavelength and transfers its energy to anthocyanin, which emits light in the red region of the wavelength.

Scientists carbon nanoparticles using pomegranate and to their surprise it was producing fairly green emission.

So instead of using turmeric to get green wavelength, the researchers used carbon nanoparticles made from pomegranate extract. “

Though this natural mixture of dyes can be used in a wide variety of applications such as tunable laser, LEDs, white light display, much work needs to be done in terms of photostability and chemical stability before it becomes ready for translation.

Biosystems have an inherent tendency to breakdown and so this has to be addressed.

9)   Which is the last living dinosaur prior to the asteroid strike 66 million years back?

a. Chenanisaurus barbaricus
b. Dhenanisaurus barbaricus
c. Thenanisaurus barbaricus
d. Shenanisaurus barbaricus
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Chenanisaurus barbaricus

The fossil of one of the last living African dinosaur was discovered in a phosphate mine in northern Morocco.

The species, Chenanisaurus barbaricus, is reportedly one of the last ones to have survived on Earth before an asteroid strike wiped them out 66 million years ago

The project was carried out as a part of an international scientific collaboration that aims to conserve Morocco’s rich fossil heritage by helping create and study the country’s palaeontology collections.

The fossil study is being led by Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath.

Its analysis suggests that a distinct dinosaur fauna evolved in Africa following the breakup of the Gondwana supercontinent in the middle of the Cretaceous period.

The new species is understood to be the smaller African contemporary of the North American T-Rex.

Almost nothing is known about the dinosaurs that lived in Africa at the end of the Cretaceous period 66 million years ago, just before their extinction.

Most of the fossils have been discovered from marine rocks.

The study revealed that the fragment belonged to an abelisaur, two-legged predators like T. rex and other tyrannosaurs with a shorter snout and tinier arms.

The species were known to be the top predators at the end of the Cretaceous period in Africa, South America, India, and Europe.

Unlike the abelisaurs, who had very short arms, the newly discovered dinosaur- Chenanisaurus barbaricus- stood on two legs and had stumpy arms.

The study of the fossil’s worn-out teeth reveals that it was a predator and unlike the partially feathered T. rex, Chenanisaurus had only scales and its brain was much smaller and its face, shorter and deeper.

Dinosaurs: Know More

  • Dinosaurs are known to have lived between 230 and 65 million years ago, a period that is known as the Mesozoic Era.
  • The period is many million years before the first modern humans, Homo sapiens, appeared.
  • Scientists divide the Mesozoic Era into three periods: the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous.
  • The Cretaceous Period was the last and longest period of the Mesozoic Era.
  • It began 145 million years ago and ended 66 million years ago, lasting for approximately 79 million years. It followed the Jurassic period and ended with the extinction of the dinosaurs.
  • The period may have seen more dinosaurs than ever before.
  • Some of the dinosaur species that evolved during this time include Triceratops, Centrosaurus, armoured Ankylosaurus and the large carnivore Tyrannosaurus.

10)   Who was America's oldest living Olympic Champion till May 5th 2017?

a. Adolph Himmel
b. Adolph Gustaf
c. Adolph Kiefer
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Adolph Kiefer

Adolph Kiefer, the 100-meter backstroke champion at the 1936 Berlin Games, died on May 5, 2017 at the age of 98.

He was America’s oldest living Olympic champion.

Kiefer broke 23 records in all, including every backstroke record.

Kiefer helped develop a curriculum for teaching sailors to swim during WW2, as well as the “victory backstroke,” which is credited with saving thousands of lives.

Adolph Kiefer, winner of the 1936 Olympic gold medal for the men’s 100m backstroke, raises his arms before a medal ceremony during the US Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Nebraska, in June 2012.

Adolph and Joyce Kiefer built Kiefer Swim, a swimming equipment company that he is said to have joked sold “everything but the water.”

They developed the nylon swimsuit, and the first non-turbulent racing lane, which helped to level the playing field by making it harder for swimmers to “ride the wake” of a swimmer in another lane.

Kiefer became the first man to break the one-minute mark in the 100-yard backstroke while competing as a 16-year-old in the Illinois High School Championships of 1935.

He swam the distance in 59.8 seconds.

