Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Oct 04, 2016

1)   China has blocked which tributary of the Brahmaputra river in Tibet for constructing a hydro project?

a. Xiamuqu
b. Xiaguqu
c. Xiabuqu
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Xiabuqu

China on 30th September 2016 blocked a tributary of the Brahmaputra river in Tibet

  • Chinese news agency Xinhua confirmed that China is constructing a hydro-project on XIabuqu River, a tributary of Brahmaputra in Xigaze, Tibet
  • This is closely located to Sikkim
  • The blockage of the river tributary may impact water flows into lower riparian countries like Bangladesh and India
  • The tributary blockage comes at a time when India has decided to suspend talks with Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty as part of the effort to hit back Pakistan following the Uri attack
  • Just like the Brahmaputra, the Indus originates in the Chinese Tibetan plateau
  • In 2015, China operationalised its USD 1.5 billion Zam Hydropower Station which is the largest on Tibet’s Brahmaputra river
  • Both India and China have no water treaty similar to the Indus water treaty between India and Pakistan
  • But they have established an Expert Level Mechanism on trans-border rivers.
  • In October 2013, the two nations signed an MoU on strengthening the cooperation on trans-border rivers as part of which Beijing will provide water flow data to India
  • Chinese Lalho project in Xigaze of Tibet on the Xiabuqu river a ,tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo(Tibet’s name for the Brahmaputra) has started in 2014 and will be completed by 2019
  • As per reports, China in the 12th 5 year plan has approved three more hydropower projects in the mainstream of the Brahmaputra which has been approved for implementation
  • Chinese efforts to redraw the water map will impact India as a vastly dense population of the NE states depends on water from Brahmaputra and its tributaries
  • The river is a lifeline for the region and any blockage will impact both ecology and economy
  • China will have control over the water of the river after it completes the dam constructions- this is a direct attack on India which is also a violation of the global norms of river water sharing

2)   BSI announced that the highest species of endemic flowering plants are found in which southern India State?

a. Kerala
b. Karnataka
c. Tamil Nadu
d. Andhra Pradesh
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Tamil Nadu

Botanical Survey of India in the last week of Sept 2016 announced almost 1 in 4 flowering plant species in India are endemic to the country.

  • Tamil Nadu has the highest number of species with 410
  • Tamil Nadu is followed by Kerala with 357 and Maharashtra at 278
  • According to scientific data in the currently released book, “Endemic Vascular Plants of India” of the 18259 flowering plants reported in the nation, 4003 are found only in India
  • Regarding the geographical distribution of endemic plants, the Western Ghats tops the list with close to 2116 species followed by Eastern Himalayas with 466 species
  • Close to 37 species of the black plum Syzygium or jamun are found along with 10 varieties of Musa or banana and 274 species of orchids found only in India
  • Four different varieties of roses, 2 herbs and 2 climbers as well as 12 species of jasmine are found endemic to India
  • When it comes to species, 45 species of the common black pepper family, 19 species of ginger and 13 species of cardamom were endemic to India
  • 40 species of bamboo were also endemic to India
  • Some endemic species were restricted only to certain parts of the country like the Nepenthes khasiana found in Khasi hills of Meghalaya
  • Close to 58 genera of flowering plants were found endemic to India
  • Publication also reveals that of 19365 vascular plants found in India, 4381 are endemic including 4303 angiosperms or flowering plants, 12 gymnosperms and 66 ferns and allied plants under the category of Pteridophytes
  • Red sandal wood is found only in Southern parts of Eastern Ghats and is among the most widely exploited endemic plants in India
  • This plant is identified as critically endangered under IUCN category

3)   A new species of Pika called Ochotona sikimaria has been found in which NE state?

a. Arunachal Pradesh
b. Nagaland
c. Sikkim
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Sikkim

Scientists at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bengaluru have identified a new species of pika called Ochotona sikimaria found in the Sikkim Himalayas.

  • The findings reveal a cryptic Pika lineage
  • The researchers problem the genetic origin of the little mammal Pika to discover an entirely new species with an interesting evolutionary past
  • Genetic tools were used to understand the origin and evolution of Pika species found in the Sikkim Himalayas and obtained DNA samples
  • They found that the Sikkim Pika newly discovered is close to its relatives in China
  • This Pika species was found to be distinct and not a subspecies of the Moupin Pika.
  • Pikas are members of the rabbit family living high in the mountain and they are cold adapted
  • Majority of the Pika species are of Asian Origin
  • They are considered indicators of climate change
  • Pika do not hibernate in winter but prepare food piles to sustain themselves in the cold weather, unlike other mammalian species.

4)   Which Indian origin school girl won the Google Science Fair Prize 2016 on Oct 1, 2016?

a. Kiara Nirghin
b. Kiara Jirgin
c. Kiara Mirghin
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Kiara Nirghin

Kiara, an Indian girl of S. African nationality won the Google Science Fair prize 2016 winning the grand prize of USD 50,000 to use an orange peel for discovering a cheaper, super absorbent material that retains soil water

  • Her project was entitled “No More Thirsty Crops” and was aimed at tackling the severe drought plaguing South Africa. Her solution to the problem of drought uses orange and avocado fruit peel that is normally discarded
  • Google Science Fair is a programme for budding scientists between ages of 13-18 who solve world challenges through science and technology
  • Kiara’s project uses the fruit peel to serve as a SAP or super absorbent polymer alternative, which absorbs and carries 300 times its own weight in liquid relative to the mass
  • SAPs are not biodegradable and are costly and full of chemicals
  • It was after 45 days of studies that Kiara succeeded in creating low cost, SAP made out of products from the juice manufacturing industry
  • The polymer can retain large amounts of water, ensuring the soil remain moist and improving crop growth without regular water supplements.