His 1936 Illinois state championship backstroke time of 58.5 seconds was the Illinois state high-school record until 1960. On April 6, 1940 Kiefer set another record, swimming the 100-yard backstroke in 57.9 seconds.

Kiefer broke twenty-three records after breaking the one-minute backstroke mark. Kiefer went on to set a world record for 100-meter backstroke of 1:04.8 on January 18, 1936, at Brennan Pools in Detroit, Michigan.

After establishing his learn-to-swim programs at Bainbridge, Kiefer established the company Adolph Kiefer & Associates, based out of Chicago. He would run the business until 2014.

In addition to creating the first nylon suits and non-turbulent lane lines, Kiefer also became the first to distribute Dura-Flex Diving Boards.

Dura-Flex is now the only competitive diving board used world-wide.

Over the years, Adolph Kiefer & Company became the official supplier to the USA Olympic Team and the Olympic Games.
Keifer was a Donor Swimming member of the inaugural class inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965.

In 2007, USA Swimming presented Kiefer with a gold medal from the 1936 Olympic Games, to replace the one that had been stolen shortly after he returned from Berlin 71 years ago.

The medal was specially cast from the original mold for the occasion by the International Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

He was nominated for a US Medal of Freedom.

Born June 27, 1918, he was the oldest living U.S. Olympic gold medalist in any sport and the only living gold medalist from the 1936 Olympic Games.

11)   Who was the first woman Chief Justice of a State High Court?

a. Indira Banerjee
b. Manjula Chellur
c. Gita Mittal
d. Leila Seth
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Leila Seth

Justice Leila Seth who became the first woman Chief Justice of a State High Court has passed away at the age of 86.

She has also received the distinction of becoming the first woman to top the London Bar exam as well as the becoming the first female judge of the Delhi High Court.

Leila Seth is the mother of the noted author Vikram Seth.

Justice Leila Seth began her career in 1959 as an advocate in the Calcutta high court as well as in the Supreme Court.

Justice Seth had been on the panel of lawyers for the Bihar and the West Bengal government.

Justice Leila Seth was made as a permanent judge of the Delhi High Court in 1980. In 1991, she was made as the Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh high court.

Justice Leila Seth had also served as member of the 15th Law Commission of India (1997 to 2000).

She was also member of the Justice JS Verma committee which was mandated to take a relook at the criminal laws after the December 16 gang rape incident.

The committee’s work resulted in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, that widened the definition of rape and made the punishment more stringent.

Justice Seth has also written a number of books, namely, an autobiography, titled ‘On Balance’, ‘We, the Children of India’ (2010), ‘Talking of Justice: People’s Rights in Modern India’ (2014).

12)   RBI has tightened the rules around JLFs. What does JLF stand for?

a. Joint Lenders Forum
b. Joint Liability Forum
c. Joint Liaison Forum
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Joint Lenders Forum

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has tightened the rules around making the Joint Lenders’ Forum (JLF) more effective.

It is directing banks not to break any rules and to meet all deadlines.

The RBI has said that any breach of rules would attract a monetary penalty.

JLFs are meetings held to revitalise stressed assets.

In JLF banks attempt to red-flag stress early and check them by putting in place a corrective action plan (CAP).

JLFs inefficiency basically stems out from the disagreements between lenders. The entire model of JLF is based on the premise that collective action of banks against a borrower for recovery.

However, in reality, different lenders have different levels of comfort or discomfort, based on the exposure, collateral, etc.

Many lenders have also complained about the lack of transparency in JLF.

As per the new norms, RBI has lowered the threshold needed for implementing the corrective action plan (CAP).

Now, the decisions agreed to by a minimum of 60% of creditors by value and 50% of creditors would now be valid to implement the CAP.

Once a decision is reached by the JLF, it would be binding on all other lenders and they must implement it without any additional conditionality.

However, if a lender wants to exit by exercising the substitution option but failed to exit within the given time, it has to go along with the decision taken.

RBI JLF rules : Know more

  • RBI has asked all banks to ensure their representatives on the JLF to be armed with appropriate mandates.
  • It has also asked the executives to take an unambiguous and unconditional stand and vote accordingly. As per the new norms, the executives after taking the decision should be suitably empowered to implement them without necessitating any board approvals.
  • The CAP can include resolution through the flexible structuring of project loans, change in ownership under strategic debt restructuring or scheme of the sustainable structuring of stressed assets.