5)   President Putin suspended a deal with the United States on disposal of weapons grade substance. Which is it?

a. Radium
b. Uranium
c. Plutonium
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Plutonium

President Vladimir Putin on 3rd Oct 2016 suspended the deal with the US on the disposal of weapons grade plutonium a symbol of US-Russia rapprochement fallen amidst tensions in Syria, Ukraine and other disputes

  • Strain in the ties between former Cold war rivals escalated in recent weeks following the collapse of the Syrian truce
  • The US State Dept also said it was suspending bilateral contact with Russia over Syria
  • Putin’s decree cited the reason for Moscow’s move to be the US unfriendly action
  • Russia will keep the weapons grade plutonium covered under the agreement away from weapons program
  • As per this agreement signed in 2000 and expanded in 2006 and 2010, Russia and the US were set to dispose 34 metric tons of plutonium enough material for 17,000 nuclear warheads
  • Russia indicated that it started up a plant that mixes side commercial nuclear reactor fuel known as MOX from weapons grade plutonium
  • Construction of the similar plant in the US has run into trouble
  • Putin argued that the policy change and failure to meet the MOX deal gave the US “Sreturn potential” or the chance to recycle the material into weapons grade plutonium
  • While MOX makes sure that weapons-grade plutonium can't be used for any military purposes, the U.S. intention to dilute and stockpile the material means "it could be dug up again,” says Russia
  • Moscow was suspending the deal though not annulling it and ready to restore it if the US took Russian concerns into account

6)   To boost trade among BRICS nations, India has planned to organise the trade fair for the bloc at which venue?

a. Goa
b. Delhi
c. Mumbai
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


To boost trade among the BRICS nations, India will, for the first time, organise a trade fair for the bloc including BRICS

  • Intra BRICS trade in 2014 was USD 297 billion- less than 5 % of the USD 6.5 trillion worth trade that the five countries had with the world that year
  • Goods imports from the world onto the BRICS countries amounted to USD 3.03 trillion in 2014 while global goods exports of BRICS nations were USD 3.47 trillion that year
  • The first BRICS Trade Fair and Exhibition will be held from Oct 12=14 in the NCT ahead of the BRICS political summit in Goa (Oct 15-16 2016)
  • Initiative was proposed by PM Modi in 2015
  • The focus of the fair is Building BRICS- Innovation for Collaboration
  • The fair will promote intra BRICS economic engagement and showcase 20 key sectors including aerospace, auto, agro processing, chemicals, green energy, healthcare, railways and textile
  • Startups and innovators will also showcase technology to solution providers in areas such as healthcare, education,waste management and energy efficiency
  • Leaders from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand have also been invited to the fair

7)   The largest offset contract to be executed by any defence company in India till date is the one between which two companies?

a. Honeywell, TASL
b. Dassault Aviation, Reliance
c. Honeywell, Reliance
d. Dassault Aviation, TASL
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Dassault Aviation, Reliance

The largest offset contract to be executed by any company in India till date was the partnership between Dassault Aviation of France and Reliance Group to execute offsets for the recently concluded Rafale deal.

  • The joint venture called Dassault Reliance Aerospace was jointly announced by Dassault Aviation and Reliance Group
  • The contract value is estimated at INR 30,000 crore
  • “The proposed strategic partnership between Dassault and Reliance will also focus on promoting research and development projects under the IDDM program (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)…,” the statement from Reliance added, referring to the new provision introduced in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016.
  • India and France signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale multi-role jets in fly-away condition worth €7.87 billion or about Rs. 59,000 crore.
  • The deal has a 50 per cent offset clause to be executed by Dassault and its partners in India
  • JV will focus on aero structures, electronics and engines and intends to infrastructure and supply chain in India for the aerospace sector.

8)   Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan on 3rd Oct won the Nobel Medicine Prize for his work on autophagy. What is autophagy?

a. Process by which cells disrupt neurons
b. Process by which cells differentiate themselves
c. Process by which cells divide themselves
d. Process by which cells eat themselves
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Process by which cells eat themselves

Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan on 3rd Oct won the Nobel Medicine Prize for his work on autophagy– a process by which cells eat themselves which can lead to Parkinson’s and diabetes
Autophagy is a fundamental process in cell physiology with implications for human health and disease

  • Process is vital for the orderly degradation and recycling of damaged cell parts; its failure leads to ageing and cell damage
  • Researchers first observed that cells could destroy their own content by wrapping up in membranes and transferring them to recycling compartment called lysosome in the 1960s
  • Oshumi used baker’s yeast to identify genes essential for autophagy showing the underlying mechanisms for autophagy in yeast and similar sophisticated machinery in human cells
  • Mutations in autophagy can cause disease like cancer and neurological disorders
  • In 2015, William Campbell of the US, Satoshi Omura of Japan and China's Tu Youyou won the prestigious award for their discoveries of treatments against parasites.

9)   A new species of extinct shark has been discovered - which prehistoric species is it related to?

a. Megadolon
b. Megalodon
c. Megafolon
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Megalodon

This shark is related to the 60 feet Megalodon

  • Researchers found teeth fossils up to 1.8 inches in length
  • These fossils belonging to a new species of shark were found in three countries
  • The shark lived in early Miocene epoch 20 million years ago
  • There is a 45 million year gap between this shark and its relative
  • The newly-discovered species of shark, named Megalolamna paradoxodon, belongs to a group called Lamniformes.
  • The name 'paradoxodon,' or paradoxical teeth, comes from the fact that the shark appears to emerge suddenly in the geologic record.
  • The fossils were found in California, North Carolina, Peru, and Japan.
  • The 13 feet long shark lived in shallow-water, shelf-type, coastal environments.
  • The species had grasping-type front teeth and cutting-type rear teeth (up to 1.8 inches tall) likely